Coral reefs can act as allies to deal with storm surges

A mesophotic coral ecosystem in the Au'au Channel in Hawaii. Coral reef experts say healthy reefs could protect coastlines against erosion by functioning like breakwaters and reducing the full force of storm energy.
A mesophotic coral ecosystem in the Au'au Channel in Hawaii. Coral reef experts say healthy reefs could protect coastlines against erosion by functioning like breakwaters and reducing the full force of storm energy.PHOTO: NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, HAWAII UNDERSEA RESEARCH LABORATORY

Many options exist for tackling the rise in sea levels. These range from engineering feats such as building seawalls or reclaiming land to restoring coastal habitats like mangroves.

But coastal cities and nations may find another ally: coral reefs.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 21, 2020, with the headline 'Coral reefs can act as allies to deal with storm surges'. Print Edition | Subscribe