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global boiling Is Killing the World’s Coral Reefs

We have heard about Global Warming for years, but now get ready for Global Boiling. The sea temperatures have already gotten so hot that the oceans’ coral reefs are in danger of dying out. The corals are vital to the world’s survival as they produce much needed oxygen and are the basis of entire ecosystems that feed sea life.

The term “global boiling” is a metaphor used to describe the increasing frequency and intensity of heat waves and other extreme weather events caused by climate change. The term was coined by the UN Secretary-General António Guterres in July 2023, after scientists confirmed that July was on track to be the world’s hottest month on record.

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The concept of global boiling is based on the idea that as the Earth’s atmosphere warms, it will be able to hold more water vapor. This means that when the atmosphere does reach saturation, the amount of water vapor that condenses and falls as rain or snow will be less than it would be in a cooler atmosphere. This will lead to more frequent and intense heat waves, as well as droughts and wildfires.

The term “global boiling” is not meant to be taken literally, as the Earth’s oceans will not actually boil. However, it is a powerful metaphor for the severity of the climate crisis and the need for urgent action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Individual days may not have broken any records for worst heat or highest temperature ever. But already this summer we are seeing overall record heatwaves. And here are some individual examples.

On July 16, 2023, Death Valley in California hit a temperature of 128 degrees Fahrenheit (53.3 degrees Celsius) and in Phoenix Arizona locals suffered through a record breaking heatwave with 19 straight days that saw temperatures above 110 F (43.3 C). And the world saw the hottest single week on record overall already in July. And it is August that is the hottest month of the year.

Israel is seeing a July filled where 90 degrees (32 Celsius) seems to be the minimum for much of the country and half the days are breaking 95 degrees (35 Celsius).

Also in July, the seawater around Florida actually broke the 100 degree Fahrenheit (38 Celsius) mark. A buoy at Manatee Bay near Miami recorded highs of 101.1F.

And August, usually the hottest month of the year, has yet to come.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported that in mid-July 2023, heat-stressed corals in the southern Florida Keys began bleaching—expelling their food-producing algal partners—amid the hottest water temperatures ever documented in the region during the satellite record (dating back to 1985). “As weeks of heat stress have continued to accumulate, bleaching and death have become more widespread, raising fears of a mass mortality event on the region’s already fragile reefs,” it said.

NOAA explained that together with its state agency, university, and non-profit partners in the Mission: Iconic Reef project—Coral Restoration Foundation, Reef Renewal USA, Mote Marine Laboratory, University of Miami, Nova Southeastern University, and the Florida Aquarium, the organization is responding to the crisis with a variety of measures that they hope will safeguard the Reef’s remaining live corals, protect corals being grown in underwater nurseries, and preserve live fragments of all genetically unique staghorn and elkhorn coral that remain on Florida’s Coral Reef. Reef conservation teams have already relocated thousands of nursery coral colonies to tanks at the Florida Institute of Oceanography’s Keys Marine Lab for rehabilitation and safekeeping, hopefully for just the short term.

Global boiling may not literally mean that the waters are boiling, but it’s starting to feel that way at times.

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