(CMC) – The Barbados-based Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) on Monday said that with El Niño conditions expected this year, the bleaching outlook for the Caribbean is not positive at this point in time. Widespread bleaching of reefs is predicted for this season.
Weather experts have noted that El Niño, the natural climate phenomenon of warm temperature in the Pacific Ocean, has officially begun, and it’s sure to affect weather patterns globally in conjunction with climate change.
In its latest publication of the Caribbean Coral Reef Watch, the CIMH said that there are notably warmer conditions throughout the Caribbean compared to this period in 2022 and that the entire region is under coral bleaching watch or warning.
It predicts for the four-month period June to September, “there is high probability Coral Bleaching Heat Stress will reach and exceed Alert Levels 1 and 2 for most of the Caribbean.” It said the near real-time satellite Bleaching Alert Area and modelled Four Month Outlook for the Caribbean both indicate extensive Alert Levels 1 and 2 conditions could be expected throughout the region, from mid-August to late September, potentially persisting for multiple weeks into October.