Third Major Coral Bleaching

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Photo credit: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

The coral in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is rapidly changing color and tainting the water due to bleaching.

Over the past five years there have been two major Australian Great Barrier Reef bleaching events, and the third has just happened. 

Coral bleaching occurs when the coral is in a spot in the water that is the wrong temperature for them and they produce an algae type goo that bleaches the sea. The reason this is happening specifically now is because of extreme weather events and global warming. 

The other two major bleaching events were in 1998 and 2002, and 42% and 54% of the reefs were bleached. The result of the coral giving off zooxanthellae (the algae type goo) is that the coral loses color and starts to die. 

Sources: coralcoe.org.au, oceanservice.noaa.gov, ocean.si.edu, origin-apps-pifsc.fisheries.noaa.gov