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Heatwaves kill coral reefs much faster than expected



SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) – Marine heatwaves kill coral reefs far faster than previously thought. This emerges from a new study, which was released on Friday.

Scientists know that rising sea temperatures due to global warming can severely damage reefs through a "bleaching process" in which the high temperatures cover the colorful algae and nourish the corals. Those who hit the Great in 2016 and 2017 Barrier Reef in Australia can kill the corals in a process that lasts months or years.

When the sea temperature drops, bleached coral can regenerate.

But the new study has found that out Strong marine heat waves can actually affect the skeletal structure of the coral and potentially kill the organisms within days or weeks.

"The severity of these heatwave events is beyond the bleaching process, it is actually a point where the coral animal itself is dying," said Tracy Ainsworth, co-author of the University of New South Wales study. Researchers at the University of Newcastle in Brita also participated in the study. Australian researchers James Cook University, the University of Technology Sydney and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration carried out CT investigations of coral reefs to assess the effects of extreme temperatures monitor.

Scott Heron of James Cook University said that corals quickly disintegrate skeletons after heavy heat waves were a surprise.

"Climatologists speak of" unknown unknowns "- effects that we did not expect from our existing knowledge and experience," he said.

"This discovery fits in with this category, and as we begin to understand this influence, how many more of these unknown unknowns could still exist that could damage the coral reefs due to climate change? faster and bigger damage, "he said.

Coral Bleaching in 201

6 -2017 affected up to half of the coral in the 2,300-kilometer-long reef, a UNESCO World Heritage Site off the Australian East Coast.

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