HALIFAX – Heat waves in the world's oceans are becoming more frequent, according to a new study that warns that the phenomenon will likely continue to alter marine ecosystems, damaging fisheries and killing several species.
Eric Oliver of Dalhousie University in Halifax, who led a team of researchers from Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom, said they discovered that annual days of marine heat waves increased by 54 percent between 1925 and 2016
The professor of oceanography said that means one marine ecosystem now experiences 45 days of marine heat waves per year, compared to 30 days of extreme heat annually at the beginning of the 20th century.
"We will continue to see impacts on our marine ecosystems, making them less stable and predictable." Oliver said in a statement. "These are systems in which many around the world depend on food, livelihoods and recreation."
The team, which used satellite observations and on the site of sea surface temperatures, defines marine heat waves as "prolonged periods of unusually warm water." in a particular place. "
The study, published on Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications, found that prolonged heat can damage biodiversity, as well as fishing and aquaculture, for example, the authors say that a heat wave marine in western Australia in 2011 altered the composition of the plant in an ecosystem once dominated by seaweed.He said the change was maintained even after the water temperature returned to normal, suggesting that the changes may be durable if not permanent.
One year later, the high temperatures that lasted from 2014 to 2016 in the Gulf of Maine caused the lucrative lobster fishery to be flooded with cheaper early landings, while the persistent warm water in the North Pacific caused fisheries closures, marine mammal strandings and noxious algal blooms along the coast.
"It even changed the weather patterns to n scale in the Pacific Northwest "the launch declares.
Oliver said that the increased frequency in heat waves is probably due to an overall increase in average ocean temperatures. Because of that, the team says it will probably continue as they wait for the surface temperature of the ocean to continue heating up.