Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Earth Science News .

Subscribe free to our newsletters via your

Climate change puts Australian reef on 'knife edge'

by Staff Writers
Sydney (AFP) March 24, 2010
The world's southernmost coral reef is on a "knife-edge" after warmer seas blamed on climate change bleached large parts of it for the first time, an Australian scientist warned on Wednesday.

Peter Harrison, who has been monitoring the world heritage-listed Lord Howe Island since 1993, said a two degrees Celsius (four Fahrenheit) rise in sea temperatures had drained much of the reef of its distinctive colours.

"We're hoping the vast majority of these corals will be able to recover, but at the moment this whole system is on a knife-edge and we don't know what's going to happen," Harrison told AFP.

Harrison, whose Southern Cross University team surveyed the reef about 600 kilometres (370 miles) east of Sydney this month, said the unusually warm water had travelled down from tropical seas around Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

He blamed the warmer seas on climate change and said the reef could face "an even more severe event" in the future.

"It's exactly what you predict from warming seas," Harrison said. "This is a warning of likely future increases of stress on this world's southernmost reef."

Harrison said the reef will survive if the seas return to their normal temperatures quickly enough, but could take decades to recover from a severe bleaching.

He added that the damage was also affecting other marine life, including a type of anemone which provides a home for a rare type of fish.

Bleaching occurs when overheated corals expel crucial algae that give them their colour.

Share This Article With Planet Earth DiggDigg RedditReddit
YahooMyWebYahooMyWeb GoogleGoogle FacebookFacebook

Related Links
Climate Science News - Modeling, Mitigation Adaptation

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Top climate officials urge progress at Mexico summit
Cancun, Mexico (AFP) March 20, 2010
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has listened to and learned from recent criticism, but the threat of global warming is real and must be tackled, the group's head said Saturday. Rajendra Pachuari, the embattled head of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning panel of experts, has been criticized for endorsing climate projections based on faulty or inaccurate evidence. "There's been a ... read more

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement