Marine heatwaves and their drivers: a global assessment (#1003)
Marine heatwave (MHW) events can cause devastating impacts on marine ecosystems and species. However, knowledge of their causes is largely based on individual regional case study investigations of high impact MHW events. Here we (1) undertake a systematic and comprehensive search of observed MHW events reported in the peer-reviewed literature since 1950, (2) synthesise and critically assess reported details of the characteristic drivers and oceanographic processes that caused them, classified by ocean climate region and time scale under a common framework, and (3) perform a statistical analysis of these events using a hierarchical MHW definition applied to satellite sea surface temperature records – providing unified estimates of MHW event intensity, duration and spatial extent. Our global assessment presents a unified picture of the important relationships between MHWs and their local and remote drivers.