WASHINGTON (AP) – Even the oceans break the temperature register this summer with heat waves.
From the San Diego Coast, researchers earlier this month registered high-speed ocean water temperatures since daily measurements began in 1916.
"Just as we have heat waves on land, we also have heat waves in the ocean," said Art Miller from Scripp's Institution of Oceanography .
Between 1982 and 2016, the number of "marine heat waves" was roughly doubled and is likely to become more common and more intensive as the planet warms, a study released Wednesday was found. Long periods of extreme heat in the oceans can damage kelp forests and coral reefs and damage fish and other marine life.
"This trend will only accelerate further with global warming," said Thomas Frolicher, climate researcher at the University of Bern, Switzerland, who led the research.
His team defined marine heat waves as extreme events where sea temperatures exceeded the 99th percentile of measurements for a particular location. Because the oceans absorb and release the heat slower than air, most marine heat waves keep for at least several days ̵
"We knew that average temperatures were rising. What we have not focused on before is that the average increase is coming to you in very hot days – a shock of several days or weeks with very high temperatures," says Michael Oppenheimer , a climate researcher from Princeton University who was not involved in the study.
Many marine intrinsers have been developed to survive in a fairly narrow temperature range compared with landscapes, and even incremental warming can be disturbing.
Some outdoor animals butchers or lobsters can move their routines, but stationary organisms like coral reefs and kelp forests are in real danger, "said Michael Burrows, an ecologist at the Scottish Marine Institute, which was not part of the research.
In 2016 and 2017, long-term sea temperatures from eastern australia killed as much as half of the groundwater corals in the Great Barrier Reef – me d significant consequences for other creatures that depend on the reef.
"One of four fish in the ocean lives in or around coral reefs," said Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, a marine biologist at the University of Queensland. "So much of the ocean's biodiversity is due to a fairly small amount of ocean bottom."
The latest study in Nature relies on satellite data and other records of sea-surface temperatures, including from ships and buoys.
It did not include the latest record size from Scripp's Pier in San Diego – reaching 79.5 degrees Fahrenheit on August 9 – but Frolicher and Miller said the event was an example of a marine heat wave.
Miller said he knew something was odd when he discovered a school of flutter threads – usually only collected in pockets of hot water – swimming just outside the pier earlier this month.
Changes in marine circulation in connection with warmer surface water are likely to result in reduced phytoplankton production – small organisms that form the basis of the marine food route, he said.
Marine biologists nicknamed a long-term high temperature patch in the Pacific between 2013 and 2016, "he Blob." During that period, reduced phytoplankton production led to a cascaded shortage of food for many species, leading to thousands of Californian sea lion puppets staring Miller, who had no role in the Nature study.
"We" have repeatedly set new heat posts. It's not surprising, but it's shocking, he says.