Updated 11:29 AM EDT, Tue, Jun 16, 2020

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Climate Change Threatens Florida's Pristine Coral Reefs

Florida coral reef

(Photo : REUTERS/HANDOUT) A research diver examines coral off of the Florida Keys.

A new study shows Florida's beautiful coral reefs are under growing threat from climate change and coral bleaching.

A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) study concludes that climate change is going to affect the coral reefs in Florida by stimulating coral bleaching events. Coral bleaching mostly occurs due to warm waters created by climatic changes.

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Coral bleaching is very harmful for corals and sea life situated near the coral reefs. The reef area by the name of Florida's Dry Tortugas was specifically mentioned by NOAA for the threat to it by coral bleaching.

A supercomputer was used to process the information on sea temperatures around areas in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean already identified as vulnerable to bleaching outbreaks. Their findings proved that bleaching will be widespread by mid-century. It also revealed that bleaching might start to show more quickly in some areas than others.

"Our new local-scale projects will help resource managers better understand and plan for the effects of coral bleaching", said study lead author Ruben van Hooidonk.

"At some locations, referred to in our study as 'relative refugia,' lower rates of temperature increase and fewer extreme events mean reefs have more time to adapt to climate change. Managers may decide to use this information to protect these locations as refuges, or protected areas. Or they may take other actions to reduce stressed cause by human activities".

Scientists consider reefs an important early indicator of more serious trouble. They're already on the lookout for corals that do better in inhospitable conditions. They could graft those corals onto threatened colonies to fortify valuable reefs.

The impact of coral bleaching and the destruction of coral reefs in Florida will impact the tourism industry a great deal. There are a large number of scuba divers wanting to view Florida's coral reefs. The danger to the future of coral reefs in Florida is coral bleaching.

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