News Worms
News Worms

Coral bleaching now a 'global-scale event'

Coral bleaching now a 'global-scale event'

The newly released footage shows researchers returning to the regions between November 2016 and March 2017 to find a potential fourth bleaching episode in the central reef, but Hughes did not believe it will be as catastrophic as past year.

The Great Barrier Reef may suffer yet another mass coral bleaching event this year, just months after the last one devastated the planet's largest living structure.

In the 2016 event, only 9% of the 1,156 surveyed reefs escaped with no bleaching, the study says.

HOOGENBOOM: We know from our results in the current paper that we can predict which reef's bleached the worst based mostly on temperature of the water at that time.

Graveyard of Staghorn coral, Yonge reef, Northern Great Barrier Reef, October 2016. "The severity of the 2016 bleaching was off the chart", says taskforce convener, Professor Terry Hughes.

If water conditions return to normal, the corals can recover.

Scientists revealed today that Australia's Great Barrier Reef is doing worse than we previously thought.

Bleaching, which strips the reef of its colour and life, is a sign that corals are under heat stress.

Now, as the reef faces yet another bleaching event in 2017, a new report has found only one way to save the natural wonder: Fight climate change. That's the same thing he did past year when he and fellow scientists initially documented the extent of the severe bleaching event on the reef. The hotter the waters and the longer they're around, the greater the stresses and the more likely the corals are to succumb to them.

Last week it was confirmed that another mass bleaching event is underway, making it the first time such events have happened in consecutive years.

The study, now published in the journal Nature, investigates the determinants of recurrent major bleaching events, and why some corals are more prone to bleaching than others.

His detailed analysis of the Great Barrier Reef over the past two decades shows extreme heat is the key driver of mass bleaching. "In the north, I saw hundreds of reefs - literally two-thirds of the reefs were dying and are now dead". Scientists estimate that the Great Barrier Reef contributes an estimated $3.7 billion to the Australian economy through tourism and fishing.

Large swaths of the Great Barrier Reef, extending for hundreds of miles along its northern section, were recently discovered to be dead, wiped out past year by water that was too warm, according to a new report in the journal Nature.

Reducing pollution and curbing overfishing won't prevent the severe bleaching that is killing coral at catastrophic rates, according to a study of Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

The study found that the 2016 event was so severe that factors such as high water quality and low fishing pressure, which are often the focus of local management actions, had no effect on the extent of bleaching. "I think we've got a narrowing window of opportunity, to put it optimistically - or to put it pessimistically, we're running out of time".


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