Massive coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef

27 Mars, 2020, 06:55 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • 2016 shows coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Scientists fear that another mass bleaching event has occurred in 2020

The scientists said that they have detected widespread bleaching, including extensive patches of severe damage. Experts predict that these events will become more frequent and more severe as global temperatures continue to rise, and the latest surveys of the reef will do little to allay those concerns.

A study of coral bleaching on the reef, published in the journal Nature in 2017, found 91 per cent of the coral reef had been bleached at least once during bleaching events of the past two decades.

Warmer sea levels, especially in February, are thought are thought to have caused huge coral loss.

Australia's Great Barrier Reef has suffered its third mass bleaching event in five years.

Climate change poses a real threat to the future of the world's reef systems, but some are already feeling that in very real ways. The most deadly were the most recent, in consecutive summers in 2016 and 2017. But not all bleached corals die: lightly or moderately bleached corals can recover.

"The inshore section between Cairns and Townsville is certainly severely bleached".

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"Coal-driven climate change is threatening our lovely reef, and the many communities and tourism workers who depend on a healthy reef for their livelihoods which are already at risk from the coronavirus outbreak", said Kate Smolski, acting program director of Greenpeace Australia Pacific.

Earlier this month, David Wachenfeld, chief scientist at the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, said ocean temperatures over the next month will be crucial to how the reef recovers from heat-induced bleaching.

There are current programs to plant new corals in parts of the reef that desperately need rejuvenation, but Dr Heron explains as mass bleaching spreads further, the recovery efforts become more hard.

Aerial view of the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of the Whitsunday Islands, along the central coast of Queensland.

"Greenpeace is calling on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to take climate change seriously, get out of bed with the fossil fuel industry, and protect the Great Barrier Reef by urgently reducing Australia's greenhouse gas emissions, which have been rising for over four years", said Smolski.

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