Third Of Coral Dead Or Dying In Parts Of Barrier Reef

May 30, 2016 – At least 35 per cent of corals in parts of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef are dead or dying from mass bleaching caused by global warming, scientists said today.

The assessment was made following months of aerial and underwater surveys after the worst bleaching in recorded history first became evident in March as sea temperatures rise.

Australian scientists said the coral mortality figure will likely rise as some of the remaining 65 percent of coral in the northern and central reefs fails to recover from bleaching.

The report casts a shadow over the long-term prospects of the Great Barrier Reef against a backdrop of climate change and scientists said UNESCO may reconsider its decision not to put the World Heritage Site on its endangered list.

“Australia argued that the world heritage values were in tact because of the northern region and now of course it has taken a huge hit,” said Terry Hughes, director of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at the James Cook University.

Global warming was wreaking havoc on the World Heritage-listed site, he added.

“We found on average, that 35 per cent of the corals are now dead or dying on 84 reefs that we surveyed along the northern and central sections of the Great Barrier Reef, between Townsville and Papua New Guinea,” he said in a statement.

“This is the third time in 18 years that the Great Barrier Reef has experienced mass bleaching due to global warming, and the current event is much more extreme than we’ve measured before.”

At least a decade is needed for the coral to recover, “but it will take much longer to regain the largest and oldest corals that have died”, the joint statement from three leading universities said.

admin