by TNP Editor 2020-4-19
Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is suffering from its third massive coral bleaching event since 2016. Terry Hughes, a top coral expert at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University, surveyed the reef system and reported severe levels of bleaching in all three sections – north, central and south – of the Great Barrier Reef.
The Great Barrier Reef experienced five mass bleaching events – in 1998, 2002, 2016, 2017 and 2020.
This third event in five years is the most widespread and it greatly affected the deep water coral reefs.
February 2020 saw the highest monthly sea temperatures ever recorded at the Great Barrier Reef since 1900.
Past coral bleaching events typically took place during El Nino, a climate phenomenon that sees the reversal of ocean current flow and the warming of the South Pacific waters.
With rising ocean temperature around the globe, however, these bleaching events are occurring more frequently and more widespread.