Research webinar

A Mean Heat: How the climate is driving marine heatwaves

In this seminar, Erik will take you through his research into “Marine heatwaves and the link with climate extremes,” alongside insights on what it means for our fisheries and marine ecosystems from Tony Craig (Terra Moana) and João De Souza (Moana Project).

Marine heatwaves are already becoming a common experience for New Zealanders. In newly released research, scientists say that by 2100, the 40-odd marine heatwave days we currently see in a normal year will increase to between 80 days (low emissions, best-case scenario) and 170 days (high emissions, worst-case scenario) by the end of the century. For some regions, such as the southern tip of the South Island, there is a high chance that marine heatwaves start to last more than a year.  

The research also explores the intensity of future marine heatwaves, or just how warm they will be. For coastal waters, average marine heatwave intensities will increase by 20% (best case) to 100% (double, worst case) by the end of the century. For the North Island, this means an average marine heatwave could be between 0.5°C to 2°C more intense than they are today.