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Socioeconomic impacts of marine heatwaves: Global issues and opportunities

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Pip MooreORCiD


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© 2021 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All rights reserved.Extreme climatic events, including marine heatwaves (MHWs), are altering ecosystems globally, often with profound socioeconomic impacts. We examine how MHWs have affected the provision of ecosystem services and evaluate the socioeconomic consequences for human society. Ecological impacts range from harmful algal blooms and mass mortality events to reconfigurations of entire ecosystems, affecting provisioning, habitat, regulating, and cultural ecosystem services globally. Reported economic costs of individual MHW events exceed US$800 million in direct losses or >US$3.1 billion in indirect losses of ecosystem services for multiple years. However, biological responses to MHWs can also increase human-ocean interactions, providing opportunities for coastal societies. Our study provides a global perspective on the far-reaching impacts of MHWs on human societies and highlights the urgent need to develop robust approaches to mitigation and adaptation.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Smith KE, Burrows MT, Hobday AJ, Gupta AS, Moore PJ, Thomsen M, Wernberg T, Smale DA

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Science

Year: 2021

Volume: 374

Issue: 6566

Online publication date: 22/10/2021

Acceptance date: 22/10/2021

ISSN (print): 0036-8075

ISSN (electronic): 1095-9203

Publisher: American Association for the Advancement of Science

URL: https://doi.org10.1126/science.abj3593

DOI: 10.1126/science.abj3593