Scientists have recorded the largest and the worst ever coral bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef due to the high increase in water temperatures these days.
The Australian Research Council (ARC) Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies led a study that revealed that almost 67 percent of the corals have died in around 700 kilometers of area in the north. The worst effect has been observed in the past eight to nine months.
Details of the Great Barrier Reef coral study
The study undertaken at James Cook University also stated that the status of the corals was better in the central section as only 6 percent of them were affected in that area. Professor Terry Hughes confirmed that the damage likely happened in 1998 and 2002, but somehow, the corals escaped the bleaching then. This time, they have been affected adversely.
The professor also claimed that the two-thirds of the reef in the southern section could get rid of only minor damage. The area that remained protected from the rising water temperature could escape the bleaching effect. However, the scientists have claimed that if the climate change continued to affect the water temperature, it could make the recovery of corals tough.
According to researchers, the northern section that suffered utmost loss could take a minimum of 10 to 15 years to ensure regaining the lost corals. Moreover, another coral damage event could take place anytime in future that might stop the slow recovery of the Great Barrier Reef.
In early 2016 around February, March and April, the temperatures of the water surface across the reef were recorded as the hottest. It indicated a minimum increase of 1 degree Celsius from the average monthly records. “Some of the initial mortality was due to heat stress,” Hughes said as quoted by BBC. “The coral was cooked.”
Coral bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef is a phenomenon that takes place when the rise in temperature becomes constant over a period of time.