The temperature on the Earth has increased and led to mass coral bleaching events. Corals cannot survive the severity of prolonged bleaching events. This is a major threat to the survival of corals. Global warming impacts every human, plant, animal, ocean, and atmosphere level on our planet Earth. Major stress that contributes to the white and lifeless appearance of coral is climate change. Though occupying less than 0.1% of the world oceanic area, yet they are home to nearly 25% of oceanic species including fish, worms, mollusks, echinoderms, tunicates, and others. Coral Reefs are highly sensitive to temperature variations and even a small variation in temperature threatens their existence.
Long and Short Essay on Effects of Global Warming on Coral Reefs
Essay on Coral Reef Destruction (300 words)
Coral reefs have survived thousands of years adapting natural change in climate but may not be able to survive the extreme climate temperatures. Around twenty-five percent of coral reefs worldwide are damaged and are beyond repair and the other two-thirds are under serious threat.
Coral reef destruction refers to the potential mass death and degradation of the ocean corals. There are many causes of coral destruction such as pollution, illegal fishing tricks, hurricanes, earthquakes, and the main reason is climate change that is responsible for warmer ocean temperatures. Climate change is majorly responsible for the death of nearly half of the great barrier coral reefs.
Corals are living organisms and just like any other plant or animal species, corals can get weak, ill and die. Corals cannot survive the extreme water temperature which causes them to expel the microorganisms inside of them that give them their colors.
Factors Responsible for Damage Caused to Coral Reefs
- Bleaching is the result of low tide, pollution and the factor majorly responsible for coral bleaching is global warming. The severity and frequency of bleaching may further increase in the future. Such bleaching events will severely damage the already stressed coral reefs and coral ecosystem. The corals become fragile and vulnerable to disease and may die if they are subjected to prolonged stress.
- Plastics and other waste products are thrown in water can get to the nooks of the reef and corals can often die due to this.
- Increased tourism is also the reason for the destruction of coral reefs. Boats and ships used for recreational activities cause damage to coral reefs. Other tourist activities like snorkeling; diving may accidentally cause damage to the sensitive reefs.
- Marine sediment is composed of insoluble particles transported to the ocean from the land areas. Human settlements and other activities like agriculture, construction and mining can contribute to the number of particles washed off into the sea. The sediments can suffocate the coral reefs and deprive them of nutrients and sunlight and hamper the growth of life.
Thus, there are various factors responsible for coral reef destruction. The massive and blatant degradation of coral reefs is something that we can no longer ignore. Stern measures need to be taken to prevent further degradation.
Essay on how does Global Warming affects Coral Reefs (400 words)
Global warming is the constant rise in the temperature of the earth’s climate. The climate on earth and in the oceans is warming mainly due to the greenhouse gases released in the atmosphere due to human activities.
Coral Reef Deterioration
Coral reefs complex structures are the hub of activity, biodiversity-rich ecosystems. Their presence is vital for the survival of various marine species. But global warming causes the temperature of the oceans to rise and the carbon dioxide levels are parting or killing the algae that keep the corals colorful and healthy. It is also causing coral bleaching. Coral reef ecosystems are threatened by the number of stressors such as coastal development, overfishing and coral bleaching. Over the decades global warming with other stressors has resulted in degradation of coral reef ecosystems worldwide.
The stone-like structures of hard corals are composed of calcium carbonate and are reef-building corals. The calcium substance is also found in shells such as clams, oysters and snails. Corals in the seawater need calcium to build their hard skeleton. Research has shown that there is a 52-73% deterioration in the larval settlement on reefs suffering low pH levels. The latest studies reveal that world heritage reefs will die of rising temperature stress if global warming is not curbed.
An increase in ocean temperature due to global warming has increased the severity of coral bleaching which causes more coral diseases in response to warming seas. Coral reefs such as staghorn are more sensitive and are seriously affected by coral bleaching events.
The coral reef ecosystem is affected by a rise in sea levels due to global warming. Ocean acidification poses a direct impact and greater risk on the coral reef ecosystem. An increase in salinity at the tropical levels is constant with the intensification of the global hydrological cycle. There are changes in rainfall and storm intensity and frequency which also impacts the coastal water quality. The intense storm systems and rise in sea levels increase the amount of force exercised by waves on coastal areas which impact coastal infrastructure and coral ecosystems, sea beds, and mangroves.
The pace and scale of chemical and physical changes occurring in the oceans due to global warming are resulting in a range of fundamental responses in marine ecosystems and organisms. Coral reefs are increasingly being dominated by temperature stresses. Just like humans cannot tolerate excessive and prolonged stress even coral reefs cannot. The impact of global warming on humans and corals is already severe and thus the emission of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has to be controlled to prevent further damage.
Essay on Rising Temperatures and Impacts on Coral Reefs (500 words)
Rising ocean temperatures due to global warming are affecting great barrier coral reef and may significantly affect the whole ecosystem. Temperature plays an important role in influencing the distribution and diversity of sea life. It is crucial to coral reef-building and controlling its growth.
Like various marine creatures, coral reefs have also grown and adapted to the limited temperature rates. When the temperature exceeds the normal temperature, the thermal stress causes them to evict the algae within their tissues. This causes coral bleaching and with constant stress, the corals may in due course starve and die.
Given below are the Impacts of Rising Temperature on Coral Reefs:
- The rise in temperature of the ocean increases the severity and frequency of coral bleaching events. Warming seas also result in increasing coral diseases.
- Catastrophic ice melting due to rising ocean temperatures may increase the global sea levels which may greatly affect coral reefs. The rising sea levels may cause increased coral sedimentation due to an increase in shoreline erosion which would damage coral reefs.
- Tropical storms may severely affect and damage the coral reef ecosystems by causing significant damage to the reef structure and increasing runoff from the land leading to an increase in sedimentation.
- Ocean currents get affected by the change in temperature, wind, rainfall, and salinity due to global warming. It can affect the temperature routines, movement of larvae and transport of toxins that negatively affect thermally sensitive species such as coral reefs.
- Bleached corals are likely to increase vulnerability to diseases, elevate mortality rates, reduce growth rates, and decrease reproductive ability. Changes in coral communities affect the species that depend on them for food, shelter, and habitat. When corals die due to coral bleaching there is a change in coral community composition. There may also be a decline in the diversity of species when corals die.
- Ocean acidification adversely affects the rate at which corals calcify. This leads coral societies to become brittle and less resistant to the factors affecting their survival. Chemical pollutants in the oceans make coral habitat scarce and less appropriate. Sometimes when the coral dies it is replaced by non-calcifying organisms.
- Climate change may raise the disturbance regime of coral reefs, and the destiny of the coral reef ecosystem will ultimately be determined by their potential of recovery and resilience.
Ways to Prevent Destruction of Coral Reefs
Here’s how we can help reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to stop further deterioration of coral reefs:
- Reduce, recycle or reuse.
- Drive less, use public transport or share transport frequently.
- Use energy-efficient bulbs and appliances.
- Print less as much as possible and download instead.
- Do not throw away household waste and chemicals in drains.
- Volunteer for beach and seaside cleanups.
The rising temperature is a major threat to coral reefs and marine life. The severity will result in rising sea levels, frequent flooding, and storms that will not only damage the coral reef system but entire marine life. There is a serious need to control the rising temperature as it has already caused major destruction of coral reefs. Protecting oceans as a whole is vital to help corals maintain resiliency in case of a threat in the future.
Long Essay on Effects of Global Warming on Coral Reefs around the World (600 words)
Global warming is referred to as a rise in the average temperature of the climate on planet Earth. The emission of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is warming the temperature of the earth. This causes the temperature of the oceans to rise which impacts coral reefs.
Coral reefs harbor the largest biodiversity of the marine ecosystem globally and support around five hundred million people across the world. They comprise more than a quarter of aquatic species. Reefs provide a wide range of services such as food, support to the tourism industry and protection from floods. The disappearance of coral reefs will have adverse economic, health and social consequences.
Ecologically coral reefs undersea are as important as trees on the land and are vital for the well-being of the oceans. Through the process of photosynthesis carried out by their algae, corals serve as the most important contribution of food in the tropical marine food chains. The reefs provide shelter to 25% fish life in the oceans and around 2 million marine species. If the trees undersea are eliminated due to coral bleaching then everything that depends on them for survival may get eliminated gradually.
Effects of Global Warming on Coral Reefs Worldwide
Coral reef ecosystem is one of the most threatened ecosystems on earth, majorly due to climate change and global warming, combined with natural pressures. Coral reefs are the warning signs of what may happen to the less sensitive river systems such as deltas if the global warming issue is not addressed. If the temperature is not controlled the degradation may pass to other systems as well and may cascade irreversibly at rapid speed.
Over the past few years, coral reefs worldwide have suffered from massive and frequent coral bleaching events as a result of the rise in global temperature. Greenhouse gas emission in the atmosphere has caused an increase in global surface temperature. This has led to frequent coral bleaching events turning corals white. If the corals are bleached for a long period of time then they may eventually die. Great barrier coral reef in Australia and the Hawaiian Islands in the US have gone through worst bleaching on record with destructive effects. Statistics reveal that the bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef killed around 50% of its corals in 2016 and 2017.
Not only the Great Barrier Reef, but there has been vast damage to the corals around the world in various oceans. Events of extremely intense warming are also occurring. El Nino takes place at times when ocean temperature rises gradually. This type of event mostly occurs when hot water is concentrated in the center of the Pacific Ocean. There has been a sharp rise in the temperature of the water of the Indian Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. In the western part of the Indian oceans, 50% of corals have vanished.
The problem is that corals cannot survive the intensity and frequency of bleaching events from global warming. And if the global surface temperature continues to rise the condition will get worse in the future. As per UNESCO, if we continue to emit greenhouse gases in the atmosphere as usual scenario, coral reefs in 29-reef containing sites worldwide may get extinct by the end of the century.
Needless to say, that the extinction of coral reefs has adverse consequences on the total ecosystem. Limiting average temperature around the world below 2⁰C provides the only chance for preserving coral reefs worldwide. Addressing issues such as local pollution and fishing practices is also important. Economic systems need to speedily move towards circular economic systems and low greenhouse gas emission scenarios to decrease the effects of global warming. Sustaining coral reefs is important and investments should be made for their maintenance and preservation.