Australia's Great Barrier Reef shows signs of new coral bleaching

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - The government agency tasked with monitoring the health of Australia's Great Barrier Reef has detected signs of heat stress in several coral regions, increasing the prospects of another major bleaching event. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority said on Thursday that a prolonged period of warmer than usual ocean currents has led to water temperatures that are 2 to 3°C above average for February, which is already the hottest month of the year on the reef.

Reuters February 21, 2020 07:12:13 IST
Australia's Great Barrier Reef shows signs of new coral bleaching

Australias Great Barrier Reef shows signs of new coral bleaching

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - The government agency tasked with monitoring the health of Australia's Great Barrier Reef has detected signs of heat stress in several coral regions, increasing the prospects of another major bleaching event.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority said on Thursday that a prolonged period of warmer than usual ocean currents has led to water temperatures that are 2 to 3°C above average for February, which is already the hottest month of the year on the reef.

"So these anomolies are really very concerning and they have intensfied in the last week," David Wachenfeld, the authority's chief scientist, said in his weekly video update.

The reef, which runs 2,300 kilometres (1,429 miles) down Australia's north eastern coast spanning an area half the size of Texas, has only just begun to recover after being heavily hit by two consecutive years of coral bleaching in 2016 and 2017.

The marine park authority said it was further investigating the renewed bleaching, using spot checks by divers, helicopter patrols, and observations by the public.

Lyle Vail, director of the Australian Museum's Lizard Island Research Station which is part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, said he had observed about 30% to 40% of coral in shallow waters off the island had some level of bleaching.

"The bright blue staghorn coral is ... fluorescing – another sign a coral is in distress," he said in a statement from the World Wildlife Fund Australia.

The Great Barrier Reef has an economic, social and icon asset value of $56 billion. It supports 64,000 jobs and contributes $6.4 billion to the Australian economy, Deloitte found in a 2017 report.

(Reporting by Melanie Burton; editing by Jane Wardell)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

Serbian leader fires back at Moscow after 'Basic Instinct' jibe
World

Serbian leader fires back at Moscow after 'Basic Instinct' jibe

MOSCOW/BELGRADE (Reuters) - Serbia's president accused Moscow on Sunday of stooping to "primitivism and vulgarity" in an attack on him, after Russia's foreign ministry spokeswoman compared him to the actor Sharon Stone in an explicit film scene. Serbia is Moscow's closest ally in the Balkans, but President Aleksandar Vucic has long annoyed Russia by seeking better ties with the West

Turkey's Erdogan, EU's Michel discuss East Med - CNN Turk
World

Turkey's Erdogan, EU's Michel discuss East Med - CNN Turk

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and European Council President Charles Michel discussed developments in the Eastern Mediterranean on Sunday, CNN Turk reported. NATO allies Turkey and Greece have been locked in a row over hydrocarbon exploration in the sea's disputed waters and the extent of their continental shelves. There was no official confirmation of the talks.

Jump in COVID-19 cases in Britain is 'concerning' - Hancock
World

Jump in COVID-19 cases in Britain is 'concerning' - Hancock

LONDON (Reuters) - The sharp rise in COVID-19 cases in Britain of 2,988 recorded on Sunday, the highest jump since May, was "concerning", Health Secretary Matt Hancock said, although he added that the majority were younger people. "The rise in the number of cases that we've seen today is concerning," he said. "The cases are predominately among younger people, but we've seen in other countries across the world and in Europe this sort of rise in the cases amongst younger people leading to a rise across the population as a whole." He said everybody had to follow social distancing rules to prevent the spread of infections.