Great Barrier Reef Bleaching Worse Than Thought
Great Barrier Reef Bleaching Worse Than Thought

Great Barrier Reef Bleaching Worse Than Thought

Great Barrier Reef Bleaching Worse Than Thought

Coral bleaching on Australia's Great Barrier Reef is worse than first thought and the impact will accelerate unless global greenhouse gas emissions are cut, scientists said on Monday.
The 2,300-kilometer World Heritage-listed reef suffered its most severe bleaching on record last year due to warming sea temperatures during March and April, Physorg reported.
Initial aerial and in-water surveys showed 22% of shallow water corals were destroyed in 2016, but it has now been bumped up to 29%. But with the reef currently experiencing an unprecedented second straight year of bleaching, the outlook is grim.
"We're very concerned about what this means for the Great Barrier Reef itself and what it means for the communities and industries that depend on it," Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Chairman Russell Reichelt said.
"The amount of coral that died from bleaching in 2016 is up from our original estimates and, at this stage, although reports are still being finalized, it's expected we'll also see an overall further coral cover decline by the end of 2017."
Bleaching, which occurs when abnormal conditions such as warmer sea temperatures cause corals to expel tiny photosynthetic algae, draining them of their color, also extended to deeper corals beyond depths divers can typically survey.
But mortality of those reefs could not be systematically assessed.
The most severely impacted region was an area north of the popular tourist town Port Douglas where an estimated 70% of shallow water corals have died.
Cairns and Townsville, also hugely popular tourist destinations, are among the regions hardest-hit from the 2017 bleaching event, although southern parts of the natural wonder escaped the worst.
Corals can recover if the water temperature drops and the algae are able to re-colonize them, but it can take a decade.
The reef is already under pressure from farming runoff, development and the crown-of-thorns starfish, with the problems compounded this year by powerful cyclone pummeling the area.
Reichelt said the storm impacted a quarter of the reef, but a complete picture for 2017 would not be available until next year.
"The Great Barrier Reef is a large and resilient system that's previously shown its capacity to bounce back. However, the current changes are undermining the resilience of the reef," said Reichelt. He said experts believe there is a need for global action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the driver of climate change.
The world's nations agreed in Paris in 2015 to limit average warming to two degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels, by curbing fossil fuel burning. However, concerns about the US pulling out of the agreement could undermine efforts to tackle climate change.


Short URL : https://goo.gl/Lh7mIR
  1. https://goo.gl/5LGGqU
  • https://goo.gl/G3koz1
  • https://goo.gl/mabDr3
  • https://goo.gl/i71oYr
  • https://goo.gl/9bQBGC

You can also read ...

EU Attends Tehran Environment Conference
A conference on environmental issues between senior officials...
Iran has suffered losses due to the lack of political dialogue with regional countries on water.
Many environmental challenges such as drought and dust storms...
British Agency Gears Up to Tackle Invasive, Killer Plant
Boats have been out in force on River Cam, the main river...
Treated Wastewater to Irrigate South Khorasan Farmlands
The plan for transferring treated wastewater from the plant in...
La Nina could lead to dry conditions in many agricultural crop growing regions.
Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology has issued an alert for a La...
Fire Razes Section of Tonekabon Forest
Fire razed 15 hectares of forest in Tonekabon County in the...

Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints

Enter the characters shown in the image.