Your weather when it really mattersTM


Please choose your default site




With Shannon Bradbury.
Environment | Australia

Damage to Great Barrier Reef irreversible, scientists say

Daksha Rangan
Digital Reporter

Wednesday, April 19, 2017, 12:09 - Consecutive years of coral bleaching has impacted the majority of Australia's Great Barrier Reef, and scientists are saying the damage has reached a new extreme.

Aerial surveys from the Australian Research Council's Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies found 800 individual coral reefs impacted by bleaching along an 5,000-mile stretch. With the added impact of two back-to-back bleaching events — one in 2016, another in 2017 — the coral now has little room to recover, researchers told The Guardian.

"It’s too early yet to tell what the full death toll will be from this year's bleaching, but clearly it will extend 500 km [311 miles] south of last year’s bleaching," Terry Hughes, a professor who led the surveys, told the publication.

SPRING HAS SPRUNG: How will the season play out for Americans? Find out with The Weather Network’s 2017 Spring Forecast | FORECAST & MAPS HERE

"Last year was bad enough, this year is a disaster year,” water quality expert John Brodie told The Guardian. Brodie also noted that the reef has hit a "terminal stage."

"The federal government is doing nothing really, and the current programs, the water quality management is having very limited success. It’s unsuccessful."

SEND US YOUR PHOTOS!: Highlight the ever-changing weather in your area by uploading your photos and videos into our gallery

Widespread bleaching has been scientifically linked to rising sea-surface temperatures caused by Earth's rising temperatures. It's a phenomenon that has only taken place on the Great Barrier Reef four times in recorded history, The Guardian reports.

2016 marked the largest die-off of corals ever documented, with the hardest-hit areas impacting the reef's north. Roughly 67 per cent of shallow-water corals perished.

WATCH BELOW: Science behind how coral bleaching happens

Follow Daksha Rangan on
New 'severe' coral bleaching found, El Niño partly to blame
Coral 'bright spots' shed light on threatened reefs future
Great Barrier Reef sees record-breaking coral die-off
Default saved

Search Location


Sign In

Please sign in to use this feature.