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Half of all coral reefs could face permanent effects of climate change

coral-papahanaumokuakea_NOAA.jpeg
NOAA
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Half of the world’s coral reefs could no longer be suitable for marine life by 2035.

That’s according to the latest University of Hawaiʻi research looking into the worst-case scenarios of climate change on reef ecosystems.

Using various climate change models, researchers predict reefs have more time if they face only one type of stressor such as higher sea surface temperatures.

But that timeline is significantly shortened when multiple stressors are occurring in reefs throughout the world.

"Of course, we already know there are multiple stressors that are impacting coral reefs ranging from sea surface temperature to acidification to tropical storms. And all of these things combined are resulting in us realizing that the timeline that’s left for coral reefs is really short," said Renee Setter, the study’s lead author.

UH researchers are preparing to take a closer look at how climate change is projected to impact individual coral species.

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