Great Barrier Reef hit with devastating bleaching event

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With everything happening around the globe right now, I am trying to focus on both the good and the bad to give people a complete picture of what is going on. 

There has been some encouraging news out there like seeing China reopen the Great Wall of China and declare ends to their strict lockdown measures. It’s also been encouraging to see some transmission rates slow down in hotspots like Italy.

But there is some not so happy news for the environment.

The Great Barrier Reef in Australia (which is a phenomenal place to scuba dive in) just experienced its most widespread bleaching event on record.

If you have been following the Great Barrier Reef over the past few years or were just keeping up with the environment, you probably already know that it has experienced some intense bleaching events in the last few years (2016 and 2017). 

Bleaching events occur when the warm water stresses the coral and causes them to expel their algae which forces them to lose their color. Bleaching does not kill coral but it can often lead to its death which can have all sorts of negative consequences for the surrounding ecosystems.

It’s also just a very depressing site to see as a scuba diver.

The good news is that this bleaching event was not as intense as some of the bleaching events that occurred in recent years.

It’s just that this one covered a much wider area.

Also, this one is a bit more concerning because typically bleaching events come in warm years when El Niño is present.

But this bleaching event did not occur during an El Niño summer.

Scientist still are not sure as to the exact extent of damage that was caused to the reefs but we should know more in the coming weeks.

But we do know that for the reef to recover from the bleaching events, it would likely take decades. However, if bleaching events continue to occur then that recovery might not ever be possible. 

H/T

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