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The Great Barrier Reef Is in for Another Massive Coral Bleaching

Mar 01, 2017 09:59 AM EST
Greenpeace Activists Paint Message For UNESCO
GLADSTONE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 7: In this handout photo provided by Greenpeace, Activists paint the message 'Reef in Danger' on the side of coal ship Chou San on March 7, 2012 in Gladstone, Australia.
(Photo : Greenpeace via Getty Images)

Coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest living ecosystem, is not over yet.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority have detected abnormally high sea surface temperatures on the UNESCO world heritage site, indicating that another massive bleaching event will soon hit the already dead reef.

Following reports about bleaching, The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority conducted surveys on six reefs and found out that all has suffered thermal stress.

"Initial survey results showed high levels of bleaching among the most sensitive coral species, with 60 percent or more affected at some sites," Rusell Reichelt, Chairman of The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority told Newsport.

Read Also: The End is Near: Poisonous Algae Further Stressing Out Great Barrier Reef

For the third year in a row, the reef has suffered coral bleaching in 2016, killing more than 93 percent of the ecosystem. Experts have identified man-made climate change as the primary cause of the devastating incident.

Since then, the sea surface temperature has not cooled down. In fact, it is now higher than it was at this time last year. This year the heat stress is closer to Cairns and Townsville.

Meanwhile, Sydney Morning Herald said the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies will conduct aerial surveys to monitor the condition of the reef at present as compared to last year.

Terry Hughes, the Townsville-based center's director told the newspaper, "The 2017 bleaching is still building as we approach the summer peak temperature. It's alarming that the reef is bleaching so soon again, giving no time for recovery from the huge losses of corals in the northern third of the Reef in 2016."

Hughes added that the El Nino poses a great danger this 2017 for the Great Barrier Reef as the period between the bleaching gets too short for the reef to even recover. Aside from bleaching events, The Great Barrier Reef is also suffering from algae proliferation which is killing the corals at a faster rate.

Read Also: Scientists to Create Techniques to Save the Great Barrier Reef From Dying 

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