Research Topic

Advances in Understanding Marine Heatwaves and Their Impacts

About this Research Topic

Marine heatwaves are prolonged periods of anomalously warm seawater temperatures – extreme events – that can have notable impacts on marine ecosystems. They occur regionally throughout the global oceans, including marginal seas, continental shelves, and the open ocean. These anomalously warm events arise from local and/or remotely forced mechanisms related to atmosphere, climate, and/or ocean variability. Marine heatwaves have been associated with widespread mortality of species in marine ecosystems, major shifts in ecosystem structure, and fisheries closures and quota reductions. In a warming ocean, these events are becoming more relevant as thermal stress approaches or exceeds ecosystem tolerance levels. Long-term, sustained observing systems and in situ and remotely sensed temperature data are important for detecting, monitoring, and understanding these events. Hydrodynamic models have improved our ability to diagnose mechanisms responsible for the extreme ocean warming events.

This Research Topic brings together studies on marine heatwaves from across the range of marine science disciplines, covering physical processes through ecological impacts. Relevant themes include characterization of historical events from ocean observations and/or models, progress in understanding the underlying dynamics in the generation and decay of marine heatwaves, the impacts of climate variability and anthropogenic climate change on marine heatwave properties, improvements in monitoring systems for marine heatwaves, and documentation of impacts on marine ecosystems, fisheries, and aquaculture. Spatial scope is not limited, and studies cover small-scale coastal zones, regional basin-scale domains – including tropical, mid-latitude and polar studies – up to fully global analyses.

A range of article types will be considered, including: Original Research, Reviews, Mini Reviews, Data Reports, Brief Research Reports, as well as Perspective and Opinion pieces.


Keywords: Extreme events, ocean temperature, ecosystem impacts, climate variability, climate change


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Marine heatwaves are prolonged periods of anomalously warm seawater temperatures – extreme events – that can have notable impacts on marine ecosystems. They occur regionally throughout the global oceans, including marginal seas, continental shelves, and the open ocean. These anomalously warm events arise from local and/or remotely forced mechanisms related to atmosphere, climate, and/or ocean variability. Marine heatwaves have been associated with widespread mortality of species in marine ecosystems, major shifts in ecosystem structure, and fisheries closures and quota reductions. In a warming ocean, these events are becoming more relevant as thermal stress approaches or exceeds ecosystem tolerance levels. Long-term, sustained observing systems and in situ and remotely sensed temperature data are important for detecting, monitoring, and understanding these events. Hydrodynamic models have improved our ability to diagnose mechanisms responsible for the extreme ocean warming events.

This Research Topic brings together studies on marine heatwaves from across the range of marine science disciplines, covering physical processes through ecological impacts. Relevant themes include characterization of historical events from ocean observations and/or models, progress in understanding the underlying dynamics in the generation and decay of marine heatwaves, the impacts of climate variability and anthropogenic climate change on marine heatwave properties, improvements in monitoring systems for marine heatwaves, and documentation of impacts on marine ecosystems, fisheries, and aquaculture. Spatial scope is not limited, and studies cover small-scale coastal zones, regional basin-scale domains – including tropical, mid-latitude and polar studies – up to fully global analyses.

A range of article types will be considered, including: Original Research, Reviews, Mini Reviews, Data Reports, Brief Research Reports, as well as Perspective and Opinion pieces.


Keywords: Extreme events, ocean temperature, ecosystem impacts, climate variability, climate change


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

15 March 2019 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

15 March 2019 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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