Survey flights over the reef, which spans an area of 2,300 km, have revealed damage due to heat stress.
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It is a struggling World Heritage Site. The Great Barrier Reef is again affected by bleaching “widespread”the authorities announced on Friday March 18. “Bleaching has been detected throughout the Marine Park”the Great Barrier Reef Site Authority said in its weekly update.
This phenomenon of decline, which results in discoloration, is caused by the rise in water temperature – a consequence of global warming – which leads to the expulsion of the symbiotic algae giving the coral its bright color.
Survey flights over the reef, which spans an area of 2,300 km, revealed damage from heat stress, the authority said. During the week, sea temperatures across the Marine Park were between 0.5 and two degrees Celsius above average, while the far north and coastal areas recorded temperatures between two and four degrees above average.
This observation comes at a time when Unesco will carry out an inspection of the site, to check its state of health. If the results of the mission, which must be presented in June 2022 to the World Heritage Committee, prove negative, the Great Barrier could join the list of sites in danger.
Bleaching has affected 98% of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef since 1998, sparing only a tiny chunk of the reef, according to a recent study.