Global warming, which is an increase in the global average atmospheric temperature due to the influx of Carbon Dioxide emission from natural sources, human industry and agriculture. This causes resultant changes in climate, which has started to be experienced at various parts of the globe. As greenhouse gases such as CO2 and methane are emitted into the atmosphere, there is a resultant shield which forms around our Earth; this shield traps heat inside of our atmosphere therefore creating a general warming effect. One of the effects of this warming has been on our oceans and the rise in marine temperatures due to global warming which causes ocean's coral reefs to bleach thereby getting destroyed. This paper examines the impact of global warming on the coral reef bleaching.
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Coral reef ecosystems world-wide have been subject to extraordinary destruction over the past few years. Increase in marine temperatures is one of the causes that disturb the nurturing of the coral reefs (Charles Birkeland, p65). There was reported increase in the frequency of coral reef bleaching events in the 1980s (Glynn P, p176). The widespread bleaching, involving major coral reef regions leads to mass coral death which has caused a worrying trend bearing in mind the importance of the coral reefs.
The Coral species usually live within a relatively narrow temperature range and a sudden drop or increase in the sea temperatures beyond the right survival temperature margins can lead to a resultant coral bleaching which is detrimental to the coral life. Coral bleaching is usually occasionally reported due to elevated se water temperature. A slight increase by about one to two degrees Celsius above the optimal temperature level for corral survival for about five to ten weeks, results to the bleaching of the coral reef and this is exactly what the increased atmospheric temperatures due to global warming are doing to the livelihood of the coral reefs (Jokiel, P. L. and Coles, S. L. p159).
Global warming which is caused by raising atmospheric carbon dioxide causes the level of carbon dioxide dissolution in the surface layers of the oceans and seas to increase ((Ronald, V. C. and Frances, D., p 422). This results in acidifying of the water which causes the slowing down of the rate at which the coral and coral algae can deposit calcium carbonate. The increased level of carbon dioxide also stimulates the growth of the algae which then out-competes the corals (Ronald, V. C. and Frances, D., p 422). Over fishing and nutrients pollution will exacerbate the latter effect (Ronald, V. C. and Frances, D., p 423).
The effects of coral reef bleaching and destruction due to increase in marine temperatures as result of global warming, causes loss of valuable marine wildlife, loss of commercially valuable fish and other species as the nursery areas for their breeding and even livelihood which is the coral reef is destroyed (Ronald, V. C. and Frances, D., p 423).
Coral reef restoration is only possible through addressing impacts that are harmful for the survival of coral reefs (Isabelle, M. Cote and John, D. Reynolds, p27). Because global warming has a vast dimension of impact including its effects on the coral reefs it is therefore necessary for researchers and scientists to increase there efforts and strategies rather than just monitoring and reporting on what happens on the coral reefs. There is need for research aimed at informing management of different sectors whose activities directly or indirectly impacts on global warming which goes further to destroy the coral reef (Marea, E. Hatziolos and Anthony, J. Hooten, p4)