Climate change is transforming aquatic ecosystems. Coastal waters have experienced progressive warming, acidification, and deoxygenation that will intensify this century. At the same time, there is a scientific consensus that the public health, recreation, tourism, fishery, aquaculture, and ecosystem impacts from harmful algal blooms (HABs) have all increased over the past several decades. The extent to which climate change is intensifying these HABs is not fully clear, but there has been a wealth of research on this topic this century alone. Indeed, the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC) approved in September 2019 was the first IPCC report to directly link HABs to climate change. In the Summary for Policy Makers, the report made the following declarations with "high confidence": In addition, the report specifically outlines a series of linkages between heat waves and HABs. These statements about HABs and climate change and the high levels of confidence ascribed to them provides clear evidence that the field of HABs and climate change has matured and has, perhaps, reached a first plateau of certainty. While there are well-documented global trends in HABs being promoted by human activity, including climate change, individual events are driven by local, regional, and global drivers, making it critical to carefully evaluate the conditions and responses at appropriate scales. It is within this context that the first Special Issue on Climate Change and Harmful Algal Blooms is published in Harmful Algae.
Keywords: Climate change; Deoxygenation; Global warming; Harmful algal blooms; Ocean acidification.
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