Scientific American published this article Major, Worldwide Damage to Corals Seen This Year. In it , SA quotes C. Mark Eakin, who coordinates the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Coral Reef Watch. "2010 has been a major, major year of coral bleaching in all of the oceans around the world." This disaster unfolded over months the article doesn't give a blow by blow account of the thing. I knew there would be reef by reef reports hidden away on the web. so far the list has 15 countries :
many parts of Indonesia
Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary - Texas
The last report is on Nov. 8 The Fiji Times report :
There are cases of coral bleaching in the furthest islands in the Mamanuca Island group. This was revealed last week by the Mamanuca Environmental Societies project manager, Beitani Salusalu.
The first reports began back in May in the Coral Triangle , here's one on it's size posted on Oct 27, 2010.
More than 500 types of coral, living in the so-called coral triangle, are particularly at risk of dying out due to bleaching, according to Andrew Baird of the Australian Center for Coral Studies.
The area covers roughly six million square kilometers (2.3 million square miles) of sea bordering Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands and East Timor.
"The scale is huge," Baird said, adding that the coral triangle and regions around it were undergoing dramatic changes.
The report from Panama posted Oct. 22, 2010 is just as shocking in it's account :
"I've never seen bleaching like [it] in Panama," said Nancy Knowlton, a coral biologist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama who has been studying the local flora for 25 years. She and colleague Hector Guzman have seen massive reefs die in recent weeks in the enclosed lagoon of Bocas del Toro in Panama after becoming coated with giant sheets of slime, the remains of dead microorganisms. "This is NOT a normal condition on reefs, even bleached reefs. Where last year there were healthy corals, this year there was only gray ooze," she wrote in an e-mail.
The Maldives June 13, 2010 -
The Maldives is currently suffering the most serious incidence of coral bleaching since the major 1998 El Niño-event that destroyed most of the country's shallow reef coral.
A Sept 22. 2010 report from Kuwait -
KUWAIT CITY // A group of Kuwaiti divers has reported bleaching in more than 90 per cent of the country's coral reefs - a sign that the coral is either sick or dead. "This is really bad," Dari al Huwail, a member of Kuwait Dive Team, said. "Before Ramadan, it seemed normal; there were signs of bleaching, but they were not unusual, at least to me." After the holy month, "we went diving for a conservation project and were shocked to discover how massive the bleaching was".
The Philippines Sept 24, 2010 -
Monga Bay reports, "The bleaching has been observed at many other sites around the Philippines featuring mass mortality of corals including the coral triangle outside the Philippines. This environmental catastrophe will probably be considered the most damaging bleaching event ever recorded in the Philippines, surpassing the big one of 1998."
A report out of Madagascar Oct. 15, 2010 :
IUCN scientists were part of a recent expedition, Tara Oceans, to investigate coral bleaching on the reefs of Mayotte, an island that lies to the north west of Madagascar. The team found that bleaching here, which was first reported in March this year, is the worst seen in the Indian Ocean.
Seems the coral biologists are all saying the same story , this report is from Asian waters …..
"My colleagues and I have high confidence these successive ocean warming episodes, which exceed the normal tolerance range of warm-water corals, are driven by human-induced global warming," said Dr Baird.
"They underline that the planet is already taking heavy hits from climate change – and will continue to do so unless we can reduce carbon emissions very quickly."
Oct 19, 2010 -Asia's corals in massive die-back
The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)
In May, the WCS sent marine biologists to investigate coral bleaching reported in Aceh — a province of Indonesia — located on the northern tip of the island of Sumatra. The initial survey carried out by the team revealed that more than 60 percent of corals in the area were bleached.
Subsequent monitoring of the Indonesian corals completed in early August revealed one of the most rapid and severe coral mortality events ever recorded. The scientists found that 80 percent of some species have died since the initial assessment, and more colonies are expected to die within the next few months.
The die-off is due to a frighteningly high rise in sea surface temperatures in the Andaman Sea, north of Sumatra. NOAA's Coral Hotspots website records temperatures in the region peaking in late May 2010 at 34 degrees Celsius/93 degrees Fahrenheit. That's 4 degrees C/7 degrees F higher than long-term averages for the area.
Aug. 17 , 2010 - Mass Coral Die-off Triggered by 93-Degree Ocean
Oct 19, 2010 -
Dr Baird has been working in Aceh on the boundary of the Coral Triangle. He says the impact there has been severe.
"What we've seen there is a bleaching event that was caused by hot water back in May and what we've documented is about 80 per cent of the Acropora, which is typically the most predominant coral species... are dead," he said.
Nov. 3, 2010 -
Coral reefs are the most species-rich marine ecosystems on Earth. Despite only comprising about 0.2 percent of the area of the oceans, coral reefs host a quarter of all marine fish species and perhaps 1 to 3 million marine species in total. In economic terms, they provide goods and services estimated up to $375 billion per annum. Around 500 million to 1 billion people rely on coral reefs for food, and 30 million of the world's poorest people in coastal communities depend entirely on reefs as their primary means of food production and livelihood.
More links on this event :
Coral Reef Watch Satellite Monitoring
NOAA Coral Reef Watch - Google Earth plugin
ARKive: Endangered Ocean Species - Google Earth plugin
Stephen Leahy Record Heat Killing Caribbean and Indian Ocean Corals
Extreme Heat Bleaches Coral, and Threat Is Seen
Latest news feed for Coral Bleaching
Caribbean Coral Die-Off Could Be Worst Ever
Coral reefs across Indian Ocean dying