Australia’s Great Barrier Reef has suffered another mass bleaching event – the third in just five years.
Warmer sea temperatures – particularly in February – are feared to have caused huge coral loss across the world’s largest reef system.
Scientists say they have detected widespread bleaching, including extensive patches of severe damage. But they have also found healthy pockets.
Two-thirds of the reef was damaged by similar events in 2016 and 2017.
The reef system, which covers over 2,300km (1,400 miles), is a World Heritage site recognised for its “enormous scientific and intrinsic importance”.
Last year, Australia was forced to downgrade its five-year reef outlook from poor to very poor due to the impact of human-induced climate change.
On Thursday, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority