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

Young woman dies after being struck by lightning in Melbourne

10:04 EDT

A woman in her 20s has died after she was struck by lightning during a storm in Melbourne's north-east on Friday night.

Severe thunderstorm warning for heavy rain, large hail in the Hunter region downgraded

20:59 EDT

A severe thunderstorm warning issued for heavy rainfall and large hailstones has been downgraded for parts of Sydney and New South Wales.

Severe storm warning issued for central and east Tasmania

18:50 EDT

A severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for Tasmania's central and eastern districts, with large hailstones and heavy rainfall expected.