Extreme Coral Bleaching in Great Barrier Reef

March 28, 2016

Powerful report from Australian Broadcasting about damage to the Great Barrier reef, currently being observed.
It’s one of the most widely predicted consequences of a warming, acidifying ocean.
Spokesmen for climate denying politicians were quoted as saying, “This is not happening.” See below.

ABC – Australia:

An aerial survey of the northern Great Barrier Reef has shown that 95 per cent of the reefs are now severely bleached — far worse than previously thought.

Professor Terry Hughes, a coral reef expert based at James Cook University in Townsville who led the survey team, said the situation is now critical.

“This will change the Great Barrier Reef forever,” Professor Hughes told 7.30.

“We’re seeing huge levels of bleaching in the northern thousand-kilometre stretch of the Great Barrier Reef.”

Of the 520 reefs he surveyed, only four showed no evidence of bleaching.

From Cairns to the Torres Strait, the once colourful ribbons of reef are a ghostly white.

“It’s too early to tell precisely how many of the bleached coral will die, but judging from the extreme level even the most robust corals are snow white, I’d expect to see about half of those corals die in the coming month or so,” Professor Hughes said.

Coral bleaching is caused by abnormally high sea temperatures that kill the tiny marine algae essential to coral health.

This is the third global coral bleaching since 1998, and scientists have found no evidence of these disasters before the late 20th century.

“We have coral cores that provide 400 years of annual growth,” explains Dr Neal Cantin from the Australian Institute of Marine Science.

“We don’t see the signatures of bleaching in reduced growth following a bleaching event until the recent 1998/2000 events.”


8 Responses to “Extreme Coral Bleaching in Great Barrier Reef”

  1. otter17 Says:

    Sorry, kids… We’ll try to move forward to head this off from this point, but even if we solve the issue perfectly from here on out, we have left you with less.

    One can only hope that such an event spurs larger action, but then again the world didn’t really care when the news broke that the West Antarctic ice sheet became unhinged.

  2. indy222 Says:

    This is such a tragedy, such an sad, angering tragedy. I hope that film crews and those who know how to reach the emotional level of viewers, take advantage of this “opportunity” to do just that – REACH people. Because nothing of consequence is being done. Paris… was another bread-and-circuses insult to us all. “Scouts Honor” two fingers up for the camera, while two fingers crossed behind the back. Or should I say, a middle finger to us all. No one has the guts, in positions of power. There is something deeply fundamentally fatally flawed in our system and culture, that the most corrupt, the stupidest, the most cowardly, the most amoral of examples of our species are precisely those who run our governments and so many of our corporations.

  3. pendantry Says:

    I seem to be repeating this a lot, but I can think of nothing to say but ‘homo fatuus brutus strikes again’.

  4. rayduray Says:

    This Atlantic Magazine article on coral restoration seems somewhat hopeful.


    • dumboldguy Says:

      Good link to an excellent article, Ray, and “somewhat” was the right word to attach to “hopeful”, because only the bright-sided will see much “hope” in the picture for corals.

      Yes, some species are “resilient” and have bounced back from bleaching, more heat-tolerance has evolved in some species, and there are some few places on the planet where coral is doing well, but 600+ miles of the Great Barrier Reef is now 95% bleached this year, and that’s a HUGE deal. Remember too that this is the third major bleaching event in less than 20 years—-there is no record of anything similar in the prior 400 years—-corals are now not doing well in many places—-they ARE another canary in the coal mine, and they are keeling over.

      I also shake my head at the idea of providing 3D printed or other artificial reefs. More attempts at “technological fixes” for a man-created problem—-if we could just learn to let Mother Nature do her thing, we’d be far better off.

      And I’m a bit appalled at the weak response to this post, only 7 comments, including the ubiquitous “repost” from AGRP and a typically “cute” inanity from pendantry. There are also three comments that show anger, a bit of cynicism, and (sadly) even resignation. Maybe it’s more fun to pick on that senile toad Murray, but what’s going on in the oceans should be getting more attention from us.

  5. j4zonian Says:

    This “news” makes the drastic cuts to CSIRO even more tragic. This mass murder-suicide pact so many people in power are determined to carry out is really annoying, isn’t it?

  6. […] ‘ABC – Australia:  An aerial survey of the northern Great Barrier Reef has shown that 95 per cent of the reefs are now severely bleached — far worse than previously thought‘.  Full article continues here:  ‘Extreme Coral Bleaching in Great Barrier Reef‘. […]

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