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Arctic warming contributes to increase in Northeast Pacific marine heatwave days over the past decades


Song, S-Y and Yeh, S-W and Kim, H and Holbrook, NJ, Arctic warming contributes to increase in Northeast Pacific marine heatwave days over the past decades, Communications Earth & Environment, 4 Article 25. ISSN 2662-4435 (2023) [Refereed Article]

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DOI: doi:10.1038/s43247-023-00683-y


The frequency and duration of marine heatwaves have been increasing with ocean warming due to climate change. In particular, the Northeast Pacific has experienced intense and extensive marine heatwaves since the late 1990s characteristically called "the Blob". Here, an investigation of satellite-derived and reanalysis data supported by idealized coupled model experiments show that Arctic warming plays an important role in the increase in Northeast Pacific marine heatwave days during boreal summers. Strong Arctic warming has acted to change the atmospheric circulation pattern over the Northeast Pacific and reduce the low-level cloud fraction from late spring to early summer. We show that the enhancement of solar radiative heat fluxes and reduced latent heat loss over a relatively large area has favored an increase in sea surface temperatures and marine heatwave days. An idealized model experiment performed here, designed to isolate the impact of Arctic warming, supports this hypothesis. The projected changes of Arctic climate on the occurrence of marine heatwaves should be considered in climate change adaptation and mitigation plans.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Arctic warming, Northeast Pacific, marine heatwave
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:Understanding climate change not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Holbrook, NJ (Professor Neil Holbrook)
ID Code:155334
Year Published:2023
Deposited By:Oceans and Cryosphere
Deposited On:2023-02-14
Last Modified:2023-02-16

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