Great Barrier Reef damaged in ‘unprecedented bleaching’

Aerial surveys have revealed that unprecedented coral bleaching in consecutive years has damaged two-thirds of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

The bleaching-or loss of algae- affects a 1,500 km  (900 miles) stretch of the reef, according to scientists.

The latest damage is concentrated in the middle section, whereas last year’s bleaching it mainly north.

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According to BBC News, experts fear the proximity of the two events will give damaged coral little chance to recover.

Mass Coral Bleaching 

  • Coral bleaching is caused by rising water temperatures resulting from two natural warm currents .
  • It is exacerbated by man-made climate change, as the oceans are absorbing about 93% of the increase in the Earth’s heat.
  • Bleaching happens when corals under stress drive out the algae known as zooxanthellae that give them color.

The latest damage happened without the assistance of El Nino, a weather pattern previously associated with bleaching events.

The UN says it is the “most bio diverse” of all the World Heritage sites, and of all the World Heritage sites, and of “enormous scientific and intrinsic importance”.