BEACON TRANSCRIPT – The world had to face the longest coral bleaching event which ever occurred, but the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) happily announced it ended. However, not all corals are safe. The reefs in Guam, for instance, are still incredibly vulnerable.
The massive coral bleaching event is over
This coral bleaching event started in 2015, and affected more than 70 percent of the reefs in the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans. This was the third time when such an event took place in the world but, this time, corals had to face the highest temperatures, which led to their bleaching. Fortunately, on June 19th, NOAA announced this period was over.
Coral reefs in the US were not safe either. Those near Hawaii and Florida suffered a two-year period of bleaching, those near the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands a three-year period, while those in Guam suffered the most, for a four-year period.
Guam remains vulnerable
Experts observed how bleaching in the Indian Ocean is slowly coming to an end. Despite this, Guam corals continue to be in danger. NOAA is monitoring them, and announced they might enter in a Level One Alert in five to eight weeks. This type of alert means that the corals are at a high risk of bleaching.
Corals in Guam suffered quite a lot over the past four years. In 2013, around 85 percent of the reefs were affected by coral bleaching, and most of them died in 2014. In 2015, low tides damaged the remaining corals, which are still likely to suffer more bleaching.
Low tides, together with increasing water temperatures and hot weather, contribute to bleaching, which consists of the expelling of algae and the fading of color. Usually, corals can recover, but they still remain sensitive. However, the constantly high temperatures lead to constant bleaching, so the reefs don’t have time to recover.
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