In a time when all coral news is bad news, a new study that will be published online Saturday in __Geophysical Research Letters__ (read the press release linkurl:here); suggests that areas of open ocean can act as a natural thermostat, protecting corals from bleaching by preventing surface water temperature from going up. (You can read more about coral bleaching and about the other effects of global warming on the biome in our linkurl:January issue.); The theory of ocean thermostats is a controversial one, says lead author Joan Kleypas from the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, CO. The theory goes that in the open ocean, increases in surface water temperature lead to more evaporation. The process of evaporation itself cools the water, but the cloud cover that develops also acts as shade, blocking further heating. But this feedback doesn't function everywhere. "You'll have evaporation over a swimming pool," explained...

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