ESSIC / CICS-MD faculty specialist at NOAA Coral Reef Watch (CRW) Erick Geiger co-authored a UNESCO update report assessing the historical, recent, and projected heat stress and bleaching at natural World Heritage properties with coral reefs. CRW team member Dr. Scott Heron, an ESSIC / CICS-MD sub awardee, led the effort and the publication.
The report considered the implications of limiting global temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, reflecting the goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The analysis concluded that under this scenario, all 29 World Heritage-listed coral reefs would avoid annual severe heat stress this century, with only four sites exposed to twice-per-decade severe heat stress.
The findings emphasize the importance of achieving Paris Agreement goals to secure a sustainable future for the planet’s most iconic reef systems.
To read past ESSIC highlights on the NOAA Coral Reef Watch, see here: “ESSIC / CICS-MD Scientists Co-Lead International Workshop” ; “ESSIC / CICS-MD Scientists Part of AMS Published Climate Report”.