The upcoming 2023 EGU General Assembly (Vienna, Austria, 24–28 April) is set to be a significant event in the world of earth and planetary science. This annual conference, organized by the European Geosciences Union, brings together thousands of scientists, researchers, and industry professionals from around the globe to share their latest findings, exchange ideas, and discuss the most pressing issues facing our planet.
One particularly important topic that will be on the agenda this year is the impact of climate change on the world ocean. As temperatures rise, our ocean is facing unprecedented challenges, from rising sea levels and ocean acidification to more frequent and intense marine heat waves.
To address these issues, the ESA-funded project CAREHEAT will be participating in the conference with three abstracts on marine heat waves. CAREHEAT is a collaborative research project aimed at improving our understanding of marine heat waves and their impacts on the marine ecosystem, including fisheries, marine biodiversity, and carbon sequestration.
The first abstract - Santoleri, R. et al., Detection, characterisation and trends of marine heat waves in the global warming scenario: the CAREHeat Project, presents an overview on the project and lists some of the marine heat waves most significant impacts on marine ecosystems and briefly explains how they threaten the ocean services related to food-provision, livelihoods and recreation. The work highlights that detecting and predicting the occurrence, intensity, and duration of these extreme events, and understanding their impacts on marine ecosystems is a key step towards developing science-based solutions for sustainable development.
The second abstract - Verbrugge, N. et al., deteCtion and threAts of maRinE Heat waves (CAREHeat) ESA project: how to better characterise marine heat waves? - introduces how will the project detect and characterise sea surface temperature anomalies to analyse the vertical propagation of marine heat waves. CAREHeat employs machine learning approaches to provide a 4-dimensional reconstruction of marine heat waves to advance our understanding of the physical processes involved to better assess their impact on marine ecosystems and ocean biogeochemistry, particularly in the tropical Pacific, the western Mediterranean, and in the Madeira Island region.
The third abstract - Marullo, S. et al., Has the frequency of Mediterranean Marine Heatwaves really increased in the last decades? - addresses the problem of how to characterize and define marine heat waves in the present warming climate scenario by evaluating the impact of different sea surface temperature climatic baselines, and the effects of removing climate trends from the original time series. The work is focused on the Mediterranean Sea, a hot spot region for climate change, where a strong mean sea surface temperature increasing trend (about 0.045 °C/year) has been observed in the last 40 years.
The CAREHeat project, part of ESA’s Ocean Health initiative, brings together scientists and researchers from across Europe, including experts in oceanography, climate science, and data science. Through their work, they hope to develop new tools and strategies to better predict and mitigate the impacts of marine heat waves in the future.
The inclusion of CAREHeat in the 2023 EGU General Assembly highlights the importance of ongoing research in this area and the urgent need for action to address the challenges posed by climate change. With the global community coming together to share their knowledge and expertise, we can work towards a more sustainable future for our planet and the ocean that sustain us.
Stay up to date about the project research and results by visiting the CAREHeat website and by following it on Twitter.