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Warmer water temperatures already have effect on Sarasota Bay

Local experts and water recreation guides weigh in on the impacts of rising water temperatures in Sarasota Bay.

“It’s not your imagination, it is getting warmer,” said Dave Tomasko, the executive director of the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program.

A recent study done by the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program looked at water temperatures between 1970 and 2022. The data showed that there hasn’t been a single month in which water temperatures have decreased compared to that same month in the previous year in Sarasota Bay.

He also said researchers have known the Gulf of Mexico to be getting warmer over the last couple of decades.

Locally, Tomasko pointed to data that proves air temperatures are slowly increasing over the years. Tomasko said that this area used to see air temperatures of 60 degrees in the mornings of August, but in the last 20 years there hasn’t been a single August hour below 70 degrees.

"We’re not getting as cold in the wintertime," Tomasko said. "We’re not getting as cold in the summertime."

This data echoes recently recorded data in South Florida. The month of July was historic for water temperatures in Florida. A buoy located south of Miami in Manatee Bay recorded a temperature of 101.1 degrees Fahrenheit.