Look, we try to bring you positive yarns. We wish there were positive yarns to be told about the Great Barrier Reef right now. After numerous, numerous stories about the extent of coral bleaching in the northern part of the reef, and even shittier stories about how the government would rather the UN not talk about it, we’ve got another doozy to ruin your Monday.
According to the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (yes, a mouthful), most of the coral in the central region of the reef is dead now. Taking a look at the bigger picture, an average of 35% of coral in the northern and central parts of the reef is dead too. Bleaching is bad, dead coral is much worse.
These results were found based on an underwater survey of 84 reefs.
There’s some good news (if you can call it that). South of Cairns, only 5% of coral is dead, with experts predicting that the bleached coral may regain its colour soon. Even though the current conditions which have caused the widespread bleaching will be the status quo within 20 years… the tourism industry can hold onto that 5% figure for a lil longer.
Terry Hughes, from James Cook University – who led the study – isn’t very keen on what he’s seeing. “This year is the third time in 18 years that the Great Barrier Reef has experienced mass bleaching due to global warming, and the current event is much more extreme than we’ve measured before.”
Not only is unusual heat as caused by climate change causing stress on the reef, its ability to recover is hindered by water pollution. Recent studies indicate that it may take a $10 billion investment to ease that pollution and aid in the reef’s recovery.
Either way: ya better be booking your tix up to Cairns soon. Because if you don’t see the reef soon, there might not be a whole lot left to look at.
Source: The Guardian.
Photo: Getty Images.