The outlook for Hawaiian coral is bleak

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Marine biologists from the University of Queensland is looking at coral reefs in Hawaii and what they see is not good.

They used high resolution images to track coral bleaching and death. Recently coral reefs in Hawaii suffered their first known mass bleaching event, caused by unusually warm waters associated with the now famous “Blob” of warm sea water in the Pacific.

An overall warming trend (anthropogenic global warming) along with the additional effects of a growing El Niño seem to be causing this.

This phenomenon is happening now. Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, chief scientist at Global Change Institute (Queensland) noted. “the coral bleaching we are uncovering in Hawaii is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what we expect to unfold over the next few weeks. Ocean heat has not fully dissipated since last year’s bleaching event, adding stress to corals that haven’t fully recovered and which may not be strong enough to survive another bleaching event.”

The research team will continue to measure bleaching on the Hawaiian reefs for the remainder of the year. With increasingly warm waters in the region, this is a story to watch closely.

More information here.

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6 thoughts on “The outlook for Hawaiian coral is bleak

  1. Please email for details of solar and hydrogen assisted shading frames which will stop some of the bleaching.

  2. Many of the reefs of the world will be disintegrating or otherwise unrecognisable by the end of the century. The Great Barrier Reef is one such – it will lose its integrity in the second half of the 21st century. We can’t completely stop this process of reef lose, but we still have the chance to make it less worse than it otherwise will be.

    The test now is the extent to which we choose to act to make things less bad than the current course on which we’ve steered the planet.

  3. In otherclimate/AGW related news

    60,000 Siaga antelope died in four days

    “Saigas play a critical role in the ecosystem of the arid grassland steppe, where the cold winters prevent fallen plant material from decomposing; the grazing of the dog-size, Gonzo-nosed antelopes helps to break down that organic matter, recycling nutrients in the ecosystem and preventing wildfires fueled by too much leaf litter on the ground. The animals also provide tasty meals for the predators of the steppe, Zuther said. [Images: Ancient Beasts of the Arctic]

    “Where you find saiga, we recognize also that the other species are much more abundant,” Zuther told Live Science.

    Saigas, which are listed as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, live in a few herds in Kazakhstan, one small herd in Russia and a herd in Mongolia. The herds congregate with other herds during the cold winters, as well as when they migrate to other parts of Kazakhstan, during the fall and spring. The herds split up to calve their young during the late spring and early summer. The die-off started during the calving period.

    Die-offs of saigas, including one that felled 12,000 of the stately creatures last year, have occurred frequently in recent years. But the large expanse of the country affected by last year’s die-off meant veterinarians couldn’t get to the animals until long after their deaths. The delay hindered any determination of a cause of death, and researchers eventually speculated that an abundance of greenery caused digestion problems, which led to bacterial overgrowth in the animals’ guts”.

    Archeologists are having a field day in Poland’s longest river, the Vistula, which because of a drought has hit a record low water level allowing them to uncover a treasure trove of ancient artifacts.

  4. Interesting story, on the Siaga die-off. I’ve seen roughly similar die-offs because of drought (sometimes in combination with too many fences, limiting migration) in southern Africa. This is obviously not drought, though.

  5. What is it that we are so enamoured of discussions and analysis, that the one comment here which could provide an actual solution is completely ignored ? Please email if you are at all interested in stopping the extent of bleaching.

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