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Summative Task

The Effects of Climate Change on The Great Barrier Reef

Phillip King

on 27 November 2014

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Transcript of Summative Task

By 2100 sea levels may rise anywhere between 0.5 metres and 9 metres.
The sea level in the Great Barrier Reef has been rising by 3mm every year since 1991
In 1951, it was only rising by 1.2 cm per year
The Effects of Climate Change on the Great Barrier Reef
By Phillip King & Shane Li
The Effects of Climate Change
Climate Change
The Great Barrier Reef
Image 1.1, 'http://www.greatbarrierreef.org/'
Where is The Great Reef Barrier Located?
The Great Barrier Reef
What is The Great Barrier Reef?
Image 1.2, 'http://www.greatbarrierreef.org/'
Great Barrier Reef Biodiversity
Images from 'http://www.nationalgeographic.com'
Vast variety of life forms
Coral reef consists of algae called zooxanthellae
30 species of whales, dolphins and porpoises
Over 1,500 fish species are present in the reef
About 5,000 species of mollusks live there too
6 species of sea turtle come to the reef to breed
17 species of sea snake live in The Great Barrier Reef
Also home to 215 plus species of birds
The Great Barrier Reef is also vital in the survival of numerous endangered species
What is Climate Change?
Why is The Great Barrier Reef so Important?
Image 1.3, 'http://climate.nasa.gov/causes'
Big financial boost. it pumps 1.5 billion dollars into the Australian economy. this can come from tourism, fishing, or other services. In fact, in tourism alone, over 2 million visitors come every year.
It is one of the 7 natural wonders of the world/ listed as a world heritage area

The Role of Coral:
It protects the coastline from erosion ( tropical storms and waves)
Provides a liveable habitat for many different types of marine life
Cynobacteria in coral reefs help with nitrogen fixing, and fixes it twice as fast as land
Coral provides nitrogen and other nutrients to many types of marine life
What Types of Threats are there on The Great Barrier Reef?
There are numerous threats that The Great Barrier Reef faces. Below are a list of some of them and also included is our evaluation of the severity of each threat. Labeled low, medium or high.
Water Quality

There are many major water quality variables affecting coral reef health including water temperature, salinity, nutrients and suspended sediment concentrations.
Over Fishing

The problem with over fishing is it causes a unbalance in the food chain, resulting in chain reactions.

Shipping accidents are a big concern as many shipping routes go through the Great Barrier Reef.
Crown-of-thorns starfish
The Crown-of-Thorns Starfish is a coral reef predator which preys on coral polyps. An individual adult of this species can eat up to six square meters of living reef in a single year.
Climate Change
The topic we will be covering in this Prezi. Climate Change causes 3 affects on the Great Barrier Reef, including Ocean Acidification, Sea level Rise and Water Temperature Increase.
Ocean Acidification
Ocean Acidification- What is it?
Ocean acidification is a term used to describe the ocean's continuous rise into becoming more acidic
The Process of Ocean Acidification
=Low =Medium =High
What is the Cause?
Human fossil fuel consumption has led to an increase in atmospheric CO2
The ocean absorbs 30% of atmospheric CO2
When CO2 enters the oceans, it starts a series of chemical reactions, making it more acidic.
The Effects Of Ocean Acidification
Calcification and Carbonate
Calcification is the production of plates and shells out of calcium carbonate
Under healthy conditions, carbonate ions should be at supersaturating conditions
Other Effects
Growth and reproduction of some marine animals will be affected by a decrease in the ocean's pH level

- Increasing acidity causes marine life to have a higher metabolism rate, which leads to a decrease in growth
- An increase in acidity means that marine life would reproduce early

Ultimately, this would alter the biodiversity of the Great Barrier Reef's ecosystem.
Rising Sea Temperature
Rising Sea Levels
What is the Cause?
Thermal expansion: as water is warmed it expands, causing the sea level to rise
Melting glaciers: As big chunks of ice melt, it increases the amount of water in the sea.
Rising Sea Levels in the Great Barrier Reef
Ecosystem requires water levels to be shallow
If water levels continue to rise, some species of fish may die out. ( long term though)
Many of the reef's 900 islands may disappear
Most coral reefs are able to adapt to a 3 mm rise in sea level every year
Ocean acidification and coral bleaching both cause coral growth to slow down
Result, coral may not be able to adapt to any changes
How ocean acidification affects calcification
It is used by many types of marine life to grow strong exterior shells. - e.g. coral use calcification for exoskeleton growth
Image 1.7, 'http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7933589.stm'
Negative Impacts on Calcification
Reduced Calcification
The more carbon dioxide enter the ocean, the less carbonate there is available for marine life.
Marine life will suffer from reduced calcification
This will lead to marine life having weakened body structure

As the Ph of water decreases, so does the concentration of carbonate
Because many marine life ( such as coral) have exoskeletons made up of carbonate, a decrease in carbonate would slowly eat away the exoskeleton
By 2050, coral could be erroding faster than it grows
Bjerrum Plot Image 1.8 taken from 'http://www.rocketsciencejournal.com'
Calcified structures are healthy because of a high concentration of carbonate ions
As pH levels decrease, so does the concentration of carbonate ions.
Also, as pH levels decrease, CO2 levels increase
This could lead to coral dissolution
Both the carbonic acid and
hydrogen ions make oceans
more acidic.
CO2 react with water to form
carbonic acid.
Carbonic acid releases a
bicarbonate ion and a hydrogen
Hydrogen ion bonds with
carbonate ions to form another
bicarbonate ion.
Rate of Ocean Acidification
It is predicted that in 40 years the acidity of oceans will double.
The current rate of ocean acidification is 100 times faster than any time period in the last 20 million years
The current rate of ocean acidification is faster than any in the past 300 million years
The Paleocene-Eocene Greenhouse Event
The current ocean acidification could become as severe Paleocene-Eocene greenhouse event, where marine life in the ocean suffered from mass extinction
More frighteningly, the rate of ocean acidification was 10 times more than in Paleocene-Eocene
What causes Climate Change?
There are Two Causes of Climate Change:
Since the beginning, the Earth's climate and temperature has been changing e.g. El Nino, the ice ages

Man Made-
Since the industrial revolution, huge amounts of carbon emissions have been released into the air
Through the greenhouse effect, these carbon emission heat up the Earth
Cause of Rising Sea Temperature
Increasing atmospheric temperature (greenhouse effect)
Lack of cloud cover
Freshwater run-off
Current Rate and Future Projections
Over the last 30 years, sea temperature has measured to have increased by 0.4 degrees.
Scientists have predicted that: by 2020 sea temperature could be 0.5 degrees warmer, 2050 1 degree, and in 2100 it could be up to 3 degrees warmer.
Image 2.0, 'http://climate.nasa.gov'
The Effects of a Rising Sea Temperature
Coral Bleaching and Increasing Sea Temperatures
Coral expels zooxanthellae in order to relieve stress by rising temperature
Zooxanthellae supplies coral with food and colour
Immediate effect is loss of colour, long term effect is dead coral
Image 2.1, 'http://www.gbrmpa.gov.au/outlook-for-the-reef/climate-change/what-does-this-mean-for-species/corals/what-is-coral-bleaching'
Mass Bleaching Events
Caused by an increase in the ocean's temperature
Large areas of coral will be affected by coral bleaching
In the Great Barrier Reef, a 2002 mass bleaching event affected 60%-90% of the reef
Around 5% of affected reefs had suffered severe damage
Image 2.2, 'www.oxfordjournals.org'
Other Effects of Rising Sea Temperature
A stable marine habitat requires sea temperature to be steady. if not, there is danger of outside species invading the reef
Many weather experts say we are already seeing the effects of higher ocean temperatures in the form of stronger and more frequent tropical storms and hurricanes/cyclones
Warmer sea temperatures are also associated with the spread of invasive species and marine diseases
The evolution of a stable marine habitat is dependent upon myriad factors, including water temperature
Effects on Coral
Which Groups are Involved:
GBRMPA- What do they do?
Responsible for the protection and management of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
They focus on twelve broad topics, one being climate change
Raise awareness to the general public "reduce, re-use, recycle"
250 projects in the last five years, which were outlined in the
Climate Change Adaptation: Outcomes from the Great Barrier Reef Climate Change Action Plan 2007-2012
Created a Great Barrier Reef Climate Change Adaption and Strategy Plan 2012-2017
Also published the Great Barrier Reef Outlook Report, which describes future challenges facing the Great Barrier Reef
AIMS- What do they do?
Working with the GBRMPA, AIMS focuses on research and monitoring
Reef Rescue Marine Monitoring Program
Another goal is to build long-term monitoring and response programs
AIMS assess the health of 100 coral reefs per year
The Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) is a leader in tropical marine science
Its research programs support the management of tropical marine environments around the world
Primary focus on the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area
UNESCO- What do they do?
UNESCO has listed the Great Barrier Reef as a world heritage site
The World Heritage property is and has always been managed as a multiple-use area
Creates reports on progression of The Great Barrier Reef
UNESCO says no further major development should go ahead without an overall assessment of the reef’s health
UNESCO says the ‘‘in danger’’ status could be applied if the federal government does not give the world heritage committee evidence of substantial progress
What Further Action Must be Taken?
Climate change is a big issue, long term issue having many effects and effecting every ecosystem in the world
There are many parts to climate change, and must all be addressed accordingly
The best way to prevent or soften any effects would be to look at each individual one
Climate change is relatively new, first step is to make the general public aware of the problem
The next step is to solve the problems
Solutions to Ocean Acidification
There are Currently 2 Solutions Available for Ocean Acidification
Ocean's carbonic acid could be extracted from the oceans
Removes all inorganic carbon from the water
It is still developing though.
Iron Fertilization:
Phytoplankton turns CO2 into oxygen as a bypass of photosynthesis, necessary for growth
Iron is a major nutrient required for phytoplankton to grow.
By adding increased amounts of iron, this encourages phytoplankton to growth faster
Desired result is an increase in the number of phytoplankton will result in a decrease in CO2 in the water
Iron Fertilization
This method is much more practical than extraction
Field tests are currently being conducted
The Effects of Climate Change
Main effects on the Great Barrier Reef:
Ocean acidification
Rising sea temperatures
Rising sea levels
Increase in the world's temperature
Increase of world's sea levels ( long term)
Increasing occurrence of extreme weather
CO2 doesn't disappear, it remains in the phytoplankton body through it's life
When phytoplankton die, they sink to the bottom, carrying the CO2 with it
Extremely problematic for a reef, since they are shallow, the bottom is basically the surface
As CO2 levels decrease at the surface of oceans, they increase in the bottom
What We Believe Should be Done
Ocean pH has increased, but not to the point where severe consequences will occur
The amount of CO2 being released every year is increasing, so the drop in pH levels will decrease more
Instead of trying to rid the CO2 in the ocean, people should be more focused on cutting down carbon emissions
Research should still be done, but cutting down on carbon emissions is the priority
Research should be focused on finding greener methods one things that expel the most CO2
Cutting down on emissions is much easier and more effective, everyone in society can do something
By stopping the problem where it starts, much time and money is saved, it is also much more effective
Solutions For Coral Bleaching
Image 1.4, 'http://climate.nasa.gov/causes'
Coral have always experienced bleaching due to El Nino events in the past.
Coral reefs have shown the ability to make a full recovery
Bleached coral are capable of recapturing zooxanthallae

How Humans can Help
Reducing stress factors in coral bleaching areas
This would increase coral's resiliency to these events
The chance of full recovery would be higher
Solutions for Increasing Sea Temperature & Rise in Sea Level
Government website talking about Climate Change
Works with government and research community to better understand geographical features
Look into the science of climate and weather
The Centre of Climate Research Singapore (CCRS) is being used as focal point for climate studies
The Earth is warm due to the Greenhouse Effect
Excess carbon emissions cause the Earth to warm
Again, this all comes back to reducing carbon emissions

Solutions to a Rising Sea Level
Both causes ( thermal expansion/ melting glaciers) are linked with a rising sea temperature
If that can be solved, so will the rising sea level
Image 1.5, 'http://app.mewr.gov.sg/web/contents/Contents.aspx?ContId=1601'
In Conclusion...
Music video investigating the causes and effects of global climate change and our opportunities to use science to offset it.
This is not the end of the World
Our focus is reducing humans' impact of climate change, as well as working to subdue the effects
Making people aware of the issue is another focus.
Everyone can help
Focus should be directed to Carbon Emissions, and cutting down on them
A list of ways is included below
Cao L, Ken C. 20 January 2010. Can Ocean Iron Fertilization Mitigate Ocean Acidification? London. (Journal)
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority . 2012. Climate Change Adaptation: Outcomes from the Great Barrier Reef Climate Change Action Plan 2007-2012. PhD Thesis , Townsville: Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. (Report)
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. 2012. Climate Change Adaptation Strategy and Action Plan. PhD Thesis , Townsville: Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. (Report)
Guinotte J, Fabry V. 2008. "Ocean Acidification and Its Potential Effects on Marine Ecosystems ." New York Academy of Sciences,: 320- 322, 326-327. (Book)
J, Lough. 2007. Climate Change and the Great Barrier Reef A Vulnerability Assessment. Townsville: Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. (Report)
Spillman, Climate Change and Carbon Threats to Coral Reefs, 2011(Journal)
NOAA National Weather Service. (2007). climate change. NOAA National Weather Service, 1-2. (Report)
Commonwealth Department of Climate Change. (2011). The Great Barrier Reef and Climate Change. CSIRO publishing. (Report)
Image 1.6, 'http://oceana.org/en/our-work/climate-energy/ocean-acidification/learn-act/what-is-ocean-acidification'
A very detailed and groundbreaking Natural Resources Defense Council documentary exploring the startling phenomenon of ocean acidification.
Climate is the weather we expect at to be like at a particular point of time in a year.
Climate change occurs when there is a significant change from the average climate
Climate change is the statistical shift of climate or weather pattern
Climate change is a global issue and will affect us all, it has the potential to adversely affect our environment, our communities and our economy
Image 1.9, 'http://www.rocketsciencejournal.com'
Image From 'www.climatesight.org'
Image 2.3, 'Commonwealth Department of Climate Change. (2011). The Great Barrier Reef and Climate Change. CSIRO publishing.'
Image 2.4, 'Commonwealth Department of Climate Change. (2011). The Great Barrier Reef and Climate Change. CSIRO publishing.'
Image 2.5, ''Commonwealth Department of Climate Change. (2011). The Great Barrier Reef and Climate Change. CSIRO publishing.'
Image 2.6, 'www.climate.org'
Website for Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.
Detailed video that explains the whole mission of AIMS and their organization in general.
Website for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization on The Great Barrier Reef.
Image 2.7, 'Cao L, Ken C. 20 January 2010. Can Ocean Iron Fertilization Mitigate Ocean Acidification? London.'
The Process of Iron Fertilization
A detailed talk about Ocean Acidification (The Other CO2 problem) by Andrew Dickson, on what it is and why should we care. Also possible solutions that could be conducted.
Straightforward video, stating what has been done, what can be done and what must be done in order to tackle Climate Change concerning sea level rise and temperature increase.

At Home
Calculate carbon footprint
Purchase green power
Be green in your yard
Use water efficently
Reduce, reuse, recycle
Seal and insulate your home
Heat and cool smartly
Look for Energy Star
Change 5 lights
Spread the word

At Work
Use green power
Reduce, reuse, recycle
Use less energy for your commute
Mange your office equipment energy use better
Look for Energy Star quality products for the office
Encourage your organization to develop a green house gas inventory

At School
Explore climate change science and solutions
Track your schools climate impact
Get involved
Establish emissions
Reduce, reuse, recycle
Estimate and track emissions
Look for Energy Star quality products to use

On the Road
Give your car a break
Don't forget about the tires
Regular maintenance
Drive smart
Buy smart
Use renewable fuels
Full transcript