Sunday, December 23, 2007

Coral Reef Has Just 50 Years Left

Imagine planning the tropical dive trip of a lifetime, putting on your scuba gear or goggles, snorkel and awkward flippers, grabbing the underwater camera in hopes of catching something exotic swimming by. Then splash, as you dive in expecting to find gorgeous coral reefs, instead its a barren watery wasteland. That is the coming attraction horror of the coral reef nearest you in just fifty years according to almost twenty premier marine scientists. Humans are casting so much carbon dioxide, or CO2, into the atmosphere warming everything, destruction, especially the oceans is a foregone conclusion. Coral reefs are an ecological must-have to replenish oceans and make earth a livable planet. Its fundamental to ocean survival.

This is a scientific take on three phases of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. First frame is now, second one is after just one degree rise in ocean temperature and the third is Oceanic Armageddon if the water temp rises another degree. Coral reef destruction will take fifty years, tops and that includes the magnificent array of 27,000 square kilometers of reef in The Philippines. (photo courtesy CRTR)

The faster the carbon dioxide gets into the atmosphere the bigger the increases the amount of acidification in the ocean. Acidification affects every marine animal and increases the amount of calcerous skeletons slowly taking over, like kudzu on land, making thriving areas marine ghost coasts no one will visit. The fish and other sea creatures choke as breathing becomes impossible. Coral diseases and bleaching are becoming more prevalent. Overfishing in certain areas is upsetting the balance needed to maintain the ecosystem. The health of the ocean can be gaged by the condition the coral reefs are in.

"It's vital that the public understands that the lack of sustainability in the world's carbon emissions is causing the rapid loss of coral reefs, the world's most biodiverse marine ecosystem," said Drew Harvell, Cornell professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and head of the Coral Disease Research Team, which is part of the international Coral Reef Targeted Research (CRTR) group that wrote the new study.

The rise of carbon dioxide emissions and the resultant climate warming from the burning of fossil fuels are making oceans warmer and more acidic, said co-author Harvell, which is triggering widespread coral disease and stifling coral growth toward "a tipping point for functional collapse."

Global Warming is an Earth emergency with catastrophic effects felt by people who were born in the last year may be the last generation to see the Earth in its present condition. Joshua, May your second birthday and your fiftieth be the Best with a world awash in thriving Oceans for you to visit in Peace. Most Happiest of First Years, Observant One.

Over in the Ocean: The Coral Reef is a widely acclaimed children's book introducing the beauty of the reefs with imaginative verses. Marianne Berks is the author with Jeanette Canyon providing the great illustrations.

No comments: