Coral bleaching has affected 91% of the coral reefs surveyed along the Great Barrier Reef, the report said.

91% of coral reefs surveyed along Australia’s Great Barrier Reef have been affected by: coral bleaching According to the government, to some extent during the summer of 2021-22 study. the researchers say weather change It is “the greatest threat to reefs,” and warming oceans have been found to be a key factor in recent mass bleaching events.

“Climate change is escalating and coral reefs are already experiencing the consequences of this,” the study said. “Unfortunately, reef-disrupting events are occurring more frequently, reducing the time required for coral recovery.”

yearly Reef Summer Snapshots, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, the Australian Institute of Ocean Sciences and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization conducted a survey of 719 coral reefs across the region. Aerial surveys showed that 654 coral reefs had coral bleaching.

Coral bleaching in Australia's Great Barrier Reef
The bleaching corals on the Great Barrier Reef outside Cairns, Australia, during large-scale bleaching events are thought to be due to thermal stress from rising water temperatures due to global climate change.

Brett Monroe Garner/Getty Images

The central region, including coral reefs from the Cape Tribulation to the Whitsundays, experienced the most severe bleaching of both coastal and coastal reefs. The southern regions reported “very diverse” bleaching, with some shallow coral communities reporting no bleaching, while others had “severe community bleaching”. And in the northern regions, shallow water corals also varied from mild bleaching to severe bleaching.

Large-scale bleaching events nationwide great barrier reef According to reports, it happened for the fourth time within seven years. It also occurred for the first time in a La Niña climate pattern that brought cooler water into the sea.

Nonetheless, the researchers said above-average water temperatures caused mass bleaching.

During Australia’s summer in December, water temperatures in the Great Barrier Reef exceeded historical highs typical of the hottest summer, scientists say. Sea water temperatures continued to rise throughout the summer through early April of this year, and three specific heat waves have put heat stress on the coral reef.

Other stresses on coral reefs include cyclones and storms, flood poles and spiny-crowned starfish (the coral’s native predators).

The researchers note that bleached corals are still alive and likely to recover during stress. Corals that have been heavily bleached have a higher mortality rate, while corals that have been lightly or moderately bleached have a higher chance of recovery.

Dr Lissa Schindler, campaign manager for the Australian Marine Conservation Society, said the report’s findings were “disastrous”.

“Bleaching is becoming more and more frequent, but this is not normal and we should not accept that this is the way things are,” she said. statement Wednesday. “We have to break the new norm that breaks our reef.”


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