Coral reefs around the world have been declining owing to climate change and now a new study says that the decline was as much as 14% between 2009 and 2018.
Scientists have said that coral reefs around the world are in greater danger and the trend is only accelerating. The figure is dramatic: between 2009 and 2018, 14% of the planet’s corals disappeared. That’s almost 11,700 square kilometers of coral, more than all living coral in Australia. This is the alarming finding of a report released Tuesday, October 5 by the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN).
The state of coral reefs in the world in 2020 “offers the most precise scientific panorama to date of the damage caused by rising temperatures on coral reefs around the world,” said the organization, which relied on data collected from 12,000 sites in 73 countries.
Coral reefs are dying
“Coral reefs around the world are under constant stress from warming linked to climate change and other local pressures such as overfishing, unsustainable coastal development and declining water quality”, details the GCRMN.
“Although reefs cover less than 1% of the ocean floor, they are home to at least a quarter of all marine flora and fauna, while providing crucial habitat and a source of protein (and) medicine,” adds the organization.
The impact of climate change
The study of ten coral regions around the world showed that “episodes of coral bleaching due to rising sea surface temperatures were the main factor in coral disappearance”, with a particularly marked episode in 1998.
“Climate change is the greatest threat to the world’s reefs, and we must all do our part by limiting global greenhouse gas emissions as quickly as possible,” insists Paul Hardisty, CEO of the Australian Institute. marine sciences (AIMS), cited in the press release, one month before COP26, which is crucial for the climate.