Surprise – the Australian Great Barrier Reef has “Bounced Back” from Climate Change

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I know all of you will be surprised that an organism which survived the dinosaur killer has has shown an unexpected ability to cope with a degree of global warming over the last 172 years.

Coral makes comeback on Great Barrier Reef, but climate change looms

12:28am, Aug 4, 2022
Tracey Ferrier

Coral cover has bounced back across two-thirds of the Great Barrier Reef, but scientists say its long-term health remains at risk from climate change.

Dr Mike Emslie leads the agency’s long-term monitoring program and says the reef has shown it can still recover if given the chance.

He says the increased coral cover from Cape York south to Proserpine is the result of a few years of relative calm.

While the reef has suffered negative effects from mass coral bleaching events in 2020 and again this summer, they weren’t anywhere near as deadly for coral as the ones in 2016 and 2017.

The reef has also benefited from a few years without being battered by cyclones.

“Our latest surveys show the Great Barrier Reef is still an amazing place. It’s still vibrant. It can still recover if given the chance,” Dr Emslie says.

“But the impacts of climate change are going to progress as we move forward. Is it always going to remain that way is the million dollar question.”

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The concern over the survival of the Great Barrier Reef is beyond absurd. Coral is one of the most resilient organisms on the planet.

While the adult form of coral is anchored in place, every year corals spawn uncountable billions of highly mobile larvae which colonise favourable sites. Any damaged reef is instantly colonised by adjacent reefs as soon as favourable conditions return.

During the rapid warming which occurred after the end of the ice age, the sea level rose at an astounding 3ft / 1m per century – sometimes even faster, up to 2.5m / century. The Great Barrier Reef used to be much further out to sea, but as the sea level rose, the reef simply moved, as coral spawn rapidly colonised favourable locations on the newly flooded coastal land.

Modern global warming and sea level rise pose no threat to Australian coral.

Video of Great Barrier Reef coral spawning. Sadly, the video contains a gratuitous coral bleaching global warming reference in the last few seconds

via Watts Up With That?

August 4, 2022