Coral bleaching ‘could occur yearly’

… Dr Reichelt said the reef would face new problems in the future, such as the spread of coral disease, possible negative impacts caused by the overfishing of sharks and “acidification”.

Acidification occurs when atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) is absorbed into oceans at great levels.

Conservative estimates predict that CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere could double or triple by the end of the century, increasing the acidity of oceans significantly.

“When that happens the animals and plants that live in the ocean and make skeletons made out of calcium carbonate … won’t be able to make their skeletons anymore,” Dr Reichelt said.

“It will be hopefully some centuries away but it will happen if CO2 levels keep going up.”

The Age, 2 February 2007. Article.

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