During the 1998 event the world lost 16% of its coral reefs. As ocean temperatures continue to rise, experts declared the third global bleaching event was underway and that it had started in mid-2014. It can take decades for coral reefs to fully recover from a bleaching event, so it is vital that these events do not occur frequently. Around the world, reef systems came under severe stress as sea surface and near surface temperatures exceeded 28-30 degrees Celsius. 2014–2017 was an unprecedented period of successive record-breaking hot years, which coincided with the most severe, widespread, and longest-lasting global-scale coral bleaching event ever recorded. Hot news on the 2016, 2017, and 2020 coral bleaching events: 7 April 2020: Climate change triggers Great Barrier Reef bleaching 4 April 2019: Global warming disrupts recovery of coral reefs 11 Dec 2018: A glimmer of hope for the world’s coral reefs 26 Oct 2018: Fish give up the fight after coral bleaching 05 Sept 2018: Coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef not limited to shallow depths The Worst Global Coral Bleaching Event Ever Recorded… This new record spike in global surface temperatures set off the worst coral bleaching event ever recorded . “I studied coral reefs for 20 years before I first saw mass bleaching in 1998—the first global coral-bleaching event. The first globally observed coral bleaching event occurred in 1998, during the last very strong El Nino event — when it happened, scientists had never seen anything like it. AD If we continue burning fossil fuels at our current rate then severe bleaching events are likely to hit reefs annually by the middle of the century. Bleaching in 2016 was more severe than 2020, but was concentrated in the north of the Great Barrier Reef. In 2010, it was a little less severe. The first global coral bleaching event, from 1997 to 1998, caused at least 15 percent of global reefs to die. However, the 2015 to 2016 event is predicted to impact up to 38 percent of the world’s reefs. But global coral bleaching doesn’t happen during all El Niños – it takes an extreme one. In the 2016 bleaching event, 27 percent of the Great Barrier Reef's corals died, and the following year, 22 percent were lost, meaning nearly half the famed reef's corals died in just two years. In the lead-up to that event, strong El Nino conditions developed on top of already warm ocean waters in the Pacific. The longest-lasting recorded global bleaching event began in 2014 and continues to affect coral reefs worldwide. Luckily, the Great Barrier Reef avoided extensive damage. 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