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MELBOURNE, Australia (November 30, 1998 - Radio Australia)---Marine scientists say coral reefs in some parts of the Pacific region have not been seriously affected by global warming, but the International Tropical Marine Ecosystems Management Symposium has warned that global warming has devastated many of the world's coral reefs, and most face complete destruction within 50 years.

The symposium noted that global warming causes higher sea surface temperatures, leading to bleaching of coral which then dies.

Satellite data from the U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration show the volume of global coral bleaching and die-off was unprecedented in 1996, and is expected to increase.

The worst damaged reefs are found in waters around Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia and the islands of Palau.

Coral reefs in the Central Pacific so far have escaped the die-off phenomenon.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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