The world's corals are bleaching from the deadly heat of the ocean.


,- Coral bleaching is a worldwide phenomenon, and the negative consequences of the recent sea heat record are killing a lot of them.

This was dubbed the start of the fourth worldwide mega coral bleaching event by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Coral bleaching happens when the surrounding water gets too warm, which stresses the coral and turns it white.

Coral reefs are, as is well known, the foundation of marine life and the fishing business. Coral reefs produce billion-dollar income annually.

The breaking of sea heat records has been documented for months, but the first worldwide proof of how this event affects marine life comes from coral reef bleaching.

'Mass stress' events were verified by NOAA US across the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans following weeks of reporting from numerous scientists worldwide.

Photographically speaking, bleached corals can look stunning. Scientists that dive to examine coral reefs up close, however, report that the corals are obviously sick and deteriorating.

Though at first impression attractive, bleached coral reefs are essentially dying. Image captioning from AIMS, source image Very lovely from a distance. Do you mean close? Disintegrating.


The Caribbean showed early warning indicators last year when swimmers reported the water off the coast of Florida to be as hot as a hot tub.

The heat next spread to the southern hemisphere. These days, ocean heat has impacted almost half of the world's coral reefs, including Australia's Great Barrier Reef and the coastlines of Tanzania, Mauritius, Brazil, the Pacific islands, the Red Sea, and the Persian Gulf.

Graphics on global sea warming :
World average water temperatures shattered previous records in August of last year. Ever since then, nearly every day has seen sea temperatures above average.

The rising sea surface temperatures are caused by climate change. The seas take in the hot gases released by burning petrol, coal and oil.

Global warming of the seas :
Graphical caption for the global marine temperature graph
Natural climate phenomenon El Niño has also contributed to warming since last June, albeit there are currently indications that it is fading.

In February of this year, scientist Neal Cantin spent ten days flying over the Great Barrier Reef for the Australian Institute of Marine Science.

Roughly following the US east coast, the 2,000 kilometre Great Barrier Reef is a UNESCO heritage site.

Dr. Cantin added, "We recorded extremely high bleaching levels for the first time in all three Great Barrier Reef Marine Park regions."

Cantin continued, "Many coral reefs are probably going to die at this level."

Earth depends on coral reefs. The 'architects of the sea,' coral reefs create enormous structures that support 25% of all marine life.

If a coral's temperature rises by 1C beyond its thermal limit in less than two months, it is probably going to die. Corals have only around a month to live in water that is two degrees warmer.

Fish struggle to use coral sounds to navigate and find their way home when coral dies.

Scientist Anne Hoggett has been diving in Australia's Lizard Island for thirty years; the stunning coral reef is seen in the Netflix series Chasing Coral.

Hoggett has been seeing extensive bleaching of coral reefs since February.

When the first widespread bleaching occurred in 1998, Hoggett was astounded as many other scientists to witness coral reefs become white.

Hoggett of Australia's Lizard Island Museum Research Centre remarked, "I'm angry because this is allowed to happen again."

Australia's Coral Sea
Though it takes time—ideally several years—coral reefs can actually recover from heat stress. Corals grow vulnerable to disease and perish more quickly when they are weak.

Coral reefs are actually robust and capable of self-repair if provided the chance. "But we're really limiting their breathing space because bleaching is getting more frequent and intense," said Dr. Emma Camp of the University of Technology Sydney, Australia.

Global mass bleaching last happened in 2014–2016. Sea temperatures have risen significantly since then to the extent that NOAA had to add three additional heat alert levels.

Hundreds of marine patrols, scientists, and fishing communities in the Indian Ocean sent signals to ecologist David Obura from Kenya reporting coral bleaching. Coral bleaching first appeared in Madagascar in February, then moved to Tanzania and the Comoros.

Obura said the fisherman were well-versed on coral reefs, so they could identify problems early.

These fisherman are worried about future catches, Obura said. Fishing livelihoods would suffer if coral reefs collapse because it will upset fish eating patterns.

A ray of light was offered this week by published research that suggested coral reefs in the Great Barrier Reef that live in colder, deeper water—between 30 and 50 meters—may outlive shallow coral reefs as the planet warms.

Deeper water coral reefs, according to Jennifer McWhorter of NOAA, can tolerate global warming of up to 3C over the pre-industrial era.

Scientists claim that the only ways to ensure that at least some coral reefs will survive are to lower greenhouse gas emissions and slow down ocean warming.

In essence, coral reefs that were formerly homes and support systems for marine life are now only scaffolding or temporary constructions. Who would choose to live in such state?" Mr. McWhorter stated.

Early warning signs of how global warming would affect our ecosystem are coral reefs.

(Newsline Paper Teams)
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