HONOLULU — Hawaii scientists have started to prepare for a major coral reef bleaching event due to warmer-than-average ocean temperatures.
The Star-Advertiser reports that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration analyzed ocean temperatures across the islands have risen by 3 degrees Fahrenheit.
Scientists say coral bleaching has occurred before, but they are already seeing worse signs at Kealakekua Bay on Hawaii island and at Kaneohe Bay and Hanauma Bay on Oahu.
Experts say coral bleaching is a change from normal coloration of browns, yellows and greens to a nearly white color because of increased exposure to environmental stressors, including temperature increases.
Scientists say coral reefs are important for marine habitats, have cultural, recreational and economic benefits, and also provide protection for coastal shorelines during storms.
Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com