According to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers have discovered that ocean heat waves are occurring far more frequently than previously believe.
The heat waves are such a concerned as they push out fish, plankton and other aquatic life out of their natural habitats due to the warming temperatures.
“Based on historical and lived experience, people expect certain conditions to prevail in the ecosystems they depend upon. Climate change is now introducing strong trends that push conditions beyond historic levels,” the authors wrote.
The research was performed by the Gulf of Maine Research Institute where they looked at 65 large marine ecostems around the world over the past 164 years. The results showed that “surprise” conditions wreak havoc on fisheries and the livelihoods associated with them. According to the authors, suprise conditions should only occur two times every 100 years but due to a changing climate, this was not the case.
The results show a dramatic upswing in surprising years since the 1980s, particularly in the Arctic and Atlantic. Those majority of those surprises are largely heat waves but four cold surprises have occurred since 2000. The pace of hot surprises appears to have accelerated since 2010 in the Pacific and Indian oceans as well. Certain heat waves can be accounted for during these periods such as El Niño but climate change has created a heat bender in the oceans, making oceanic heat waves more likely.
Over the last seven years, the planet averaged 12 ecosystems each year that experienced an surprise warming which should only happen once or twice in someones lifetime. In 2016 alone, the planet experienced 23 events.
The results of the study further contribute to work already trying to explain the significance that humans are having on the climate due to carbon emissions.
While overall warming, not surprise warming, does have more of a negative impact on marine species, researchers did discover that surprise heat waves will decrease biodiversity. The example the researchers did use was warming in the tropics where coral reef and its surrounding communities of marine life have been devastated.
With overall warming and surprise heat waves now the new normal, we need to push our politicians and leaders to move away from climate changing energy such as carbon and other fossil fuels.
We have just 11 year left to stop irreversible damage from climate change and we can stop the process if we make drastic changes to how we consume energy. https://www.un.org/press/en/2019/ga12131.doc.htm