One of my newer research tasks is to look into ways to offset the damage caused to coral reefs by global warming and other aspects of climate change. I’ve been in Cairns at a workshop on this issue, and yesterday we went for a day on the reef snorkelling and diving. Mainly R&R but the trip brought home the severity of the damage caused by the bleaching events* in 1998 and 2002. While the reef is still colourful and full of life, and new visitors have a great time, we were told on the tour that returning visitors often express disappointment. So, climate change is likely to have economic impacts on the tourism sector in the near future.
I made a foray into underwater photography, with results that could charitably be described as “mixed”. Here’s an example of the conseqences of bleaching.