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Posted Sat Jan 3 2009: from Science Daily (US):
Hot Southern Summer Threatens Coral With Massive Bleaching Event
A widespread and severe coral bleaching episode is predicted to cause immense damage to some of the world's most important marine environments over the next few months. A report from the US Government's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts severe bleaching for parts of the Coral Sea, which lies adjacent to Australia's Great Barrier Reef, and the Coral Triangle, a 5.4 million square kilometre expanse of ocean in the Indo-Pacific which is considered the centre of the world's marine life. "This forecast bleaching episode will be caused by increased water temperatures and is the kind of event we can expect on a regular basis if average global temperatures rise above 2 degrees," said Richard Leck, Climate Change Strategy Leader for WWF's Coral Triangle Program.... The bleaching, predicted to occur between now and February, could have a devastating impact on coral reef ecosystems, killing coral and destroying food chains. There would be severe impacts for communities in Australia and the region, who depend on the oceans for their livelihoods.
[Read more stories about: coral bleaching, ecosystem interrelationships, ocean acidification, marine mammals, canary in coal mine]

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