The Great Barrier Reef Encounters Another Mass Coral Bleaching

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef has encountered its most widespread bleaching period on record, according to scientists who observe them. Such an unfortunate event is the third in only the last five years. The quick warming of Earth due to people’s actions are to blame.

The emissions of heat-trapping gases are considered the most dangerous. Recent events from 2016, respectively 2017, affected half of the Great Barrier Reef. Approximately half of the corals died.

Scientists urge people to start dealing with climate change as soon as possible. If we don’t decide upon a series of measures, we risk the life of corals as the bleaching events would be more severe and more regular. Not only Australia will suffer, but the rest of the world, too.

The Great Barrier Reef’s Corals Are in Danger Due To Mass Coral Bleaching

Coral Reef Watch is observing the bleaching events permanently. Researchers utilize remote sensing and modeling to forecast and record the signs of bleaching. The events from 2016 to 2017 were extremely severe. The damage was spotted in some hotspots in the central and northern areas of the reef. With the latest event’s consequences, researchers explain that a more significant part of the reef encountered a lot of bleaching, but it was not severe.

Back when El Nino-Southern Oscillation hit, a climate phenomenon occurred that grew the chances of extreme weather periods worldwide. Warmer waters in the Pacific Ocean characterize El Nino. Such a thing makes the bleaching events in the region more prone to happen. Currently, we don’t experience the El Nino effect, which makes the situation even worse.

Dr. C. Mark Eakin is the coordinator of the NOAA’s Coral Reef Watch (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). He stated: “The upper ocean has absorbed a tremendous amount of heat in recent years, and it has really put coral reefs around the globe much closer to their upper thermal limits.”

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