The recent news about the extreme bleaching of huge sections of the Great Barrier Reef made headlines around the world. And while the silver lining is that it brought the issue of climate change to international attention, the fact remains that there are some dive sites found all around the globe that all have the potential to disappear in decades.
So while international leaders scramble to address the issue, take the opportunity to visit some of these sites sooner rather than later. According to RTCC (Responding to Climate Change), all of these destinations are potentially in danger of disappearing due to climate, development or other human influence activities.
The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) ranks high on the top of the list because of the recent shocking headlines as well as several decades of gradual shrinking. Known as one of the seven modern wonders of the world, the reef is home to more than 5,000 species of mollusks.
It is also home to roughly 3,000 distinct reef systems and coral cays, (AKA sandy islands that you can find on the surface of a reef), 360 species of hard coral and more than 1,500 species of fish. These fish is all in addition to the multiple birds, sponges, worms, and crustaceans that call the reef home.
The GBR took millions of years to form, but a combination of ocean warming, acidification and climate change threaten its massive existence. As a leading scientist warned during the recent Coral Reef Symposium in Cairns, the GBR could be “boring and full of rubble” by 2200 if we don’t do something.
Beautiful above and under the surface, the Maldives is a paradise for visitors of all varieties. Scuba divers mainly flock to the region for top-notch dive resorts and expeditions to superb snorkeling and scuba sites.
But the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has recently warned that sea levels could rise dramatically in the coming years and could end up being between 18 and 59 cm higher before the year 2200. Considering that the highest point of the Maldives is roughly 2.4 meters above the surface, and the majority of the region (or approximately 80%) is about 1 meter above the surface, the entire island chain could be simply gone in less than a century.
Though better known for its unique waters that allow people to float like a cork, the Dead Sea nonetheless is an intriguing and unique destination for scuba divers, who have the opportunity to see salt crystals on a clear day that shine like a million diamonds.
If you’ve ever wanted to scuba dive in an “ocean filled with sparkling ice,” as one diver called it, better book a trip soon. In the last 30 years, the Dead Sea has shrunk by more than a third, leaving behind former seaside resorts and hotels more than a mile away from the shore.
The cause of this massive decrease is water that used to flow into the lake, but which officials are now diverting for local industry and agricultural purposes. If conditions do not change, the Dead Sea could disappear completely in less than 35 years.
Time is still left to save some the world’s watery treasures, but scuba divers nevertheless should hedge their bets and make a date visit these iconic sites. Though there’s still plenty of hope that we can save all of these sites as the saying goes, sometimes you don’t know what you got till it’s gone.