Sea temperature off Florida reaches 38C - potentially a world record

Sea surface temperatures of more than 38C (100.4F) have been recorded off the coast of Florida - potentially setting a new world record.

The recording was captured by a buoy in Manatee Bay in the Florida Keys.

It means the sea there was as warm as a hot tub - the standard temperature setting of which is 38C.

The temperature stayed at 37.8C (100F) or above between 5pm and 8pm on Monday, and hit a high of 38.3C (101.1F) according to the buoy.

The reading was taken at a depth of 1.5m (4.9ft) - with surrounding buoys posting similar figures.

The buoy is owned and maintained by the Everglades National Park, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website.

Although no complete set of records exist, the warmest sea surface temperature is currently thought to be 37.6C (99.7F) recorded in Kuwait Bay in the Persian Gulf.

This means, if confirmed, the water readings recorded off Florida's coast would challenge the record for hottest sea surface temperature in the world.

But, it would have to go through an extensive verification process - this is due to its proximity to land and the possibility of murky water.

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This summer has seen the warmest temperatures on record around southern Florida, according to the NOAA.

Buoys have been recording temperatures about 2.75C warmer than usual.

The NOAA said the extreme ocean temperatures were "concerning".

"The ongoing marine heatwave in South Florida could impact sensitive marine ecosystems in the region, such as shallow water corals," it said.

Developing tropical storms could also become stronger because of the high sea temperatures, the agency said.

Florida is far from the only place experiencing unusually warm temperatures.

Global sea surface temperatures have been at record highs since April - including around the UK.

Sea surface temperatures taken around the near-coastal waters of the UK showed May 2023 was the warmest May since 1850.