Sky News Australia
Coral will dissolve if CO2 emissions don't change
The world's coral reefs will quickly dissolve if greenhouse gas emissions continue on current trends, a new simulation has found.
Greenhouse gases cause the ocean to become warmer and more acidic, which bleaches and kills coral reefs, as well as the underwater ecosystems that form around them.
The new study, led by researchers from the University of Queensland and published in the journal PNAS, found that even modest increases in ocean temperature and acidity would kill off coral and increase the dissolution of their skeletons once they are dead.
“We discovered that coral reefs under the business-as-usual-emission scenario, the one we are on, show high rates of decalcification,” said lead author of the study, Associate Professor Sophie Dove from UQ’s School of Biological Sciences.
“Essentially, dissolving before our eyes over a few months.”
The study involved controlling the temperature and amount of CO2 in water that was home to a section of coral reef at UQ’s Heron Island research centre.