Atmospheric CO2 Continuing to Increase

Increasing CO2

(Photographer unknown)

Greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel burning have leveled off. However, we are still emitting vast quantities. The CO2 we are continuing to emit adds to the amount of CO2 already in the atmosphere. Thus, the total amount of  CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere is still rising. The chart below shows what’s happening.

The total atmospheric CO2 is closely related to global average temperature. The continuing rise is why projections show that we will exceed 2 degrees C warming. A two degree temperature rise doesn’t sound like much, but it will have terrible effects. If you want to know what to expect, read this post that introduces an article from New York Magazine by David Wallace-Wells.

Scientists and others have had  a lot to say about the Wallace-Wells article. Scribbler says:  “. . . Wallace-Wells is not our enemy here. He may have stepped on a number of his unqualified facts, but he’s gotten the overall message pretty much right. And if he’s gotten a bit carried away in being scared over bad climate outcomes, then he’s in good company ;). Moreover, he’s passionately advocating for exactly the kinds of climate solutions that are absolutely needed and that do provide us all with a good measure of hope — if we pursue them. In other words, Wells has talked about climate doom. But he doesn’t walk the path of doom itself.” –Robert Scribbler (Continue reading).

If We Stopped Emitting Greenhouse Gases Right Now, Would We Stop Climate Change?

GR: This is not news, but it is an important reminder. Scientists agree that even if we stopped emitting CO2 today, temperature would continue to rise. That’s because it takes years for the oceans to reach equilibrium with the new level of energy trapped in the lower atmosphere. However, we aren’t stopping today; we won’t stop for decades. Everyone needs to plan for at least a 4 degree C increase in average temperature before the end of the century.

Navajo? Photo by Raif Broskvar (iStock)

“Earth’s climate is changing rapidly. We know this from billions of observations, documented in thousands of journal papers and texts and summarized every few years by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The primary cause of that change is the release of carbon dioxide from burning coal, oil and natural gas.

“One of the goals of the international Paris agreement is to limit the increase of the global surface average air temperature to two degrees Celsius, compared to preindustrial times. There is a further commitment to strive to limit the increase to 1.5℃.

“Earth has already, essentially, reached the 1℃ threshold. Despite the avoidance of millions of tons of carbon dioxide emissions through use of renewable energy, increased efficiency and conservation efforts, the rate of increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere remains high.

“International plans on how to deal with climate change are painstakingly difficult to cobble together and take decades to work out. Most climate scientists and negotiators were dismayed by President Trump’s announcement that the U.S. will withdraw from the Paris agreement.

“But setting aside the politics, how much warming are we already locked into? If we stop emitting greenhouse gases right now, why would the temperature continue to rise?

Basics of carbon and climate change lag time

The carbon dioxide that accumulates in the atmosphere insulates the surface of the earth. It’s like a warming blanket that holds in heat. This energy increases the average temperature of the earth’s surface, heats the oceans and melts polar ice. As consequences, sea level rises and weather changes.” –Richard B. Rood (If We Stopped Emitting Greenhouse Gases Right Now, Would We Stop Climate Change?)

Global average temperature has increased. Anomalies are relative to the mean temperature of 1961-1990. Based on IPCC Assessment Report 5, Working Group 1 Finnish Meteorological Institute, the Finnish Ministry of the Environment, and Climateguide.fi

Three Years to Safeguard Our Climate

GR: An article published yesterday (June 28, 2017) in Nature presents stern warnings from leading climate scientists. A list of necessary actions accompanies the warnings. The warnings come at a time when the majority of citizens in countries that use the most fossil fuel believe that global warming is a real threat. Is the majority strong enough? Can they convince their leaders to turn away from the riches offered by the leading polluters. Can they do it in three years?

The article below addresses with fossil-fuel emissions. I have to step aside for a moment and point out that there are many other threats. First, climate change is accelerating and may already be out of control. Recent research in the Arctic indicates that methane might have begun an exponential increase that we can’t stop.

Second, the food and water requirements of the human population are already exceeding Earth’s productive capacity. Population displacements and conflicts have begun and can only grow worse.

Third, Earth’s ecosystems are failing due to human impacts. People are cutting and burning the forests, farms are exhausting the soils, and wildlife is disappearing.

However, if people can indeed make the needed changes in fossil fuel use in three years, perhaps they will then go on to tackle the other great problems. Yay people!

“Christiana Figueres and colleagues set out a six-point plan for turning the tide of the world’s carbon dioxide by 2020.

Decarbonizing the world economy will require renewable energy generation from vast solar farms, such as this one in Nevada.

“In the past three years, global emissions of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels have levelled after rising for decades. This is a sign that policies and investments in climate mitigation are starting to pay off. The United States, China and other nations are replacing coal with natural gas and boosting renewable energy sources. There is almost unanimous international agreement that the risks of abandoning the planet to climate change are too great to ignore.Related stories

“The technology-driven transition to low-carbon energy is well under way, a trend that made the 2015 Paris climate agreement possible. But there is still a long way to go to decarbonize the world economy. The political winds are blustery. President Donald Trump has announced that the United States will withdraw from the Paris agreement when it is legally able to do so, in November 2020.

“The year 2020 is crucially important for another reason, one that has more to do with physics than politics. When it comes to climate, timing is everything. According to an April report(1) (prepared by Carbon Tracker in London, the Climate Action Tracker consortium, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany and Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut), should emissions continue to rise beyond 2020, or even remain level, the temperature goals set in Paris become almost unattainable. The UN Sustainable Development Goals that were agreed in 2015 would also be at grave risk.

“That’s why we launched Mission 2020 — a collaborative campaign to raise ambition and action across key sectors to bend the greenhouse-gas emissions curve downwards by 2020 (www.mission2020.global).

“As 20 leaders of the world’s largest economies gather on 7–8 July at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, we call on them to highlight the importance of the 2020 climate turning point for greenhouse-gas emissions, and to demonstrate what they and others are doing to meet this challenge. Lowering emissions globally is a monumental task, but research tells us that it is necessary, desirable and achievable.

“After roughly 1°C of global warming driven by human activity, ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are already losing mass at an increasing rate. Summer sea ice is disappearing in the Arctic and coral reefs are dying from heat stress — entire ecosystems are starting to collapse. The social impacts of climate change from intensified heatwaves, droughts and sea-level rise are inexorable and affect the poorest and weakest first.

“The magnitude of the challenge can be grasped by computing a budget for CO2 emissions — the maximum amount of the gas that can be released before the temperature limit is breached. After subtracting past emissions, humanity is left with a ‘carbon credit’ of between 150 and 1,050 gigatonnes (Gt; one Gt is 1 × 109 tonnes) of CO2 to meet the Paris target of 1.5 °C or well below 2 °C (see go.nature.com/2rytztf). The wide range reflects different ways of calculating the budgets using the most recent figures.

“At the current emission rate of 41 Gt of CO2 per year, the lower limit of this range would be crossed in 4 years, and the midpoint of 600 Gt of CO2 would be passed in 15 years. If the current rate of annual emissions stays at this level, we would have to drop them almost immediately to zero once we exhaust the budget. Such a ‘jump to distress’ is in no one’s interest. A more gradual descent would allow the global economy time to adapt smoothly.

“The good news is that it is still possible to meet the Paris temperature goals if emissions begin to fall by 2020 (see ‘Carbon crunch’).

Sources: Stefan Rahmstorf/Global Carbon Project; http://go.nature.com/2RCPCRU

Sources: Stefan Rahmstorf/Global Carbon Project; http://go.nature.com/2RCPCRU

“Greenhouse-gas emissions are already decoupling from production and consumption. For the past three years, worldwide CO2 emissions from fossil fuels have stayed flat, while the global economy and the gross domestic product (GDP) of major developed and developing nations have grown by at least 3.1% per year (see go.nature.com/2rthjje). This is only the fourth occasion in the past 40 years on which emission levels have stagnated or fallen. The previous three instances — in the early 1980s, 1992 and 2009 — were associated with global economic predicaments, but the current one is not(2).” Christiana FigueresHans Joachim SchellnhuberGail WhitemanJohan RockströmAnthony Hobley , & Stefan Rahmstorf (Source: Three years to safeguard our climate : Nature News & Comment)

Gradual CO2 buildup can trigger sudden climate tipping points

GR:  Turning points, cascading failures, tipping points, and positive feedback loops are some of the terms used to describe our precarious thin-ice position. This story describes more evidence that devastating sudden events can occur. We are in danger folks, and the source is one that we have created ourselves. Greed is limiting the vision of our leaders. We must use every available means to show them what might happen.

A new study links rising CO2 concentrations with disruptions to key climate-controlling currents during ice age climate shifts.

Ice age ocean current disruptions linked with greenhouse gas changes

“Scientists say they’ve discovered another huge climate warning sign in the Arctic. Past increases in CO2 levels in the air drove ocean currents to a tipping point had a big impact on hemispheric weather patterns.

“Within the span of just a few decades, rising CO2 concentrations drove temperatures in Greenland up by 10 degrees Celsius, according to a new study led by researchers with the Alfred Wegener Institute and the University of Cardiff.

“The study, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, confirms that, in the past, gradually rising CO2 concentrations have set off abrupt changes in ocean circulation. These sudden changes, referred to as Dansgaard-Oeschger events, have been observed in ice cores collected in Greenland.” –Bob Berwyn (Continue reading: Gradual CO2 buildup can trigger sudden climate tipping points – Summit County Citizens Voice.)

Brazil following US in rolling back climate protections

GR: It is not good to see Trump’s Paris retreat mentioned in stories of other countries rolling back their climate commitments. It is especially disappointing to see Brazil making so many backward moves. Politics, greed, and corruption are once again attacking the Amazon. Anteaters, Capybaras, Parrots, and all the rest are losing their homes.

“Brazil is considering measures that would roll back environmental protections and make it difficult to meet its Paris climate accord targets.

“The move would see the country step back from its global leadership on climate change just as the United States is also retreating.

“Congress has already passed two measures that will dramatically reduce the size of protected environmental reserves. Lawmakers are also considering substantially relaxing environmental licensing rules for infrastructure, agricultural and industrial projects. A proposal that would change how indigenous lands are designated, potentially reducing their size and protection, is also on the table.

“This comes at a time when the Amazon and Atlantic rain forests are being cut at the fastest rate in nearly a decade, and the violent struggle for control of forested land is on the rise. “Brazil is throwing aside the opportunity to be a leader on these questions,” said Marcio Astrini, co-ordinator of public policy for Greenpeace in Brazil. “It’s very hard for someone to manage to be worse than (US President Donald) Trump on the environment, but the Brazilian government is working very hard” to do that, he added.

“Brazil was long seen as a global leader on environmental issues. As the major steward of the Amazon rain forest, its policies have a tremendous effect on global rates of carbon emissions reduction. In conjunction with Mr Trump’s recent decision to pull the US out of the Paris agreement, Brazil’s move away from environmental regulation could jeopardise global goals. The moves come amid political turmoil in Latin America’s largest nation. President Michel Temer is struggling to stay in office amid corruption allegations and threats of impeachment or removal by an electoral court. Amid the turmoil, he is trying to pass unpopular reforms he says are essential to helping Brazil’s economy shrug off a two-year recession.

“Mr Temer has agreed to back a series of measures promoted by Congress’ so-called “rural caucus” – a group of lawmakers representing the interests of rural landowners, including agribusiness and ranchers – in exchange for help passing his own agenda, and hopefully avoiding impeachment.

“This government is using the environmental agenda as currency,” Mr Astrini said.

“In April, a week-long protest outside Congress by indigenous groups who say Mr Temer is reducing protections on their lands and allowing land-grabs by farmers and ranchers illustrated the debate. When police fired tear gas at the protesters, they responded with spears and arrows.

“Last month, Congress passed two measures that convert around 1.4 million acres of protected land, the vast majority of it in the Amazon, into areas open to logging, mining and agricultural use.” –AP (Brazil considers following US in rolling back climate protections | BreakingNews.ie).

Second Biggest Jump in Annual CO2 Levels Reported as Trump Leaves Paris Climate Agreement

GR: CO2 emissions really increased last year. As pointed out in this article, CO2 stays in the atmosphere for many years. The CO2 we are emitting is adding to what is already up there. For our safety, emissions need to fall rapidly, not increase or remain constant. According to Steve Montzka, a NOAA scientist, we have to cut our emissions by 80 percent to get the concentration to stop rising and level off.

Last year’s increase in the atmospheric CO2 concentration was nearly double the average pace since detailed measurements started in 1979. Credit: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

“As President Donald Trump prepared to pull the United States out of the global Paris climate agreement this week, scientists at NOAA reported that 2016 had recorded the second-biggest jump in atmospheric carbon dioxide on record.

“Last year’s increase in the atmospheric CO2 concentration was nearly double the average pace since detailed measurements started in 1979.

“Once CO2 is in the atmosphere, the heat-trapping gas persists there for decades as new emissions pile in, which means that even if global emissions level off—as they have started to do—the planet is on a path toward more warming, rising sea levels and increased heat waves and droughts in the decades ahead.

“Concentrations of other greenhouse gases, including methane and nitrous oxide, also increased last year, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s latest update to its greenhouse gas index. The heating effect of all combined greenhouses gases in the atmosphere increased by 2.5 percent in 2016, according to the index.

“The warming effect of these chemicals we’re tracking has increased by 40 percent since 1990,” said Steve Montzka, a NOAA scientist who co-authored the update. “Even though emissions are leveling off, CO2 is so long-lived that the concentration is still increasing.”

“Getting the atmospheric concentration to also level off would require reducing emissions by 80 percent, he said.

“That 80 percent cut is exactly what is targeted under the Paris climate agreement, but the goal is in doubt as the Trump administration rolls back climate and energy policies meant to lower emissions in the United States, historically the world’s largest sources of greenhouse gas pollution.”

“All the indicators are going in the wrong direction, and warning bells are ringing so loud as to be deafening,” said Kevin Trenberth, a senior scientist in the climate analysis section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. “Without the Paris agreement, the acceleration will likely continue and we will exceed 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial by the 2050s or earlier.” –Bob Berwyn (Continue reading: Second Biggest Jump in Annual CO2 Levels Reported as Trump Leaves Paris Climate Agreement | InsideClimate News.)

Look at the methane increases in the NOAA chart below. Though methane concentrations are still quite low, the rapid increase since about 2008 is probably from thawing permafrost. If the acceleration continues, global warming may exceed all the model predictions. [Reading and commenting on stories such as this one feels a bit like reading a science fiction story presented as news reports as in World War Z by Max Brooks.]

Ocean Farmers Make “Climate March by Sea”

GR:  The premise of the article below is that warming oceans are destroying marine ecosystems and eliminating fish-harvesting jobs. It’s about jobs, and ultimately about the U. S. national economy. It argues that fighting climate change will keep, not cut jobs. It points out that Trump uses “jobs” to hide the fact that his policies enable greater profits by major corporations. Who knew?

The fact is, “jobs” are a false goal. Losing fishing jobs to climate change isn’t what’s important. Preserving marine ecosystems is what’s important. We should march in opposition to fossil-fuel production of climate-changing CO2 because it is harming marine ecosystems.

We should also be marching for population control. As the global human population grows, the market for seafood grows and this has led to ecosystem devastation from overfishing. Harvesting the seas is not the only excess destroying ecosystems. Expanding farms and pasturelands, expanding cities, and growing waste pollution are doing their share as well. Most definitely yes, we need the new bill proposed in the U. S. Congress “100 by 50” that would eliminate 100% of fossil-fuel use by 2050. But we also need to control and reverse our population–most definitely.

This Sierra article has interesting points on the faulty reasoning behind Trump’s trickery.

Sierra Magazine:

“On President Trump’s first Earth Day in the White House, he declared on Twitter that “we celebrate our beautiful forests, lakes, and lands”—an amiable if blasé arm-punch to the planet from the leader of the free world.

“Until a few hours later that is, when the president resorted to his usual right cross.

“I am committed to keeping our air and water clean,” he tweeted, “but always remember that economic growth enhances environmental protection. Jobs matter!”

“Rarely does President Trump or his surrogates miss an opportunity to propound that “jobs matter” when it comes to the nation’s environmental policies—especially where climate change is concerned. This binary logic—environmental protection equals job killer—is deeply woven into their world view. Trump has repeatedly called Obama-era initiatives like the Clean Power Plan “job killers” and vowed to “rescind all the job-destroying Obama executive actions, including the Climate Action Plan.”

“The delegation of fishermen that set sail this morning from a marina in Solomons, Maryland, would beg to differ. The only “job destroyer” for them is climate change.

“Concerned about the threat global warming poses to their livelihoods, a crew of sustainable ocean farmers began a three-day journey today they’re calling the “Climate March by Sea.” At the tiller of the small commercial fishing boat is Bren Smith, owner of Thimble Island Ocean Farm and the executive director of GreenWave. They’re heading south down the Chesapeake before they plan to turn north up the Potomac on their way to Washington, D.C.

“Their final destination: the Peoples Climate March, when thousands of people, including indigenous, civic, social justice, business, and environmental advocacy groups are set to take to the streets of the nation’s capital to demand action on climate, jobs, and justice. “Climate change was supposed to be a slow lobster boil,” Smith said in an interview before casting off. “For me, it arrived 100 years earlier than expected. We fishermen are the citizen scientists reporting that water temperatures are going up, species are moving north, the weather is becoming more extreme. We can see it with our own eyes. We’re way beyond the idea of climate denial.”

TAKE ACTION: Click here for more information about how to participate in the Peoples Climate March in Washington, D.C., or another city near you.

“When it comes to environmental policy, the “job killer” argument is a red herring. According to an analysis by the Environmental Integrity Project, “two-tenths of one percent of layoffs are caused by government regulations of any kind, including environmental regulations. Layoffs are caused far more often by corporate buyouts, technological advances, and lower overseas labor costs.” –Jonathan Hahn (Continue: Ocean Farmers Take “Climate March by Sea” to Nation’s Capital | Sierra Club.)

Pollution From Canada’s Oil Sands May Be Underreported

GR: Almost every day, we learn that the many forces contributing to climate change are more powerful than we thought, or we learn that they are occurring faster than we thought, or both. And apparently, the picture is even gloomier than all the bad news has told us, because our measurement methods have been faulty.

“Canadian scientists have found that the standard way of tallying air and climate pollution from Alberta’s oil sands vastly understates pollution levels there — by as much as 4.5 times, according to a Canadian government study published Monday.

“The study shows that air samples collected using aircraft may be a more accurate way to tally air and climate pollution from oil and gas production than using industry estimates.

Suncor Energy oil sands plant near Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada.Credit: Suncor/flickr

“Accurate accounting of the oil and gas industry’s pollution is critical for scientists to understand how fossil fuel production affects the climate and to find ways to cut the pollution to address air quality and climate change, said Allen Robinson, director of the EPA-funded Center for Air, Climate and Energy Solutions at Carnegie Mellon University, who is unaffiliated with the study.

“Both the U.S. and Canadian governments rely on energy companies’ self-reported emissions estimates in order to count all the pollution from oil and gas operations. Few actual pollution measurements are taken.

“If official tallies underestimate the actual emissions, climate models will likewise underestimate the extent to which fossil fuel pollution is contributing to climate change, Robinson said. The Canadian research shows that the energy industry has been underreporting its emissions and it highlights the challenges the industry faces in accurately estimating emissions from very complex equipment.

“Scientists in both the U.S. and Canada have found that measuring greenhouse gases and other kinds of air pollution using satellites or air samples gathered from airplanes paints a vastly different picture of fossil fuel emissions than those reported by government environmental agencies.

“For example, research using satellite data found a previously undetected hotspot of methane — a potent greenhouse gas — over oil and gas fields in northwest New Mexico. Most leaking methane from oil and gas fields isn’t included in EPA emissions estimates.

“Another study, conducted by Harvard University researchers, used air samples gathered from towers and airplanes to show that methane emissions from various sources in southern states are five times higher than EPA estimates.

“The Canadian research team measured emissions of volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, in the air above oil sands operations in Alberta. VOCs, most of which are not greenhouse gases, have an indirect effect on the climate. They produce ozone, which is a greenhouse gas and can harm human health.

“Ozone can allow methane to linger longer in the atmosphere than it would under normal conditions. The longer methane, which has about 86 times the power of carbon dioxide to warm the globe over the span of 20 years, remains in the atmosphere the more it helps to warm the climate.” –Bobby Magill (Continue reading:  Pollution From Canada’s Oil Sands May Be Underreported | Climate Central.)

An oil sands operation in eastern Alberta. Credit: Kris Krug/flickr

New Study: What’s Scarier than the Permian Extinction? Burn All the Fossil Fuels to Find Out

GR:  Now, here’s a truly scary story. Happily, it’s question, “what happens if we burn all the fossil fuels,” is an unlikely issue because of the progress alternative fuels are making. There are some interesting points, however, and I especially liked the drawing. Look at the red segment at lower left. It has the elements of our probable future.

“If we burn all the fossil fuels “not only will the resultant climate change be faster than anything Earth has seen for millions of years, the climate that will exist is likely to have no natural counterpart, as far as we can tell, in at least the last 420 million years.” — Gavin Foster, Professor of Isotope Geochemistry at the University of Southampton

“Back in the 1780s as coal-fired smoke stacks sprouted across England to belch their black soot into the hitherto virgin skies of Earth, it’s likely we had not yet an inkling of the vast destruction these dark Satanic Mills were ultimately capable of unleashing:

The potential and likely global impacts of climate change are bad enough during the 21st Century with between 1.5 and 6 C + warming expected. But if we burn all the fossil fuels, new science indicates that about 10-18 C worth of warming is ultimately possible. Looking at these impacts, what sane person would recommend doing such a thing? Image source: Climate Impacts.

“Svante Arrhenius, by the late 19th Century, had hinted that coal burning might warm the Earth by a tiny bit in a few thousand years. But the very fossils we were digging up and burning at an ever-more-rapid pace warned of a different and far more ominous story (see video above). They hinted of a time when massive volumes of ancient carbon stored in the Earth were released into the atmosphere over the course of thousands of years. And that this release created such hot and toxic conditions that, for most living things, the Earth was no longer habitable.” –Robert Scribbler (Continue: robertscribbler | Scribbling for environmental, social and economic justice.)

Second year of widespread bleaching underway on the Great Barrier Reef

GR: Another excellent report from NOAA’s climate group. The news is bad. Here’s one effort to do more than just report on our destruction of Earth ecosystems. We need to do more. We need a political confederation of progressive and biological-conservation groups that understands how important it is to recognize the equality of all species. But how do you create an alliance when environmental ignorance is so prevalent and when even political progressives see nothing beyond the health, comfort, and equality of members of our species? Sad.

“On the Great Barrier Reef and throughout the rest of the world, corals live in a symbiotic relationship with algae. Corals give algae shelter, and the photosynthetic algae give corals food (not to mention their bright colors). But when ocean waters get too hot for too long a time, corals expel their algae, turning bony white in the process—coral bleaching. Corals can survive without algae for only so long.

Thermal stress around the Great Barrier reef from January-March 2017. NOAA Climate.gov image by Dan Pisut, based on NOAA Coral Reef Watch maps.

“In May 2016, Climate.gov wrote about a record-breaking coral-bleaching event on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, and discussed the low likelihood of significant long-term recovery. This was published in the cover paper in Nature in March 2017, just as Australia’s Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority announced continued bad news: widespread coral bleaching was occurring for the second consecutive year.

“The animation above shows accumulated weeks of heat stress, known as Degree Heating Weeks, from early January through late March 2017 off the northeastern coast of Australia. Values larger than 4 (gold to orange) indicate that widespread coral bleaching is likely. Values above 8 (salmon-orange to dark purple) indicate that significant bleaching and death is possible. Mapped reef locations are shown with black outlines.

“At the beginning of 2017, no heat stress is apparent, but this situation soon changes. Degree heating weeks begin to accumulate soon after the start of the year. By the end of January, heat stress associated with likely bleaching is apparent. The situation only worsens in February, and by the end of that month, heat stress high enough to cause significant bleaching and coral death occurs over an expansive area. By the end of March, a substantial area off the coast of northeast Australia shows heat stress values of 8 or higher.

“On March 24, 2017, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority stated that in January, it started fielding coral-bleaching reports from park rangers and reef visitors for locations as far south as the waters north of Fraser island, the Marine Park Authority and James Cook University followed up the reports with spot checks, flyovers, and comprehensive aerial surveys.

“Because so much coral in the north died in 2016, it was difficult to see the 2017 bleaching there from the air, according to NOAA coral expert Mark Eakin. But according to the Marine Park Authority website, a total of 54 in-water spot surveys of six reefs between Cairns and Townsville in late February revealed signs of thermal stress at all six reefs. As of late March, coral bleaching appeared most severe in the central region of the Great Barrier Reef. Toward the south, bleaching appeared more moderate.” –Michon Scott (Continue: Second year of widespread bleaching underway on the Great Barrier Reef | NOAA Climate.gov.)