Scientists report that two thirds of GBR is bleached

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Image by Bette Willis

Scientists from the ARC Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies in Australia have recorded more bad news for Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. It is undergoing a further bleaching episode, primarily in the previously unaffected middle third of the reef. The northern end was bleached in 2016, so this leaves only the southern third unaffected.

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Image by Greg Torda

Prof. Peter Hughes of the center gives the reason for the bleaching: “The bleaching is caused by record-breaking temperatures driven by global warming. This year, 2017, we are seeing mass bleaching, even without the assistance of El Niño conditions.”

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The researchers carried out aerial surveys over 8,000 km (5,000 miles) and of 800 individual reefs.