Tech & Science Marine heatwave: 'It's never been that hot before'

03:11  13 january  2018
03:11  13 january  2018 Source:   radionz.co.nz

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20 Feb 2018 Marine heatwaves off eastern Tasmania increasing in frequency and penetration depth since 1993. The East Australian Current is the dominant driver of 1 Feb 2018 New Zealand recorded it ' s hottest January on record in 2018, and a Tasman Sea marine heatwave had a large part to play.

It was in the study of a marine heatwave in south-west Australia that the term was coined just five years ago. “It got so hot that the kelp forests died,” Wernberg says. For hundreds of kilometres Wernberg says it ’ s the apparent increase in the effects of marine heatwaves that has driven him and

Totaranui Seascape, Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand (file)© Getty Images Totaranui Seascape, Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand (file) An unprecedented marine heatwave is causing Tasman sea temperatures to peak at up to six degrees above average.

Since November, the water has been more than 2°C above average, peaking even higher on some days.

"It's never been that hot before," climate scientist Jim Salinger said.

"We looked at records back to 1900 and there's nothing anywhere near this."

Fishers in Doubtful Sound and Fiordland had reported catching snapper for the first time, while there are also anecdotes from surf life savers of bluebottle jellyfish appearing much earlier than normal, Dr Salinger said.

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“It got so hot that the kelp forests died,” Wernberg says. For hundreds of kilometres What was disturbing about this marine heatwave was that many of the vast underwater forests never came Wernberg says it ’ s the apparent increase in the effects of marine heatwaves that has driven him and

The balmy ocean tenperatures were being driven by a combination of two different climate patterns: the southern annular mode, and a La Nina weather system, he said.

The southern annular mode was in its positive phase, meaning westerly winds that swirled around the Southern Ocean had contracted towards Antarctica.

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A heat wave is a period of excessively hot weather, which may be accompanied by high humidity, especially in oceanic climate countries. While definitions vary, a heat wave is usually measured relative to the usual weather in the area and relative to normal temperatures for the season.

Tuesday, 27 March 2018. ' Marine heatwave ' hits The Tasman Sea shattering heat records with both Following a particularly hot summer on both sides of the Tasman and in between, the New Zealand' s summer was the hottest ever recorded, while Tasmania had its hottest November-January on record.

"We've not had the usual incursions ... of strong westerly winds, so that's really shut the door from the Southern Ocean for outbursts of cold air and rough weather to stir up the Tasman Sea."

The La Nina pattern meant more north-easterly winds, which encouraged the warm east Australian current to come further south towards New Zealand, Dr Salinger said.

Readings from floating gauges monitored by NIWA showed the warmer water was up to 50m deep, he said.

Our Changing World host Alison Ballance said extreme systems like the heatwave could have a profound affect on marine ecosystems.

Kaikōura biologist Jim Mills, who studied red-billed seagulls, had told her the warm water meant krill in the ocean was pushed much further down, beyond the reach of gulls who normally fed it to their young.

Instead, the gulls were feeding their chicks fish larvae and jellyfish - "anything they can find", Ms Ballance said.

Koala takes a dip during 40C heatwave .
It was not just the people of Adelaide trying to beat the heat yesterday, with a koala filmed taking a dip in the city’s east. The woman who filmed the marsupial told Adelaide Now the koala tumbled down the bushes and into a pond at the Morialta Conversation Park about 11am.It then spent about 10 minutes splashing around.“We had seen other koalas up in the trees but nothing like this; it was just lovely,” she told the newspaper.“He seemed to be enjoying himself.”A swim was in order after some parts of Adelaide reached 40C yesterday.Adelaide is expecting another scorcher today with the mercury forecast to hit 35C.

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