About 14% of Coral Reefs Destroyed in Less Than a Decade, Study Shows

A global assessment released on Tuesday has reported that about 14% of the world’s coral reefs were destroyed between 2009 and 2018 due to dynamite fishing, pollution, and mostly global warming.

The report, titled “Status of Coral Reefs of the World: 2020,” evaluated nearly two million data points gathered from 12,000 sites in 73 countries spanning over 40 years. It is the first survey of its kind since 2008 and the sixth global survey of its kind.

The report was released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)  partnering with the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN).

The report found that about 14% of the world’s coral reefs have been lost between 2009 and 2018. This is equivalent to 11,700 sq km of coral an area 2.5 times larger than the size of the Grand Canyon National Park and the equivalent to more than all the living coral in Australia.

“Climate change is the biggest threat to the world’s reefs,” said co-author Paul Hardisty, CEO of the Australian Institute of Marine Science.

The ocean absorbs almost 90% of greenhouse gas emissions to shield land surfaces but it generates huge, long-lasting marine heatwaves that destroy coral species throughout time.


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