The Guardian: Florida’s ailing coral reef system is at the risk of a devastating bleaching outbreak after being eng
ulfed in an “unprecedented” heat stress event that stretches throughout the waters of the Caribbean and Central America, US government scientists have warned.
South-east Florida’s corals are now at the highest alert level for bleaching for the first time ever, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa), with “significant mortality likely” for its corals amid abnormally hot ocean temperatures.
The coral reef has been exposed to water temperatures this summer that at times have more resembled a hot tub, with the heat stress arriving five to six weeks earlier than any previous similar event. The severe heat and prolonged nature of this heat – ocean temperatures are likely to remain elevated for another month – has placed Florida’s corals, particularly around the Florida Keys region, at severe risk.
“The temperatures have clearly been higher than anything ever recorded before,” said Derek Manzello, coordinator of Noaa’s coral reef watch program. “You hear the word ‘unprecedented’ get thrown around a lot but Florida’s corals have never been exposed to this level of heat stress before.
Nayeemul Islam khan
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