Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Earth Science News .

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

Large parts of Barrier Reef dead in 20 years: scientists
by Staff Writers
Sydney (AFP) April 29, 2016

Large parts of Australia's Great Barrier Reef could be dead within 20 years as climate change drives mass coral bleaching, scientists warned Friday.

The World Heritage-listed reef is currently suffering its worst bleaching in recorded history with 93 percent of corals affected due to warming sea temperatures.

Experts from the government-backed ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science said in a study that if greenhouse gases keep rising, similar events will be the new normal, occurring every two years by the mid-2030s.

Given reefs need some 15 years to completely recover from bleaching of this magnitude, the centre said "we are likely to lose large parts of the Great Barrier Reef in just a couple of decades".

Researchers found climate change had added 1.0 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) of warming to the ocean temperatures off the Queensland coast in March, when corals were first noted turning white.

"These extreme temperatures will become commonplace by the 2030s, putting a great strain on the ecosystems of the Great Barrier Reef," said lead author Andrew King.

"Our research showed this year's bleaching event is 175 times more likely today than in a world where humans weren't emitting greenhouse gases. We have loaded the odds against the survival of one of the world's greatest natural wonders."

Bleaching is a phenomenon that turns corals white or fades their colours as they expel tiny photosynthetic algae, threatening a valuable source of biodiversity, tourism and fishing.

They can recover if the water temperature drops and the algae are able to recolonise them.

The study is yet to be peer-reviewed, but the centre took the unusual step of releasing it early because the reef is in such a dire predicament.

"We are confident in the results because these kind of attribution studies are well established but what we found demands urgent action if we are to preserve the reef," said King.

"For this reason, we felt it was vital to get our findings out as quickly as possible."

Earlier this month, researchers at Australia's James Cook University said only seven percent of the huge reef had escaped the whitening, following extensive aerial and underwater surveys.

The damage ranges from minor in the southern areas -- which are expected to recover soon -- to very severe in the northern and most pristine reaches of the 2,300 kilometre (1,430 miles) site off Australia's east coast.

Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, from the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland, who published a controversial study in 1999 forecasting such an event, said his predictions were now looking conservative.

"Reefs need time, around 15 years, to completely recover from a coral bleaching event of this magnitude," Hoegh-Guldberg said.

"Recovery rates are being overwhelmed by more frequent and severe mass coral bleaching."

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only


Related Links
Water News - Science, Technology and Politics

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
NASA helps mmonitor LA coastline
Pasadena CA (JPL) Apr 27, 2016
When a Los Angeles water treatment plant had to discharge treated water closer to shore than usual in the fall of 2015 due to repair work, NASA satellite observations helped scientists from the City of Los Angeles and local research institutions monitor the Santa Monica Bay for any impacts. For the city, it was an opportunity to assess the use of satellites in guiding a substantial monitoring ef ... read more

Workers feeling the heat as climate change slashes productivity: report

NY seeks to shield Ecuadorans from deportation after earthquake

BRICS to the rescue

Ukraine marks 30 years since Chernobyl shocked the world

Liquid spiral vortex discovered

New material combines useful, typically incompatible properties

Researchers coax molecules into assembling themselves

Antimatter helps to unveil the secrets of liquid crystals

Measuring river surface flow with image analysis

Plastic below the ocean surface

Patterns of glowing sharks get clearer with depth

Ireland edges closer to forming new government with deal on water charges

Researchers discover fate of melting glacial ice in Greenland

Ancient tectonic activity was trigger for ice ages

New maps chart Greenland glaciers' melting risk

IceBridge Begins Eighth Year of Arctic Flights

CO2 fertilization greening the earth

Study shows how to make fertilizer from sunlight

High alpine dairying may have begun over 3000 years ago

Halal: is it meat you're looking for? says China businessman

Chile ordered to pay $2.7 mn to 2010 tsunami victims

Seismologists ask: How close are we to an eruption?

Volcanoes tied to shifts in Earth's climate over millions of years

Accounting for volcanoes using tools of economics

Nigeria, France step up joint fight against Boko Haram

Kenya readies to torch tusks in bid to stamp out ivory trade

UN pushes South Sudan to quickly form unity government

South Sudan's long road to peace

Chimp study explores the early origins of human hand dexterity

Toward quieting the brain

Shining light on brain tumors

Researchers can identify you by your brain waves with 100 percent accuracy

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

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news 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. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement