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Longer and more frequent marine heatwaves over the past century


Oliver, ECJ and Donat, MG and Burrows, MT and Moore, PJ and Smale, DA and Alexander, LV and Benthuysen, JA and Feng, M and Sen Gupta, A and Hobday, AJ and Holbrook, NJ and Perkins-Kirkpatrick, SE and Scannell, HA and Straub, SC and Wernberg, T, Longer and more frequent marine heatwaves over the past century, Nature Communications, 9, (1) Article 1324. ISSN 2041-1723 (2018) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2018 the authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.1038/s41467-018-03732-9


Heatwaves are important climatic extremes in atmospheric and oceanic systems that can have devastating and long-term impacts on ecosystems, with subsequent socioeconomic consequences. Recent prominent marine heatwaves have attracted considerable scientific and public interest. Despite this, a comprehensive assessment of how these ocean temperature extremes have been changing globally is missing. Using a range of ocean temperature data including global records of daily satellite observations, daily in situ measurements and gridded monthly in situ-based data sets, we identify significant increases in marine heatwaves over the past century. We find that from 1925 to 2016, global average marine heatwave frequency and duration increased by 34% and 17%, respectively, resulting in a 54% increase in annual marine heatwave days globally. Importantly, these trends can largely be explained by increases in mean ocean temperatures, suggesting that we can expect further increases in marine heatwave days under continued global warming.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:data set, environmental assessment, extreme event, global change, global warming, heat wave, in situ measurement, long-term change, marine environment, trend analysis, water temperature
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:Holbrook, NJ (Professor Neil Holbrook)
ID Code:127534
Year Published:2018
Web of Science® Times Cited:662
Deposited By:Oceans and Cryosphere
Deposited On:2018-08-02
Last Modified:2018-11-27
Downloads:141 View Download Statistics

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