We Really Fucked Up: 93% Of Entire Great Barrier Reef Shows Bleaching

We, as a species, have really fucked up.

Scientists surveying the coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef have concluded the plane and helicopter portions of their study, and have found 93% of the entire reef shows signs of bleaching.

Of the 911 reefs they observed, 316 of them – so, almost 35% – showed signs of severe bleaching, mostly in the northern half of the reef. Reefs in the southern end mostly showed signs of minor to moderate bleaching, and should recover.
It’s not the first time mass bleaching has occurred, but it’s definitely the biggest. It seems almost superfluous to tell you that this is a direct result of global warming, but THIS IS A DIRECT RESULT OF GLOBAL WARMING. Increasing water temperatures, thanks to climate change and the current El Niño event, mean that a good chunk of our reef could very well die.

“We’ve never seen anything like this scale of bleaching before,” said Professor Terry Hughes, convenor of the bleaching taskforce. “In the northern Great Barrier Reef, it’s like 10 cyclones have come ashore all at once.”
It’ll take months to know exactly how much will die, and they can recover when water temps go down. But if they do die – and science puts the northern barrier reef at a 50% mortality rate, possibly reaching 90% for some reefs – coral can take over a decade or more to return.

But while we play the ultimate waiting game, let’s just keep cutting funds to CSIRO and allowing George Brandis to question that which ought not to be questioned. Cool?


Source: SMH / The Guardian.

Photo: Getty / Auscape.