The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has revealed that our planet’s coral reefs are currently experiencing severe bleaching. This bleaching, which is the third event of this kind to take place in recorded history, is another indicator of the fact that climate change is having severe damaging effects on our planet’s health.
For those who don’t know: coral bleaching takes place when corals that are mostly vibrantly colored start losing their hues and gradually turn bright white due to warming of oceans and several other environmental factors.
Colorful algae that reside on and feed the coral polyps tend to leave them whenever the situation becomes adverse. It turns the otherwise gorgeous structures into ugly shells. Experts are saying that the increasing ocean temperatures are causing severe issues for the underwater biome. Such changes are damaging the delicate coral ecosystem, and the situation will most likely become worse because of the effects of the El Nino tropical weather system.
Coral reefs cover around 0.1% of the global ocean floor. However, they are home to almost 25% of the existing marine life. Since a long time, these reefs have been listed as one of the primary victims of global warming; but, the coordinator of the Coral Reef Watch Program of NOAA Mark Eakin said that people often struggle to see corals as they are underwater. Eakin has asked the ordinary people to inquire themselves what would one do if 60% of the redwood forest dies within a span of a few months. According to him, finding the right answer to this question is a bit tricky as often out of sight means out of mind.
When making these statements, Eakin was referring to a bleaching of smaller scale that occurred in the Caribbean way back in 2005. The event resulted in wiping out of as much as 60% of the corals of that region; however, the event remained relatively unnoticed and right now, our planet is experiencing bleaching in a much larger scale. Eakin informed that so far, the mass bleaching has hit the Earth only twice (at least recorded history suggests so), first in 1998 and then again in 2010.
The current mass bleaching on our planet began in 2014 summer. The process started from the Northern Pacific region and expanded gradually all through the Pacific and Indian Oceans.