Lightning Lecture AMOS Annual Meeting and International Conference on Tropical Meteorology and Oceanography

Marine heatwaves and their drivers: a global assessment (#1003)

Neil J Holbrook 1 , Hillary A Scannell 2 , Alexander Sen Gupta 3 , Jessica A Benthuysen 4 , Ming Feng 5 , Eric CJ Oliver 6 , Lisa V Alexander 3 , Michael T Burrows 7 , Markus G Donat 8 , Alistair J Hobday 9 , Pippa J Moore 10 , Sarah E Perkins-Kirkpatrick 3 , Dan A Smale 11 , Sandra C Straub 12 , Thomas Wernberg 12
  1. University of Tasmania, Hobart, TASMANIA, Australia
  2. School of Oceanography, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
  3. Climate Change Research Centre, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia
  4. Australian Institute of Marine Science, Townsville, QLD, Australia
  5. Indian Ocean Marine Research Centre, CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere, Crawley, WA, Australia
  6. Department of Oceanography, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
  7. Scottish Association for Marine Science, Scottish Marine Institute, Oban, Argyll, Scotland, UK
  8. Barcelona Supercomputing Center, Barcelona, Spain
  9. CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
  10. Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences, Aberystwyth University, Aberystwyth, UK
  11. The Laboratory, Citadel Hill, Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, Plymouth, UK
  12. UWA Oceans Institute and School of Biological Sciences, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA, Australia

Marine heatwave (MHW) events can cause devastating impacts on marine ecosystems and species. However, knowledge of their causes is largely based on individual regional case study investigations of high impact MHW events. Here we (1) undertake a systematic and comprehensive search of observed MHW events reported in the peer-reviewed literature since 1950, (2) synthesise and critically assess reported details of the characteristic drivers and oceanographic processes that caused them, classified by ocean climate region and time scale under a common framework, and (3) perform a statistical analysis of these events using a hierarchical MHW definition applied to satellite sea surface temperature records – providing unified estimates of MHW event intensity, duration and spatial extent. Our global assessment presents a unified picture of the important relationships between MHWs and their local and remote drivers.