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Coral bleaching pathways under the control of regional temperature variability


Langlais, CE and Lenton, A and Heron, SF and Evenhuis, C and Sen Gupta, A and Brown, JN and Kuchinke, M, Coral bleaching pathways under the control of regional temperature variability, Nature Climate Change, 7, (11) pp. 839-844. ISSN 1758-678X (2017) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2017 Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature

DOI: doi:10.1038/NCLIMATE3399


Increasing sea surface temperatures (SSTs) are predicted to adversely impact coral populations worldwide through increasing thermal bleaching events. Future bleaching is unlikely to be spatially uniform. Therefore, understanding what determines regional differences will be critical for adaptation management. Here, using a cumulative heat stress metric, we show that characteristics of regional SST determine the future bleaching risk patterns. Incorporating observed information on SST variability, in assessing future bleaching risk, provides novel options for management strategies. As a consequence, the known biases in climate model variability and the uncertainties in regional warming rate across climate models are less detrimental than previously thought. We also show that the thresholds used to indicate reef viability can strongly influence a decision on what constitutes a potential refugia. Observing and understanding the drivers of regional variability, and the viability limits of coral reefs, is therefore critical for making meaningful projections of coral bleaching risk.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:adaptive management, climate modeling, coral bleaching, environmental impact assessment, global warming
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Climate change impacts and adaptation
Research Field:Ecological impacts of climate change and ecological adaptation
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the environmental sciences
UTAS Author:Brown, JN (Dr Jaclyn Brown)
ID Code:125417
Year Published:2017
Web of Science® Times Cited:24
Deposited By:TIA - Research Institute
Deposited On:2018-04-17
Last Modified:2018-05-24

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