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The unprecedented 2015/16 Tasman Sea marine heatwave


Oliver, ECJ and Benthuysen, JA and Bindoff, NL and Hobday, AJ and Holbrook, NJ and Mundy, CN and Perkins-Kirkpatrick, SE, The unprecedented 2015/16 Tasman Sea marine heatwave, Nature Communications, 8 Article 16101. ISSN 2041-1723 (2017) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright The Author(s) 2017. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.1038/ncomms16101


The Tasman Sea off southeast Australia exhibited its longest and most intense marine heatwave ever recorded in 2015/16. Here we report on several inter-related aspects of this event: observed characteristics, physical drivers, ecological impacts and the role of climate change. This marine heatwave lasted for 251 days reaching a maximum intensity of 2.9 C above climatology. The anomalous warming is dominated by anomalous convergence of heat linked to the southward flowing East Australian Current. Ecosystem impacts range from new disease outbreaks in farmed shellfish, mortality of wild molluscs and out-of-range species observations. Global climate models indicate it is very likely to be that the occurrence of an extreme warming event of this duration or intensity in this region is respectively ≥330 times and ≥6.8 times as likely to be due to the influence of anthropogenic climate change. Climate projections indicate that event likelihoods will increase in the future, due to increasing anthropogenic influences.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:marine heatwaves, climate change, Tasman Sea, East Australian Current, climate modelling, climate projections
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Oceanography
Research Field:Physical oceanography
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Understanding climate change
Objective Field:Climate variability (excl. social impacts)
UTAS Author:Oliver, ECJ (Dr Eric Oliver)
UTAS Author:Bindoff, NL (Professor Nathan Bindoff)
UTAS Author:Holbrook, NJ (Professor Neil Holbrook)
UTAS Author:Mundy, CN (Dr Craig Mundy)
ID Code:122547
Year Published:2017
Web of Science® Times Cited:233
Deposited By:Oceans and Cryosphere
Deposited On:2017-11-17
Last Modified:2018-05-25
Downloads:121 View Download Statistics

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