Reef update: coral dead, damaged from bleaching

28.09.16 By
This article is more than 7 years old

Earlier this year, record-breaking ocean heat led to a mass coral bleaching event on the Great Barrier Reef – the worst in its history.

In May, the Climate Council travelled to a reef off Port Douglas to investigate the coral bleaching devastation.

This week, we returned to that same reef to inspect the long-term impacts: from coral death, disease and damage; to changes in the composition of the fish community.

In addition to filming our own video (stay tuned) we also brought a group of journalists to document the story for mainstream media.

ABC News coverage

Great Barrier Reef coral dead, damaged from bleaching event, survey finds (read here)

Guardian Australia coverage

It’s a depressing sight’: climate change unleashes ghostly death on Great Barrier Reef (read here)

While it’s great to see some coral have survived the bleaching event, it’s clear that the reef is not as resilient as it once was – and it’s struggling to cope with repeated bleaching events driven by warming waters.

On current levels of climate change, the Great Barrier Reef would be bleached every two years by the mid 2030s – which would leave it no time to recover in between events. We need urgent action to tackle climate change, and limit ocean warming – or our Great Barrier Reef simply cannot survive into the future.

Want more information on climate change and coral bleaching? Check out the Climate Council resources below.


VIDEO: Reef Reality Check

Prof. Tim Flannery travels to a reef off Port Douglas to inspect the coral bleaching damage firsthand.

REPORT: Australia’s Coral Reefs Under Threat From Climate Change

Our new report reveals the influence of climate change on the Great Barrier Reef, and provides strong scientific evidence that future bleaching events are likely to become more frequent and severe.

The report finds that rising global ocean temperatures, driven by climate change, have caused the worst mass coral bleaching event in the Great Barrier Reef’s history.


SCIENTISTS SOUND THE ALARM: Climate Change is Destroying Our Reefs

In late April, leading Australian scientists resorted to a huge advertisement to get the Great Barrier Reef crisis in the newspaper – funded by 250 Climate Council supporters, and published in the Courier Mail.

In an open letter, 57 experts – with more than 1,200 years of combined experience studying climate change, marine ecosystems and coral reefs – called to transition away from fossil fuels to cleaner sources of energy.


COMMUNICATIONS GUIDE: Great Barrier Reef Bleaching Event

This Communications Guide outlines key facts about the latest coral bleaching event, as well as providing some answers to frequently asked questions.

We hope this guide supports a fact-based public discussion on the risks to the reef.