Coral bleaching crisis unfolds as oceans reach record heat levels

Recent ocean heatwaves have triggered the fourth global mass coral bleaching event, devastating coral reefs worldwide.

Georgina Rannard reports for the BBC.


In short:

  • Coral reefs globally are turning white and dying due to record ocean heat, marking the fourth mass bleaching event, according to NOAA.
  • The bleaching, caused by stress from hot water, threatens marine life, fishing industries, and economies reliant on coral reefs.
  • Rising ocean temperatures, exacerbated by climate change and El Niño, pose an existential threat to coral ecosystems.

Key quote:

"It's like going from corals providing houses and buildings for marine life to just being scaffolding. What really wants to live in scaffolding?"

— Jennifer McWhorter, NOAA.

Why this matters:

Coral reefs, vital to marine ecosystems, are under severe threat from climate change-induced bleaching. The loss of coral not only impacts biodiversity but also jeopardizes industries reliant on healthy oceans. Read more: Unexpected ocean heat waves are becoming the norm.

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