Sydney | Australia’s Great Barrier Reef has been experiencing “extensive bleaching” for the fourth time since 2016, the Rocks Commission said Friday, which has been widely blamed for climate change.
The world’s largest coral reef, located over 2,300 kilometers off the northeast coast of Australia, testifies to the effects of rising temperatures, according to this authority.
According to a report by the commission that manages the world’s largest coral reef system, aerial surveillance aircraft have detected the discoloration of coral in several rocks, “confirming a major bleaching event, the fourth from 2016”.
The commission said coral reefs have been affected despite the La Nina Australian summer cooling event.
This decay phenomenon results in discoloration, an increase in water temperature – the effect of global warming – which leads to the expulsion of symbiotic algae that give the coral its bright color.
Bleached corals are stressful but can still recover if conditions improve, however, the same source pointed out: “Weather conditions over the next two weeks are important in determining the amount and intensity of coral bleaching. Corals in the marine park”.
The study comes four days after the United Nations began exploring the Great Barrier Reef to assess whether its World Heritage Site is being protected from climate change.
“The favorite bright colors of the Great Barrier Reef are replaced by ghostly white,” said Martin Javan, a Greenpeace Australia activist.
He urged the government to show the affected areas the UN embassy, which is currently examining the rocks, rather than the natural areas not affected by the event.
“If the government is serious about allowing the UN mission to get a full picture of the state of the rocks, it should take the mission to the north and center of the rocks,” Jawan said.
The UNESCO mission aims to assess whether the Australian government is doing enough to address the threats to the Great Barrier Reef, including climate change, and the World Heritage Commission will decide in June whether to classify it as “endangered”.
Last July, the World Heritage Commission decided not to classify it as “endangered”, much to the surprise of many visitors against the UNESCO recommendation.
In 2015, after the United Nations threatened to deactivate the site, Australia introduced a billion-dollar “Reef 2050” security plan.
Researchers warned last month that coral reefs, which make up a quarter of the world’s wildlife and the livelihoods of more than half a billion people, will be largely destroyed, even if the Paris Agreement’s climate goals are met.
According to the authors of a report published in the journal PLOS Climate, an average increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels will prevent more than 99% of the world’s corals from recovering from rising sea heat waves.
“The harsh truth is that global warming will not affect corals,” said AFP Adele Dixon, a researcher at the School of Biology at the University of Leeds.
Like corals “1.5 degrees still warmer than the lead environment”.
The 2015 Paris Agreement guarantees nearly 200 countries to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius.
The Great Barrier Reef is home to about 1500 species of fish and 4000 species of mollusks.
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