Heatwaves do not only occur on land, but also inside the ocean. Marine heatwaves are defined as periods of prolonged anomalously high sea surface temperatures compared to the local 30-year long record. Although the occurrence of these events has been observed locally, researchers in recent years looked at this phenomenon at the global scale.
Traveling across sea ice (Photo provided by courtesy of Kyra St. Pierre)
Over the past 35 years extreme storms in the Sahel have tripled and it’s down to global warming, according to research conducted by NERC scientists at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology. In such storms, clouds can grow to heights of 16 km and can produce substantial volumes of rainfall. Indeed, in 2009 one downpour deposited 263 mm of rainfall in several hours and forced 150,000 residents of Burkina Faso to leave their homes.