Dixon, A.M. et al., PLOS Climate
[The authors] use statistical downscaling to provide the highest resolution thermal stress projections (0.01°/1 km, >230,000 reef pixels) currently available for coral reefs and identify future refugia on locally manageable scales. Here, [the authors] show that climate change will overwhelm current local-scale refugia, with declines in global thermal refugia from 84% of global coral reef pixels in the present-day climate to 0.2% at 1.5°C, and 0% at 2.0°C of global warming. Local-scale oceanographic features such as upwelling and strong ocean currents only rarely provide future thermal refugia. [The authors] confirm that warming of 1.5°C relative to pre-industrial levels will be catastrophic for coral reefs. Focusing management efforts on thermal refugia may only be effective in the short-term. Promoting adaptation to higher temperatures and facilitating migration will instead be needed to secure coral reef survival.
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