The Associated Press 08 April 2020 19:56:44 IST
An aerial view of the Great Barrier Reef shows that for the third time in five years, coral bleaching is sweeping over the area off the east of Australia.
Aerial surveys of 1,036 reefs in the past two weeks have revealed Terry Hughes, a professor at James Cook University, said bleached corals in the north, center, and south.
"When summers get hotter, we don't need an El Nino event to trigger mass bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef scale," said Hughes. "Of the five events we've seen so far, happened only in 1998 and 2016 under El Nino conditions. ”
El Nino is a climate pattern that begins with a band of warm sea water in the Central and East Central Pacific around the equator and influences global weather.
The Great Barrier Reef is producing up to 2,900 separate reefs and 900 islands and cannot recover because there is not enough time between bleaching events.
"The first example of bleaching has been seen in succession – in the successive summers of 2016 and 2017," said Hughes, adding that the number of reefs that are spared bleaching is decreasing as it spreads.
He said that underwater surveys are performed later in the year to assess the extent of the damage.
In early March, David Wachenfeld, chief scientist at The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, said the reef was going to be in a critical phase of heat stress in the coming weeks after the natural wonder became widespread.
The agency, the government agency that manages the coral surface Before northeastern Australia, ocean temperatures in the next month would be critical to how the reef recovers from heat-induced bleaching.
"The forecasts … indicate that we can expect the reefs to remain at a low level for at least the next two weeks and maybe three or four weeks," Wachenfeld said in a weekly update on the health of the reef .
"So this is still a critical time for the reef and it's the weather conditions over the reef. The next two to four weeks will determine the final result," he said.
Sea temperatures over most of the reef were 0.5 to 1.5 degrees Celsius above the March average.
Close in parts of the marine park in the south. To avoid the devastation of earlier bleaching, the sea temperatures were two to three degrees above average.
The agency had received 250 reports of bleached coral sightings due to elevated sea temperatures during an unusually hot February.
The multicolored coral network, which is 345,400 square kilometers in size and belongs to the world cultural heritage, has been destroyed by four coral bleaching events since 1998. The deadliest was the youngest in the consecutive summers of 2016 and 2017.
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