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More than a third of coral is dead in parts of Great Barrier Reef

The news that huge portions of the Great Barrier Reef have been damaged by the area’s biggest bleaching event ever is unsettling. In some parts, as much as one third of the coral is dead.

The Great Barrier Reef has for a long time been the number one destination for snorkeling and exploring the curiosities of the underwater world. Visitors come from all over the world to explore this natural beauty in Australia’s coastal waters. On Sunday, scientists announced that the worst bleaching event ever has killed a third of the coral in large parts of the reef.

The largest living structure on the planet is in real danger, as researchers estimate 93% of the reef was affected.

Terry Hughes, a scientist on the National Coral Bleaching Taskforce, commented in a recent press release,

“This is the third time in 18 years that the Great Barrier Reef has experienced mass bleaching due to global warming, and the current event is much more extreme than we’ve measured before.”

Coral becomes bleached when the water temperatures get too warm. During that time the algae leave the coral, causing it to turn bright white. Reefs can usually recover from bleaching when the water temperatures drop again but if the water temperatures don’t drop, the coral can die in droves. This is what happened in the latest bleaching event.

If you want to experience this natural wonder before it’s gone, get on those flights to Sydney!

Image: P1010723 by Wade Lehmann / Flickr cc.

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