Can a cold water bath save the Great Barrier Reef?

In early 2020, Australia was in the grip of its second hottest summer on record. As catastrophic bush fires turned the sky black, sea temperatures on the Great Barrier Reef soared above 29 °C, causing more than a quarter of the corals on the reef to turn a ghostly white. It was the third mass coral bleaching event to hit the UNESCO World Heritage Site in just five years.

In light of the ever-increasing concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and rising ocean temperatures, scientists are scrambling to find ways to halt the reef’s rapid decline, from artificially brightening clouds to reflect more sunlight, to bolstering coral populations using in vitro fertilization.

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