An Australian government agency says the Great Barrier Reef is experiencing widespread and severe coral bleaching due to high sea temperatures two years after a mass bleaching incident.
CANBERRA, Australia – Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is experiencing widespread and severe coral bleaching due to high sea temperatures two years after a mass bleaching event, a government agency said on Friday.
A report by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Authority, which manages the world’s largest coral reef ecosystem, comes three days before a UN delegation to assess whether the reef’s World Heritage list should be downgraded due to climate change disasters.
“Weather patterns over the next few weeks will be important in determining the overall extent and intensity of coral bleaching across Marine Park,” authorities said.
“Bleaching has been detected across marine parks – it is widespread but variable, across multiple areas, ranging from small to severe,” the authorities added.
In 2016, 2017 and 2020 the wall was significantly damaged by coral bleaching due to unusually warm sea temperatures. Two-thirds of the previous bleaching corals were damaged.
Martin Javan, Greenpeace Australia Pacific Climate Impact Campaigner, said in a statement: “This is a clear indication that climate change is threatening the very existence of our wall due to the burning of coal, oil and gas.”
In July last year, Australia gained considerable international support for reversing the efforts of the United Nations cultural agency UNESCO to “endanger” the reef’s world heritage status due to damage caused by climate change.
But the question will return to the World Heritage Committee’s agenda at its next annual meeting in June.
A UN delegation will visit the reef next week.