Just 2% of the Great Barrier Reef remains untouched by bleaching since 1998 and 80% of individual reefs have bleached severely once, twice or three times since 2016, our new study revealed on November 4. We measured the impacts of five marine heatwaves on the Great Barrier Reef over the past three decades: in 1998, 2002, 2016, 2017 and 2020. We found these bouts of extreme temperatures have transformed it into a checkerboard of bleached reefs with very different recent histories.
Whether we still have a functioning Great Barrier Reef in the decades to come depends on how much higher we allow global temperatures to rise. The bleaching events we have already seen in recent years are a result of the world warming by 1.2 degrees Celsius since pre-industrial times.
World leaders meetin...Read More