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Almost 40 Percent of Corals Die Due to Climate Change in South China Sea

Mar 27, 2017 12:01 PM EDT
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A new study shows that 40 percent of reefs died due to climate change in the South China Sea within a six-week study period. Too much heat have a devastating effect on the sea.

There used to be a time when resort owners tried to hide the fact of coral bleaching to protect tourism in pristine beaches near the South China Sea. But today, the effect is so blatant that it can no longer be denied.

The temperature in the northern region of the South China Sea increased by two degrees Celsius during the period of June to July 2015. This surge in heat caused the death of 40 percent of coral reefs, according to Huffington Post. The data is based on a finding presented by Caixin.com that was also published in the journal Scientific Reports.

On indication of warmer temperature is the appearance of coral bleaching where corals turn white and eventually die. The weather anomaly caused 40 percent of coral reefs, and experts say this raises the urgency of dealing with climate change.

Read Also: 3D-Printed Coral Reefs: The Key to Solving the Coral Bleaching Crisis?  

Despite the short increase in temperature, warmer water can be fatal to coral reefs. The reefs are prone to damage. Experts say that weaker winds and smaller waves due to an anomalous high-pressure system cause temperature to rise another 4 degrees on top of the 2 degrees mark. The effects are evident at the Dongsha Atoll.

"This had an amplifying effect on the water temperatures, which were already feeling the heat from global warming and El Niño. The whole reef became a giant swimming pool that just sat there and baked in the sun," Tom DeCarlo, lead author of the study said in a statement.

Carbon dioxide emission could have also contributed to the death of the coral reefs. And experts say the if the trend is not rectified, and if the water temperature continues to rise, the remaining coral reefs are likely to die in 40 years.

Climate change and the effect of El Niño is something that no one can control unless they dig deep and try to address the root of the problem, which is alleviating the effect of climate change.

Read Also: Great Barrier Reef in Line for Another Mass Coral Bleaching Event

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