'THEY DIED OF THIRST': EXTREME CONDITIONS WIPE OUT FOREST OVER 1000 KILOMETRES...

The death of so much mangrove forest in one hit is "unprecedented", a researcher says. Photo: Norman Duke

The death of mangrove forests stretched over 1000 kilometres of Australia's northern coast a year ago has been blamed on extreme conditions including record temperatures...

About 7400 hectares of mangroves strung along the Gulf of Carpentaria died in a single month in early 2016 because of the unusual warmth, a prolonged drought and an El Nino that reduced local sea levels by about 20 centimetres, said Norman Duke, head of the Mangrove Research hub at James Cook University.

"Essentially, they died of thirst," Dr Duke said, adding that the sea-level drop triggered a "highly significant loss of tidal waters".

El Nino events are marked by a stalling or reversal of the easterly equatorial winds that would typically build up waters in the western Pacific. Still, previous El Ninos had not produced the huge death rate of mangroves as seen last year.

Dr Duke said scientists now know that mangroves, much like coral reefs, are vulnerable to a warming climate and extreme weather events. Until now, Australian mangroves were considered to be in relatively good condition, and there had never been such dieback recorded.

The mangrove wipeout could have multiple impacts, including the loss of fisheries worth hundreds of millions of dollars, more coastal erosion because of the loss of forest protection, and poorer water quality given the filtering role the trees play, he said.

Scientists examined the dead trees for signs of a plant pathogen but found the impacts to be widespread across the 20-odd mangrove species. They were also not confined to pockets of plants that might point to a culprit other than extreme weather.

Before and after photograph of the massive dieback along the Gulf of Carpentaria.
Before and after photograph of the massive dieback along the Gulf of Carpentaria. Photo: Norman Duke

"The Gulf dieback has been a wake-up call for action on shoreline monitoring," Dr Duke said. "We urgently need a national shoreline monitoring program commensurate with our global standing."

The mangrove wipeout could have multiple impacts, including the loss of fisheries worth hundreds of millions of dollars ...
The mangrove wipeout could have multiple impacts, including the loss of fisheries worth hundreds of millions of dollars and more coastal erosion because of the loss of forest protection. Photo: Norman Duke

Dr Duke's research in the 2016 dieback will be published in the Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research on Tuesday.

Peter Hannam

source: http://www.smh.com.au/

original story HERE

 

Get New Climageddon book:

 Click here for a new book about the global warming emergency and what you can do.

Share This Blog Post: If you would like to share this blog post, go back to the original shorter version of this posting and look to lower right for the large green Share button.

Sign Up for Free Global Warming Blog  RSS feed by 

clicking here.

To View Our: current positions, opinions, agreement or disagreement with this blog article or its facts, click here.

Donate to help end Global Warming


Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.
Sign the Petition: Declare a Global Warming State of Emergency See the new book Climageddon Donate