Spatial and temporal patterns of mass bleaching of corals in the Anthropocene

Hughes, Terry and Anderson, Kristen D. and Connolly, Sean R. and Heron, Scott F. and Kerry, James T. and Lough, Janice M. and Baird, Andrew H. and Baum, Julia K. and Berumen, Michael L. and Bridge, Tom C. and Claar, Danielle C. and Eakin, C. Mark and Gilmour, James P. and Graham, Nicholas Anthony James and Harrison, Hugo and Hobbs, Jean-Paul A. and Hoey, Andrew S. and Hoogenboom, Mia and Lowe, Ryan J. and McCulloch, Malcolm and Pandolfi, John M. and Pratchett, Morgan and Schoepf, Verena and Torda, Gergely and Wilson, Shaun K. (2018) Spatial and temporal patterns of mass bleaching of corals in the Anthropocene. Science, 359 (6371). pp. 80-83. ISSN 0036-8075

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Tropical reef systems are transitioning to a new era in which the interval between recurrent bouts of coral bleaching is too short for a full recovery of mature assemblages. We analyzed bleaching records at 100 globally distributed reef locations from 1980 to 2016. The median return time between pairs of severe bleaching events has diminished steadily since 1980 and is now only 6 years. As global warming has progressed, tropical sea surface temperatures are warmer now during current La Niña conditions than they were during El Niño events three decades ago. Consequently, as we transition to the Anthropocene, coral bleaching is occurring more frequently in all El Niño–Southern Oscillation phases, increasing the likelihood of annual bleaching in the coming decades.

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This is the author’s version of the work. It is posted here by permission of the AAAS for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Science 05 Jan 2018: Vol. 359, Issue 6371, pp. 80-83 DOI: 10.1126/science.aan8048 © 2018 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All rights Reserved
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16 Jan 2018 14:40
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29 Apr 2024 23:57