Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Earth Science

Scientists Declare End to Global Coral Reef Bleaching Event (phys.org) 156

Scientists in the U.S. have announced Monday that a mass bleaching of coral reefs worldwide has finally ended after three years. "About three-quarters of the world's delicate coral reefs were damaged or killed by hot water in what scientists say was the largest coral catastrophe," reports Phys.Org. From the report: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced a global bleaching event in May 2014. It was worse than previous global bleaching events in 1998 and 2010. The forecast damage doesn't look widespread in the Indian Ocean, so the event loses its global scope. Bleaching will still be bad in the Caribbean and Pacific, but it'll be less severe than recent years, said NOAA coral reef watch coordinator C. Mark Eakin. Places like Australia's Great Barrier Reef, northwest Hawaii, Guam and parts of the Caribbean have been hit with back-to-back-to-back destruction, Eakin said. University of Victoria, British Columbia, coral reef scientist Julia Baum plans to travel to Christmas Island in the Pacific where the coral reefs have looked like ghost towns in recent years. While conditions are improving, it's too early to celebrate, said Eakin, adding that the world may be at a new normal where reefs are barely able to survive during good conditions.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Scientists Declare End to Global Coral Reef Bleaching Event

Comments Filter:
  • Article doesn't explain how the scientists know this is an end to the destruction versus a temporary reprieve? Seems like a stupid title altogether.

    • by jandersen ( 462034 ) on Tuesday June 20, 2017 @02:36AM (#54652601)

      Article doesn't explain how the scientists know this is an end to the destruction versus a temporary reprieve? Seems like a stupid title altogether.

      That is probably because the scientists don't actually say such a thing at all. I think, if one were to search through to a more trustworthy source, it would say something like 'The coral bleaching event that has unfolded over the last 3 years seems to be less severe this year, and this may be a sign that it is coming to an end, if this trend continues.' - and then a lot of explanations about what observations and expectations they base this on. Science is almost never startling or sensational; and in the very rare cases when it is, it will get ignored for a long time as being speculative. Just the way of the world; so when you see an sensational headline about a scientific discovery on a pop-sci website, it can probably be safely ignored.

      • Well, if a huge deal of corrals are now 'bleached', obviously the amount of corrals left to be bleached gets smaller ... It is like saying: from a population of 10,000 we lost 5000 over the last 2 years to plague. But this month only 30 died to the plague. So we are assuming over next months the amount of dead to decrease.

        In the end we have 1000 survivors with a decrease of death per month from 30 over 20 to 10 and finally 0.

      • You should read the source article [noaa.gov] instead, and you will see that it is not the message TFA is delivering. TFA is a junk!

    • by bazorg ( 911295 )

      Article doesn't explain how the scientists know this is an end to the destruction versus a temporary reprieve? Seems like a stupid title altogether.

      Perhaps the coral is all FUBAR, therefore the destruction should be near its end.

    • Article doesn't explain how the scientists know this is an end to the destruction versus a temporary reprieve? Seems like a stupid title altogether.

      Because TFA cited for /. is junk! I hate journalist this day... They don't deliver the information, but rather spin it to something that gives a different message!

      TFA is just a rephrase from the article written on NOAA [noaa.gov] site. The site talked about the end of "the third global event" of coral bleach event. That meant there could be another bleach event occurred in the future, so we can't be celebrating yet. However, TFA rephrase it as if the whole bleach event is now over (and no more)! Such a BS!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Regardless of the actions of man. Yawn. Film at 11.

    • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Tuesday June 20, 2017 @04:20AM (#54652861)

      Sure. But 100 million years ago, nobody gave a shit about temperatures being 5 degrees warmer. We didn't have to survive in that climate. And certainly not 7 billions of us.

      Climate always changes. And life always finds a way to adapt. Not all life forms do, though. And if history is any indicator, being the apex predator during one of the big shifts in climate usually really, really sucked.

      Hint: That would be us this time around.

      • Crocodilia and Selachimorpha are large apex predators and have survived through every climate shift for the last few hundred million years. As for human beings, our ancestors had adapted to every terrestrial biome back when technology consisted of sharp rocks and fire. We are a species that uniquely evolved to the wild climate swings of the Great Rift Valley.

        Climate Change is real, there's no denying that. But the apocalyptic predictions are transparently political and detract from more effective response

      • But 100 million years ago, nobody gave a shit about temperatures being 5 degrees warmer.

        Climate changed in the past, but not at current rate. The timeline is quite shocking [xkcd.com]

        And the problem is that the ecosystem that supports human being is not likely to adapt in such a short time.

        • Let's put it that way, whether we frogs get boiled fast or slow isn't the question, the question is whether we manage to get out of the pot in time.

    • As far as we've been able to tell, it changes much more slowly than it is now.

  • But...CO2 levels haven't actually dropped. They may have maybe slowed down acceleration but they haven't dropped.
    • But...CO2 levels haven't actually dropped. They may have maybe slowed down acceleration but they haven't dropped.

      Correct, and the general trend is still very firmly warming (Its basic physics really). However within the warming climate systems various cycles as well as other less periodic phenomena are still at play desspite the increased energy being absorbed by the atmosphere.

      There should be no surprises here, it all falls out of the math, but remember ; less energy here means more energy somewhere else.

      • Everything in the Universe is controlled by "basic physics". However you need to be able to fully describe the system in order to apply the physics to it. The planet is not just like a greenhouse. Personally I think overfishing and in some cases local pollution plays a part here.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    The forecast damage doesn't look widespread in the Indian Ocean...coral reef scientist Julia Baum plans to travel to Christmas Island in the Pacific where the coral reefs have looked like ghost towns in recent years.

    She might want to consult a map before she sets off.

  • So, wait... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Tuesday June 20, 2017 @06:48AM (#54653141) Journal

    ...you're saying that one of the oldest eukaryotes on the planet, one that has survived and flourished in much warmer and much colder earth climates, and which has likewise survived much more sudden ecological changes like massive globe-altering meteorites and sustained volcanism, maybe won't be as badly affected by a trivial warning as feared?

    Do tell.

    • You misspelt warming in the last sentence and were quite insightful in the process. Coral is fundamentally an animal and it can move from place to place. So what's different now? Could it be the rate of temperature change is unprecedented throughout the history you described and that is causing massive death to these animals which previously would simply migrate?

      That wasn't a question by the way.

      Any comment that mentions the past as a model for what is happening now and draws some kind of conclusion deserve

      • Could it be the rate of temperature change is unprecedented throughout the history you described

        Probably not. Look at this reconstruction, for example [tinypic.com]. You'll see there were times in the past temperature changed just as quickly. Here's another one [wordpress.com].

        You can see more if you do a search for "temperature reconstruction graph." Of course I picked two graphs that show my point most dramatically, but in many (not all) of the reconstructions you will see dramatic swings of temperature over time.

        I don't know anything about coral, though.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Thirty4 ( 4977493 )
      I hate this argument. I don't know the history of coral, but surviving is a poor measuring stick. Just cause it survives doesn't mean that a major die off wouldn't have significant impact to oceanic life and subsequently to humans. If a disease came about that killed all but 1000 chickens, chickens would survive. Since they survive as a species, we should ignore the potential impact of a major population decline?
    • No, that's not what it said. It just said that after around 3/4s of it was damaged or killed that it might be slowing. That's still pretty bad, just not quite 'coral is going to go extinct'. As you note, it is unlikely that coral will go extinct, but if its range ends up limited to 1/4 of what it used to be it will certainly be more vulnerable and there will be biosphere effects.
  • by modi123 ( 750470 ) on Tuesday June 20, 2017 @10:30AM (#54654299) Homepage Journal

    I am not a coral-ologist, and the article wasn't much help. Why, or how, did the bleaching stop? Was it something the biologists/oceanographers did to curtail this or did, ah.. uh.. ah.. nature find a way?

  • Bleaching? Like with Clorox?

You mean you didn't *know* she was off making lots of little phone companies?

Working...