CARIB | Jun 13, 2023

With ‘notably warmer conditions’, Caribbean region currently under coral bleaching watch or warning

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FILE PHOTO: A bleaching coral is seen in the place where abandoned fishing nets covered it in a reef at the protected area of Ko Losin, Thailand June 20, 2021. REUTERS/Jorge Silva/File Photo

The Barbados-based Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) has said that with El Niño conditions expected this year, the coral bleaching outlook for the Caribbean is not positive.

In its latest publication of the Caribbean Coral Reef Watch, the CIMH said that there are notably warmer conditions throughout the Caribbean compared to this period in 2022 and that the entire region is under coral bleaching watch or warning.

It has been noted by weather experts that El Niño, the natural climate phenomenon of warm temperatures in the Pacific Ocean, has officially begun, and it will impact weather patterns globally in conjunction with climate change.

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The prediction for the four-month period from June to September is that, “there is high probability Coral Bleaching Heat Stress will reach and exceed Alert Levels 1 and 2 for most of the Caribbean.”

The publication said the near real-time satellite Bleaching Alert Area and modelled four-month Outlook for the Caribbean both indicate extensive Alert Levels 1 and 2 conditions could be expected throughout the region, from mid-August to late September, potentially persisting for multiple weeks into October.

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