Scientists announced that the health of the Great Barrier Reef is still damaged by massive coral bleaching for two summers in a row. Dr. Neal Cantin from the Australian Institute of Marine Science claimed that bleaching affected the Great Barrier Reef as a result of the high temperatures of the water which were increasing by one degree during an average summer.
- The Great Barrier Reef is still affected by bleaching.
- Scientists determined that it is the first time when the reef was affected by bleaching for two summers in a row.
- The unusually high temperatures of the water are affecting the population of corals.
On March 10, he stated that this represented the first occurrence when scientists witnessed “back-to-back summers.” From now on, Dr. Cantin indicated that they are entering an “uncharted territory.” He also mentioned that the latest discoveries represented severe warnings which indicated that authorities need to think of a feasible strategy to slow the rate of climate change.
Cantin also noted that this part of the world is on the verge of experiencing a 3.5-degree warmer summer by the end of this century. This is why environmentalists and authorities need to think at a fast solution to save the corals from bleaching. The future seems to bring higher temperatures than the average ones, and there are still no heroes in this story where the Great Barrier Reef is dying.
We need to keep in mind the fact that this barrier reef represents the home of hundreds of species of marine animals which find here their food. On March 9th, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority together with its associates led aerial surveys of the reef, flying between Cairns and Townsville.
Dr. David Wachenfeld, the recovery director of GBRMPA, claimed that the reef was unveiled to be severely affected by global warming, but it was not dead, as reports had previously indicated. He argued that there are still some areas which are not annihilated by bleaching, being in good condition. Col McKenzie, the executive officer of the Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators, claimed that in recent years, the number of tourists has increased by 20 to 30%.
Nevertheless, it is too early now to determine whether this year would be the same. Apparently, the Chinese market was terribly exposed to the idea that the Great Barrier Reef bleached last year. McKenzie argued that the negative impact on tourism is yet to come and researchers will be able to get a grasp of this in September.
Image source: flickr