Coral Bleaching Near Record Globally Because Of Ocean Heat: Experts

"Ocean temperatures that have gone “crazy haywire” hot, especially in the Atlantic, are close to making the current global coral bleaching event the worst in history. It’s so bad that scientists are hoping for a few hurricanes to cool things off.

More than three-fifths — 62.9% — of the world’s coral reefs are badly hurting from a bleaching event that began last year and is continuing. That’s nearing the record of 65.7% in 2017, when from 2009 to 2017 about one-seventh of the world’s coral died, said Derek Manzello, coordinator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Coral Reef Watch Program.

When water gets too hot, coral, which are living creatures, bleach and sometimes die.

In the Atlantic, off the Florida coast and in the Caribbean, about 99.7% of the coral reefs have been hit with “very very severe’’ losses in staghorn and elkhorn species, Manzello said Thursday in NOAA’s monthly climate briefing. Sixty-two countries are seeing damaged coral, with Thailand shutting off a tourist-laden island to try to save the coral there."

Seth Borenstein reports for the Associated Press May 16, 2024.

Source: AP, 05/17/2024