Arctic and Australian Great Barrier Reef have a destiny in common, disappearing due to climate change. In the last quarter of a century, the Great Barrier Reef, one of the most precious habitats on Earth, has lost half of its corals.
The resilience of the reef is compromised by climate change. A study published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society measured changes in the size of coral colonies to understand their ability to reproduce. The death of algae and polyps due to the heating of the water makes the corals fragile which are then eroded by the currents.
The bleaching contributed to the massive loss of coral colonies in the northern and central Great Barrier Reef in 2016 and 2017. In early 2020, the southern part of the reef was also exposed to record temperatures. Dr. Andy Dietzel, lead author of the study, and other researchers at the ARC Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies in Queensland, Australia, cautioned.
"We once thought the Great Barrier Reef was protected by its size, but our results show that the world's largest and relatively well protected reef system is also increasingly compromised and in decline."
Australia and Arctic close to natural collapse?
There is also a new and incredible phenomenon, the proliferation of forest fires, now common in the hottest and driest areas of the Arctic.
In recent summers, wildfires have raged across the tundra of Sweden, Alaska and Russia, destroying large areas of vegetation. The ice in the Arctic is wearing out faster than expected. In Greenland, the ice sheet may have already passed the point of no return.
The annual snowfalls are no longer sufficient to replenish the loss of snow and ice during the summer melting of the 234 glaciers in the area. Scientists have calculated that ice loss is proceeding at the rate of 1 million tons per minute.
Not only that, northern Siberia and the Canadian Arctic are warming three times faster than the rest of the world. The latest climate change studies calculate that summer sea ice floating on the surface of the Arctic Ocean could completely disappear by 2035, not 2050 as previously thought.
In Siberia, giant craters form in the tundra due to the melting of permafrost. This thawing of the soil releases two dangerous greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, carbon dioxide and methane, and thus aggravates the global warming.
This is what Arctic ice and Australia's Great Barrier Reef have in common. Unfortunately, they are united by an inexorable destiny: they are rapidly disappearing due to climate change caused by greenhouse gases.