The Causes of Bleaching of Coral Reefs
Almost everyday, it seems as though there is a comment about Climate Change. Whether these comments are ways to combat climate change or simply saying it does not exist, we can not deny that it is ever so present in our world today. Many with power and fame try to completely ignore the changes in our world, we must acknowledge them and find ways to improve and prolong it. Though there are huge debates on climate change in our society, we can not deny the negative effects that climate change has had and will continue to amplify through our society, political views, and global affects that we have seen recently and will see in the future.
Climate Change is defined as a change in global or in regional patterns, in particular a change apparent from the mid to late twentieth century onwards and attributed largely to the increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by the use of fossil fuels. The beginning of the great debate began when researchers in the 1880s discussed whether or not Europe had been submerged in ice thousands of years ago. This discussion then sparked the idea of, “What caused a global ice age?” For several years scientist were not able to find the source until Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier, a mathematician and physicist from France, stumbled upon what is referred to as “greenhouse gases”. There are many gases that are associated with this term but the main ones that are focused on and affect our climate the most are methane, nitrous oxide, water vapor, ozone, and carbon dioxide. These gases are not only more focused on there are the most abundant in the atmosphere. Fourier’s experiments using glass vases to observe heat proved that the earth’s atmosphere can trap heat thus creating the “greenhouse effect”, warming of the earth. Fourier discovered that these gasses that are most abundant in the atmosphere are the ones that conduct and transfer heat the most. It was not until 1938 when Guy S Callender, an English engineer and inventor, stated, “By fuel combustion man has added about 150,000 million tons of carbon dioxide to the air during the past half century”(Callender). The thought of the global rising temperature did not alarm Callender, he instead interpreted it as a way that humanity is preventing another global ice age. In his research, Callender estimated the earth warmed at a “rate of 0.003°C. per year.” He then goes further to say that in the past century because of artificial carbon dioxide emissions the earth’s average warming rate raised to 0.008°C. at that point in time. Though this was nearly a century ago, we can try to imagine the amount of carbon dioxide emissions that we have added throughout those years and what will be the affect of what was a 0.83°C. global warming rate in 2017. Without denial one can see that the earth is clearly warming and continues to do so. The many negative affects associated with this warming have already started to take affect globally.
Our writers can help you with any type of essay. For any subjectGet your price
How it works
As Global climate begins to warm, one of the biggest ecosystems to be effected are the coral reefs. Coral reefs are essential to the environment in man ways more than one. Being one of the ecosystems with the greatest diversity, Coral reefs are home to millions of species, some of which that have not been discovered. Biodiversity is extremely important in todays age when it comes to medicine, economics and the environment. Coral Reefs in total brought in an estimated $375 million dollars each year from products and services and an additional $100 million in commercial fishing, supplying food for millions around the world. Medically, reefs are home to many species of reef fauna that can be developed to treat diseases such as cancer, bacterial infections, viruses, and many more. They also act as a “wall” protecting beaches and property from erosion. The biggest threat to Coral Reefs is referred to as coral “bleaching”. “Coral bleaching occurs when the thermal tolerance of corals and their photosynthetic symbionts (zooxanthellae) is exceeded. Mass coral bleaching has occurred in association with episodes of elevated sea temperatures over the past 20 years and involves the loss of the zooxanthellae following chronic photo-inhibition”(Hoegh-Guldberg). To simplify the words of Hoegh-Guldberg, when water temperature warms, coral produce algae, the zooxanthellae, that live in their muscle tissue. This algae takes over the coral and turns it the color white and eventually killing the organism. Even the tiniest temperature change for a prolonged amount of time can cause “bleaching”. Immediately after the “bleaching” process begins large communities of fish shift affecting fishing rates. Climate change’s largely negative effect on coral reefs is concerning and compared to loss of rainforests. With the many negative affects associated with coral reef “bleaching” and rising global temperatures being the cause, it is a fact that climate change has a large negative impact. Coral reefs can take up to tens of thousands of years to develop and are being destroyed in a matter of months. Trying to match the rate of decay with the rate of repair is impossible to do.
The rapid rate of decay also ties into the automobile industry. Our personal automobiles emit up to 24 pounds of carbon dioxide for every one gallon of gas and in the United States alone, we contribute to over thirty percent of greenhouse gas emissions work wide. This is significantly more than any other country in the world. In the year 2016, we reached a record high of 70 million cars that were produced, only roughly 350,000 of these cars were hybrid or electric. The rate at which we produce cars that emit the harmful greenhouse gases will always trump over the rate of which hybrid or electric cars are sold. Though electric cars are proven to be efficient both for the environment and cost, many sell prefer a gas emitting vehicle. “The imminent commercial deployment of electric vehicles (EV) has the potential to address issues such as climate change, oil dependence and air quality. Research suggests that typical commuter profiles are particularly suited to EVs due to the repetitive nature, fixed distances of the trips and because vehicles are available for recharging either during daytime or overnight (Turrentine et al., 1992)”(O’Mahony, Brady).