Marine Heat Waves Are Becoming More Common and Intense. What Can We Do to Minimize Harm?

Improved “weather forecasts” for oceans hold hope for reducing devastation to fisheries and ecosystems around the world

Photo © | Adam Goldberg Photography
Fisheries biologist Laurie Weitkamp is helping develop policies to reduce the threat of marine heat waves, which can devastate ocean life. Photo courtesy of Laurie Weitkamp
As Earth’s climate warms, record-setting marine heat waves are becoming more frequent and severe. Map adapted from Marine Heatwaves International Working Group.
A 2011 marine heat wave off western Australia reduced local catch of blue swimmer crabs by more than 90%, resulting in a temporary shutdown of the fishery to allow the species to recover. Photo courtesy of Putneypics from Flickr, licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0
The recent “Blob 2.0” heat wave bears some resemblance to “The Blob,” which disrupted marine life from Mexico to Alaska over the course of three years. Graphic courtesy of NOAA Coral Reef Watch | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn

Ensia is a solutions-focused nonprofit media outlet reporting on our changing planet.

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