Calamities Oversold

Guest Post by Bob Tisdale

The overselling of calamities in environmental sciences has reached unseemly proportions…so much so in one field that in 2014 a team of marine researchers exposed the problems in a journal article. The paper is Duarte et al. (2014) Reconsidering Ocean Calamities. The abstract reads (my boldface):

The proliferation of a number of pressures affecting the ocean is leading to a growing concern that the state of the ocean is compromised, which is driving society into pessimism. Ocean calamities are disruptive changes to ocean ecosystems that have profound impacts and that are widespread or global in scope. However, scrutiny of ocean calamities to ensure that they can be confidently attributed to human drivers, operate at widespread or global scales, and cause severe disruptions of marine social-ecosystems shows that some of the problems fail to meet these requirements or that the evidence is equivocal. A number of biases internal and external to the scientific community contribute to perpetuating the perception of ocean calamities in the absence of robust evidence. An organized auditing of ocean calamities may deliver a more precise diagnosis of the status of the oceans, which may help to identify the most pressing problems that need be addressed to conserve a healthy ocean.

Also see the Nature editorial Ocean ‘calamities’ oversold, say researchers about Duarte et al. It begins:

The state of the world’s seas is often painted as verging on catastrophe. But although some challenges are very real, others have been vastly overstated, researchers claim in a review paper. The team writes that scientists, journals and the media have fallen into a mode of groupthink that can damage the credibility of the ocean sciences. The controversial study exposes fault lines in the marine-science community.

Carlos Duarte, a marine biologist at the University of Western Australia in Perth, and his colleagues say that gloomy media reports about ocean issues such as invasive species and coral die-offs are not always based on actual observations. It is not just journalists who are to blame, they maintain: the marine research community “may not have remained sufficiently sceptical” on the topic.

These problems run rampant in climate science.

NYTimes Headline

NYTimes Headline

A brand new example of attempted overselling of calamities is the article in The New York Times Ocean Life Faces Mass Extinction, Broad Study Says. The article is based on the McCauley et al (2015) paper Marine defaunation: Animal loss in the global ocean.

[Thanks to Ruth Dixon for introducing us to Duarte et al. (2014) in a comment here at WUWT.]


0 0 votes
Article Rating
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
January 16, 2015 7:03 pm

There was a journalist, back in the 1970’s, named Edith Efron, who explored how environmentalists had distorted cancer research. Her book on this is called “The Apocalyptics”. I think she would be fascinated as to how far the taint has spread today.

Steve in Seattle
Reply to  hunter
January 17, 2015 1:46 am

Thanks for pointing me to this text !

Charles Nelson
January 16, 2015 7:05 pm

Note that they use a picture of a Whale. Iconic and least hunted creature in the world…says it all really.

January 16, 2015 7:15 pm

Growing pains. Literally. Most of us remain animals in every relevant way, thus lacking the intellectual maturity required to contemplate matters of real complexity, no matter how small.
Humanity is inching its way forward though.

Reply to  Brute
January 16, 2015 7:59 pm

You think ? With respect, I don’t see any evidence of that.
Elitists/monarchists still telling poor stupid serfs to give them money so they can rule them benevolently ….
…. not to mention the useless idiots
It’s all in the Complete Works of Shakespeare

Reply to  philincalifornia
January 16, 2015 8:14 pm

Any? Come on.
It is the case that humans have not sublimated to a higher state of being.
But it is also the case that we are far better off than folks in Shakespearean times. In my opinion, it is the result of our determination to better ourselves.

Mary Wilbur
Reply to  philincalifornia
January 16, 2015 10:11 pm

Anton Chekhov comes to mind

Alan the Brit
Reply to  philincalifornia
January 17, 2015 4:36 am

Hey, Phil! I am a monarchist here in the UK. However, when the present incumbent sadly passes, her wonderful 60+ glorious years of wise, dignified, & loyal reign, will pass into the history books of this once great nation. Her value to this nation is imho incalculable! However, from that day forward, I will cease to be a monarchist as I could never support a buffoon such as Charlie boy, who opens his gob & pours out utter crap! That’s putting it mildly!

Reply to  philincalifornia
January 17, 2015 5:48 am

Alan: a true monarchist has to take the rough with the smooth, the buffoon with the wise – no cherry-picking.

Reply to  philincalifornia
January 17, 2015 7:13 am

Technology has advanced.
Humanity, not so much.

Reply to  philincalifornia
January 17, 2015 7:42 am

Several recent US presidents come to mind………

Reply to  Brute
January 18, 2015 2:24 pm

You are of course correct Brute. I thought we were talking sociopolitical and should have added that word to be clear.
… and Alan, I should have typed “neomonarchists” (which ironically Chucky seems to closest to), but I actually did mean to type “useless idiots”

Reply to  philincalifornia
January 18, 2015 2:25 pm

…. and I also meant to type “be closest to” (even though it’s bad English !!!).

January 16, 2015 7:35 pm

OT: Something significant that’s not been making the news, almost at all so far, but rather soon will:
Russia to Shift Ukraine Gas Transit to Turkey as EU Cries Foul
By Elena Mazneva 2015-01-14 19:46:42Z
In other words, eastern and south central Europe has just had its gas supply from Russia suddenly chopped off (due Russian reaction to Ukrainian conflict and EU policies) so there is currently no gas flow from Russia through Ukraine, but supply continues via North Stream into Germany, etc.
The supply cut-off is PERMANENT, the Russians have said no more gas will flow within that pipeline leg from here on – done!
Which means a few hundred million people in that part of the world are currently in homes in the middle of Winter with no heat, and no current alternative, and none possible for several more months at the soonest.
This will serve to:
(1) Create energy havoc and opportunity for gas suppliers if they can increase capacity (eventually) to make up the difference and transport it eastwards.
(2) Disrupt supply to all major industries that are reliant on gas, triggering rapid shutdowns for the duration, enhancing unemployment in what’s already recession affected areas.
(3) Create a gas SUPPLY price increases in Europe, while elsewhere gas prices have been falling sharply.
(4) Sharply reduce European emissions in unplanned painful ways.
(5) Prime the European public’s mind, household budgets, debate and policy choices, just as the Paris conference gravy-train pulls into the station.
{Taxpayer funded quangos officially CITES listed, emergency conference French Riviera July 2016}
At the moment they have a bit of a slightly warmer weather patch in E and SE Europe but it’s going to get interesting as the cold snaps return, as many countries are already saying they have either run out of reserves completely, or will within a couple of days. Multiple countries have reported zero gas flow at present.

Reply to  Unmentionable
January 16, 2015 7:44 pm

I’ll go with #1. The huge drop in the cost of a barrel is so contrived….its amusing.

Reply to  kenin
January 16, 2015 7:59 pm

Even more significantly perhaps, they’re also about to discover how little the globe has really warmed, i.e. almost not at all.

Reply to  kenin
January 16, 2015 8:09 pm

Well, I get your point, but the Saudis can afford to do it for a long time, so it is going to create havoc in some industries.
Might wake some voters up though

Wayne Delbeke
Reply to  kenin
January 16, 2015 9:43 pm

Philincalifornia – I don’t believe they can. The Saudis need the money and they can not keep the volume up for a very long time without reworking their wells and the resulting increase in oil price. I could be wrong of course as that is just my “opinion”.

Reply to  kenin
January 17, 2015 8:42 am

The increase in supply isn’t coming from Saudi Arabia, for the most part it’s coming from the US.
What’s happened is that the Saudi’s haven’t cut production to match the US increase.
The problem for them is that if [they] cut production, they are going to lose income while all other producers gain.

Reply to  Unmentionable
January 16, 2015 7:46 pm

Thanks, it would seem like Putin is ready to try and annexe the whole of Ukraine.
No surprise, but how cruel.

Reply to  Andres Valencia
January 16, 2015 8:06 pm

This is the issue:

MICHAEL HUDSON, PROF. ECONOMICS, UMKC: Europe has imposed something that seems bizarre on the face of it. It’s–in an attempt to isolate Russia, to sort of join America’s new Cold War policy, the Eurozone imposed what it called the third energy policy. And this policy says a company that produces oil and gas cannot own the pipeline; there has to be a separation in order to have a free market.
Now, to show you how absurd this is, imagine if America had a policy that a building owner couldn’t own the elevators in the building. Suppose the landlords of the Empire State Building were not allowed to own the elevators in it. They had to say, well, for a free market, we need to have an elevator company own the elevators. Well, you can imagine what would happen. The elevators would say, you want to go to the 60th floor? I’m sorry, that’ll be $5. Or would you like to walk? You want to go to the 80th floor? That’ll be $10. All of a sudden, the elevator operator would be able to get all of the rental value that the landlord of the Empire State Building had hoped [for].
Well, this is why the U.S. neocons put in the Europeans’ hands the idea, don’t let Russia or Gazprom own the pipeline to give you gas. Let’s find a way of ripping Russia off. Let’s insist that the Americans and the Europeans own the pipeline, and then no matter what Russia charges for gas, we can say, you want to sell gas at $80 a barrel? Well, you’ll have to give us $10, $20, maybe $30 a barrel. Otherwise, we won’t let you send the gas over the pipeline.
This is basically what Ukrainians have said to Russia: we want control of the pipeline so that we can hold Russia up for ransom.

Reply to  Andres Valencia
January 16, 2015 8:48 pm

This happened last week (Jan. 9, I think) when Yatsenyuk visited Germany:
Ukraine PM Yatsenyuk’s ‘I wish Hitler won the war’ interview on German TV was an embarrassment to Germany and the world
Watch the Ukrainian PM lift a Nazi salute (he belongs to the Right Sektor party). This is the guy of whom state dept Victoria Nuland claimed last February, “Yats is my guy” when she helped organize the Maidan protests in Kiev to get rid of the democratically elected leader, and got caught planning it in a secret taping of her conversation with the US Ambassador to the Ukraine wherein she said “F**K THE EU!” You can hear it on youtube. And still the majority of Americans think that Russia invaded Crimea because they don’t read, or think, and they believe the idiots on FOXABCNBCMSNBC.

Reply to  Andres Valencia
January 17, 2015 8:47 am

It’s fascinating how any comment that is in any way critical of Putin or Russia almost always brings out the trolls who go on and on about how Putin had no choice but to invade anyone who doesn’t already bow to him.

Reply to  Unmentionable
January 16, 2015 7:51 pm

Vicky Nuland said it best, “F*** the EU.” Gazprom will send all gas to Europe via Turk Stream
All gas to South Europe via Turkey. Greece’s golden opportunity. Here are the big winners and big losers
Greece is on board with Turk Stream pipeline…”Russia cannot be held ‘hostage’ by stupid and illogical EU politics”

Reply to  policycritic
January 16, 2015 10:42 pm

Does anyone here know enough WWII history to recall that Ukrainian nationalists welcomed and actively supported Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union. Another historical point to consider is that Kiev was the birthplace of what became the Russian state.

Reply to  policycritic
January 17, 2015 1:53 am

I know this debate on Russia and the Ukraine is off thread, but since it has been mentioned I would like to get the following point over. The EU have caused this crisis, their relentless expansion to want to include a country friendly to Russia, that has traditionally been allied to Russia with Russian access to the Black Sea and ports that are not frozen in winter. I am not surprised that the Russians are p****d off.
We know what happened in the ’60’s when Castro allied Cuba with the then USSR, it nearly resulted in a World War. If Greece elects a left wing government, leaves the EU owing the ECB a lot of money, I can see Russia stepping in as an ally. We in the UK (who thankfully are on the sidelines of the EU) would be very worried as would the rest of the EU.
The rulers of the EU have consistently shown they are not fit to govern, with their economic policies, now we are now in the diplomatically impossible position of either accepting Ukraine’s self-determination, or cow-towing to Russia to prevent a war. Their incompetence is staggering!

Reply to  policycritic
January 17, 2015 2:44 am

Yes. But the gas is not going to Turkey any time soon. Pipelines will need to be built.

Reply to  policycritic
January 17, 2015 4:05 am

Nowadays on any web forum there appears to be people, obviously from FSB, former KGB, who are paid to turn all discussions to Ukraine. Worse, these trolls from Putinland are using regular visitors as a tool to connect nazism to Ukraine at the same time as freedom of speech is being completely shut down at Russia.
Anthony / moderator, please stop OT threading to Russian / Ukrainian war.

Reply to  policycritic
January 17, 2015 5:34 am


Does anyone here know enough WWII history to recall that Ukrainian nationalists welcomed and actively supported Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union.

I do. And by Ukrainian nationalists you mean the ones in the west of Ukraine (Bandera, etc). Bandera later came here and lived in NJ.

The EU have caused this crisis, their relentless expansion to want to include a country friendly to Russia

I put the blame firmly on the US for starting it–Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland was right there in Maidan Square handing out cookies–and forcing the EU to go along with it. The EU didn’t have the cajones to stand up to the US, and now they are going to regret it. Clinton broke a verbal promise made by Bush Sr not to have NATO expand east. There’s controversy about this, but they recently found a record of it in James Baker’s handwritten notes.

Reply to  policycritic
January 17, 2015 8:46 am

andrew, relentless expansion?
You make it sound like the EU has been invading countries and forcing them to join.
The reality is that these countries ASKED the EU to join it.
These countries that were allegedly friendly to Russia, were in fact invaded by it and have been under it’s control for decades. That’s why the asked to join the EU because they wanted extra protection against Russia. They feared that Russia will do what it is doing at present. Invading them and forcing them to join the new hegemony that Putin is trying to build.

Reply to  Unmentionable
January 16, 2015 8:27 pm

Its all bull anyway. Canada, U.S., Ukraine, Britain..etc. its all one, all working in concert…… at the highest levels at least. Its one corporation and its franchises…There may be a slight difference in the way they do business, but the bottom-line is the same- RULE!!!! money is the medium.

Reply to  Unmentionable
January 16, 2015 9:30 pm

A great case study to present to the idiots who want to de-carbonize the world.

Reply to  Unmentionable
January 17, 2015 2:21 am

Maybe Europe will eventually get fracked.

Reply to  Unmentionable
January 17, 2015 2:47 am

From the comments at the Bloomberg link:
If — on the same day that Russia bombastically announces its new pipeline route through Turkey — the Turkish foreign minister publicly asserts that Russia is not meeting its obligations vis a vis the Crimean tartars, it should be pretty obvious to everyone that Turkey is not planning on cooperating with Russia on this. This is literally a ‘pipe dream’. One doesn’t even need to point out that Russia could never get the credit to finance construction, unless it’s planning on using successive rounds of short term financing – which is viable if Russia plans on paying something like 300 billion USD for its pipeline…ooops, there go those vaunted reserves….oooops again, they’re already gone. There is no more truth to this than there was to the ‘historic’ gas deal with China that was signed only in spirit. Funny how the same Alexey Miller can announce that China will provide an advance payment in order to finance construction of the ‘Power of Siberia’ pipeline, and then months later say that an advance was never actually part of the deal. Apparently, only Russians themselves fall for this stuff.

Reply to  M Simon
January 17, 2015 3:50 am

Good points M Simon,
The Russians certainly look like a poor credit risk at present, and they’re cutting their own throat out of spite here. Though I suspect Turkey is duplicitous enough to play along opportunistically until someone gives them a better offer. However, about 6 months ago Turkey made noises about blocking the Dardanelles to the Black Sea Fleet’s passage and Putin turned around and said if Turkey did that they would probably get nuked for it. And that was the end of that discussion.
Either way, Europe is going to get an enhanced dose of global warming winter.

Reply to  M Simon
January 17, 2015 5:47 am

Russia can pay for construction in its own currency if it uses Russian pipeline firms. What’s the problem?
You wrote, “There is no more truth to this than there was to the ‘historic’ gas deal with China that was signed only in spirit?” Hunh? Bloomberg reported, “Oil imports from Russia hit an all-time high in November, according to China’s General Administration of Customs.”

Reply to  M Simon
January 17, 2015 5:51 am


Though I suspect Turkey is duplicitous enough to play along opportunistically until someone gives them a better offer.

Better offer at what? Which other country is developing oil and gas and wants to pipe through Turkey?

Reply to  M Simon
January 17, 2015 7:33 pm

“Better offer at what? Which other country is developing oil and gas and wants to pipe through Turkey?”
A better offer as in, “We’ll give you this and this, if you tell Putin to take a hike.”

Reply to  M Simon
January 17, 2015 8:03 pm

Just to add Putin arbitrarily cut supply to spite/punish Europe, and said it was to cut transit via “unreliable countries”. There’s also nothing to prevent Europe from cutting-off a serial unreliable supplier and trouble maker. It will take time, but they will make the effort to reduce Russian gas imports to a minimum. Scarcity creates opportunities.
i.e. two can play games. Putin can lose his entire European gas market as well as his coal export market into Europe (which is also huge). The supply deal with China is a long-term development from distant fields, in terrible terrain and conditions. It will be extremely expensive to build, and take many years.
What’s Russia going to do for revenue in the interim, if Europe diversifies and cuts of an unreliable supplier? I sure would, I would make sure I can, and I expect they will.
And/or they let Putin build the entire Turkish pipeline expansion then refuse to allow its use and simultaneously cover the NORD Stream flow with alternate energy means in advance, so if he then threatens to cut off that one too, go ahead and declare Russia an unreliable and strategically unacceptable supplier and EUROPE cuts off NORD Stream.
Plus embargoes Russian coal and sources US, Canadian, European and African coal instead.
Russia’s behavior is going to be punished it’s just a matter of when, and how – enough rope.

Reply to  M Simon
January 18, 2015 12:03 pm

But unmentionable, you wrote “The supply deal with China is a long-term development from distant fields, in terrible terrain and conditions. It will be extremely expensive to build, and take many years.”
I wrote above:

Bloomberg reported, “Oil imports from Russia hit an all-time high in November, according to China’s General Administration of Customs.”

The Altai pipeline has a start date of 2019, but right now China is getting gas via Vladivostok, which is the port for Russian gas currently to Japan and Korea as well as China. The only threat to that market is US shale development supplying Japan and Korea, and Obama and the Saudis have killed that.
Putin’s PhD was how to take a totalitarian country into the 21st C using natural resources. He knows what he’s doing. Meantime this past week, six EU countries have just asked the US to stop the sanctions.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Unmentionable
January 17, 2015 6:07 am

“few hundred million people … with no heat, and no current alternative”
This self inflicted wound of the EU is the real Calamity. The Oceans are just fine – they are merely the shift away into a new type of Armageddon as the CAGW offensive dies.
An apparently pitifully small percent of people know there IS “NO ALTERNATIVE” to fossil fuels having exited Nuclear and coal, but this number will grow all of a sudden. It would have been a huge favor from Russia if it had happened a couple of years ago. Indeed, harsh as it is, it still is a favor as it will change the government landscape smartly in ways otherwise impossible given the life view held by the irrational dross presently clogging the system. A simple change of governments would not be enough. A war footing against the enemy inside is what it will take.
This act of Russia will be like the D-Day landings except they will be taking place from Costa Del Sol to the Cliffs of Dover to free EU from a tyranny of ideologue idiots. It’s the sense of security provided by a real energy source that has permitted the EU to embark on the self immolation of their remarkably stupid fantasy energy sources. Russia is not the real culprit here. Governments have only one job and that is to take care of issues that will bring harm to their citizens.
I feel for the poor and already fuel starved citizens that the governments have allowed to languish in favor of empty-headed green energy projects. They will suffer more. Maybe the new government will ship trainloads of climate science books and scientific journals of the past 30 years volumes as an emergency fuel for the poor to burn. It will also clear half the shelves of the universities’ bumpf-clogged libraries . This will help buy time to get fracking underway bigtime in EU. Protesters names can be taken and they can sign a paper that they don’t want any of this new fuel but want to rely on windmills.

Reply to  Gary Pearse
January 17, 2015 8:17 pm

@ Gary Pearse
Your last sentence was a cracker, committed to advanced democratic principles, activist-friendly, and thoroughly even handed. Yes, I agree, we must facilitate the conscientious, to object and to live in ways consistent with their rhetoric.

Half Tide Rock
Reply to  Unmentionable
January 18, 2015 3:08 pm

There is a serious effort to stop Canadian oil sands from being exported to Europe. The Tides Foundation a San Francisco Non Profit has taken an active role within Canada and the US. This attempt to shut down Canadian Petroleum exports from Canada includes opposition to Keystone Pipeline by the same cast of characters. It is probably only a good idea from Putin’s perspective. At this point there are two ports that could answer this call. South Portland, Maine and Montreal, Canada. Recently South Portland crafted a law banning eastward shipments of crude oil. This law was crafted by a “volunteer” who moved to South Portland and commuted back and forth to his day job at Center for American Progress. I think it is important to understand that there is a lot going on under the surface which may not bode well for quality of life unless they are called out and thwarted. Believe everything on this link at your own risk but it shows the drift.

January 16, 2015 7:36 pm

Thanks, Bob.
Yes, calamities are offered everywhere, for free. But there really is no free lunch, or calamity.
Calamities are used by governments to demand more taxes and more power.

January 16, 2015 7:37 pm

Bottom trawling….. there’s no way that’s having a negative effect (sarc)
Ahhhh screw it, i gotta make a living.(even more sarc)
And yes, i do understand that many so-called scientists/professionals embellish the current state of the oceans, and how that agenda driven garbage over-shadows the truth is beyond me. Shame on those who swallow it.

Chip Javert
Reply to  kenin
January 16, 2015 8:37 pm

“…shame on those who swallow it…”? Huh? I think you have this backward:
90%+ of citizens are not scientifically trained, spend their lives earning a living, raising kids, and other necessary but non-scientific functions. These folks (whose taxes pay for ivory tower facilities, denizens, and increasing scientific misbehavior) have delegated responsibility for ethical behavior to the academic community. It is taking some time for these people to understand how badly their trust has been violated, but once lost, that trust will be very difficult to regain.
Average people may be “swallowing” this scientific bovine excrement now, but the shame belongs to unethical scientists and an academic community that has failed to hold them accountable for such behavior.

Reply to  Chip Javert
January 17, 2015 4:51 am

“Usefull idiots” then, are not accountable for their own gullibility. They’re just misguided.
This may well be true.
These “usefull idiots” however, are dangerous until they’ve seen the truth about the misinformation they’ve absorbed.
All “useful idiots” need WUWT, or the like, to free themselves.

Reply to  Chip Javert
January 17, 2015 9:59 am

I’m not directing my comments at the average man, but all people ,scientifically trained or not. I have a very serious problem with those who have plenty of life experience, that lack the will or are just to stupid and lazy to wake-up. Fine if your 25, naive and in love i’ll let that slide, but if your 35, trained or not…….how can you not possibly figure this out- its common sense!
i’m not surprised that out there is a small group of satanic scientists with an agenda, but i am surprised to see that they have a following.
….shame on the people.

Leon Brozyna
January 16, 2015 8:00 pm

The hottest year in human history and we’re on the cusp of a mass extinction event about to overwhelm the oceans, all further signs that mankind has pushed the planetary boundaries … blah, blah, blah …
So, how long before they start floating suggestions that the solution to saving the planet will be found in reducing the population? Save the planet and kill the people (except, of course, the good stewards of the earth).
And tonight on NBC News they managed to cover the hottest year with all the usual bullet points to prove that we’re in serious trouble … drought, hurricanes, wild fires … why let facts get in the way of a good story? Once upon a time …

Reply to  Leon Brozyna
January 16, 2015 8:47 pm

Your watched NBC News… really? That’s 30 minutes of your life wasted. Maybe next time do something productive, like re-folding the sock drawer or picking lint from your navel. /s off

Leon Brozyna
Reply to  joelobryan
January 16, 2015 9:10 pm

And where did I say anything about actually watching it? It provides the background noise (blah, blah, blah, blah, blah …) while I engage in other, more productive, activities.

Reply to  Leon Brozyna
January 16, 2015 10:44 pm

I thought this was all caused by plastic shopping bags.

January 16, 2015 8:35 pm

more likely horrified as opposed to fascinated ????

Tom J
January 16, 2015 9:00 pm

At this point in time I have so very much respect and admiration for the thought provokers who were (and those still with us) at Charlie Hebdo than the pathetic, spineless, and increasingly unemployed alarmists at the New York Times. First thing this morning I saw that same stupid headline on the rack at the coffee shop that’s shown above. Words fail me. Guardians of liberty they ain’t.

January 16, 2015 9:55 pm

From the NYT article:
“If you cranked up the aquarium heater and dumped some acid in the water, your fish would not be very happy,” Dr. Pinsky said. “In effect, that’s what we’re doing to the oceans.”
Really, Dr. Pinsky?….. Is that what we’re doing???
Let’s see.., according to Levitus et al 2012, the top 2000-meter ocean temps have risen 0.09C since 1953, and ocean alkalinity has decreased slightly from pH 8.17 to 8.10 over the past 265 years.. Oh, the humanity…
Yes, coral reefs are decreasing, but growing evidence suggests decreasing parrot fish populations are the primary cause..
When science gets cause and effect wrong, erroneous policies waste $trillions and actual problems get worse.

Reply to  SAMURAI
January 17, 2015 2:12 am

You do realize that in absolute magnitude that is a 17% increase?

Reply to  M Simon
January 17, 2015 2:13 am

In pH.

Chris Wright
Reply to  M Simon
January 17, 2015 4:33 am

Wrong. It’s a 2% decrease in pH.
To get the percentage change you have to divide by the start value, in this case 8.17.
I’m not going to lose much sleep over a 2% change.

Gary Meyers
Reply to  M Simon
January 17, 2015 5:31 am

A decrease of 17%???? Start with 8.17-8.10 = .07. Divide .07 by 8.17 = .0085679 = .85%

Gary Pearse
Reply to  M Simon
January 17, 2015 6:15 am

Yes M Simon but here is hundreds of thousands of percent still to go to get to neutral. Oh, I guess you are working with anomalies/sarc.

Reply to  M Simon
January 17, 2015 7:01 am

What he means is that it’s a 17% percent increase in H3O+ ion concentration, since the pH scale is logarithmic.

Reply to  M Simon
January 17, 2015 7:51 am

“What he means is that it’s a 17% percent increase in H3O+ ion concentration, since the pH scale is logarithmic.”
That would be apples and oranges or is it bait and switch.

Reply to  M Simon
January 17, 2015 8:33 am

pH of the OCEANS? What a ridiculous concept. The oceans are not well-mixed, and are far too large to be able to measure the average pH to the third decimal place. We would need millions of accurate sensors providing hourly readings for decades to even BEGIN to be able to see a change.
If the price of oysters doubled or tripled, I might start to worry. Until then please try to think for ourselves, all of us…

Mickey Reno
Reply to  M Simon
January 17, 2015 7:40 pm

I think more to the point is that we don’t have a real number to represent an exact global pH level in the world’s oceans, which would be variable in any case. The measurement and uncertainty errors and estimates going on here make any potential change in pH indistinguishable from 0 at best, and pointless and misleading at worst. Hell, if one were so inclined, he could even argue that out-gassing of oceanic CO2 is raising pH and making the oceans more alkaline using a different but equally valid set of measurements. Which is why ALL tendentious science is wrong-headed, all science that tries to PROVE instead of falsify is wrong. There’s no valid hypothesis testing going on, here, and this paper will be just another bit of climate science detritus that adds nothing to the grand advance of scientific understanding. No one will stand on these particular shoulders.

January 16, 2015 10:10 pm

So are we facing The Great Jellyfish Apocalypse or not?

Larry in Texas
January 16, 2015 10:44 pm

Does anybody really listen to the disaster-mongers anymore? It is the boy crying wolf, and at least the adults in the scientific community are beginning to realize that they cannot overstate catastrophe any longer, because when they really have something useful to say, no one will be listening.

Reply to  Larry in Texas
January 17, 2015 1:56 am

Well yes Larry, you already know the answer to your question . . . . they do listen (unfortunately). There are still gullible people who have a neurotic need to fill their lives with melodrama. They believe everything they read, see or hear. If you asked them “Exactly how much man-made CO2 is up there in the sky?”, they answer “A lot”. You and I (and the rest of our WUWT community) know different.

Reply to  GeeJam
January 17, 2015 3:08 am

George Carlin had it right about the “disaster-mongers” –

Gary Pearse
Reply to  GeeJam
January 17, 2015 6:16 am

Children are getting the scoop in their classrooms and UN-designed textbooks.

Reply to  GeeJam
January 17, 2015 8:33 am

Gary, for info.
So that you know, it is implied that (in the UK) a secondary school class teacher of ‘Religion’ (for example) should teach their subject in a way that is not seen to be biased. Therefore they are asked to cover all religious aspects as a statutory requirement. Their lessons must offer a balanced view surrounding all beliefs, doctrines and religions. The same applies to Science. So, if ‘climate change’ is a statutory subject in, say, Chemistry, teachers are required to give a ‘balanced’ unbiased view. The dilemma is ‘where’ the teacher chooses to obtain their lesson information – and (shock, horror) many teachers source their lesson plans from the BBC’s ‘Bitesize’ programme.
National Curriculum – up until September 2015 (Applies to all UK maintained schools)
(it changes after Sept from a Labour derived Curriculum [vast amount of info, specific, thorough & precise] to a new Coalition derived curriculum [short, to the point, vague & fluffy])
Primary Education Curriculum 2014 (England & Wales)
Key Stage 1 & 2 (5 to 11 years) – Science (SC1 to SC4)
There is no statutory requirement to teach subjects relating to ‘climate change’ or ‘global warming’.
Secondary Education Curriculum 2014 (England & Wales)
Key Stage 3 (11 to 14 years) – Science
Subject content – Chemistry. Pupils should be taught about:
Heading: Earth and atmosphere
Topic: The production of carbon dioxide by human activity and the impact on climate.
Subject Content – Geography
Heading: Human and physical geography
Topic: understand how human and physical processes interact to influence, and change landscapes, environments and the climate; and how human activity relies on effective functioning of natural systems.
Secondary Education Curriculum 2014 (England & Wales)
Key Stage 4 (14 to 16 years) – Science
Subject content – Chemistry. Pupils should be taught about:
Heading: Earth and atmosphere
Topic: Evidence, and uncertainties in evidence, for additional anthropogenic causes of climate change.
Topic: potential effects of, and mitigation of, increased levels of carbon dioxide and methane on the Earth’s climate.
I haven’t got a scoobie-doo about what they teach about ‘climate change’ in the private education sector (independent schools).

CR Carlson
January 17, 2015 1:45 am

Senior Obama White House official: “Never let a good crisis go to waste – even if you have to cause one to create the opportunity for action.”

January 17, 2015 2:07 am

The proliferation of a number of pressures affecting the ocean
What a deep statement.

January 17, 2015 3:22 am

Interesting report from the BBC about some of Europe’s key animals making a comeback over the past 50 years. I think “over the last 50 years” is the important part. Any warming over the last 30 years certainly didn’t play any part in the decline.
It’s not all doom and gloom and illustrates that the decline of species is due to – “Over the past few centuries, animals in Europe have not fared well. Hunting, habitat loss, and pollution have sent animals into decline”
“And I think what the rest of the world can learn from this is that conservation actually works. If we have the resources, a proper strategy, if we use our efforts, it actually works.”

Reply to  richard
January 17, 2015 3:27 am

all that money p….. away on a scam and it could go to actually helping woldlife.
Rant over. Got my thermals on today- damn cold.

January 17, 2015 3:50 am

The team writes that scientists, journals and the media have fallen into a mode of groupthink that can damage the credibility of the ocean sciences.

The damage of credibility to both ocean and climate sciences is severe. Even so it does not prevent climate scientists from doubling down. A recent example is this article from the wunderground, that pulls every rabbit out of the hat including the 97% consensus nonsense.

Reply to  Alx
January 17, 2015 5:04 am

On a similar note we have the Chernobyl disaster. After 28 years we see greater biodiversity, abundance and adaptation. Yes there were quite a few negative effects but this just shows you nature’s resilience. See also Bikini Atoll today after the thermo-nuclear detonation.
“Chronic exposure to low-dose radiation at Chernobyl favours adaptation to oxidative stress in birds”
The Encyclopedia of Earth
“Environmental effects of the Chernobyl accident”

Bubba Cow
January 17, 2015 4:23 am

For 2 nights running I have attempted to post a comment at N Y Times that included simple a link to WUWT. Gonged. So much for 1st amendment rights there.

January 17, 2015 4:27 am

…which may help to identify the most pressing problems that need be addressed to conserve a healthy ocean.

Presently our oceans are healthy. That’s rarely heard.
(first attempt at a “blockquote”)

January 17, 2015 4:28 am

I noted this point the other day with regards to ocean acidification. I have often pointed out the unrealistic nature of tank experiments with co2 ramped up quickly to resemble the year 2100. Then conclusions drawn from that. Critters adapt, acclimatize, evolve, move.

Nature News – 14 January 2015
Ocean ‘calamities’ oversold, say researchers
Team calls for more scepticism in marine research……….
Another example is the decline of species that build calciferous shells, attributed to ocean acidification caused by carbon dioxide dissolving in the seas. In 2013, The Seattle Times said that this issue “is helping push the seas toward a great unraveling that threatens to scramble marine life on a scale almost too big to fathom”.
But the authors of the BioScience paper say that there are significant uncertainties in this. Many experiments are based on “worst-case scenarios”, they say, and claims that calciferous organisms are already declining may relate not to carbon emissions, but to other oceanic processes….

January 17, 2015 4:33 am

…which may help to identify the most pressing problems that need be addressed to conserve a healthy ocean.

Presently our oceans are healthy. That’s rarely heard.

Gary Pearse
January 17, 2015 6:32 am

January 17, 2015 at 4:28 am
Here is a “calciferous” organism that’s still burgeoning after over 500 million years. I think they can handle big swings in pH just fine and they can be pretty tasty,too.
I have a small block of Ordovician limestone from a project I did in northern Saskatchewan with a nautiloid (a straight rather than coiled one) that presently sits in my garden. Its about half a metre (foot and a half) long. They grew to be about a metre or so in length.

Gunga Din
January 17, 2015 7:10 am

We are always learning more but we still know less about the oceans than we do about the Moon.
How can the “calamatologist” be so certain about things of which we know so little?

January 17, 2015 8:11 am

It’s probably been posted before, but it’s worth reposting.
A global survey by the UN with over 7 million respondents shows that climate change comes 16th of 16 categories of concern.
Seems these alarmists need to read Aesop’s Fables.

January 17, 2015 8:36 am

I just can’t believe the paragon of truth and objectivity would print such an article. LOL.
But that’s what happens when the Gray Lady gets senile.

January 17, 2015 11:03 am

So we see a full court press going on right now with obvious collusion between the progressive press, the government, and some “scientists” to get around the fact there has been no appreciable temperature trend in the last 18+ years and nothing they have said would happen has.
And it all comes just before the President gives his State of the Union address. Cover for the new EPA regs that will directly effect a lot of the population? Attempt to put the Republican congress on the defensive over Keystone and possibly de-funding the green energy scam? Prep for Paris next fall? I suspect that there is something else coming. Something we don’t know about yet. Perhaps another unconstitutional move by the president having to do with environmental policy?
Anyway it goes only the disengaged, dishonest, pneumocephalic or those gullible enough to buy bridges off street venders can possibly NOT SEE the obvious over the top PR campaign on climate/environmental issues that going on right now.

January 17, 2015 11:04 am

“If you cranked up the aquarium heater and dumped some acid in the water, your fish would not be very happy,” Dr. Pinsky said. “In effect, that’s what we’re doing to the oceans.”
This kind of statement always annoys me. Please tell me Dr. Pinsky: how many gallons are in the earth’s aquarium and how many gallons of acid would it take to make a -measurable- difference in PH? Now, tell me how many gallons of acid can mankind produce in a year? Now go away.

January 19, 2015 4:30 am

You’re right, calamities, Apocalipse and extrmely bad news sell better than good or neutral news. I strongly recommend to those reporters first to read something more about the oceans and about their important role in the climatic changes, and then to start writing. Here’s a good example of well documented information:

January 24, 2015 9:56 am

Strange. The title of the article says “calamities oversold”. Not having time or stomach to read all of the comments, I did a word search of the page on the keyword “solar”, and failed to get a single hit.
Yesterday, I watched a program on the Love Nature channel (the channel previously known as “OASIS”), which pretended to clarify the dangers posed by solar storms. Instead, it totally trivialized them as follows:
1. the Carrington Event was never discussed, or even mentioned that I could detect.
2. the most serious solar disruption described was the Quebec power outage of 1989, which was described as having caused grid power loss for 9 hours.
3. the possibility of the entire North American grid being put out of commission for months, years, or forever, by a CME was never mentioned
4. the possibility that all unshielded electronic devices would be destroyed was never mentioned
On the contrary,
A. the “documentary” assured the viewers that humanity is “prepared as never before” , as opposed to more vulnerable (and steadily getting more so with globalization and “just in time production”)
B. it lauded the newly acquired ability to protect satellites by warning operators to speed up their orbiting velocity in anticipation of a coming solar event (implying this is the worst case scenario humanity could face). and gave serious voice to the view that we are entering a lengthy period of minimal solar activity (no indication of the time of creation of this documentary was provided, despite repeated use of the expression “in the next two years”)
So I would say that the article published above is seriously misleading. The arguably most serious threat to human civilization is being consistently trivialized in the popular media, usually after a tantalizing scary lead in and subject title.

Reply to  otropogo
January 24, 2015 12:02 pm

After a fairly difficult search for the origins of the solar storm documentary I mentioned above, I found it to be a BBC Horizon program published in February of 2012, and discovered that it did mention that we are more vulnerable before adding, [but] better prepared.
Going back over the past 40 days of this blog, which I had sadly been forced to neglect by pressing circumstances, I also discovered the announcement with comments here of the new Dscovr satellite, set to be launched yesterday as an adjunct to the aging (and, according the BBC program, seriously damaged in 2003) ACE satellite described as the greatest tool we .
Most interesting was the (to me at least) revelation that close orbit satellites could benefit from the 45 minute advance warnings of incoming flares transmitted to their operators by ACE and DSCOVR only to shut down vulnerable circuits and turn their shielded side toward the sun. I had wondered how satellites could carry enough fuel to accelerate within their orbit to counteract the increased atmospheric density created by solar flares (as the documentary described).
So there you have it, our civilization is better prepared for total destruction by the provision of a 45 minute advance warning to satellite operators’ on-duty staff. Let there be dancing in the streets.
The name of the program is “Solar Storm: the threat to planet Earth”, I managed to find it and skim through the whole episode once, but can’t find it again. It seems to be blocked on most sites, at least for Canada.

%d bloggers like this: