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    Third-ever global coral bleaching event appears to be ending

    By Brett Anderson, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
    6/20/2017, 10:39:59 AM

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    The global coral bleaching event that has been ongoing for the past few years may finally be over, according to NOAA.

    Image courtesy NOAA.

    The third-ever global coral bleaching event that began in 2015 was a result of widespread, unusually high ocean water temperatures.

    Based on analysis of satellite and model data, NOAA's scientists have determined that widespread coral bleaching is no longer occurring in all three ocean basins (Pacific, Atlantic and Indian).

    In the U.S. waters, coral reefs were severely impacted off Florida and Hawaii.

    Unfortunately, additional widespread bleaching events may occur in the near future as ocean temperatures are likely to remain abnormally high in some areas.

    Key excerpts from the NOAA report.....

    “Coral reefs are not beyond help,” said Jennifer Koss, director of the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program. “Many proactive steps to make coral reef ecosystems more resilient are being taken around the world. We are reducing local threats to coral, and are looking into innovative ways to increase coral populations and species that are more resilient to rising ocean temperatures and acidified waters.”

    “This global coral bleaching event has been the most widespread, longest and perhaps the most damaging on record,” said C. Mark Eakin, NOAA’s Coral Reef Watch Coordinator. “NOAA is working with scientists, resource managers and communities around the world to determine what the true impacts of this event will be on coral reefs.”


    Speaking of coral, my daughter Kaitlin, who is a biology major at Penn State has been taking part in a research cruise in the Gulf of Mexico over the past 10 days. The team of scientists are studying the long-term impacts of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill on the deep ocean coral that lives about a mile below the surface of the water in that area. Unfortunately, I just found out that the trip may be cut short due to the tropical system in the Gulf. The research ship was forced to return to port in Louisiana early this morning. I am very proud of my daughter!

    My daughter is the 4th from the right.

    The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com


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    Global climate change