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Great Barrier Reef coral bleaching could be the new normal by 2050, research finds

The ABC’s Kathleen Calderwood reports (23.2.17) on the release of new research which indicates that coral bleaching events on the Great Barrier Reef, and the warming ocean temperatures which contribute to them, will be more frequent without prompt action on reducing carbon emissions.

‘The temperatures that caused last year’s devastating coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef will occur almost every year by 2050 unless greenhouse gas emissions are curbed quickly, new research finds.

‘The research came as new accounts of coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef emerged.

‘Natural history film-maker Biopixel has released video it said showed new bleaching on the reef, and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority urged visitors to report any signs of bleaching after a second year of unusually high water temperatures.

‘The sea surface temperatures on the Great Barrier Reef were the hottest on record during February, March and April last year — a degree or more above the long-term monthly averages.

‘The resulting coral die-off was the largest ever recorded on the Great Barrier Reef, with about two-thirds of corals dying in the 700 kilometres north of Port Douglas in far north Queensland.’

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