Biological and Environmental Research - Earth and Environmental System Sciences
Earth and Environmental System Modeling
11 February 2019

Introduction to the Special Issue on Ocean Warming

Oceanography special issue on ocean warming.


Considerable progress in understanding the marine climate and ecosystem variability and change has been achieved in the last decade thanks to improving data streams and analyses. This progress is published across a broad publication base covering physics, chemistry, and biology, with no comprehensive synthesis currently available. Collating key marine science contributions into a special issue to highlight this science progress was the primary objective of the Oceanography Special Issue on Ocean Warming. The issue drew together contributions from specialists covering long-term global ocean variability and change, to intrinsic/natural oceanic variability, to regional and extreme events, along with several case studies of ecosystem responses to ocean warming and extreme events.


The Oceanography Special Issue collected 15 individual contributions highlighting topics such as long-term warming of the ocean from the surface to the deep, unforced ocean variability, an ocean-view of the surface warming hiatus, simulations of extreme waves from hurricanes, ocean-cryosphere interactions, and case studies of recent changes to coral reefs in Palau, across to changes to benthic macrofauna in the Arctic.


In these uncertain times, it is more important than ever to focus on the fascinating and compelling aspects of science that drew us to the discipline. The global ocean is one of the last great unknowns on Earth, with the vast proportion of this underwater realm unmapped, unobserved, and unexplored. A better understanding of our ocean is one of the last opportunities for scientific discovery, adventure, and exploration, and provides a grand scientific challenge for current and future generations. The global ocean directly impacts the lives of billions of people around the world through its roles in driving and modulating aspects of the physical climate and in providing essential ecosystem services.

Paul J Durack
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Durack, PJ, A Sen Gupta, and L Smedsrud.  2018.  "Introduction to the Special Issue on Ocean Warming."  Oceanography 31(2): 28-31.