Worldwide Coral Bleaching Event Started in 2014 is Still On
Bleaching of the colorful coral is spreading across the world from Hawaii to the Indian Ocean. Scientists fear that the massive worldwide coral bleaching event could result in loss of more than 12,000 square kilometers or over 4,500 square miles of corals in 2015.
The coral bleaching event started in Guam in 2014 and reached Hawaii, the tropical Pacific and the Indian oceans. It has now reached the Florida and the Caribbean. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and international reef scientists announced that it a global coral bleaching event, which has happened for the third time in recorded history. Earlier, it happened in 1998 and 2010 and continued for one year. Mark Eakin, who heads NOAA's Coral Reef Watch, said that this coral bleaching event causes mass bleaching in the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic-Caribbean basin.
"We're looking at a similar spatial scale of bleaching across the globe, but spanning across at least 2 years. So that means a lot of these corals are being put under really prolonged stress, or are being hit 2 years in a row", said Eakin. About 95% of all U.S. coral reefs are expected to see ocean temperatures that can lead to bleaching sometime this year, according to NOAA. Approximately, 60% of those coral reefs are expected to be 'hit with severe thermal stress causing death of those corals', says Eakin.
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