About 91 percent of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef bleached as a result of a heat wave in the Australian summer. This was stated in a government report published yesterday.
Of the 719 corals surveyed, 654 showed signs of coral bleaching. This is the first time that the world’s largest reef has been bleached on this scale during La Nina, a weather phenomenon that typically produces abnormally low water temperatures. The report highlights the impact of climate change on coral reefs. “Climate change is only increasing and coral reefs are already suffering from its effects.” This is the fourth wave of bleaching to hit coral reefs since 2014.
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Authority surveyed the reefs during the Australian summer in September 2021 and March 2022. It showed that the waters had been warming since late December and that the three main areas of the reef were affected by this warming. The warm water removes the algae that give the coral its distinctive bright color, and the bleaching occurs. Under the right conditions, corals can recover, but “highly bleached corals have a higher mortality rate,” the report states.
The report was published ten days before the Australian federal election. The main theme of the May 21 elections is climate change. In addition, UNESCO will decide in June whether the Great Barrier Reef will be listed as a threatened area.
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