By Dave Warren

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – There’s a bit of a mystery in Biscayne Bay. The temperature of the water is exceptionally warm for this time of year. It’s so warm; in fact, it’s nearly doubled the previous record.

“Typically this is the coolest time of year for the water and it’s still running 8 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit above the average,” explained Brian McNoldy, a senior research assistant at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Research on Virginia Key. “This is not the warmest they have ever been, just the warmest for this time of year.”

What started out as a quick glance at the water temperature has turned into a small mystery for the scientific community.

McNoldy has been looking for a reason but can’t seem to find a definitive one.

When asked about any impacts, he claims to have found one, saying he’s concerned for the wildlife that may depend on the cooler water temperatures to trigger migratory patterns.

“When you miss the winter season you do wonder what effects it may have on the migration of things,” he said.

The water temperature typically averages the coolest in early February at around 70-degrees. With only 23 years of data, it may seem brief relative to the age of the Earth, but it is still tough to ignore the fact that the record is nearly double that of the previous record. It may be due partly to the record warmth the Miami area recorded over the past few months, but past warm seasons don’t always result in warm water temperatures.

The main concern for McNoldy is if the warm record trend continues as the seasonal average increases. This would put Biscayne Bay on target to see temperatures close to 100-degrees by the summer. It’s something that seems unlikely but will be monitored given the current trends.

Dave Warren