Australia’s Great Barrier Reef has endured another mass bleaching event, the third in five years.

Warmer summer sea temperatures, primarily in February, were recorded and are believed to be the cause of the devastating coral loss.

The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest reef system. It stretches over 2,300 km and has been declared a World Heritage Site due to it’s ‘enormous scientific and intrinsic importance’. 2016 and 2017 saw two-thirds of the reef damaged as a result of mass bleaching.



Scientists discovered the widespread bleaching, where large patches were severely damaged, according to the BBC. Some healthy areas, however, were also identified.

Ariel surveillance carried out by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority said that the severity of the bleaching varied across the reef but that the overall devastation is far worse than in previous events.

Also read: World’s coral reefs could be gone in 80 years



Chief scientist David Wachenfeld told the BBC :

‘The reef had only just begun recovering from impacts in 2016 and 2017 and now we have a third event. Climate change is making the extreme events that drive those impacts both more severe and more frequent, so the damage in an event is worse.

We need to take these events as global calls for the strongest possible action in climate change’.




Image: Brett Douglas