Great Barrier Reef undead

Great Barrier Reef

UNESCO: “The Great Barrier Reef is not in danger.” (2015)

In a welcome change, the Guardian takes a non-alarmist stance on a climate change topic. It was persuaded by marine scientists to disagree with an obituary for the Great Barrier Reef published earlier this month. I’ve never before known the Guardian to spare our feelings or understate the growing perils of climate change.

Reports of the death of the Great Barrier Reef have been greatly exaggerated, scientists have said, after the publication of an “obituary” for the vast coral ecosystem.

The famed 1,400-mile network of reefs “passed away in 2016 after a long illness”, wrote food and travel writer Rowan Jacobsen in an article for Outside magazine. According to Jacobsen, the reef’s demise followed the “most catastrophic bleaching event in its history, from which it would never recover”…

But scientists have stressed that while the Great Barrier Reef, like most coral structures around the world, is under severe stress, it hasn’t quite snuffed it yet.

“This is a fatalistic, doomsday approach to climate change that isn’t going to engage anyone and misinforms the public,” said Kim Cobb, a coral reef expert at Georgia Tech. “There will be reefs in 2050, including portions of the Great Barrier Reef, I’m pretty confident of that. I’m put off by pieces that say we are doomed.”

Coral reefs have for thousands of years been regularly damaged or destroyed by natural events including high water temperatures, predators and storms, but they are strong, resilient organisms which will be around for a long time yet. Indeed, there is strong evidence that the current increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide is providing considerable stimulation to crustaceans, which raises the distinct possibility that it also stimulates coral and other invertebrates.

A tenfold increase in the North Atlantic population of coccolithophores, single-celled algae among the most productive of marine calcifying species, was caused by the rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide, according to a Johns Hopkins University study published a year ago.

Carbon dioxide: invisible, silent, odourless, tasteless—turns out it feeds marine plants, and fast.  Surprising, but that’s the natural world for you. Full of surprise, endlessly burnished with glory.

14 Thoughts on “Great Barrier Reef undead

  1. Maggy Wassilieff on October 26, 2016 at 6:08 pm said:

    NASA/JPL are to undertake a 3 year base-line survey of the GBR and Pacific Island Coral reefs.
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/09/160915094009.htm

  2. Richard Treadgold on October 26, 2016 at 9:47 pm said:

    It’s a good idea to carry out a scientific survey. I was interested to note this revealing paragraph in the article:

    The problem with current assessments of reef degradation, said Hochberg [the CORAL Principal Investigator], is that the data supporting these predictions are not uniform and surprisingly sparse. “Virtually all reef assessments to date rely on in-water survey techniques that are laborious, expensive and limited in spatial scope,” he said. “Very little of Earth’s reef area has been directly surveyed. More importantly, there are no existing models that quantitatively relate reef conditions to the full range of biological and environmental factors that affect them — models that can help scientists better understand how coral reefs will respond to expected environmental changes. CORAL addresses an urgent need in the face of ongoing worldwide reef degradation, and also serves as a pathfinder for a future satellite mission to globally survey the world’s reefs.”

    I, too, am surprised to hear that data on coral reefs is sparse and that “very little of Earth’s reef area has been directly surveyed.” Given the large number of predictions of disaster over recent years, I took it for granted someone knew what they were talking about. I was wrong. People like Dennis (if there are people like Dennis) would do well to note these observations from scientists in the field. It might restrain their impulse to accept the first report that confirms their beliefs.

  3. Dennis N Horne on October 31, 2016 at 2:26 pm said:

    Richard Treadgold:  “People like Dennis (if there are people like Dennis)”

    I would count the number of people who respect my judgement in the thousands. You, Richard?

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/11/26/new-zealand-climate-science-co/

    “Gareth Renowden explains how the NZCSC concocted their result — they made the NZ warming trend go away by treating measurements from different sites as if they came from the same site. Now that might be simple incompetence, but they also claim that NIWA won’t explain how they adjust the data for site changes, and as Renowden says:

    “Nothing in the station histories? It’s all there for anyone who can be bothered to look, or to ask politely. But Treadgold and the NZ CSC have no excuse, because the NZ CSC were told about this information at least two years ago, the last time they tried to make a fuss about “adjusted data”. In other words, Treadgold and whoever in the NZ CSC helped him with the data are being more than economical with the truth, they are lying through their teeth.”

  4. Dennis N Horne on October 31, 2016 at 2:34 pm said:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7wSGps1BnM

    Great Barrier Reef hit by coral bleaching

     

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGktwzCwe3U

    Coral bleaching hits 93% of Great Barrier Reef: scientists

  5. Dennis N Horne on October 31, 2016 at 3:11 pm said:

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/oct/14/great-barrier-reef-severe-stress-not-dead-yet
    Read the comments:

    HermeticSurveyor 15 Oct 2016 11:03
    So to save them we have to cool the oceans and introduce GMO corral? Yeah right. Scientists are wimps, too afraid to tell the truth and risk being an “alarmist.” Face it, the planet is dying, everywhere, anybody who reads the Guardian carefully knows that. Scientists, with their timid hand-wringing are telling stories of hope that belong in children’s books, not on the front pages of newspapers.

    HHeLiBe  to HermeticSurveyor 15 Oct 2016 11:12
    The planet will not die, species will be curtailed which have expanded in population beyond the capacity of their environment. This largely describes Homo sapiens, although we will impact or cause extinction of many other species as part of our demise and population reduction.

    Reschs_Monkey to  HermeticSurveyor 15 Oct 2016 11:26
    “too afraid to tell the truth and risk being an “alarmist.”
    Can’t blame them them though, with people like One Notion Senator, Malcolm (the earth is flat) Roberts calling for a royal commission into the CSIRO, because he would rather rely on his bunion to determine the weather.

    I’ll give the last word to someone who knows what he’s talking about:

    Erik Frederiksen 15 Oct 2016 11:07
    From the article, Kim Cobb, a coral reef expert at Georgia Tech [says] “There will be reefs in 2050, including portions of the Great Barrier Reef, I’m pretty confident of that. I’m put off by pieces that say we are doomed.”

    2050 is a rather short term outlook. The planet’s energy imbalance means very likely significant further warming this century. So this century alone these reefs will be hit by several more strong El Ninos, each seeing higher temperatures than the one before. I wouldn’t say the corals are necessarily doomed, but their future doesn’t look very bright.

  6. Dennis N Horne on October 31, 2016 at 3:18 pm said:

    https://climatecrocks.com/2016/03/28/extreme-coral-bleaching-in-great-barrier-reef/

     

    What a sad and desperate bunch you are, offering an opinion from some unknown American to counter the preponderance of evidence staring you in the face.

  7. Richard Treadgold on October 31, 2016 at 4:26 pm said:

    @Dennis,

    What a sad and desperate bunch you are, offering an opinion from some unknown American to counter the preponderance of evidence staring you in the face.

    Your comment means nothing unless you quote the opinion you’re referring to. Please.

  8. Richard C (NZ) on October 31, 2016 at 5:58 pm said:

    Dennis

    >”“Gareth Renowden explains how the NZCSC concocted their result — they made the NZ warming trend go away by treating measurements from different sites as if they came from the same site.”

    OK, here’s the Audit:

    Statistical Audit of the NIWA 7-Station Review – July 2011
    http://www.climateconversation.wordshine.co.nz/docs/Statistical%20Audit%20of%20the%20NIWA%207-Station%20Review%20Aug%202011.pdf

    Where is the evidence from the Audit Location(s) to support Gareth’s assertion?

    Details Dennis.

    >“Nothing in the station histories?

    What specifically is this referring to? And, with reference to Audit Location(s), so what?

    Again. details Dennis. No vague hand waving. Show that you know what you are talking about (or not) via your vicarious argument-by-Renowden-proxy (whatever that argument is).

    BTW, the above Audit is now in the form of a peer-reviewed paper:

    “A Reanalysis of Long-Term Surface Air Temperature Trends in New Zealand,” by New Zealand authors, Chris De Freitas, Bob Dedekind and Barry Brill (2015)
    http://nzclimatescience.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1215&Itemid=23

    Gareth, or NIWA’s climate scientists, were free to comment on it – but nothing forthcoming.

    Appears Gareth was just blowing smoke.

  9. Richard C (NZ) on October 31, 2016 at 6:10 pm said:

    >”Coral bleaching hits 93% of Great Barrier Reef: scientists”

     

    Great Barrier Reef: 5% bleached, not 93% says new report “discrepancy phenomenal”

    http://joannenova.com.au/2016/08/great-barrier-reef-bleaching-5-bleached-not-93-says-new-report-discrepancy-phenomenal/

    UPDATE:

    Some media given the brief,
    To report on the Barrier Reef,
    Find that bleaching is harming,
    The whole Reef, most alarming,
    In line with the warmist belief.

    – Ruairi

  10. Richard C (NZ) on October 31, 2016 at 6:27 pm said:

    Dennis N Horne on October 31, 2016 at 3:11 pm said:

     

    >”I’ll give the last word to someone who knows what he’s talking about: …..” [How do you know Dennis?]

    >Erik Frederiksen – “The planet’s energy imbalance means very likely significant further warming this century”

     

    Deduction seems a stretch. Erik Frederiksen “knows what he is talking about” in respect to the earth’s energy imbalance?

    Turns out he doesn’t. Problem for Erik Frederiksen (and the entire MMCC narative) is that the earth’s energy imbalance is not conforming to Anthropogenic Global Warming theory a.k.a theoretical Radiative Forcing at TOA by GHGs (IPCC).

     

     

     

  11. Richard C (NZ) on October 31, 2016 at 7:13 pm said:

    Dennis’ Deltoid link is a real hoot. Totally overtaken by events (OBE) but worth pointing out that the argument in it could equally be directed at NIWA’s flagship and proprietory VCSN which is subscriber-only i.e. a temperature series for which access must be paid for.

    There is no homogenization as per 7SS in NiWA’a VCSN.

     

     

  12. Here’s the truth about the reef bleaching from the Australian Institute of Marine Science published by the Australian Govt:

    http://www.gbrmpa.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/247931/GBR-Coral-Mortality-13-June-2016.pdf

    Dennis, Dennis, Dennis, if you rely on the Guardian & alarmist disinformation blogs like scepticalscience.conjob to get your information, is it any wonder you’re always wrong dear boy?

    Next time you want to make another idiotic comment with your ‘crap science’ Dennis just remember this – if we wanted to hear shit we’d fart. 🙂

  13. Richard Treadgold on November 2, 2016 at 1:33 pm said:

    @Dennis,

    Sorry this is tardy; I’ve had a few interruptions, but the points you raise should have a response. So thank you for raising them.

    I would count the number of people who respect my judgement in the thousands. You, Richard?

    Yes, I’d go that far, you probably do; this blog’s popular around the world, so I might have thousands too, but it’s not my concern. But aren’t you defensive today? Now what about a comment on those scientists who refuted your allegations that the death of the GBR (which hasn’t actually occurred) was caused by humans? That seems to have slipped your mind, but it was the topic.

    Straying immensely far from the topic, you quote from Tim Lambert:

    Gareth Renowden explains how the NZCSC concocted their result — they made the NZ warming trend go away by treating measurements from different sites as if they came from the same site.

    This is doubly wrong. Sure, Gareth tried to explain how we reached our result, but he certainly didn’t accuse us of mixing up the sites. Rather, he accused us of ignoring the adjustments required when changes occurred at the stations. That, too, is wrong, because we had been asking NIWA for details of the changes we knew had been made (because of the severe discrepancies between their website graph and the data), but NIWA never revealed what they were or the reasons they were made. Boy, I’m sick of saying this!

    Now that might be simple incompetence, but they also claim that NIWA won’t explain how they adjust the data for site changes,

    This part is reasonably true, since NIWA were refusing to answer our questions about what adjustments they had made and the reasons for them—note that it wasn’t so much how they made changes, but what actual changes were made. This is well documented. Our persistence resulted in NIWA reconstructing the 7SS, as they couldn’t justify the corrections that had been made to the original series (they never did answer our questions). They eventually revealed they had lost the adjustments when changing computers. But instead of admitting this when we first asked the question, they sent us on a wild goose chase.

    Now you recycle ancient lies which I’ve dealt with before, but let’s do it again. Gareth said:

    Nothing in the station histories? It’s all there for anyone who can be bothered to look, or to ask politely. But Treadgold and the NZ CSC have no excuse, because the NZ CSC were told about this information at least two years ago, the last time they tried to make a fuss about “adjusted data”.

    Not long before the Coalition was formed, someone at NIWA, I think it was Dr Renwick, emailed Dr Vincent Gray with information about adjustments. Vincent had been asking about the temperature record for several years but NIWA wouldn’t send him the data—think about that; that’s very strange. That email has not been located in Vincent’s records and, although we asked them, NIWA did not send us a copy. In any case, according to Gareth, it explained why adjustments were required, which was never our question. We wanted to know the amount and the reason for each adjustment. NIWA have never provided these details.

    In our paper, Are we feeling warmer yet, I described how we saw NIWA’s graph of NZ temperatures on their web site, downloaded the data they made available and examined it. Then I said:

    What did we find? First, the station histories are unremarkable. There are no reasons for any large corrections. But we were astonished to find that strong adjustments have indeed been made.

    Note the phrase: “the station histories are unremarkable.” This is significant, for the histories are narratives attached to the numeric data that describe significant events at each station that may require adjustments. At that time there was very little information in the meta-data, but now there’s a great deal of information, because NIWA have been quietly entering it since we expressed an interest (which is a good thing). Though Gareth conveniently ignores this element, it’s the simple explanation as to why we saw no reasons for large corrections—there were no significant events in the meta-data. So, contrary to what he says, it’s not “all there”. In any case, being told “about this information” is not the same as being given the information.

    Gareth quotes the above passage correctly the first time he uses it, but subsequently quotes only the third sentence, presumably to obscure its proper context. Never imagining it might be subject to evil-minded manipulation, I didn’t try to express it more carefully in a single sentence. But there you are.

    Treadgold and whoever in the NZ CSC helped him with the data are being more than economical with the truth, they are lying through their teeth.

    What were we lying about? Gareth never actually says.

    He says: “the NZ CSC were told about this information at least two years ago, the last time they tried to make a fuss about ‘adjusted data.'” That previous time, the Coalition didn’t exist, so it wasn’t “us”, we were not told, and Vincent was not “making a fuss” but simply asking for the adjustments, a perfectly reasonable request to make of fellow scientists.

    Why did they not say in the beginning they had lost them?

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