More than two-thirds of the coral in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is experiencing “shocking” amounts of bleaching, new aerial surveys have revealed.
Back-to-back bleaching events in 2016 and 2017 have devastated a 1,500 km (900 miles) stretch of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Australian scientists told CNN Monday.
Before 2016 there had only been two bleaching events along the Great Barrier Reef in the past two decades, in 1998 and 2002.
This is the first time two have occurred so close together.
“I was surprised to have to be getting in a plane again this year [to survey fresh damage],” Dr James Kerry at James Cook University said..
Last year’s bleaching event, the worst on record, mainly affected the north of the reef, while the recent damage has mostly impacted the middle sections, according to scientists at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies.