The Great Barrier Reef is currently on track to continue its heartbreaking descent into death. New research published this month shows that stopping forthcoming "mass bleaching events" will only realistically be achieved by taking drastic climate change measures worldwide, the Guardian reported Wednesday. The research was authored by a team of 46 scientists and published in Nature this week.
"Water quality and fishing pressure had minimal effect on the unprecedented bleaching in 2016, suggesting that local protection of reefs affords little or no resistance to extreme heat," authors of the paper Global Warming and Recurrent Mass Bleaching of Corals stated. "Similarly, past exposure to bleaching in 1998 and 2002 did not lessen the severity of bleaching in 2016." Ensuring a future for coral reefs, researchers added, will require "immediate" global action.
Coral bleaching is described by CBS News as a phenomenon that can result in coral death, part of a larger pattern that's been severely damaging Australia's Great Barrier Reef specifically over the past two years. An increase in the temperature of ocean waters, caused by climate change, places corals in "serious risk" of bleaching events. In a statement last week, the Marine Park Authority's Director of Reef Recovery said the first aerial survey of the Reef this year showed "severe bleaching" in offshore reefs.
"Mass bleaching is occurring on the Great Barrier Reef for the second consecutive year," Dr. David Wachenfeld said. "How this event unfolds will depend very much on local weather conditions over the next few weeks."
Dr. Neal Cantin, of the Australian Institute of Marine Science, added that back-to-back widespread bleaching events meant that corals had been subjected to a limited recovery time. "This is the first time the Great Barrier Reef has not had a few years between bleaching events to recover," Dr. Cantin said.
Last year, Outside Magazine published an obituary for the Great Barrier Reef by writer Rowan Jacobsen. "The Great Barrier Reef of Australia passed away in 2016 after a long illness," Jacobsen wrote. "It was 25 million years old."
Back in the States, shit doesn't look good for future climate change efforts. Unfortunately, the guy currently tweeting and shitting from the comforts of the White House once tweeted (and still hasn't deleted!) that climate change was a hoax invented by China.