PARIS: Ocean heatwaves which can have “devastating and long-term impacts” on ecosystems have become longer and more recurrent over the past century, according to an international study published on Tuesday.
From 1925 to 2016, the number of annual marine heatwave days globally surged by 54%, with a substantial acceleration over the last three decades, a paper in the journal Nature Communications read.
Similar to an atmospheric heatwave, a marine heatwave is a prolonged period of unusually warm water.
“While some of us may enjoy the warmer waters when we go swimming, these heatwaves have significant impacts on ecosystems, biodiversity, fisheries, tourism and aquaculture,” said the study’s lead author Eric Oliver from Dalhousie University, Canada.
“There are often profound economic consequences that go hand in hand with these events.” The heatwaves are linked to an overall rise in average sea surface temperatures consistent with climate change effects, the study found.