93 Degree Ocean Destroying Coral Reef
In the Andaman Sea off the coast of Indonesia, a massive amount of coral has undergone severe bleaching because the waters have heated up to 93 degrees. New data suggests rising water temperatures in the region have been caused by global warming.
In May, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) sent marine biologists to Indonesia and their survey revealed that more than 60% of the coral had been bleached. Bleaching occurs when environmental conditions place excessive stress on coral, causing them to whiten. Once bleaching occurs, there’s a chance the coral can die.
In August, further monitoring of the area determined that 80% of some species died since the 1st survey. Coral reefs supply shelter for many forms of marine-life, and are feeding grounds for some fish.
“This is a tragedy not only for some of the world’s most biodiverse coral reefs, but also for people in the region, many of whom are extremely impoverished and depend on these reefs for their food and livelihoods,” WCS Marine Program Director Caleb McClennen told LiveScience.
Water temperature is on the rise throughout the Andaman Sea. Additional bleaching events have been recorded in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia and many parts of Indonesia this year.
If further research proves global warming is the cause, it will show how powerful and damaging it can be, because it takes a lot more energy to heat an ocean than it does the Earth’s atmosphere.
“Immediate and intensive management will be required to try and help these reefs, their fisheries and the entire ecosystem recover and adapt,” McClennen told LiveScience. “However, coral reefs cannot be protected from the warming ocean temperatures brought on by a changing climate by local actions alone. This is another unfortunate reminder that international efforts to curb the causes and effects of climate change must be made if these sensitive ecosystems and the vulnerable human communities around the world that depend on them are to adapt and endure.”