Off the coast of Australia, an area bursts with color and life. Observers have called it a city in the sea. Stretching 1,600 miles long, this living structure can be seen from the moon. It is called the Great Barrier Reef. Because of rising global temperatures, the reef and creatures that live there are in danger.
The Great Barrier Reef consists of living creatures called coral. Coral depend on colorful algae to turn sunlight into food for them. When water warms up, coral lose their algae. People call this “bleaching” because without the algae the coral lose their color. Without the algae, the coral will starve.
Warm waters in 2016 caused more bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef than ever before. Scientists feared half the coral in the Great Barrier Reef was dead. The summer of 2018 was milder. Much of the Great Barrier Reef has recovered.
However, the Great Barrier Reef will experience many more warm summers. Convincing evidence suggests human activity, such as burning coal and oil, is the cause for these rising temperatures. Scientists worry about the strain continued global warming could cause on the Great Barrier Reef.
What Can You Do? Many organizations are working to combat global warming. Research how you can get involved.
Photo Credit: superjoseph/Shutterstock