50% of Earth’s coral reefs face climate change threat by 2035

Under a worst-case scenario, half of coral reef ecosystems worldwide will permanently face unsuitable conditions in just over a dozen years, if climate change continues unabated. That is one of the findings from new research published on October 11, in PLOS Biology by University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa researchers. Unsuitable conditions will likely lead to the corals dying off and other marine life will struggle to survive due to disruptions in the food chain.

“While the negative impacts of climate change on coral reefs are well known, this research shows that they are actually worse than anticipated due to a broad combination of climate change-induced stressors,” said lead author Renee O. Setter, a doctoral student in the Department of Geography and Environment in the College of Social Sciences. “It was surprising to find that so many global coral reefs would be overwhelmed by unsuitable environmental conditions so soon due to multiple stressors.”

Using an ensemble of global climate change models, the researchers compared scenarios of five environmental stressors projected from the 1950s through the year 2100. These stressors included sea surface temperature, ocean acidification, tropical storms, land use and human population. From prior studies, threshold values for the stressors that led to unsuitable environmental conditions for coral reefs were identified.

University of Hawai’i News, 11 October 2022. Press release.

  • Reset


OA-ICC Highlights

%d bloggers like this: