The vast marine area in Southeast Asia known as the Coral Triangle stretches from the waters of Indonesia northward to the Philippines. It is considered a hub of marine biodiversity and is home to over three-quarters of all coral species. However, the US-based National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Coral Reef Watch is reporting some of the worst bleaching ever seen in the region, following seven months this year of continuous record high temperatures on both land and sea.
The bleaching process, which arises from global warming-related higher temperatures as well as increased acidification due to the water’s absorption of CO2, results in expanses of lifeless white coral structures.
This not only endangers a wide range of fish and other marine life who make their homes in the reefs, it ultimately affects the health of the ocean.
Widespread bleaching has also been reported in the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia, as well as many parts of Indonesia, where damage off the coast of Aceh was described by the US-based Wildlife Conservation Society as “one of the most rapid and severe coral mortality events ever recorded.”
One international team of scientists studying the process there found that 80% of some species had collapsed since an initial assessment conducted just a few months ago in May.
Meanwhile, scientists fear that another area soon to be affected is the Caribbean, where sea temperatures have been above average since January.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other international researchers, we appreciate your diligent observations of the endangerment to the world’s vital coral reefs.
As we realize the true perils of global warming from such evidence as this, may we swiftly striveto protect the balance of life for the benefit of all beings.
During a November 2008 interview on for Ireland’s East Coast Radio FM, Supreme Master Ching Hai addressed this disturbing trend, while highlighting the action needed to safeguard the coral reefs and our oceans.