Window to Save World's Coral Reefs Closing Rapidly
A new study confirms that coral reefs have faced devastating damage in recent years—a symptom of Earth's rapidly changing climate.
The rainforests of the sea, coral reefs play vital roles in the health of the ocean. But as a new study makes clear, humans’ influence on Earth’s climate is pushing them to the brink.
The analysis, published on Thursday in Science, takes a fresh look at the health of 100 coral reefs from around the world, stitching together a record from 1980 to 2016 from government documents, scientific studies, and media reports.
This approach corrects for the biases found in other, more spottily maintained databases—and paints a grim picture. On average, the study finds that the amount of time between severe bleaching events, which gravely wound coral reefs, has shrunk by a factor of five.
In the 1980s, coral reefs could