One of the other big subjects at today's forum in RI: The amazing development of wind.
Thanks to Climate Realty for sharing this with us and you:
In 2003, researchers declared Coral Castles dead.
On the floor of a remote island lagoon halfway between Hawaii and Fiji, the giant reef site had been devastated by unusually warm water. Its remains looked like a pile of drab dinner plates tossed into the sea. Research dives in 2009 and 2012 had shown little improvement in the coral colonies.
Then in 2015, a team of marine biologists was stunned and overjoyed to find Coral Castles, genus Acropora, once again teeming with life. But the rebound came with a big question: Could the enormous and presumably still fragile coral survive what would be the hottest year on record?
This month, the Massachusetts-based research team finished a new exploration of the reefs in the secluded Phoenix Islands, a tiny Pacific archipelago, and were thrilled by what they saw. When they splashed out of an inflatable dinghy to examine Coral Castles closely, they were greeted with a vista of bright greens and purples — unmistakable signs of life.
“Everything looked just magnificent,” said Jan Witting, the expedition’s chief scientist and a researcher at Sea Education Association, based in Woods Hole, Mass.
Global climate change is wreaking havoc on corals worldwide. Coral bleaching has caused extensive damage to regions extending from the Great Barrier Reef to the Caribbean and nearly everywhere in between.
“Threats to tropical coral reefs worldwide have escalated to a level that imperils the survival of these complex, diverse and beautiful ecosystems,” Janice M. Lough, an Australian researcher, wrote in a February opinion piece in Nature.
Coral can be severely damaged by rising water temperatures, which cause acidification, as well as by pollution and human activity like tourism, fishing and shipping – prompting some governments to restrict such activities.
If Coral Castles can continue to revive after years of apparent lifelessness, even as water temperatures rise, there might be hope for other reefs with similar damage, said another team member, Randi Rotjan, a research scientist who led and tracked the Phoenix Islands expedition from her base at the New England Aquarium in Boston.