Written by DIVE Magazine Thursday, 28 February 2013 11:21
Most coral reefs will experience annual bleaching by the middle of this century, a new study reveals.
Aerial photograph of reefs in French Polynesia
If carbon emmission stay on the current path then large-scale mass bleaching events will happen on coral reefs around the world, a study for the upcoming Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports.
Using climate models the study predicts that by 2045 74 per cent of the world's reefs will experience annual bleaching events. A reduction of carbon emissions would delay annual bleaching events by more than two decades in nearly a quarter (23 percent) of the world's reef areas, the research shows.
'Our projections indicate that nearly all coral reef locations would experience annual bleaching later than 2040 under scenarios with lower greenhouse gas emissions.' said Jeffrey Maynard, from the Centre de Recherches Insulaires et Observatoire de l'Environnement (CRIOBE) in Moorea, French Polynesia. 'For 394 reef locations (of 1707 used in the study) this amounts to at least two more decades in which some reefs might conceivably be able to improve their capacity to adapt to the projected changes.'