Tags: global warming | great barrier reef | change | permanent

Global Warming Changing Great Barrier Reef Permanently: Study

Global Warming Changing Great Barrier Reef Permanently: Study

As the world reacts to the unprecedented bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, teams of scientists around the world are studying how they can help coral survive the warming and acidification of worlds oceans. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 18 April 2018 03:36 PM

Global warming has changed the Great Barrier Reef permanently by causing bleaching that killed one of every two corals in just two years, a new study suggests. 

The study, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, blamed climate change for the coral bleaching after a marine heat wave lasting weeks on end caused about half of the coral in the reef to eject their symbiotic algae and eventually starve to death, Earther reported.

A full 30 percent of the coral died in the first year of the heat wave, 2016, and the rest succumbed the following year in another marine heat wave, Earther reported.

Study researchers concluded that climate change from increased carbon dioxide emissions made the marine warming 175 times more likely and that “bleaching would be almost impossible without climate change.” 

Researchers are already seeing declines in fish populations that eat corals or live in them, and breeding success could be impacted since the majority of fish species use the coral as a nursery to lay their eggs and raise their young.

The Great Barrier Reef coral deaths occurred faster and at lower water temperatures than scientists had expected, The Washington Post reported. While coral can grow back and regenerate, it has so far done so in different shapes that have permanently altered the coral’s structure and composition that can also impact fish habitats.

It takes about 10 years for coral to grow back completely and recover from a bleaching event, but marine heat waves that used to take place about every 25 years are now taking place about every six years, which may not give the coral enough time to regrow and reestablish itself, the Post reported. 

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Global warming has changed the Great Barrier Reef permanently by causing bleaching that killed one of every two corals in just two years, a new study suggests.
global warming, great barrier reef, change, permanent
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2018-36-18
Wednesday, 18 April 2018 03:36 PM
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