The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Great Barrier Reef Suffers Worst Coral Die-Off on Record
A new map released by the Australian Research Council shows unprecedented coral bleaching in the last nine months in Australia's Great Barrier Reef, resulting in the largest coral die-off ever recorded.
About two-thirds of reefs have died in the most-impacted northern region stretching 435 miles and researchers estimate the damage could take up to 15 years to recover. Global warming, combined with a strong El Niño, caused disastrous coral bleaching across the world this year.
Staghorn corals killed by bleaching on the northern Great Barrier Reef.Greg Torda / ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
"Most of the losses in 2016 have occurred in the northern, most-pristine part of the Great Barrier Reef," said Professor Terry Hughes, director of the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies based at James Cook University, who undertook extensive aerial surveys at the height of the bleaching. "This region escaped with minor damage in two earlier bleaching events in 1998 and 2002, but this time around it has been badly affected."
Researcher Grace Frank completes bleaching surveys.ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
For a deeper dive:
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Cutting out coal-burning and other sources of nitrogen oxides (NOx) from heavy industry, electricity production and traffic will reduce the size of the world's dead zones along coasts where all fish life is vanishing because of a lack of oxygen.
Methane levels in the atmosphere experienced a dramatic rise in 2019, preliminary data released Sunday shows.
In some states like West Virginia, coal mines have been classified as essential services and are staying open during the COVID-19 pandemic, even though the close quarters miners work in and the known risks to respiratory health put miners in harm's way during the spread of the coronavirus.