State: Coral bleaching already being seen in Hawaii waters

State: Coral bleaching already being seen in Hawaii waters
The DLNR captured this image of coral bleaching off Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park on Hawaii Island. (Image: DLNR)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - State scientists say they’re already beginning to see coral bleaching in Hawaii’s warmer-than-average waters.

NOAA has predicted that Hawaii could be entering a major coral bleaching event because of Hawaii’s warmer ocean temperatures, about 3 degrees higher than normal.

The state said a team conducting an assessment last week found about 50% of the coral off Molokini was already bleached or paling.

Coral bleaching was also seen in waters off Makena, Wailea and Kihei.

“Ocean temperatures remain well above average across much of the state," said NOAA oceanographer Jamison Gove, in a news release. "Warm ocean temperatures are expected to persist in the coming weeks, likely worsening the coral bleaching that has recently been observed across the islands.”

Meanwhile, a website has been launched so residents can report instances of coral bleaching.

To report coral bleaching, click here.

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