GBRMPA convinced of Reef warming
THE Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority has dismissed claims climate change is not a real threat to coral reefs.
James Cook University researcher Peter Ridd recently accused Australian scientists of crying wolf over the threat of climate change reef, claiming researchers who predicted corals would be mostly extinct by mid-century had a credibility problem as the natural wonder was in "bloody brilliant shape."
The Townsville-based Dr Ridd, who is an expert on marine physics, has previously claimed the Great Barrier Reef is as resilient to environmental change as a "cockroach is to a nuclear war", with threats such as coral bleaching and agricultural run-off not as serious as commonly believed.
Responding to Dr Ridd’s claims, GBRMPA chairman Russell Reichelt said there was strong scientific consensus, supported by strong research and fieldwork, that climate change was one of the greatest threats to coral reefs worldwide.
Dr Reichelt said elevated sea temperatures, brought on by global warming, were likely to rise over the coming century by as much as 3C warmer than present temperatures.
"You’ve got animals and plants there that are adapted to withstand up to the normal limits," he said.
"If you’ll take it above what they’re adapted to, they’ll die."
Dr Reichelt said coral bleaching was still the most visual and compelling evidence of changes to the Great Barrier Reef and other reefs worldwide.
The incidence and severity of mass coral bleaching events had increased over the past two decades, Dr Reichelt said.
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Controversy: The Great Brarrier Reef
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