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World News March 9, 2024

Climate change puts ‘tremendous pressure’ on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is experiencing a major coral bleaching event, according to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA). The authority confirmed the widespread occurrence of coral bleaching, consistent with heat stress patterns observed during the summer. While aerial surveys indicate extensive bleaching in shallow water areas, in-water surveys are needed to assess the severity and depth range. The bleaching is attributed to elevated sea surface temperatures, primarily driven by climate change and amplified by the El Niño phenomenon. This event marks the fifth mass bleaching occurrence in eight years, putting significant pressure on the reef. The World Wide Fund for Nature-Australia expressed concern, emphasizing the potential for high coral mortality if temperatures do not decrease. Coral bleaching occurs when corals expel the colorful algae in their tissues, turning white and impacting growth and reproduction. Australia has been working to prevent the Great Barrier Reef’s inclusion on UNESCO’s endangered list due to the potential economic and tourism consequences.

Source – CGTN

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