Increasing thermal stress for tropical coral reefs: 1871-2017

Lough, J.M., Anderson, K.D., and Hughes, T.P. (2018) Increasing thermal stress for tropical coral reefs: 1871-2017. Scientific Reports, 8. 6079. pp. 1-8.

[img]
Preview
PDF (Published Version) - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (1MB) | Preview
View at Publisher Website: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-24530...
 
19
41


Abstract

Tropical corals live close to their upper thermal limit making them vulnerable to unusually warm summer sea temperatures. The resulting thermal stress can lead to breakdown of the coral-algal symbiosis, essential for the functioning of reefs, and cause coral bleaching. Mass coral bleaching is a modern phenomenon associated with increases in reef temperatures due to recent global warming. Widespread bleaching has typically occurred during El Nino events. We examine the historical level of stress for 100 coral reef locations with robust bleaching histories. The level of thermal stress (based on a degree heating month index, DHMI) at these locations during the 2015-2016 El Nino was unprecedented over the period 1871-2017 and exceeded that of the strong 1997-1998 El Nino. The DHMI was also 5 times the level of thermal stress associated with the 'pre-industrial', 1877-1878, El Nino. Coral reefs have, therefore, already shown their vulnerability to the modest (similar to 0.92 degrees C) global warming that has occurred to date. Estimates of future levels of thermal stress suggest that even the optimistic 1.5 degrees C Paris Agreement target is insufficient to prevent more frequent mass bleaching events for the world's reefs. Effectively, reefs of the future will not be the same as those of the past.

Item ID: 53446
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2045-2322
Copyright Information: © The Author(s) 2018. Open Access. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Funders: Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (CECRS)
Date Deposited: 03 May 2018 12:10
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050101 Ecological Impacts of Climate Change @ 50%
04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0401 Atmospheric Sciences > 040105 Climatology (excl Climate Change Processes) @ 25%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 25%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9602 Atmosphere and Weather > 960299 Atmosphere and Weather not elsewhere classified @ 25%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960399 Climate and Climate Change not elsewhere classified @ 75%
Downloads: Total: 41
Last 12 Months: 19
More Statistics

Actions (Repository Staff Only)

Item Control Page Item Control Page