Local-scale projections of coral reef futures and implications of the Paris Agreement

Van Hooidonk, Ruben, Maynard, Jeffrey, Tamelander, Jerker, Gove, Jamison, Raymundo, Laurie, Ahmadia, Gabby, Williams, Gareth, Heron, Scott F., and Planes, Serge (2016) Local-scale projections of coral reef futures and implications of the Paris Agreement. Scientific Reports, 6 (39666). pp. 1-8.

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Abstract

Increasingly frequent severe coral bleaching is among the greatest threats to coral reefs posed by climate change. Global climate models (GCMs) project great spatial variation in the timing of annual severe bleaching (ASB) conditions; a point at which reefs are certain to change and recovery will be limited. However, previous model-resolution projections (∼1 × 1°) are too coarse to inform conservation planning. To meet the need for higher-resolution projections, we generated statistically downscaled projections (4-km resolution) for all coral reefs; these projections reveal high local-scale variation in ASB. Timing of ASB varies >10 years in 71 of the 87 countries and territories with ≥500 km2 of reef area. Emissions scenario RCP4.5 represents lower emissions mid-century than will eventuate if pledges made following the 2015 Paris Climate Change Conference (COP21) become reality. These pledges do little to provide reefs with more time to adapt and acclimate prior to severe bleaching conditions occurring annually. RCP4.5 adds 11 years to the global average ASB timing when compared to RCP8.5; however, >75% of reefs still experience ASB before 2070 under RCP4.5. Coral reef futures clearly vary greatly among and within countries, indicating the projections warrant consideration in most reef areas during conservation and management planning.

Item ID: 49110
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2045-2322
Keywords: climate-change ecology, projection and prediction
Additional Information:

© The Author(s) 2016. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Funders: NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program, USGS, University of Miami (UM), UNEP, Total Foundation (TF), World Wildlife Fund (WWF), National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Coral Reef Conservation Fund, European Research Council (ERC)
Projects and Grants: ERC Marie Curie Actions
Date Deposited: 13 Jun 2017 00:11
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050101 Ecological Impacts of Climate Change @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960303 Climate Change Models @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960507 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments @ 50%
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