Off the coast of New Zealand, satellites have discovered a huge patch of hot seawater. This patch is 9 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the rest of the ocean.
And on top of this, the patch is the size of Texas!
To put this into perspective, just a 1-degree increase in ocean temperatures is a big deal, according to scientists. So, a 9-degree difference is huge. This makes it the largest warm patch in the world according to satellite imagery and covers over 400,000 square miles.
What Caused the Temperature Increase?
Of course, the big question is what exactly causes a temperature increase of this scale? Odds are you are thinking it has to do with climate change making the oceans warmer, but not this time.
Instead, there is a much simpler explanation.
This particular patch of water has seen a lot of sunlight recently and not much wind. Due to the sheer size of the water patch, it would take a long time for the water to heat up if undisturbed.
And with the lack of wind, the conditions were perfect.
Not that Unusual
Believe it or not, it is common to find patches of hot seawater throughout the world’s oceans. However, what made this case unique, was the sheer size of the patch.
On top of fiding hot patches, there are also cool patches as well. For example, to the east of this large hot patch is a cool patch that is almost 6 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than the average.
Unfortunately, just because it is normal, does not mean it does not have an impact.
Fish and sea mammals are extremely sensitive to temperature changes in the water. This is why many species of fish tend to migrate between certain areas of the ocean every year.
However, when a sudden warm patch occurs, sea life cannot adapt fast enough. It is unclear how this hot patch will impact fish at this time, but it is expected to force some to relocate closer to the coast of New Zealand.