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‘Unprecedented mass coral bleaching’ expected in 2024, says Australian scientist

According to the pioneering coral scientist, Prof Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, from the University of Queensland, Australia, record-breaking land and sea temperatures, driven by climate breakdown, will probably cause “unprecedented mass coral bleaching and mortality” throughout 2024.

The upper ocean is undergoing unmatched changes in conditions, ecosystems and communities that can be traced back to the 1980s, when mass coral bleaching first appeared, ocean scientists say.

In a paper published in the journal Science, US and Australian researchers say that historical data on sea surface temperatures, over four decades, suggests that this year’s extreme marine heatwaves may be a precursor to a mass bleaching and coral mortality event across the Indo-Pacific in 2024-25.

Mass coral bleaching happens when delicate corals become stressed due to factors including heat, causing them to lose their brown microbial algae, turning them white. 

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