Ecological impacts

Bleaching of coral reefs along the northern coastline was reported at Cobourg Peninsula in 2018 and the Crocodile Islands in 2016 from rising sea temperatures.

A severe and widespread mangrove die-off occurred along 1,000 km of coast in the Gulf of Carpentaria in 2015. It was caused by unseasonal heat, lack of rain, and the third-strongest El Niño ever recorded.

Due also to increasing heat, it is predicted there will be no male sea turtle hatchlings born at the Bare Sand Island hatchery near Darwin within eleven years.

Climate-related events such as heat and tropical cyclones are resulting in flora and fauna population losses. For example, heat-related mass mortality in flying foxes has been recorded for some time. In 2018, heat waves in northern Queensland killed more than 23,000 flying foxes, equating to almost one third of Australia’s spectacled flying fox population. Other pollinator species are also at risk to changing climatic conditions, which will have cascading impacts on terrestrial ecology.

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