- Impact Of Climate Change On Coral Reefs
- How Is Climate Change Impacting The World’s Ocean
- Global Declines In Coral Reef Calcium Carbonate Production Under Ocean Acidification And Warming
- Big Reefs In Big Trouble: New Research Tracks A 50 Percent Decline In Living Coral Since The 1950s
Impact Of Climate Change On Coral Reefs – The appeal of swimming, snorkeling, diving and sailing in the Reef depends on healthy marine life and rich, colorful corals. Climate change poses a potentially catastrophic threat not only to the Reef, but also to its $6 billion tourism industry and the 64,000 jobs that depend on the Reef’s health.
Year after year, millions of tourists flock to the Queensland coast to see the magnificent Great Barrier Reef. The largest living coral reef system in the world is a place of rich biodiversity and deep spiritual significance for both indigenous and non-indigenous people. Under the glassy turquoise waters, thousands of marine species live in perfect symbiosis; creating a colorful underwater city teeming with life.
Impact Of Climate Change On Coral Reefs
In the past five years, we have witnessed three major climate change-induced mass bleaching events; the frequency and severity of which damaged both the Reef and the livelihoods of 64,000 people.
A Tiny Coral Paradise In The Great Barrier Reef Reckons With Climate Change
Our increasing climate emergency is increasing the number of sea heat days by 54 percent each year; making it difficult to adequately restore damaged corals. These dramatic changes in the once-thriving underwater ecosystem are causing a sense of apprehension among tourism operators.
“You’ll find that some tour operators are a bit cautious about the challenges facing the Reef. Obviously, they don’t want people to know that the Reef is compromised; it’s bad for business, says dive operator Tony Fontes.
“When we do talk about it, the public starts thinking, ‘Well, there’s no Reef, so we’ll have to go somewhere else.’ It’s a fine line, he says.
With 40 years of diving experience under his belt, Fontes has witnessed the destruction and rebirth of corals, as well as changes in the Reef’s tourism industry.
How Is Climate Change Impacting The World’s Ocean
“There have been significant bleaching events on the Reef, particularly in the last five years. But there are still many good corals. When bleaching occurs, or cyclones – you need to move. That’s practically what everyone did.”
Coral bleaching occurs when zooxanthellae – colorful microscopic algae that live in corals – are thrown out by environmental stressors such as marine heat waves caused by climate change. The absence of zooxanthellae gives corals a faded, bleached appearance. If the temperature does not normalize, the corals will eventually die. Coral reefs can take decades to recover from a single bleaching event.
“What I’ve seen now, in terms of adaptation, is more non-aquatic activities like sailing, bushwalking and jet skiing. “A lot of operators are looking for activities that don’t require you to get in the water and look at corals—which I think is incredibly boring—but they don’t have a choice,” Fontes says.
With global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts the loss of 70-90 percent of the world’s coral reefs. At 2°C, this number increases to 99 percent.
Coral Reefs Could Stop Growing In 10 Years Unless Greenhouse Gases Are Significantly Reduced, New Study Says
Dr Nicola Casule, Head of Research and Investigations at Greenpeace Australia Pacific, says the damage to the Reef is because humans have interfered with the planet’s natural mechanisms. Burning fossil fuels releases carbon emissions, which increase the greenhouse effect and increase the temperature of our oceans.
“Corals are very sensitive to the specific ecosystems they live in; they can only survive in a small range of temperatures. Climate change is indeed the biggest threat to the Reef, overwhelmingly due to the detrimental effects that warming conditions are having on corals,” says Dr Kasule.
Queensland’s tourism industry depends entirely on the survival of the Great Barrier Reef, but Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) spokesman David Catzulina believes the reef’s reputation has deteriorated significantly in recent years.
“A lot of tour operators get frustrated with questions like, ‘Wow, I heard the Reef is dying – can I come see it?’
Pacific Coral Reef Shows Historic Increase In Climate Resistance
“There are concerns that if we don’t act, what will happen to regional centers like Cairns and Trinity – all those places that rely heavily on the Great Barrier Reef for tourism.”
“This has been at the heart of our work at AMCS – so far over thirty tourism operators have signed the Reef Climate Declaration, which calls for action on climate change to keep global warming below 1.5°C. This schedule depends on what we are doing now,” Katsulina says.
Fontes, who has worked on the Reef for most of his life, says he is optimistic and realistic about the future of the Reef’s tourism industry.
“Future generations will have the Great Barrier Reef if we get things sorted soon. But if you want to make an impact and get people to do something, you can’t just talk about nature and its beauty – you have to talk about work and money too,” says Fontes.
Reasons Coral Reefs Deserve Protection
Keeping fossil fuels in the ground is critical to preserving the future of the Great Barrier Reef and its tourism industry. Dr Kasule says there is no time to waste. “The best time to take this seriously was 30 years ago, the next best time is now.”
“The question facing Australia, and the federal government in particular, is do we want coral or do we want coal? Because we can’t have both. The survival of the Reef is incompatible with continued burning of coal,” says Dr Kasule.
“As long as we do our part, raise our voices for the Reef and work together to push for bolder climate action, I think there is hope to protect our iconic reef,” concludes Catzulina.
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Mass bleaching studies show that water quality improvements or fisheries controls do not prevent underwater heat waves that damage corals
The survival of the Great Barrier Reef depends on urgent action to stop global warming because nothing else will protect the coral from the coming cycle of mass bleaching, a new study has found.
A study of three cases of mass bleaching on Australian reefs in 1998, 2002 and 2016 found that corals were damaged by underwater heat waves, regardless of any local improvements in water quality or fisheries controls.
Earth’s Coral Reefs Could Be Gone By 2100, Research Finds
The study, written by 46 scientists and published in Nature, raises serious questions about Australia’s long-term plan to save its famous reef, which invests heavily in improving water quality but does not talk about climate change measures.
The researchers said the results of their paper, Global Warming and Periodic Mass Coral Bleaching, apply to coral reefs around the world.
Its publication comes on the same day its lead author, Terry Hughes, is due to launch an aerial survey to confirm the extent of yet another mass bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef.
This is the first mass bleaching to occur for the second consecutive year on the reef, which suffered the most damage in 2016, when 22% of corals were killed in one strike.
Global Declines In Coral Reef Calcium Carbonate Production Under Ocean Acidification And Warming
The study, which failed to account for the effects of the latest event, warned that a fourth mass bleaching event “within the next decade or two” would give the badly damaged northern part of the reef “little” chance of ever recovering to its former state. state
Hughes said the latest event, which had nothing to do with the warming effect of El Niño weather patterns, highlighted that studies of mass bleaching, even with fast tracking, have failed to keep up with the reef’s current condition.
“It broke my heart to see so many corals dying on the northern reefs of the Great Barrier Reef in 2016,” Hughes said.
“With temperatures rising due to global warming, it’s only a matter of time before we see more of these events. The fourth event in just a year will be a major blow to the reefs.”
A Photo Essay On Coral Reef Restoration Efforts In Florida » Yale Climate Connections
Hughes said he hoped the coming weeks would “cool down quickly and the bleaching this year won’t be like last year”.
Hughes, head of the National Coral Bleaching Task Force, said the study made clear the need for action on climate change to save Australia’s reefs.
He said it also showed the folly of the Australian and Queensland governments’ support for one of the world’s largest coal mines, Adani’s proposed Carmichael Mine, which would export coal by ship through reef waters.
This was not only due to carbon emissions from coal, but also
Big Reefs In Big Trouble: New Research Tracks A 50 Percent Decline In Living Coral Since The 1950s
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