Tags: global | coral | bleaching | el nino

Global Coral Bleaching Likely To Continue Through 2017 With El Nino

Image: Global Coral Bleaching Likely To Continue Through 2017 With El Nino
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By    |   Tuesday, 21 Jun 2016 02:13 PM

Global coral bleaching because of warming ocean temperatures is expected to continue this year and maybe into 2017, experts said Monday at the International Coral Reef Symposium in Hawaii.

KITV reported that researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association said that continued ocean warming, sparked by a record-setting El Nino weather pattern, is one of the main reasons for large amounts of bleaching.

The Washington Post reported that coral bleaching happens when the stresses caused by unusually warm ocean waters disrupt the relationship between corals and zooxanthellae, or symbiotic algae.

The algae live inside coral cells and engage in photosynthesis, giving the corals energy and food, noted the Post. The zooxanthellae give corals their color, but during bleaching, they are evacuated from the corals' bodies, leading the animals to turn white.

At the symposium, researchers said the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the largest reef colony on the planet, saw some 1,400 miles of coral reef suffering from bleaching, some 93 percent of the entire colony.

In the United States, an estimated 72 percent of coral reefs have been damaged by two years of warm ocean temperatures.

"Our satellite based products show that this is now the most widespread, largest bleaching event to ever occur globally," Mark Eakin, coordinator for the NOAA's Coral Reef Watch, said, noted KITV.

Jennifer Koss, the NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation program director, told The Associated Press that scientists are still trying to figure out what can be done to save the coral reefs in the face of climate change.

"Local conservation buys us time, but it isn't enough," Koss said. "Globally, we need to better understand what actions we all can take to combat the effects of climate change."

The Associated Press wrote that while forecasters see the El Nino weather pattern changing to La Nina conditions in due time, much of the warm water will stay or simply shift to other regions throughout 2016.

"All Northern Hemisphere U.S.-coral reefs are on alert for coral bleaching this year," Eakin said, according to the Washington Post. "If we see bleaching in Florida or Hawaii this year it will be three years in a row."

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Global coral bleaching because of warming ocean temperatures is expected to continue this year and maybe into 2017, experts said Monday at the International Coral Reef Symposium in Hawaii.
global, coral, bleaching, el nino
359
2016-13-21
Tuesday, 21 Jun 2016 02:13 PM
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