Saturday, March 11, 2017

Mass Bleaching Is Hitting the Great Barrier Reef Again

 Bleached coral skeletons in the Great Barrier Reef near Port Douglas photographed on Feb. 20. 2017. (Credit: Brett Monroe Garner/Greenpeace) Click to Enlarge.
After suffering through the most severe bleaching event ever recorded last year, the Great Barrier Reef is once again being savaged by a marine heat wave.

After just one day of aerial surveys, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, which oversees the region, has already confirmed that warm waters are causing another mass bleaching.  Climate change is compounding the reef’s woes as warming waters put corals in a precarious position to survive.

Scientists surveyed a 200-mile stretch of the northern end of the reef earlier this week.  The full extent of the bleaching will take weeks to tease out as the reef covers an area roughly the size of Germany.  But the early returns are bad news for one of the world’s natural wonders.

The region was home to some of the worst bleaching last year and coral have been weakened by months on end of continued heat.  Waters in the region have rapidly warmed over the past two months and are currently up to 5.4°F above normal.

Read more at Mass Bleaching Is Hitting the Great Barrier Reef Again

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