Editorial: advances in understanding marine heatwaves and their impacts
Benthuysen, Jessica A.
Oliver, Eric C. J.
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Keywordmarine heatwaves; extreme events; ocean and atmosphere interactions; marine ecosystems; marine resources; climate change; climate variability; climate prediction
Editorial on the Research Topic Advances in Understanding Marine Heatwaves and Their Impacts In recent years, prolonged, extremely warm water events, known as marine heatwaves, have featured prominently around the globe with their disruptive consequences for marine ecosystems. Over the past decade, marine heatwaves have occurred from the open ocean to marginal seas and coastal regions, including the unprecedented 2011 Western Australia marine heatwave (Ningaloo Niño) in the eastern Indian Ocean (e.g., Pearce et al., 2011), the 2012 northwest Atlantic marine heatwave (Chen et al., 2014), the 2012 and 2015 Mediterranean Sea marine heatwaves (Darmaraki et al., 2019), the 2013/14 western South Atlantic (Rodrigues et al., 2019) and 2017 southwestern Atlantic marine heatwave (Manta et al., 2018), the persistent 2014–2016 “Blob” in the North Pacific (Bond et al., 2015; Di Lorenzo and Mantua, 2016), the 2015/16 marine heatwave spanning the southeastern tropical Indian Ocean to the Coral Sea (Benthuysen et al., 2018), and the Tasman Sea marine heatwaves in 2015/16 (Oliver et al., 2017) and 2017/18 (Salinger et al., 2019). These events have set new records for marine heatwave intensity, the temperature anomaly exceeding a climatology, and duration, the sustained period of extreme temperatures. We have witnessed the profound consequences of these thermal disturbances from acute changes to marine life to enduring impacts on species, populations, and communities (Smale et al., 2019). These marine heatwaves have spurred a diversity of research spanning the methodology of identifying and quantifying the events (e.g., Hobday et al., 2016) and their historical trends (Oliver et al., 2018), understanding their physical mechanisms and relationships with climate modes (e.g., Holbrook et al., 2019), climate projections (Frölicher et al., 2018), and understanding the biological impacts for organisms and ecosystem function and services (e.g., Smale et al., 2019). By using sea surface temperature percentiles, temperature anomalies can be quantified based on their local variability and account for the broad range of temperature regimes in different marine environments. For temperatures exceeding a 90th-percentile threshold beyond a period of 5-days, marine heatwaves can be classified into categories based on their intensity (Hobday et al., 2018). While these recent advances have provided the framework for understanding key aspects of marine heatwaves, a challenge lies ahead for effective integration of physical and biological knowledge for prediction of marine heatwaves and their ecological impacts. This Research Topic is motivated by the need to understand the mechanisms for how marine heatwaves develop and the biological responses to thermal stress events. This Research Topic is a collection of 18 research articles and three review articles aimed at advancing our knowledge of marine heatwaves within four themes. These themes include methods for detecting marine heatwaves, understanding their physical mechanisms, seasonal forecasting and climate projections, and ecological impacts.
© The Author(s), 2020. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Benthuysen, J. A., Oliver, E. C. J., Chen, K., & Wernberg, T. Editorial: advances in understanding marine heatwaves and their impacts. Frontiers in Marine Science, 7, (2020): 147, doi:10.3389/fmars.2020.00147.
Suggested CitationBenthuysen, J. A., Oliver, E. C. J., Chen, K., & Wernberg, T. (2020). Editorial: advances in understanding marine heatwaves and their impacts. Frontiers in Marine Science, 7, 147.
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