Rising ocean temperatures have killed one-third of coral reefs near Guam, University of Guam researchers said Monday.
Their study found that between 2013 and 2017, Guam experienced warm water that killed off 34 percent of coral.
"Never in our history of looking at reefs, have we seen something this severe," Laurie Raymundo, UOG marine lab director and marine biology professor, said during a press conference, according to the Pacific Daily News.
"The highest temperatures we've ever recorded in Guam happened in 2017," she added. "Right now, the best way to stop bleaching is to lower our carbon footprint."
Coral reefs are crucial to maintaining ocean habitats and support marine life and tourism.
Last year's State of the Climate report from the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration found that climate change is driving coral bleaching.
The 500 scientists in 60 countries involved in the research found that 2014 to 2017 was "the longest, most widespread, and almost certainly most destructive" coral bleaching event on record globally.