Great Barrier Reef Is Almost Dead Due To Severe Coral Bleaching

Posted: Apr 10 2017, 5:34am CDT | by , Updated: Apr 10 2017, 10:17am CDT, in News | Latest Science News

 
Great Barrier Reef has Zero Prospect of Recovery
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  • Great Barrier Reef has Zero Prospect of Recovery

It seems that a large portion of the Great Barrier Reef has undergone bleaching.

Large parts of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef have been damaged due to coral bleaching. The bleaching or rather departure of algae has affected a 1500 km long area of the reef. The most recent damaged area has been the midsection of the reef.

In 2016, the northern area was affected by algae loss. The researchers are apprehensive lest the two bleaching events combine to cause massive and extensive damage to the Great Barrier Reef which then cannot be reversed.

Governments for the most part tend to blame climate change for coral reef damage. This issue has to be addressed no matter what since time is running out.

The process of coral bleaching began in the late 90s and it has caused four major events ever since that period in history. Whereas the time lapses between the events have varied, this time they have been very short.

Mankind must make the leap from fossil fuels to renewable means of energy. This is a crucial part of the puzzle. Also greenhouse gases have to be eliminated.

The scientists assessed over 800 corals which stretched over 8000 km of territory at the oceanic bottom off the coast of Australia, according to Phys.org. Only the southern section remained intact. This is sad news indeed.

The damage has been extensive and will take quite a while to undo. It is a sort of double whammy that has occurred. Coral bleaching is normally caused by heated water temperatures.

Two warm currents that run in the region cause the higher temperatures. Also man-made climate change is exacerbating this coral bleaching. That is because the ocean absorbs 93% of the increasingly hot temperature of the earth.

Bleaching occurs when the corals undergo stress and get rid of the algae which inhabit them. These are called zooxanthellae and they give the rainbow colors to the coral reefs which they are so famous for.

Were normality to return to the area, the corals may recover, yet it takes decades for this recovery to occur. Also sometimes it is simply a case of “too little, too late” and so the corals die.

The latest damage was due to the El Nino phenomenon. It is a weather pattern connected with bleaching. The Great Barrier Reef is a conglomeration of small coral reefs which stretch between Queensland and Bundaberg. It was given the status of a World Heritage Site in 1981. The United Nations has declared it to be a region with the most biodiversity on earth.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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