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World News May 17, 2024

Global coral bleaching event expanding to new countries: scientists

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has reported a worsening global coral bleaching event amid record ocean temperatures. Since February 2023, coral bleaching has been observed in 62 countries and territories, up from 53 in April. This extensive bleaching is attributed to climate change and record heat, severely impacting coral reefs worldwide.

Recent bleaching has been particularly noted in India, Sri Lanka, and the Chagos Islands. NOAA’s Derek Manzello emphasized the increasing scale and impact of this event, which marks the fourth recorded global mass bleaching, following episodes between 1998 and 2017.

Over 60% of the world’s reefs have experienced bleaching-level heat in the past year, the highest on record. The Great Barrier Reef and reefs in Thailand, Asia, Mexico, Belize, the Caribbean, and Florida are at risk as ocean temperatures continue to rise.

Coral bleaching’s ramifications extend beyond marine ecosystems, affecting human livelihoods, food security, and local economies. Although recovery is possible if temperatures decrease and stressors like pollution and overfishing are mitigated, the immediate and long-term outlook remains grim. NOAA predicts a high likelihood that 2024 will be among the hottest years on record, further exacerbating the situation.

Source – CGTN

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