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The Window To Save Our World’s Corals Is Closing Fast

Source: Phys.org/ARC Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies - January 10, 2018 in Environment

The Window To Save Our World’s Corals Is Closing Fast
Photo: Yanguang Lan/Unsplash

The world’s reefs are under siege from global warming, according to a novel study published today in the prestigious journal Science.

For the first time, an international team of researchers has measured the escalating rate of  at locations throughout the tropics over the past four decades. The study documents a dramatic shortening of the gap between pairs of bleaching events, threatening the future existence of these iconic ecosystems and the livelihoods of many millions of people.

“The time between bleaching events at each location has diminished five-fold in the past 3-4 decades, from once every 25-30 years in the early 1980s to an average of just once every six years since 2010,” says lead author Prof Terry Hughes, Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (Coral CoE).

“Before the 1980s, mass bleaching of corals was unheard of, even during strong El Niño conditions, but now repeated bouts of regional-scale bleaching and mass mortality of corals has become the new normal around the world as temperatures continue to rise.”

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