Using seasonal forecasting to manage impacts of extreme ocean temperatures on marine industries

Dr Claire Spillman1, Dr Grant Smith1, Dr Alistair Hobday2, Mr Jason Hartog2, Dr Catherine de Burgh-Day1, Ms Paige Eveson2

1Bureau of Meteorology, Melbourne, Australia, 2CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere, Hobart, Australia

Anomalously warm ocean temperatures have implications for many marine systems and industries, including mass coral bleaching and mortality, reduced aquaculture yields and altered wild fish migration patterns. Seasonal forecasts from dynamical ocean-atmosphere models of marine heatwaves and their drivers can be very useful tools for managers and business owners, allowing for proactive management responses. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology’s seasonal forecast model ACCESS-S1 currently produces operational real-time global forecasts of sea surface temperatures, with tailored outlooks produced for coral reef, aquaculture and wild fisheries management in Australian and New Zealand waters. Thermal stress forecast products have been developed, incorporating both the magnitude and duration of heat stress events, with widespread management applications. Advance warning of marine heat events can enable managers and industries to plan ahead and effectively manage resources to reduce impacts of such events. Additionally, ACCESS-S1 seasonal forecasts have also been used to inform planning of monitoring programs and event-responsive instrument deployments such as the IMOS glider program. Seasonal forecasts are a valuable tool to improve both the understanding and the management of these events, as well as the complex interactions that lead to them, particularly in a changing climate.

Dr Claire Spillman holds a PhD in Environmental Engineering and joint BEng/BSc degrees in Environmental Engineering (Hons) and Chemistry from the University of Western Australia. Her postgraduate work investigated impacts of estuarine circulation and oceanic inputs on aquaculture production using high resolution hydrodynamic-ecological modelling.
Dr Spillman is a senior research scientist at the Bureau of Meteorology, Australia. Her current research is primarily focused on dynamical seasonal forecasting in marine applications, particularly for coral reef and fisheries management. Applications include predictions for Great Barrier Reef coral bleaching risk, commercial fisheries and aquaculture on multiweek to seasonal timescales.

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