The flood-protection services provided by our oceans coral reefs are worth roughly 4 billion US dollars a year — a benefit threatened by coral reef loss in a warming world.

Coral reefs currently serve as a natural flood defense along some 44,000+ miles of coastline worldwide. To quantify the reefs monetary benefits, a team led by the Nature Conservancy in Santa Cruz California analyzed flooding scenarios. With the help of flood models similar to those used by the insurance industry the team found that if today’s reefs were to shrink just 3 feet in height, damage from near-shore flooding would more than double, reaching roughly $8 billion a year.

It is further believed that in extreme storms, (the kind that occur only once every 50 to 100 years) existing reefs provide flood-protection benefits worth more than $100 billion.

Lastly, the biggest gains from preserving reefs which are threatened by climate change are Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Mexico and Cuba not to mention several areas throughout the United States.

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