Scientists says that mass bleaching has killed more than a third of the coral in the northern and central parts of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
Australian researchers at Cook University, in Queensland have found that around 35 percent of the coral in the northern and central sections of the reef is dead or dying.
The finding are based on months of aerial and underwater surveys of the 2,300km reef off the country's east coast.
This year is the third time in 18 years that the Great Barrier Reef has experienced mass bleaching due to global warming.
The incident is a major blow to the World Heritage Site that attracts about A$5bn ($3.6bn) in tourism each year.
Global warming a cause of bleaching :
Bleaching occurs when the water is too warm, forcing coral to expel living algae and causing it to calcify and turn white. Mildly bleached coral can recover if the temperature drops, otherwise it may die.
Other reefs have suffered even more severely from the recent bleaching; Some Pacific islands, for example, have reported over 80 per cent coral death rates.