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Bleaching coral off Phuket's Nai Harn beach

Phuket Coral Reefs Still Hostage to Sunshine

Sunday, June 13, 2010
PHUKET'S coral reefs remain at risk despite the arrival of cooling storms, Phuket marine Biology Centre expert Niphon Pongsuwan says. The reefs are one of Phuket's prime tourist attractions.

Bleaching has struck 90 percent of the coral reefs around Phuket, he added, and already between 10 percent and 40 percent could not be saved even if sea temperatures dropped quickly now.

Greater than usual exposure to hot sun in warmer than normal water has placed the entire Andaman region's reefs at risks this year. Other reefs around Thailand and the Great Barrier Reef off Australia have also been affected.

Khun Niphon went diving off Phuket on Tuesday and placed reef temperatures at 30.5 degrees. Prolonged exposure at 31 degrees or above is what has put the colorful reefs at risk.

Last week's thunderstorms and clouds over Phuket and the Anbdaman Sea have helped, but perhaps not enough.

''Half a degree is better however we still need the temperature to move to 29 degrees quickly or there could be residual damage and death,'' he said.

Loss of reefs around Phuket ''would not take many years'' to replace because they were fast-growing varieties, he said. But he said more hot seasons could worsen the situation quickly. ''We just can't tell from season to season because so many factors now come into play,'' he said.

More sophisticated measurement techniques involving taking the temperatures of reefs regularly would help diagnosis but not treatment, he said.


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Here is the best website to monitor latest swell period, latest swell height, latest wind strength and sea water temperature.

Provincial government agencies, fishing boats, tour boats, liveaboard and day dive boats in the Andaman Sea coastal area should consult it regularly for true forecast for one week ahead.
Drowning and boat accidents may be avoided.

Posted by Whistle-Blower on June 13, 2010 08:59

Monday June 17, 2024
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