SYDNEY, March 10 (PNA/Xinhua) — Australia’s Great Barrier Reef has been shown to have an even worsening coral bleaching situation on Friday, with Greenpeace releasing photos and footage of the damage they say is caused by climate change.
Greenpeace marine biologist Brett Monroe Garner travelled to a reef halfway between Port Douglas and Cairns to take the shots that show widespread damage in an area that he claims was full of life just a few short months ago.
“Just a few months ago, these corals were full of coloudr and life. Now, everywhere you look is white. The corals aren’t getting the chance to bounce back from last year’s bleaching event. If this is the new normal, we’re in trouble.” Garner said.
A new survey will be conducted on the reef by Professor Terry Hughes of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University from Wednesday next week, and Hughes said the Great Barrier Reef is in trouble.
“There is no doubt about it, the damage caused to the reef is due to extremely high temperatures due to global warming,” Hughes told Xinhua on Friday.
Hughes will engage in seven days of flying, to criss-cross the entire Great Barrier Reef from next week, to ascertain the extent of the bleaching after a similar journey last year saw him uncover similar severe damage.
“I did this survey last year during the worst bleaching event the Great Barrier Reef has ever experienced,”
“This is unfolding as the fourth major bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef since 1998, so the cumulative impact of all four of those events is very serious.” Hughes said.
The renowned expert stressed that this should act as a “wake up call” as this indicates back to back coral bleaching events, with only 12 months between them.
“The coral can’t recover in that kind of timeline, it takes them about 10 years for them to recover from a very severe bleaching,” Hughes said.