Scientists see severe coral bleaching near Oahu

2014-10-07 11:12
Bleached coral at Lisianski Island in the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument. (File, AP)

Bleached coral at Lisianski Island in the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument. (File, AP)

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Kaneohe - While people in Hawaii have been sweating out a lack of trade winds, corals underwater are also suffering.

Scientists standing in the muggy heat at Heeia Small Boat Harbour in Kaneohe said on Monday that they're seeing more evidence that higher-than-normal ocean temperatures are killing algae, which starves coral and turns it white.

Mass bleaching had already been seen about 1 600km northwest of Honolulu, and now Hawaii's Department of Land and Natural Resources says crews have found especially severe bleaching along Oahu's windward coast.

Scientists note this September was the second-hottest on record since the 1940s, with recent underwater temperatures as high as 30°C. A maximum of 28.5°C is normal.

Scientists say the warm temperature is adding to the stress factors coral already face, such as pollution and being trampled upon.

Read more on:    hawaii  |  environment

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