The planet lost about 14% of its coral reefs between 2009 and 2018, a startling figure that reflects the dire threats to the iconic creatures as climate change continues to ravage sensitive ecosystems around the globe.

A new report, released Monday by the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network, found mass coral bleaching events linked to warmer temperatures remained the greatest threat to sensitive reefs. The study is the largest analysis of global coral reef health ever done, and includes observations along reefs in more than 70 countries over the last 40 years.

That 14% figure is staggering. Effectively, the loss amounts to about 4,500 square miles of reef, or more than all of the living coral off the coast of Australia, including the iconic Great Barrier Reef.

In some good news, the report found that reefs still remain resilient even amid the ongoing assault by climate change. If immediate steps are taken to dramatically reduce carbon emissions and rein in climate change, they can recover. Also, global reef cover has increased in some years after mass bleachings.

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