This is rare good news for the world famous reef, which suffered its sixth mass bleaching event in March.
AIMS CEO Dr Paul Hardisty said the results in the northern and central regions were a sign the reef could still recover from massive bleaching and crowned starfish outbreaks. spines that feed on coral.
“This means that large increases in hard coral cover can quickly be reversed by disturbances on reefs where Acropora corals predominate,” Emslie said.
Cherry Muddle, Great Barrier Reef campaigner from the Australian Marine Conservation Society, warned that while the report was a sign of progress, the reef remains in danger.
“While this growth is positive and shows that the reef is dynamic and can be resilient, it does not overlook the fact that the reef is under threat,” Muddle told CNN.
A reef in danger
Four of the six massive reef bleaching events have occurred since 2016. The most recent occurred in March this year, with 91% of surveyed reefs affected by bleaching, according to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA). . This is far more prevalent than before, when around a quarter of the surveyed reef showed signs of severe bleaching in 2020.
The bleaching is the result of warmer than normal water temperatures, which triggers a stress response from the corals. However, according to GBRMPA scientists, this year’s coral bleaching was the first time it had occurred during La Niña, a weather event that is typically characterized by cooler than normal temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean. .
According to Jodie Rummer, associate professor of marine biology at James Cook University in Townsville, the frequency of mass bleaching events is concerning.
However, experts say a 43% reduction in emissions is still not enough to prevent the worsening effects of climate change and further damage to the Great Barrier Reef.
“In Australia, to do our part, we really need to cut our emissions cuts by 75% by 2030 and that’s keeping global warming to less than 1.5 degrees, which is the critical threshold for survival. coral reefs as we know them,” Muddle told CNN.
“We can create jobs, we can protect the reef, if we just embrace clean energy technology and stop all new coal and gas development,” she added. “There is momentum in the right direction, but we need to see action, like bold action, and we need to see it now.”