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GLOBAL WARMING AND CORAL BLEACHING
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Global Climate Change Digest

A Guide to Information on Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depletion
Published July 1988 through June 1999

FROM VOLUME 4, NUMBER 11, NOVEMBER 1991

NEWS...
GLOBAL WARMING AND CORAL BLEACHING


Item #d91nov99

While higher water temperatures do seem to be involved in episodes of coral bleaching being observed around the world, there is no evidence that greenhouse warming can be blamed. This was the conclusion of an interdisciplinary group of scientists at a workshop sponsored in June 1991 by the National Science Foundation. (Science, pp. 258-259, July 19, 1991.) The greenhouse connection has been promoted by some scientists such as Thomas Goreau of the Discovery Bay Laboratory in Jamaica; however, none of them were invited to attend the workshop. Participants concluded that the biggest threat to reefs is the cumulative effect of local influences such as (human) population growth and land use. Future global warming could contribute to stress on the reefs, but it would take 10 to 15 years to confirm any link. Copies of the workshop report are available for $5 from C.F. D'Elia, Sea Grant College, 1224 Patterson Hall, Univ. Maryland, College Park MD 20742.

See also "Is Coral Bleaching Caused by Global Warming?" in New Scientist, p. 17, Aug. 17, 1991. The role of elevated ocean temperatures is the topic of a recent paper in Science, "Elimination of Two Reef-Building Hydrocorals Following the 1982-83 El Niņo Warming Event" by Glynn and de Weerdt, pp. 69-71, July 5.

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