US Agency Says Coral Reef Destruction Is Slowing This Year
Source: Voice of America
June 2, 2011
"There's some good news, for a change, in the latest climate forecast from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NOAA scientists say the world's threatened coral reefs, which for decades have been bleaching out and dying off because of climate-induced changes in ocean conditions, might be getting a respite this year.
For nearly three decades, marine scientists and environmentalists have been issuing distress calls about the rapid destruction of coral reefs around the world. This time, predictions from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration indicate that cooler water temperatures make it unlikely there will be any major bleaching events anywhere in the world this year. Mark Eakin, who coordinates NOAA's Coral Reef Watch program said the new forcast shows that while "there is a little bit of stress, [it] is not too bad and the forecast for this year doesn't look bad at all."
Coral bleaching is caused by a variety of factors, such as excessive chemical nutrients, pesticides and other land-based pollutants washed into the sea by rivers. Most of these factors affect coral in localized regions. But the major cause of global bleaching events is warmer ocean temperatures, a direct effect of the climate change triggered by greenhouse gases and higher levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. Warmer ocean waters can stress or kill coral communities."
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