‘Crisis’: Climate panel flags Great Barrier Reef devastation

  • FILE - This photo provided by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority shows the Hardy Reef near the Whitsunday Islands, Australia on June 22, 2014. The Great Barrier Reef is the largest living structure on the planet _ so large, in fact, that it is the only living thing on earth visible from space. (Jumbo Aerial Photography/Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority via AP)

  • This photo provided by Ava Shearer shows her on a boat during a scuba diving session at Australia's Great Barrier Reef in 2020. With the Monday, Feb. 28, 2022 release of a United Nations climate report that paints a dire picture of the Great Barrier Reef’s future, the 17-year-old marine science student and snorkeling guide wonders what will be left of the imperiled ecosystem by the time she finishes her degree at Australia’s James Cook University. (Courtesy Ava Shearer via AP)

  • This photo provided by Ava Shearer shows her scuba diving at Australia's Great Barrier Reef in 2020. With the Monday, Feb. 28, 2022 release of a United Nations climate report that paints a dire picture of the Great Barrier Reef’s future, the 17-year-old marine science student and snorkeling guide wonders what will be left of the imperiled ecosystem by the time she finishes her degree at Australia’s James Cook University. (Courtesy Ava Shearer via AP)

SYDNEY — It was the silence of the sea that first rattled the teenage snorkeler, followed by a sense of horror as she saw the coral below had been drained of its kaleidoscopic color. This once-vibrant site on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef — a site she’d previously likened to a busy capital city — had become a ghost town, the victim of yet another mass bleaching event.