93 percent of the Great Barrier Reef has been damaged by coral bleaching

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...

El Nino Exacerbates Great Barrier Reef Bleaching

A recently released report revealed a heartwrenching discovery about Australia's Great Barrier Reef. The researchers at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies found that at least 93 percent of the Great Barrier Reef suffers from coral bleaching.

The bleaching phenomenon occurs when corals are stressed by high water temperatures or other causes. Severe bleaching could lead to the death of corals.

The task force surveyed 911 coral reefs by air and the accuracy of the researchers initial aerial surveys have been confirmed by scientific divers who are continuing to measure the impact of the bleaching. Dive teams have already discovered about 50 percent coral death.

"We have now flown over 911 individual reefs in a helicopter and light plane, to map out the extent and severity of bleaching along the full 2300km length of the Great Barrier Reef. Of all the reefs we surveyed, only 7% (68 reefs) have escaped bleaching entirely. At the other end of the spectrum, between 60 and 100% of corals are severely bleached on 316 reefs, nearly all in the northern half of the Reef," Professor Terry Hughes, head of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University said in a statement.

Hughes tweeted a map showing the results of the bleaching that hit the northern parts of the reef hardest:

See images of the Great Barrier Reef below:

11 PHOTOS
Great Barrier Reef
See Gallery
93 percent of the Great Barrier Reef has been damaged by coral bleaching
A photo taken on September 22, 2014, shows fish swimming through the coral on Australia's Great Barrier Reef. The 2,300-kilometre-long reef contributes AUS$5.4 billion (US$4.8 billion) annually to the Australian economy through tourism, fishing, and scientific research, while supporting 67,000 jobs, according to government data. According to an Australian government report in August, the outlook for the Earth's largest living structure is 'poor', with climate change posing the most serious threat to the extensive coral reef ecosystem. AFP PHOTO/William WEST (Photo credit should read WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images)
A photo taken on September 22, 2014, shows fish swimming through the coral on Australia's Great Barrier Reef. The 2,300-kilometre-long reef contributes AUS$5.4 billion (US$4.8 billion) annually to the Australian economy through tourism, fishing, and scientific research, while supporting 67,000 jobs, according to government data. According to an Australian government report in August, the outlook for the Earth's largest living structure is 'poor', with climate change posing the most serious threat to the extensive coral reef ecosystem. AFP PHOTO/William WEST (Photo credit should read WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images)
A photo taken on September 22, 2014, shows a turtle on Australia's Great Barrier Reef. The 2,300-kilometre-long reef contributes AUS$5.4 billion (US$4.8 billion) annually to the Australian economy through tourism, fishing, and scientific research, while supporting 67,000 jobs, according to government data. According to an Australian government report in August, the outlook for the Earth's largest living structure is 'poor', with climate change posing the most serious threat to the extensive coral reef ecosystem. AFP PHOTO/William WEST (Photo credit should read WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images)
Great Barrier Reef - Aerial View - Whitsundays, Queensland, Australia
School of Surgeon fish on Great Barrier Reef Australia
Upolu Cay Island in the Coral Sea Great Barrier Reef
An aerial view of the islands of the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, Australia
Aerial view of the Great Barrier Reef
World Heritage Site,Oceania,Aerial view
World Heritage Site,Oceania,Aerial view
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

Read Full Story

People are Reading