May 31, 2016

Record warm ocean temperatures killed large parts of the northern and central Great Barrier Reef

Coral Sea
by
Andrew Freedman
,
Mashable
The same reef in American Samoa before, during and after a coral bleaching event. Image: XL Catlan Seaview Survey
The same reef in American Samoa before, during and after a coral bleaching event. Image: XL Catlan Seaview Survey

[R]esearchers from the ARC Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies took to the air and sea to determine the health of corals that comprise the Great Barrier Reef, which stretches for 2,300 kilometers, or 1,430 miles, from the northeastern tip of Queensland south to Townsville. 

The scientists found that the hardest-hit reefs are located from Cairns to north of Cooktown...

Water temperatures in the Coral Sea, which encompasses much of the reefs, was record warm in March of this year. 

The coral bleaching event is still underway in Australia and other parts of the world, and has been tied to the combination of human-caused global warming and an El Niño event that added more heat to Pacific Ocean temperatures, although that is now waning