A new study shows that coral bleaching could become a normal thing by 2050 due to rising temperatures. Researchers have once again found new bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef.
According to the researchers, if the current emissions are not decreased, then high temperatures like the ones experienced last year, will become very common. According to lead researcher Andrew King, a climate scientist from the University of Melbourne, the temperatures of 2030 have a 70 percent chance of being as high as the temperatures of March 2016. In 20150, the chance is 97 percent.
“Beyond that [the 2016 temperatures] become much cooler than average, to the point that by the late 21st century an event like 2016 would actually be remarkably cold,” King adds, the ABC reports. King adds that Australia is not reducing its greenhouse gas emissions close to what was agreed during the Paris Agreement. Still, reducing emissions could still improve the dark future the corals have.
“If we do take action, we do have some positive influence that results in a reduced chance of bleaching later in the 21st century, relative to if we don’t do anything at all,” the researcher said. While world leaders only agreed to limit global warming by two degrees, King said that everyone should be working harder. Australia should also work harder and put more effort than any countries.
“We need to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and we need to make policies that are conducive to that — we need to shift away from power sources like coal … towards renewable energy,” states King. “[Emissions] would need to drop quite rapidly in the next few years in order to have any chance of achieving the RCP 2.6 scenario or indeed the Paris goals of limiting warming to 1.5 or even 2 degrees Celsius.”
In another study, researchers have revealed that the unusually warm sea temperatures could cause another coral bleaching. These temperatures could also affect the corals in Sydney.
“Currently we’re seeing abnormal, widespread but relatively modest levels of bleaching,” explains Terry Hughes, the director of the ARC Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies. “We’ll know in a week or two if another major event is unfolding.”
The research team believes that the temperatures will not peak until March. So the corals’ safety largely depends on the tropical cyclone that will cool the water temperatures down. Or there could be more heat waves that will make things worse.