The Summer One Third of the Great Barrier Reef Died


EXCERPT: April marked the twelfth consecutive month of record-breaking temperatures. That’s an entire year of our planet, on land and in the sea, being hotter-than-ever-recorded since record keeping began in 1880. Such extraordinary warmth is affecting ecosystems globally, but perhaps the hardest hit are coral reefs, whose fundamental organisms are incredibly sensitive to the heat. Earlier this year, authorities in Australia reported that the Great Barrier Reef was in the midst of its worst bleaching event ever. Surveys above and below the water estimated that over 90% of the reefs were affected by bleaching. Now, as the summer wanes down under, scientists are finally able to begin to assess the lasting damage caused by this event. Their findings are heartbreaking. [...] Scientists now estimate that 35% of the corals in the north and central sections of the reef, from Townsville, Queensland to Papua New Guinea, are dead. That’s a decade’s worth of damage in just one summer...

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