Great Barrier Reef reeling from the biggest mass bleaching

Published on : Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Bleached coral can be seen at the Keppel Islands on the southern Great Barrier Reef in QueenslandThe heat wave in parts of Australia is projected to have a devastating effect on the Great Barrier Reef also apart from the bush fires, power outages and rise in deaths from heat stress.


Weather experts and scientists fear the extreme weather event could place stress on the underwater ecosystem; and if this happens, it can lead to the worst bleaching events in its history. the bleaching takes place when corals become stressed by high water temperatures, and last year massive bleaching took place across 1,500-mile of the reef following major heat wave.


About 93 per cent of the reef was affected in 2016 for which more than 22 per cent of its coral had died. It immediately became a matter of concern for the scientists and the ecologists and with the return of the heat wave they again fear the reef could come under attack with temperatures exceeding 47C.


The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) shared their findings and photographs, which showed newly bleached corals near Townsville, Queensland and around the Whitsundays. The waters off eastern Australia are unusually warm for this time of the year, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which has placed vast swathes of the Great Barrier Reef on red alert (Alert Level 1) for the next four weeks, meaning coral bleaching is likely.


Around 1.9 million people visit the Great Barrier Reef annually which generates about A$5.6 billion (£2.7billion) revenue. Australia’s biggest tourism asset appears to be in grave danger due to climate change, which campaigners claim is being exacerbated by the Australian coal industry.


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