Great Barrier Reef suffers yet another mass coral bleaching event

Great Barrier Reef suffers yet another mass coral bleaching event

Great Barrier Reef suffers yet another mass coral bleaching event

Mr Miles said the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority was monitoring the reef's health and the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service was standing by ready to assist.

"To some extent it's not as important whether this event is not quite as bad or worse than last year's, I think what's important is that the climate is changing and that is bringing a much greater frequency of extreme weather events to the Great Barrier Reef", said Wachenfeld in an interview to ABC News. The corals aren't getting the chance to bounce back from last year's bleaching event.

Coral bleaching is the event in which the symbiotic relationship between the algae and the coral is damaged, and the algae are lost, leading the coral to lose its colorful pigment and subsequently die.

But he said it needed help and "strong global action" by all countries was needed to constrain increasing temperatures to "well below two degrees".

Dr Neal Cantin from the Australian Institute of Marine Science said the level of bleaching observed was the result of a one-degree temperature increase during a "typical summer".

"We are seeing a decrease in the stress tolerance of these corals". Yesterday's survey of the central third of the Reef's length revealed severe bleaching; this area largely escaped last year's event, according to the GBRMPA.

Australia hasn't done almost enough to protect its most valuable national treasure, the Great Barrier Reef, according to environmental advocates.

Corals have a symbiotic relationship with a tiny marine algae called "zooxanthellae" that live inside and nourish them.

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"Just a few months ago, these corals were full of color and life". Now, everywhere you look is white.

"Fortunately the fully bleached coral is very patchy, we aren't seeing big swathes of it like we did past year and so far it doesn't look anywhere near as bad".

"What's happening with global warming is that these events are becoming the new normal", he told BuzzFeed News.

The second consecutive coral bleaching incident is bound to scar the reef permanently.

Bleaching happens when corals get stressed from rising water temperatures; the animals purge their algae and are left completely white.

Canberra in 2015 narrowly avoided UNESCO putting the reef on its endangered list, and has committed more than Aus$2.0 billion (US$1.5 billion) to protect it over the next decade.

Environmental groups are acting against the proposed construction of the largest coal mine in Australia, which could significantly contribute to the greenhouse gas emissions.

John Tanzer, Oceans Practice Leader, WWF International said: "What is unfolding before our very eyes is the starkest evidence that climate change is already wreaking havoc on the ocean".

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