– Caribbean coral suffers record die-off – Mar 31, 2006

More from the global warming drumbeat, which has by now reached tipping point proportions. I was trying a few months back to predict when global warming would become a “story” in this country, something to be reported on, rather than a “debate”, I guessed middle of the year, well, I think it arrived in March with Time and Newsweek covers, and personally with at least two friends asking me about it. News coverage of climate change has changed completely in the last few months as observations catch up with the modeling, as they do most of the time. But  people like to see proof, not model simulations which can always be explained away, well, here’s more proof… – Caribbean coral suffers record die-off – Mar 31, 2006
The Caribbean is actually better off than areas of the Indian and Pacific ocean where mortality rates — mostly from warming waters — have been in the 90 percent range in past years, said Tom Goreau of the Global Coral Reef Alliance. Goreau called what’s happening worldwide “an underwater holocaust.”

And with global warming, scientists are pessimistic about the future of coral reefs.

“The prognosis is not good,” said biochemistry professor M. James Crabbe of the University of Luton near London. In early April, he will investigate coral reef mortality in Jamaica. “If you want to see a coral reef, go now, because they just won’t survive in their current state.”

For the Caribbean, it all started with hot sea temperatures, first in Panama in the spring and early summer, and it got worse from there.

New NOAA sea surface temperature figures show the sustained heating in the Caribbean last summer and fall was by far the worst in 21 years of satellite monitoring, Eakin said.

“The 2005 event is bigger than all the previous 20 years combined,” he said.

What happened in the Caribbean would be the equivalent of every city in the United States recording a record high temperature at the same time, Eakin said. And it remained hot for weeks, even months, stressing the coral.

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