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The Extent of Global Coral Bleaching Events


This article is published in collaboration with Statista

by Martin Armstrong


As described in the newly published State of the Oceans 2024 report - a collaboration between Statista and the German Ocean Foundation - a global warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius "threatens to destroy 70 to 90 percent of coral reefs, and a two-degree Celsius increase might completely wipe them out."


Despite covering less than one percent of the sea floor, coral reefs provide shelter to more than 25 percent of marine species. Warming caused by climate change, overfishing, unsustainable coastal development, and declining water quality affects the proliferation of such vital ecosystems.


As illustrated by this infographic, even at current levels of warming, large-scale coral bleaching events are becoming more common and severe. In April this year, the fourth global coral bleaching event was confirmed, with fears that it might become the largest on record, The event has been confirmed in all oceans where warm water coral reefs grow (Pacific, Atlantic, Indian) and is affecting at least 62 countries and territories such as Australia, the U.S., Mexico and Tanzania.


As covered in the report, coral reefs can recover from bleaching events. However "the increasing frequency of these events impede the proper recovery of coral colonies, eventually causing the reef structure to collapse."


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