Scientists launch tool to detect bleaching of coral reefs in near real time

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Scientists have launched a world-first system to detect in almost real time the bleaching of the planet’s coral reefs that are under severe threat from global heating. The developers of the new tool, which has been four years in the making, claim it can allow anyone to check if reefs known to be under heat stress have actually started to bleach. Coral reefs that support the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people and are home to about a quarter of all ocean species are one of the ecosystems most threatened by global heating. The United Nations’ climate assessment says coral reefs are projected to decline by between 70% and 90% even if global warming is kept to 1.5C. Mass bleaching events, which are becoming more frequent , can weaken corals or, in severe cases, kill them off over large areas. The new tool, funded by Vulcan Inc, the company founded by the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen , could reveal the full extent of bleaching worldwide and also reveal spots where corals are surviving. Currently, US government agency the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration makes predictions about the likelihood of bleaching across the world using models and sea […]

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