Coral bleaching on the GBR – no evidence of net decline

A section of the Great Barrier Reef about 40 m...

A section of the Great Barrier Reef about 40 miles from Cairns Image by Michael McDonough via Flickr

From Andrew Bolt at Australia’s Herald Sun below, some sharp evidence in a new paper that the “coral bleaching” scare of the Great Barrier Reef is unfounded and mostly made up.

This study indicates that at the scale of the whole GBR there was no net decline in live hard coral cover between 1995 and 2009.

I can hear Dr. Ove Hoegh-Guldberg (who rudely and selfishly disrupted my talk with David Archibald and Bob Carter last year in Brisbane) screaming all the way here in Washington DC as I post this. Since he’ll read this when he gets the linkback, maybe he’ll take time to read the funding acknowledgments (like your buddy Monbiot did) in Soon’s 2003, 2005, and 2007 papers and realize he’s just playing “follow the leader”. Ove, you’ve been bad and been had.  – Anthony

=========================================================

Latest research: no, the Reef isn’t being killed by warming

Julia Gillard claims global warming is already killing the Great Barrier Reef:

Australian natural wonders such as the Great Barrier Reef are already being damaged, and the risk of coastal flooding could double by the end of the century.

Warmist alarmist Sir Nicholas Stern made the same claim:


The snows on Kilimanjaro are virtually gone, the Barrier Reef is probably going

The ABC was already hypeing up the destruction of the reef by global warming in 2002:

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority says up to 10 per cent of the reef has been lost to bleaching since 1998.

ABC host Kerry O’Brien back then treated the death of the reef as imminent:

It’s not just Australia’s farmlands which are threatened by global warming, the greenhouse effect could also spell disaster for coral reefs around the world, including our own natural wonder, the Great Barrier Reef.

As Australia prepares for another hot summer, one man is on a mission to capture as many corals as possible on high-definition camera before even more stretches of once-spectacular reef are bleached bone-white.

And remember the alarmism of prominent warmist Ove Hoegh-Guldberg?

In 1998, he warned that the reef was under pressure from global warming, and much had turned white.
He later admitted the reef had made a “surprising” recovery.

In 1999 he claimed global warming would cause mass bleaching of the reef every two years from 2010.

He yesterday admitted it hadn’t.

In 2006, he warned high temperatures meant “between 30 and 40 per cent of coral on Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef could die within a month”.

He later admitted this bleaching had a “minimal impact”.

All that alarmism, relentlessly pushed by this desperately dishonest government, is now blown out of the water by the latest research by Townsville’s Australian Institute of Marine Science:

Monitoring data collected annually from fixed sites at 47 reefs across 1300 km of the GBR indicate that overall regional coral cover was stable (averaging 29% and ranging from 23% to 33% cover across years) with no net decline between 1995 and 2009….

Crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci) outbreaks and storm damage were responsible for more coral loss during this period than either bleaching or disease despite two mass bleaching events and an increase in the incidence of coral disease.

While the limited data for the GBR prior to the 1980’s suggests that coral cover was higher than in our survey, we found no evidence of consistent, system-wide decline in coral cover since 1995. Instead, fluctuations in coral cover at subregional scales (10–100 km), driven mostly by changes in fast-growing Acroporidae, occurred as a result of localized disturbance events and subsequent recovery.

You have been deceived again and again and again.

==================================================================

Here’s the paper: (link to PDF)

Disturbance and the Dynamics of Coral Cover on the Great Barrier Reef (1995–2009)

Kate Osborne,* Andrew M. Dolman,¤a Scott C. Burgess,¤b and Kerryn A. Johns

Abstract

Coral reef ecosystems worldwide are under pressure from chronic and acute stressors that threaten their continued existence. Most obvious among changes to reefs is loss of hard coral cover, but a precise multi-scale estimate of coral cover dynamics for the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is currently lacking. Monitoring data collected annually from fixed sites at 47 reefs across 1300 km of the GBR indicate that overall regional coral cover was stable (averaging 29% and ranging from 23% to 33% cover across years) with no net decline between 1995 and 2009. Subregional trends (10–100 km) in hard coral were diverse with some being very dynamic and others changing little. Coral cover increased in six subregions and decreased in seven subregions. Persistent decline of corals occurred in one subregion for hard coral and Acroporidae and in four subregions in non-Acroporidae families. Change in Acroporidae accounted for 68% of change in hard coral. Crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci) outbreaks and storm damage were responsible for more coral loss during this period than either bleaching or disease despite two mass bleaching events and an increase in the incidence of coral disease. While the limited data for the GBR prior to the 1980’s suggests that coral cover was higher than in our survey, we found no evidence of consistent, system-wide decline in coral cover since 1995. Instead, fluctuations in coral cover at subregional scales (10–100 km), driven mostly by changes in fast-growing Acroporidae, occurred as a result of localized disturbance events and subsequent recovery.

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98 thoughts on “Coral bleaching on the GBR – no evidence of net decline

  1. Ove has got that firebrand preacher appeal that the gullible love.
    The fact that he’s consistently wrong…won’t convince them otherwise.
    Oh and another prize Aussie Nutter Dr Flim Flannery has been oddly silent
    about the drenching his ‘ghost metropolis’ Perth has been getting this year.
    Doesn’t look like ‘that’ prediction is going to come true any time soon either!

  2. Now it seems to me that most of the Gorish AGW scare stories have been abandoned.
    Are there anything left?

  3. So, here are their qualifications:

    1) Osborne appears to be a biostatistician who has specialized in epidemiology. She has one other paper on corals.
    2) Dolman is an ecologist who has never studied coral reefs.
    3) Burgess appears to be a geneticist, who has never studied corals.
    4) Johns is a physicist, who has never studied corals, although he may have dabbled in epidemiology.

    Only one of these scientists has published on corals before and that was only one minor paper. Not exactly a crack team for such an earthshaking result. I anxiously await watching this paper drop on the floor or further research on this matter. Reported worldwide declines in corals due to bleaching would indicate that these results could be in error.

  4. “Ove, you’ve been bad and been had. – Anthony”
    That is so incredibly funny (and profound) I just have had a laughing fit, with tears all the way to my chin. Some of the best humor and great lines are found here.

  5. “Are there anything left?”

    Sadly, my children have been taught in school since kindergarten that all of this is fact. It is a constant battle deprogramming them from all that stuff. Many parents don’t. A lot of people reaching voting age know nothing different.

  6. You have been deceived again and again and again.

    Sounds like the title of a new reference page. A photo album with all the lies these people have been telling for decades. Everyone likes to put a face with the words.

  7. They are shot down in flames again and again……but still…..they come!

    I can see no let up in the push for a carbon tax in Australia. Politicians like our Prime Minister Julia Gillard (she who said there would be no carbon tax under a Government which she led) are absolutely relentless. They are backed up by such experts on the subject as Prof. Ross Garnaut. As though an economist is in a position to make predictions about anything!

    More comes from Tim Flannery who heads up the ‘independent’ climate change commission. In TV shows; the ABC Science Show on radio; a coterie of so called ‘liberal’ thinkers at Universities and elswhere who want to ban anyone who puts forward a contrary view; all of these people are pursuing the idea, and are absolutely convinced of the truth of dangerous anthropegenic global warming.

    Apparently it follows that a carbon tax is necessary, presumably because it will stop these terrible things from happening. S..t for brains!

    So whilst some of you skeptics have found recently a basis for confidence in the triumph of science and truth in all of this, I am very much afraid that the politicians and variouls earth botherers are still running the show.

  8. @ Rattus Norvegicus

    I think it is clear that you did not read the paper before offering us your comment.

    The first part of the paper takes into account the studies done to date. It talks of the existing consensus. It cites a number of the papers already out there.

    It goes on to explain in detail how the conclusions alluded to in the abstract were reached.

    But you think that the value of the paper is to be found in the formal qualifications of the authors.

    Argumentum ad hominem …..for a couple of thousand years give or take, well known as one of the logical fallacies.

    You might care to comment on the details of the paper instead of looking to the qualifications of the authors.

  9. Rattus,

    As usual, ad homs on the authors and nothing about the published science. Go through the publication and rebut it with science and facts, if you can.

    And how many papers have you published? Judging from your criteria you should keep schtum and not even talk about scientists who have published then, isn’t it? How about following your own standards and keeping your trap shut?

    But hey, why expect sense from a Norwegian rat.

    Every time you’ve popped up with apologies for the alarmist crowd you’ve been smacked down with facts and made to look like a fool, not that it is too difficult to do that.

    Continue making a fool of yourself. It’s good to see the alarmist side get discredited by it’s own mindless sycophants.

  10. Dr. Ove Hoegh-Guldberg (who rudely and selfishly disrupted my talk with David Archibald and Bob Carter last year in Brisbane)

    Did he ever! It was a disgraceful and petulant display, oozing with contempt, with all the usual BS about Big Oil funding. Anthony, David and Bob were the height of politeness and civility – which the Dr far from deserved! And yet they put him in his place despite the disparity in the fairness of the weapons each side was prepared to use.

  11. Next they will be telling us that warmer waters encourage reef growth. Oh wait…..that is what happens. Hmmmm.

  12. “””””” Australian natural wonders such as the Great Barrier Reef are already being damaged, and the risk of coastal flooding could double by the end of the century. “””””

    Earth to Australia !: Coastlines are absolutely guaranteed to flood; all the time, in fact. That’s why they call it the “coastline” ! It’s the boundary between the flooded parts of the earth, and the unflooded parts of the earth. Get used to it, it isn’t going to stop happening.

  13. @Rattus July 1 9:46 pm

    Your comments are off target. The use of a multidisciplinary team was clearly an advantage to undertaking this study.

    The physicist/epidemiologist? Would have been part of the team since bleaching is caused by disease. You want someone on your team with an interest in disease to study disease.

    An ecologist? Ecologists are specialists at how relationships between organisms in an environment affect the survival of each of those organisms. As the study indicates, one of those organisms is apparently eating the coral.

    A geneticist? One could only imagine the value of having someone who has an understanding of adaptation within a species. Whether coral or cabbage, the principles are the same.

    Had the team been made up exclusively of coral researchers you would have complained there were no epidemiology, genetics, or ecology specialists.

    Anyway they were all scientists and the paper was peer reviewed in case they all happened to be closet skeptics and therefore unable to undertake unbiased work.

    Your comments are basically just ad hominem. Try again.

  14. “They” were telling us in 1973 that the reef was doomed from the ravages of the Crown Of Thorns starfish that was dining on the hard corals and having a population boom. Doomed I tell you. It got better, quietly. Some people thought you could eradicate the C.O.T. by hacking them to pieces, not knowing that they regenerate a new body from each piece. A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.

  15. Another myth – the Pacific atoll islands drawning because of the water level rise – is addressed in a new peer-reviewed paper in “Global and Planetary Change” here: http://www.pacificdisaster.net/pdnadmin/data/original/The_dynamic_response.pdf

    Just one paragraph from its conclusions: “The results show that island area has remained largely stable or increased over the timeframe of analysis. Forty-three percent of islands increased in area by more than 3% with the largest increases of 30% on Betio (Tarawa atoll) and 28.3% on Funamanu (Funafuti atoll). There is no evidence of large-scale reduction in island area despite the
    upward trend in sea level. Consequently, islands have predominantly been persistent or expanded in area on atoll rims for the past 20 to 60 yr.”

    Good insight into how media treats the science (and replaces it with propaganda) is here: D:\_1D\AGW\AGW drowning Kiribati\The truth – Tuvalu is not sinking nzclimatescience_net.mht

  16. Dear Norwegian Rat,
    The authors you name and then try to shame are indeed coral biologist and either work, have worked at or have collaborated with marine scientists at the Australian Institute of Marine Science. They have been on, dived untold hours on and have surveyed the reef for years and years and are first hand eye-witnesses. I have no idea where you get your information from but you are as wrong as one can possibly get. These authors are objective scientists who do the analysis (and on the longest dataset available for the GBR) and come up with the facts. These authors are not subjective scientists who cherry pick data from here and there and then patch together a ‘sky is falling story’ based on selective data that fits their vision of the world. As you are a rat I suggest you stay on your sinking ship this time.

  17. In Dec 2010 Osborne wrote:

    “The widespread decline of coral reefs requires integrated management measures across whole regions.”

    So something ‘fishy’ is going on.

  18. Rattus Norvegicus says:
    July 1, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    FFS Ratty – are you mad? Perhaps you’d like to give us a review of Gore’s professional qualifications regarding is apocolyptic ‘An Inconvenient Truth’.
    More importantly, are you trying to suggest that just because a biologist, ecologist or biostatistician have done little or no ‘work’ on corals that they would know nothing? Are you derranged? I am well aware there are specialised fields in all subjects – but I am pretty sure a survey/review type study could be done by anyone with a basic understanding of the subject. I presume you would refuse treatment from the nearest available doctor whilst having a major illness as you’d prefer to be ‘treated’ by someone who has treated that specific illness before?
    But the main point is – if you bother to actually think – that perhaps the so called ‘coral specialists’ have missed the information or more likely deliberately ignored it!
    It happens in all science, you know, a ‘not seeing the wood for the trees’ type mentality – so this is exactly the kind of result you could expect from completely ‘reviewed’ analysis!

  19. Rattus Norvegicus says: July 1, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    “Reported worldwide declines in corals due to bleaching would indicate that these results could be in error.”

    I think you mean that worldwide there is no shortage of “scientist”-activists who want taxpayers to carry on paying for their scuba diving and shroudwaving hobbies.

  20. If anyone wishes to do their own analysis of sea water temperature change over the past 20 plus years on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) they can go to the raw data itself at

    http://www.aims.gov.au/docs/data-centre/seatemperatures.html

    and download and process the data as they please, so if they can’t actually dive and survey the GBR for decade plus periods (1995-2009) they can do their own data analysis on long term in situ temperature probes that have been deployed throughout the south to north extent of the GBR and reach their own conclusions; at least on temperature profiles over many years. One might find the exercise an eye opener.

  21. In Mike Hulme’s book , “Why we disagree about Climate Change”, he says;

    “We need to ask not what we can do for Climate Change, but to ask what Climate Change can do for us.”

    So the bleaching story is just a part of this tactic. Use the Climate Change cycles to come up with thousands of scare stories, only to get money for the “IPCC institutes” around the world.

    They need a constant stream of money to fulfill every years budget.
    Must be hard in the long run. Especially now that we have Global Cooling.

  22. Rattus Norvegicus says:
    July 1, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    Only one of these scientists has published on corals before and that was only one minor paper. Not exactly a crack team for such an earthshaking result.

    I am in no position to comment on the expertise, or lack thereof, of the individual authors, however, the study was partly funded by the Australian Institute of Marine Science which appears to be quite a reputable organisation and part of an Australian government scientific agency. From the website:

    The Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) is a leader in tropical marine science.
    The Institute is consistently ranked among the top one per cent of specialist research institutions internationally and is known for its unique capacity to investigate topics from broad-scale ecology to microbiology.

    http://www.aims.gov.au/index.html

  23. James Cook nearly lost his ship Endeavour to The Great Barrier Reef. I see the Reef is now punching holes in the endeavours of climate alarmists. Their vessel must be taking on water as I notice the rats are getting agitated :)

  24. @Rattus Norvegicus. Nothing like a bit of generalised Ad Hommery when a dogma is challenged. The world is full of people who are experts in a field without conventional qualifications – Al Gore and Julia Gaillard, for instance. At least the authors of the report are trained scientists who have hopefully used traditional scientific methods to come to their conclusions. Your remarks would have been far less lumpen if you had challenged the science in the report – as a scientist should do.

  25. This is a curious publication, in the online journal PLoS One. Kate Osborne, according to the listed affiliation is in the centre of GBR studies at AIMS, though she isn’t on the current research staff list. She does have a long publicaion history re the reef.

    So I looked through the paper to see how they reconciled with the recent Science paper of De’ath et al, recommended by AIMS here. They note a decline of 14.2% in coral cover since 1990.

    While Osborne et al refer to a number of papers by De’ath, a colleague at AIMS, this one isn’t mentioned at all. Odd.

  26. Rattus Norvegicus says on July 1, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    “So, here are their qualifications:..”

    which says absolutely nothing about the validity of their research.

    you have no arguments left.

  27. ‘I am very much afraid that the politicians and variouls earth botherers are still running the show.’

    Unfortunately this is true, nevertheless the Denialati is confident of ultimate victory in Oz because our predictions are better.

  28. @ Rattus Norvegicus says:
    July 1, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    So, here are their qualifications…

    To be fair: qualifications (or lack of) are not the point. Ditto with funding (although I would prefer it not to come out of my pocket). All that matters are reproducible data and evidence. THAT is where they failed. And that is where Alarmists always fail, which is why they consistently launch their own attacks on sceptics by use of argument from authority, ad hominem, argument by consensus, and generally anti-scientific behaviour. All we have to do is say “Show me the data and I’ll show you a failed hypothesis.”

  29. Rattus, The point you are attempting to make eludes me.
    Are you claiming the studies quoted in this post are deficient in some way, and if so, where is your evidence?
    Or are you claiming that the scientists, despite being published, don’t actually have a large enough publishing record to be credible?
    Or are are you merely doing what you usually do, which is to cast doubt on studies which don’t fit your alarmist scenario?

  30. @Rattus

    The data have been collected by various folks over the years:

    “We thank all past and present members of the Australian Institute of Marine Science Long-term Monitoring Program who contributed to the collection of the data used here.”

    The data seem to be available in the supplementary information. If you doubt the trends, you could put your own lines through the data.

    I wouldn’t do these guys down because of a lack of experience with corals. The question is, can they analyse the data that were collected by other people?

  31. Did you actually read the paper Anthony? Because the discussion section speaks very plainly about clear evidence that raises serious concerns about the GBR’s sustainability with climate change and that the purpose of their research was to provide a much needed, useful baseline for monitoring future changes. You seem to have read the thing and not only arrived at an understanding that is 180 degrees from that of the authors, but also seem to think that misinterpreting one paper overturns an entire body of research that the paper in question, in actual fact, affirms. Which, simply speaking, just ain’t how science works.

  32. There is dead coral spread over wide lattitudes as evidence of previous changes in climate. As temperatures change, coral migrates. I would have thought movement as much as health, would be the indicator of any warming.

  33. If you’re an American, you need to understand that the extremist agenda being promoted in Australia reflects a relentless campaign by old guard European Union-style socialist groups to separate Australia from the new world (America) and the region in which Australia lives (Asia). We need Americans to take an interest in our attempts to save Australia from zealots who are using junk climate science as a trojan horse to overturn our free enterprise system. I’m reluctant to describe what is going on in such doctrinaire cliches, but it’s the most technically accurate description. Most Australians are vehemently opposed to what is going on, but the left alliance running the country, which two-thirds of the population doesn’t want, is possible because there is no constitutional obligation to hold federal elections for another 29 months.

  34. There is some confusion here. The paper by De’arth et al. concerned calcification rate not coral bleaching. There is much controversy with that paper and if Nick read that paper he will read that those authors do not attribute a slight decline in calcification to climate change but leave it as an open question. Previous papers by a co-author of that paper, Lough, had reported that coral calcificaiton was accelerating in recent history. Nevertheless, that is calcification issue and not bleaching. Professors are reluctant to even take on a PhD student in bleaching studies to supervise for 4-5 years as a GBR bleaching event may not even occur during the students whole PhD; making it difficult to look at this issue in situ. The paper in question clearly shows that the main impact of coral decline has been crown-of-thorns (COTS) starfish. Echinoderms, as a group of organisms, have a tendency to go through population booms and busts. In the 1980s there was much published that the entire GBR would be consumed by COTS as their population boom was due to human influences but then the population went bust. The GBR is still very much there some 30 years on and as the paper that this discussion concludes, it looks like it will be there for some many centuries yet. Yes there are threats, as there are to any life, but there is no evidence that it is in decline. The GBR spreads along a coastline equivalent to from Miami to New York and has the worlds’ best protection as a Worlds Heritage area. There is no entire body of evidence to suggest that it is in any way in decline. The decline data is all cherry picking.

  35. All these old chestnuts keep emerging from the mire. Can’t these people think up a scare not heard before?

    Corals, as we all know, like warmth that’s why they live in the tropics. Occasionally their algal symbiot needs changing and bleaching ensues. New algae soon grows and the corals continue. Corals like rising sea levels it reveals more space to expand. Falling sea levels on the other hand kill them dead. PM Gillard should be told that the GBR is only 8000 years old. During the last ice age it was dry land.

    The temperature at the summit of Kilimanjaro has resolutely remained below zero ever since the glacier melt scare started some 150 years ago.

  36. Richard G says:
    July 2, 2011 at 12:02 am

    “They” were telling us in 1973 that the reef was doomed from the ravages of the Crown Of Thorns starfish that was dining on the hard corals and having a population boom. Doomed I tell you. It got better, quietly. Some people thought you could eradicate the C.O.T. by hacking them to pieces, not knowing that they regenerate a new body from each piece. A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.

    Richard, I vividly remember a TV program from the early 70s documenting the rise of the Crown of Thorns starfish. You are absolutely correct in the doomsday tone of the reporting. I just assumed, after watching the program, I would never get to see the GBR. After all, it was being eaten up and unless I flew to Australia immediately, it would be gone.

    I do like the way the recovery was quietly unreported.

    The starfish threat was replaced by the global warming threat, a bleaching instead of an eating.

    Same story. Bleaching is overcome with recovery.

    I really like this story because someone is actually monitoring the coral.

  37. Jit (and Rattus),
    I think the data was collected by the Long Term Monitoring Program. I think Kate Osborne and Scott Burgess, at least, have been members of that program, and their names appear as coauthors on some previous reports. And Kerryn Johns has previously worked with Kate Osborne. So I think they do have a history with the data. I’m just curious why no mention of De’ath’s paper.

  38. Gillard (The Aussie PM) has moved position, yet again, and is spinning out of control using weasle words like install a “current fixed price” (Per t/CO2 – AKA a carbon tax) “as soon as possible” claiming that she never meant to use the word “tax” in her announcements/statements, cliaming she never meant to “mislead” people on a “carbon tax” that she said she would not introduce during the Govn’t she lead and claiming all the statements about a “carbon tax” and all the “negativity” is ALL Tony Abbotts’ (Opposition leader) doing.

    Gillard, you will be gone before you know what happend.

  39. Re Nick Stokes, July 2, 2011 at 1:35 am
    ” So I looked through the paper to see how they reconciled with the recent Science paper of De’ath et al, recommended by AIMS here. They note a decline of 14.2% in coral cover since 1990″.

    Nick, I suggest you do a little more research for us on your own, since you bring up one paper. This 14% decline was based on studies of how many fixed sites of the GBR, what years did it cover? (notice that coral cover ranged from 23% to 33% during the period of this study) You find it curious, please follow your curiosity.

    “Monitoring data collected annually from fixed sites at 47 reefs across 1300 km of the GBR indicate that overall regional coral cover was stable (averaging 29% and ranging from 23% to 33% cover across years) with no net decline between 1995 and 2009….

    Crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci) outbreaks and storm damage were responsible for more coral loss during this period than either bleaching or disease despite two mass bleaching events and an increase in the incidence of coral disease.

    While the limited data for the GBR prior to the 1980’s suggests that coral cover was higher than in our survey, we found no evidence of consistent, system-wide decline in coral cover since 1995″

  40. Mick,
    You’re right – I misread – the 14.2% drop figure referred to calcification rather than cover. But still, it’s a relevant paper, surely? Whether or not the drop in calcification can be confidently attributed to climate change.

  41. “the risk of coastal flooding could double by the end of the century”
    “the greenhouse effect
    could also spell disaster for coral reefs around the world”
    “between 30 and 40 per cent of coral on Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef
    could die within a month”

    Could, could, could. Never will. This way they’re always telling the truth, for in an uncertain world like ours anything could happen after all, even if in fact it does not.

    If you put snake oil on your hair, it could get up to 34.12% more vibrant. Gimme the muny fast.

  42. The problem is with the Australian Education system at school which has become 3rd world standard since 1990 abouts.. You are now witnessing the results. Third rate science third rate politicians third rate everything. There are only a few intelligent/well educated science ones left. Its taken them 5 years of agonizing 100% AGW belief to reach current 50% belief due to very poor understanding of science re above comments from rattus and other australian resulting of poor science education..

  43. dbleader61 says:
    July 1, 2011 at 11:54 pm

    @Rattus July 1 9:46 pm

    Your comments are off target. The use of a multidisciplinary team was clearly an advantage to undertaking this study.

    Your comments are basically just ad hominem. Try again.

    No, please don’t. Trolling and highjacking are not appreciated.

  44. Mick;
    re the Crown-of-Thorns and corals;
    predator and prey are linked; the CoT would have eliminated itself if it killed the reef. Population crashes of predators who’ve been too successful are common, from raptors to wolves.

  45. Rattus said, “Not exactly a crack team for such an earthshaking result.”

    No Change = Earthshaking Result

    Life goes on.

  46. Does this one qualify for the Climate Fail Files?

    Getting really p****d off by these failed predictions. Here’s another about to explode unless warming gets a real hurry on:

    “Over 4.5 Billion people could die from Global Warming-related causes by 2012″

    http://dailybayonet.com/?p=8683

    A pox on global scaring scammers, threatening economies with their malignant alarmist baloney.

  47. Tom says:
    July 2, 2011 at 3:13 am

    We need Americans to take an interest in our attempts to save Australia from zealots who are using junk climate science as a trojan horse to overturn our free enterprise system.

    Hey Tom, this ‘Australia’ you’re talking about, is it the one west of New Zealand and a little south of Papua New Guinea?? In the Australia I’m from we would probably politely suggest that you take a Bex and have a little lie down because it is this type of illogical and unsubstantiated hyperbole that puts many of us skeptics in such a difficult position when trying to calmly debate the issues with those convinced climate catastrophe is at hand.

  48. Jay:

    Because the discussion section speaks very plainly about clear evidence that raises serious concerns about the GBR’s sustainability with climate change and that the purpose of their research was to provide a much needed, useful baseline for monitoring future changes.

    “So IF temperatures go up, and if the temps going up cause harm, then there could be issues with GBR. Not that it’s happened in the past, but in the event that it does, AGW could kill the reef.”

    Sounds like just the sort of thing a scientist would insert to get funding. Lip service to the cult so that they get funding and published. That portion of the discussion section isn’t evidence based, it’s speculation. Speculation isn’t science.

  49. Too bad Mr. Bolt didn’t read the entire article–or he’s hoping no one else does. But I did, so allow me to excerpt a few notable phrases:

    –“Climate change is widely regarded as the single greatest threat to coral reef ecosystems.”
    –“There are clear links between increases in ocean temperature and coral bleaching.”
    –“Global patterns of coral loss suggest that areas closest to urban centres are most degraded, implying that chronic stressors are compounding the effects of warming.”
    –“Cyclone intensity is…predicted to increase in a warming climate and since 1995, three high intensity systems have crossed the GBR [Great Barrier Reef].”
    –“Disturbances appear to be increasing in frequency and severity and it is not known whether coral growth will be able to keep pace with increased disturbance.”
    –“Since the last widespread bleaching event on the GBR in 2002, summer sea surface temperatures have been high in some locations. Both disease and bleaching have clear links with increased temperature and are likely to be important causes of chronic mortality on stressed reefs.”
    –“Climate change is expected to cause changes in relative abundance of species due to differential mortality and recovery rates.”

    To summarize the article: coral reefs are in decline all across the globe; that decline is due not just directly to warming, but to disturbances from cyclones that are more powerful now because of warming; coral reefs are living things that can and will try to recover after any disturbance, though as those disturbances increase, the GBR may not be able to bounce back; and, as with every part of science, more and longer-term studies are needed to determine the precise effects of warming on reef systems, and/or whether warming-incurred damage is recoverable.

    And *this* is supposed to be a “nail in the coffin” of AGW? ;-)

  50. Go easy on Ove, folks. He has probably never been to Chicago and doesn’t realize that the mile-thick glacier that once covered the area is now completely gone, and that maybe this whole “warming trend” is bigger than first imagined…

  51. How come most of this supposed bleaching problem only seem to exist in countries who “allow” greenbillies to poke around, touch and, fiddle with the reefs?

    Tourism almost fondles the reefs to death, then every kinds of greenpeazers of the world come along to do world-saving-research, and have a last look see, and mannhandle the remains to extinction.

    But then again observations are like alien death rays, a hoot.

  52. I could never accept the claims because the oceans have been much warmer in the past.Yet the Reefs are still around.

    The same way I could never accept the “Hockey Stick” claims of no MWP and LIA.The past geologic,historical and botanical evidence shows their existence as being undeniable.

  53. Let’s see the GBR is doing so bad and is at such a tipping point that 6-7 years ago the Austrialan government opened up the GBR to coral collection for the marine ornimental hobby. Since then there have been corals coming in from Austrailia by the thousands of pounds a month and it was the government that opened it up to collection. Makes you wonder don’t it?

  54. The AGW crowd consistently attacks the credentials of skeptical scientists while ignoring the inescapable conclusion that their whole house of cards is built on the corrupt team science exposed by climate-gate.

  55. @Neapolitan

    Cyclones are on the increase? The relative lack of them the past twenty years has fooled me, I guess.

  56. While it is clearly good news that overall coral cover is stable, the time period is too short to inspire complacency. Over 14 years the effects of ENSO are unlikely to ‘average out’ sufficiently to draw long term conclusions.

    I am reminded of the fuss when Phil Jones said that the warming since 1995 failed to achieve statistical significance. Is this flat trend significant by the same measure?:

    However, this apparent overall stability was a product of variable and asynchronous increases and decreases in coral cover at the scale of subregions. Coral cover varied dramatically in some subregions while changing relatively little in others. The linear trend in total hard coral cover was positive for 6 subregions and negative for 7. For two subregions the trend in total cover was clearly non-linear and linear trends were not assessed. Only one subregion had a statistically significant linear trend, which was negative.

    Seems not.

  57. John Marshall says:
    July 2, 2011 at 3:24 am
    Corals, as we all know, like warmth that’s why they live in the tropics. Occasionally their algal symbiot needs changing and bleaching ensues. New algae soon grows and the corals continue.
    =============================================================
    yep…..
    Either that or corals evolved to do something they didn’t need to do.
    These so called scientists have played it up that bleaching means death.
    Bleaching is perfectly normal.

  58. @ Neapolitan
    The parts you quote are misinterpreted, taken out of context and cherry-picked.
    It’s pathetic.

  59. Anthony

    I had the plesasure of being at the Brisbane meeting listening to you and Bob Carter when up popped this little man demanding that he be heard. Yes, this was Ove Huegh-Guldberrg, barrier reef alarmist and known to some of us here as Flannery of the Polyps, for his unending list of unfulfilled predictions about reefal demise. As Bob Carter says, the reef seems to be much the same as it was when Captain James Cook holed his ship (the Endeavour) on some of the coral back in 1770.

    Biggest problems at present are further outbreaks of crown of thorns starfish, and tour operators leaving one American diver behind (again). He swam to another boat and is safe.

    Look forward to your conference talk.

    Geoff Derrick of Brisbane

  60. Neapolitan says;

    A list of conjectures. It has been well demonstrated that cyclone intensity has declined over the 80’s – 90’s warming period, and temperatures have been stable over the past decade and that ocean temps have begun to drop. So coral seems to suffer at large urban centers, which has nothing to do with global warming. These statements are merely a wink and nod to infamous computer modelers and their climate projections which to date, have shown not to have much basis in reality.
    We are concerned citizens too. If all these things that were predicted to happen were happening we wouldn’t be here. The conclusion of the paper is that for the past 15 years, the time frame of observance, the reef has been stable. These statements are caveats, because there is no indication that the reef is in a decline.
    That’s what we are fighting here, alarmism without observations to back it up.

  61. It is not just the climate change scientists who are consistently wrong, it is also the media that puts their predictions that never happen out to the public again and again and it is the politicians who use these false predictions to make new law, regulations and restrictions based on false claims. And it is also the educational system that is teaching lies to the next generation, taking advantage of the innocence and trust of children while stabbing their tax paying parents, who pay their salary, in the back.

  62. The funny thing about all of the claims of “big oil” funding is that eventually people will start to realize that a few things:

    1) The “Big Oil” funded scientists are right more often that those funded by Greenpeace and the like.
    2) Greenpeace and the like fund bad science.
    3) Being forced to produce less oil at higher prices isn’t really something that oil companies fear. If I make and sell 20 widgets for $5 each or 10 widgets for $10 each I’m still making the same gross earnings, and the net profit is better selling 10 widgets.

  63. Rattus Norvegicus,
    Here is how the GBR made it through after natural bleaching events.

    “Doom and Boom on a Resilient Reef: Climate Change, Algal Overgrowth and Coral Recovery”
    “In 2006, mass bleaching of corals on inshore reefs of the Great Barrier Reef caused high coral mortality. Here we show that this coral mortality was followed by an unprecedented bloom of a single species of unpalatable seaweed (Lobophora variegata), colonizing dead coral skeletons, but that corals on these reefs recovered dramatically, in less than a year………These mechanisms of ecological recovery included rapid regeneration rates of remnant coral tissue, very high competitive ability of the corals allowing them to out-compete the seaweed, a natural seasonal decline in the particular species of dominant seaweed, and an effective marine protected area system. Our study provides a key example of the doom and boom of a highly resilient reef, and new insights into the variability and mechanisms of reef resilience under rapid climate change.”

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2668766/

    I don’t know how corals ever survived the past.

    “There were major periods of worldwide reef expansion (e.g. mid-Silurian-Late Devonian), corresponding to global warming well above present day norms,…”

    http://www.springerlink.com/content/n832jt7n05086724/

  64. Tom says:
    July 2, 2011 at 3:13 am
    “If you’re an American, you need to understand that the extremist agenda being promoted in Australia reflects a relentless campaign by old guard European Union-style socialist groups to separate Australia from the new world (America) and the region in which Australia lives (Asia). We need Americans to take an interest in our attempts to save Australia from zealots who are using junk climate science as a trojan horse to overturn our free enterprise system. ”

    Tom,
    Believe me, we (citizens of USA) share a similar and unnecessary pain with the our Australian mates! The same agenda is active here but, with the help of resources provided by the many concerned citizens posting on WUWT and similar sites… (is there really anything ‘similar’ to WUWT?), we have had some positive effects in the last few election cycles at halting the advance of that socialist ‘green’ political agenda. We managed a significant shift away from the most extreme aspects of their agenda by retiring a bunch of their supporting pols in 2010.

    The battle here is not won yet… and the final outcome is still very much in question, however. Our next major election cycle comes in Nov 2012 (President, Representatives, and 1/3 of the Senate, along with a host of state and local elections). The extreme deficit spending, looming federal and state debts, persistent high unemployment, and stalled economy of the last 3 years are weighing on the minds of the electorate and fostering a more pragmatic and reality based focus. Akin to the Missouri state motto “Show Me!”, more and more folks are directly challenging the validity of the “Anthropogenic Global Warming” hypothesis. Several deep snow and cold winters have help, along with persistent cool springs. It’s ‘Prove It Or Shut Up!’ time for the AGW folks…. and they know it.

    We have a scant 17 months left to continue educating our elected officials about the false claims of AGW and how it is used as a front for the socialist agenda. If they are willing to oppose the AGW agenda, we must re-elect them. If not, we must recruit and elect folks who will.

    Believe me, Tom. We are very much interested in helping our best allies defeat this insidious 5th column attack within both of our countries. How can we help, as we are making a concerted effort to ‘set our own house in order’? How can we help defeat the ‘green’ socialist zealots in your country also, in the near term?

  65. Jimbo,

    Every species of coral that lived in the mid-Silurian-Late Devonian period is now extinct.

    Which kinda makes the comparison irrelevant.

  66. Since you seem to accept the scientific integrity of this study then we can assume you accept the authors’ view that “There is widespread scientific agreement that coral reef ecosystems worldwide are being rapidly degraded. …. Climate change is widely regarded as the single greatest threat to coral reef ecosystems. There are clear links between increases in ocean temperature and coral bleaching.”

  67. Olen says:
    July 2, 2011 at 7:12 am

    That’s an interesting viewpoitn – kids stabbing their parents in the back! – but I do see your point. However, perhaps in order to remind our kids of the future we should be reminding them of how it works i.e. folk get old, retire, live off the state pension, etc, etc – and that THEIR kids have to to pay for it (via their taxes!). So given the possible future carbon tax regime and energy ‘poverty’ etc (should the greens get their way!), kids should realise it will affect future economics in a massive way – not only affecting their own actual lives but those around them. For example, I wonder how many current ‘middle aged’ folk would sooner pay carbon tax or pay for their still alive parents pensions, as a simple ‘choice’. It’s an oversimplification, but perfectly valid.

  68. Rattus – The ability to analyse is not restricted to those thoroughly versed in their subject, any more than a Ph.D. guarantees accurate and disinterested analysis. What every conclusion of statistical analysis should have, and almost never does, is the unreserved endorsement of an eminent statistician. That the latter is almost invariably missing, I suspect, arises from the fact that no eminent statistician would dream of putting his name to the statistical junk that we see produced time after time by the scientific community. Far too much is published by people who are basically innumerate.

  69. Phil Clarke says:
    July 2, 2011 at 6:19 am
    While it is clearly good news that overall coral cover is stable, the time period is too short to inspire complacency. Over 14 years the effects of ENSO are unlikely to ‘average out’ sufficiently to draw long term conclusions.

    We’ve been hearing for 30 years that the Great Barrier Reef is about to die. If we keep saying we “cannot draw long term conclusions” based on the negative evidence so far, we will never be able to keep moving. It’s a recipe for paralysis.

    Until there is strong evidence that the reefs are dying (globally, not just locally) we have to assume that they are not.

    The Precautionary Principle is not a recipe for life. We might risk killing reefs. But many millions in the poor world will die unnecessarily if we prevent them having coal power stations just in case.

  70. Rattus Norvegicus says:
    July 1, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    So, here are their qualifications:
    1) Osborne appears to be a biostatistician who has specialized in epidemiology.

    If she had been a co-author of Mann, perhaps he could produce a paper with statistics right side up. About time real mathematicians are included in papers.

  71. In the 19th century the main sea port of Sudan was Suakin (Sawakin), on the small island off the coast of the Red Sea. Since 1909, new Port Sudan has been built, because Suakin island was completely “suppressed” by the fast-growing corals; just a few decades of coral growth prevented any possibility of ships harboring in the old port.

    Corals can grow very fast; corals can die off very fast. Reasons are many, and in most cases aren’t well understood. Are corals dying off in some places? Yes, they do. Do corals grow and thrive in other places? Yes, they do. Is there any cause for alarm? No, there’s none.

  72. Rattus,

    I’m surprised at your concern about the paper! It’s not the author’s background that should be considered; after all, I heard they all drove in cars to and from their dive sites so they were clearly funded by Big Oil! That calls it ALL into question…

    /sarc

  73. Corals, as we all know, like warmth that’s why they live in the tropics. Occasionally their algal symbiot needs changing and bleaching ensues. New algae soon grows and the corals continue.

    actually there are coral reefs in the cool waters off the coast of the south island of New Zealand and Tasmania. Similarly in the northern hemisphere off the fiords of Norway.

  74. I seem to recall something about SPF15+ having more than a little to do with bleaching & coral die-off.

    DaveE.

  75. Mike says:
    July 2, 2011 at 11:13 am

    Since you seem to accept the scientific integrity of this study then we can assume you accept the authors’ view that “There is widespread scientific agreement that coral reef ecosystems worldwide are being rapidly degraded. …. Climate change is widely regarded as the single greatest threat to coral reef ecosystems. There are clear links between increases in ocean temperature and coral bleaching.”

    Seriously? You really cannot tell the difference in weight between a scientific study, based on evidence, and a ‘point of view’ based on emotion and hearsay?

    OK…..

  76. If you actually read the paper it talks a great deal about Acanthaster planci predation. Acanthaster planci predation appears to be stimulated by warmer water. Ocean temperatures are rising because we are warming up. Looks to me to be potential confirmation not dismissal of what many of you try so hard to dismiss.

  77. I’m perfectly sure Ratty above would refuse to listen to an argument about gravity put forward by Sir Isac Newton, on the grounds that Newton did not have a Physics degree and appeared to be self taught!

  78. Bystander says:
    July 2, 2011 at 9:16 pm
    “If you actually read the paper it talks a great deal about Acanthaster planci predation. Acanthaster planci predation appears to be stimulated by warmer water. Ocean temperatures are rising because we are warming up. Looks to me to be potential confirmation not dismissal of what many of you try so hard to dismiss.”
    ——————————————————
    If you actually read the paper it states, and I quote: “Our results indicate that, from 1995 to 2009, GBR-wide coral cover did not decline.” (Osborne et al)
    Also: “Rapid recovery of disturbed reefs has been recorded with some reefs taking less than 10 years to recover their previous communities from low coral cover [18], [22]. However modelling (sic) studies based on current rates of disturbance and recovery predict long-term declines on both inshore and offshore reefs [30], [31].” (Osborne et al)
    As a biologist trained to discern observation contrasted with conjecture, I would point out that “rapid recovery” is actually observed while “modeling” that predicts long term decline is speculation.

    I had the opportunity in 1973 to study tropical marine ecology at the U. of Queensland station on Heron Island, Capricorn Group, GBR. I had a chance to dive with a grad student who was running growth measurement plots. Believe me, the reef is resilient. The most degradation I saw was off shore from the resort hotel where they had dynamited a channel through the reef to make an anchorage for charter boats.

    To have a little fun with your statement: “Ocean temperatures are rising because we are warming up.” It is my observation that ocean temps are rising because warm water rises to the top. (sarc off) Look at the Argos buoy data and you will see that ocean temps are in decline.(http://uddebatt.wordpress.com/2009/03/21/all-oceans-are-steadily-cooling/)
    Seriously though, the water on a reef is vertically stratified with cooler water below the warmer surface water. Corals live in a vertical environment as well as a horizontal one, where micro-climates abound and there is little temperature continuity. On an afternoon during ebb tide massive volumes of extremely warm water flow off the reef flats (where few corals grow) creating warm rivers on the reef face. The corals of the reef face thrive in it. The corals grow to a depth of 20-30 feet on the reef face where the temperatures are markedly cooler at depth. Their growth is limited by the failing light at depth, not by temperature. I don’t fear for the corals’ future survival. They like the boundary zone between the deep cool and the shallow warm. Goldie-locks was right. Not too hot, not too cold, just right.

  79. Mooloo: Until there is strong evidence that the reefs are dying (globally, not just locally) we have to assume that they are not.

    Are you serious? This study is very much an outlier. You only have to go as far as the wikipedia entry on bleaching to find:

    Other coral reef provinces have been permanently damaged by warm sea temperatures, most severely in the Indian Ocean. Up to 90% of coral cover has been lost in the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Kenya and Tanzania and in the Seychelles.

    Globally we have lost about 16% of corals, due to warmer waters, pollution and overfishing. They are a unique environment for biodiversity, taking up a small percentage of the oceans but hosting about 25% of all marine species. If you have a subscription to Science they published a review of the literature on coral and climate change here: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/318/5857/1737.abstract If not, it was discussed here: http://simondonner.blogspot.com/2008/01/temperature-and-co2-new-figure-for-new.html

    2008 was the Year of te Reef, marked by a symposium of 3,000 marine biologists and other specialists, who in a ‘Call for Action’ described the reefs as ‘teetering on the edge of survival’. http://www.nova.edu/ncri/11icrs/outcomes.html

    This is no time for complacency.

  80. Anthony, I am a 70 year old Australian, so I have seen politics unfold in this wonderful country of ours since the Menzies era. I have always been a “conservative”, in that I was confident in my ability to work in my chosen field of endeavour, be paid fairly for my achievements, to support my family and others that I chose to support. I was never prepared to give any of my time or resources to those who wanted a free ride, simply because they just did not want to make the effort. The world does not owe us a living.
    I have worked for many years in countries such as Indonesia, Fiji and PNG, and have seen what bad and corrupt governments can mean to ordinary people, i.e., people without wealth or political connexions. These people are left without any pride, dignity and, more importantly, any hope.
    I was trained as a scientist, (my profession was the applied science of structural and civil construction), and I KNOW from the science, (not believe), that to act immediately, to avoid the end of the world as we know it, is not only stupid and erroneous, but that those irrationals who advocate such actions, are haters of all those magnificent women and men who have advanced the good of all peoples by their achievements.
    I am sick to my soul to see these irrationals, masquerading as the Australian Government, wanting to plunge our country into loss of identity, pride and hope for the future of our children, as they let their swollen egos have free reign. History, if there is any after their wanton actions, will indict them as those who killed the “Australian Dream”.

  81. Graham;
    I was with you right up until you said “free reign”. The sign of a failed education. My sympathies. ;( ;p

    Think horses, not kings! “Free rein” as in uncontrolled runaway galloping. ;)

  82. The thing that has always puzzled me is that if corals are so sensitive to minor sea level or temperature changes, how do they cope with tides every day and seasonal changes in temperature? How did they survive the great melt and sea level rise after the last ice age? Am I missing something obvious?

  83. Nick Stokes/Rattus
    Why don’t you look at the deconstruction of De’ath (Science 2009) at Climate Audit. It took a drubbing…

  84. To Brian H

    Sorry Brian, these people think they have the right to RULE us, hence reign.

  85. The original posting refers to a paper that analysed 15 years of monitoring data on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). Not on global reefs. The standard reference for these can be found in the annual Status of Coral Reefs of the World published by the World Resource Institute and other than overt human impacts they seem in as good as shape as any other of the worlds ecosystems. It is problematic to the extreme to compare such data as the data collection methods vary significantly. Crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS) came out of the analysis in this paper as the major contributor to changes in reef status, as measured by a rather insensitive measure of visual observation. It didn’t look at physiological stress, at say the molecular level so there could be some impact not being overtly observed but just as a general practice doctor can give a pretty good estimate of your health status by basic analysis. One would have to look deeper if one really wants a concise measure of health, i.e. like a blood test showing up non-symptomatic issues, but overall simple monitoring is at least a pretty good estimate of health. During the heydays of COTS alarm it proved impossible to tell whether COTS were an issue on reefs in geological time as there was no agreed upon indicator of such events in the distance past. It was only with the rise of SCUBA diving that COTS events were described as being on the rise. Even the GBR was basically unknown and coral status a mystery in the 1970s (see The Coral Battleground by J Wright, although she was a poet so not sure of her credentials to comment!). Likewise, it is impossible to accurately state what the historical levels of coral bleaching may have been. Corals live in a symbiosis with an algae which, like any partnership, goes through rough patches with the partner risking being occasionally thrown out. But it is typically patched up and all is forgiven and back to a ‘normal’ relationship. Few corals actually die from bleaching (nearly all recover) and in those cases were bleaching is prolonged (as it is typically a transient event) the reef is reseeded, either from corals at deeper depth (nearly always it is the corals in shallow water that are impacted with those are depth no impacted) or from the symbiotic algae that occurs naturally planktonic. In the terrestrial environment trees and their leaves (although not a symbosis) will drop leaves, lose some leaves, whither, etc during times of stress, such as drought, but if not prolonged recover, either within the season or in the next. Whether bleaching is on the increase or not cannot be historically determined with certainty as it leaves no accurately measured tell tale signal that can be confidentially attributed to bleaching. With respect to the GBR do your own analysis on water temperature stretching 20 years plus (see earlier post, the data is there) and you will find there is no detectable temperature rise over a 20 year time scale. Where’s the threat? Over-fishing is the whipping boy of environmentalists, on the one hand demonising it as doing damage whilst on the other lamenting the loss of livelihoods based on fishing. In the GBR herbivores fish (which graze algae) are not harvested so that is not an issue. Fishery harvest in the GBR is less than 25 kg per square kilometre per year, which works out to be the equivalent in food of harvesting 1.5 chicken eggs per day per square kilometre. It is nonsense to claim that is overfishing. The major impact of near shore reefs to a continental mass is freshwater runoff, especially during the wet season. Corals do not tolerate a drop in salinity. Corals that live close to a continental mass with wet seasons and river mouths are living a very precarious life. No insurance company would give them a policy. Whether any ‘pollutants’ that run off with the drainage water (when massively diluted by floods) has any additional impact is arguable. Most demonstrations of such are based on short-term non-natural aquarium experiments and questionable as to if they apply to the real world. And acidification? There are no historical direct measures of GBR lagoon pH. As a basin of 30-40 m depth (not oceanic (effectively bottomless) surface water), with a fully mixed water column and primarily a carbonate base, there is so much biological buffering it is doubtful it can ever be measured. The only CO2 and pH probes have been deployed on the reef for little more than a year and there is no observable change in either. Fossil fuels will run out before any pH changes in a lagoon (Tans 2009). But acidification is a very powerful cry at getting governments to throw lots of public money at research (gravy train here we come) at something that so far is primarily based on hype. Overall reefs need to be protected but it is doubtful whether they are under as much threat of dying off due to climate change. The paper of the posting indicates that based on the last 15 years on monitoring there is little evidence of climate change (what is the parameter to be measured as ‘climate change’ – has to be multiple variables) being an issue. The main impact of coral change over 15 years has been COTS.

  86. Rattus Norvegicus says: July 1, 2011 at 9:46 pm, the Townsville marine biology centre is a highly respected scientific outfit. Also, the tropical aquarium in Townsville is one of Australia’s best tourist destinations – it is a superb collection, particuarly if you happen to catch the one-night-of-the-year coral spawning cycle.

  87. Another one to add to “Climate Fail Files”, along with Willis’ piece on sea level. Would love to see that section continue to expand…

  88. Phil Clarke says:
    July 3, 2011 at 2:23 am
    ” You only have to go as far as the wikipedia entry on bleaching to find:”…
    ———————————————-
    Citing Wikipedia earns you an “F” in my class. Sorry.

  89. Graham Sawyer says:
    July 3, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    To Brian H

    Sorry Brian, these people think they have the right to RULE us, hence reign.

    As a topical semi-witticism, sorta maybe.

    But as a metaphor, it’s meaningless. “Free rein” (running without controls) is pertinent and coherent. With a long history in grammatical English, unlike “free reign”, which is simply a malaprop (like “hair to the throne”).
    ;p

  90. Kev-in-Uk says:
    July 2, 2011 at 11:56 am

    Olen says:
    July 2, 2011 at 7:12 am

    That’s an interesting viewpoitn[sic] – kids stabbing their parents in the back! – but I do see your point.

    You misread. It’s the teachers stabbing their employers in the back by perverting the children’s comprehension of the world in support of leftist Watermelon politics.

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