Another Conservation Success Story Hijacked by Climate Alarmists

Guest essay by Jim Steele, Director emeritus Sierra Nevada Field Campus, San Francisco State University and author of Landscapes & Cycles: An Environmentalist’s Journey to Climate Skepticism

clip_image002Recently advocates of CO2 catastrophic climate change have been trumpeting a new paper in PNAS by Kyle C. Cavanaugh et al :“Poleward expansion of mangroves is a threshold response to decreased frequency of extreme cold events” The authors argue “Our analyses provides evidence for a threshold response, with declining frequency of severe cold winter events allowing for poleward expansion of mangroves. Future warming may result in increases in mangrove cover beyond current latitudinal limits of mangrove forests, thereby altering the structure and function of these important coastal ecosystems.”

The authors, from the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, use a bewildering array of statistics to suggest mangroves are marching march northward along the coast of Florida only because climate change has resulted in just 1.4 fewer days with temperatures falling below -4C between 1984 and 2006. However the authors admitted “decreases in the frequency of extreme cold events was only significant if an extreme cold event was defined as colder than −4 °C; the relationship disappeared when the temperature threshold was raised a small amount” but they later imply this suggests just how sensitive the mangroves are too what most of us would see as an insignificant change.

Their introduction also suggested that the authors were more interested in proving global warming than investigating all the confounding factors that may have also affected the increase in mangroves along their study site of the Indian River Lagoon. I was immediately suspicious because land use changes due to agriculture and urbanization have severely altered Florida’s hydrology and habitat and for decades disappearing mangroves have been a growing concern amongst conservationists. Nonetheless the authors claimed the spread of new mangroves were “uncorrelated with changes in mean annual temperature, mean annual precipitation, and land use.”

However I knew people who participated in Indian River Lagoon Shoreline Restoration Projects – Volunteer Events a few years back. That’s the very area that the authors claimed the expansion of mangroves could only be explained by climate change. Yet these CO2 advocates ignored well-advertised activities such as the “Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Shoreline Restoration Project” which is working to identify suitable un-vegetated and disturbed shoreline areas to restore fringing mangrove habitats along the Indian River Lagoon. This is accomplished through planting red mangroves (Rhizophora mangle) and associated species, such as marsh grass (Spartina alterniflora).

In April of 2010 there was a call for volunteers “needed to help with plantings, site maintenance, follow-up monitoring, and plant care at the mangrove nursery located on the grounds of the St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park. Planting events will be scheduled in the spring, and follow-up monitoring, site maintenance, and nursery work days are scheduled year round.”

So I sadly present the authors with my “Cheesy Climate Science Award” created in honor of past researchers who lead the way by hijacking conservation success stories and metamorphosing them into a climate catastrophe campaign as done in the IPCC paper here.

Whether climate change is natural or manmade, we can make a more resilient environment by restoring habitat and watersheds. We must demand more critical thinking, so that such frivolous publications stop misrepresenting honest conservation efforts in order to create a picture of climate doom. Trustworthy environmental stewardship must be guided by better science.

Read previous essays at landscapesandcycles.net

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78 Responses to Another Conservation Success Story Hijacked by Climate Alarmists

  1. Bob Tisdale says:

    Thanks, Jim, for another enlightening article.

    Regards

  2. Paul in Sweden says:

    Seems that not too long ago there were quite a few reports of large numbers of invasive species literally falling down dead from trees due to cold snaps in Florida.

  3. Beta Blocker says:

    National Public Radio carried an extensive story on this paper yesterday morning, including an interview with the lead author. He expressed no doubt at all about the validity of the paper’s conclusion that climate change is responsible.

  4. Bill H says:

    The state plants a whole bunch of man groves and along comes a scientist, who ignores mans influence and then touts the increase as evidence of CAGW…. ?? And those doing the study couldn’t figure this one out?

  5. Bill H says:

    NPR’s credibility just took a major hit IMHO, Course they always have been a mouth piece for government propaganda…

  6. Dan Auton says:

    Thanks for the article as I spent a few hours last night reviewing this article and looking for data that this article does not have which is pre-1984 mangrove extent. Google “Florida Freezes in the 1980′s” and you will find that that decade had the coldest winter since the 1890′s and wiped out the citrus crop as well as according to one citation “The range of Florida’s mangroves fluctuates with invasions of severe cold weather. For example, the series of devastating freezes of the 1980s that wiped out the citrus industry in north central Florida also killed mangroves as far south as Naples on the Gulf coast and West Palm Beach on the Atlantic coast . Although mangroves have been reported as far north as St. Augustine and Cedar Key, the northern mangroves are stunted and may only be present as a shrub form that sprouts from roots after freeze damage”

    This is another example of what happens when we use satellites to measure things that could not be measured in the past. It is amazing that this study is getting so much publicity as it is based on a range of 1984 onwards after a historical era of freezes in Florida in the 1980′s a roughly 100 year event (at least on the several hundred years of data that we have as the previous big freeze as 1894-95). This new paper has no data before 1984 which is when Landsat data became available and makes no attempt to find pre-1980′s sources.

    I did find a 1982 paper called “The Ecology of Mangroves of South Florida: A Community Profile” published by the US Fish and Wildlife Service cited a 1974 survey by the Coastal Coordinating Council of Florida of Florida mangrove acreage. That survey had a total coverage of between 162,000 and 219,800 ha in the state and 90% of those were in 4 Southern counties. A large error range of 15% but of course this was before satellites. This new paper shows a growth of “In absolute terms, mangrove area increased by 1,240ha along the east coast of Florida between 1984 and 2011 Regions to the north of 26.75°N increased by a total of 1,700± 130 ha whereas regions to the south decreased by 464± 35 ha.”

    So in 1974 there was roughly 16,000 to 22,000ha of mangroves outside of those 4 Southern counties and now we discussing 1,700± 130 ha growth being a big deal? Perhaps this paper should have been titled “Florida Mangroves Recover From 1980’s Freezes in Northern Florida” which still ignores the conservation efforts outlined in this article but that wouldn’t have gotten quotes such as in the NY Time article on the paper:

    ‘Dr. Gruner said that scientists needed to start considering changes beyond just average temperatures as they analyzed the environmental consequences of climate change. More surprises are likely in store, he said.

    “I don’t like to think about it, quite frankly,” he said. “It’s a little scary.” ‘

  7. Mike Maguire says:

    Forget the tiny potential contribution from temperature change and very short time frame.

    While the focus is on this, the empirical data shows that the irrefutable law of photosynthesis is having a positive effect several orders of magnitude greater.

    As a result, earth’s biosphere and vegetative health is booming. Plant growth(especially woody stemmed) is benefitting greatly.

  8. John says:

    I am not a geologist but fancy this sort of stuff… The geologic record proves this planet warms and cools in natural cycles – something these climate change nuts ignore. So ridiculous.

  9. DirkH says:

    Mike Maguire says:
    January 1, 2014 at 8:39 am
    “As a result, earth’s biosphere and vegetative health is booming. Plant growth(especially woody stemmed) is benefitting greatly.”

    Well, if it were actually warming, which it doesn’t for 17 years now, that would also benefit the biosphere; as biodiversity tends to be higher the higher the average temperature is. If UNEP finally drops the CO2AGW scare and switches to the biodiversity scare we can demand more Global Warming because that helps biodiversity. Maybe they already recognized that and therefore don’t start their biodiversity campaign on a grand scale.

  10. R. de Haan says:

    One warmist crap strory after another. I’m really getting boared.

  11. Herb Runkle says:

    This is kind of funny–I lived in the Daytona Beach/New Smyrna area from 1984 to 2000 and after a big freeze in the 80′s I helped some conservation groups replant mangroves along the Halifax River to restore habitat. I thought we were doing a good thing but there you go!!

  12. Old'un says:

    DAN AUTON, 8.33am
    (Dr Gruner) says “I don’t like to think about it, quite frankly. It’s a little scary.”

    Not as scary as Dr Gruner!

  13. pat says:

    A fraud. A fraud by the Smithsonian.

  14. Steve Keohane says:

    I feel a need for a special stupidity descriptor for this type of non-sense. Perhaps ‘G-WS’ for ‘Grant-Whore Stupid’. This is really getting to be too much.

  15. richard says:

    I love their use of words,

    so for the seas becoming “less base” changes to seas becoming “Acidic”
    “Mangroves heading polewards”, a quick newspaper article will result in the impression of ……

    Now let me see, “increase of Antarctic ice heading to tropical waters as more ships become marooned”

  16. Chris4692 says:

    Thank you, Mr Steele, for the article, and Mr Auton for the comment.

  17. mjmsprt40 says:

    I read this article and the first thing that came to mind is “so what else is new?”. It seems that people with an axe to grind always carefully edit out anything that doesn’t fit into their storyline. The example that came to mind as I read this piece concerned a book that came out several years back, “The Great Lakes Triangle” in which the authors tried to tell you that the ships that disappeared on the lakes did so for mysterious reasons. They even edited out the storm which caused the loss of the “Edmund Fitzgerald” because the storm wouldn’t explain the loss of a giant ore carrier, now would it??
    It comes as no surprise, therefore, the AGW alarmists will edit out any explanation which doesn’t fit their theory or would allow for alternative explanations to an event other than their theory.

  18. Chuck L says:

    The alarmist eco-fascist camp will do anything to keep their green agenda alive and moving forward,

  19. richard says:

    so lets look at the details, when and where do they start monitoring the mangroves, are the mangroves just recovering from past loss.

    THREATS TO MANGROVES

    LARGE HURRICANES
    Hurricane Donna, in 1960, damaged an area of 100,000 acres of the Mangrove zone of South Florida. Loss of trees ranged from 25% to 100% from shearing the trunks above ground, complete overwash of islands and prop root damage from marl and fine organic matter coating the roots.

    SHORELINE DEVELOPMENT has replaced Mangroves with marinas, dredged channels, airports, filled lots, seawalls and other commercial and residential construction. 60 percent of shallow water open Mangroves in the Upper Keys were lost between 1965 and 1985. 40 percent of that was due to dredging and filling of Mangroves.

    Photo by Curtis Kruer, Florida Keys
    This loss is not restricted to the Florida Keys — other areas, such as Tampa Bay, Marco Island and the lower coast of Florida, have lost mangroves. Approximately 11,000 acres were lost between 1943 and 1970 in Collier, Monroe and Dade counties alone, of a total of 430,000-500,000 acres in all of Florida. While not overwhelming, losses at specific locations have been substantial.

    Mangroves have been lost due to shrimp farming throughout the Phillippines and other parts of Asia.

    OTHER THREATS are illegal dumping, beach renourishment, oil spill, agricultural run-off that contains herbicides, pesticides, and sugar cane wastes. Man-made canal systems have altered fresh water run-off in the Florida Everglades, dramatically changing salinity levels and lowering the water table.

  20. David L. Hagen says:

    Jim Steele
    Thanks for the chuckle. I highly recommend that you submit this case for an Ignoble Prize in Climate Science of anthropogenic warming or ecology etc.
    To nominate:

    “Please send the pertinent info by email to or by traditional mail at
    IG NOBEL NOMINATIONS
    c/o Annals of Improbable Research
    PO Box 380853, Cambridge MA 02238, USA”

    Spirit and Philosophy of the Igs
    Every Ig Nobel Prize winner has done something that first makes people LAUGH, then makes them THINK. . . .

  21. richard says:

    there was a massive die back of mangroves in the northern region Florida in the 1980′s, they are just recovering so you will see areas that were once devoid of mangroves growing back.

  22. Gail Combs says:

    Paul in Sweden says: @ January 1, 2014 at 8:23 am

    Seems that not too long ago there were quite a few reports of large numbers of invasive species literally falling down dead from trees due to cold snaps in Florida.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>
    They seem to think we have no memory beyond a week ago.

    Freeze may take heavy toll on Florida citrus – January 11, 2010 Not to mention the deaths of the seagoing Manatees Mysterious Manatee and Dolphin Deaths in Florida Confound Scientists

    …. The trouble, scientists suggest, began a few years ago when a prolonged drought…
    Then, in winter 2010, a cold snap settled in.

    Freezing temperatures killed the macroalgae that normally live near the lagoon’s surface. As these seaweeds withered and died, their sequestered nutrients flooded the already nutrient-saturated, saline water, creating a potent soup that would fuel the lagoon’s collapse: A blue-green algae superbloom.

    For nine months, beginning in early spring 2011, the northern lagoon’s waters were seasick-green…. Eventually, about 60 percent – or 47,000 acres – of the lagoon’s seagrasses died…

    In the summer of 2012, the lagoon turned the color of paper bags as a brown algal bloom took hold, further shading and choking off any recovering seagrasses.

    2010 wasn’t that long ago! Why it was just yesterday wasn’t it….

  23. R. de Haan says:

    I wonder if they are going to claim ” the conservation success” of entire forests to be cut down, turned into bio mass, transported to Europe and to be burned up in coal plants to fight AGW?

    The warmists and their policies have become a menace for the entire world, man and nature.

  24. Lichanos says:

    I read of this article in the NYTimes, and was immediately skeptical. “Scary” that mangroves are recovering? I did some research too: thanks for the additional pointers.

  25. rogerknights says:

    The longer the CACA Cult keeps spinning out its Message, the worse its going to be in the aftermath. Its doubling down will be proof of its basic bad (to-the-bone) faith–and a good reason to ignore it in the future.

  26. Rob M - flatlander says:

    R. de Haan says:
    Mangroves come to Winnipeg
    No but the IPCC should
    I think all global warming conferences need to be held in Winnipeg in the dead of winter.
    ahhh tropical Winnipeg
    Regards and Keep warm

  27. catweazle666 says:

    “Their introduction also suggested that the authors were more interested in proving global warming than investigating all the confounding factors…”

    Of course they were.

    They wouldn’t have got funding without the magic words in the grant submission, would they?

    Even climate McScientists have to eat!

  28. Louis says:

    “Poleward expansion of mangroves is a threshold response to decreased frequency of extreme cold events”

    I thought climate change meant an increase in extreme weather events, both hot and cold. Isn’t that what they claim whenever an unusual cold spell occurs anywhere on the planet? I just checked the “climate change” page on Wiki, and it says climate change can cause “more or fewer extreme weather events.” Talk about a non-falsifiable prediction! But even so, how do the authors of this paper know that climate change will only cause a “decreased frequency” of extreme cold events in Florida? I can guarantee that if a record cold event occurred tomorrow within the same area as this study’s location, they would immediately claim that man-caused climate change was the cause. These authors would be among them. Is there any doubt of that?

  29. Beta Blocker says:

    Bill H says: January 1, 2014 at 8:28 am … The state plants a whole bunch of man groves and along comes a scientist, who ignores mans influence and then touts the increase as evidence of CAGW…. ?? And those doing the study couldn’t figure this one out?

    Bill H says: January 1, 2014 at 8:31 am … NPR’s credibility just took a major hit IMHO, Course they always have been a mouth piece for government propaganda…

    NPR has a well-defined customer base in the environmental socio-political movement, and they serve that customer base in those ways that keep the money flowing in.

    NPR’s credibility with its own customer base will not suffer in the slightest from carrying a story on a pseudo-scientific paper that has been demonstrated to be transparently fraudulent in its data, in its methods, and in its ultimate conclusions.

    NPR is one with its user community, and so there will be no post-discovery updates concerning the NPR story, no clarifications will be made, and certainly no acknowledgement of the blatantly fraudulent science inside of the paper will be offered.

  30. chris y says:

    Gail Combs-

    Then there were the green Iguanas, numb with cold, falling out of trees in Miami in 2010.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/6947254/Kamikaze-iguanas-fall-from-Floridas-frozen-trees.html

    Then there was the 2013 article on an old oil/gas power plant near Kennedy Space Center being upgraded to natural gas combined cycle, and the requirement that the old plant’s thermal plume into a local river be maintained to protect the hundred’s of wintering Manatee from freezing to death in future years of global thermageddon. Or something.

    http://www.powermag.com/cape-canaveral-next-generation-clean-energy-center-brevard-county-florida/

    ” Ironically, far from being a threat to the manatees, the plant’s presence attracted more and more of the endangered animals to the lagoon because of how its effluent raised water temperatures, especially during the winter.”
    “So in the fall of 2010, after the old plant was torn down, FPL spent nearly $5 million installing a system of pumps and heaters in the lagoon to replace the lost effluent. FPL worked with state and federal officials to ensure the manatees would survive the three-year hiatus before the new plant came online. The system worked as planned, with hundreds of manatees clustering around the heaters as they once did around the old plant’s outlet. The system surely averted a catastrophe for the animals as temperatures plunged to record lows that winter.”

  31. Rud Istvan says:

    Nice article, Mr Steele.
    I did some checking based on the PNAS paper and SI. It says virtuall the entire paper study area is the Indian River Lagoon (in fact a nearly 150 mile long estuary spanning 4 coastal counties. Mangrove restoration started in 1996. By the time of a special restoration report on best practices, there had been 57 separate restoration sites planted. Proportionately, seedling survival was most successful in the northern half of IRL because of less runoff pollution ( from 1989 to the present, the proximate population has increased 50% to 1.6m).
    Freezes are a big deal in Florida because of the citrus industry. $2 billion of citrus is produced in the 5 counties containing the IRL. The industry maintains a ‘freeze’ website. ” major freezes” damage that years fruit, not the trees. “impact freezes” damage or kill the trees. There was a major freeze in 1981. There were impact freezes in 1983, 85, and 89. There have been none since.

    So this paper is not charting AGW ecotome tipping points and mangrove [invasion into salt] marshes. The satellite images document natural recovery progression ( mangroves need ‘nurse’ salt marsh grass species like S. portulacastrum or S. alterniflora [smooth cordgrass]) from the killing 1980 freezes. Plus a lot of hard volunteer work to repair man made IRL damage. 40000 acres of IRL wetlands were lost to [misguided] mosquito control alone before the nonsense was stopped and the restoration projects begun in the 1990s. 16000 of the 40000 acres lost was mangrove ‘forest’. Most of that was in the northern half of IRL, from Melbourne to Cocoa Beach to Cape Canaveral to Titusville.

  32. jim Steele says:

    I quickly wrote this post after I was involved in a discussion with members of the Environmental Consulting Professionals group on Linkedin . They were debating a post by a overzealous CO2 alarmist “Should this and other Linked-in forums ban inputs from climate deniers following the lead of Reddit’s science forum.” Some wanted to ban all us “deniers”, while most did not. Although many acquiesced to allowing us “deniers” to speak, a few offered a final dig saying we must allow deniers to speak no matter how ignorant, etc. etc. In that vein one poster suggested climate change catastrophe is happening now and for proof mentioned the “northward march of tropical mangroves”. But knowing that mangroves are being replanted in that area, I knew once again that honest conservation efforts to restore destroyed mangrove habitat was being misinterpreted as the result of climate change disruption. It is an ironic example that is the skeptics in blogosphere that will science honest, much like they exposed Gore’s myth of Kilimanjaro, because climate science’s “pal review” too often ignores blatant contradictions.

    A quick search for articles on how Florida’s coast has been managed shows to control for the insidious amount of saltwater marsh mosquitoes, land managers in the 30s began building dikes to impound water that flooded the marshes. That practice continued through the 70s. This technique greatly reduced the amount of mosquitoes but also killed mangroves, especially the black mangroves in that region. Due to such practices, mangroves were disappearing and soon laws to protect the mangroves forced new techniques that would help mangroves recover. One of the last impoundments constructed required a plan developed by Provost and the Brevard Mosquito Control District requiring a water management scheme that, in addition to providing adequate mosquito control, “would (1) retain as much as possible of the existing woody vegetation, chiefly black mangroves.”

    I can’t find a free digital copy of an insightful 1997 paper on this issue, “Rehabilitation of impounded estuarine wetlands by hydrologic reconnection to the Indian River Lagoon, Florida” Special Issue: Hydrologic Restoration of Coastal Wetlands Wetlands and Management, vol. 4, no. 2, but in that paper there is a picture taken in 1980 of how impoundments had killed mangrove forests and a follow up picture of restoration’s positive effects. However unless they get the hydrology right mangroves are slow to respond. But over recent decades, researchers have been experimenting with better hydrologic restoration and re-plantings. Where ever they correctly restored the hydrology there is rapid increase in mangroves.

  33. Martin C says:

    Everyone,
    I have decided as part of a ‘New Year’s Resolution’, to voice my displeasure to the organizations/authors when I read about papers such as this PNAS one. Sure would love to see the ‘general public’ get more invovled. Sure, maybe one comment won’t have a great effect, but a large number might.
    I have already commented to PNAS with the following:

    I am writing to voice my displeasure with noted paper and trying to tie the expansion of mangrove forests to ‘global warming’. It seems that nearly EVERYTHING seen in nature today is a sign of ‘global warming’, or ‘climate change’, with CO2 being cited as the the cause for the change/warming. That clearly is not the case, and seems very apparent with this paper.

    Why do I say this ? Perhaps you and the paper authors would like to read a commentary about the paper, by Jim Steele, at this link:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/01/01/another-conservation-success-story-hijacked-by-climate-alarmists/

    I hope Jim has also contacted you and the authors also. Better yet, perhaps you could have the authors contact Jim or Anthony Watts, in order to post a ‘rebuttle’ to Jim’s article – IF you have one.

  34. jim Steele says:

    The authors also claimed that about 26.5 degrees north was the tipping point latitude, but failed to mention that in Louisiana there have always been a few hundred hectares of the “cold tolerant black mangrove” located around Grand Isle. Latitude 29°13′40″N

  35. Pat Frank says:

    So, are any of the researchers here going to write up a corrective note for PNAS? Or a collaborative group of researchers? That would seem to be the next step, if one actually wants to have an impact. If the analyses here are correct, the corrective study should be straight-forward.

    Document the recovery after freezing, and the areas of conservation-restoration. Show they correspond with the claimed areas of AGW-induced northward migration. Submission within a month or two should be possible.

  36. jim Steele says:

    I would like to see the scientists who peer-reviewed this paper defend their reasons and explain why they ignored such blatant confounding factors so easily uncovered in less than an hour of searching. Thats why some call it “pal review”. The biggest defect in peer review is not the gate keeping that prevents skeptical arguments hidden, but the utter spamming of articles that lack scientific rigor simply because it fits the prevailing bias.

  37. Pat Frank says:

    Jim, I have a pdf copy of “Rehabilitation of impounded estuarine wetlands by hydrologic reconnection to the Indian River Lagoon, Florida.” If you email me at pfrank_eight_three_zero_AT_earth_link_dot_net, I’ll send it to you (2.1 MB). The comparison you mentioned is Figure 3.

  38. Pat Frank says:

    By the way, the paper itself is here, if you can download it directly.

  39. Aussiebear says:

    I read this and thought “You’re Kidding!”. After graduating Uni in 1985, I moved to the Orlando area and was struck by all the dead orange groves due to the earlier frost events. There is a popular strip there called Orange Blossom Trail. Locals told me before the die off, the air was so sweet with the smell of orange blossoms, it would almost make you sick. Let me know when the oranges groves come back. Sadly, most turned into strip malls… Its called recovery. Look it up.

  40. Zeke says:

    Sometimes, predictions by scientists need a little help being fulfilled, like the time Jim Steele caught the researchers moving butterfly populations “northward and upward,” which happened to be Jim Hansen’s global warming theory had predicted – that butterfly populations would have to move “northward and upward.”

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/07/14/fabricating-climate-doom-part-1-parmesans-butterfly-effect/

    And of course Malthus’ predictions are in constant need of “assistance” in being fulfilled. See if you can spot the UN scientist working to fulfill the almighty Overpopulation Paradigm:

    Paradigm Shift Urgently Needed In Agriculture
    UN Agencies Call for an End to Industrial Agriculture & Food System

    A rising chorus from UN agencies on how food security, poverty, gender inequality and climate change can all be addressed by a radical transformation of our agriculture and food system Dr Mae-Wan Ho

  41. chris y says:

    The upgraded Florida Power and Light combined cycle natural gas power plant is in the same Indian River Lagoon area.

    “The project had added environmental sensitivity because of the manatees in the Indian River Lagoon, from which the old plant drew, and to which it discharged, its cooling water.”

    http://www.powermag.com/cape-canaveral-next-generation-clean-energy-center-brevard-county-florida/?pagenum=2

  42. Rud Istvan says:

    Martin C, two years ago I posted here a critique of another PNAS thresholds paper, on corn yield and high summer temps. That paper was so flawed it should have been withdrawn. I wrote PNAS, provided the scientific and statistical evidence, and never got a reply.
    Last year I posted two critiques of Marcott over at Climate Etc, where I am an infrequent contributor. The second proved scientific misconduct in redated core tops. Steve McIntyre provided additional proofs. Again wrote (Science) requesting correction or withdrawal. The letter’s receipt was acknowledged, but nothing was done.
    Last year I posted on clearly misleading and misrepresented science on Eemian sea level rise in WA published in Nature Geoscience (again at CE, title By land or by Ses? ). Wrote the lead author and the journal, presented the evidence, and requested correction or retraction. No response from either.
    Last year I posted on a clearly misleading Seattle Times piece based on a really bad PMELmpaper concerning Pacific oysters. (Again at CE, titled The Shell Game). Wrote the Seattle Times reporter requesting at least a newspaper errata. Never heard back.
    Just like the erasure of critical remarks at RealClimate or SKS, the journals ignore legitimate critique that exposes their shoddy review practices and bad published science. The Climate gate ‘control journals and pal review’ is very much still in evidence.
    Regards

  43. chris y says:

    Meanwhile, in response to unprecedented global warming, citrus groves have been galloping southward-ho! for over 200 years to outrun the tree-killing frosts:

    http://citrus.forumup.org/about4961-citrus.html

    “Prior to 1835, oranges were grown not only in Florida but in South Georgia and southeastern coastal South Carolina.”
    “But the coldest weather ever known in Florida or St. Augustine was in February, 1835, when the thermometer sank to 7° above zero, and the St. John’s River froze several rods from the shore. This freeze proved a great injury to St. Augustine, for it killed every fruit tree in the city, and deprived the majority of the people of their only income. The older inhabitants still remark, that the freeze of 1835 cost most of them their all.”
    “But the groves were replanted. For the next fifty-one years, St. Augustine experienced a period of warm winters. St. Johns County and northeast Florida became the center of Florida’s citrus industry. By 1894, Florida was shipping over 5,000,000 crates of citrus northward.”
    “Christmas, 1894, was warm. In Orlando, it was in the 80’s. Four days later the train whistles blew. The orange crops had not yet been harvested and throughout Florida the crops were lost. In some places, the oranges which fell from the trees were two feet deep on the ground.”
    “On February 8, 1895, trains heading south in Florida again blew their whistles warning of a coming freeze. In Jacksonville, the temperature fell to 16 degrees. In Orlando, it remained below freezing for thirty hours. The sap in the trees froze. The trunks of the trees were split. It froze as far south as Fort Myers. Throughout Florida, trees were killed down to the ground. Peach groves in north Florida were also killed. The next year, Florida shipped only slightly over 100,000 crates of oranges.”
    “Although further to the south groves in Marion, Citrus, Lake and Orange Counties were replanted, the groves in North Florida were abandoned and agricultural areas were given over to crops such as potatoes and melons.”
    “In February 1917, another freeze came and yet again in 1934.”
    “In 1940, another freeze hit, the coldest since 1899…The groves around Citra were again replanted. In 1957, yet another freeze hit. Freezing weather hit even Longboat Key, Lido Key, and Anna Maria Island off Sarasota. More freezes came in 1977, 1983, 1985 and 1989. As a result, the Citrus Tower which formerly overlooked thousands of acres of citrus now overlooks a Publix shopping center. The bulk of commercial orange groves have moved even further south.”

  44. Richard of NZ says:

    “jim Steele says:
    January 1, 2014 at 11:59 am

    The authors also claimed that about 26.5 degrees north was the tipping point latitude”

    This would be a red flag to any person of normal general knowledge. Just down the road from me are mangroves at 38 degrees south. The, admittedly very stunted, trees have been there longer than I have existed, and in my 60+ years have not changed in either size or location. Mangroves at 37 41′ S are considerably larger and in my memory always have been. Those at 36 50′ S are full sized.

    Perhaps our southern mangroves in a fully maritime climate are tougher than the Florida versions?

  45. Martin C says:

    Rud Istvan says:
    January 1, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    Thanks, Rud, for the info. It shouldn’t surprise me one bit that no replies ever come. Maybe it’s my ’tilting at windmills’ – but I still am going to make the effort.

    They probably wouldn’t care if Dr. Pielke, Dr. Curry, Dr. Spencer, and dozens of others in the field all contacted them at the same time, to let them know how bad the papers are (. . . which from Dr. Pielke’s post above, it appears some are . . . ).

  46. TRG says:

    It is impossible to overstate the extent to which NPR swallows the entire line on AGW. It simply never occurs to them that it isn’t a fact.

  47. scarletmacaw says:

    rpielke says:
    January 1, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    There were different effects from the 1989 freeze vs. the 2010 freeze.

    The 1989 freeze was cold enough to kill 50-year old Australian Pines in Brevard county (and a key lime tree in my back yard), but it was a short freeze. The 2010 cold spell was long term, but never got cold enough to kill citrus, at least not in the areas where citrus was still grown. It did, however, affect the water temperatures more so than 1989, causing much damage to aquatic grasses in the Indian River lagoon, and to corals in South Florida and the Keys.

  48. M Seward says:

    Just another scientific twerking performance by some smiling virus’s with letters after their names. More made for media, GIGO statistical manipulation. Yawn.

  49. Pedantic old Fart says:

    The platonic concept of doing science was closing your eyes and ears so that the noise of the real world could not disturb your thinking and ideas. It seems that the modern version is to sit ensconced in a computer room and and fiddle with models and limited data sets from satellite imagery. Get muddy in the Mangroves? No way!

  50. Joe says:

    Is there any evidence at all that conservation efforts can explain the northward expansion of mangrove populations besides you anecdote from 2O10. The period study ended in 2011. So unless the increase was due to the one year you mentioned, I would seriously doubt it.

  51. tty says:

    The highest-latitude mangroves I have ever seen are in Corner Inlet in Wilsons Promontory National Park in Victoria, Australia, that’s about 38.8 degrees south. These are also very stunted. The highest latitude mangroves I’ve seen in Eurasia are north of Nabq in Sinai, about 28.2 degrees north. These are fairly substantial and there may well be more northerly stands I don’t know about..

  52. jim Steele says:

    Joe, Of course I would be suspicious if it was just one year. The point is that any conservationist concerned about mangroves is aware of these restoration efforts.

    Don Auton provided a link to a paper I commented on describing how the impoundments of salt marshes to control mosquitos had killed most mangroves and that since the 1980s people have been working hard to restore the mangroves.

    http://printfu.org/preview/?pdfurl=1qeXpurpn6Wih-SUpOGunKmnh77U3sbW0dHZ5sri3dXjjdTSj9_S5Nfa3tbO0pTL6OHazeHf09mI3NXm1c_iyuiNx-WP3t7Y2tTc4dDX14ajm5OOqumfpaKH1pSk4a6cq6eH1OPq1a6XlOfp4Jzhx-PU19vl29fZ29nf5Mri3dXjm8jb3KWn5tfI29_O59nY2uHG2Ma7sqiQl5mrnJullq6b1dDVmKDx

    Herb Runkle posted his personal experience above “I lived in the Daytona Beach/New Smyrna area from 1984 to 2000 and after a big freeze in the 80′s I helped some conservation groups replant mangroves along the Halifax River to restore habitat”

    Talk to conservationists. Plantings have been part of several decades worth of restoration efforts.

  53. Joe says:

    Joe anecdotes are not very scientific.

  54. jim Steele says:

    Joe It is not very scientific to ignore confounding variables that could explain a phenomenon. If the authors were good scientists at the very least they should have addressed the well known issue of restoration.At the very least a knowledgeable peer reviewer should have demanded they addressed the issue of restoration. But instead they pushed global warming. The improved growth of mangroves around the Indian River Lagoon is a testimony to how people can learn from past mistakes and improved the environment. I don’t why you or the authors insist on turning a conservation success story into a tragic tale of climate doom.

  55. Brian H says:

    Joe is known for drive-by FUD. It’s his only competence.

    Advancing and restoring mangroves is a crucial coastal and wetland initiative. Whether it will fare well in the coming cooling is the real issue and problem. A_thony refers to “highjacking”. That’s only half of it. Distortion and black=white logic shamelessly presented and publicized is the rest.

  56. rpielke says:

    scarletmacaw – I was there for the 2010 freeze. It killed manatees. It certainly was cold enough, by the criteria in their paper, to kill mangroves.

    This is what the article I linked to said [http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2011/02/15/how-does-extreme-weather-relate-to-climatology/]

    “The January 2010 cold snap was the coldest 12-day stretch since the 1940s, according to the National Weather Service. Temperatures in the Everglades never rose above 50 degrees during that time.

    At least 244 manatees were killed by cold, leading to a one-year record for total deaths, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Service.

    A plunge in ocean temperatures killed off corals in shallow waters from Biscayne Bay through much of the Florida Keys and left hundreds of sea turtles dead or stunned and sick. The 100-plus carcasses of rare North American crocodiles represented about 10 percent of the coastal population.

    Peter Frezza, Everglades research manager for Audubon of Florida in the Keys, counted roughly 90,000 dead snook over the course of about a dozen trips across Florida Bay and into the Everglades.”

  57. scarletmacaw says:

    rpielke says:
    January 1, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    I wasn’t disagreeing, merely pointing out that the two cold events had two different effects. Everything you listed as being harmed in 2010 was aquatic, which agrees with my point.

    In both cases, these were record cold events, which are NOT consistent with CAGW in spite of the warmist claim that anything and everything is consistent with CAGW. In 2010 the cold caused the death of corals 100′s of years old.

    Was your point that the mangroves that were referred to in the paper ended up being killed by the cold in 2010, and the authors ignored that and chose to only include mangrove data up to 2006? No surprise here that CAGW advocates would spin the data to support their religion.

  58. Gail Combs says:

    R. de Haan says: @ January 1, 2014 at 10:47 am

    I wonder if they are going to claim ” the conservation success” of entire forests to be cut down, turned into bio mass…
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    I am sure that information is going over real well with the Aussies and those in the USA who are not allowed to clear brush or make fire breaks and are in danger of losing their home or already HAVE lost their homes.

  59. Gail Combs says:

    Rud Istvan says: @ January 1, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    …. Just like the erasure of critical remarks at RealClimate or SKS, the journals ignore legitimate critique that exposes their shoddy review practices and bad published science. The Climate gate ‘control journals and pal review’ is very much still in evidence.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    And it is going to come back and bite them. Actually it already is beginning.

    As another Commenter just pointed out on the ‘Climate adaptation, a wicked problem, requires navigating a landscape that is only partly known’ thread, you are now seeing Abstracts that have nothing to do with the paper. Younger scientists are learning to write politically correct Abstracts to get grants and to get through Pal-review and then publish the actual paper with real data that contradicts everything said in the Abstract.

    You are also getting blogs like this and Retraction Watch and others. Sooner or later the shoddy work will catch up with the old reputation and the journals and professional societies will find themselves faced with young fresh competition.

    Think of how many scientists here on WUWT who have already voted with their feet and dropped journals and professional societies out of disgust.

  60. rpielke says:

    scarletmacaw – Thank you for clarifying. My point is that the claim that

    ” the last bitter freeze in central Florida occurred in 1989″

    is clearly wrong. I do not know how the mangroves dealt with the more recent cold, but they clearly must have been impacted to some extent if the other parts of the environment were.

    I agree with you that this paper and the news articles on it are spun.

  61. garymount says:

    Colony Farms Swallows

    In the spring of 2010 or 2011 I was shown a report of birdologists at Colony Farm, Coquitlam about missing Barn Swallows. We were having a cool, wet spring and bizarrely was linked to global warming / climate change. This new weather was going to ruin the tourism business of Vancouver, apparently, so windmills should be erected all over the place, also apparently. This distressing news was followed by one of the longest stretches of good tourist weather, with the driest September on record, for Vancouver, though there had been longer stretches of dry weather in the past, just not falling to the end of September.
    Anyways, back to the birds. After the bird report, I was in the mindset of these missing birds and I started noticing Swallows while on my regular evening bike ride. I live only a few miles away from Colony farm, and while riding on the Pitt Meadows portion of the dike, an extensive infrastructure throughout the Surrey Metro area, which contains the bedroom community of Vancouver, I saw these missing swallows flying about, I counted a dozen or so just on this one outing. The next night, while riding along the De Boville Slough, I looked up into the darkening evening sky and started counting the silhouettes of swallows, first by twos, then by tens. There were over a hundred swallows. So much for missing swallows.
    Back to the Farm: Colony farm is so named as you might guess because it used to be farmland, complete with farm infrastructure like barns. While riding through the park this past summer, I sometimes stop and watch the Barn Swallows flying around and around along the river that runs through it.
    Signs found in the park:
    Wildlife habitat. Keep Out. No Dogs or People. Metro Vancouver.
    Informative Sign:
    Sheep Paddock Estates Expansion, Phase 2 Completed 2008. Raptors now have outstanding convenient perching posts from which to enjoy the view and search for snacks.
    200 species of birds (199 competing species to the Barn Swallow).
    I have pictures but I don’t seem to be able to get the links working while at the coffee shop. You can find them later @protonice if you like.

  62. Don says:

    Going o/t here, but am curious if any FL based commenters know what temps will provide a barrier (if possible) to the spread of invasive reptiles, like the Burmese python. I know the winter of 2010 caused some die off, but then we continue to see the stories of very large pythons that must have survived that weather.

  63. Proud Skeptic says:

    I find myself wondering why Warmists are so insistent that all present ecosystems remain exactly as they are in the places they now exist. Whatever the reason the mangroves are moving, aren’t they a valid ecosystem?

  64. Owen in GA says:

    Aussiebear says:
    January 1, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    When I went to Disney World in 2007, there were a lot of producing orange groves around Kissimee that were not being worked. Obviously many trees have recovered that were abandoned after the freezes.

  65. R. de Haan says:

    @Gail Combs says:
    January 1, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    R. de Haan says: @ January 1, 2014 at 10:47 am

    I wonder if they are going to claim ” the conservation success” of entire forests to be cut down, turned into bio mass…
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    I am sure that information is going over real well with the Aussies and those in the USA who are not allowed to clear brush or make fire breaks and are in danger of losing their home or already HAVE lost their homes.”

    Gail, please read this: http://www.iea.org/publications/freepublications/publication/CoGeneration_RenewablesSolutionsforaLowCarbonEnergyFuture.pdf and http://www.iea-coal.org.uk/publishor/system/component_view.asp?LogDocId=83111&PhyDocId=8674

  66. Larry Fields says:

    Pardon my stating the obvious. Conservation is NOT the same thing as Environmentalism. Example: A few years ago, Environmentalists in Denmark wanted to put bird choppers — I mean wind turbines — in Thy National Park. At times, Environmentalism is the exact opposite of conservation.

    I consider myself to be a Conservationist. I believe in things like National Parks, National Forests, and clean water. However I’m definitely not a 21st Century Environmentalist.

    One of the things that I like about Jim’s excellent essay is that it highlights the important distinction between Environmentalism and Conservationism.

  67. Owen in GA says:

    By producing I meant that they were covered in fruit. The abandoned part is because the grounds were very overgrown and the trees obviously had not been pruned in years. They were across from a condo development I rented a unit in for the trip. They will very likely fall to development if they haven’t already.

  68. Rud Istvan says:

    Don, I am now from FLL. We know that anything below freezing stuns, but does not necessarily kill, invasive green iguanas (lots of pics from 2010). We know that lower water temps kill peacock bass, which is why they were introduced into South Florida from Brazil but cannot spread as far north as Lake Okeechobee.
    We do not know what it would take to kill invasive Burmese pythons. Personally, I think a Mother Nature experiment like 1989, short sharp freeze, would be instructive even though we would have to go replant the mangroves yet again. Problem is pythons are now throughout the Everglades, and Mother Nature’s experiment below Lake Okeechobee would do far more environmental damage to that unique resource than the damned pythons themselves.
    Come on down for the next python hunt. Every little bit helps. You versus 18 foot long snakes.

  69. Slacko says:

    … use a bewildering array of statistics to suggest mangroves are marching march northward along the coast of Florida only because climate change has resulted in just 1.4 fewer days with temperatures falling below -4C between 1984 and 2006. …. the relationship disappeared when the temperature threshold was raised a small amount” but they later imply this suggests just how sensitive the mangroves are too what most of us …

    I hate manure !

  70. Robert W Turner says:

    Confirmation bias strikes again. Psychologists should be having a field day studying the climactivists.

  71. tmitsss says:

    The NYT article was brought to my attention on December 30. I know nothing about mangroves. 30 minutes with a search engine provided enough information to determine that the hypothesis of the Cavanaugh paper was unproven

    I, am mere amateur, was able to quickly find.

    1. that prior to 1980, “Impoundment flooding, used as a form of mosquito control, resulted
    in a 76 percent reduction in mangrove wetlands along the Indian River Lagoon”.

    2. beginning in the mid 1980s mosquito control authorities changed the way they managed
    mangrove swamps adopting something called Rotational Impoundment Management (RIM) to
    protect the mangroves

    3. The Cavanaugh paper mentioned neither of these things.

  72. lurker, passing through laughing says:

    This is like religious fanatics claiming that a good medical outcome must be due to divine intervention, not the hard work and dedication of highly skilled professionals.
    The climate kooks require that all problems be attributed to climate. Human effort to manage the environment, no matter how well documented, does not register in the mind of the CO2 obsessed.
    It is always climate and CO2. And the CO2 obsessed are the only ones with the correct perspective on the issue.

  73. johanna says:

    26-27 latitude is the tipping point for mangroves? Balderdash.They absolutely thrive around Sydney, at 34 S.

  74. AnonyMoose says:

    There is more on the history of damage to Florida coastline swamps, and mention of two pre-1980s mangrove-killing frosts, here:
    http://www.mangroverestoration.com/pdfs/Rey%20et%20al%202012%20IRL.pdf
    Coastal wetland management in Florida: environmental
    concerns and human health
    Jorge R. Rey • Douglas B. Carlson •
    Ronald E. Brockmeyer Jr.
    Wetlands Ecol Manage
    DOI 10.1007/s11273-011-9235-1

  75. Carl says:

    Dr. Gruner said that scientists needed to start considering changes beyond just average temperatures as they analysed the environmental consequences of climate change. “More surprises are likely in store”, he said

    It’s the old slice and dice statistics trick. Break the data down into enough sub-categories and eventually you’ll find one with a rough correlation to what you want. A category consisting of the places with the number of days with temp below -4 exceeding 1.4: how contrived, what a joke. Are the trees ok for 1.3 days but die after 1.4 days? How does a place have 1.4 days below -4 anyway? If the temp was below -4 during the day then that would be one day. Did he select the places where mangroves increased and then average the number of days below -4 over the number of places? This isn’t science.

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