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.
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.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.