Warm ocean temperatures cause another mass bleaching event on Great Barrier Reef

Ocean Agency  Reef Explorer Fiji a snorkeler swims above coral that has bleached white due to heat stress in Fiji. Coral reefs unique underwater ecosystems that sustain a quarter of the world's marine species

Parts of the Great Barrier Reef are enduring sustained periods of heat stress worse than at the same time during last year's record-breaking coral bleaching event, raising fears the natural wonder may suffer another hammering. Having said that we are the canary in the coal mine for climate change.

The survey will replicate one previous year that drew global attention to the extent of damage to the natural wonder. Waters in the region have rapidly warmed over the past two months and are now up to 5.4°F above normal.

The back-to-back occurrence of widespread bleaching also meant there was insufficient time for corals to fully recover, Neal Cantin from the Australian Institute of Marine Science said.

The health of the Great Barrier Reef is in "uncharted territory" after researchers found there had been mass coral bleaching for two summers in a row for the first time. Elevated ocean temperatures have triggered wide-scale coral bleaching events around the world, from the United States' Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, to France's Lagoons of New Caledonia, the Seychelles' Aldabra Atoll, and Kiribati's Phoenix Islands Protected Area. They will survey 1150 reefs along the stretch again.

"I've been photographing this area of the reef for several years now and what we're seeing is unprecedented", Monroe Garner said.

The collected findings "regrettably" provided adequate evidence to confirm the reef had experienced another mass bleaching, GBRMPA reef recovery director Dr. David Wachenfeld said, speaking with the ABC. Without the algae in the corals, they can no longer get sufficient food source, so they essentially starve to death.




Bleaching occurs when warm waters prompt coral to expel algae living within their tissues, turning white. the Guardian daily reported. If water temperatures don't return to normal within 6-8 weeks of the bleaching, the coral dies. The corals aren't getting the chance to bounce back from last year's bleaching event.

Mr McKenzie said much of the latest bleaching off the coast of Cairns equated to severe sunburn on a person.

"The Palaszczuk Government has committed an additional $100 million over five years to protect the Great Barrier Reef", he said.

Bleaching warnings and alerts over the past 90 days. Reefs also provide protection from storm surge and for crucial fisheries around the globe. Nations with significant carbon dioxide emissions and substantial economic and technical capacity to act have an additional obligation to take serious and effective action to reduce their contributions to climate change, including by not authorizing the construction of new fossil-fuel infrastructure. Their efforts include trying to understand why some corals survive in warm water in hopes of breeding them or sharing their secrets with other corals.

For Baum and other scientists, it really is a race against a competitor that shows no signs of slowing down.

"In the past few years, the effect of climate change on corals has been made frighteningly evident".

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