Marine Heatwaves Might Affect Half Of The World’s Oceans

Heat Wave - Photo by Wikimedia at Wikimedia Commons

Marine Heatwaves Might Affect Half Of The World’s Oceans

Researchers worldwide warn that half of the world’s seas may suffer scorching conditions by September of this year.

The results come from an experimental NOAA prediction system.

Around 40% of the world’s oceans’ surface temperatures are high enough to meet the requirements for a marine heatwave. According to a recent study from the Physical Sciences Laboratory (PSL), this number will rise to 50% by September. According to the survey, the scorching conditions will last until 2023.

So far, the equatorial Pacific, the Northeast Pacific, the Northwest Pacific in the Sea of Japan, the tropical North Atlantic, the Northeast Atlantic along the Iberian coast as far as the UK and Ireland, and the Western Indian Ocean southeast of Madagascar have all been affected.

Dillon Amaya, a PSL research scientist and co-lead of NOAA’s June 2023 maritime heatwave experimental forecast, commented on the predictions:

“No doubt, we’re in hot water. In our 32-year record, we have never seen such widespread marine heatwave conditions. Normally we might expect only about 10% of the world’s oceans to be ‘hot enough’ to be considered a marine heatwave, so reaching 40% or 50% is remarkable, even with long-term warming.

“In a typical year, extreme ocean temperatures like these could mean stronger hurricanes with more rapid intensification. With an El Niño developing alongside these extreme ocean temperatures, competing influences on potential Atlantic hurricane intensity exist. Only time will tell whether one process dominates or if they will cancel each other out, and we end up with an average hurricane season.”

While Michael Jacox, a researcher from the Southwest Fisheries Science Center and a part of the PSL study team, added:

“Even though these forecasts are currently experimental, they have a lot of potential value to stakeholders. By making predictions in real-time we can better test their performance and also start to build trust with people who could potentially use this information.”

You can check out NOAA’s research here.

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