A recent study demonstrates that Florida’s beautiful coral reefs are under a growing threat from climate change.
The Miami Herald reported Saturday on the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration study. As per the study, some reefs can be damaged around a dozen years prior earlier than previously projected. The study discovered coral bleaching from warmer waters could pose threat sections of the Dry Tortugas reef tract and reefs in areas off the middle Keys as early as 2030.
Bleaching is a potential damage to colorful corals and the variety of creature which live under such habitats.
A supercomputer was used to process the information on sea temperatures around the Gluf of Mexico and Carribbean already identified as vulnerable to bleaching outbreaks. Their findings proved that bleaching can be widespread by mid-century and also unveiled that bleaching might start to show in some areas than others.
Scientists consider reefs an important earlier indicator of more serious trouble.
“They’re the canary in a coal mine,” said the study’s lead author, Ruben van Hooidonk, a University of Miami coral expert.
Cool weather, like the recent cool front, give reefs a respite and chance to rebound.
“The Tortugas has looked great,” said Frank Wasson, president of Spree Expeditions who captains the MV Spree to the remote islands some 70 miles west of Key West for dive trips in deeper waters where strong currents have helped keep reefs healthy. “Out on the bank, it has been incredibly healthy.”
But, under the new climate conditions, that might change. In the previous year, divers documented widespread bleaching throughout the keys which could be worsened by forecasts for another El Nino weather pattern, according to Chris Bergh, who is the Director for The Nature Conservancy.
Scientists are already on the lookout for corals that do better in inhospitable conditions. They could graft those corals onto threatened colonies to fortify valuable reefs.
Further information can also improve existing conservation programs and heighten awareness about the cons of coral bleaching, which is already a leading killer of Florida’s reefs, said Bergh.
“Those things are already important but they become even more critical knowing that coral bleaching is going to become more of a problem in the future,” Causey said.