The findings emphasize that without significant reductions in emissions most coral reefs are at risk, according to the study. A reduction of carbon emissions would delay annual bleaching events more than two decades in nearly a quarter (23 percent) of the world's reef areas, the research shows.
"Our projections indicate that nearly all coral reef locations would experience annual bleaching later than 2040 under scenarios with lower greenhouse gas emissions." said Jeffrey Maynard, Ph.D., from the Centre de Recherches Insulaires et Observatoire de l'Environnement (CRIOBE) in Moorea, French Polynesia. "For 394 reef locations (of 1707 used in the study) this amounts to at least two more decades in which some reefs might conceivably be able to improve their capacity to adapt to the projected changes."
"More so than any result to date, this highlights and quantifies the potential benefits for reefs of reducing emissions in terms of reduced exposure to stressful reef temperatures."
"This study represents the most up-to-date understanding of spatial variability in the effects of rising temperatures on coral reefs on a global scale," said researcher Serge Planes, Ph.D., also from the French research institute CRIOBE in French Polynesia.
The researchers involved in the study all concur that projections that combine the threats posed to reefs by increases in sea temperature and ocean acidification will further resolve where temporary refugia may exist.
|Contact: Barbra Gonzalez|
University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science