Limiting the amount of warming experienced by the world’s oceans in the future could buy some time for tropical coral reefs, say researchers from the University of Bristol. The study, published by the journal Geophysical Research Letters, used computer models to investigate how shallow-water tropical coral reef habitats may respond to climate change over the coming decades.
Dr. Elena Couce and colleagues found that restricting greenhouse warming to three watts per square metre (equivalent to just 50-100 parts per million carbon dioxide, or approximately half again the increase since the Industrial Revolution) is needed in order to avoid large-scale reductions in reef habitat occurring in the future.
While a significant challenge, restricting ocean warming to those levels is not impossible.
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