Spatially Modeling the Synergistic Impacts of Global Warming and Sea-Level Rise on Coral Reefs in the South China Sea

Xiuling Zuo, Fenzhen Su, Kefu Yu, Yinghui Wang, Qi Wang, Huisheng Wu
2021 Remote Sensing  
Global warming and sea-level rise (SLR) induced by rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations can cause coral bleaching, death, and submergence of the world's coral reefs. Adopting the GIS and RS methods, we modeled how these two stressors combine to influence the future growth of the atolls and table reefs of three archipelagoes in the South China Sea (SCS), based on geomorphic and ecological zones. A large-scale survey of the coral communities in Xisha Islands in 2014, Dongsha Islands in 2014–2016
more » ... and Nansha Islands in 2007 provided zone-specific process datasets on the range of reef accretion rates. Sea surface temperature and extreme (minimum and maximum) SLR data above 1985–2005 levels by 2100 in the SCS were derived from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) models forced with the Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs). Our model projected that: (1) the Xisha Islands and Dongsha Islands may have a better growth status, because the reef flat biotic sparse zone may be recolonized with hard coral and become a biotic dense zone; (2) the southern Nansha Islands reefs have a risk of stopping growing due to their earlier annual bleaching years. The increasing of water depths of these reefs is stronger in the RCP with more emissions. Our approach offers insights into the best-case and worst-case impacts of two global environmental pressures on potential future reef growth under a changing climate.
doi:10.3390/rs13132626 fatcat:6mynmptsb5anbnuffn6fgrmihi