The Health of Great Barrier Reef Is Jeopardized by Bleaching
"The coral can't recover in that kind of timeline, it takes them about 10 years for them to recover from a very severe bleaching", Hughes said. By February, corals were starting to show signs of stress from elevated water temperatures.
The Australian Institute of Marine Science's Dr Neal Cantin said the bleaching was the result of water temperatures increasing by just one degree during a "typical summer". "The plight of these corals - and of the World Heritage sites on which they depend - is growing more dire every year".
Scientists estimated that two-thirds of coral coverage died in a 700-kilometre stretch of reef north of Port Douglas in far north Queensland.
More evidence of coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef has emerged ahead of surveys that will confirm whether an underwater heatwave has caused widespread damage for an unprecedented second year in a row.
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'We are on target to be two-and-a-half to three-and-a-half degrees warmer by the end of the century, which is not a good target for our reefs, ' he said.
Last year's warm water brought coral bleaching events worldwide, which were made worse by the El Niño climate pattern, according to a story published last year in the Guardian.
"There is no doubt that if we do not get our act together globally we will have serious damage to the barrier reef, we could see the barrier reef lose a huge amount of biodiversity, when you look at the Cayman islands they have about 30 species of coral and we have 300".
"What's happening with global warming is that these events are becoming the new normal", he told BuzzFeed News.
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Bleaching happens when algae that lives in the coral is expelled due to stress caused by extreme changes in temperatures, turning the coral white and putting it at risk of dying.
An aerial survey showed severe bleaching in the middle of the reef, although it may not have had time to recover fully from previous bleaching.
'We are extremely concerned moving into the future'.
The coral may die in the six to 12 months after bleaching, meaning the level of mortality on the reef will not be determined until later in the year.
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"We are working closely with the Commonwealth to ensure we gather all the information required to determine the extent of this latest bleaching event", Mr Miles said. "We can still stop the Reef's destruction if we dramatically reduce global emissions." said Alix Foster Vander Elst, Campaigner for Greenpeace Australia Pacific. "Tackling climate change is the only real solution here and that starts by stopping public funding for climate-killing coal projects".
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Mar 08 2017