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Climate
Major coral bleaching event in 2016 at Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Oregon State University/ Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Great Barrier Reef in Danger of Mass Coral Bleaching Events Every Two Years

The Great Barrier Reef—Australia's remarkable but imperiled natural wonder—is under risk of repeat coral bleaching events unless greenhouse gas emissions are slashed, Australia's Climate Council warned Thursday.

The new report, Lethal Consequences: Climate Change Impacts on the Great Barrier Reef, determined that by 2034, the extreme ocean temperatures that led to the mass bleaching events of 2016 and 2017 may occur every two years if emissions continue on current trends.

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Oceans
Coral reef outcrop part of the Hawaiian Islands National Wildlife Refuge and the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument. Lindsey Kramer / USFWS / CC BY-NC 2.0

Hawaii to Approve Landmark Ban on Coral-Damaging Sunscreens

Hawaii Gov. David Ige signed a bill Tuesday prohibiting the sale of sunscreen that contains chemicals considered harmful to ocean ecosystems, including coral reefs.

The Aloha State is the first in the nation to enact such a law.

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Oceans
Antonio Busiello / WWF-US

Belize’s Incredible Barrier Reef Recovers From 'In Danger' Status

Thanks to a series of conservation measures enacted by Belize's government, the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System—one the world's most incredible, diverse ecosystems—has been removed from the UNESCO List of World Heritage in Danger sites.

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Oceans
Seagrass meadows are vital ecosystems for marine animals. P. Lindgren / Wikimedia Commons

There’s Now an App for Mapping Seagrass, the Oceans’ Great Carbon Sink

The launch of an online crowdsourcing database for seagrass hopes to breathe new life into efforts to conserve the underwater flowering plants, which act as both important habitats for marine species and a major store of carbon dioxide.

Patchy mapping of seagrass meadows has hampered efforts to protect the plants (which are distinct from seaweed) from threats such as coastal development, sedimentation, coral farming and sand mining, according to Richard Unsworth, a marine biologist at Swansea University in the UK and co-founder of environmental charity Project Seagrass.

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Oceans
Ash covers the observation deck of the Jagger Museum, showing a cracked floor. National Park Service

Coral Reefs Lost to Kīlauea Eruption

By Dan Zukowski

When searing black lava from fissure 8 slid into the Pacific Ocean at Kapoho Bay on June 3, it had been five weeks since the collapse of the Pu'u 'Ō'ō crater, along the eastern rift zone of the Kīlauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island. Toxic, acid-laden steam billowed high above boiling waves. Within 36 hours, the bay became paved over by lava, creating a new coastline almost a mile out and destroying shallow-water coral reefs and tidepools.

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Politics
Dr. Piers Sellers discussed Earth science with actor and environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in April 2016. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center / CC BY 2.0

White House Considered Ignoring Climate Science, Internal Memo Reveals

The Trump administration debated whether it should attack or simply ignore federal research on climate change, the Washington Post reported Wednesday.

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Climate
Deep-sea corals may not be flashy, but they deserve a second look. Oceana

Ignoring Deep-Sea Corals Is Risky for the Oceans, and for Us

By Nathan Johnson

The deep sea might be cold and dark, but it's not barren. Down here, an incredible diversity of corals shelters young fish like grouper, snapper and rockfish. Sharks, rays and other species live and feed here their whole lives.

Brightly colored coral gardens, far beyond the reach of the sun's rays, don't just nurture deep-sea life. They also help advance medical research and understand climate change.

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Climate
Coral bleaching like this (in the Great Barrier Reef) is killing the largest reef in Japan. Oregon State University / CC BY-SA 2.0

Only 1% of Japan’s Largest Reef Still Healthy After Historic Bleaching Catastrophe

In a sobering reminder of the impact of climate change on marine biodiversity, a survey by the Japanese government found that barely more than one percent of the coral in the country's largest coral reef is healthy, AFP reported Friday.

The reef, located in the Sekisei Lagoon near Okinawa, has suffered mass coral bleaching events due to rising sea temperatures in 1998, 2001, 2007 and 2016.

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Climate
Malé, the capital of Maldives. Shahee Ilyas / CC BY-SA 3.0

Flooding, Freshwater Loss Could Make Atoll Islands Uninhabitable by 2050

By Tim Radford

For atoll dwellers across much of the world, the island freshwater on which they depend may be in jeopardy within a couple of decades.

The combination of sea level rise and ever more extreme storm conditions—each a consequence of global warming and climate change—could make many of the world's coral atolls uninhabitable within one human generation.

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