Monday, 27 March, 2017

The Great Barrier Reef Is Suffering Yet Another Mass Bleaching

RTX1I8GX Great Barrier Reef suffers extreme coral bleaching for the second year in a row
Garry Little | 12 March, 2017, 00:24

"In these photos almost 100 percent of the corals are bleaching, and who knows how many will recover".

The recurrence of widespread coral bleaching in back-to-back summers indicated there was not enough time between last year's extreme heat event for the corals to fully recover, said Neal Cantin from the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS). The corals don't have time to recover.

"As we saw a year ago, bleaching and mortality can be highly variable across the 344,000 square kilometre Marine Park - an area bigger than Italy", Wachenfeld stated.

"What will happen to these people as large areas of coral die?"

His colleagues stress that the Barrier Reef is under non-stop pressure from farming run-off, normal development and reproductive health of the sea inhabitants.

WWF-Australia Head of Oceans, Richard Leck, added: "Scientists warned that without sufficient emissions reductions we could expect annual mass bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef by 2050".

"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". Last year, large areas of the reef caused massive bleaching as a result of warmer water temperatures. Its underwater surveys have revealed equally disturbing images of a reef in distress.

Bleaching occurs when abnormal environmental conditions, such as warmer sea temperatures, cause corals to expel tiny photosynthetic algae, draining them of their colour. The death rate of coral will be determined in the next six months.

Last year's bleaching event shows climate change is taking its toll.

The bleaching has prompted Terry Hughes, a leading reef scientist at James Cook University who is also with the National Coral Bleaching Taskforce, to embark on a week-long aerial survey of the reef from next Wednesday. "We are extremely concerned moving into the future". "We can still stop the Reef's destruction if we dramatically reduce global emissions." said Alix Foster Vander Elst, Campaigner for Greenpeace Australia Pacific.

World Wildlife Fund Australia called on the federal government to accelerate solar and wind energy use by setting a 100 per cent renewable energy target by 2035. "Tackling climate change is the only real solution here and that starts by stopping public funding for climate-killing coal projects". The corals aren't getting the chance to bounce back from last year's bleaching event.

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