By HT School, Oct 26, 2021 15:30
Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network, an UN-supported data network has released reports of its latest survey that 14% (11700 sq.km of area) of world’s coral reefs were destroyed in between 2009 and 2018 due to climate change and warming of the ocean. This survey was also supported by the UNEP and International Coral Reef Initiative. The worst affected areas are Australia, South Asia, Pacific region, the Gulf region and so on.
Coral reefs are made up of corals that are skeletons of marine invertebrates. The largest coral reef system is the Great Barrier reef in Australia.
While 25% of marine biodiversity is supported by corals, scientists are now worried as at present only 1% of ocean floor is covered by corals, that is practically insufficient to sustain the oceanic ecosystem. Marine biologists have warned that out of the remaining coral reefs, 70-90% will soon disappear due to global warming (1.5 degrees above pre-industrial level). In fact, 8% of coral population was killed by bleaching (coral expelling of photosynthetic algae, that is often irreversible) alone in 1998 itself.
Paul Hardistry, CEO of Australian Institute of Marine Science has warned that since oceans absorb excessive heat from the greenhouse gases’ emissions to shield the land surfaces, this climate change is at present the worst threat to coral life. In fact, since 2009, the world has lost more corals than the living corals in Australia, a fact that is itself alarming. Experts say that coral reefs can replenish themselves, only if the global climate change is controlled. Currently, scientists are trying to save 18 species of corals in Florida from a mysterious disease.