Fishy temperature proxy

UPDATE2: To see what is fishy about this story, see Bob Tisdale’s update here: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/05/16/washington-post-headline-worlds-fish-have-been-moving-to-cooler-waters-for-decades-study-finds/

From the University of British Columbia

Marine species are gradually moving away from the equator into cooler waters, and as a result, species from warmer waters are replacing those traditionally caught in many fisheries worldwide. Scientific studies show that this change is related to increasing ocean temperatures. Credit: The Pew Charitable Trusts.

‘Fish thermometer’ reveals long-standing, global impact of climate change

Climate change has been impacting global fisheries for the past four decades by driving species towards cooler, deeper waters, according to University of British Columbia scientists.

In a Nature study published this week, UBC researchers used temperature preferences of fish and other marine species as a sort of “thermometer” to assess effects of climate change on the world’s oceans between 1970 and 2006.

They found that global fisheries catches were increasingly dominated by warm-water species as a result of fish migrating towards the poles in response to rising ocean temperatures.

“One way for marine animals to respond to ocean warming is by moving to cooler regions,” says the study’s lead author William Cheung, an assistant professor at UBC’s Fisheries Centre. “As a result, places like New England on the northeast coast of the U.S. saw new species typically found in warmer waters, closer to the tropics.

“Meanwhile in the tropics, climate change meant fewer marine species and reduced catches, with serious implications for food security.”

“We’ve been talking about climate change as if it’s something that’s going to happen in the distant future – our study shows that it has been affecting our fisheries and oceans for decades,” says Daniel Pauly, principal investigator with UBC’s Sea Around Us Project and the study’s co-author. “These global changes have implications for everyone in every part of the planet.”

###

A summary of the study is available at http://www.pewenvironment.org/news-room/fact-sheets/warming-oceans-are-reshaping-fisheries-85899474034.

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

Me, I think it is just that the fish go where the food is, and cold water upwelling tends to make more food available. From NOAA:

The ecological effects of upwelling are quite diverse, but two impacts are especially noteworthy. First, upwelling brings up cold, nutrient-rich waters to the surface, which encourage seaweed growth and support blooms of phytoplankton. The phytoplankton blooms form the ultimate energy base for large animal populations higher in the food chain, including fish, marine mammals and seabirds.

http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/explorations/02quest/background/upwelling/upwelling.html

UPDATE: Dr. Pat Mciahels writes in comments

Pat Michaels says:

Sent this to Leonard Bernstein, who got the story on the front page of today’s WaPo:

Hi Mr. Bernstein,

Congratulations in placing the fishery climate story on the front page! I have a couple of questions/observations that you may find interesting and worth commenting on.

The article cites a release by the Pew Foundation that clam populations that were comercially harvested in Virginia at the beginning of the paper’s study period (1970) are no longer viable and that fishery has moved to New England. If this is true, then the mean annual temperature of coastal Maine now should resemble that of tidewater Virginia in the early 1970s. In fact, data from the National Climatic Data Center show the average for the Tidewater Virginia Climatological Division were around 58degF in the early 1970s, while the Coastal Maine Division is averaging around 46 now. I am very surprised that Pew didn’t do such a simple fact-check test of hypothesis, or perhaps thought that no one else would look?

Further, with regard to commercial species that are fished in the deep ocean, the oft cited data of Sid Levitus and NOAA shows the expected massive dilution of surface warming at increasing depth. The change below 700 meters is a few hundreths of a degree (global average) while from 100 to 700 meters are a mere 0.1degC since 1955. This is where most commercial species live. I doubt that such a change is at all responsible for such substantial migration.

In fact, the attribution of fishery migration to climate change is very difficult. In a famous 2007 paper on distributional shifts and climate change in the Bering Sea, F.J. Mueter and M.A. Litzow wrote:

“A nonlinear, accelerating time trend in northward displacement (Fig. 5D), unrelated to temperature or any other climate parameter we tested (at any lag), suggests that mechanisms besides climate must be contributing to distribution shifts in the Bering Sea…The failure of our exploratory attempts to explain variability among species underlines the difficulties of this research problem.” [emphasis added]

I don’t see any of these issues addressed in Pew’s press release, and it seems to me that what they have provided is sorely lacking. I also have looked extensively at Cheung’s paper and I am once again amazed at what is getting through peer-review at Nature on climate change. They don’t measure any temperatures, they use a derived variable from species distribution data, and the temperature changes they derive are much much greater than those actually being measured in the regions in question. The reviewers should have at least asked for ground-truth temperature data.

Thanks for reading. Any comments?

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71 Responses to Fishy temperature proxy

  1. Kaboom says:

    Temperatures fall some more over the next three years and Nature and it’s spin-off Nature Climate Change will be untouchables in the scientific world.

  2. Joe Public says:

    And fishermen depleting stocks have no influence then?

  3. tomwys says:

    Fish may also be escaping from regions where people are trying to catch & eat them!

  4. Colin says:

    I am a graduate from UBC in Marine Biology. Quite frankly I am embarrassed by studies such as this when a very basic understanding would preclude their “climate change” conclusion. Also a basic understanding of evolution would also contradict the dire warning that these species don’t adapt to changes in the climate and that species DO DIE off from time to time. I just have to sigh at the shoddy and lazy “science”. They go where the grant money takes them.

  5. jayhd says:

    Here in Pennsylvania, there are many lakes, rivers and streams where there is an advisory restricting the consumption of fish from those bodies of water because of mercury. But I didn’t know the fish had so much mercury in them they could be used as thermometers!

  6. hunter says:

    Fish will make worse thermometers than tree rings.
    And I wll bet that it turns out that the only way they got their results were through the torture of innocent data and numbers.

  7. ralfellis says:

    Sorry, I just had this ghastly vision of a dread-locked greenie wringing her hands on BBC Breakfast, and complaining that: “Its worse than we thought – if the fish are driven that deep, they will all drown……”

  8. Jdallen says:

    Glib, Anthony. Why didn’t populations move north previously? If upwelling are attracting fish, did they not exist previously? If so, why are they present now? Further, how is it now that warm water species compete effectively now in the areas they have moved too? Your assessment dismisses these questions out of hand.

  9. If this thesis is correct, then surely the cooling in the northern Atlantic and the Western approaches over the last 5 years should show an increase in cold-water species like Cod and Haddock in those areas?

  10. Psalmon says:

    The cold water fish WERE over fished in the 70s and 80s. And worse, that happened right there in British Columbia within 100 miles of UBC.

    I spent summers in BC every year growing up sport fishing for salmon with my family in the late 1960s thru the mid-1980s. I lived seeing relatively easy fishing years dwindle to nothing. Every year resort owners, sport fishing conservationists and others complained about over fishing by commercial boats especially in the straits north of Vancouver, a geography that channeled fish runs. The seine (net) boats would move in and whole runs of fish would be gone, sport fishing would go dry for weeks.

    Fast forward to the early 1990s when I did the same trip with my parents. We drove the coast of Vancouver Island and in port after port saw the commercial fishing fleet chained up, bankrupt

    Sport fishing was near zero, fish size requirements were impossible, catch limits had been cut from 4s/day in the 1980s to 1s and 2s. Small resort towns were shuttered.

    It wasn’t climate, it was poor management. The cold water species, which were migrating from Alaskan waters south to spawn, were almost wiped out. When there were no more fish to catch, over fishing became just over.

    So not only do these studies support incorrect actions, but they also distract from needed study and management.

    Shameful coming out of UBC.

  11. Pat Michaels says:

    Sent this to Leonard Bernstein, who got the story on the front page of today’s WaPo:

    Hi Mr. Bernstein,

    Congratulations in placing the fishery climate story on the front page! I have a couple of questions/observations that you may find interesting and worth commenting on.

    The article cites a release by the Pew Foundation that clam populations that were comercially harvested in Virginia at the beginning of the paper’s study period (1970) are no longer viable and that fishery has moved to New England. If this is true, then the mean annual temperature of coastal Maine now should resemble that of tidewater Virginia in the early 1970s. In fact, data from the National Climatic Data Center show the average for the Tidewater Virginia Climatological Division were around 58degF in the early 1970s, while the Coastal Maine Division is averaging around 46 now. I am very surprised that Pew didn’t do such a simple fact-check test of hypothesis, or perhaps thought that no one else would look?

    Further, with regard to commercial species that are fished in the deep ocean, the oft cited data of Sid Levitus and NOAA shows the expected massive dilution of surface warming at increasing depth. The change below 700 meters is a few hundreths of a degree (global average) while from 100 to 700 meters are a mere 0.1degC since 1955. This is where most commercial species live. I doubt that such a change is at all responsible for such substantial migration.

    In fact, the attribution of fishery migration to climate change is very difficult. In a famous 2007 paper on distributional shifts and climate change in the Bering Sea, F.J. Mueter and M.A. Litzow wrote:

    “A nonlinear, accelerating time trend in northward displacement (Fig. 5D), unrelated to temperature or any other climate parameter we tested (at any lag), suggests that mechanisms besides climate must be contributing to distribution shifts in the Bering Sea…The failure of our exploratory attempts to explain variability among species underlines the difficulties of this research problem.” [emphasis added]

    I don’t see any of these issues addressed in Pew’s press release, and it seems to me that what they have provided is sorely lacking. I also have looked extensively at Cheung’s paper and I am once again amazed at what is getting through peer-review at Nature on climate change. They don’t measure any temperatures, they use a derived variable from species distribution data, and the temperature changes they derive are much much greater than those actually being measured in the regions in question. The reviewers should have at least asked for ground-truth temperature data.

    Thanks for reading. Any comments?

    Pat Michaels
    Director, Center for the Study of Science
    Cato Institute

  12. Jim B in Canada says:

    Very well said Psalmon, thank you.

  13. Doug Proctor says:

    How well did they compensate for changing fishing patterns due to loss of traditional fish-charged areas, and changing fish stock locations due to survivor-benefits to moving away from heavily fished areas?

    When you are studying such a non-stable, non-natural situation as fish populations today, it is difficult for me to know if anything you determine is caused by anything “natural”.

    In the Sudan there are large groups of people living far from services, without adequate water or arable land, in places remote and unlived a decade ago. Not because the new Sudanese like the tougher life, but because in distant, horrible places without roads or hospitals or water, murdering soldiers don’t go.

    Maybe fish are where they are because we aren’t, or weren’t there. Short-term evolutionary pressures, like the last of the wooly mammoths surviving on isolated, small Arctic Islands.

  14. Luther Wu says:

    I am interested in the truth of things and reading- “published in Nature“- stopped me in my tracks. Reading the article would not advance my purpose.

  15. Billy Liar says:

    ‘Fishmometers’ can we calibrate them against ‘treemometers’?

  16. Jim B in Canada says:

    I have to fix my comment, very well said Psalmon and Pat Michaels!

  17. tonyb says:

    This report covers warming over four decades and it is noted that Pilchard is the dominant fish in warmer waters .

    Warm waters Warm temperatures? Could this picture be an indication of both conditions during the MWP?

    This is the ancient Pilchard inn in South Devon England with its establishment date of 1336 clearly visible .

    http://meetmeforacoffee.com/coffee_shop/4069

    Around the area are such places as Pilchard point where fishermen from the 12th century onwards used to search the seas for pilchard. Nearby Plymouth has records of fish catches back to the 1100’s demonstrating the constant movement of fish types according to climate change-herring in cooler years and pilchard in warmer ones.

    Minucins Felix, a Christian writer from Africa, living in the second century A.D.,says, concerning the climate of Great Britain, “ Britannia sole deficitiir, sed circumfluentis maris tepore recreatur,” that is, freely translated, ‘‘ Britain has little sunshine, but a mild climate on account of the warm
    sea-water flowing round it.” from Hellmann ‘the dawn of meteorology’

    Waters warm, waters cool, and fish move to where it bests suits them.
    4 decades? So what?

    I once wrote an article entitled ‘fish a a temperature proxy’ which once lodged on Climate Audit. Now it’s lost somewhere on the web. If anyone rediscovers it please let me know.. Thanks
    tonyb

  18. John W. Garrett says:

    Now I know why Richard Harris, National Public Radio’s version of Seth (the “Zombie Regurgitator”) Borenstein, had this on the air: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/05/15/183968378/go-fish-somewhere-else-warming-oceans-are-altering-catches

    Harris and NPR are major wholesalers of the “climate change” Kool-Aid. I listened to NPR for 30 years but the incessant daily propaganda issuing forth finally put an end to that.

  19. Juraj V. says:

    Climate science: still masturbating on that 30-years trend.

  20. inuit57 says:

    We’re quite familiar with fish scientists in Canada. The same scientists who oversaw the complete collapse of the Atlantic cod from overfishing. It was never the water being the problem. European overfishing with modern day bottom trawling, modern day fishing practices, bottom trawling, too much efficiency in species unable to compete with modern methods of indiscriminate fishing. Too many upstream dams, far to little willingness to get tough with the big Russian, European fishing fleets just outside North American coastal limits. Perhaps those idiot scientists have no clue fish migrate. Stupidity knows no bounds.

  21. R. de Haan says:

    ‘Fish thermometer’ reveals long-standing, global impact of climate change”
    Just reading the header and I already knew the purpose and… the content all to to be compacted in a single little word spelled “Hubris”

  22. R. de Haan says:

    @Colin says:
    May 16, 2013 at 11:00 am
    I am a graduate from UBC in Marine Biology. Quite frankly I am embarrassed by studies such as this when a very basic understanding would preclude their “climate change” conclusion.”

    Never feel embarreassed by the junk created by others. It’s a total waste of time and besides that it’s impractical because there are truck loads of similar reports floating around. You would feel emnbrrassed for the remainder of your life.

  23. A.D. Everard says:

    ralfellis says:
    May 16, 2013 at 11:19 am

    Sorry, I just had this ghastly vision of a dread-locked greenie wringing her hands on BBC Breakfast, and complaining that: “Its worse than we thought – if the fish are driven that deep, they will all drown……”

    *

    LOL. Thank you for that! That’s going on my wall. :)

  24. J.Seifert says:

    So it says, quote:
    “Meanwhile in the tropics, climate change meant fewer marine species and reduced catches, with serious implications for food security.”…..
    which means warm water fish swim up toward the US, while catches (not due to overfishing) in Brazil go down? The warm water near Brazil is getting to hot for the warm water fish and they
    emigrate, leaving their Brazilian waters empty and bare? And the situation is “serious”? Am I correct?

  25. jim Steele says:

    It is very true that many fish species follow temperature. The deception is they hype global warming and hijack the effects of ocean oscillations that alter the currents. When the California Current slowed during the warm phase of the PDO in 1976, warm species moved northward and an IPCC paper by Parmesan blamed global warming. However Holbrook who had first reported the shift predicted it was part of a natural oscillation. Sure enough when the PDO cycled to a cold phase, warmth loving fish retreated and cold loving fish began moving move southward around 2000.

    In the Atlantic, ocean oscillations pushed cod deep into the Arctic during the 1940’s, then the retreated after 1960 but were pushed back into the Arctic recently. Southward, a biologist studying these range changes warned, “To fully prove the effects of global warming, future changes in the marine biota must exceed those recorded in the 1950s and 1960s.” And to date that has not happened.

    Holbrook, S., et al., (1997) Changes in an Assemblage of Temperate Reef Fishes associated with a Climate Shift. Ecological Applications, vol. 7, pp. 1299-1310.

    Peterson, W., and Schwing, F., (2003) A new climate regime in northeast pacific ecosystems. Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 30, doi:10.1029/2003GL017528.

    Southward, A. et al. (1995) Seventy Years’ Observations of changes in Distribution and Abundance of Zooplankton and intertidal Organisms in the Western English Channel in relation to Rising Sea Temperature. J. Thermal Biology. vol. 20, p. 127-155.

  26. Ian W says:

    And not one of the revered journal’s reviewers asked if any of these claims had been validated against real world metrics? Like all these things once you have found one item in an area where it is totally wrong, then you have to suspect that all areas of the journal are also significantly incorrect.

  27. John West says:

    In 1922 it was reported that white fish and herring had “adjusted” their range.

    http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2008/03/changing-artic_monthly_wx_review.png

    Is it really so hard to recognize a cycle?

  28. Robert L says:

    Sounds like someone read the instructions on their fish finder .

  29. jim Steele says:

    @Luther Wu says: “published in Nature“- stopped me in my tracks. Reading the article would not advance my purpose.”

    Agreed. nature is an advocacy journal. They published Parmesan’ 1996 paper “Climate and Species Range” arguing butterflies were being forced upward and northward. Most of California’s maximum temperatures never exceeded the 1940’s. So instead of using local temperatures, Parmesan argued extirpated populations were “consistent with predictions of a global average temperature”. Ask any university ecology professor and they would immediately thrash and trash any undergrad’s paper using the global average to justify a local extinction. But Nature published it and thereby signaled a “safe island” where any movement northward validate Hansen’s 1988 predictions that rising CO2 is forcing animals northward and upward. I suspect Nature is again trying to give Trenberth’s notion of heat shunted to a deep ocean a little support by once again publishing such a frivolous paper, that does not fully analyze contributions from ocean oscillations and local conditions.

    As Pielke Sr. has warned, ” the current publication process has evolved into, at the detriment of proper scientific investigation, are the publication of untested (and often untestable) hypotheses. The fourth step in the scientific method “Test Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment” is bypassed”

    “When I served as Chief Editor of the Monthly Weather Reviews (1981-1985), The Co-Chief Editor of the Journal of Atmospheric Sciences (1996-2000), and as Editor-in-Chief of the US National Science Report to the IUGG for the American Geophysical Union (1993-1996), such papers would never have been accepted.”

  30. Of course the over fishing of tropical areas by the huge trawlers and factory ships operated by China, Russia and Taiwan have nothing to do with depletion of fish stocks in heavily fished areas. I lived on the Eastern Cape coast where the local fish population was almost wiped out by the fleets of Chinese and Taiwanese trawlers in the 1970 -90 period – but, of course, that has nothing to do with the reduction in fish stock …

    As someone else has commented, this is shoddy science – in my field it is called ‘Expectation Bias’ – if you go into an investigation with a preconceived idea of cause, the only evidence you’ll see is that which confirms your hypothesis.

  31. Some fish are fat, lazy slobs who sit around drinking lager all day & watching footie in their string vests. When the far more active (& tasty) fish are removed from an area the lazy fish can expand their range because the competition is scarce.

  32. A fishmonger is ‘one who sells fish’….

    Let’s expand the lexicon and call these authors….

    fish-fable-mongers….

  33. DesertYote says:

    BCU Fisheries Center? OY! These guys have quite a reputation and it is not a good one. Real science has not come out of that place in decades.

  34. jim Steele says:

    After quick look at their paper, in addition to averaging all fishery data into an amorphous average index that obscures local dynamics, they use data from 1970 to 2006 which will be dominated by the warm phases of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation. There is no surprise that there was a warming trend. However recent consensus analysis of the upper 300 meters clearly shows a cooling trend has begun.

    In Xue 2012, a consensus estimate by 10 oceanographers (including Trenberth’s coauthor), reported for the upper 300 meters, “there is a consensus that the global ocean increased from 1984 to 1992 followed by a short cooling episode in 1992/93, and then increased from 1994 to 2003/04, followed by flattening or a decrease.” I suspect all warming papers will focus on the warming period up to 2004, and therefore have defensible statistics.

    If instead of obscuring fisheries with the average, by reporting on the local dynamics when oceans switch from warm regimes to cold regimes clearly contradict Cheung’s “signature of ocean warming.”

    Peterson (2003) wrote “Increased abundances off Oregon and Washington of warm water fish species such as hake (Merluccius productus), mackerel (Scomber japonicus, Trachyurus
    symetricus), and sardine (Sardinops sagax) occurred during the 1977–1998 warm regime, …in southern British Columbia waters, these same warm water fish species became abundant, particularly after 1991 [McFarlane and Beamish, 2001].

    while cold water fish such as anchovy (Engraulis mordax) and smelts (Osmeriidae) declined over the same period [Emmett and Brodeur, 2000; Greene, 2002]. However after the PDO reversal they reported “Recent sampling of pelagic fishes off Oregon and Washington has found that (warm water) sardines have declined, and anchovies and osmeriids have increased by an order of magnitude [Emmett, 2002].” For a paper like Cheung’s to have any meaning, they must distinguish between trends before and after those shifts. But Nature no longer demands any such scientific rigor.

    Xue,Y., et al., (2012) A Comparative Analysis of Upper-Ocean Heat Content Variability from an Ensemble of Operational Ocean Reanalyses. Journal of Climate, vol 25, 6905-6929.

    Peterson, W., and Schwing, F., (2003) A new climate regime in northeast pacific ecosystems. Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 30, doi:10.1029/2003GL017528.

  35. Joe Freeman says:

    Thank you, Pat Michaels (http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/05/16/fishy-temperature-proxy/#comment-1307250) for your email to Leonard Bernstein of the Washington Post.

    That is exactly the type of response that so-called climate and environment journalists need to get. It makes the points that the UBC/Nature/Pew “study” is so biased that it’s fatally flawed, and that people notice the WaPo’s willingness to publicize such garbage…and it does that without directly attacking Mr. Bernstein’s apparent lack of balance, objectivity or other journalistic skills. Finally, it offers Mr. Bernstein (and, by extension, his editor, assuming that the WaPo has anyone in such an antiquated role) the opportunity to explain how such an unbalanced piece of drivel deserves a place anywhere in what used to be an important journalistic enterprise. Please don’t hold your breath waiting for that explanation.

  36. Rob Dawg says:

    World fishery impacts ranked:

    1. Overfishing.
    2. All other issues combined multiplied by ten.

  37. Bob Tisdale says:

    Ah, you beat me to it, Anthony. I should have a post written about this paper by tomorrow morning.

  38. Mike M says:

    “Where the food is” is the main reason fish go where they go, not temperature. These alarmists can try baiting their hooks with ice cubes and I’ll sitck with live bait. According to About, the Great Barrier Reef system ranges in temperature from 70 to 90 degrees F and is inhabited by 1500 species of fish, over 5000 species of mollusks, 1500 species of sponges, 360 species of corral, plus dozens of other species including whales, dolphins, turtles, seabirds and shorebirds.

    In stark comparison Antarctica has only about 200 species of fish and over half of them have anti-freeze in their blood. Warm water fish cannot survive the cold of cold waters and the cold water fish cannot compete with warm water fish in warm waters.

    Every place you look on Earth, the warmer places have more life and more diversity of life than the colder places. Warmer is better, why do alarmists persist implying the opposite?

  39. rabbit says:

    It may be that cold-water fish do not recover as quickly from fishing depletion as warm-water fish. Thus fishing would give warm-water fish an advantage over the competition.

  40. Crispin in Waterloo but really in Ulaanbaatar says:

    This confirms my suspicion that fish are not attracted to food, they are only interested in a comfortable life at a constant temperature. They are spoiled!

    I would not be surprised to hear that their food supply has the same temperature-based prejudices. Next thing you know they will be driving SUV’s with air con to get there faster.

  41. Laurie Bowen says:

    and then consider the history of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pastoralism . . . One is on land the other on water . . . . I am starting to think that there are “control issues” that will have to be addressed . . . . vs. “adaptation issues” of which have their own problems. . . .

    Mike M. “Warmer is better” . . . maybe for you . . . But, everyone wants it to be “just right” or better yet “perfect”. Not the world we live in, and not a reality.

  42. 97% of Americans agree, The Climate Changes. When asked; Does the Climate Change? An overwhelming number of respondents said Yes.

  43. John F. Hultquist says:

    Jdallen says:
    May 16, 2013 at 11:21 am

    “Tonyb” answers your first questions at 11:49 am. You should take from his comment that there is much to be learned from studying historical accounts of things. He is, in fact, an expert at such stuff and by searching for other comments and posts by “Tonyb” here at WUWT and other sites a person can learn much. I have, so I know it works.

    I’ll put a link below that comments on over fishing. I’ll add that if one animal is greatly reduced in its native range, others will move into that territory. There will be food (energy) to be used and something will find and use it.
    http://rense.com/earthchanges/fishmass.htm

    There are Large Mouth Bass and Blue Gill in the Okefenokee Swamp in South Georgia where warm water is not unknown. The same animals live in noticeably colder lakes and streams at higher latitudes. How’s that work?

    It is hard to rationalize why you would insult Mr. Watts with that “glib” comment insofar as much is known about cold water upwelling (See El Niño/La Niña) and the lack thereof [See 'Callao Painter'] under the subheading ‘Effects of El Niño’ in the following link:
    http://biophysics.sbg.ac.at/atmo/elnino.htm

    Enjoy the reading and have a great day.

  44. u.k.(us) says:

    Who is it that are eating all these fish anyway ? (besides other fish).
    I can’t afford to eat fish that has been shipped across country.
    I tend to stick to renewable resources: like beef, mac and cheese, or pizza.

  45. Christopher Hanley says:

    “Meanwhile in the tropics, climate change meant fewer marine species and reduced catches, with serious implications for food security ….”
    ===========================
    Just eyeballing http://www.climate4you.com/images/NOAA%20SST-Tropics%20GlobalMonthlyTempSince1979%20With37monthRunningAverage.gif
    I can’t see any trend in the tropics SST since 1979.

  46. R2Dtoo says:

    It’s not difficult to connect the dots. Pew is a green NGO that is interested in “greenhouse gases”. UBC is, well, in BC (suzukiville). Nature has no credibility left as a journal. Fish have moved throughout history. The paper uses “models”, and the cute little diagram intrigued my 3-yr old grand daughter.

  47. jim Steele says:

    @Crispin in Waterloo but really in Ulaanbaatar says:
    I would not be surprised to hear that their food supply has the same temperature-based prejudices.

    Well the food supply actually does have temperature-based prejudices but that is driven by upwelling. In the open ocean where upwelling is minimal, the phytoplankton are smaller and the food web is dominated by filter feeders like salps in Antarctica, or sardines elsewhere and a more efficient recycling of the food web. Those “warm water” species get outcompeted whenocean upwelling is vigorous.

    Upwelling zones bring colder water to the surface as well as more nutrients. There, larger phytoplankton like diatoms thrive feeding more robust populations of zooplankton. Anchovies are biters and prefer those cool upwelling zones and bigger plankton. The cool phase of the PDO promotes more upwelling, cooler temps and a robust food supply.

    Peruvian biologist have shown that as solar output increased after the end of the LIttle Ice Age, upwelling increased and the whole food web benefited. Global warming of the oceans has improved fisheries overall. Paradoxically despite average warming, a stronger sun increases the Hadley Cell and the trade winds promoting more coastal upwelling. As in Peru, the most productive global waters are in colder upwelling zones. El Ninos and warm phases of the PDO depress upwelling so warmer surface waters can be statistically linked to lower fish production. Unless upwelling dynamics are thoughtfully elucidate, all sorts of bad conclusions are made, like Cheung’s paper. His paper never discusses the dynamics upwelling zones at all, but that would defeat the purpose of linking CO2 to every change.

    Gutierrez, D., et al. (2009) Rapid reorganization in ocean biogeochemistry off Peru towards the end of the Little Ice Age. Biogeosciences, vol. 6, p.835–848

    Chavez,F.P., et al.(2003) From Anchovies to Sardines and Back: Multidecadal Change in the Pacific Ocean. Science 299, 217.

  48. As a skeptic of the dire warnings associated with the AGW cabal…I am embarrassed by Anthony’s conclusion to this article. It shows an extreme lack of understanding of the source material he’s criticizing AND a general lack of common sense.

    Your answer to this study, Mr. Watts, lacks three things:

    1) An understanding of how ecosystems change over time

    2) An understanding of what is meant by WARM WATER FISH

    3) A serious attempt to refute the actual claim of the article.

    Warm water fish live where they do because they thrive on eating other species that have naturally evolved to live…in warm water. The mere presence of upwelling will not attract creatures that do not survive well in cold water. That is just false. While it is true that life is adaptable to changes…and that warm water fish might well thrive on eating cold water species, there is no imperative for those fish to move to a different species as their primary diet…why would they migrate north en masse just to eat a different kind of life in a colder environment? That isn’t how evolution works. Nor is it particularly likely that warm species would just randomly walk their way north through increases in their population unless the things they were eating were also increasing in population…and why would that be occurring? The point is…SOMETHING has changed. And the most obvious thing that has changed is water temperature (and salinity, but that’s a whole ‘nother issue).

    On top of that, the article does not claim that fish can be used as a real proxy of temperature. It is merely a study on the impacts of KNOWN…MEASURED changes of water temperature on fishery stocks. The essential claim is…the waters have demonstrably warmed…the fish species are changing in a way that matches with this warming on a bio-behavioral level, if that continues, cold water fish will be crowded out of many established fisheries.

    Bottom line…it is not valid to claim that this article stands on absent logical ground. Nor is it in your best interest as a prominent skeptic to deny the bloody obvious because you don’t like it. The better things to ask are:

    1) Is the warming of the oceans natural or man-made? There is very good evidence in the skeptic library to suggest that much of the change is natural.

    2) Is the warming likely to continue? We are already seeing many of those warming trends halting in the last decade. There are papers on that.

    3) Can we, as humans, adapt to changing fish aquaculture if the water does continue to warm? That is also bloody obvious. OF COURSE we can. Breathless concern over the loss of stocks of Cod and swordfish don’t worry me in the slightest…we are smarter than fish…we can find plenty of ways to keep our aquaculture business thriving.

    This type of “rebuttal” is why skeptics are not taken seriously…please…I’m begging you to think things through before you speak out publicly…we don’t need to give the AGW community easy ways of lampooning us as science deniers.

  49. Crispin in Waterloo but really in Ulaanbaatar says:

    @R2Dtoo

    I was in Suzukiville a couple of days ago and picked up a local paper. It was like living inside RealClimate! OMG how can they stand it. It reads as if Disney is making a climate version of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice where a little knowledge becoming a very expensive thing. What happened to the real environmentalists? BC used to be so nice.

  50. TomRude says:

    Another UBC “climate change” pretext to display utter ignorance of the resulting influence of atmospheric circulation pattern, intensity variations on oceanic currents and upwellings.
    BTW, IPCC author and UVic climate change modelling figure Andrew Weaver got elected as a Green MLA on Tuesday… Better in politics than in science…

  51. Skiphil says:

    Ironically Pew money is originally Sunoco (Sun Oil Company) money.

    Of course, as with many foundations and NPOs, the staff and policies are ratcheted further and further leftwards politically over time.

    Far from keeping any covenant with founders and founders, most activists take a perverse pride in twisting and distorting the mission and activities of such entities until they would be utterly un recognizable to the founders:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Pew_Charitable_Trusts

  52. GingerZilla says:

    This is clearly pants science and I cannot rule out a possible wedgie being performed upon the public but I digress. Many comments have made salient points for alternative theories but alas like this paper they are wrong.

    First consider the dead stinky fish turning up on our beaches. Whilst many theories are propounded ignore them. If you have watched a Hollywood horror film [Quaid et al] or even read a fictional book you will know this behaviour is a stampede driven by fear.

    Secondly consider my sage words when we were faced with The Hybrid Global Warning Sharks (of the Climate Apocalypse) [Trademark pending] when it was

    neither confirmed or denied that these [Jumping Global Warming Hybrid] sharks are related to the Kraken! To me this is the only logical explanation for an animal that has lived for millions of years through varying climate changes to decide to [censored] its neighbours. It is ludicrous to suggest this has anything to do with dwindling food sources caused by greedy [censored] nicking all the fish or the ominous threat of animal prostitution coming from the cold South [Antarctic waters]*

    Note the authors of this study in fear have not considered these frightened fishies fleeing a Kraken that hath been released – which is clearly a consequence of catastrophic climate changes from not paying the Carbon Tithe into Saint Gore’s Carbon Trading Account**

    /sarc

    * Warning: choice but appropriate language may be used if you visit my site. If you are easily offended you may be a ‘persecuted’ climate scientist thrust – against your will of course as we know because you keep saying it – into the position of a fame seaking succubuss. If I am honest I blame WUWT as I often read an article and find myself saying some very naughty words.
    ** rates of interest may vary depending on how scary we can make the press release.

  53. Christopher Hanley says:

    I’m not a scientist, I must be missing something here, the only trend I can see in the sea temperature (upper 300m) across the tropical Pacific … http://www.climate4you.com/images/PacificSSTareas.jpg
    since 1979 is down … http://www.climate4you.com/images/NOAA%20CPC%20EquatorialAverageSeaTempUpper300m%20130E-80W%20Since1979%20With37monthRunningAverage.gif

  54. u.k.(us) says:

    Matthew Souders says:

    May 16, 2013 at 3:07 pm
    ================
    Your well written reply, is only lacking in data.
    Where Anthony’s comment is only making an observation.

    You just gave up your whole position, without even being probed.

  55. Laurie Bowen says:

    GingerZilla says:
    May 16, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    My theory it’s more like the realization of those that think they can enforce the “it’s ours, ours mostly ours” rule over the long haul . . . . http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=QPKKQnijnsM

    And for them . . . . that is for as many generations as “they” can. It’s part of why we are having all the policy discussions . . . . “so, please hurry up and die, or go away, just don’t touch what is mine, and if your going to give anything away, you better make sure you give it to us.” But, I am not cynical.

  56. Laurie Bowen says:

    But, George Carland was . . . http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYZpWTvre9c He said it right along time ago . . .

  57. jim Steele says:

    @Mathew Souders On top of that, the article does not claim that fish can be used as a real proxy of temperature.

    The paper does claim to “reveal” global warming is “tropicalizing” fish and they imply a CO2 threat to the fisheries.

    The titles “Signature of ocean warming in global fisheries catch” certainly suggests global warming is the sole cause of those changes and they imply it is a threat to marine ecosystems without considering other causes. Scientists traditionally were taught to entertain multiple hypotheses to explain any phenomenon in question. One trade mark of bad science and CO2 advocacy is that alternative explanation never get more than lip serve and this paper never considers any alternatives.

    They suggest CO2 warming is pushing northward with “Marine fishes and invertebrates respond to ocean warming through distribution shifts, generally to higher latitudes and deeper waters Consequently, fisheries should be affected by ‘tropicalization’ of catch1–4 (increasing dominance of warm-water species).

    “This study shows that ocean warming has already affected global fisheries in the past four decades, highlighting the immediate need to develop adaptation plans to minimize the effect of such warming on the economy and food security of coastal communities, particularly in tropical regions.”

    I have listened to fishery biologist bicker about the the correct adaptations. Biologist who understand the effects of the decadal oscillations offer solutions that will insure refuge populations are not overfished during the ebbs in the cycle. For salmon they argue for stream restoration to assure refuge in low rainy season . In contrast biologist those that believe we are doomed by warming argue that we cut emissions and write off fish at the southern end of the range and spend their funding only on those fish being forced northward.

    This article makes a lot bad claims that you seem to overlook.

  58. GlynnMhor says:

    Juraj V. says: “Climate science: still masturbating on that 30-years trend.”

    Worse yet, as the French would say: “On ne fait que branler les mouches”. (Doing nothing more than masturbating flies)

  59. GingerZilla says:

    Laurie Bowen on May 16, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    Despite previous attempts the poor have not reduced their numbers. They are inefficient and we need to reduced costly people. I think if we burn all the poor D[--look away--]s then we are afforded, due even, one last Grand Carbon Sacrifice, which incidentally is just the kind of initiative we need to kick start the floundering* Carbon Trading markets and stave off the cold.

    /sarc continues

    * /pun

  60. Gary Pearse says:

    “Marine species are gradually moving away from the equator”

    And we already know from Willis Eschenbach’s work that the equatorial waters can’t get any hotter than 30C. I think they are trying to get away from Argo floats and Marine institutes intrusive boats (sarc).

    jayhd says:
    May 16, 2013 at 11:03 am

    “Here in Pennsylvania, there are many lakes, rivers and streams where there is an advisory restricting the consumption of fish from those bodies of water because of mercury. But I didn’t know the fish had so much mercury in them they could be used as thermometers!”

    A couple of decades ago, I was having a beer with an old uncle who met a friend in the pub who gave us a smoked Winnipeg Goldeye, a fish specific to Lake Winnipeg that is an exported delicacy. My uncle asked his friend -“Isn’t this species loaded with mercury?” and the friend replied “Yes, but you just hold a lighter under his tail and quickly chop his head off.”

  61. Eugene WR Gallun says:

    ralfellis 11:19 am

    haha! you made my day!

    Eugene WR Gallun

  62. dalyplanet says:

    Matthew Souders they did not use measured water temperatures. They used adjusted weights of harvested fish stocks and changes of location since 1970 of harvested fish stocks as a proxy for temperature.

  63. Pamela Gray says:

    Anybody who has fished for salmon for a living out in the ocean is fully aware of fish migration cycles that extend into decades. How do you think oceanic cycles were discovered in the first place? My guess is that the pampered ninnies who penned the article above have never pulled a hook out of a fish’s mouth.

  64. Anthony Watts says:

    I had next to zero time this AM when I first posted this story due to meeting obligations with a network, Bob Tisdale has followed up.

    His update to this post here http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/05/16/washington-post-headline-worlds-fish-have-been-moving-to-cooler-waters-for-decades-study-finds/

  65. Robert of Ottawa says:

    I have met many a cold fish in my life, both underwater and elsewhere. Is that evidence? The hottest fish I ever met was in Darwin Bay, in the top end of Australia , 31C water temperature. Apparently it doesn’t get hotter than that anywhere.

  66. Justthinkin says:

    I’ve fished for decades in the Bay of Fundy,both on boats and from the shore/docks. Didn’t take long to listen to the old-timers,if you wanted to catch fish. One year a certain place would give tons of tuna,next year bait fish like smelt. The old timers just said; well what did you expect?That spot is warmer this year because of temp fluctuations.Turned out we shoul have been going after some dolphin,which where following the herring.Next year or two,it would be back to “normal”. Been happening since the bay was first fished,around the middle of the 13th century,by the Micmac Indians.
    Also been to that lovely little island called Bermuda 17 times.One year,the swimming was great,next year lots of jelly fish and barracudas(the barracudas where absolutly no threat,as the myth says). Fish,ranging from the stream to the pelagic,move around.Is that so surprising?

  67. ScottB says:

    Not only did the fish go to deeper, colder water, but the sea-level rose so much the boats just got further away from them.

  68. ntesdorf says:

    This is one of the best fishing stories that I have read. It is also one of the fishiest. Fish will suffer worse than tree rings under their desire to see increasing temperatures revealed from fish..
    Possible there will be water-boarding of innocent selected fish prisoners until a hockey stick can be shown.

  69. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Well, actually, I’ve spent a good chunk of my life as a commercial fisherman, and I think this paper is correct.

    Why? Because I can tell you exactly how fish stocks in the Tropics are being negatively affected by global warming. Here’s an example.

    About a decade ago, I was living in Fiji. A friend and I were concerned about the loss of fish to foreign fishermen. They would come in illegally at night, bring their big boats in near the reefs and just rake in the fish.

    He went down to Greenpeace in Suva, and asked if they could help us in the fight to keep the foreign fleets from plundering Fijian reefs.

    Know what they said? They said sorry, we can’t help you … all of our money is going to fight increasing CO2.

    So the complete chain of causation, from increasing CO2 to loss of fish, is laid perfectly is clear. Rising CO2 leads to global warming hysteria. This in turn leads Greenpeace and other NGOs to ignore over-fishing and illegal fishing in favor of a futile war against carbon-based energy. And this in turn reduces the number of fish in Fiji. What could be more obvious? The paper is right, global warming is reducing fish stocks …

    However, as always in nature (the real nature, not the pathetic magazine) there are negative feedbacks. If the anti-carbon movement has much more success in raising energy prices, the cost of fuel will make many fisheries unprofitable. This will lead to a rebound in the number of fish. So if the anti-carbon forces win, the cost of energy will continue to rise un-necessarily until all commercial fisheries and logging and farming operations are unprofitable, with a windmill mounted on every farm tractor, and then everything will then be wonderful for all of the world’s creatures …

    Well, wonderful for all except humans, particularly the poor kids around the planet for whom fish is a main or only protein source … I can’t properly express my contempt for those whose short-sighted and lethal policies designed to increase energy costs are causing so much illness and sorrow and loss and destruction among the poor of the planet.

    w.

    PS—/sarc might be necessary for some, I suppose, although as always in my tales, the story about Greenpeace is 100% true …

  70. TomRude says:

    LOL Willis!

  71. Crispin in Waterloo but really in Ulaanbaatar says:

    @jim Steele
    “Well the food supply actually does have temperature-based prejudices but that is driven by upwelling.”

    We you and I both know this is what attracts fish you’d think it would be common knowledge. As the paper is really about predictions of where fish will be (which has the implicit hint that conflicts between nations will emerge because of ‘global warming’) it may be O.T. but still, it serves us well to remember why fish move around. Perhaps that is why they developed fins’n’all.

    Your explanation was comprehensive. When conditions change I expect the fish will continue to follow the food supply.

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