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Tue Mar 22, 2016, 08:36 AM

Climate change warnings for coral reef may have come to pass, scientists say [View all]

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/mar/22/climate-change-warnings-coral-reef-great-barrier-reef-experts-projections-scientists



As coral bleaching threat is raised for Great Barrier Reef, experts say events on show that dire projections for reefs under global warming were not alarmist

Climate change warnings for coral reef may have come to pass, scientists say
Karl Mathiesen
Tuesday 22 March 2016 07.40 EDT

After almost two years of coral bleaching, with some reefs bleaching twice and possibly three times since 2014, scientists have said that dire predictions of global coral decline made almost two decades ago may now be manifest.

The rolling underwater heatwave has now arrived upon the Great Barrier Reef, with mass die-offs expected along the northern quarter of the world’s preeminent coral ecosystem.


Professor Nick Graham of Lancaster University said the devastation worldwide was probably now on the same scale as the worst ever bleaching on record, which occurred during 1997-98 and wiped out 16% of the world’s reefs in a single year.

“This is the big one that we’ve been waiting for. This is the 1997-98 equivalent, which we’ve been anticipating for a long time,” said the coral scientist. The full impact could not be known until the event had finally ended, added Graham. Models predict it will now head west into the Indian Ocean and could continue in the Pacific until early 2017.

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