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SOURCE: The Guardian

DATE: July 27, 2019

SNIP: Extreme climate events such as heatwaves, floods and drought damaged 45% of the marine ecosystems along Australia’s coast in a seven-year period, CSIRO research shows.

More than 8,000km of Australia’s coast was affected by extreme climate events from 2011 to 2017, and in some cases they caused irreversible changes to marine habitats.

The study collated all the published research by leading scientists, who have examined the effects of marine heatwaves, heavy rainfall from tropical storms, cyclones and droughts on coral, kelp, mangrove and seagrass communities.

It paints a bigger picture of the extent to which the climate crisis is fuelling widespread change across Australia’s marine ecosystems.

The study found that big climate events were exacerbating the effects of human-induced climate change.

Heatwaves, for example, compounded the effects of the underlying global heating trend and left little time for organisms to adapt.

The team of scientists looked at events, including the 2011 marine heatwave in Western Australia, cyclone Yasi, the back-to-back mass bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef, and the mangrove dieback in the Gulf of Carpentaria in 2015-16.

They also examined what the longer term repercussions of these events could be, given some areas had shown little, if any, sign of recovery.