According to a recent forecast of Mercator Ocean International
, Marine Heat Waves
have gripped the oceans of north-east Pacific, the southern hemisphere
in the southern Indian Ocean and the Pacific, the north-east Atlantic, tropical North Atlantic, and the Mediterranean Sea.
About the forecast:
What are marine heat waves?
|Researchers are making predictions that the occurrence of Marine Heat Waves will increase as much as 50-fold by 2100 as compared to the pre-industrial times.
A marine heat wave is an extreme weather event
It occurs when the surface temperature of a particular region of the sea rises to 3 or 4 degree Celsius
above the average temperature for at least five days
MHWs can last for weeks, months or even years.
What are the impacts of marine heat waves on ocean life?
Catastrophic for marine life:
Marine Heat waves may cause the deaths of several marine species, alter their migration patterns, and lead to coral bleaching and even impact weather patterns.
Although an increase of 3 or 4 degrees Celsius
in average temperatures may not be much for humans, it can be catastrophic for marine life.
Destroying kelp forest
: MHWs destroy kelp forests
and fundamentally altered the ecosystem of the coast.
Enhances Coral Bleaching
: A 2010 study showed that more than 80 per cent of surveyed corals
had bleached and over 40 per cent of the total surveyed had died.
Corals are very sensitive to the temperature of the water in which they live.
Disturbs food web
: MHWs also fuel the growth of invasive alien species
, which can be destructive to marine food webs.
How do marine heat waves affect humans?
Increasing the intensity of storms:
Higher Ocean temperatures, which are associated with MHWs, can make storms like hurricanes and tropical cyclones stronger.
Increased evaporation and heat:
With warmer temperatures, the rate of evaporation escalates
and so does the transfer of heat from the oceans to the air.
More devastating effects:
When storms travel across hot oceans, they gather more water vapour and heat
. This results in more powerful winds, heavier rainfall
and more flooding when storms reach the land — meaning heightened devastation for humans.
Factors contributing to Marine Heat Waves:
Rise in temperatures due to Anthropogenic events, has led to an increase in global temperatures which ultimately contributes to ocean warming.
Winds can enhance or suppress the warming in a marine heatwave, and climate models like El Niño can change the likelihood of events occurring in certain regions.
The most common drivers of marine heatwaves include ocean currents which can build up areas of warm water and air-sea heat flux, or warming through the ocean surface from the atmosphere.