Worst Coral Reef Bleaching in Recorded History

By July 19, 2010 February 21st, 2013 Impacts

July 19 , 2010   – will happen this year.  Worse than 1997-98 during the big Super El Nino, only this year – El Nino ended last spring. But that has not stopped global ocean waters from being hot enough to boil coral.

It happens when average water temperatures during the summer months warm one degree. That’s all it takes, just one degree of warming and coral reefs the world over die.  That is all it took during the great super El Nino, but now, it’s just plain old global warming that is to blame.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Coral Reef Watch, said: "The bleaching is very strong throughout south east Asia and the central Indian Ocean. Significant bleaching has been reported in Maldives, both sides of the Thailand Peninsula (Andaman Sea and Gulf of Thailand), Cambodia, Indonesia, and the Anilao region of the Philippines and the west coast of the Philippines. Bleaching was observed in the southwest and northeast Madagascar earlier this year.

Coral reef monitoring teams have reported mass bleaching of coral reefs off the coast of Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia and Indonesia while, Sri Lanka and reefs off the coast of east Africa have also been hit. In the eastern South China Sea bleaching has been reported. class="style92"> Bleaching began at the beginning of May in the eastern Caribbean and now covers most of the southern Caribbean Sea. The worst bleaching events ever in the Caribbean in 1998 and 2005 did not start this early.


In 1998, 16 percent of the World’s reefs were killed in the worst bleaching event ever recorded. This year has started off earlier and more extreme, and we have no el nino event now. The warming has caught up with us

In April 2009, the World’s oceans crossed the threshold to become the warmest that it has been since record keeping began in the late 19th century. (see here)

Coral Bleaching Thermal Stress Outlook