13 March 2017 Current Affairs: Great Barrier Reef in Australia’s eastern coast is experiencing an unprecedented second straight year of mass coral bleaching.
This is for the first time Great Barrier Reef has bleached two years in sequence. Earlier in March and April 2016, 2,300-km reef suffered had its most severe bleaching on record due to warming sea temperatures.
Coral Bleaching occurs when abnormal environmental conditions, such as warmer sea temperatures, cause corals to expel tiny photosynthetic algae, draining them of their colour. The 2016 bleaching was more severe in the northern areas of the bio-diverse site.
But now more bleaching was being observed in the central part of the reef, which earlier had escaped widespread severe bleaching. The back-to-back occurrence of widespread bleaching is resulting in decrease in stress tolerance of these corals, which means that they may not fully recover.
Great Barrier Reef : It is the biggest coral reef system in the world composed of over 2,900 individual reefs. It was recorded as a World Heritage site in 1981. The reef is located in the Coral Sea, north east of Australia and covers an area of approximately 348,000 sq km. It is credited as the world’s biggest single structure made by living organisms and is visible from the outer space.