Fairfax Media Network

Weather News

Research flags devastating climate change impacts on Barrier Reef

By William Rollo, Friday July 5, 2013 - 11:39 EST

A new study examining the effects of climate change on the Great Barrier Reef shows corals could start dissolving into the ocean within 100 years if nothing is done.

The University of Queensland research is measuring the effects of various climate change scenarios on carefully designed mini coral reef ecosystems built inside tubs.

The research is being conducted on Heron Island, off the coast of Gladstone in central Queensland.

Work on the project is expected to continue until September.

Worse than expected



Lead researcher Sophie Dove says if greenhouse gas emissions are not curbed the reef could be put under serious threat.

"Under the business-as-usual CO2 scenario, we found that the reefs were actually decalcifying," she said.

"It's quite alarming - there is more damage than I would have thought when I started out.

"I would have thought that more things would survive and it would look a lot healthier than it does."

She says coral skeletons have started dissolving in the tub representing what might happen if nothing is done about greenhouse emissions.

"That would mean that if a cyclone were to hit or something like that there would be no ability to rebuild the reef," she said.


- ABC

© ABC 2013

More breaking news

Sydney Morning Herald
ABC News
National Nine News
News Limited

Display Your Local Weather

Weather News

Turbulent Thursday in Vic, Tas, SA

15:52 EDT

Parts of Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia could be lashed by storms and damaging winds on Thursday as a cold front sweeps across Australia's southeast.

How to protect yourself from lightning strikes

15:38 EDT

It is storm season in Australia and, while being struck by lightning is considered a rare occurrence, there are several steps people can take to keep safe.

Storms plaguing NSW, Qld

10:52 EDT

Storm-weary parts of southeast Queensland and northeast New South Wales are preparing for another bout of wild weather today.