Coral Reefs in the Gulf of Aqaba May Survive Global Warming, New Study Finds

Coral reefs in the Red Sea’s Gulf of Aqaba can resist rising water temperatures. If they survive local pollution, these corals may one day be used to re-seed parts of the world where reefs are dying. The scientists urge governments to protect the Gulf of Aqaba Reefs.

Coral reefs are dying on a massive scale around the world, and global warming is driving this extinction. The planet’s largest reef, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, is currently experiencing enormous coral bleaching for the second year in a row, while last year left only a third of its 2300-km ecosystem unbleached. The demise of coral reefs heralds the loss of some of the planet’s most diverse ecosystems.

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Camera-trap research paves the way for global monitoring networks

Biodiversity loss is one of the driving factors in ecosystem change, on par with climate change and human development. When one species, especially a large predator, disappears from an area, other populations will be affected, sometimes changing entire landscapes.

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Exposed: The Chinese town at the centre of global ivory smuggling

An exhaustive undercover investigation by the London-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) has revealed how criminal gangs originating from an obscure town in southern China have come to dominate the smuggling of illegal ivory tusks poached from African elephants
Environment news & analysis, climate change reports –
The Ecologist

NASA Detects Drop in Global Fires

Shifting livelihoods across the tropical forest frontiers of South America, the Eurasian Steppe, and the savannas of Africa are altering landscapes and leading to a significant decline in the amount of land burned by fire each year, a trend that NASA satellites have detected from space.

The ongoing transition from nomadic cultures to settled lifestyles and intensifying agriculture has led to a steep drop not only in the use of fire on local lands, but in the prevalence of fire worldwide, researchers at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and colleagues found.

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Why we need a global effort by corporations, citizens and nonprofits to tackle climate change

Government action isn’t enough for climate change. Private actors – including corporations, civic and advocacy groups, private citizens, and even the Catholic Church – will be crucial to successfully cutting billions of tons of carbon and tackling climate change, write two academics, MICHAEL VANDENBERGH & JONATHAN M. GILLIGAN
Environment news & analysis, climate change reports –
The Ecologist

NOAA Says 3-Year Global Coral Bleaching Event Is Ending, But It’s Too Early To Celebrate

Ocean Leadership ~

A massive bleaching event that damaged coral reefs across the globe now appears to be easing after three deadly years, NOAA revealed. However, an expert warns it's still too early to celebrate.  ( Credit: Phil Walter | Getty Images )

(Click to enlarge) A massive bleaching event that damaged coral reefs across the globe now appears to be easing after three deadly years, NOAA revealed. However, an expert warns it’s still too early to celebrate. ( Credit: Phil Walter | Getty Images )

After three deadly years, a massive bleaching event that struck coral reefs across the globe now appears to be ending, scientists announced on Monday, June 19.

(From Tech Times / by Alyssa Navarro) — Coral bleaching happens when corals are subjected to extreme changes in the environment. During coral bleaching, colorful coral reefs eject symbiotic algae from their tissue, which causes it to turn white or pale. This weakens the coral and makes it susceptible to disease.

In May 2014, rising water temperatures in the Pacific and Atlantic worsened the widespread coral bleaching in the Northern Hemisphere. This trend continued for three years and it was believed that it could lead to the mass deaths of corals.

Now, researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced that the global coral bleaching event is easing. In fact, data from satellites and modeling indicate that the unprecedented coral bleaching period has stopped after inflicting damage to coral reefs.

Mark Eakin, coral reef watch coordinator at NOAA, said the three-year bleaching event appears to have killed off nearly 95 percent of a species of tall, cucumber-shaped coral called pillar coral, weakening them enough for disease to kill them off.

“We’ve had an almost complete loss of pillar coral. It almost looks like the ruins of an old Greek building, said Eakin.

Eakin said the forecast damage does not look widespread in the Indian Ocean, while the Pacific and the Caribbean will still experience coral bleaching, although it will be less severe than recent years.

Places struck by the coral bleaching event have seen catastrophic effects.

For instance, in South Florida, experts witnessed the death of a 300-year-old coral off the coast of Hollywood. Coral reefs located in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef have underwent several mass bleaching events and are threatened to become extinct. Guam, northwest Hawaii, and some parts of the Caribbean have also been hit by back-to-back coral bleaching, scientists said.

In recent years, El Niño has been pinpointed as the cause of the bleaching, but Eakin explained that global warming had increased ocean temperatures to the point that El Niño was only a small push that triggered the coral bleaching event.

Researchers say that coral reefs in the Northern Hemisphere are getting some relief from the intense ocean temperatures that caused the bleaching.

“This is really good news,” said Julia Baum, a coral reef scientist. “We’ve been totally focused on coming out of the carnage of the 2015-2016 El Nino.”

However, experts warn that although conditions are improving, it is still too early to celebrate. Eakin said the world may be at a new normal where coral reefs barely survive even during good conditions.

Another bleaching event may also be looming over reefs located in the United States. As a countermeasure, Eakin said the world must get climate change under control and confront local stressors.

“Neither is going to be sufficient without the other,” he added.

To read the full article, click here:

The post NOAA Says 3-Year Global Coral Bleaching Event Is Ending, But It’s Too Early To Celebrate appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.

Consortium for Ocean Leadership

U.N. urges global airlines to keep commitment on emissions

CANCUN, Mexico (Reuters) – A United Nations representative urged global airline leaders on Monday not to weaken their commitment to curbing emissions, despite a U.S. decision to exit the separate Paris climate pact.

Reuters: Environment

EU, China to unite on global warming after Trump withdrawal

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – China and the European Union will show unity in fighting global warming at a summit in Brussels on Friday, a day after President Donald Trump announced he would withdraw the United States from an international climate pact.

Reuters: Environment

Corals in peril at a popular Hawaiian tourist destination due to global climate change

Researchers from the Coral Reef Ecology Lab at the Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology documented the third global bleaching event as it occurred from 2014 to 2016 at the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve (HBNP) on the island of O‘ahu, Hawai‘i.

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Marine Species Distribution Shifts Will Continue Under Ocean Warming

Scientists using a high-resolution global climate model and historical observations of species distributions on the Northeast U.S. Shelf have found that commercially important species will continue to shift their distribution as ocean waters warm two to three times faster than the global average through the end of this century. Projected increases in surface to bottom waters of  6.6 to 9 degrees F (3.7 to 5.0 degrees Celsius) from current conditions are expected.

The findings, reported in Progress in Oceanography, suggest ocean temperature will continue to play a major role in where commercially important species will find suitable habitat. Sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Maine have warmed faster than 99 percent of the global ocean over the past decade.  Northward shifts of many species are already happening, with major changes expected in the complex of species occurring in different regions on the shelf, and shifts from one management jurisdiction to another. These changes will directly affect fishing communities, as species now landed at those ports move out of range, and new species move in.

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