The Great Barrier Reef is at “elevated and imminent risk” of widespread coral bleaching again this year, according to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. The authority told the Queensland Government in a briefing note that an “unusually warm winter and a second warm summer has resulted in more heat stress accumulating in more areas than at this time last year”. Though new research from the University of Sydney examining ancient reef core samples reveal the reef had once survived a sea level rise similar to that currently predicted, scientists warn extra threats such as human induced global warming, pesticide run-off, dredge spoils and ocean acidification could kill off the reef before it has time to recover.
Alarming New Coral Bleaching Event Has Begun at the Great Barrier Reef
The Reef is the largest living thing on Earth. Easily visible from space, the 1,400-mile-long, 133,000-square-mile ecosystem is home to more than 1,500 species of fish and over 600 types of hard and soft corals. Portions of the reef have been dated as old as 20 million years. The world’s most qualified coral reef experts released a report showing that, without dramatic intervention, the Reef would disappear completely by 2030. “We’ve never seen bleaching like this,”
Australia’s Great Barrier Reef Will ‘Disappear’ in the next 15 years with No Intervention
Report prepared for this month’s Earth Hour global climate change campaign, University of Queensland