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Environment

September 25, 2020 - Phys.org

Marine heatwaves are human-made

Marine heatwaves are human-made
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Heatwaves in the world's oceans have become over 20 times more frequent due to human influence. This is what researchers from the Oeschger Center for Climate Research at the University of Bern are now able to prove.

Marine heatwaves destroy ecosystems and damage fisheries. A marine heatwave (ocean heatwave) is an extended period of time in which the water temperature in a particular ocean region is abnormally high. In recent years, heatwaves of this kind have caused considerable changes to the ecosystems in the open seas and at the coast.

Their list of negative effects is long: Marine heatwaves can lead to increased mortality among birds, fish and marine mammals, they can trigger harmful algal blooms, and greatly reduce the supply of nutrients in the ocean. Heatwaves also lead to coral bleaching, trigger movements of fish communities to colder waters, and may contribute to the sharp decline of the polar icecaps.

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