Australia's Great Barrier Reef suffers sixth mass bleaching event

ブリスベン, オーストラリア Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is suffering its sixth mass bleaching due to heat stress caused by climate change, the reef’s managers confirmed Friday.

The update comes mid-way through a 10-day monitoring mission by UNESCO scientists as they consider whether to add one of the world’s seven natural wonders to their “危険で” リスト.
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) and Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) said Friday that aerial surveys of around 750 reefs show widespread bleaching across the reef, with the most severe bleaching observed in northern and central areas.
      More than half of the living coral cover that we can see from the air is severely bleached completely white and can have signs of fluorescence in the colors of pink, yellow and blue,” said AIMS coral biologist Neal Cantin.
        The corals are producing these fluorescent pigments in an attempt to protect their tissue from heat and from the intense sun during these marine heatwaves.
          Coral at Stanley Reef, 約 83 マイル (133 キロメートル) off Townsville in Queensland, shows signs of bleaching caused by rising sea temperatures.

          The latest bleaching event comes despite La Niña, a weather system that typically creates more movement in the water and increases rain and cloud cover, helping to reduce average maximum temperatures.
          It’s the fourth mass bleaching in six years and the first since 2020, when about one quarter of the reef surveyed showed signs of severe bleaching. That event came just three years after back-to-back bleaching events in 2016 そして 2017. Previous bleaching occurred in 1998 そして 2002.
          David Wachenfeld, chief scientist at the GBRMPA, said the coral was stressed but not dead.
          If the water temperature decreases, bleached corals can recover from this stress. It is important to remember that we had a mass bleaching event in 2020, but there was very low coral mortality,” Wachenfeld said.

          Natural wonder under threat

          Australia’s Great Barrier Reef stretches 1,400 マイル (2,300 キロメートル) down the Queensland coast. Before the pandemic forced borders to close, it attracted around three million tourists each year.
          This year aerial surveys with helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft showed the worst of the bleaching is near Townsville. Tourist areas near Cairns and Port Douglas have been less affected due to lower levels of heat stress.
          Bleaching occurs when stressed coral ejects algae from within its tissue, depriving it of a food source. If conditions don’t improve, coral can starve and die, turning white as its carbonate skeleton is exposed.
          Even the most robust corals require nearly a decade to recover,” said Jodie Rummer, associate professor of Marine Biology at James Cook University in Townsville.
          So we’re really losing that window of recovery. We’re getting back-to-back bleaching events, back-to-back heat waves. そして, and the corals just aren’t adapting to these new conditions,” 彼女は言いました.
          Underwater images taken in 2022 show the Great Barrier Reef is suffering heat stress.

          The Australian government has been under pressure from UNESCO to prove that it’s doing enough to save the reef.
          今年の初め, the Australian government pledged one billion Australian dollars ($ 700 百万) spread over 10 years to support new climate adaptation technology, investment in water quality programs, and protection for key reef species.
          While the extra funding was welcomed, the government has been called out by global climate experts, とりわけ, for not doing enough to transition Australia away from fossil fuels.
          The Climate Action Tracker gives the country ahighly insufficient ratingfor its action on climate change. “The government appears intent on replacing fossil fuels with fossil fuels,” それは言う, citing the government’sgas-led recovery” プログラム, announced in 2020 to lead the country out an economic downturn related to the spread of Covid-19.
          月曜日に, United Nations Chief Antonio Guterres name-checked Australia among ahandful of holdouts in the group of G20 countries who had not announcedmeaningful emissions reductions.
          The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority has just completed aerial surveys of all 3,000 reefs on the reef system.

          He said countries and private businesses who invest in coal are costing the world its climate targets. And he said money spent on fossil fuels and subsidies wasa stupid investment leading to billions in stranded assets.
          It’s time to end fossil fuel subsidies and stop the expansion of oil and gas exploration,” 彼は言った.
            Amanda McKenzie, CEO of the Climate Council, said the real issue the government should be addressing is climate change.
            To give our reef a fighting chance, we must deal with the number one problem: 連続したゲーム—... No amount of funding will stop these bleaching events unless we drive down our emissions this decade,” 彼女は声明で言った.