The Great Barrier Reef in Australia is experiencing a “mass bleaching event” as coral is stressed by warmer seas, according to reef officials.
According to the Reef Authority, which maintains the world’s largest coral reef system, aerial surveys revealed coral bleaching on various reefs, “confirming a major bleaching event, the fourth since 2016,” according to a study.
Despite the cooling influence of the La Nina weather phenomena, which is now affecting Australia’s climate, coral was harmed, according to the authorities.
One of the main drivers of coral bleaching, according to scientists, is climate change, which leads to warmer waters.
It happens when corals eject algae that has taken up residence in their tissues, robbing them of their vivid colours.
The Reef Authority stated that while bleached corals are stressed, they can potentially recover if conditions improve.
“The overall extent and severity of coral bleaching in the Marine Park will continue to be determined by weather patterns over the next few of weeks,” it stated.
The UN’s monitoring mission to determine whether the World Heritage site is being protected from climate change began four days before the mass bleaching report was released.
Before the World Heritage Committee considers classifying the Great Barrier Reef as “in danger” in June, UNESCO’s job is to analyse whether the Australian government is doing enough to address risks to the reef, particularly climate change.
Many people were startled when the World Heritage Committee decided not to declare it as such in July, given that UNESCO had recommended it just weeks before.
When the United Nations threatened to revoke the reef’s World Heritage status in 2015, Australia responded by developing a “Reef 2050” plan and investing billions of dollars in its conservation.