TO CALL WHAT’S happening in the oceans right now an anomaly is a bit of an understatement. Since March, average sea surface temperatures have been climbing to record highs.
Since this record-keeping began in the early 1980s—the other squiggly lines are previous years—the global average for the world’s ocean surfaces has oscillated seasonally between 19.7 and 21 degrees Celsius (67.5 and 69.8 Fahrenheit). Toward the end of March, the average shot above the 21-degree mark and stayed there for a month. (The most recent reading, for April 26, was just a hair under 21 degrees.) This temperature spike is not just unprecedented, but extreme