How Some Coral Reefs Will Survive Climate Change
The news about the world’s oceans seems to be unrelentingly bad—predictions of terrifying sea-level rise, increasing acidification that threatens to wipe out the phytoplankton that supports nearly all marine life, and starving whales.
Now, a new study offers hope that some coral reefs will survive rising temperatures and oceans. As water temperatures increase and the oceans become more acidic, coral reefs around the world are dying. Others face death by drowning as sea levels rise. But scientists studying coral reefs surrounding Palau, an archipelago in the western Pacific Ocean, have found that they are managing to grow at a rate that keeps pace with sea-level rise. As long as sea-level and temperature increases remain moderate, the coral reefs, also called micro atolls, are likely to survive until the end of the 21st century, the researchers concluded.