The Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef, has again undergone general bleaching. One reason is above-average ocean temperatures off the coast of northeastern Australia.
The Great Barrier Reef Authority said in its weekly update that bleaching has been observed throughout the marine park. This phenomenon, which leads to discoloration, is caused by rising water temperatures – as a result of global warming – expelling the symbiotic algae that give coral their bright colour.
The authority said monitoring flights over the reef, which covers an area of 2,300 km, revealed that the reefs had been damaged by heat stress.
Throughout the week, sea temperatures across the marine park were between 0.5 and 2 degrees Celsius above average, while temperatures in the far north and coastal areas were between 2 and 4 degrees above average.
“Early deaths are where heat stress is greatest,” the agency reports.
Review: Australia to invest $630 million in Great Barrier Reef
These disturbing reports come at a time when UNESCO will conduct an inspection of the site to verify its authenticity. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said that if the results of the mission, which will be presented to the World Heritage Committee in June 2022, come back negative, the reef may be placed on the list of endangered sites.
In 2015, when the United Nations threatened to downgrade the Great Barrier Reef, a World Heritage site since 1981, Australia launched a multi-billion dollar investment plan to halt the decline of coral reefs.
But since then, the reefs have suffered severely after three severe periods of coral bleaching, in 2016, 2017 and 2020.
Healthy corals can recover from coral bleaching, but this takes time.
According to a recent study, bleaching has affected up to 98 percent of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef since 1998. “This shows the continuing stress that coral reefs are under today due to global warming,” said Lisa Schindler of Conservation of the Seas Australia.
“Healthy corals can recover from coral bleaching, but it takes time. With increased frequency of marine heat waves, mainly due to burning coal and gas, they won’t have that time,” she explains. From.
The Australian economy is still highly dependent on fossil fuels.
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