A boat traversing a waterway surrounded by mangroves. (Tom Fisk via Pexels)

World - Mangroves, marshes & coral could be devastated with 2 degree warming: Study

A new study has found that important coastal ecosystem hotspots like mangroves, coastal marshes and coral reefs can be devastated by just two degrees Celsius of global warming.

You could walk from Russia to America, from Australia to Tasmania about 17,000 years ago when sea levels were about 120 metres lower than they are today. But since the last Ice Age ended, oceans began rising by more than one metre a century. A similar rise in sea levels could happen due to human-caused global warming today, devastating coastal agriculture around the world.

In a study published in the journal Nature on Friday, researchers looked at how coastal habitats like mangroves, marshes and coral reefs retreated and adapted at the end of the last Ice Age and how they could cope with predicted sea level rises in this century.


Read also

Why protecting mangroves is key to mitigating climate change, National Geographic / September 05, 2023

Surviving the Waves: Pacific Island Nations Face an Existential Crisis, International Policy Digest / September 04, 2023


Mangroves, marshes, and sandy coral islands form in the low-lying areas flooded and drained by tides. The research indicates that the coastal habitats of today could adapt to a small degree of rising sea levels. But they could reach a tipping point when sea levels rise more than 1.5 degrees to 2 degrees of global warming.

Mangroves are typically found in tropical regions like in southeast Asia, northern Australia, equatorial Africa and low-latitude Americas. But that is not all. Smaller mangrove colonies can be found elsewhere, like Olympic Park in Sydney and Towra Point in Botany Bay.

Coastal marshes on the other hand, are found in intertidal zones that are further away from the equator, like along the Atlantic shores of North America and Northern Europe. Australia, for example, has one million hectares of coastal marshes.

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