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Great Barrier Reef Faces Severe 'Mass Bleaching' Crisis

Sydney, Australia: The renowned Great Barrier Reef faces a distressing "mass bleaching event," the seventh since 1998, amid rising sea temperatures jeopardizing its vibrant marine ecosystem. This 2,300-kilometer tropical coral expanse, often hailed as the world's largest living structure, is grappling with repeated bleaching events, turning once-colorful corals into a pallid white.

Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek underscored climate change as the primary threat to coral reefs globally, emphasizing the urgent need for action. The damaging event was confirmed by government scientists through aerial surveys of 300 shallow reefs, prompting the Australian Reef Authority to conduct further assessments.

Bleaching occurs when underwater temperatures exceed the long-term average by over 1 degree, leading stressed corals to expel algae and lose their vibrant colors. Recent weeks have seen record-high ocean temperatures along the Great Barrier Reef, heightening concerns.

Richard Leck from World Wildlife Fund Australia warned of potential widespread coral mortality unless temperatures cool rapidly. Climate change, he noted, is exerting immense pressure on the Great Barrier Reef, with the current event affecting areas unaccustomed to such extreme temperatures.

Professor Terry Hughes, a leading coral reef scientist, lamented the increasing frequency of bleaching events, hampering reefs' ability to recover fully. While some coral species can rebound if temperatures decrease, the prevailing fast-growing corals are heat-sensitive, exacerbating the threat.

The ongoing crisis underscores the fragile state of the Great Barrier Reef, prompting renewed tensions between Australia and the World Heritage Committee. The Committee has considered listing the reef as "in danger," potentially deterring international tourism. Despite Australia's efforts to prevent this, the fate of the reef remains uncertain.

Before this incident, the Great Barrier Reef experienced mass coral bleaching in 1998, 2002, 2016, 2017, 2020, and 2022. The current bleaching event intensifies concerns about the reef's long-term recovery and resilience in the face of escalating climate challenges.

March 8, 2024 11:28 a.m. 11401

#breakingnews #worldnews #headlines #topstories #globalUpdate #dxbnewsnetwork #dxbnews #dxbdnn #dxbnewsnetworkdnn #GreatBarrierReef #MassBleaching #ClimateCrisis #CoralProtection #OceanConservation #EnvironmentalConcern #MarineEcosystem #CoralBleaching #ClimateActionNow #WorldHeritageSite #ReefPreservation #SeaTemperatureRise #GlobalEcology

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