We often get to hear that heat wave is the primary reason affecting the land, but it can change the ocean also in the same way. These heat waves are mainly affecting the life which exists in the sea. Ocean ecosystem has been mostly altered, coral reefs, kelp forests, seagrass beds, everything is adversely harmed. There is a study published in Nature Climate Change which is on the impact of marine heat waves.
What is heat wave exactly? A heat wave is the period of hot weather which comes with the high humidity. Heat waves are frequent in the areas near to the oceans. These heat waves are formed when the high pressure builds up over a region for many days. Ocean accounts for trapping more than 90% of all the heat created by the greenhouse gases and increase global warming. All these greenhouse gases contribute to global warming as they get trapped in the atmosphere. The level of gases is increased because of the burning of fossil fuels, natural gas, CFCs, etc.
The heat trapped in the baseline ocean temperatures is increasing the frequency of the heat waves occurring. According to the report and statistics, an increase in the heat waves is observed from the year 1925-2016. Now those waves are 17% longer and 34% more frequently. El Nino will be increasing naturally with this. Eric C.J. Oliver who is the assistant professor of physical oceanography said, “There’s also some indication that El Niños have been getting more extreme with climate change.” Nova Scotia, who was a co-author of the study. But regional marine heat waves can happen even without an El Niño, he said.
Consequences are terrible for this effect as the people who are dependent on the fishing, fish farming or aquaculture will experience a great loss in their business and livelihood. Gretchen Hofmann who is the chairwoman of the department of ecology but not involved in the study said: “If you look at geography, lots of the world’s population lives on the coast.” She added, “Commercial fisheries, but also aquaculture facilities on the coast, will face challenges as ocean water changes. Heat waves are not great for aquaculture production.”
The life in the Pacific, Indian, Atlantic oceans were having rich biodiversity and because of hot waves, life is disappearing. The study is focussing on how the heat waves are arising and what major effects it could have more on marine life. Seabirds are also not coming on to the ocean as marine animals and plants are dead. A serious loss is done to the ocean ecosystem as many species of coral reefs, seagrasses and forests are vanishing out.
Climate change “may be a gradual process, but set on that backdrop are these extreme warming events that might be becoming more common that can have more dramatic consequences,” said Robert Miller, an associate research biologist at the Marine Science. He added, “In some cases ecosystems might not be able to recover from those events,” he said. “And so, the effects of climate change might happen a lot sooner than we expect.”