Climate change may destroy US coral reefs in just 20-30 years

Efforts to conserve coral reefs around the globe are underway, but they may be too little, too late. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, warming oceans may result in US coral reefs dying out in the next 20 to 30 years, making the current goal of 100-year conservation 'pure imagination.' Researchers have found that coral reefs located off of Hawaii, Florida and more are experiencing bleaching as waters warm, a process that will result in coral death if not reversed in time.

According to NOAA, the conservation efforts that have been underway in Hawaii haven't been as effective as desired, and as a result we may see further bleaching in that region, as well as resumed coral bleaching off the coast of Florida and in the Caribbean.

Talking about this to The Guardian, NOAA coral reef specialist Mark Eakin said, 'US reefs have taken a severe beating. We are looking at the loss or at least severe degradation of most reefs in the coming decades.' Other researchers go on to point out that we're in the first stages of what will soon be a major disaster related to the region's coral reefs.

Coral reefs around the globe have been affected by increasing global temperatures, which of course result in warming waters that have a 'bleaching' effect on coral. We've seen similar disasters affecting the Great Barrier Reef near Australia, where about 2/3rds of the 1400 mile region have experienced bleaching. If temperatures remain elevated, the bleached coral will eventually perish. Some coral death has already taken place.