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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Apr 2006

    Global Warming and the Great Barrier Reef

    Here's a good read from the Ottawa Citizen.

    Great Barrier Reef threatened with extinction, scientists warn


    SYDNEY - Global warming could turn Australia's Great Barrier Reef into a wasteland of bleached coral in 25 years, says a scientific report leaked yesterday.

    The extraordinary diversity of marine life found on the 2,000-kilometre-long reef could be little more than a memory for future generations unless the emission of greenhouse gases is curbed, the report says.

    The reef, the world's largest living organism, will become "functionally extinct," according to the confidential draft of a report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change due to be released later this year.

    Coral bleaching in Australian waters is likely to become an annual occurrence by as early as 2030 due to warmer, more acidic seas, it says.

    Bleaching happens when the water temperature rises to the point where it kills the tiny plant-like polyps that make up the coral, leaving behind the white limestone skeleton of the reef.

    "We've got a major economic and environmental problem unless we heed the call of these scientists," said Don Henry, the head of the Australian Conservation Foundation. "I think the science is getting clearer about how just how serious and urgent it is."

    The Great Barrier Reef covers 350,000 square kilometres off the coast of Queensland -- an area only slightly smaller than Germany or Japan.

    It consists of hundreds of interlocking reefs, which each year attract two million visitors. Even a slight deterioration of its rainbow-coloured corals would be a huge blow for the $4-billion-a-year tourism industry.

    Around 500 experts are meeting in Paris this week ahead of the release on Friday of the UN panel's first report since 2001 on global warming. The panel is highly regarded for its neutrality and caution.

    Last year, the Australian government said it was considering using vast sunshades to protect the reef. But the cloth, which would be held in place by floating pontoons, could only ever cover a fraction of the reef.

    The draft report said that several other World Heritage- listed parts of Australia would be devastated by global warming, including Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory, made famous by the Crocodile Dundee films, and the Snowy Mountains in the southeast of the country.

    Reef Facts

    - The Great Barrier Reef consists of about 2,600 separate coral reefs

    - There are 400 separate types of coral, 1,500 species of fish and 4,000 types of mollusk

    - Drilling has indicated that the coral may be 500 metres thick in places

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    this area of research is where i plan to take my career, very interesting stuff!

  3. #3
    Senior Member ronmax86's Avatar
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    Apr 2005
    Very scary, sad stuff, there is a worldwide protest tonight, turn off your lights from 7:55pm to 8:00 pm:
    Ron N

  4. #4
    Senior Member Chrispol's Avatar
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    Sep 2004
    One thing to admit though we are a use and abuse society... I think any changes to the way things are done would take a few generations... sad but true.
    675 Gallon Aquarium in the works

  5. #5
    liv is offline
    Former Moderator liv's Avatar
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    Dec 2003
    sad for sure

  6. #6
    Senior Member percula99's Avatar
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    May 2003
    Man has been polluting the atmosphere for over a hundred years now, and even if we found a way to stop today, it would take the earth a thoudand years to heal itself. Something I heard on CTV recently.

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