Kelp! Kelp! It’s warming!

Kelp forest - Image from Wikipedia

From Cell Press , at least they didn’t study Kudzu as a proxy for land temperature.

Seaweed records show impact of ocean warming

As the planet continues to warm, it appears that seaweeds may be in especially hot water. New findings reported online on October 27 in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication, based on herbarium records collected in Australia since the 1940s suggest that up to 25 percent of temperate seaweed species living there could be headed to extinction. The study helps to fill an important gap in understanding about the impact that global warming is having on the oceans, the researchers say.

“Our findings add an important piece in the puzzle that is determining the global impacts of climate change,” said Thomas Wernberg of the University of Western Australia.

“We found that temperate seaweed communities have changed over the past 50 years to become increasingly subtropical, and that many temperate species have retreated south towards the Australian south coast. By extending the observed rates of poleward retreat to other species in the southern Australian seaweed flora, we estimated that projected ocean warming could lead to several hundred species retracting south and beyond the edge of the Australian continent, where they will have no suitable habitat and may therefore go extinct.”

The magnitude of the shifts the researchers observed are consistent with patterns of observed warming in those areas.

The findings in Australia represent two of the major global oceans, the Indian and Pacific, Wernberg said. He added that it is also important to have documented these shifts in Australia because the Southern Hemisphere has been substantially underrepresented in climate change studies.

The analyses draw on a very extensive marine database of more than 20,000 records of collected seaweeds. “Importantly, we did not select species based on preconceived ideas about which ones should have shifted or not—we looked at all 1,500 or so species in the southern seaweed flora and analyzed all of those species that had sufficient records.”

The changes observed in the seaweed community could have cascading effects across marine ecosystems, Wernberg said, as seaweeds are the “trees of the ocean,” providing food, shelter, and habitat to a diversity of other species.

“I hope people will appreciate that the threats of climate change to marine environments are not just about exotic tropical coral reefs but also are likely to affect the diversity of life across a much broader spectrum of marine ecosystems,” Wernberg said.

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66 Responses to Kelp! Kelp! It’s warming!

  1. carol smith says:

    Will this make it into the next IPCC report or is it just for the consumption of the faithful at Durban?

  2. Latitude says:

    LOL….if they went the other way…..they would be considered an invasive weed

  3. Rob Starkey says:

    The article seems meaningless. If there was data that overall plant growth was being harmed it would be meaningful, but who cares what individual types of plants do well?

  4. Martin Brumby says:

    Seaweed.

    More scuba diving “scientists” on the taxpayer’s dollar.

    Did all the corals die yet?

    And all the fish?

  5. higley7 says:

    This from the land of artificially altered temperature data. New Zealand boasts the largest fabricated warming on the planet. Prognosticate all they want, but these species simply cannot be doing what they way when we are not warming. Another good example of bad, biased science.

    It is disappointing that so many studies in the real world are predicated on the assumption that the globe is warming consistently or even increasingly rapidly.

    A good example is the moose in Wisconsin. They see the Southern range of the moose moving North and blame it on hot summer days from global warming. In fact, the moose are under siege by diseases and parasites brought in by the expanding white tailed deer population and normal hot days are enough for a malnourished, weakened moose to succumb. So, it is not the warming, but the other burdens that have increased, particularly since they have been cooling recently. Hot days happen and they just cannot take it.

  6. Aaaaaand multiple huge and lengthy ICE AGES did NOT harm the poor, fragile and delicate eek! OH! logically important kelps? Aaaaaaand 400 years of warmer temperatures in the Medieval Warm Period also did NOT cause them to cease to exist?

    FAIL. As usual. And as expected… More money down the infinitely devouring worm-hole of “humans-killing-entire-specie-oh-noes!”…

  7. Doug Proctor says:

    This is where every geologist on the planet mentions that in the past warmer oceans lead to more, rather that less life. What limits oceanic plant life is nutrients, not temperature..

    But what do geologists know. But today is Special. In the past a lifespan was enough to live as well as die. Now there is no time. Now any change is deadly. No change – warmer or colder, is beneficial to anything or anybody. It is all death.

    I’d like to pay ten bucks now for a piece of Al Gore’s oceanside house in the year 2075 (I’ll leave this for my grandkids). Since Al knows that we’re doomed, and his house will be underwater, he should jump at the chance. Let’s get 20,000 of the skeptics crowded inside a phonebooth to pitch in 10 bucks each for 1/20,000th of his house. Easy money, Al, even more profitable than your $145,000 lectures. It is your duty to take our money since God has told you how the physical laws of the world are different from the ones we learned in school and the world. Fools should always be quickly parted from their money before they misuse it on gas-guzzling cars or trips on a private jet.

  8. Dave Wendt says:

    If ifs and buts were candy and nuts oh how happy we’d be!

  9. “…By extending the observed rates of poleward retreat to OTHER [unobserved?] species in the southern Australian seaweed flora, we ESTIMATED that PROJECTED ocean warming COULD lead to several hundred species retracting south and beyond the edge of the Australian continent, where they will have no suitable habitat and MAY therefore go extinct…”

    So did they see any of the CURRENT 1500 species go extinct – or are they relying on models again to “…suggest that up to 25 percent of temperate seaweed species living there could be headed to extinction…”

    And what SST record did they use? Since they used seaweed records back to the 40’s, shouldn’t they have detailed Southern Hemisphere SST records for the same period?

  10. SteveSadlov says:

    Kelp is doing fine here, prolific as ever. Really been going wild with the cold ocean the past few years. Even during the strongest El Nino episodes it will never die back all that much.

  11. Neo says:

    Adapt .. or die

  12. KPO says:

    And in other news, By BRYAN WALSH | Time.com
    “So perhaps it’s a measure of the company’s dedication to the environment that Coca-Cola has decided to change the color of its iconic cans for the holiday season — white, to draw attention to the plight of the polar bear. Coke and the environmental group World Wildlife Fund (WWF) have joined together to promote the Arctic Home project, which will involve turning 1.4 billion Coke cans white, emblazoned with the image of a mother polar bear and her cubs pawing through the Arctic.” Jeez and I bought a coke tonight, and now to make matters worse my wife has that CNN Piers Morgan on the box. Seaweed extinction, white cola, and Piers – think I’ll get drunk – Oh wait I don’t drink – poor, poor me.

  13. gator69 says:

    The real threat to Kelp comes in the form of Urchins…

    “Sea urchins can “clear-cut” huge areas of kelp forests. Normally, predators keep urchin populations in check. ”

    “Australia: In recent years black sea urchins (Centrostephanus rodgersii) have expanded their range and increased in abundance in southern New South Wales, eastern Victoria and Tasmania, said Acting Executive Director of Fisheries Victoria, Travis Dowling.”

    “Source: Stateline South Australia
    Published: Friday, March 5, 2010 8:46 AEDT
    Expires: Thursday, June 3, 2010 8:46 AEDT

    Fishermen are struggling to meet quotas as the southern rock lobster catches steadily decline.”

    “…urchin grazing on kelp is significantly reduced in areas of high lobster
    density…

    Back to the drawing board gents!

  14. Luther Wu says:

    Doomed again.
    I knew it.

  15. Dr A Burns says:

    No doubt funded by our prime minister to support her new carbon tax.

  16. Dave Springer says:

    This hits close to home. One of my favorite foods is hand-rolled sushi. Edamae (roasted seaweed) is what it’s rolled in. I sure hope the species under threat of extinction isn’t that one.

  17. Dave Springer says:

    Dave Wendt says:
    October 27, 2011 at 11:55 am

    “If ifs and buts were candy and nuts oh how happy we’d be!”

    Speaking of ifs, buts, candy, and nuts did you hear the one about the little boy dressed up as an old western gunslinger for Halloween? He walks into an ice cream parlor and asks for a chocolate ice cream cone. The girl behind the counter says “Sure, would you like candy sprinkles and nuts on your cone?” The boys “Sure, that sounds right fine little missy”. The the girl asks “Would you like your nuts crushed?”. The little boy draws his six-shooters, aims them at the girl and says “Would you like your butt shot off?”

  18. Gary says:

    It’s been known for nearly two centuries that seaweed distributions are controlled by temperature and current regimes. Worries of extinction are grossly overblown because algal macrophytes are extremely prolific and even a small number of plants in refugia could quickly repopulate larger areas.

  19. ChrisM says:

    With a headline like that we will be going to Wrack and ruin.

  20. paulsnz says:

    @higley7 Geography shows NZ to be apart from Australia but with similar Liars in power. The thermometer temperature record duly adjusted for effect, Yes the Kelp are marvellous trappers of energy from the SUN, anyone who has swam in the COOL ocean finds comforting warmth in the Kelp and great fishing as well.

  21. Robert M says:

    The current state of Climate Science. It’s worse then we thought.

  22. herbarium records collected in Australia since the 1940s suggest that up to 25 percent of temperate seaweed species living there could be headed to extinction.

    . . . within the next 12.5 billion years. Sooner, if you don’t stop having Wesson parties on your neighbour’s linoleum.

  23. Latitude says:

    and that many temperate species have retreated south towards the Australian south coast.
    =====================
    to be replaced by sub-tropical species…..which would have to be retreating south….
    …to be replaced by tropical species…which would have to be retreating south

    ….did they just say the coral reefs are not dying….but expanding??? LOL

  24. MrF says:

    I’m not sure, but from the context I think it was Anthony Watts who starts this article with the statement “As the planet continues to warm, it appears that seaweeds may be in especially hot water.”

    I thought that one of the credos of those sceptical of Anthropogenic Climate Change is that the global temperature is currently either not rising or is possibly falling slightly. This opening statement indicates the opposite view.

  25. pat says:

    Particularly significant given the previous post re hadcrut showing no oceanic warming.

  26. zac says:

    What annoys me is that scientists move into an area for a few weeks over their summer vacation and declare that they are the fountain of all knowledge.

    A couple of years back, BBC breakfast had a traditional couple from Lapland on and they were explaining how times were hard. Straight away Bill and Sian said Global warming, “no” said the couple “it has been so cold that our reindeers can not forrage for food”. End of interview. I do wish I could find a recording of that one.

  27. JohnH says:

    Prof. Bob Carter hep to this? His back yard, surely? And his comments valuable.

  28. ChE says:

    Where’s the data that shows that the water temperature has risen measurably?

  29. JeffC says:

    MrF …

    he is quoting directly from the article …

  30. KenB says:

    Is there a direct link to the report, I’d really like to see those temperature readings taken over the last 17 years or so. They did take readings I hope as there is a lot of confusing temperature “stuff” floated these days.

  31. u.k.(us) says:

    “I hope people will appreciate that the threats of climate change to marine environments are not just about exotic tropical coral reefs but also are likely to affect the diversity of life across a much broader spectrum of marine ecosystems,” Wernberg said.
    ============
    Yep, go after their emotions.
    They may already be drained of emotion by the economy, but don’t let that deter you.
    Enjoy your funding, while it lasts.

  32. grayman says:

    MrF, The Anthropogenic Part is what we SCEPTICS are sceptical of!

  33. Phil says:

    Of the 1500 or so species, how many had sufficient records? This constitutes the actual sample size, not 1500. Of this smaller sample, no more than (another way to say “up to”) 25 percent showed the possibility of extinction (which is an extrapolation of decreased what, prevalence in the ecosytem)? What of the other 75% that had adequate records? Stable and, or thriving, same as those that didn’t have adequate records. I’m not convinced that I should be concerned.

  34. KnR says:

    You want grants you produce the warming goods , and it really does not matter the subject , the logic or even the quality, if you want to dip into the still large and full AGW bucket you better make sure your ‘results ‘ tell the right story no matter what you have to do to get them.

  35. Philip Bradley says:

    As always, the picture is rather more complex than global warming caused it.

    I’d point the finger at the PDO, which has been in its warm phase for the last 30 years and is now shifting to its cold phase.

    And I’d like to see their pre-1970 data to see if exhibits the same pattern.

  36. Glenn says:

    The real problem is that they’ve been smoking too much kelp. They need a lot of kelp.

  37. Such alarmist nonsense is beautifully explained by the writer Dan Gardner in his books ‘Risk’ and ‘Future Babble’.

    Much as I’d like to believe that there’s a global warmist conspiracy – the other Dan (the da Vinci Code tosser) should write that book – these alarmists aren’t bad. They’re just bonkers.

  38. David in Georiga says:

    So, how many kelp species have they documented as having gone extinct so far due to Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Climate Disruption? None? Oh, okay then.

    By the way, how much has the south pacific ocean warmed between 1957 (the start of CAGCD) and today? Is it more, or less than it warmed from 1800 and 1957? What about the warming from year 0 and 1957? Wait! wasn’t the world warmer in the early part of the current Holocene? A good bit warmer? How long until we are warmer (according to the scientists currently panicking) than we were then? Call me when we hit that point, I’ll panic, too.

  39. Tom Harley says:

    Research…based on herbarium specimens…hahahahaha
    What happened to field trips and extensive observational data?

  40. William McClenney says:

    For about a split-second I went “Wait another split-second, is this some sort of rapidly evolving species? I know it didn’t have to survive the MWP because we erased that already.” In the next split-second I realized that just a day or so ago we also erased the entire Holocene thermal history so this species might have been around since MIS-5e, which is patiently awaiting the eraser. Patently it couldn’t have survived that entire warmer interglacial, so if it did we have the first line of the eraser nub scrubbing away at MIS-5e.

    Got that hockey team? That was a freebee.

  41. gyptis444 says:

    As usual “…it’s much worse than we thought.”
    Anyone like to predict natural variability and adaptation?

  42. phlogiston says:

    “Kelp! Kelp! I’m being repressed!”

    (Adapted from “The holy grail” by Monty Python.)

  43. Mark ro says:

    @Glenn says:
    October 27, 2011 at 3:42 pm
    The real problem is that they’ve been smoking too much kelp.

    I think you nailed it. Diving in gorgeous Australian waters is addictive and everyone knows kelp is one of those gateway things. It leads to funding that covers expenses and “earns” you a paycheck. Two addictions with one stone, er paper….BRILLIANT!

  44. Mark ro says:

    oops, herbarium specimens. Just the funding addiction then.

  45. sophocles says:

    “… where they will have no suitable habitat and may therefore go extinct.”
    =============================================================
    I think someone forgot the kelp’s main seed transport mechanism: ocean currents. Going extinct is unlikely as the whole globe’s temperate zones are available. Just not growing where the researchers found it (this year) in future years is quite likely, but extinction? It’s a bit of a long shot….

    higley7 says:
    This from the land of artificially altered temperature data. New Zealand boasts the largest fabricated warming on the planet
    =============================================================
    The research and the paper was from Perth, Western Australia which is roughly five thousand kms (that’s lots of ocean) due West from Auckland, New Zealand. Australia and New Zealand are two sovereign countries separated by about 2100kms of ocean (the Tasman Sea). New Zealand is NOT Australia and Australia is NOT (thank the gods) New Zealand.

    No arguments from me about “the largest fabricated warming” though, which was from one thermometer in Wellington being moved from the sea shore into a nearby suburban area. UHI effect?

  46. 1DandyTroll says:

    B E W A R E , T H E M A N!

    Why? Asked the Great white shark, and for some funny reason that, apparently, only the shark and the eaten man, understood, laughed heartedly.

  47. Latitude says:

    The magnitude of the shifts the researchers observed are consistent with patterns of observed warming in those areas.
    ===========================================================
    Only problem is, there has been no warming…
    …SST’s look like they’ve been going down in Australia

    http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/enso/monitoring/nino3.png

  48. kuhnkat says:

    Dang, apparently the Kelp is smarter than humans. They actually ADAPT to their environment rather than whining and taking actions that hurt their chances of survival!!!

    In a few years they will start their trek back toward the equator!! Kinda like migrant workers following the seasons!!

  49. u.k.(us) says:

    I wonder (sorry to use that word) what might be discovered by observation without preconceived notions.

  50. gbaikie says:

    I wonder:
    “Giant Kelp (like other kelps) also have a capacity for some of the most remarkable growth rates in the plant kingdom – in southern California, Macrocystis plants can grow up to 50cm a day. These extraordinary growth rates, and their known industrial and pharmaceutical benefits, have resulted in the world-wide commercial harvesting and exploitation of Giant Kelp forests both, in Tasmania (eg. east coast) and overseas (eg. California). In the USA, M.pyrifera is harvested from large offshore beds off the coasts of California and Mexico. Some 120,000 tonnes wet weight are gathered each year using ships equipped with cutting machinery. ”
    http://www.geol.utas.edu.au/kelpwatch/h_c.html

  51. Pofarmer says:

    “hink I’ll get drunk – Oh wait I don’t drink – poor, poor me.”

    I’d start, if I were you.

  52. Hector Pascal says:

    Sea surface temperatures have been rising in the Indian Ocean off the West Australian coast (see Indian Ocean Dipole). Extrapolating that temperature rise along the Southern Ocean coast is another thing. Anyone who has swum off the WA southern coast (I have, many times) can tell you the Southern Ocean is **** cold, and it extends a long long way. All the way to Victoria.

  53. Sparks says:

    Can I interject with a serious politically correct point if I may, I can no longer stand idly by as a very concerned and kelp-full citizen while you kelp lot make smart humorist remarks about a very kelp serious subject, kelp, I have, and many other kelp concerned scientists have been for years screaming for kelp kelp to bring awareness to this very serious calamity which I call kelp. And do we get the kelp we need? No! who’s laughing now about kelp, don’t kelp me I kelp’ed you so. kelp. kelp kelp kelp kelp kelp. unless you have an issue with that? No I didn’t think so, to kelp with you, I’ll not be back here to be criticized by a bunch of kelp deniers any time soon, I bid you all a good bye and kelp bless.

  54. Glenn says:

    Sparks says:
    October 27, 2011 at 8:28 pm

    In all seriousness, I agree. Kelp don’t spam. Spam.

  55. Legatus says:

    Uh, before kelp can go extinct, we need warmer water. Warmer land bases surface temperatures aint gonna do it. Measurements show no warmwer water.

  56. Sparks says:

    As the newly unelected official leader of the kelp society, I hereby declare that all documents that contain words and phrases such as “climate change” or “Anthropogenic Global Warming” from this day forward must be changed to Kelp, I recommend anything in the Ipcc beginners manual or the WWF how to combat climate change and be creepy, I also recommend looking up obscure but somewhat intelligent material by Willis Eschenbach for a hoot. just because. my main goal as the new leader of the kelp fellowship is to bring hope to mankind and fellow kelp, I hope some day there can be peace between us. I have a dream where human and or fellow Kelp can make this world worth living in. Kelp be with you!

  57. William McClenney says:

    @Glenn says:
    October 27, 2011 at 3:42 pm
    The real problem is that they’ve been smoking too much kelp.

    Gets my vote for comment of the year.

  58. Dave says:

    Dave Wendt says:
    October 27, 2011 at 11:55 am

    “If ifs and buts were candy and nuts oh how happy we’d be!
    It,s a crazy world.
    First we had had Bob Hope (Comedian)
    Then we had Johnny Cash (Singer)
    Then we had Steve Jobs ( Inventor)
    Now we have Obama = With no Hope, no Cash. and no Jobs!

  59. A Google of “As the planet continues to warm”…over 14, 000, 000 hits.

    http://www.google.ca/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4GGLL_enCA393CA393&q=As+the+planet+continues+to+warm.

    Indicates that it is an “important premise” among a lot of writers. “The study helps to fill an important gap in understanding about the impact that global warming is having on the oceans, the researchers say.” Gee, there’s a gap? Who in their right mind would have the hubris to think that such a “gap” exists? The genuflecting reporter who wrote this?

  60. John Marshall says:

    I think that Kudzu is the same as Japanese Knot Weed that is a severe problem in the UK. With no natural predators here growth is very rapid and even thick concrete is no escape with houses being demolished because the rooms are growing with the stuff. There is no permitted weed killer that will kill it.

    In Japan, of course, there are insects and bacteria that keep it under control. Attempts to introduce these to the UK are not permitted because they might bring their own problems.

  61. Peter Miller says:

    Just another case of attempting to justify some ‘scientists” grant addiction.

  62. Gary says:

    Herbarium specimen analysis may be fine for some purposes, but when sampling is irregular in both time and space, conclusions about phytogeography must be viewed with the skeptical switch fully on. It’s not an accident that deliberate sampling is rigorously designed to make sure the territory is completely covered. So randomly — and probably sparsely — collected herbarium specimens introduce great uncertainty about the coverage which greatly weakens the results.

  63. ecliptic says:

    Kelp!
    … and other seaweeds contain a nutrient which is essential to human health: iodine

    http://www.slideshare.net/MedicineAndHealth14/iodine

    The real threat to Kelp is radiation slowly spreading across the Pacific from Fukushima. Too bad these AGWhores aren’t looking for solutions to actual real problems. Too bad mainstream cancer-management “medicine” is totally ignorant of the incredible benefits of iodine. Luckily, you have stumbled upon one of the simplest and most effective natural cures on Earth: Kelp yourself to some iodine:

    http://www.cayceconcepts.com/DetoxIodine.php

  64. John T says:

    Maybe I’m missing something, but their data has nothing to do with temperature. All they’ve shown is that species have migrated over time. They haven’t even shown the ocean temperatures changed, much less that temperature changes are responsible for the shift.

    How can you do a study that concludes plants are migrating due to temperature changes if you haven’t shown the temperature changed? Maybe the amount of sunlight changed, favoring one species over another? There could be a dozen reasons (or more). Why assume its temperature?

    And not only do they conclude the changes are due to temperature, Figure 2 (of two figures total), shows;

    “Current Distribution Limits and the Frequency of Species Potentially Displaced Beyond the Continental Margin Given Different Warming Scenarios”

    So the paper is one figure showing some species have migrated, and one figure using “Warming Scenarios” to predict “potential displacement”? That’s it!?

  65. SteveSadlov says:

    RE: “The real threat to Kelp comes in the form of Urchins”

    SAVE THE KELP! EAT MORE UNI!

  66. Tom Vaughn says:

    Wait a minute! What happened to organisms evolving to overcome stressors in the environment?? Is natural selection no longer operating in the Pacific Ocean? Was evolution repealed? The kelp will either man up (kelp up?) and survive, or it will die and another ,more fit, species will take over. What is the big hoopla about? This is the way the world is supposed to work.

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