The Great Barrier Reef has been devastated by climate change. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Acropora
Scientists have criticized news reports claiming that the world's largest coral reef had 'passed away'.
The furore began a few days ago when newspapers started to publish obituaries for the reef which was said to have 'sadly died aged 25 million years' as a result of 'the most catastrophic bleaching event in its history, from which it would never recover.'
"This is a fatalistic, doomsday approach to climate change that isn't going to engage anyone and misinforms the public," said coral reef expert Kim Cobb of Georgia Tech.
"There will be reefs in 2050, including portions of the Great Barrier Reef, I'm pretty confident of that. I'm put off by pieces that say we are doomed."
Bleaching occurs when consistently high temperatures cause coral reefs to expel their symbiotic algae - a process which turns them deathly white and from which many do not recover.
While it is true that the Great Barrier Reef has been devastated by climate change, not all of it has been killed off and there is a chance that some of the affected areas could eventually recover.
"I have studied corals off Christmas Island in the Pacific where 85% of them have died, it was a graveyard," said Cobb. "But even there, I was shocked to see remarkable resilience."
"Amid the graveyards of the reefs there were areas that looked like nothing had happened."
Source: The Guardian | Comments (4)
Great Barrier Reef