The third recorded global coral bleaching event may be underway.
"Coral reefs around the world — from Hawaii to the iconic Great Barrier Reef, eastward all the way to the Bahamas and beyond — are in jeopardy of being severely damaged or even dying because of a dangerous spike in ocean temperatures, scientists say.
"Conditions are so dire that, provided coral bleaching soon spreads from the Florida Keys to the Bahamas, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is expected to declare as soon as two weeks from now that the third global coral bleaching event is here. There’s already evidence of coral bleaching in three major ocean basins.
“ 'It’s like watching a slow-motion train wreck, and we’re waiting for the cars to pile up on this side of the track,' says Mark Eakin, the coordinator of NOAA’s Coral Reef Watch, in an interview with Mashable."
NOAA to "declare [a bleaching event] as soon as two weeks from now" and "already evidence of coral bleaching in the three major ocean basins" means the current El Nino, as strong and monstrous as it is, cannot cool down the oceans soon enough to avoid this event. The article also states that "many coral reefs expected to perish by the middle of the century if recent trends continue." which means (1) we need Peak Oil on purpose, now, reducing energy use and switching to renewables, and (2) even if we reduce our emissions to zero, the 405 ppm CO2 and the 480 ppm CO2e means we will still have these global warming trends continuing for as long as forty years, or more, until the ice, oceans and atmosphere finally reached equilibrium.
There is a new study out that shows information can be extracted from samples of coral reefs to determine what the paleoclimatic record, i.e., the prehistoric climate, was like.
From Science Daily via Colorado Bob at Robertscribbler:
Fossil corals have the unique advantage that they can be precisely dated by radiometric uranium-series dating, giving an age scale that can be directly compared to the ice core records.And, now scientists have discovered another effect of global warming which is an amplifying of semiannual to twice-annual variation in Pacific Ocean sea level, perhaps in both amplitude and frequency, causing South Seas' islands' coral reefs to become exposed to the air and die back as a result.
Also from Science Daily via Colorado Bob at Robertscribbler:
During El Niño, warm water and high sea levels shift eastward, leaving in their wake low sea levels in the western Pacific. Scientists have already shown that this east-west seesaw is often followed six months to a year later by a similar north-south sea level seesaw with water levels dropping by up to one foot (30 cm) in the Southern Hemisphere. Such sea level drops expose shallow marine ecosystems in South Pacific Islands, causing massive coral die-offs with a foul smelling tide called taimasa (pronounced [kai' ma'sa]) by Samoans.Which means there will be more catastrophic diebacks of the coral reefs. Better start transplanting them now. Peak Oil will not stop this.