Unsuitable conditions will probably lead to the corals dying off and other marine life will struggle to survive due to disruptions in the food chain, according to the study published in scientific journal PLOS Biology.
Using an ensemble of global climate change models, researchers compared scenarios of five environmental stressors projected from the 1950s to 2100, reports Xinhua news agency.
The stressors included sea surface temperature, ocean acidification, tropical storms, land use and human population, the researchers said.
By 2055, it is projected that 99% of the world’s coral reefs would be facing unsuitable conditions based on at least one of the five stressors studied.
“While the negative impacts of climate change on coral reefs are well known, this research shows that they are actually worse than anticipated due to a broad combination of climate change-induced stressors,” said lead author Renee O Setter.
It had been surprising to find that so many global coral reefs would be overwhelmed by unsuitable environmental conditions so soon due to multiple stressors, she said.
The researchers were preparing to enter the next phase of their work, which would take a closer look at how climate change was projected to affect individual coral species.