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Understanding the changing nature of marine cold-spells


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Wang, Y, Kajtar, JB ORCID: 0000-0003-0114-6610, Alexander, LV, Pilo, GS ORCID: 0000-0002-8590-8645 and Holbrook, NJ ORCID: 0000-0002-3523-6254 2022 , 'Understanding the changing nature of marine cold-spells' , Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 49, no. 6 , pp. 1-9 , doi: 10.1029/2021GL097002.

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Marine cold-spell (MCS) metrics—such as frequency and intensity—are decreasing globally, while marine heatwave (MHW) metrics are increasing due to sea surface temperature (SST) warming. However, the concomitant changes in MHW and MCS metrics, and whether SST warming can similarly explain the decreasing MCS metrics remain unclear. Here, we provide a comparative global assessment of these changes based on satellite SST observations over 1982–2020. Across the globe, we find distinct differences in mean MHW and MCS metrics. Furthermore, decreasing trends in MCS metrics are not necessarily aligned with increasing trends in MHW metrics. While differences in intensity trends are mainly explained by SST variance trends, differences in trends of annual days are less clear. Overall, decreasing MCS days and intensities are found to be largely driven by warming SST, rather than SST variance changes. Therefore, it is expected that MCS days and intensity will continue diminishing under global warming.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Wang, Y and Kajtar, JB and Alexander, LV and Pilo, GS and Holbrook, NJ
Keywords: marine cold-spells, marine heatwaves, sea surface temperature, climate change, trends, ocean temperature extremes
Journal or Publication Title: Geophysical Research Letters
Publisher: Amer Geophysical Union
ISSN: 0094-8276
DOI / ID Number: 10.1029/2021GL097002
Copyright Information:

© 2022. The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) License, ( which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.

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