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Caribbean reefs are experiencing heat stress sooner than ever this year

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

Illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on The New York Times or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: Heat stress is affecting Caribbean coral reefs earlier than ever this year, marking an unprecedented pattern of surface warming
• The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) highlights that the region is experiencing heat levels typically seen weeks later in the season

🔭 The context: Coral bleaching, driven by stressors like warm ocean temperatures, leads to the loss of symbiotic algae that nourish corals, often resulting in coral death if the stress is prolonged
• This early heat stress follows the fourth global coral bleaching event, which began in 2023

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: Coral reefs are critical to marine biodiversity, supporting a quarter of all marine species and protecting coastlines from storms
• The loss of coral reefs would have profound ecological and economic impacts, exacerbating the consequences of climate change

⏭️ What's next: Scientists are monitoring the potential relief as El Niño conditions fade and La Niña is forecasted to bring cooler temperatures
• However, the current and past bleaching events' impacts on coral mortality are still being assessed

💬 One quote: “I hate that I have to keep using that word ‘unprecedented,’” said Derek Manzello, coordinator of NOAA’s Coral Reef Watch Program. “But, again, we are seeing unprecedented patterns again this year”

📈 One stat: The fourth global bleaching event is the most widespread yet, affecting 60% of reef areas
•The number is even more alarming in the Atlantic Ocean, where 99.7% of reef areas are subjected to bleaching-level heat stress

Click for more news covering the latest on Climate change

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