Marine heatwaves (MHWs) can cause devastating impacts on marine life. The frequency of MHWs, gauged with respect to historical temperatures, is expected to rise significantly as the climate continues to warm. The MHWs intensity and count are pronounced with many parts of the oceans and semi enclosed seas, such as Eastern Mediterranean Sea (EMED). This paper investigates the descriptive spatial variability and trends of MHW events and their main characteristics of the EMED from 1982 to 2020 using Sea Surface Temperature (SST) data obtained from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Optimum Interpolation ([NOAA] OI SST V2.1). Over the last two decades, we find that the mean MHW frequency and duration increased by 40% and 15%, respectively. In the last decade, the shortest significant MHW mean duration is 10 days, found in the southern Aegean Sea, while it exceeds 27 days off the Israeli coast. The results demonstrate that the MHW frequency trend increased by 1.2 events per decade between 1982 and 2020, while the MHW cumulative intensity (icum
) trend increased by 5.4 °C days per decade. During the study period, we discovered that the maximum significant MHW SST event was 6.35 °C above the 90th SST climatology threshold, lasted 7 days, and occurred in the year 2020. It was linked to a decrease in wind stress, an increase in air temperature, and an increase in mean sea level pressure.
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