Current conditions on the Reef
Above average sea surface temperatures have persisted since February across the entire Great Barrier Reef, due to a combination of climate change, the strong El Niño and local weather patterns.
These conditions triggered mass coral bleaching—the worst bleaching event to be recorded on the Reef.
Surveys are underway to gather the most up-to-date information on the progression of the bleaching.
Reef-wide assessments and analyses of bleaching will take several weeks to complete, and as the event is still unfolding, it may be several months until the full impact is known.
Bleaching continues to affect a multitude of reefs along the length of the Great Barrier Reef – the most severe bleaching is occurring in the northern half, while there is less severe bleaching in the southern half. Substantial coral mortality has also been observed on some reefs in the northern half.
While low level coral mortality has been detected as far south as offshore Townsville, observations of severe coral mortality have so far been restricted to the Marine Park's Far Northern Management Area, above Cooktown.
The area between Cooktown and Tully is exhibiting patchy moderate to severe bleaching, with some coral mortality.
Levels of bleaching between Townsville and offshore Mackay range from being mainly minor to moderate, with some severe bleaching. Minor amounts of coral mortality have also been detected.
Based on current data, there is only minor bleaching south of Mackay.
A summarised map of observed bleaching is available.
Our current response is at level 3 (the highest level) under our Coral Bleaching Risk and Impact Assessment Plan.
Although sea surface temperatures are now starting to cool, they are forecast to remain above average for the next few months. Local weather in the coming weeks will continue to influence the outcome of the bleaching event.
Due to the elevated risk and the ongoing crown-of-thorns starfish outbreak, we have been working with our partners to escalate Reef monitoring this summer. Crown-of-thorns starfish control is ongoing at selected priority reefs.
Everyone can help support the Reef's health and resilience by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, following responsible reef practices, including abiding by Marine Park zoning rules, not anchoring close to corals and responsibly disposing of litter.
A short summary of current conditions out on the Great Barrier Reef.Read more on Latest overview of current conditions
Detailed information on sea surface temperature, tropical cyclones, rainfall levels and flood plumes to date.Read more on Latest detailed observed forecast and environmental conditions
A Vulnerability Assessment: of the issues that could have far-reaching consequences for the Great Barrier Reef.
Current Conditions: Environmental and climatic forecasts for the Great Barrier Reef