Bleaching has hit large amounts of coral in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef for the second year in a row.
The process happens when algae living inside it is expelled. This makes coral lose its colour and puts it at risk of death.
It’s also a reliable sign of climate change in an area, with bleaching signifying an increase in temperature.
The temperature increase affecting the Great Barrier Reef is partially down a particularly strong El Nino climate cycle, on top of global warming.
— GreatBarrierReef (@GBRFoundation) February 23, 2017
An aerial survey showed severe bleaching in the middle of the reef, although it may not have had time to recover fully from previous bleaching.
“We are seeing a decrease in the stress tolerance of these corals,” said Dr Neal Cantin, from the Australian Institute of Marine Science.
“This is the first time the Great Barrier Reef has not had a few years between bleaching events to recover”.
— Deep Sea Divers Den (@DiversDenCairns) March 1, 2017
Photographer Brett Monroe Garner has been documenting the bleaching for Greenpeace.
“Just a few months ago, these corals were full of colour and life. Now, everywhere you look is white. The corals aren’t getting the chance to bounce back from last year’s bleaching event” he said.
“If this is the new normal, we’re in trouble”.