Some of the world’s most vulnerable coral reefs are turning white because of a rise in ocean temperatures, divers and scientists reported yesterday.
The effect, known as bleaching, happens when colorful algae that normally cling to coral reefs die away because of a change in temperature of the water. Once bleaching begins, it tends to continue even without the continuing stress of temperature fluctuations.
The phenomenon has been reported across the Indian and Pacific oceans and in Southeast Asia.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Coral Reef Watch said the bleaching was the worst since 1998, when an estimated 16 percent of the world’s coral reefs was destroyed.