During early 2017, the region over Australia’s Great Barrier Reef (GBR) experienced its hottest summer atmospheric temperatures on record. Peak water temperatures lag peak air temperatures by about a month. But already, sections of one of the world’s most vital marine sanctuaries are experiencing bleaching and disease. Worryingly, bleaching and heat stress is expanding over the reef at a faster rate than at the same time last year.
(The Great Barrier Reef is already experiencing extensive bleaching in 2017. With warmer waters headed toward the reef over the coming weeks, researchers fear that this year’s coral mortality event could match or exceed 2016’s severe damage and loss. Video source: BBC/Youtube.)
A Precious Global Treasure Under Threat
During 2016, the GBR experienced its worst coral bleaching event on record. This severe event followed two years (2014-2015) in which the reef saw less widespread bleaching. A strong El Nino combined with…
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