Many scientists are disputing a viral article from Outside Magazine that claimed the Great Barrier Reef has died.
"The Great Barrier Reef of Australia passed away in 2016 after a long illness. It was 25 million years old,” wrote Rowan Jocobsen in the Outside Magazine piece.
The story, which went viral, was written in obituary form for the magazine online, but frustrated some scientists who said it misinforms the public.
Snopes, a website that debunks online rumors, noted that many different reports had described the extent of a massive coral bleaching event earlier this year, but the reef was far from completely dead.
Bleaching is what happens when warmer water temperatures cause coral to expel colorful algae and turn white. Read more about the phenomena here.
The Huffington Post spoke with Russell Brainard, the chief of the Coral Reef Ecosystem Program at NOAA’s Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center. He told the website he expects the viral article was meant to highlight the urgency of the situation, but too many people would take it at face value that the Great Barrier Reef is dead.”
Terry Hughes, the director of the ARC Centre of Excellence also spoke with the Huffington Post. He said he was “not impressed” by the article’s message that we should “give up on the [Great Barrier Reef] or that it is already dead.”