Upwellings of cooler water make the difference in mass bleaching events

Advanced 3D modelling by the Tropical Water Quality Hub has indicated that upwellings of cool water on the Great Barrier Reef can protect corals from the temperature stress that causes mass bleaching events.An interim outcomes factsheet published by NESP TWQ Project 4.2, led by Dr Craig Steinberg at the Australian Institute of Marine Science, showed areas of the Great Barrier Reef where ocean currents and reef topology interact to create upwellings of cooler water to the surface. These upwelling areas – including large sections east of the Torres Strait and another offshore along the continental shelf break  from southern Queensland – correlate well with portions of the Great Barrier Reef that experienced less damage to corals during previous mass bleaching events. More information about Project 4.2 is available here.


Photo: Neal Cantin