The Great Barrier Reef Coral Bleaching Event is More Widespread Than Thought

Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef appears to be even more damaged due to the intense coral bleaching. Aerial surveys spotted the damaged area off the east of Australia. Researchers are concerned as such an event is the third one in five years.

Bleaching has affected all three regions of the world’s most extensive coral reef system. Currently, it is so widespread that researchers are uncertain about the coral reef’s future. The air surveys of 1,036 reefs in the last two weeks spotted bleached coral in the southern, central, and northern regions.

The Great Barrier Reef Suffers Another Coral Bleaching Event

The Great Barrier Reef comprises up to 2,900 separate reefs and 900 islands. It is impossible to recover the bleached reefs because we don’t have enough time between all the bleaching events. Professor Terry Hughes from the James Cook University detailed: “We have already seen the first example of back-to-back bleaching – in the consecutive summers of 2016 and 2017.”

The bleaching events spared only a few reefs, as it becomes more widespread. Last month, the researchers found that the reef was troubled by a severe period of heat. The bleaching events were the most extensive so far. The ocean temperatures over the following weeks will be vital to how the reef recovers from such heat-induced coral bleaching.

Ocean temperatures of most of the reef were measured, and the results showed 0.5 to 1.5 degrees Celsius above the March average. In some areas of the marine park in the south neat to the shore that escaped the damages of previous bleachings, the situation was different.

The temperatures were 2 to 3 degrees Celsius above the norm. The authority got over 250 reports of trackings of coral bleaching due to increased ocean temperatures during a strangely hot February. As the warming continues, the future of the Great Barrier Reef is in danger.

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