The Red Sea Could be a Climate Refuge for Coral Reefs – Inside Climate News

A flat fan at Elphinstone Reef, Red Sea, Egypt (by Derek Keats CC BY 2.0 via Flickr).

A large new marine protected area could help some of the world’s most heat-tolerant corals survive the century, if the pressures from resorts, industry and other development ease.

When Lina Challita dives along Egypt’s coast, she doesn’t just see a colorful array of corals and fish. She sees hope. Against the grim backdrop of climate models that project most coral reefs dying by the end of this century in overheating oceans, the northern end of the Red Sea may end up being one of the last places on Earth where those critical ocean ecosystems can survive, at least at least for a while, and perhaps longer if countries of the world manage to cap global warming and stabilize the climate.

The reefs in the northern Red Sea could show scientists how some other reefs might adapt to global warming, and perhaps even serve as a nursery for corals to restore reefs in other areas.

A recent proposal for a vast new marine protected area encompassing the Red Sea’s reefs could be a step toward ensuring their survival, and the possibility of spreading the hope growing there to other coral ecosystems.

“What is needed are proper integrated coastal zone management plans that are enforced,” Challita said last November, looking out over the coastal reef zone near Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, where the most recent U.N. climate summit was held that month. “You have to take into consideration all stakeholders, from oil and gas to the shipping industry, to fishing, tourism and coastal development, and try to find the good middle between all of those, with the priority of protecting as many of these reefs as we can…”

How Will Creatures That Can Barely Move Handle Climate Change? – Hakai Magazine

Ochre Sea Star (by wild trees CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 via Flickr).

As the world warms, animals living near the coast are being battered by stronger storms, rising seas, and extreme temperatures. While fish, birds, and other species might be able to escape—often toward the poles—many marine creatures can barely move, let alone speed out of the way.

Scientists have long known that on hot days more mobile shoreline creatures like crabs take steps to control their body temperature by scuttling into cool crevices…

Here’s why a California beach town just banned balloons – the Grist

The Blue Balloon (by Simon James CC BY-SA 2.0 via Flickr)

Celebrations in a beachside California city will soon have to take place without an iconic, single-use party favor: balloons.

The city council of Laguna Beach, about 50 miles southeast of Los Angeles, banned the sale and use of all types of balloons on Tuesday, citing their contribution to ocean litter as well as risks from potential fires when they hit power lines…

Private yacht runs aground, leaks fuel over Hawaii marine sanctuary –

Honolua Bay (by Kirt Edblom CC BY-SA 2.0 via Flickr).

A 94-foot luxury yacht grounded near a marine sanctuary in Hawaii on Monday, leaking fuel into the ocean, the Department of Land and Natural Resources said.

Officials from the department said that private yacht Nakoa got stuck on the reef at Honolua Bay on the northern tip of West Maui, but it won’t be freed from the rocks for another few days. 

Many Maui residents are concerned about the Honolua Bay area following the incident.

“I am devastated that it happened,” Maui resident Kaila Tiri told SFGATE. “[Honolua Bay] was a marine sanctuary that was protected for over a decade and a spot on Maui that everyone loved and adored deeply.”

Honolua Bay is a popular snorkeling and swimming area that is included in a Marine Life Conservation District. These sanctuaries allow aquatic life to grow and reproduce, according to the state of Hawaii. The state has often been described as the “endangered species capital of the world…”

Why are Tunisia’s beaches disappearing and what does it mean for the country? – Reuters

Fishing Boats in the Old Hammamat - Tunisia (by Ghassan Tabet CC BY-NC 2.0 via Flickr).

Rising sea levels are causing Tunisia’s beaches to gradually disappear. This is making life hard for the country’s tourism and fishing industries.

The Maghreb – made up of Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Libya – is more affected by coastal erosion than any region outside South Asia, the World Bank found in a 2021 study.

Among these countries, Tunisia has had the highest erosion rates in the last three decades, averaging almost 70cm a year, it found.

At least 85 percent of Tunisia’s population of more than 12 million lives by the coast. This is more than double the global average of about 40 percent, according to the World Bank.

As a result, the country is disproportionately affected by coastal erosion. So, why is it happening and what impact is it having on local communities?

Rising sea levels, primarily caused by global warming-induced ice melt and rising water temperatures, are one of the main culprits for coastal erosion. As Tunisian beaches are eroded, fishermen in the coastal town of Ghannouch say their boats and nets are increasingly getting damaged by rocks as they go out to sea.

“The beach sand is significantly reduced and rocks are appearing there instead,” says Mohamed Ali, 39, a fisherman in the town, located about 400 km south of Tunis.

“I had my boat damaged several times. It is becoming difficult to go to the sea and fish,” the father-of-four adds.

Ali says he makes about $300 (€283) per month fishing, but his income is 20 per cent lower than in previous years before coastal erosion became a major factor. He is one of about 600 fishermen in Ghannouch.

Sassi Alaya, the head of the fisheries guild in the town’s southern port, says that half of the local fishermen have been affected along the most eroded areas of the coastline.

Nearly half of Tunisia’s 670 km of beaches were acutely threatened by coastal erosion as of 2020 – a figure that has more than tripled since 1995 – according to the Tunisian State Agency for Coastal Protection and Planning (APAL).

On the island of Djerba – about 110 km south of Ghannouch – 52-year-old fisherman Al-Akhdar Ahmed says his income has halved over the last decade due to the shrinking beaches. He now earns just $250 (€236) a month from fishing.

“Rocks are now surrounding about 18 kilometres of the coast of the island, destroying the livelihoods of hundreds of fishermen there,” he says…

Beach erosion: Satellites reveal how climate cycles impact coastlines – UNSW Sydney

Collaroy Beach (by Mark D CC BY-SA 2.0 via Flickr).

New research shows coastlines across the Pacific Ocean may respond differently to El Niño and La Niña cycles.

Researchers from UNSW Sydney have analyzed millions of satellite photos to observe changes in beaches across the Pacific Ocean. The findings, published in Nature Geoscience today (Feb. 10), reveal for the first time how coastlines respond to different phases of the El-Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle…