12 May 2016

Kiribati atoll loses coral to bleaching

6:57 am on 12 May 2016

The largest coral atoll in the world, Kiritimati, in Kiribati, is set to lose almost all its coral due to bleaching according to scientists.

Ecowatch reports 80 percent of the coral has gone in the past 10 months and another 15 percent is likely to die.

Ecowatch puts this down to months of abnormally warm water temperatures, causing extreme stress to corals and the species that rely on them.

It reports this is the longest coral bleaching ever recorded and scientists are becoming increasingly pessimistic that the affected reefs will recover.

Julia Baum from the University of Victoria described the atoll as a "horror show" and Kim Cobb of Georgia Tech called it "a wake-up call."