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Thailand closes island due to extensive coral bleaching

coral bleaching

An island in southern Thailand has been closed following the discovery of significant coral bleaching, announced the national parks office on Thursday.

Coral bleaching, resulting from the expulsion of algae living inside corals, is typically triggered by elevated ocean temperatures and heightened ultraviolet radiation.

Corals possess the ability to recover from bleaching once ocean temperatures normalize and conditions return to normalcy. However, the closure of Pling Island and the surrounding coral reefs in Sirinart National Park, Phuket, has been deemed necessary due to the extensive coral bleaching attributed to rising seawater temperatures.

The Department of National Parks, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation (DNP) is closely monitoring several national parks, including those at Koh Chang, Koh Samet, Chumphon, Koh Surin, Phang Nga Bay, the Phi Phi islands, and Lanta, for similar occurrences.

This decision follows a recent deadly heatwave that swept across Thailand and Asia, elevating temperatures to unprecedented levels. The closure aims to protect the fragile marine ecosystems from further damage and facilitate their recovery.

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a warning last month, highlighting the world's ongoing second major coral bleaching event in a decade. From Australia to Florida, reef systems are under strain due to months of record-breaking ocean heat.

Thailand, a popular tourist destination attracting millions of visitors annually, often implements park closures to preserve its natural wonders. In 2018, Maya Bay, famously featured in the Hollywood film "The Beach," underwent a four-month closure to allow its coral and marine life to recuperate from the impacts of excessive tourism.

Scientists emphasize that human-induced climate change will lead to more frequent, prolonged, and severe heatwaves. While the current warm weather is partly influenced by the El Nino phenomenon, Asia is experiencing faster warming rates than the global average, as reported by the UN's World Meteorological Organization.

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TAGS:Climate CrisisHeatwavesCoral BleachingThailand Islands
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