climate science

Ecologists Steel For Even More Coral Bleaching On Great Barrier Reef

By Mary Papenfuss, read full article at Huffington Post

The devastating die-off appears to be heading toward yet another record.

Just when you thought the situation couldn’t get much worse for the Great Barrier Reef comes news that devastating coral bleaching will almost certainly increase significantly — again — in the coming months.

Record bleaching hit the 1,400-mile-long reef system in 2016, for the third year in a row, killing more than 65 percent of the coral of the northern reef. Climate change has impacted the ecosystem, as the colorful zooxanthellae are expelled from the coral during times of stress, according to numerous studies and the Australian Government’s Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

Coral can rebound in good times — though it takes as long as a decade — but scientists say that’s not likely to happen soon, if ever. The reef is already warmer than it was at this time last year and there’s a strong strong possibility that March and April will set new temperature highs ― and a new record for coral bleaching. Marine park authority workers are already seeing significant bleaching this season.

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