Posted on July 7, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Coral reefs in the Caribbean, like this one in the U.S. Virgin Islands, are at risk of bleaching as global warming heats up the world’s oceans. Photo by Caroline Rogers/USGS.
Warm oceans leading to widespread reef bleaching
FRISCO — Ocean researchers have updated their warnings of potential coral reef bleaching based on unusually warm ocean temperatures across the north Pacific, equatorial Pacific, and western Atlantic oceans this summer.
Scientists with NOAA’s coral reef watch say they expect bleaching of corals on Northern Hemisphere reefs through October, potentially leading to the death of corals over a wide area and affecting the long-term supply of fish and shellfish.
“The bleaching that started in June 2014 has been really bad for corals in the western Pacific,” said Mark Eakin, NOAA Coral Reef Watch coordinator. “We are worried that bleaching will spread to the western Atlantic and again into Hawaii.” Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, climate change, coral reefs, El Niño, global warming | Tagged: Coral bleaching, coral reefs, El Nino, global warming, NOAA, oceans | Leave a comment »
Posted on January 4, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Hawaii bleaching the worst on record
Coral reefs experienced major heat stress in 2014. Map courtesy NOAA Climate.gov – Dan Pisut.
FRISCO — Even without a surge of El Niño ocean heat, there was widespread coral bleaching across parts of the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean this past summer.
Reefs in the Florida Keys saw their worst bleaching episode since 1997-1999, when a major El Niño was followed by strong La Niña conditions, NOAA scientists reported recently. The surprising intensity of bleaching across multiple ocean basins in 2014 has scientists wondering what to expect in 2015, when El Niño is forecasted to finally develop. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, climate change, coral reefs, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Coral bleaching, coral reefs, Environment, global warming, oceans | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 26, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
74 percent of world’s reefs could see annual bleaching events by 2035
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Using the latest data from the upcoming IPCC climate assessment, ocean researchers have concluded that about three-quarters of the world’s coral reefs could face annual bleaching events in just a short 30 years, and they’ve mapped out which areas will be hit first.
“This study represents the most up-to-date understanding of spatial variability in the effects of rising temperatures on coral reefs on a global scale,” said researcher Serge Planes, Ph.D., from the French research institute CRIOBE in French Polynesia. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, coral reefs, Environment, global warming | Tagged: biodiversity, climate change, Coral bleaching, coral reefs, Environment, global warming | 1 Comment »
Posted on October 2, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Outbreaks of the coral eating crown of thorns starfish have been responsible for 42 percent of the over 50 percent decline in coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef between 1985 and 2012. Photo courtesy Katharina Fabricius, Australian Institute of Marine Science.
Multiple short-interval disturbances causing long-term decline, with southern areas hit hardest
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Australian researchers say the Great Barrier Reef has lost half its coral cover in the past 27 years, with more impacts expected as the climate warms in coming decades. About half (46 percent) of the loss was from storm damage, with another 42 percent attributed to crown of thorns starfish and 10 percent lost to bleaching.
“We can’t stop the storms but, perhaps we can stop the starfish. If we can, then the reef will have more opportunity to adapt to the challenges of rising sea temperatures and ocean acidification, says John Gunn, CEO of the Australian Institute of Marine Science in Townsville. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, coral reefs, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Australian Institute of Marine Science, biodiversity, climate, climate change, Coral bleaching, coral reefs, crown of thorns starfish, global warming, Great Barrier Reef | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 17, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
New global assessment predicts significant damage to majority of reef ecosystems unless greenhouse gases are curbed drastically
Staghorn coral. Photo courtesy NOAA.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Most coral reefs are likely doomed unless humankind acts quickly to curb greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new global assessment of global warming impacts published last week in Nature Climate Change.
“Our findings show that under current assumptions regarding thermal sensitivity, coral reefs might no longer be prominent coastal ecosystems if global mean temperatures actually exceed 2 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial level,” said lead author Katja Frieler, of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. “Without a yet uncertain process of adaptation or acclimation, however, already about 70 percent of corals are projected to suffer from long-term degradation by 2030 even under an ambitious mitigation scenario.”
The threshold for protecting at least half the world’s coral reef ecosystems is estimated at 1.5 degrees Celsius, according to the study conducted by scientists from Potsdam, the University of British Columbia in Canada and the Universities of Melbourne and Queensland in Australia. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, coral reefs, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Coral bleaching, coral reefs, Environment, global warming, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, University of Queensland | 1 Comment »
Posted on September 4, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Low nutrient stress promoted the loss of symbiotic algae (bleaching) in a staghorn coral.
Photo courtesy University of Southampton.
Imbalance of nutrients make corals more susceptible to damage from warming oceans
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Efforts to reduce pollution impacts to coastal reef ecosystems are likely to be more effective if the nutrient loading is reduced in a balanced way.
An imbalance of nutrients can increase coral’s susceptibility to bleaching, according to new research from the University of Southampton and the National Oceanography Centre.
The study found that nutrient enrichment of the water can increase the probability of corals to suffer from heat-induced bleaching. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, coral reefs, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Coral bleaching, coral reefs, Environment, global warming, oceans | 1 Comment »
Posted on April 12, 2011 by Bob Berwyn
A drawing from an 1851 survey of Florida's coral reefs. Click on the image to see NOAA's online library of historical drawings.
Cold-water bleaching in the Keys the first since late 1970s
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — The planet may be heating up, but parts of Florida experienced the coldest December on record, chilling the waters around the Keys to the point that it killed coral reefs.
During the first two weeks of January, water temperatures dropped below 50 degrees, to some of the coldest readings ever recorded, leading to coral bleaching and deaths in the Florida National Marine Sanctuary. Coral reefs generally can’t survive at water temperatures below 60 degrees. The cold snap also killed manatees and untold numbers of fish.
The hardest-hit areas include the inshore and mid-channel reefs from Biscayne Bay in southeast Florida to Summerland Key, according to a press release from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Click here to visit NOAA’s coral reef website. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, coral reefs, Environment, global warming, La Niña | Tagged: Biscayne Bay, climate, Coral bleaching, coral reefs, Environment, Florida, Florida Current, Florida Keys, Florida Keys National marine sanctuary, global warming, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Summerland Key, Summit County News | Leave a comment »