Why is it in the news?
According to an analysis by World Meteorological Organization agency, World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), there’s a 50-80 percent chance that marine heat waves affecting oceans globally, will extend to February 2024.
- Marine heatwaves occur when ocean temperatures in a specific region are significantly higher than average for an extended period.
- The intensity and widespread coverage of current marine heatwaves have been amplified by climate change.
- Climate change intensifies and widens marine heatwaves.
- Main causes include El Nino, North Atlantic Oscillation, and ocean heat absorption from human-induced global warming.
- About 27% of the global ocean experienced marine heatwaves as of August 15, 2023.
- Warming contributes to intensification and persistence of ocean temperature extremes.
- Expected impacts on marine ecosystems and industries like fisheries and tourism.
- Ocean heat fuels tropical cyclones, potentially leading to more intense storms.
- Long-range forecasts predict continuing widespread warming.
- Tropical Atlantic marine heatwaves have a 50-80% chance of persisting into boreal winter 2023.
- Strengthening El Nino may increase marine heatwave risk along the United States west coast in boreal spring 2024.
Climate Change Connections
- Ongoing global warming from greenhouse gas emissions is expected to increase the frequency, duration, and intensity of extreme ocean warming events.
- Serious consequences for biodiversity and marine ecosystem structure and function if mitigation and adaptation efforts are not implemented.