Climate Change and Coral Reefs

Francis Staub ( or Clive Wilkinson (

The world's coral reefs were probably the first ecosystem to show major damage from climate change. Reefs will suffer catastrophic collapse from climate change within the next few decades unless there are major and immediate reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Already 19% of the world's coral reefs have effectively been lost; and 35% more are seriously threatened with destruction, mostly due to direct human threats. Climate change will cause even more dramatic losses; we are just determining that climate change will cause serious damage to deep, cold water coral reefs.

The 6 page brochure was produced for the International Coral Reef Initiative by the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network by extracting material and data from the scientific papers and reports listed below, plus the expert advice and opinions from many contributors. Authors have made some of these reports available for download for valid non-commercial use.

Summary Chapters on Climate Change and Coral Reefs from Status of Coral Reefs of the World reports
Climate Change, ocean acidification and Coral Reef papers and reports

This detailed expert report contains considerable discussion of the current and potential future impacts of global climate change on the Great Barrier Reef and makes recommendations for management action.

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