[Coral-List] New paper: Local-scale projections of coral reef futures and implications of the Paris Agreement

Ruben van Hooidonk - NOAA Affiliate ruben.van.hooidonk at noaa.gov
Fri Jan 6 11:56:25 EST 2017

Dear Coral Listers,

We'd like to bring your attention to a paper recently published in *Nature
Scientific Reports *titled:* Local-scale projections of coral reef futures
and implications of the Paris Agreement. *

We present high-resolution (4km) climate model projections of temperature
conditions that can cause coral bleaching. These are the first climate
model projections of coral reef futures developed at this resolution for
all coral reefs. This is also the first attempt, to our knowledge, to
formally quantify what recent climate policy/agreements mean for coral reef

The projections reveal high local-scale variation in the onset of annual
severe bleaching (ASB) conditions. In more than 80% of the countries and
territories with coral reefs the timing of ASB varies more than 10 years.
For many of the countries with the greatest coral reef area, e.g.,
 Indonesia and Australia, the projections vary >50 years. Reefs projected
to experience ASB conditions later in the century are relative refugia;
these are likely to have lower climate change vulnerability and are more
likely to continue to provide ecosystem goods and services in the decades
ahead. Relative refugia can be identified in nearly all countries and
territories with coral reefs and represent conservation priorities. The
projections warrant consideration in most reef areas during conservation
and management planning.

Emissions scenario RCP4.5 represents lower emissions mid-century than will
eventuate if pledges made following the 2015 Paris Climate Change
Conference (COP21) become reality. These pledges do little to provide reefs
with more time to adapt and acclimate prior to severe bleaching conditions
occurring annually. RCP4.5 adds 11 years to the global average ASB timing
when compared to RCP8.5; however, >75% of reefs still experience ASB before
2070 under RCP4.5. Maps within our paper show great spatial variation among
reef areas in benefits (in terms of later ASB timing) that could result
from the committed pledges becoming reality.

The article can be accessed here:


Short stories about the article can be found at these links on the WWF and
UNEP websites:



Projections results are available as images, KMZ files viewable through
Google Earth, and as an ArcGIS layer package at these NOAA Coral Reef Watch
and UNEP websites:



Planned future directions include training managers and conservationists to
use the projections in conservation planning, accounting for adaptation and
acclimation in projections, and re-running projections using CMIP6 climate

Please email the lead author (ruben.van.hooidonk at noaa.gov) with questions
or expressions of interest to collaborate on future projects using the
projections data.

Our author team:

Ruben van Hooidonk, Jeffrey Maynard, Jerker Tamelander, Jamison Gove, Gabby
Ahmadia, Laurie Raymundo, Gareth Williams, Scott F. Heron  & Serge Planes

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