Sunday Territorian - - NEWS -

Be­tween 1979 and the present, there have been 60 ma­jor co­ral bleach­ing episodes recorded glob­ally.

The first event to hit the Great Bar­rier Reef oc­curred in 1980, with sub­se­quent episodes in 1982, 1992, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2016 and 2017.

The worst events were in 1998 and 2016, when 90 per cent of corals were af­fected and more than 20 per cent killed.

An anal­y­sis of co­ral on the Great Bar­rier Reef by the Na­tional Academy of Sciences found over a 27year pe­riod be­tween 1985 and 2012, co­ral pop­u­la­tions de­clined 50 per cent.

Ten per cent of the de­cline was at­trib­ut­able to bleach­ing and 90 per cent to the ef­fects of cy­clones and crown of thorns starfish.

“In terms of deal­ing with the warm­ing per se, that is some­thing that needs to be tack­led at that global level.

“What we do, and what we can do is re­duce as many of the di­rect pres­sures on the Reef to en­hance its ca­pac­ity to bounce back.”

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