Unlike Palm One , Palm Jebel Ali construction site includes that of a live coral reef . SCUBA research dives have been made on this reef to document the reef environment including coral species and fish populations. The Jebel Ali reef area has been under study for many years by the Dubai Marine Department. Their monitoring statistics show that coral cover dropped from 90% in 1995 to 25% in 1999 after the bleaching events of 1996 and 1998. Assuming a 10% recovery, coral growths in 2003 are only 35% of their 1995 levels. Many Oceanographers feel that El Nino warming events are oscillations that vary between La Nina cooling events on an 8 year cycle. If this is the case, the 8 year cycle from the 1996 warming event would be 2004, next year. Further extrapolating the results of coral bleaching in the same degree as previously encountered, ie from 90% or 25 percent or a drop of 65%, would indicate that in 2004 coral bleaching would further reduce the exiting 35 % coral coverage to 35% x 65% or about 19 percent of their 1995 levels. This reduction is strickly a result of El Nino conditions and is independent of the Palm Jebel Ali development. While it is acknowledged that the dredging of Palm Jebel Ali will result in silting and increased turbidity on this fragile ecosystem, there may be a solution to maintaining a healthy coral population despite the devastating effects of a natural ocean warming condition and an induced water turbidity conditions.
100 meter long digital photo transects conducted at Jebel Ali.