The coral reefs, an important part of the ecosystem because of its role in sustaining several animal life particularly those of fishes which depend on coral reefs for their protection, reproduction and sustenance, is under attack by the effects of global warming. This paper is focused on writing about the effects of global warming on the coral reefs so that the extent of the damage that global warming caused to the coral reefs, as well as to other life forms and other aspects of the ecosystem, can be ascertained.
Effects of Global Warming on Coral Reefs There are many different ways in which the global warming problem of the planet can affect the coral reefs found in sea and ocean beds in different parts of the planet. One of the effects of global warming to the coral reefs found in the seas and oceans around the world is coral bleaching. The rate of bleaching of the coral reefs continue to increase as the Earths temperature continue to rise, the coral reefs reaction to it is primarily bleaching (Fujita 75).
There were already cases of documented mass coral reef bleaching in the past, but experts believe that the entry of the global warming problem would cause the extension and continuation of the bleaching of the coral reefs because this is how the coral reefs react to the warming temperature in the planet. Global warming would then continue to increase sea temperatures and induce mass coral bleaching (Fujita 75). Warning from Concerned Groups
Because of the available technology that mankind can use, combined with the level of science and technology being used and practiced by many scientists today, it was not impossible that the ill effects of the global warming that was present and illustrative in the changes happening to the coral reefs was something that was already predicted by some scientists. It is something that environmental groups were also talking about even before global warming made its presence truly felt, before the first signs of serious damage to coral reefs was seen and documented.
Rodney Fujita, who authored books about the environment particularly of the ocean, talked about how he and some other scientists forewarned the government and the people about the impact of global warming to the coral reefs during the time when the government had enough time and opportunity to make the impact of global warming less devastating as it is today. Tom Goreau, Jr. , a scrappy and (as it turns out) prescient coral reel ecologist, and I were among the first to warn that coral bleaching was likely to increase if global warming was allowed to proceed.
Environmental Defense, Greenpeace and other environmental groups soon joined the chorus of cautionary voices (Fujita 75). Looking at the situation now, the assessment can be either the government did nothing or what they did was insufficient. Looking at the situation now, there is no doubt that there are many proofs that will testify to the damaging effects of global warming to the coral reefs in the ocean. The sad part of the problem is that during the time when the bleaching effect was just a theory from a group of scientists, no one took it seriously.
Our theory that global warming would result in more extensive coral bleaching was met with disdain by many in the coral reef scientific community (Fujita 75). Today, with the increased problem in bleaching in the coral reefs and the growing problem of global warming, the planet is edging closer and closer to the edge of the dangerous precipice that can ultimately force the state of environment health and stability to plummet towards total disaster. Other Effects to the Coral Reefs by Global Warming
Other scientists and experts believe that aside from the bleaching of coral reefs, there are also other ways in which global warming can impact on the coral reefs, and the prospects are no better than the bleaching effects. Some experts believe that there are global warming effects to which the coral reefs are direct or indirect targets (Oliver 306). Take for example, the characteristic of global warming that influences the drastic change in weather patterns.
Because of global warming, typhoons, hurricanes and cyclones can be stronger and more common than the usual. When this happens, coral reefs are affected because these natural catastrophes also destroy coral reefs. Global warming also leads to other changes in the climate system that can affect reefs. Cyclones (hurricanes, typhoons) can destroy coral reefs (Oliver 306). Another impact of global warming is the rise of sea level.
This can have potentially dangerous effects on coral reefs. There are coral reefs situated near shores. When the sea level rises, the water can drag inside the sea/ocean minerals and other chemical found on land that can be dangerous to the coral reefs especially those situated near the shore where the source would come from. The relatively small rise could affect reefs near land if flooding of the coastal zone releases nutrients and sediments that degrade water quality (Oliver 306).
The coral reefs are also in danger of being exposed to high rate of sedimentation. Because global warming brings about heavy rains, the rain would take earth and other particles from deforested areas and lead it towards seas and the resulting sedimentation is believed to result to something which is not in the best interest of the nearby coral reefs. Increased precipitation on land can lead to greater sedimentation on many reefs, particularly those near deforested areas (Oliver 306).
The acidity of the ocean because of global warming also has an effect on coral reefs, its calcium content which in the long run can make the coral reefs weaker and more fragile than usual. What is important to stress here is that the effect of global warming on coral reefs can also impact humans. It is likely, however, to result in changes to reefs which will adversely affect local communities dependent on reefs for their livelihood (Dipper 421).
Because of this, it is important to put importance on the coral reefs and how to save it from the effects of global warming.
Dipper, Frances. Elements of Marine Ecology. Elsevier Science and Technology Books, 1998. Fujita, Rodney. Heal the Ocean: Solutions for Saving Our Seas. New Society Publishers, 2003. Oliver, John E. The Encyclopedia of World Climatology. Springer-Verlag New York, LLC, 2005.