Jun 19, 2017

Global coral bleaching event likely ending

by
NOAA
Photo: NOAA
Photo: NOAA

After analyzing satellite and model data, NOAA’s experts say coral reefs around the world may finally catch a break from high ocean temperatures that have lingered for an unprecedented three years, the longest period since the 1980s.

The latest NOAA forecast shows that widespread coral bleaching is no longer occurring in all three ocean basins – Atlantic, Pacific and Indian – indicating the likely end to the global coral bleaching event. Scientists will closely monitor sea surface temperatures and bleaching over the next six months to confirm the event’s end.

NOAA declared the beginning of the third-ever global coral bleaching event in 2015. Since then, all tropical coral reefs around the world have seen above-normal temperatures, and more than 70 percent experienced prolonged high temperatures that can cause bleaching. U.S. coral reefs were hit hardest, with two years of severe bleaching in Florida and Hawaii, three in the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands, and four in Guam.