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Scientists record biggest ever coral die-off on Australia's Great Barrier Reef

access_time Nov 29,2016 chat_bubble_outline 70 views

By Tom Westbrook

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Warm seas around Australia's Great Barrier Reef have killed two-thirds of a 700-km (435 miles) stretch of coral in the past nine months, the worst die-off ever recorded on the World Heritage site, scientists who surveyed the reef said on Tuesday.

Their finding of the die-off in the reef's north is a major blow for tourism at reef which, according to a 2013 Deloitte Access Economics report, attracts about A$5.2 billion ($3.9 billion) in spending each year.

"The coral is essentially cooked," professor Andrew Baird, a researcher at James Cook University who was part of the reef surveys, told Reuters by telephone from Townsville in Australia's tropical north.

He said the die-off was "almost certainly" the largest ever recorded anywhere because of the size of the Barrier Reef, which at 348,000 sq km (134,400 sq miles) is the biggest coral reef in the world.

Bleaching occurs when the water is too warm, forcing coral to expel living algae and causing it to calcify and turn white. Mildly bleached coral can recover if the temperature drops and the survey found this occurred in southern parts of the reef, where coral mortality was much lower.

While bleaching occurs naturally, scientists are concerned that rising sea temperatures caused by global warming magnifies the damage, leaving sensitive underwater ecosystems unable to recover.

UNESCO's World Heritage Committee stopped short of placing the Great Barrier Reef on an "in danger" list last May but asked the Australian government for an update on its progress in safeguarding the reef.

Australia will lodge that update on Friday, said a spokesman for Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg. In June, during an election campaign, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull promised A$1 billion in spending to protect the reef.

Climate scientists argue that increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere traps heat radiating from earth, creating global warming. Australia is one of the largest carbon emitters per capita because of its reliance on coal-fired power plants for electricity.

"Climate change is killing the Great Barrier Reef," said environmentalist Charlie Wood, director of, an anti-fossil fuels movement.

"The continued mining and burning of coal, oil and gas is irreparably damaging the climate. If we want our kids to enjoy the Great Barrier Reef for generations to come, we must act now to keep fossil fuels in the ground," Wood said in an emailed statement.

(Reporting by Tom Westbrook; Editing by Paul Tait)

Travel - Yahoo News
Viewing Nha Trang from a mountain

VietNamNet Bridge – Tourists will certainly head for the beach when they come to a beautiful coastal city like Nha Trang on the south-central coast. Tourists are on top of Co Tien Mountain. To have a bird’s-eye view of downtown Nha Trang and the sea, they are advised to climb to the peak of Co Tien (fairy) Mountain.From the downtown, they should follow Tran Phu Street to Pham Van Dong Street before reaching Hon Chong islet, where they can see Co Tien Mountain.The best time for climbing the… chat_bubble_outline Read More...

Typhoon Haima lashes China; death toll up in Philippines

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Hanoi plans to impose taxi badges on Uber and Grab cars

Hanoi authorities propose to issue badges for Uber and Grab taxis as they currently do with traditional taxi companies. The Ministry of Transport asked Uber Vietnam to stop working with car owners The competition between traditional taxis and app-based taxis like Uber and Grab has continued unabated. Conventional taxi companies have said they had to meet numerous requirements and pay various taxes and fees which Uber and Grab taxis aren't required to and that this was unfair.   In Document… chat_bubble_outline Read More...

Japanese exchange student, host die in fall at Utah canyon

PROVO, Utah (AP) — Authorities are trying to determine how a 14-year-old foreign exchange student visiting Utah and the man hosting him died in an apparent fall in Provo Canyon.A Utah County sheriff's search and rescue team recovered the body of 28-year-old Brandon Reas on Sunday.The day before, hikers found the body of Kedi Chen at the base of Bridal Veil Falls.Despite attempts to revive him, the teen was pronounced dead the scene.Deputies then determined that he had been hiking with Reas, of… chat_bubble_outline Read More...

'Finding Dory' sets record on opening weekend

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