Corals at Risk as Great Barrier Reef Faces Its Latest Bleaching Event

"Increasingly frequent marine heat waves are hammering away at the world’s coral reefs, scientists say."

"For the past nine months, the world has repeatedly smashed heat records on land. But February marked a particularly unsettling record for the ocean: Average global sea surfaces climbed to the hottest temperatures ever recorded of any month since at least 1979, according to the Copernicus Climate Change Service.

Fueled by El Niño conditions and climate change, these ocean temperatures are now pushing the world toward its fourth mass coral bleaching event, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced on March 5.

“It’s looking like the entirety of the Southern Hemisphere is probably going to bleach this year,” Derek Manzello, the coordinator of NOAA’s Coral Reef Watch, told Reuters. “We are literally sitting on the cusp of the worst bleaching event in the history of the planet.”

Three days later, officials in Australia confirmed that the Great Barrier Reef has already barreled past that cliff, and is in the midst of its fifth mass coral bleaching event in the past eight years. Scientists are especially worried about what this one could mean for the future of the world’s largest reef."

Kiley Price reports for Inside Climate News March 12, 2024.

Source: Inside Climate News, 03/13/2024