This photo on the left shows bleached coral at Lizard Island in the Great Barrier Reef, in March 2016. The second image, taken in May 2016, shows the same formation dead. Photo: XL Catlin Seaview Survey / Associated Press

[Although this obituary is cleverly written, the GBR’s situation is bad enough, and overstating it isn’t helpful. Nevertheless, this was possibly the GBR’s worst year in its 600,000 year history, with 22 percent of the reef totally bleached. The inexorable trends in acidification and ocean warming suggest that we may still witness the death of the Great Barrier Reef in our lifetimes. cf. these stories from earlier this year:

By Chris D'Angelo
14 October 2016

(Huffington Post) – Dead and dying are two very different things.

If a person is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, their loved ones don’t rush to write an obituary and plan a funeral. Likewise, species aren’t declared extinct until they actually are.

In a viral article titled “Obituary: Great Barrier Reef (25 Million BC-2016),” however, writer Rowan Jacobsen proclaimed ― inaccurately and, we can only hope, hyperbolically ― that Earth’s largest living structure is dead and gone.

“The Great Barrier Reef of Australia passed away in 2016 after a long illness,” reads the sensational obituary, published Tuesday in Outside Magazine. “It was 25 million years old.”

There’s no denying the Great Barrier Reef is in serious trouble, having been hammered in recent years by El Niño and climate change. In April, scientists from the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies found that the most severe coral bleaching event on record had impacted 93 percent of the reef.

But as a whole, it is not dead. Preliminary findings published Thursday of Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority surveys show 22 percent of its coral died from the bleaching event. That leaves more than three quarters still alive ― and in desperate need of relief. [more]

Great Barrier Reef Obituary Goes Viral, To The Horror Of Scientists


  1. Anonymous said...

    Just curious, when will it officially be too late? Because I've heard this "it's not too late" bit for years?  

  2. Dennis Mitchell said...

    It is too late! The 2% warming will be passed and we will be fucked. Billions and billions of people burning oil, gas and coal. We would have stopped years ago if we could. Till we make some major changes don't feed me that "hope" crap.

  3. Me said...

    Scientists offer hopium because they know the truth that we're fucked. They don't want the responsibility of admitting to this because it would point back to them and their failure to sufficiently warn us.

    Not that we would have listened. The feeble warnings of the past were ignored, just like the more strident warnings now. But we're shooting right past 2C and have already built in 4C, truly catastrophic temperatures now.

    We're fucked, through and through and if "it's not too late" then they need to step up the pressure and stridency in a major, major way. But they won't. And you know why. They'll do what they've always done, be concered for job and career and funding first. Which means that the system in which they operate under is very poorly designed to allow for us to hear a REAL warning, which explains why we NEVER have when it is OBVIOUS NOW that we should been really warned.

    So it is too late, but then again, I'm not somebody who is easily deceived with hopium.  


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