Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Hot Southern Summer Threatens Coral With Massive Bleaching Event

Date:
January 3, 2009
Source:
World Wildlife Fund
Summary:
A widespread and severe coral bleaching episode is predicted to cause immense damage to some of the world's most important marine environments over the next few months.

A widespread and severe coral bleaching episode is predicted to cause immense damage to some of the world's most important marine environments over the next few months.
Credit: iStockphoto/Tammy Peluso

A widespread and severe coral bleaching episode is predicted to cause immense damage to some of the world’s most important marine environments over the next few months.

A report from the US Government’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts severe bleaching for parts of the Coral Sea, which lies adjacent to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, and the Coral Triangle, a 5.4 million square kilometre expanse of ocean in the Indo-Pacific which is considered the centre of the world’s marine life.

“This forecast bleaching episode will be caused by increased water temperatures and is the kind of event we can expect on a regular basis if average global temperatures rise above 2 degrees,” said Richard Leck, Climate Change Strategy Leader for WWF’s Coral Triangle Program.

The bleaching, predicted to occur between now and February, could have a devastating impact on coral reef ecosystems, killing coral and destroying food chains. There would be severe impacts for communities in Australia and the region, who depend on the oceans for their livelihoods.

The Coral Triangle, stretching from the Philippines to Malaysia and Papua New Guinea, is home to 75 per cent of all known coral species. More than 120 million people rely on its marine resources.

“Regular bleaching episodes in this part of the world will have a massive impact on the region’s ability to sustain local communities,” said Leck. “In the Pacific many of the Small Island Developing States, such as the Solomon Islands, rely largely on the coast and coastal environments such as coral reefs for food supply. This is a region where alternative sources of income and food are limited.

“Time is crucial and Australia needs to step up to the plate. Following the government’s lack of resolve to seriously reduce future domestic carbon emissions, Australia has a huge role to play in assisting Coral Triangle countries and people to adapt to the changes in their climate.“

The Australian government this week announced a 2020 target for reducing its greenhouse gas pollution by 5 per cent, which WWF criticised as completely inadequate. Reductions of at least 25 per cent by 2020 are needed to set the world on a pathway to meaningful cuts in greenhouse pollution.

Australia’s Coral Sea, which will also be affected by coral bleaching and climate change, is a pristine marine wilderness covering almost 1,000,000 square kilometres and is extraordinarily rich in marine life, including sharks and turtles, with a series of spectacular reefs rising thousands of metres from the sea floor.

WWF is urging the Australian government to declare the Coral Sea a marine protected area, as well as working to establish a network of marine protected areas that will assist ocean environments to adapt to the changes caused by rising temperatures, and to absorb the impacts from human activity.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by World Wildlife Fund. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

World Wildlife Fund. "Hot Southern Summer Threatens Coral With Massive Bleaching Event." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 January 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081228201342.htm>.
World Wildlife Fund. (2009, January 3). Hot Southern Summer Threatens Coral With Massive Bleaching Event. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081228201342.htm
World Wildlife Fund. "Hot Southern Summer Threatens Coral With Massive Bleaching Event." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081228201342.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Explore Shipwrecks Off Calif. Coast

Researchers Explore Shipwrecks Off Calif. Coast

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Federal researchers are exploring more than a dozen underwater sites where they believe ships sank in the treacherous waters west of San Francisco in the decades following the Gold Rush. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Isolated N. Korea Asks For International Help With Volcano

Isolated N. Korea Asks For International Help With Volcano

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) Mount Paektu volcano in North Korea is showing signs of life and there's not much known about it. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins