The largest coral reef in the world, the Great Barrier Reef, known for its diverse coral population and beauty, has been depleting in the past three decades. More than half of the Australian coral reefs population has declined by now.
In a study produced by the Royal Society, it is propounded that the primary cause of this depletion has been climate change and the rising temperature and sea levels.
How does it affect the Australian Economy?
The coral reefs remain one of the most significant income sources for the Australian Economy since it is a great tourist site. It was able to contribute revenue of $4 million every year. This amount was the backbone for the revenue of the Australian Economy before lockdown and the coronavirus pandemic.
Half the population has depleted
As per the co-author of the research and James Cook University professor Terry Hughes said, the number of corals in the great barrier reef has declined by 80 to 90% compared to 25 years ago. It was initially spread over a massive area of over 2,300 kilometers and gave a $4 million boost to the Australian Economy.
From 1995 to 2017, the clusters of the small, medium, and massive coral reef islands in the Great barrier Reef has declined.
Terry AHfez, of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, Australia, said:
“we found that more than 50 percent of small, medium and large corals in the Great Barrier Reef has been eroded since the 1990s.”
Climate change has affected the temperature of the earth. With the rise in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and uncontrolled pollution, the planet’s average temperature has risen. This is due to which the glaciers in the poles are melting at a faster rate than ever.
Because of the melting, there has been a constant rise in the sea level. This rise has led to the flooding of many countries and now the coral reefs in Australia.
Co-author of the study report, Andy Diesel, said:
“record-breaking heat had the worst effect on it. The effect on the health of corals is large as sea temperature increases. This led to collective bleaching conditions in 2016 and 2017. In the coral reef area, bleaching is a phenomenon that kills coral.”
Effect since 1998
The phenomenon of mass bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef was first noticed in a study conducted in 1998. This year was the year when Australia recorded a record heat. Sadly, scientists have said that the great barrier reef cannot be brought back to its initial size.
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