• By The Financial District

Bleaching Hits 90% Of Great Barrier Reef Surveyed This Year: Aussie Scientists

More than 90% of Great Barrier Reef coral surveyed this year was bleached in the fourth such mass event in seven years in the world’s largest coral reef ecosystem, Australian government scientists said, Rod McGuirk reported for the Associated Press (AP).


Photo Insert: Bleaching in 2016, 2017, and 2020 damaged two-thirds of the coral in the famed reef off Australia’s eastern coast.



Bleaching is caused by global warming, but this is the reef’s first bleaching event during a La Niña weather pattern, which is associated with cooler Pacific Ocean temperatures, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Authority said in its annual report released late Tuesday that found 91% of the areas surveyed were affected.


Bleaching in 2016, 2017, and 2020 damaged two-thirds of the coral in the famed reef off Australia’s eastern coast.



Coral bleaches as a heat stress response and scientists hope most of the coral will recover from the current event, said David Wachenfeld, chief scientist at the authority, which manages the reef ecosystem. “


The early indications are that the mortality won’t be very high,” Wachenfeld said on Wednesday.


All the news: Business man in suit and tie smiling and reading a newspaper near the financial district.

“We are hoping that we will see most of the coral that is bleached recover and we will end up with an event rather more like 2020 when, yes, there was mass bleaching, but there was low mortality,” Wachenfeld added. "


The bleaching events in 2016 and 2017 led to “quite high levels of coral mortality,” he said.


Science & technology: Scientist using a microscope in laboratory in the financial district.

Simon Bradshaw, a researcher at the Climate Council, an Australia-based group that tracks climate change, said the report demonstrated the reef’s survival depended on steep global emission cuts within the decade.


“This is heartbreaking. This is deeply troubling,” Bradshaw said. “It shows that our Barrier Reef really is in very serious trouble, indeed.”



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