EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Investigating marine heat waves with a coupled atmosphere-ocean regional climate model

Marie Pontoppidan, Priscilla Mooney, and Jerry Tjiputra
Marie Pontoppidan et al.
  • NORCE Norwegian Research Centre & Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, Bergen, Norway (

Marine heat waves (MHW’s) exert a substantial impact on human life and ecosystems in the ocean. In the western part of the tropical Atlantic basin, coral reefs are impacted by such events, resulting in coral bleaching and subsequently loss of biodiversity. To mitigate future changes in MHW’s it is detrimental to increase our mechanistic understanding of these events, and this must be investigated on a local scale to understand the smaller scale driving processes of the heat waves, e.g. air-sea interactions, and the spatio-temporal extent on environmental drivers essential for the ecosystem processes.

Here we use a coupled ocean-atmosphere modelling system (COAWST), which includes the atmospheric model WRF and the ocean model ROMS (including the Fennel ecosystem module), to dynamically downscale an area consisting of the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. Our 12 km grid spacing resolves (at least partly) smaller scale phenomena and in combination with the coupling of the ocean and the atmospheric model, it ensures a skilled representation of the air-sea interactions which are important for MHW’s. We will show the results of this decadal climate simulation with regards to generation, evolution and persistence of the MHW’s.

How to cite: Pontoppidan, M., Mooney, P., and Tjiputra, J.: Investigating marine heat waves with a coupled atmosphere-ocean regional climate model, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-4006,, 2021.

Corresponding presentation materials formerly uploaded have been withdrawn.