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The Atlantic Ocean Is Frighteningly Warm Right Now


Monday, March 4th, 2024


Today’s newsletter is: 930 words; 4 min.


Israel has reportedly endorsed a framework for a proposed cease-fire and hostage release deal. A senior U.S. official, who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity under ground rules set by the White House, said it’s now up to Hamas to agree to the deal.

The U.S. conducted its first airdrop of humanitarian aid in Gaza. Three U.S. Air Force planes, in coordination with the Royal Jordanian Air Force, dropped 66 bundles containing around 38,000 meals into Gaza Saturday afternoon.

The CDC dropped its five-day COVID isolation guidance. The new guidelines say people who are fever-free and have no symptoms for 24 hours don’t need to quarantine as long as they limit contact with others, wear a mask, and avoid indoor spaces for five days.

Hundreds of inmates fled Haiti’s main prison after armed gangs stormed the facility. At least five people died in the country’s latest instance of violence as it continues to spiral after the 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse.


A new study found more than 1 billion people now live with obesity


1 in 8 People Now Live With Obesity

A new study by an international team of researchers published in The Lancet found 1 billion people (or 1 in 8 worldwide) now live with obesity, while around 43% of adults are overweight.

Why it matters: 

  • The study found obesity has more than doubled among adults around the world since 1990, and has quadrupled among children and adolescents (ages 5 to 19).

  • The researchers suggest the transition to obesity was already apparent in adults in much of the world by 1990, since so many countries had far more obese than underweight adults, and the trend has since followed to children and adolescents.



A new study found Africa’s glaciers are shrinking at an alarming rate


Africa’s Tropical Glaciers Are Shrinking

A new study by researchers at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany found glaciers atop Mount Kenya, Mount Kilimanjaro (pictured above), and the Rwenzori Mountains in East Africa have shrunk by around 50% over the past two decades and by 90% since the turn of the last century.  

Melting fast: 

  • The researchers found glaciers on these mountains, which are highly vulnerable to global warming due to their location near the equator, have lost size at an “alarming” rate, describing the shrinkage as “a clear indicator of the impact of climate change.”

  • A lack of cloud cover above the mountains is driving the retreat, as sunshine melts glaciers even on days when the temperature remains below freezing.



A new analysis shows most Americans live in a state with legal cannabis

Rigo Moran

Most Americans Live in a State With Legal Cannabis

A new analysis by the Pew Research Center shows 54% of Americans now live in a state where recreational cannabis is legal, while 74% live in a state where cannabis is legal for either recreational or medical use.

California is the highest: 

  • California is home to the most cannabis dispensaries by far, boasting nearly 3,700 locations, more than double the next closest state (Oklahoma at 1,405). 

  • Nearly a quarter of the nation’s dispensaries are located in California, and nearly all Californians (99.5%) have a dispensary in their county. Los Angeles County alone has more dispensaries (1,481) than any state other than California itself.


The North Atlantic is warmer than ever

Brian McNoldy (using NOAA data)

The Atlantic Ocean Is Frighteningly Warm Right Now   

Last month, The Bagel shared an analysis by Carbon Brief that found the amount of heat trapped in the world’s oceans has increased by around 473 zettajoules since the 1940s, increasing by about 15 zettajoules from 2021 to 2023 alone.

  • For context, the entire world consumes around one-half of a zettajoule of energy each year, and the 15-zettajoule increase is around 25 times as much as the total amount of energy produced by all human activities in 2021. 

Now, we’re back with another distressing finding, this time looking at North Atlantic sea surface temperatures, which, I’m sad to tell you, are also warmer than ever.

What to know:

Each colored line on the chart above represents the North Atlantic’s average sea surface temperature each year from 1981 to now. 

  • The orange-red line running the length of the chart above every other year represents 2023, showing the year was the warmest on record.

Even more concerning is the smaller red line on the left side representing 2024, which sits far above the rest (about 2°F warmer than the average temperature over the past decade), indicating 2023’s extreme heat has continued on into the new year.

Why it’s rye-popping:

Warm North Atlantic oceans foretell all sorts of bad things, like more active hurricane seasons, disrupted ecosystems, and lost commercial activity. 

  • Forecasts also suggest the heat won’t be letting up anytime soon, with already hot parts of the Atlantic, like the Caribbean, likely getting even hotter, making for a scary summer for coral reefs and hurricanes.


  • 190 mph - The wind gust measured at the Palisades Tahoe ski resort on Friday night, just short of the state record 199 mph gust measured in 2017 (also at Palisades Tahoe),  as a powerful blizzard pounded the Sierra Nevadas over the weekend.


Long Video. Learn about da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. (14 min)

Short Video. Here’s how to spot AI-generated videos. (7 min)

Fun Video. Start your Monday with a cry while watching Lewis Capaldi performing “Wish You Were Here” live at Heathrow. (4 min)

Good Read. Read about how companies have been promising AI machines since 1958. (936 words; 4 min)

Neat List. Here are nine charts showing U.S. factory farming is even bigger than you imagine.


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Written by Ryan Wittler