Mass bleaching puts Great barrier reef in jeopardy

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For the second consecutive year, the Great barrier reef has been ravaged by severe coral bleaching. Experts say this is the first time that the reef hasn't had time to recover from bleaching. The corals have been robbed of their vibrant colours leaving them in dreaded white, a sign that global warming is destroying one of nature's wonders.

Great Barrier Reef ravaged by coral bleaching

The Australian Government's Great Barrier Reef Marine park authority in a press statement on Friday said that this was the second wave of mass bleaching unfolding on the Great barrier reef. "The bleaching is part of a global event affecting the world's coral reefs over the past two years," the statement said.

Second wave of mass bleaching unfolding in two years

Experts from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority had spent six hours on Thursday flying over the Reef between Townsville and Cairns, alongside researchers from the Australian Institute of Marine Science. The aerial survey of the Reef, the first for 2017, found severe bleaching in offshore reefs from north of Ingham to the northern extent of the survey near Cairns.

Greenhouse gas emissions destroying great barrier reef

This year more bleaching is being observed in the central part of the Reef, which had escaped widespread severe bleaching in 2016. "The survey confirmed anecdotal reports from visitors and reef surveys of bleaching from marine park rangers and commercial operators," said Dr David Wachenfeld, Director of Reef Recovery, a Marine Park Authority

Reasons: Warmer oceanic waters spurred by climate change

Dr Neal Cantin from the Australian Institute of Marine Science said that the recurrence of widespread coral bleaching in back-to-back summers indicated there was not enough time between last year's extreme heat event for the corals to fully recover. "We are seeing a decrease in the stress tolerance of these corals," Dr Cantin said. "This is the first time the Great Barrier Reef has not had a few years between bleaching events to recover.

Great Barrier Reef did not have enough time to recover

This bleaching highlights the importance of global action on climate change. It is vital that the world acts to implement the Paris Agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions," said Dr Wachenfeld indicating that global warming was posing a threat to the great barrier reef.

Coral becomes stressed and expels the algae when temperatures are high

Environmentalists, Green NGOs are working tirelessly to document the bleaching of the Great barrier reef. "I have been photographing this area of the reef for several years now and what we're seeing is unprecedented. Just a few months ago, these corals were full of colour and life. Now, everywhere you look is white. The corals aren't getting the chance to bounce back from last year's bleaching event. If this is the new normal, we're in trouble." said conservation photographer and marine biologist, Brett Monro Garner.

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