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Global warming and its effect on coral reefs

Global warming is the rise of average temperature of Earth’s near surface air, seas and oceans since mid 20th century and there is a projected continuation. Global warming has damaged world finest coral reefs which were previously assumed. Global warming leads to temperature rise in sea and water acidification affecting coral reefs and fish communities. With ongoing climate change large sections of coral reefs and marine life will be wiped out (Hansen, 180).

Global warming is raising sea and ocean surface temperature increasing to unprecedented and sustained levels killing great percentage of coral reefs and fish communities. According to research, there is devastating effect of global warming to coral reefs which is unable to reseed and recover. Not only coral reefs but also fish communities especially the smaller fish have reduced in number quickly than larger species causing a lasting effect on food chain (Hansen, 14293).

Rise in sea temperature results in coral bleaching due to loss of symbiotic zooxantheallae and reduction in photosynthetic pigment within scleractinian corals. Natural and various anthropogenic variations in reef environment like sea temperature rise, sedimentation, inorganic nutrients and xenobiotics resulting leads to coral bleaching (Hoegh-Gudberg, 128). The normal temperature for coral reefs is relatively narrow. Anomalously high and low sea temperatures induce coral bleaching.

Sudden temperature decrease with intense episodes of upwelling and seasonal cold-air outbreaks results in coral bleaching (Lean). With continuous climate change seas and oceans will gradually turn more and more acidic thus coral reefs and fish communities on which all life depends will die off. This happens because of absorption of carbon dioxide forming a dilute carbonic acid attacking corals and shells resulting to their death. Increased atmospheric carbon dioxide increases amount of carbon dioxide leading to acidification.

Coral reefs and fish communities are adapted to narrow range of pH thus being affected by rise or decrease in water acidity due to rise and decrease in carbon dioxide being absorbed (Solomon, 1704). Global warming is an alarming problem which requires mitigation measures to reduce and avoid further effects. Change in sea temperature results to coral bleaching and wide spread mortality unless there is adaptation or acclimatization by corals. Reduction in emission of greenhouse gases through Kyoto protocol is being encouraged.

Individual action and business action against global warming should be focused to stop this problem by adapting alternative energy sources will help in stopping the problem (Pearson and Palmer, 696). Geoengineering which involves removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere through carbon sequestration of air capture and management of solar radiation to reduce incoming solar radiation will check on temperature increase thus preventing temperature rise in sea (Fleming, 47). People should be encouraged to use alternative sources of energy which are environmentally friendly such as solar energy.

Communities should be encouraged to plant more trees to act as carbon sinks reducing the amount of carbon dioxide being absorbed in water thus no acidification (Kriz, 19). If the government and individual actions are not take to counter this problem the next generation will not grow up to see beautiful and healthy coral reefs and many fish species. Increase on sea temperatures from continuous global warming will cause a steady bleaching with increased frequency and intensity. This will cause adverse damage to the ecosystem and biodiversity in which coral reefs and fish communities will come to extinction.

Human life will also be affected since effect on marine life affects food chain (Hollander, 22). Economic development of a country will also be affected. Not only coral reefs and marine life are affected but also other economic aspects like fishing and farming due to climate change are affected. Through coral bleaching and water acidification much of ocean life will become extinct if no measures are taken (McMichael, et. al, 860). In conclusion, global warming resulting from climate change has devastating effects to coral reefs and fish communities.

Through temperature rise and ocean acidification, there is coral bleaching and increase or decrease of water pH affecting marine life. Measures to mitigate this problem has been adopted not only by government and private agencies but also by individuals failure to which more devastating and long life impacts will be experienced. Works Cited Fleming James, “The Climate Engineers: Global Warming,” The Wilson Quarterly, Vol. 3, No. 2, 2004, p. 46-55 Hansen James, “Climate Change: Understanding Global Warming,” One World: The Survival of Plant and Animal Species, Vol. 47, No. 8, 2003, p. 179-184

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