Presented to the US Coral Reef Task Force on March 5, this report contends that in 1998 coral reefs all around the world "appear to have suffered the most extensive and severe bleaching and subsequent mortality in modern record," in excess of 70 percent in some areas. Corals "bleach" when they lose much of their symbiotic algae in response to the stress from elevated temperatures, and last year's record-high tropical sea surface temperatures resulted in "devastating mortality." Although some scientists have disagreed, the report's authors conclude that the mass bleaching is a "consequence of a steadily rising baseline of marine temperatures, driven by anthropogenic global warming." Users can read the full text of the report at the site, provided by the US State Department.
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