Sea Temperature Rise Will Kill Almost All Coral

Coral reefs bleach across the world as sea temperatures rise. How can coral adapt?

Sea level is rising around the world, and coral reefs are diminishing in record numbers. Many communities have become dependent on the food coral reefs provide, so bleaching hurts humans too. 

As sea level temperature rises, the ocean, which is the biggest carbon sink in the world isn’t able to hold as much carbon dioxide. 

A group of scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported an important new discovery for their research team in the journal Nature Geoscience. They found a link between carbon dioxide and coral bleaching.

The team used an advanced coral-diving technique, which allowed them to measure how much carbon dioxide there is in the water, a proxy for the amount of carbon dioxide in the sea. Because they measure the same data every two years, they can compare how coral reefs have fared in the last century.

The report states that over the last century, the amount of coral in the world has decreased by 50%. Ocean acidification is believed to be the main factor here. Ocean acidification occurs the more CO2 is dissolved into the ocean. When the seas become more acidic, coral can lose the calcium carbonate that makes up 90% of its weight. Ocean acidification can have a direct impact on marine life, like oysters and sea turtles.

The scientists state that this is important information for researchers in the field. Because of the current lack of a global average sea tempreature level, they can only analyze what has happened in certain places. But one this is for sure, almost all coral will not live into the next century.

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