13 Mar 2018

Scientists: coral reef depletion may be worse than rising seas

From , 6:04 am on 13 March 2018

The rapid depletion of coral reefs could prove more damaging for small islands than sea level rise, according to recently published research.

Coral reefs provide an important barrier for coastlines, creating friction that slows down and dissipates the energy of waves rushing in off the ocean.

But Daniel Harris, from the University of Queensland, says that with a lot of the world's coral under threat or dying from climate change, this barrier could be rapidly lost.

Dr Harris, who studied the waves of Tahiti and Moorea, told Jamie Tahana that could trigger a significant increase in wave size - on top of rising sea levels - which could damage shores.

South side of Tahiti

South side of Tahiti Photo: Google Maps