Fig. 1: The Gulf of Mexico daily SSTA analysis reveals warmer than normal conditions.
Climate News: According to 2 recent studies done separately at University of Arizona and Tulane University, researchers have determined sea level rise has accelerated since 2010 in the northern Gulf of Mexico. The rise, on average, is about 5-6 inches. Two additional recent studies have found similar observations (but have not passed through peer review yet). In a statement summarizing the research finds “higher seas in the Gulf of Mexico and around Florida mean that hurricane risks in some of the most exposed and storm-prone parts of the United States are growing only more acute”. The well-documented rise in SSTA across the North Atlantic basin during the past 2-3 decades occurs regionally (and not uniformly) such as the Gulf of Mexico. The warmer waters are directly related to sea level rise. The research identifies recent major hurricanes Michael and Ian as causing more than expected damage due to higher (and warmer) seas ahead of the storm tracks. Keep in mind, the Gulf of Mexico is markedly warmer than normal with tropical cyclone season only 7 weeks away (Fig. 1). NOAA/CPC sea height anomalies are in the 5-6 in. above normal range NOW in the northeast Gulf.