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Coral bleaching on Great Barrier Reef worse than expected, surveys show

Surveys taken throughout 2016 present intensifying impact from northern to south, with 70% of shallow water corals dead north of Port Douglas

Coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef last year was even worse than expected, while the full impact of the most recent event is yet to be determined.

Queensland government officials reply aerial and in-water surveys taken throughout 2016 had confirmed an escalating impact from northern to south.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority chairman, Russell Reichelt, said here reef had experienced significant and widespread shattering over the past two years.

The amount of coral that died as a result of bleaching in 2016 is up from our original estimates and … its expected well also ensure an overall farther coral covering deterioration following the completion of 2017, he said in a statement on Monday.

Surveys by the Marine Park Authority, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, Australian Institute of Marine Science and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies acquired the most severe bleaching north of Port Douglas.

There, an estimated 70% of shallow water corals had died, with substantial variability between and within reefs.

It is now confirmed that about 29% of shallow water corals died from bleaching during 2016, up from the previous estimation of 22%, with the majority mortality occurring in the northern parts of the reef.

Bleaching was also found in corals beyond profundities divers typically survey, but mortality could not were consistently assessed.

However, there was a strong recovery in countries of the south in the absence of bleaching during the same period.

Officials are predicting farther coral loss this year, resulting from the second consecutive time of bleaching and the consequences of the tropical Cyclone Debbie.

Over the past few months bleaching occurred in a similar pattern to last year, most severely between Cairns and Townsville.

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