Scientists have found the Arctic Ocean’s “most dangerous” coral species.
The study, published Monday in the journal Science Advances, found that the sea ice on the region’s north side is melting faster than anywhere else on Earth.
The research was conducted by researchers from the Canadian Centre for Deep-Sea Research and the University of Ottawa.
“This is one of the most difficult studies we’ve done to date to see what the true state of the sea is,” said lead author of the study, Robert Brumfield, a doctoral student at the University at Buffalo.
Brumfields research team studied coral bleaching in the Gulf of St Lawrence, an area where the ocean’s north pole meets the southernmost point of Canada’s Arctic Circle.
The team found that bleaching occurs when the sea’s north polar ice pack melts, exposing the coral and other marine life to the sun’s rays.
The researchers used a technique called “thermal diffusion” to examine how much the sea has changed over time.
They found that over the past three decades, the temperature of the water has increased by more than 1 degree Celsius.
The scientists theorize that this temperature spike in the sea caused the corals to bloom, releasing more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
The bleaching could also have a major effect on the health of the world’s coral reefs, because the coral bleached organisms have been able to grow, which in turn helps maintain the coral’s health.
But the researchers don’t know if the coral will bloom in the future, and if it will continue to do so in the coming decades.
“We have some preliminary information that suggests that coral bleaches will continue in the region for a very long time,” Brumford said.
“The longer that bleaches go on, the more carbon and oxygen they will release.”
It could take decades for the coral to recover, and even longer for it to recover completely.
“It is very difficult to predict how long coral reefs will last in a climate where they are so vulnerable,” said Brumby, who added that more research is needed to understand how the coral reefs will cope in a warming world.
The research team also discovered that the Arctic is getting warmer, and the warmer the Arctic becomes, the faster it’s warming up.
“At the same time, the extent of the warm water has changed so much, that the coralline algae that produce the coralls have been largely gone for the past 50 years,” said Robert Brumbaugh, one of Brumberg’s co-authors.
“In the past 10 years, there has been an enormous increase in the number of corals dying.”