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Lingering Pacific heat wave threatens Hawaii coral

3 weeks 5 hours 1 minute ago Monday, September 23 2019 Sep 23, 2019 September 23, 2019 5:55 AM September 23, 2019 in News
Source: WBRZ
Photo: Dlnr.hawaii.gov

CAPTAIN COOK, Hawaii (AP) - Just four years after a major marine heat wave killed huge swaths of Hawaii's fragile reefs, scientists are warning that a return of record-setting hot water in the Pacific will cause more widespread bleaching, and possibly coral death.

One of the state's most vibrant coral reefs thrives just below the surface in a bay on the west coast of Hawaii's Big Island.

On a remote shoreline far from the impacts of sunscreen and throngs of tourists, scientists see early signs of what's expected to be a catastrophic season of coral bleaching in Hawaii. The ocean here is about three and a half degrees above normal for this time of year.

Coral can recover from bleaching, but when it is exposed to heat over several years, the likelihood of survival decreases.

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