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Abnormal Heat Patterns Forecast Coral Bleaching Event

The Great Barrier Reef is an iconic image of the beauty of the Australian natural landscape. However, weather forecasts for the next two weeks have raised heightened concerns of a mass coral bleaching event, particularly for the far north of the Great Barrier Reef. When exposed to long periods of heat coral begins to expel zooxanthellae, the algae which it relies on for much of its energy and the production of its colour. With Australia coming out of a particularly hot summer, reefs in the entire region are recording temperatures two to three degrees above normal. Dr Mark Eakin, coordinator of the Coral Reef Watch, an organisation run by US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, joined us to discuss the issue of coral reef bleaching.

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