Is the Great Barrier Reef doomed? Up to 99% of the coral is in danger of disappearing, according to a new report
The Great Barrier Reef stretches 1,429 miles along the coast of Australia, and while it is huge, new data suggests that up to 99 percent of it could disappear due to climate change.
The Australian Academy of Science revealed that if warming continues at 2.7F (1.5 ° C), the world’s largest coral reef system will eventually decay.
The natural wonder is expected to shrink at 2.7F, but if the Earth experiences a warming of 3.6F (2C), only one percent of the coral will remain.
Researchers say immediate ‘transformative action’ to combat global warming is the only option to save the Great Barrier Reef, but reaching the goal appears to be ‘next to impossible’.
However, the team also notes that with Earth’s current emissions, it is likely that we will surpass 2.7F (1.5C) by 2025.
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The Great Barrier Reef stretches for 1,429 miles along the coast of Australia and while it is huge, new data shows that up to 90 percent of it could disappear due to climate change
The Great Barrier Reef is located in the Coral Sea off the coast of Queensland and is home to more than 2,900 individual reefs.
In March 2020, it was revealed that the Great Barrier Reef is now facing its ‘most extensive’ and potentially devastating coral bleaching after the unusually warm recent ocean temperatures – and a recent report suggests it is in danger of extinction.
And in October 2020, it was revealed that more than half of the corals had been lost to bleaching in the past 25 years.
When ocean temperatures are too high, corals expel their colorful symbiotic algae that feed them, turning them bleached white.
At 2.7F warming, the natural wonder is expected to shrink by 70 to 90 percent, but if the Earth experiences a warming of 3.6F (2C), only a percentage of the coral will remain
The Great Barrier Reef is located in the Coral Sea off the coast of Queensland and is home to more than 2,900 individual reefs
The report, entitled ‘The Risks to Australia of a 3C Warmer World, “suggests that Australia is headed for climate disaster and will take the Great Barrier with it.
As the driest inhabited continent, Australia is very vulnerable to the effects of global warming, the report states.
The 2019-2020 summer wildfires in a tinder-dry land, or the three severe coral bleaching within five years that caused a loss of more than 50 percent of hard coral cover in the shallow waters of the Great Barrier Reef, show some of the effects of a warming planet for Australia’s people, economy and environment. ‘
According to the researchers, the entire world has already seen a warming increase of 2F (1.1C) since the industrial revolution, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.
This transformative era began in 1760 and lasted until about 1840, introducing a new manufacturing process in both Europe and the US.
The entire world has seen a 2F (1.1C) increase in warming since the industrial revolution, according to the researchers. This transformative era began in 1760 and lasted until about 1840, introducing a new manufacturing process in both Europe and the US.
In addition to a shift to more mechanical processes, the world saw an increase in pollution and a depletion of natural resources to power the machines – and it “had an immediate effect on the climate.”
However, Professor Lesley Hughes of Macquarie University explained that global warming is not affecting the Earth as much as Australia is already experiencing a rise of 0.8F (1.4C).
As Australia is warming more and faster than the rest of the planet, its natural wonders, particularly the Great Barrier Reef, are at greater risk of being destroyed by climate change.
Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, a biologist and climate scientist specializing in coral reefs, has some hopeful news.
He notes that if humans can stabilize warming, the surviving corals can recover and re-expand across the reef.
However, Hoegh-Guldberg also explained that if the opposite happens, the once colorful reef will be replaced by seaweed, bacteria and other organisms.
Not only is the Great Barrier Reef larger than the Great Wall of China, but it is also home to approximately 1,625 species of fish, 3,000 mollusks, and 30 different species of whales and dolphins.
“We used to think the Great Barrier Reef was protected by its sheer size,” Professor Hughes said in a 2020 statement.
But our results show that even the world’s largest and relatively well-protected reef system is increasingly being compromised and declining. ‘
Coral expels small marine algae when the sea temperature rises, turning them white
Corals have a symbiotic relationship with a small marine algae called ‘zooxanthellae’ that live inside and feed them.
When the sea surface temperature rises, corals expel the colorful algae. The loss of the algae causes them to bleach and turn white.
This bleached condition can last for up to six weeks, and while corals can recover if the temperature drops and the algae return, severely bleached corals die and become covered with algae.
In either case, this makes it difficult to distinguish healthy corals from dead corals on satellite images.
This bleaching has recently killed up to 80 percent of the corals in some parts of the Great Barrier Reef.
Such bleaching events occur worldwide four times as often as in the past.
An aerial view of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. The corals of the Great Barrier Reef underwent two consecutive bleaching events in 2016 and earlier this year, raising concerns among experts about the reefs’ ability to survive under global warming.