Northern Red Sea coral reefs may survive a hot, grim future

Posted at 1:46 AM, Feb 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-20 01:46:57-05

EILAT, Israel (AP) — As the outlook for coral reefs across a warming planet grows grimmer, scientists in Israel have discovered a rare glimmer of hope: The corals of the northern Red Sea may survive, and even thrive, into the next century.

The carbon dioxide that humans pump into the atmosphere spikes the temperature and acidity of seawater, which both poisons the marine invertebrates and hampers their growth at alarming rates. Experts estimate that half of the corals that existed in the early 20th century have died.

But the corals at the northernmost tip of the Red Sea are exhibiting remarkable resistance to the rising water temperatures and acidification. Experts hope the lessons learned there can help coral reefs elsewhere in the world.