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Okinawan coral reefs becoming white

Date Posted: 1998-09-18

The Okinawa Tropical Area General Laboratory conducted a survey on the condition of coral reefs surrounding Okinawa by using a helicopter, Friday.

Announcing the results of the survey, the researchers at the laboratory concluded that the reefs were damaged and had become white in color because of the extraordinary warmth of the ocean waters surrounding Okinawa. They worried that the damage would spread also to the outer islands.

The phenomenon that the coral reefs becoming white is caused by the warmth of the ocean water. When the temperature of the ocean rises, the source of the color of coral reefs is released from the reefs and they become white. When that happens, the coral dies because of the lack of nutrition.

An official at the laboratory commented the basic cause of this problem is the warming of the earth and the lack of rainfall.

The Ministry of the Environment is planning to research the coral reefs in Okinawa and establish the Coral Reef Monitoring Center on Ishigaki Island.

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