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NOAA: World Witnesses New Episode of Coral Bleaching

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VOInews, Jakarta: For the second time in a decade, the world is experiencing a massive coral reef bleaching episode due to warming ocean temperatures, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) warned on Monday (15/4/2024). The phenomenon threatens the survival of coral reefs around the world, including the Great Barrier Reef near Australia.


"As the oceans continue to warm, coral bleaching is becoming more frequent and severe," NOAA Coral Reef Observatory coordinator Derek Manzello said. The process is linked to rising water temperatures, which result in discolouration, and can lead to the death of organisms if exposed to extreme and prolonged heat stress.


But reversing this phenomenon is possible. Affected corals may survive if temperatures drop and other stressors, such as overfishing or pollution, are minimised. The current bleaching episode is the fourth recorded by NOAA since 1985. Previous episodes were observed in 1998, 2010 and 2016.


"The scale and severity of mass coral bleaching is clear evidence of the devastating effects of current climate change," said Pepe Clark of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), a non-governmental organisation.


NOAA estimates that the Earth has already lost between 30 per cent and 50 per cent of its coral reefs, and they could disappear altogether by the end of the century if no major changes are made. Ocean temperatures, which play a key role in regulating the global climate, reached a new absolute record high in March of 21.07 degrees Celsius measured at the surface, excluding near-polar regions, according to the European Copernicus Observatory. (Daniel). 


Source: AFP

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