Coral Cover in Regions of Great Barrier Reef Highest in 36 Years

    Coral Cover in Regions of Great Barrier Reef Highest in 36 Years
    Last updated Aug 09, 2022
    Image credit: AP [via CNBC]


    • A new report from the Australian Institute of Marine Science says coral cover in some areas of the Great Barrier Reef is the highest in 36 years.[1]
    • From Aug. 2021 to May 2022, the central and northern regions of the reef experienced some recovery while the hard coral cover in the southern region decreased due to an outbreak of crown-of-thorns starfish [which are destructive to coral].[2]
    • The Australian agency found that 87 coral reefs experienced low levels of stress from events like cyclones and an increase in the starfish population. The area surveyed represents two-thirds of the Great Barrier Reef.[3]
    • The reef has faced widespread and severe bleaching due to rising ocean temperatures. It was hit particularly hard in 2016 and 2017 when significant underwater heat waves occurred. This year it's facing a sixth mass bleaching due to heat stress attributed to climate change.[4]
    • While higher water temperatures led to a coral bleaching event in some areas in March, the temperatures didn't climb high enough to kill the coral.[5]
    • The report said that while the coral in the Great Barrier Reef is resilient, and has been able to recover from past disturbances, the stressors impacting it haven't gone away for long.[3]


    Narrative A

    Although this year showed a rebound in coral levels in some areas of the Great Barrier Reef, the reef is far from being in the clear. It's only one summer away from a reversal of the new coral growth, and climate change will likely cause an increase in cyclones, coral bleaching, and other threats to the habitat.

    Narrative B

    The numbers don't back up the claims of climate alarmists when it comes to coral reefs. The risk of coral extinction is much smaller than originally feared because scientists have discovered that there are half a trillion corals worldwide - about the same number as birds on Earth. Coral is resilient and bouncing back in the Great Barrier reef, and even modest warming doesn't pose a serious extinction threat.

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