Australia’s (CNN) – Great Barrier Reef has lost 50% of its coral populations in the last three decades, with climate change a key driver of reef disturbance, a new study has found.
The Great Barrier Reef has suffered several mass bleaching events in the past five years, and experts said the southern part of the reef was also exposed to record-breaking temperatures in early 2020.
“We used to think the Great Barrier Reef is protected by its sheer size — but our results show that even the world’s largest and relatively well-protected reef system is increasingly compromised and in decline,” Hughes said.
The report authors warned that climate change is driving an uptick in the frequency of “reef disturbances” like marine heatwaves.
“There is no time to lose — we must sharply decrease greenhouse gas emissions ASAP,” the report authors warned in the paper, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society journal.