Media Release Climate Change

Study on Marine Heatwaves a Reminder to Keep Fossil Fuels in the Ground

March 5, 2019

A study showing how ocean heat waves are on the rise and putting Australian marine species under threat is another reminder of the country’s vested interest in keeping fossil fuels in the ground, the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) says.

Appearing in the scientific journal Nature Climate Change, the study looked at how a rise in marine heatwaves could impact ocean areas with rich biodiversity around the globe, including Australia.

Dr Lissa Schindler, AMCS Great Barrier Reef campaigner, said: “This research is another stark reminder of how the impacts of climate change are unfolding in our oceans.

“We have already seen the impacts of extreme heat waves in the Great Barrier Reef. In 2016, for example, temperatures were so high in some areas that corals died without even bleaching.”

“What’s really worrying is that the study found that marine heat waves are on the rise. As the number of heatwave days goes up, so do the negative impacts on corals, seagrass and kelp – these are all key ecosystems in our oceans, supporting huge numbers of Australia’s unique species.”

“What does this mean for Australia? As well as cutting our greenhouse gas emissions in Australia, this study tells us that unless we are part of a global move to radically reduce the mining and burning of fossil fuels, the impacts on Australia’s unique marine environments will continue to unfold.“

The study “Marine heatwaves threaten global biodiversity and the provision of ecosystem services” was led by researchers in the UK, Australia and New Zealand and was published in Nature Climate Change on 5 March 2019.


Contact Graham Readfearn, AMCS media adviser (email) [email protected] (mobile) 0406241081