The process of coral bleaching is triggered by warm ocean water. Here, a turtle swims over bleached coral at Heron Island on the Great Barrier Reef. (XL Catlin Seaview Survey via Agence France-Presse)
An ongoing global coral bleaching event, one that’s affected more than 70 percent of tropical reefs worldwide, may finally be coming to a close. A new forecast from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration suggests that the high ocean temperatures that lead to bleaching are no longer widespread in the Indian Ocean, potentially signaling the end of what’s been a worldwide event for the past three years.
Still, “that’s not to say that all coral reefs are in the clear and none of them are experiencing bleaching anymore,” said Jennifer Koss, director of NOAA’s coral reef conservation program. There’s still ongoing heat stress in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, meaning corals in these parts of the world — …
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