New Science Finds Coral Reefs Are Heating The Planet – Reef Ecosystems A Net Source Of CO2 Emissions

New research indicates that coral reef ecosystems off the coasts of Hawai’i (Terlouw et al., 2019) and in the Great Barrier Reef (Lønborg et al., 2019) are a net source of CO2 to the atmosphere.

Presuming that higher CO2 emissions lead to global warming, it can consequently be said that coral reefs are heating up the planet.

Image Source: Terlouw et al., 2019

Image Source: Lønborg et al., 2019

In addition to emitting CO2 (and adding to global CO2 emissions), coral reef communities are “acidifying” themselves.  Corals pump more CO2 into the water in which they live as they grow.

Counterintuitively, then, the rampant and ongoing “self-acidification” in coral reef communities is an indication that the reefs are healthy and thriving.

Image Source: New Scientist
Andreas Andersson of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, California, and his colleagues carefully monitored a coral reef in Bermuda for five years, and found that spikes in acidity were linked to increased reef growth.
“At first we were really puzzled by this,” says Andersson. “It’s completely the opposite to what we would expect in an ocean-acidification scenario.”
The researchers observed the chemistry of the water on the reef between 2007 and 2012. During that time, there were two sharp spikes in acidity – once in 2010 and again in 2011.
The team found that coral growth itself made the water more acidic as the corals sucked alkaline carbonate out of the water to build their skeletons. The corals also ate more food during these high-activity periods and pumped more CO2 into the water, increasing acidity further.

Perhaps the only way to prevent corals from acidifying the oceans, growing their carbon footprint, and heating up the planet is to foster increased incidences of coral bleaching events.

Peak bleaching decades, however, occurred in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Image Source: Kamenose and Hennige, 2018

Yes, coral reef communities pump CO2 into the atmosphere, acidify the oceans, and heat up the planet.

It’s important to emphasize, though, that just because coral reef ecosystems do it does not mean that humans should follow corals’ lead and do the same.

9 responses to “New Science Finds Coral Reefs Are Heating The Planet – Reef Ecosystems A Net Source Of CO2 Emissions”

  1. Shoki Kaneda

    Absurdity piled upon absurdity. Coral ecosystems have survived twenty or more glaciation/interglacial cycles since the Pleistocene began and are still here. There have been many warmer periods and many more colder periods. Corals will probably outlast humans.

  2. Sean Wise

    CO2 does not exist in the ocean simply as a dissolved gas. CO2 is usually tied up with calcium or magnesium as bi-carbonate which is stable in solution in cold water but unstable in warm water. As a result, there are instances where the water is quite warm that alkanine-earth carbonate minerals can precipitate out of solution release half the CO2 as gas and sequestering the other half as a mineral. Biological processes can also help the processes along tremendously. In essence, CO2 release in warm shallow reef ecosystems, is just half the decomposition of calcium bicarbonate, the other half being forming a mineral that removes CO2 as a mineral carbonate.

  3. Yonason

    If the climatistas ever acknowledge that corals are a source of CO2, what is the likelihood that they will tell us that the reefs need to be destroyed to save humanity polar bears?

    After all, ”Global warming alarmism is big business.”

    And the business of crooks is to take your money, by any means necessary.

  4. tom0mason

    It should be obvious that those aquatic creatures that live well with high CO2 levels would be by the shores, and those that don’t would be in deeper waters.
    Or maybe nature does work like that anymore, having species competitively existing in areas where they flourish best.

  5. sasquatch

    It is catastrophic Coral Reef-ogenic climate armageddon, it is all the fault of CO2 and its nefarious, malicious intent.

    We know what the culprit is and what it looks like, it is all around us, we’re surrounded.

    A well-organized plan to destroy CO2 itself should be the agenda.

    A pogrom to remove all CO2 from everywhere in the Universe should be implemented.

    A catastrophic carbon dioxide-ogenic global climate disintegration is going to be terrifying.

    Coral Reefs are the victims here, along with humans and the solar system, the galaxy, Alpha Centauri is going to explode from too much CO2 that has been emitted from the earth and is finally reaching all the way to Alpha Centauri.

    The Universe itself is at risk.

    Somebody call the cops, the CO2 police have work to do to save the Universe.

    It is not just the earth that is at stake here, you know.

    Also, there were, that I know of, four birthday celebrations on May 4th, it is a conspiracy.

    Birthdays increase the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, yet another child in this world exhaling the evil CO2, CO2 is the problem.

    Really, nothing else has to be discussed or evaluated.

    The science is settled, CO2 must go.

    Conflation doing the best it can.

  6. Petit_Barde

    Will alarmists push the insanity to eradicate the coral reefs in order to save them ?

  7. Svend Ferdinandsen

    Remove those coral reefs as fast as possible to save the world.
    We can’t have that CO2 and acidification

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