Global Warming Destroys Indian Ocean Surface Coral

Biosystem threatened by rising sea temperatures

| September 26, 2003

Rising sea temperatures have killed 90 percent of surface coral reefs in the Indian Ocean, destroying a complex aquatic biosystem vital to coastal economies and home to thousands of unique organisms, reports Charles Arthur in The Independent. A gradual rise in sea temperature has been peaking on cycles, with the latest peak -- in 1995 -- killing a great deal of coral that has shown little ability to recover. This bodes poorly for the creatures dependent on the reefs for survival. And since the Indian Ocean is home to 16 percent of the world's coral reefs, their protection is considered crucial. Yet as global temperatures steadily rise more coral will likely be killed by the peak. Steven Miller, director of the National Undersea Research Center at the University of North Carolina, said, 'The extra degree or two we'll see towards 2050 will push us over the edge.'
-- Joel Stonington

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