A new widespread bleaching incident affects a World Heritage site

Officials have verified that Australia’s famous Great Barrier Reef is experiencing another widespread bleaching outbreak. Bleaching, which happens when heat-stressed corals expel the algae that gives them life and color, is frequently fatal. The Unesco World Heritage property has seen significant damage for the seventh time in the last eight years. Prior to 2016, there had only been two documented instances of widespread bleaching. According to scientists, immediate climate action is required to ensure the reef’s survival.

 

The world’s largest reef and one of its most biodiverse ecosystems, the Great Barrier Reef, stretches approximately 2,300 km (1,400 miles) off the northeast coast of Australia. Due to its “enormous scientific and intrinsic importance,” it has been included on the World Heritage List for more than 40 years; yet, according to Unesco, the icon is under “serious threat.” The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority stated in a statement on Friday that sea temperatures in the national park have been rising for a while over the summer. Furthermore, it has now been established that the majority of the 300 reefs, which stretch from Australia’s tip to the east coast city of Bundaberg, are commonly undergoing bleaching as a result of an extensive aerial assessment.

 

The Reef Authority is conducting in-water surveys to establish the extent and severity of the bleaching. Even though the damage is extensive, it probably varies widely over the reef, and some corals could be able to recover if the weather cools down, it continued. Chief Scientist Roger Beeden stated, “It is important to remember that impacts to the Reef are highly variable. The Great Barrier Reef is bigger than Italy.” “The Reef has demonstrated its capacity to recover from previous coral bleaching events, severe tropical cyclones, and crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks.” According to the Reef Authority, similar bleaching occurrences have happened all across the world this year, proving once more how urgent action is required to conserve them.

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