Near record high lagoon temperatures coupled with relatively low sea levels are combining to cause coral bleaching in Kwajalein and Majuro.
Bleaching of coral along the Ebeye-Gugeegue causeway at Kwajalein Atoll was visible this past week. Lib Island Mayor Kawa Jatios provided photos of exposed corals that are showing signs of bleaching.
The coral bleaching along the Ebeye causeway has been developing for “two or more weeks now and is spreading,” Jatios said.
College of the Marshall Islands Marine Science instructor Michael Honeth said the photos show that the bleaching is recent, perhaps covering a period of one or two months from the oldest bleaching, and days for the most recent.
Honeth said Majuro is also seeing coral bleaching with increase lagoon water temperatures.
“Majuro (water) temperature is right up there at near to record highs,” said climate researcher Dr. Murray Ford. “I would assume Kwajalein is similar.”
The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has put the RMI on “bleaching alert” as a result of the high water temperature, said Ford.
Sea level is also relatively low right now, he added.
Honeth pointed out that he is seeing coral bleaching in Majuro Atoll.
Read more about this in the November 2, 2018 edition of the Marshall Islands Journal.