[Coral-List] 2016 Great Barrier Reef Bleaching featured in Nature cover story

Mark Eakin - NOAA Federal mark.eakin at noaa.gov
Wed Mar 15 14:21:53 EDT 2017

The 16 March issue of Nature features an article about the 2016 severe bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef — just as the GBR is bleaching again.

NOAA’s Coral Reef Watch is proud to be part of this collaboration led by the James Cook University and the Australian Research Council’s Coral Reef Center of Excellence.

Key points from the study include:

2015-2016 saw record temperatures that triggered a massive episode of coral bleaching across the tropics, as confirmed by both aerial and in-water surveys, including along the Great Barrier Reef.
Coral bleaching events should no longer be thought of as individual disturbances to reefs, but as recurring events that threaten the viability of coral reefs globally.
The Great Barrier Reef has had three major bleaching episodes, in 1998, 2002 and 2016, with the latest being the most severe and with catastrophic levels of bleaching occurring in the northern third of the Reef (a region approximately 800 km or 500 miles in length).
The amount of bleaching on individual reefs in 2016 was tightly linked to local heat exposure.
The cumulative, superimposed footprint of the three mass bleaching events on the Great Barrier Reef has now encompassed virtually all of the Reef.
Better water quality or reduced fishing pressure did not significantly reduce the severity of bleaching.
Past exposure to bleaching in 1998 and 2002 did not lessen the severity of the bleaching in 2016!

For maps, link to the paper, and more, see https://coralreefwatch.noaa.gov/satellite/publications_hughes-etal_nature_20170316.php


C. Mark Eakin, Ph.D.
Coordinator, NOAA Coral Reef Watch
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Center for Satellite Applications and Research
Satellite Oceanography & Climate Division
e-mail: mark.eakin at noaa.gov
url: coralreefwatch.noaa.gov
Twitter: @CoralReefWatch	FB: Coral Reef Watch

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