Friday, October 5, 2012

What's so great about the Barrier Reef?

The Great Barrier Reef (source: Getty Images) Or perhaps just "a barrier reef" in a few years.

In case you missed this story with all of the other political hullabaloo this week, The Great Barrier Reef in Australia, one of the seven wonders of the natural world, has been reduced by 50% over the last 27 years, mostly because of the warming of the ocean due to climate change.
The reef is vanishing due to climate change, predatory starfish and intense cyclones linked to a warming of the oceans, according to scientists from the Australian Institute of Marine Sciences (AIMS) and the University of Wollongong.

Coral cover could fall to just 5 percent in the next decade,the study warns.

“This loss of over half of initial cover is of great concern, signifying habitat loss for the tens of thousands of species associated with tropical coral reefs," the study released on Tuesday said.
So what does that really mean to the ecosystem?
Stretching for 1800 miles parallel to Australia’s northeastern coast, it is a breeding area for humpback whales, home to thousands of sea species and is the biggest single structure made by living organisms.
Given all this and other alarming signs of climate change, perhaps we might get a question or two about climate change in the coming Presidential debates?  Nah, I doubt it.

Old 97's - "Barrier Reef"

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