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Great Barrier Reef's Bleaching Crisis Reaches 'Severe' Level, As Photos Reveal Widespread Coral Deat

Great Barrier Reef's Bleaching Crisis Reaches 'Severe' Level, As Photos Reveal Widespread Coral Death | The Huffington Post EDITION US عربي (Arabi) Australia Brasil Canada Deutschland España France Ελλάδα (Greece) India Italia 日本 (Japan) 한국 (Korea) Maghreb México Québec (En Francais) United Kingdom United States INFORM • INSPIRE • ENTERTAIN • EMPOWER NEWS WorldPost Highline Science Education Weird News Business TestKitchen Tech College Media POLITICS Pollster Election Results Eat the Press HuffPost Hill Candidate Confessional So That Happened ENTERTAINMENT Sports Comedy Celebrity Books Entertainment TV Arts + Culture WELLNESS Healthy Living Travel Style Taste Home Weddings Divorce Sleep GPS for the Soul WHAT'S WORKING Impact Green Good News Global Health VOICES Black Voices Latino Voices Women Fifty Religion Queer Voices Parents Teen College VIDEO ALL SECTIONS Arts + Culture Black Voices Books Business Candidate Confessional Celebrity College Comedy Crime Divorce Dolce Vita Eat the Press Education Election Results Entertainment Fifty Good News Green Healthy Living Highline Home Horoscopes HuffPost Data HuffPost Hill Impact Latino Voices Media Outspeak Parents Politics Pollster Queer Voices Religion Science Small Business So That Happened Sports Style Taste Tech Teen TestKitchen Travel TV Weddings Weird News Women WorldPost FEATURED GPS for the Soul Hawaii OWN Dr. Phil Quiet Revolution Talk to Me Don't Stress the Mess Endeavor Fearless Dreamers Generation Now Inspiration Generation Paving the Way The Power Of Humanity Sleep + Wellness What's Working: Purpose + Profit What's Working: Small Businesses SCIENCE Great Barrier Reef's Bleaching Crisis Reaches 'Severe' Level, As Photos Reveal Widespread Coral Death “The new stills ... show large sections of coral drained of all color and fighting for survival.” 03/21/2016 05:56 am ET | Updated Mar 21, 2016 4.4k Dominique Mosbergen Reporter, The Huffington Post WWF Australia/XL Catlin Seaview Survey Coral bleaching at Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef.  Australia is raising the alarm: Swathes of the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef system, are dying . On Sunday, WWF Australia released shocking footage and photographs of bleached coral around Lizard Island, located in the northern part of the reef. “The new video and stills are very concerning and show large sections of coral drained of all color and fighting for survival ,” WWF spokesperson Richard Leck said in a statement.  Dramatic new video and pictures of coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef https://t.co/YfeH5CeYM0 @WWF_Australia pic.twitter.com/CsA5BnQcGG — Daniel Rockett (@DRock1978) March 21, 2016 Earlier in the day, Australia's Environment Minister Greg Hunt had raised the reef's threat level to its highest level after surveying parts of it by plane .  Bleaching in the northernmost quarter of the reef is a particular “cause for concern,” Hunt said. Experts say bleaching in that area is both widespread and severe .  “I'm witnessing the death of a very large part of this reef system . I'm extremely worried and upset,” said veteran marine researcher Justin Marshall from the northern section of the reef last week. WWF Australia/XL Catlin Seaview Survey Coral bleaching at Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef. Soaring temperatures have been blamed for the reef’s bleaching crisis. Russell Reichelt, chairman of the Great Barrier Reef marine park authority, told The Guardian that corals in the reef’s north, where surface sea temperatures surpassed 90 degrees in February, were “ effectively bathed in warm water for months, creating heat stress that they could no longer cope with .” “We still have many more reefs to survey to gauge the full impact of bleaching, however, unfortunately, the further north we go from Cooktown [in Queensland] the more coral mortality we’re finding,” he said. Earlier this month, researchers at Lizard Island, located about 50 miles north of Cooktown, said the area was suffering from the worst coral bleaching event in at least 15 years . “We do notice a bit of minor bleaching most summers, but this year is exceptional,” researcher Lyle Vail told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. “Unfortunately we've got the perfect storm conditions for coral bleaching. At the moment we've got brilliant clear sunny skies, calm conditions, little tidal movement. A lot of that hot water on top of the reef flat is just staying there and cooking the coral.”  WWF Australia/XL Catlin Seaview Survey Coral bleaching at Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef. In light of the severe bleaching event, Hunt has announced plans for increased monitoring of the Great Barrier Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; as well as programs to tackle run-off pollution and outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish, which prey on coral polyps. However, the minister has been criticized this week for his failure to pinpoint climate change as a major cause of the bleaching. “Being able to monitor the state of affected coral i