Six Easy Steps for Saving the Coral Reefs for our Grandchildren

Guest post by Bob Fernley-Jones

The 12th International Coral Reef Symposium (ICRS) was held in Cairns, Queensland, Australia last July.  Not a bad venue for embracing subject field trips and the exotic and spectacular hinterland attractions.  Yet they had time to reach a grand consensus statement endorsed reportedly by thousands of scientists. 

Step 1)  Back in June, three eminent scientists including the convener gathered at Stanford and drafted the consensus.

Step 2)  They also launched an endorsement form on their websites at COS (Centre for Ocean Solutions) and ICRS which although aimed at scientists could be actioned by the unqualified without any affiliations other than their hometown name.  (Click HERE in link in 1).)

Step 3)  They also made the following request on the COS and ICRS websites:

“To build a large base of support in preparation for the pubic launch of the statement (during the opening ceremony of the 12thInternational Coral Reef Symposium on July 9, in Cairns, Australia), please click HERE to join other scientists from around the world by adding your name to the list of endorsees.”

Step 4)  The ICRS website published a list of almost 2,500 endorsees dated 6/July/2012 that being three days before the five-day symposium started.

Step 5)  The consensus statement launched at the opening ceremony and various sympathetic press reports announced that over 2,000; 2,200; 2,400 or 2,500 scientists had endorsed the alarmism, depending on source.

Step 6)  Convener announces success of the Symposium and the return home of 2,000 (two thousand) “of us” to 80 countries.  Also a plea to continue endorsing the consensus statement….. more than 3,000 signatures so far and we would like to keep the momentum going.  [signatures?]

 

Needless to say there were some rather controversial consensus claims originated at Stanford, but does anyone think it is a bit strange to reach a consensus before the five-day symposium started?

Oh but just for laughs, I would imagine that the loudest cheering of all probably went for this gem from Prof Jeremy Jackson of the Smithsonian:

…”reefs around the world have seen severe declines in coral cover over the last several decades.  In the Caribbean, for example, 75-85 percent of the coral cover has been lost in the last 35 years.  Even the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the best-protected reef ecosystem on the planet, has witnessed a 50 percent decline in the last 50 years.”

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67 thoughts on “Six Easy Steps for Saving the Coral Reefs for our Grandchildren

  1. “To build a large base of support in preparation for the pubic launch of the statement …” – pubic launch??? Sounds like another load of cock & bull to me…

  2. no easy steps for saving the price of carbon dioxide though:

    Barbara is too clever by half. note Poland singled out, yet GERMANY IS OPPOSED TO INTERVENTION!

    NOTE ALSO THAT THE BIG ENERGY COMPANIES LOVE THE MARKET-FIXING! surely with the LIBOR scandal still unravelling, the Energy Companies and the EU should not be attempting to FIX the price!

    25 July: Reuters: Barbara Lewis: UPDATE 2-EU Commission presents plan to boost carbon market
    Some in industry support intervention, others oppose it
    Poland leads opposition within EU member states
    Market drops around 5 percent

    [ SNIP: two points: first, there is no need to cut-and-paste a whole article when you can provide a short summary and the link; second, you must have missed this at the bottom of the article:

    Copyright Thomson Reuters 2012. All rights reserved.

    The copying, republication or redistribution of Reuters News Content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Thomson Reuters.

    "Fair use" is not copying all of an article. Please don't do that. -REP]

    http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/07/25/eu-ets-idINL6E8IPCLZ20120725

  3. I don’t know. Within 5,000 years every single one of those reefs will be dead as a doornail and sitting high and dry above sea level. When we begin to slip into the next glacial period and sea levels begin a rather rapid drop, there wont be anything we can do to save them.

  4. Alarmist consensus = higher probability of research grants.
    Still waiting for the research on how quickly scientists can move through the data maze to collect the government cheese.

  5. Maybe someone better qualified will correct my understanding of the science. But I’ve long had my doubts about the catastrophic claims about coral. If you compare a map of ocean temperatures with a map of coral distribution, one thing is clear: corals like it hot. This can best be seen in the Indonesian archipelago, an area with the hottest water and most coral. If average global ocean temperatures increase corals should extend their range.

    But the principal argument that the catastrophists make is that rising CO2 levels in the oceans will adversely affect the availability of carbonates. Leaving aside the disparity in amount of CO2 in relation to the volume of the oceans, the amount of dissolved CO2 and hence carbonates depends on the temperature of the water, which of course varys. The hottest waters (where the corals live) should not absorb as much CO2 as colder ones.

  6. Adam Nottage,

    I’ve just checked it out. The original Stanford version says, with my emphasis:

    To build a large base of support in preparation for the pubic launch of the statement (during the opening ceremony of the 12thInternational Coral Reef Symposium on July 9, in Cairns, Australia), please click HERE to join other scientists from around the world by adding your name to the list of endorsees.

    But the ICRS version translates pubic to public, possibly incorrectly?

  7. The reef is fine thank you ; better condition than in 1975 with the crown of thorns starfish infestation.Another “the sky is falling in ” stories and people are turning off.

  8. A fifty percent decline in the great barrier reef coral cover!!!. A recent study not long released stated some thing like the scientists involved were amazed at how healthy the reef was, and that it was expanding in area. Funny that, they had been spruiking about warming oceans and acidification doing harm. They were surprised to learn that coral likes warm water and in estuaries the PH is up and down like topsy and the coral does not seem to mind.

    Field observation is a bugger, it really messes with your computer model. I chuckled when I read their release.

  9. Thought I’d drop a line on this one, as its on my patch.
    Not all the academics at JCU follow the party line – there are at least 3 or 4, plus of course Bob Carter, who are either skeptical about the “alarm” generated around the GBR or flatly and publicly argue against it. Thing is – I don’t see any of them listed in the symposium attendees. I don’t blame them for avoiding it. Why invite all the aggravation. It was common knowledge that this was going to be a love-in for the faithful.
    There are risks of course. Run-off of nutrients is a potential problem, but a lot of work has been done to reduce this, mostly by the agricultural community.
    There is a lot of fuss being made about the risk of coal carriers cracking up on the reef. Worse effects would occur if a bulk carrier of molasses was to do the same, but no vessels of this type use the inner sea lanes. I have been here for nearly 23 years, and do not recall any major incidents.
    Having snorkeled around PNG, my wife and I can confirm that coral thrives in warmer water – we have the scars to prove it :-)
    The waters around Dobu Island in the Trobriands lie over the ring of fire. There are bubbles of CO2 rising continuously from the sea bed, just like from a glass of Coke. The sea water around there is at saturation. Coral and reef fauna are fine.
    The people at the Australian Institute of Marine Science know about this, having been
    persuaded (eventually) to go and see the evidence for themselves. Their recorded comment was “we didn’t like what we saw”. Why are we not surprised …
    The Argo Project reveals that the north-east Coral Sea produces some of the warmest temperature readings anywhere, often approaching, but never exceeding 30°C. Above 24 – 25, instability sets in, there are storms and turbulence, everything gets cooled off. This is why this
    area is the origin of a large proportion of the cyclones that affect north-east Australia. Shallower waters of the NE Coral Sea have extensive coral reefs and marine life.
    The GBR has existed for at least 266,000 years. There is evidence of coral formations going back more that half a million years. The current “build” of the GBR is 6 – 8,000 years old. The GBR has been through more extreme climate change than even the most lurid of warmist predictions.

  10. Endorsed by the Hotels association of Tanzania, The last bastion of reasoned climate theory.

  11. Warming seas? Ocean acidification?
    Corals have been around for over 400Ma and thrived during periods of high atmospheric CO2 content more than when the CO2 was low. Rising sea levels are no problem and encourage growth. The only event that screws coral is falling sea levels. The GBR, subject, amongst others, to the conference became dry land during the last ice age when sea levels fell by 130-160m. It recovered well as the flooded area 8000 years ago was invaded by the corals from the lower fringing areas of the GBR that lived during the sea level fall.

  12. So, coral prefers warmer water (within reason), therefore warm water is bad for coral. Also, cold water absorbs more CO2, more CO2 in the water means “more acidic” water, so warm temperatures mean more acidic water.

    Wait, what? We haven’t fully got a grip on this “science” thing, as a species, have we?

    While I was double-checking my thoughts on this, I ran across a supposed information page on water ph that included the claim that the US was trying to get out of the Kyoto treaty (wait, what?) despite how well it was working (wait, what?) under a “things are growing ever worse” chart claiming no improvement (wait, what?).

  13. The Consensus statement is a strange beast. The first part makes general statements that are pretty much indisputable, about CO2 levels & Sea-Surface warming, but the second part is full of scientifically unsupported nonsense! The tiny, wee, very small flaw with this “scientific consensus”, is that there is no such thing as a “scientific consensus”! 1925 Pocket OED, Consensus: General agreement on the part of ALL concerned! Note that we caveat “ALL”? Never mind, made a note of your names, keep trying, there’s some grant money out there somewhere , & there is always some dumb slimeball politician somewhere who will shout the rallying battle-cry for you when there are votes to be had! :-)

  14. David Ross @ 12:58 am

    C’mon. Guys. Sniggering over a typo?

    You assert that it was a typo but have you considered the possibility that it might be a Freudian Slip?

    Regardless, where is your sense of humour?

  15. I’m surprised your resident fellow of the Union of Concerned Scientists didn’t appear on the endorsers list. But I suppose Kenji’s plate is full already….

  16. “pubic launch” – obviously a “cock and bull” story.

    Those “catastrophic decline” statistics aren’t borne out by anything I’ve read anywhere, not even on alarmist websites.

  17. Their second bullet item from their statement is:

    The surface of the world’s tropical oceans has warmed by 0.8°C, resulting in unprecedented coral bleaching and mortality events.

    Maybe they should review and augment their statement since this news appeared after their “pubic launch statement”:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/07/12/viruses-linked-to-coral-bleaching/

    Maybe they need to have an inoculation program, much like the polio immunizations…

  18. Hardy polar bears have survived past global warming

    POLAR bears have patrolled the planet’s icy regions for millions of years longer than previously thought – riding out several episodes of global warming in that time. While this suggests their future might not be so bleak, it is no guarantee they will survive the melting occurring in the polar regions today.
    Charlotte Lindqvist of the University at Buffalo, New York, and an international team of researchers have just completed the most comprehensive analysis yet of the polar bear genome. The team looked at DNA from 23 living polar bears and a 110,000-year-old polar bear jawbone. Aided by comparisons with the genomes of brown and black bears, they found that polar bears first emerged as a separate species between 4 and 5 million years ago.

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21528754.600-hardy-polar-bears-have-survived-past-global-warming.html

  19. All the species that exist in the GBR also exist in the relatively warmer waters off the coast of Papua New Guinea.
    The GBR is fine, it’s healthier than it’s ever been.
    No alarm, no funds.

  20. “Martin Clark says:
    July 26, 2012 at 1:01 am
    ———-
    The waters around Dobu Island in the Trobriands lie over the ring of fire. There are bubbles of CO2 rising continuously from the sea bed, just like from a glass of Coke. The sea water around there is at saturation. Coral and reef fauna are fine.
    ———-”

    You are a blasphemer, Sir! The cardinals may have a surprise for you.

    Actually, that was one of the most decent comments I have read here. Cudos!

  21. Have the coral reefs declined in the percentages stated and the reasons stated? I thought a good portion of reef loss was from human activities such as the content of run off water, fishing, development and the like. Also, I’ve read that the reefs in the Persian Gulf see temperatures up to 38°C. It’s hard to believe these reefs could have survived so long and require a very narrow temperature range.

  22. I wrote the following on my website a day or so ago. Alas, I missed the pubic launch.

    ‘In early June a UNESCO report expressed concern about port developments in Queensland that might threaten the Reef. That was followed by a conference of scientists in Cairns in mid July which said that the Reef was in great danger from climate change. Oh, and port development, shipping, ocean acidification, tourism, population growth, agriculture — you name it. The threats were dutifully reported in the media, because of the Reef’s status as an Australian ‘icon’ and our standard-bearer on the World Heritage List.

    My long memory tells me that it was the Crown of Thorns starfish that was the first of the many ‘threats’ we now hear about, and that was in the early 1960s. We were told then that the reef would die, and both the Queensland and Commonwealth Governments put money into finding out more about the starfish and what to do about it. It is a widespread organism, found across the Pacific and the Indian Oceans, and infestations seem to come and go. The starfish doesn’t in fact kill the coral, and after infestations the infected reef recovers quite quickly.

    But more to the point, the way we hear about the Reef is always as a threatened jewel. I doubt that most people have any real conception of what the Great Barrier Reef is, even those, like me, who have visited sites on it many times. It is, first of all, an enormous ‘structure’, 2,000 kilometres long, containing over 3,000 reefs and several hundred islands. Hardly any of it is regularly inspected or even visited. Most of it is well away from the coast, out toward the fringing reef at the edge of the continental shelf, and there is no great population centre anywhere near it.

    Wikipedia will tell you that anthropogenic global warming is the Reef’s great enemy, and that coral bleaching caused by elevated sea temperatures will become an annual event. It hasn’t done so yet, and a likely cause is a combination of winds and currents keeping warm water in place. In any case, the coral reefs near Papua New Guinea flourish in water that is a couple of degrees warmer than that in the southern parts of the Reef. And the threat caused by rising sea-levels is the silliest I’ve heard: corals grow, and you can see how much lower the sea-level was if you dive down a little on the edge of any reef. The sea has risen 120 metres since the end of the last ice age, and corals have coped by growing upwards. They would strongly dislike a lowering of the seas!

    It is much the same with the other scares. All of them are possible, but none of them is as yet real. ‘Ocean acidification’, for example, is a scary way of saying that the seas may have become, on average, a little more alkaline over the past couple of decades. But we really don’t know, and the ph levels of the sea vary horizontally and vertically. Yes, ships come to grief in the Reef (forgive the rhyme), and more than 1500 have done so since Europeans began sailing there. Yes, oil has spilled (not much of it). But as we saw in the Caribbean, oil is seen as a food by other organisms, and they break it down quickly. It may or may not be true that the seas are becoming appreciably warmer — at the moment I think it is an open question.

    Yes, nutrients wash down the rivers, and so do pesticides, and so does soil and debris after floods. The Reef seems to take it all in its stride. Storms damage bit of it, as does bleaching, as do the starfish. But it is a giant system, and nothing yet seems to have occurred on a system-wide basis.

    Let u by all means keep a watchful eye on it, but it would be pleasant if we heard bit less of ’imminent threats’ and more about the unspoiled and pristine nature of what is still an extraordinary structure.

  23. I wrote the following a day or so ago on my website (www.donaitkin.com), before I learned of the public launch.


    In early June a UNESCO report expressed concern about port developments in Queensland that might threaten the Reef. That was followed by a conference of scientists in Cairns in mid July which said that the Reef was in great danger from climate change. Oh, and port development, shipping, ocean acidification, tourism, population growth, agriculture — you name it. The threats were dutifully reported in the media, because of the Reef’s status as an Australian ‘icon’ and our standard-bearer on the World Heritage List.

    My long memory tells me that it was the Crown of Thorns starfish that was the first of the many ‘threats’ we now hear about, and that was in the early 1960s. We were told then that the reef would die, and both the Queensland and Commonwealth Governments put money into finding out more about the starfish and what to do about it. It is a widespread organism, found across the Pacific and the Indian Oceans, and infestations seem to come and go. The starfish doesn’t in fact kill the coral, and after infestations the infected reef recovers quite quickly.

    But more to the point, the way we hear about the Reef is always as a threatened jewel. I doubt that most people have any real conception of what the Great Barrier Reef is, even those, like me, who have visited sites on it many times. It is, first of all, an enormous ‘structure’, 2,000 kilometres long, containing over 3,000 reefs and several hundred islands. Hardly any of it is regularly inspected or even visited. Most of it is well away from the coast, out toward the fringing reef at the edge of the continental shelf, and there is no great population centre anywhere near it.

    Wikipedia will tell you that anthropogenic global warming is the Reef’s great enemy, and that coral bleaching caused by elevated sea temperatures will become an annual event. It hasn’t done so yet, and a likely cause is a combination of winds and currents keeping warm water in place. In any case, the coral reefs near Papua New Guinea flourish in water that is a couple of degrees warmer than that in the southern parts of the Reef. And the threat caused by rising sea-levels is the silliest I’ve heard: corals grow, and you can see how much lower the sea-level was if you dive down a little on the edge of any reef. The sea has risen 120 metres since the end of the last ice age, and corals have coped by growing upwards. They would strongly dislike a lowering of the seas!

    It is much the same with the other scares. All of them are possible, but none of them is as yet real. ‘Ocean acidification’, for example, is a scary way of saying that the seas may have become, on average, a little more alkaline over the past couple of decades. But we really don’t know, and the ph levels of the sea vary horizontally and vertically. Yes, ships come to grief in the Reef (forgive the rhyme), and more than 1500 have done so since Europeans began sailing there. Yes, oil has spilled (not much of it). But as we saw in the Caribbean, oil is seen as a food by other organisms, and they break it down quickly. It may or may not be true that the seas are becoming appreciably warmer — at the moment I think it is an open question.

    Yes, nutrients wash down the rivers, and so do pesticides, and so does soil and debris after floods. The Reef seems to take it all in its stride. Storms damage bit of it, as does bleaching, as do the starfish. But it is a giant system, and nothing yet seems to have occurred on a system-wide basis.

    Let u by all means keep a watchful eye on it, but it would be pleasant if we heard bit less of ’imminent threats’, and a bit more of what is pristine and unspoiled in the Great Barrier Reef.There is a lot of that.

  24. The people of the Caribbean will be surprised to learn their coral reefs are 75% or more declined. This sounds no less deceptive than the hype regarding the periodic melting of Greenland’s surface ice.
    It seems ‘deception’ and ‘climate consensus’ are becoming synonymous.

  25. Utter garbage. Even if the seas did rise, the coral would grow “higher,” following the increased sea level. Is there a Grant-Writer in the house?

  26. Martin Clark says:
    July 26, 2012 at 1:01 am

    Thought I’d drop a line on this one, as its on my patch.
    ________________________
    Thank you for the sane analysis backed by evidence.

    Anthony. Mods? This should be elevated to the top of the page with the post so it does not get lost in all the comments.

  27. So, is there no discussion in these circles of the possible virus cause for some of the bleaching? As a diver (historically, not in the past few years), I know there was bleaching evident in the Caribbean and off the Atlantic coast of Florida in the early 90’s.

  28. Having just returned from a week of diving in Cozumel, I can tell you the threat to Caribbean reefs everyone was talking about is lionfish — specifically Pterois Volitans ;, which are crowding out native reef fish all over (see Wiki here).

    People who have been very active divers over the past 10 years report that lionfish have largely taken over the reefs in Bermuda and the Florida Keys and are a serious problem just about everywhere in the Caribbean.

    The authorities in charge of the marine park in Cozumel prohibit any taking of native species but they allow and even encourage killing lionfish. They are also teaching native predator species (mostly grouper and eels) how to eat them (grouper normally eat prey tail first, which is a bad mistake with lionfish). These results have apparently been successful as the lionfish sightings this year were much lower than past several years.

    Eventually, the Caribbean reef populations will stabilize and lionfish will have a place, just as they do in their native Indian and Pacific habitats. Life adapts. Over a time period of centuries, reef populations will adapt to temperature, salinity and pH fluctuations, as well as introduction of new species.

    Can we just accept that as the consensus position?

    Personally, I’m alarmed about the invasion of the Florida Everglades by Burmese Pythons (see Wiki here ). The native Everglades raccoon population is threatened with extinction, and raccoons are almost as cute as polar bears. Why don’t they get a special Coke(tm) can?

  29. Corals like warm water. There was a peer reviewed paper published just last year in GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 38, which said that corals were expanding their range due to warmer oceans.

    http://www.worldclimatereport.com/index.php/2011/02/18/coral-reefs-expand-as-the-oceans-warm/

    As for the Great Barrier Reef in particular, the Australian Institute of Marine Science states “Monitoring data collected annually from fixed sites at 47 reefs across 1300 km of the GBR indicate that overall regional coral cover was stable …..with no net decline between 1995 and 2009….”

    http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/latest_research_no_the_reef_isnt_being_killed_by_warming/

    So, catastrophe denied.

  30. Since the rate of reef degradation is so severe, these folks will soon not be necessary.

    There is always a silver lining in every Eco hysteric doomsday fearmongering convention.

  31. Martin Clark says:
    July 26, 2012 at 1:01 am
    Thought I’d drop a line on this one, as its on my patch.

    Did those 2,000 conventioneers contribute anything to the local economy?

    BTW, agree with Gail’s comment of July 26, 2012 at 5:05 am that Martin’s comments deserve an “Update” status in the post.

  32. Perhaps this is where the 75% started, according to the World Resources Institute:

    http://pdf.wri.org/reefs_caribbean_full.pdf

    “When these four threats are integrated into the Reefs at Risk Threat Index, nearly two-thirds of the region’s coral reefs are threatened by human activities (about 20 percent
    at medium threat, one-third at high threat, and 10 percent at very high threat)”

    And what were the four integrated risks? The risks evaluated were coastal development, watershed-based sediment and pollution, marine based threats (such as cruise ships), and overfishing.

    The “report” does have a lengthy rant on climate change, but didn’t assign an at risk % value.

  33. David Ross says:
    July 26, 2012 at 12:43 am

    Maybe someone better qualified will correct my understanding of the science. But I’ve long had my doubts about the catastrophic claims about coral. If you compare a map of ocean temperatures with a map of coral distribution, one thing is clear: corals like it hot.
    =====
    Pretty much. Tropical reef building corals like it warm. There are minimum water temperatures that seem to limit the poleward expansion of tropical coral reefs. There are also said to be upper water temperature limits beyond which the corals do not do well. There are non-tropical corals that tolerate colder temps. Some build poorly studied deep water reefs outside the tropics. Here’s a link to Wikipedia’s main article on corals which has links to other articles. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coral

    Anyway, I, like you, do not find the hysterical assertions that the corals are all gonna die if we don’t give up our sinful ways to be especially credible. At the very worst, we may lose some tropical reefs, and find we have some new reefs poleward of the existing coral range as the earth’s waters warm … maybe … but I wouldn’t bet money on the oceans warming enough any time soon for either of those things to happen.

  34. Lying really is becoming the default for the faithful, although it is good they held this in Australia as you can now purchase indulgences there since July 1st so all your sins are fogiven.

    My usual bored brain at work would be interested to know how many of the attendees grants are reliant on the CAGW hoax?

  35. If we have to attribute coral reef “loss” to temperature changes, then a 0.4C rise in global sea temperatures since 1972 is responsible for a 50% loss in the Great Barrier Reef and 30% loss in the Carribean coral cover. Hmmm. So a 2C rise, as, say during the Holocene maximum, would have eliminated all coral growth on the planet. And the Ordovician, Devonian, Mississippian never had any coral or coral-like corals, because those times were warmer on a planetary scale than any period for millions of years. Or if they did, De-volution has taken robust species and replaced them with a bunch of nancys. Darwin be damnned: the meek, weak and stupid actually inherit the world.

    The conference is said to be made up of scientists. According to Penn State, they must be the best in the world, as they have generated enough money to send them there and keep them housed, fed and watered. They are our betters, so God help us: the planet is beset with mostly non-scientists! How we get out of bed and make it through breakfast is a miracle of fortuine, for clearly we haven’t the thinking processes to do it ourselves.

  36. @don aitkin

    I think you meant to say

    Ocean acidification’, for example, is a scary way of saying that the seas may have become, on average, a little less alkaline over the past couple of decades.

    But there isn’t even any concrete evidence for this, as there are no consistent pH measurements over that period from anywhere in the world that I can find.

    @martin clark

    I’d never heard of the Dobu Island phenomenon before, Is there anywhere it is fully documented? And I’d love to know the measured pH and temperature while you were there :-)

  37. http://81.8.63.74/Downloads/3BSCConf/Presentations/5%20Has%20been%20observing%20the%20acidification%20of%20the%20Black%20Sea%20waters%20in%20XX%20century.pdf

    Check this out! The last slide has it all: the principal reason for the change in pH in the Black Sea is the upward movement of deeper waters which have a lower pH. As a result of the AMO.

    Oh, I get it: the GLOBAL ocean acidification is different from the local, Black Sea acidification. As is the acidification of all zones near the upwelling zones, like along California and Chile. Or other places where you can show it is not atmospheric CO2. In other words, globally except where it isn’t.

  38. Alan Watt, CD (Certified Denialist), Level 7 says:
    July 26, 2012 at 5:42 am

    Sometimes the alligators eat the pythons. Sometimes the pythons swallow big alligators:

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/10/1006_051006_pythoneatsgator.html

    I don’t know about the rotten forensics but I prefer a different interpretation: the python constricts the alligator and swallows it thinking it’s dead, but being a reptile the gator can hold its breath better than a mammal, or even be swallowed while sleeping. It wakes up, can’t breath, kicks violently and kills the python, then suffocates. Later another gator bites off the python’s head.
    –AGF

  39. The recent IHT Op Ed declaring the reefs unsaveable by Bradbury was a salvo in this new science war – The Reef Wars. The current battle is between Bradbury’s “All Is Lost!” and the Consensus’ “Its Really Bad”. (see a string of Dot.Earth postings in the NY Times).

  40. @doug proctor

    So the idea from the work on the Black Sea is that the deeper water has the lower pH by about 0.7 units (a large amount).

    But the deeper water is surely further away from the carbon dioxide filled atmosphere. And CO2 supposedly causes pH to drop.

    So we have a conundrum. The water with less access to CO2 has a lower pH than that which has more. And yet the CO2 is the cause of the lower pH. Its like deep ocean heat. How does it get there if we don’t see it at the surface?

    Can anybody reconcile these two apparently irreconcilable ideas?

    And as a one-time experimental scientist (chemist) it’d be ever so nice if somebody could not only come up with a theory but an outline of some experiments to prove/disprove it.

    PS Climatologits will, I am sure be at outraged at my introducing such a heretical and dangerously scientific concept without due warning, A nice lie down and a cup of tea should help the palpitations die down……if the excitement is still too much a nice read of the last IPCC report should get over any unwanted wakefulness.

  41. “Needless to say there were some rather controversial consensus claims originated at Stanford, but does anyone think it is a bit strange to reach a consensus before the five-day symposium started?”

    Not new. Reminds me of the statement in Mike Royko’s book “Boss” when he said; “Chicago is the place where the votes are counted before the polls open”.

  42. I bet this gray paper ends up in the next IPCC report. Lots to debunk here. Where to start.

  43. @Bob Fernley-Jones & Adam Nottage

    Dang! They are clever. Who wouldn’t want to attend a “pubic launch?”

    They could be talking rotted fish guts for all most people would care just so long as the pubic launch lived up to its hype. Is this a new tactic to get people to give CAGW a second look?

    (BTW, what’s the diplomatic protocal for a pubic launch? Do you stuff dollar bills in their g-strings or would that be a major gaffe? I’m off to the Wiki to find out.)

  44. If they wish to save some reef for their grandchildren, I’d recommend encasing in a block of epoxy resin.

  45. @Latimer Alder

    “I’d never heard of the Dobu Island phenomenon before, Is there anywhere it is fully documented? And I’d love to know the measured pH and temperature while you were there :-)”

    Never got there unfortunately. My knowledge of the place comes from a former colleague, Misty Buloiloi, architect, Vice-Chancellor, PNG University of Technology, who comes from Dobu.
    Some people in Australia might remember Misty from his lecture presentation: “The Traditional Architecture of the Cannibals of Dobu”.

    There is some images and links at:

    http://jennifermarohasy.com/2008/07/ocean-acidification-photographs-from-bob-halstead-and-a-note-from-floor-anthoni/

    http://goo.gl/k6qpZ

    Regards,

    Martin C

  46. Bob Fernley-Jones wrote:
    “Regardless, where is your sense of humour?”

    Yeah, I was being a bit overbearing -not enough sleep. I just don’t like to give the catastrophists any ammunition.

  47. Latimer Alder referred in his PS to “Climatologits” – whilst the term may well apply to some climate scientists I feel the label may be rather over-abusive. Or am I just being too danged pedantic?

  48. @John Silver:
    “You are a blasphemer, Sir! The cardinals may have a surprise for you.”
    LOL. The cardinals already know about me I’m afraid. I don’t get invited to give guest lectures.
    If I do get to talk to students, I try to preface my comments, eg “those of you who haven’t yet graduated might be better off putting in ear-plugs …” (The comment often has the opposite effect of course.)

    @Bill Tuttle:
    “Did those 2,000 conventioneers contribute anything to the local economy?”
    I suppose the overseas visitors did. Local ones probably funded directly or indirectly by Australian Research Council, Department of Climate Change etc – in other words, Australian taxpayers.

    “pubic launch?”
    Possibly a freudian error. On the other hand, this current crop don’t seem to have the predilections of their hippy predecessors.
    More likely a phenomenon I call a “Pink Elephant”. It doesn’t manifest itself until it is too late to do anything about it. I have seen this before. Common problem with Town Planning Schemes, eg “Place of pubic worship” (sic), and “Convention Centre” defined as “premises for the incineration of human remains”.

  49. I saw some nice corals in the Hawiian Islands and off Mexico. On the other hand, I saw just coral rubble in several parks in the Carribean. This was disappointing, especially these reefs were far from sources of pollution. The corals and their dinoflagellate symbionts require warm water but are also near the edge of their thermal limits. It’s not the average temperature that kills off the corals. Rather, it’s a few weeks during summer when temperatures are 2-3 oC above normal. It’s the really fast temperature changes that we have been experiencing in the last 50 years that cause problems. When temperature changes occur over thousands of year, it’s much easier for corals to shift their geographical ranges.

  50. “pubic launch?”
    Another theory – tempting providence?
    Self-appointed high priest of Gaia Tim Flannery, predicting permanent drought, then there’s a massive downpour. Another one (name escapes me) invoking Poseidon.
    Maybe they ought to be watching out for Loki instead …

  51. Check out the papers at CO2science.com.

    The coral reefs have been thriving over the last 50 years, enjoying the higher CO2. They do not care about acidification which is minimal, if any, due to the complex buffer called seawater. There is no evidence of the acidification they claim. Photosynthesis is an alkalizing process and reef water is very likely variable over the course of a day and tends to go up in pH and not down.

    Coral bleaching occurs for several reasons. Sudden warming, sudden cooling, and diseases. With temperature insults, the corals expel their symbionts and adopt others more appropriate for the temperature. (They are changing their clothes.) Viruses can move for thousands of years with the deep ocean currents and cause problems when they eventually surface.

    When a reef bleaches, the whiners run away yelling that the reef is dying. They pointedly neglect to go back a year later and find that the reef is doing quite well, thank you. The biggest threats to reefs are dynamite, dragging with nets, sediment suffocation, volcanic dust suffocation, real poisoning, and chemical pollution.

  52. “To build a large base of support in preparation for the pubic launch of the statement …”

    I believe that the typo is not with pubic but with launch for lunch.

    There, that lowered the level of discourse a bit.

  53. The Great Barrier Reef is so fragile, that it DID survive the last ice age.

    A snipit from an information page:
    The Great Barrier Reef first began to grow about 18 million years ago. Since this time, various geological events, such as Ice Ages and low seawater levels have interrupted reef growth. The reefs we see today have grown on top of older reef platforms during the last 8000 years – since the last Ice Age.

    http://www.greatadventures.com.au/great-barrier-reef-info.html

  54. Won’t coral just grow in the waters that were 2 degrees cooler and have warmed up? The water around PNG is warmer than the water at the northern GBR which is warmer than the water at the southern end of the GBR. And they all have coral. and i didn’t realise there had been a 50% decline in the Great Barrier Reef whatever that gobbledeegook means. Beware, the 2500 button pushes will be contorted to mean 2500 scientists and that will be deliberately confused with the 2700 scientists of several years ago of which 97% were supposedly saying CAGW was real and dire. The cynic in me says there are sneaky people in the CAGW camp who realise they must find a way of re-asserting the “thousands of scientists” survey.

  55. @F. Ross says:
    July 26, 2012 at 4:54 pm
    “To build a large base of support in preparation for the pubic launch of the statement …”

    I believe that the typo is not with pubic but with launch for lunch.

    There, that lowered the level of discourse a bit.
    ===========================================
    Well. I’m back from Wacky-Wicki-Land and I have found that official diplomatic protocol for a pubic lunch calls for (drum roll)…. Black Tie……(more drum roll)…….. only (rimshot).

    Closer to the topic; if coral is so gosh-durn fragile and sensitive why has it survived so long? Is it fragile or not?

  56. BillD
    “….It’s the really fast temperature changes that we have been experiencing in the last 50 years that cause problems. When temperature changes occur over thousands of year, it’s much easier for corals to shift their geographical ranges.”

    You obviously view corals as immobile fixtures waiting passively for victimhood in a world that is stable and static if but for man. They are actually quite dynamic and interactive, adaptive even. It is quite easy for them to shift their geographic range as the opportunity arises considering that during their larval stage they are planktonic active swimmers that are borne on the ocean currents to who knows where.

    Study their biology a little: some disperse short distances, others are far ranging.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110126081655.htm

    From an abstract:
    “Free-swimming larvae of tropical corals go through a critical life-phase when they return from the open ocean to select a suitable settlement substrate. During the planktonic phase of their life cycle, the behaviors of small coral larvae (<1 mm) that influence settlement success are difficult to observe in situ and are therefore largely unknown. Here, we show that coral larvae respond to acoustic cues that may facilitate detection of habitat from large distances and from upcurrent of preferred settlement locations. Using in situ choice chambers, we found that settling coral larvae were attracted to reef sounds, produced mainly by fish and crustaceans, which we broadcast underwater using loudspeakers."

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2871043/

    Fear not, the biosphere is an orgy of opportunism. Not to mention mesmerizing in it's complexity.

  57. @omegaman66 says:
    July 27, 2012 at 12:05 am

    New Environmental Friendly Marketing Plan: “Save the Rig” & “Save a Reef”!

    I’m IN!

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