HOME

NEWS

CHARITIES

VOLUNTEER

ACTION CENTER

ADD CHARITY

CONTACT

SUPPORT

World Environment Community Health Animals Celebrity Submit A Site Find A Charity
'Zero recovery' for corals in back-to-back Australia bleaching

phys.org

79 days ago   Article ID# 4117672
Original URL

 

DOUGLAS, ISLE OF MAN, U K (phys.org) - Coral bleached for two consecutive years at Australia's Great Barrier Reef has "zero prospect" of recovery, scientists warned Monday, as they confirmed the site has again been hit by warming sea temperatures.

Researchers said last month they were detecting another round of mass bleaching this year after a severe event in 2016, and their fears were confirmed after aerial surveys of the entire 2,300-kilometre (1,400-mile) long bio-diverse reef.

Last year, the northern areas of the World Heritage-listed area were hardest hit, with the middle-third now experiencing the worst effects.

"Bleached corals are not necessarily dead corals, but in the severe central region we anticipate high levels of coral loss," said James Kerry, a marine biologist at James Cook University who led the aerial surveys.

"It takes at least a decade for a full recovery of even the fastest growing corals, so mass bleaching events 12 months apart offer zero prospect of recovery for reefs that were damaged in 2016."

It is the fourth time coral bleaching—where stressed corals expel the algae that live in their tissue and provide them with food—has hit the reef after previous events in 1998 and 2002.

-Record temperatures-

"The combined impact of this back-to-back bleaching stretches for 1,500 kilometres, leaving only the southern third unscathed," said Terry Hughes, head of the Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, also at James Cook University.

"The bleaching is caused by record-breaking temperatures driven by global warming.

"This year, 2017, we are seeing mass bleaching, even without the assistance of El Nino conditions," he added, referring to the natural climate cycle in the Pacific Ocean.

The Barrier Reef is already under pressure from farming run-off, development and the crown-of-thorns starfish. It was also recently hammered by category four Cyclone Debbie, which barrelled through the region last month, mostly affecting southern parts around the Whitsunday islands which largely escaped the bleaching.

The extent of the destruction wrought by Debbie is not yet known, although scientists have said damage could range from minor to severe.

Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority began a study last week to determine how extensive it might be and have already found extensive pulverised coral at popular snorkeling spots.

"The feedback that's coming back is the more sheltered areas have come out a bit better, but they all seem to have suffered some form of damage," Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators' Brendon Robinson told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

The Whitsundays is one of the reef's tourist hotspots, attracting more than 40 percent of total visitors to the iconic marine ecosystem.

-Multiple impacts-

Hughes warned rising temperatures could see more bleaching events.

"Clearly the reef is struggling with multiple impacts. Without a doubt the most pressing of these is global warming," he said.

"As temperatures continue to rise the corals will experience more and more of these events. One degree Celsius of warming so far has already caused four events in the past 19 years.

"Ultimately, we need to cut carbon emissions, and the window to do so is rapidly closing."

The world's nations agreed in Paris in 2015 to limit average warming to two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-industrial levels, by curbing fossil fuel burning.

Canberra in 2015 narrowly avoided UNESCO putting the reef on its endangered list, and has committed more than Aus$2.0 billion (US$1.5 billion) to protect it over the next decade.

Copyright 2017 phys.org   (Copyright Terms)
Updated 79 days ago   Article ID# 4117672

   

View All Actions >>

Climate
Oceans
Deforestation
Pollution
Wildlife
<< Return To Environment News

Action Center

Climate change causes sea level rise to accelerate 50 percent in past 20 years

Action: Climate Change

Sea level rise is real, and it’s getting worse.

A study published in the journal Nature Climate Change shows t ...

Interpol says there really are dark web rhino horn traffickers

Action: Wildlife Conservation

The dark web is home to several lingering myths: so-called red rooms where visitors can watch gruesome murders; sites offerin ...

Amazon basin deforestation could disrupt distant rainforest by remote climate connection

Action: Stop Deforestation

The ongoing deforestation around the fringes of the Amazon may have serious consequences for the untouched deeper parts of th ...

Stop coal mining assault on this roadless forest

Action: Stop Pollution

President Trump has been clear since day one that he’s turning over the nation’s public lands and environment to King Coal an ...

Defend our wildlife from the search for Atlantic oil

Action: Save Our Oceans

From Maine to Florida, people along the East Coast strongly oppose offshore oil and gas drilling in the Atlantic Ocean -- yet ...

View All Actions >>

 

 

Charities

News

Follow Us

Support

Find A Charity

Action Center

World

Community

Facebook

Twitter Support

Contact

Volunteer

Add A Site

Environment

Animals

Google+

Privacy Policy

Copyright

 

 

Health

Celebrity

Terms of Service

Copyright © The Charity Vault All rights reserved.