The Great Barrier Reef in Australia has suffered its most widespread case of coral bleaching on record. According to reports, scientists announced on April 7 that the threat that climate change posed to the world’s living organism was incredibly severe. This is the third mass bleaching occurred in the last five years.
As per reports, coral bleaching occurs when healthy corals become stressed due to changes in ocean temperatures. The stress causes them to expend algae that usually live in their tissue and thus draining them of their vibrant colour. According to reports, James Cook University professor Terry Hughes has claimed that his team has surveyed 1,036 reefs from the air during the last two weeks of March so that they could measure the exact extent and the severity of the coral bleaching. According to reports, Hughes has said that this is the first time on record that bleaching has occurred on all three major sections of the Great Barrier Reef, the northern, the central and even large parts of the southern sectors have undergone bleaching.
The damage started back in February as the month brought the highest recorded water temperatures since Australia began keeping a record in 1900. The reef is worth a whopping $4 billion a year in tourism revenue for Australia and its economy. But presently the Great Barrier Reef is at risk of being severely damaged because of warmer oceans caused by climate change.
Meanwhile, research released on February 17 at the annual Ocean Sciences Meeting in San Diego revealed that climate change could destroy all remaining coral reefs by the end of the century. It was found that the increase in ocean temperatures poses a huge threat to the corals. According to the study, the warmer temperatures boost them to release symbiotic algae that bleach them making them vulnerable and puts them at higher risk of death.
(Image Credit AP)