The Great Barrier Reef is at the receiving end of the ecological imbalance with reports indicating that the Australian reef is suffering from a massive bleaching effect this year as well making it two years in a row.
Australian government’s Great Barrier Reef Marine Park authority revealed the news of mass bleaching after an aerial survey carried out over the coast on the eastern coast of Australia. The first aerial survey of the Reef for 2017 found severe bleaching in offshore reefs from north of Ingham to the northern extent of the survey near Cairns. This year more bleaching is being observed in this central part of the Reef, which last year escaped widespread severe bleaching.
Last year, because of record high temperatures the coral reef suffered from bleaching and conditions haven’t changed this year with the survey indicating that the bleaching continues this year as well.
Bleaching happens when there are changes in the normal conditions like temperature, nutrient concentration, light penetration, etc. Due to the imbalance in these factors, the algae in the reef, turns white which is known as the bleaching effect. Bleaching is not an irreversible effect and hence coral can recover from the damage if the temperature goes down but the average temperature since last two years has been soaring which has not let the corals to recover the damage.
One of the measures Australia has proposed is to dissolve the India backed coal plant project which to be constructed near the coast line. This would prevent the additional impact that could be caused to the reef by increasing the temperature over the coast.
Australia has a 2300 km rich reef, out of which 700 km stretch has been affected by bleaching causing great concern to the marine authorities. This bleaching highlights the importance of global action on climate change. It’s vital the world acts to implement the Paris Agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the Marine Park authority notes.
In mid-March 2017 Reef experts from the Marine Park Authority will join scientists from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies as they take to the sky again next week to resurvey 1150 reefs along the entire Great Barrier Reef.