2010 : Record Cold Water Bleached Corals

Global warming can mean record heat or record cold. That is why Hansen talks about heat all the time.

First Florida Cold-water Bleaching Event in 30 Years

NOAA and partners from 12 organizations surveyed sites in the Florida Keys to determine the extent of coral bleaching, and death, in the wake of record low-water temperatures. Scientists assessed coral health at more than 78 sites from January 25 to February 12 to determine the severity of coral bleaching and reefs most affected.

During the first two weeks of January 2010, water temperatures in some parts of the Keys dropped into the upper 40s and lower 50s, which is about
20 degrees Fahrenheit lower than the typical temperatures of the upper 60s and lower 70s. The lethal lower limit for corals is 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

According to reef biologists, the influx of cold water from Florida and Biscayne bays appears to be responsible for the coral deaths in nearshore waters of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. The hardest hit areas were the inshore and mid-channel reefs from Biscayne Bay (southeast Florida) to Summerland Key (island in the Florida Keys). Fortunately, the offshore reefs most frequented by divers and sportfishers were buffered by warmer waters of the Florida Current and spared severe impact.


h/t to Ivan

About stevengoddard

Just having fun
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to 2010 : Record Cold Water Bleached Corals

  1. BT Harley says:

    facebook…unblocked this time

  2. Latitude says:

    cold limits coral growth…
    …not heat

    Corals have evolved to have a heat response (bleaching) but no cold response.

    • bubbagyro says:

      That response, latitude, does not make sense. This cannot be a qualitative, but a quantitative response to climate. In other words, one cannot say that coral can tolerate -75°F. You must specify a number. The words cold and hot have no precise meaning.

      NOAA is saying the toleration number is greater than 50°F for coral. I would have thought it was lower than that. However, on Sanibel Island where I live, north of the keys, we had a massive fish die off when water temps dropped below 50°F.

      There comes a point that a creature’s metabolism cannot be maintained to produce a net energy reserve balance. It is like hypothermia, where a core value is depressed to a negative point for a certain duration and the organism cannot recover. If the organism is starving, and has drawn down its nuritional reserves, then the amount of cold tolerance decreases. The variables in this case include value of the extreme (T), duration of the extreme, and nutrient availability during the episode, among other known and unknown variables.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s