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Biggest Coral Reef Die-Off Due To Climate Change, El Niño

Update Date: Feb 27, 2016 08:09 PM EST

A global coral reef die-off will be the biggest one so far, mainly due to climate change and strong El Niño effects. An event that started in 2014 in the western Pacific Ocean may go on till 2017, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

This die-off is also called coral bleaching, caused by the rising oceanic temperatures, mainly due to climate change in a circumstance called the El Niño. Starting from a basic difference of one degree, and being constant for long durations, the climate change leads to the dying of coral-reefs, as they cannot live in warm temperatures for a longer period.

"We are currently experiencing the longest global coral bleaching event ever observed," said Mark Eakin of the NOAA, according to a press release.

Globally, the coral reef die-off is happening. While the Caribbean and the Florida Keys that had coral reefs bleached in 2015 may die-off this year in July, the bleaching can be seen in Fiji and Southeast Asia regions.

Studies indicate that climate change is leading to a higher level of temperature and pollution, making it difficult for organisms to thrive. Experts simulated 200-year-old ocean conditions in an area close to Australia.

Results showed that coral reefs grew 7 percent faster than would happen today.

"Our work provides the first strong evidence from experiments on a natural ecosystem that ocean acidification is already slowing growth. Ocean acidification is already taking its toll. This is no longer a fear of the future; it is the reality of today," said study leader, Rebecca Albright of the Carnegie Institution of Science.

The die-off of coral reefs is very worrying."If we were to take strong action on the emission issue and we were to take strong action on the non-climate issues such as overfishing and pollution, reefs would rebound by mid to late century," said Hoegh-Guldberg, director of the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland, Australia.

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