Great Barrier Reef Triage Panic

bg coral reef

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Having failed to stir interest in the Great Barrier Reef during the recent cliffhanger Australian Federal Election, reef scientists are now demanding that the government must choose which parts of the Great Barrier Reef they want to save.

Great Barrier Reef: government must choose which parts to save, says expert

Professor Hugh Possingham says authorities must confront prospect that some parts of reef are doomed and focus on what to preserve.

Governments must decide which parts of the Great Barrier Reef they most want to save and confront the prospect that some of it may be doomed, an expert on conservation modelling has warned.

University of Queensland professor Hugh Possingham said agencies, including the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, needed to make tough decisions about which parts of the natural wonder are most worth preserving “rather than trying to save everything”.

Possingham said the looming “triple whammy” of global warming’s impact on the reef – warmer seas, more acidity and more cyclones – meant time was running out and “triage” priorities were needed.

“We should be identifying the most resilient places – the ones most likely to be able to deal with all these assaults from outside and focusing our attention on them rather than trying to save everything,” he said.

“We need to focus on the bits we can definitely save.”

Possingham, a former Rhodes scholar who is described by the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute as “the global leader in mathematical modelling and decision science for nature conservation”, conceded it could be “suicide” for politicians to talk of abandoning some parts of the reef over others.

Possingham said while he welcomed the presence of climate sceptics, it would be “catastrophic” to delay action until the full consequences of how global climate change will play out and coral reefs would evolve were known.

The person who creates the burden of proof has always got the upper hand because it’s almost impossible to prove anything entirely when we’re talking about large landscapes and seascapes over long periods of time,” he said.

Read More: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jul/09/great-barrier-reef-government-must-choose-which-parts-to-save-says-expert

Given Coral originated 540 million years ago, has survived numerous catastrophic extinction events such as the Permian-Triassic Extinction, which killed around 96% of all marine species, and has effortlessly survived hundreds of millions of years of abrupt natural changes in global temperature, I would suggest the burden of proof is on marine scientists to demonstrate why a few degrees gentle anthropogenic warming is such a threat, even if that warming actually occurs.

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Twobob
July 11, 2016 12:13 am

How do they save it?
We walk on an old reef by us.
It is now wooded grassy hills.
Took a while to happen,BUT did.
Probably no one around to protect it.

george e. smith
Reply to  Twobob
July 11, 2016 12:13 pm

Just the parts off the East Coast of Australia, and any other connected to that.
That would be enough. Just leave it alone, and stop mining aquarium fishes from it.
G

george e. smith
Reply to  george e. smith
July 11, 2016 12:15 pm

In particular we wouldn’t want all kinds of “researchers” pounding around in there collecting samples to study, before they get extincticated by sample collectors.
G

Bryan A
Reply to  george e. smith
July 11, 2016 2:26 pm

Charlie Brown would say
“Good Reef”

ferd berple
Reply to  Twobob
July 11, 2016 12:54 pm

How do they save it?
================
They took all the corals
And put them in a coral museum
Then they charged the people
A dollar and a half just to see ’em

Norbert Twether
Reply to  Twobob
July 13, 2016 3:42 am

One of the main killers (40%) of coral reef is the “crown of thorns” starfish. This robot (reviewed in Sci-Am) is designed to kill the starfish.
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/a-starfish-killing-artificially-intelligent-robot-is-set-to-patrol-the-great-barrier-reef/

1saveenergy
July 11, 2016 12:40 am

“which killed around 96% of all marine species”
Is that a 97% con-sensus ??

Steve Fraser
Reply to  1saveenergy
July 11, 2016 8:02 am

I was thinking 97% non-sensus,

Gerard
July 11, 2016 12:41 am

Last nights news (ABC Australia) showed large areas of Mangrove – 10000 Ha dying back guess the cause?

Tim
Reply to  Gerard
July 11, 2016 9:20 am

Warmer seas, more acidity and more cyclones? Only if you want a grant …
One of the most effective anti-fouling paints for boat hulls, developed in the 1960s, contains the organotin tributyltin (TBT), which has been proven to cause deformations in oysters and sex changes in whelks.
(But don’t mention the C word).

Latitude
Reply to  Gerard
July 11, 2016 10:18 am

….a common fungus

Andrew
July 11, 2016 12:45 am

Well since the GBR is the least equatorial in the world (much of it is sub-tropical, and it extends down to the NSW border) it should be fine. Winter water is positively cold outside our tropics. We will have the last surviving reef in the world if it’s a function of warming.
That said, presented with the choice of “coal or Reef” in the election that’s a no brainer. The Reef brings about $1bn pa, coal about $90bn. And I can snorkel in Krabi where apparently the hot water doesn’t bother coral in the slightest.

dudleyhorscroft
July 11, 2016 12:54 am

Possingham said the looming “triple whammy” of global warming’s impact on the reef – warmer seas, more acidity and more cyclones – meant time was running out and “triage” priorities were needed.
Take a deep breath and really, really think.
Warmer seas – yes, we can control that one. Bring up a few drill rigs, and use on board freezing machines to manufacture ice cubes, and spray them over the reef. Problem solved.
More acidity – yes, we can control that too. Use tugs to bring out barges laden with caustic soda, and sprinkle that on the reef. Problem solved.
More cyclones – we can ameliorate that as well. Windmills take energy from the wind, so we need to plant about 100 000 000 windmills on the reef to extract massive amounts of energy from the cyclones, so they become no more than tropical depressions. And we produce a massive amount of energy, so the rivers in Queensland and northern NSW can be pumped back over the Great Dividing Range, to irrigate the Inland (as well as powering all those ice cube making machines). Two problems solved in one blow – pun intended!
What do you mean, we can’t see the reef for windmills and the noise has driven away all the fish and tourists? Doesn’t matter, we have saved the Reef. Hurray! 3 cheers for climate scientists.

Reply to  dudleyhorscroft
July 11, 2016 2:29 am

To man, cyclones are bad. To nature, it has adapted and there are probably links of biological ecosystem response and even dependence on cyclones. The transference of what is bad for man is bad for nature is a typical response not based on science, but emotion.

ClimateOtter
Reply to  Donald Kasper
July 11, 2016 3:01 am

I was long ago given to understand that hurricanes were necessary to the proper flushing out of the Everglades ecosystem.

Stan
Reply to  Donald Kasper
July 11, 2016 8:43 pm

Interesting point Climate Otter. The glue-green algae breakout in Florida might have something to do with the lack of hurricanes in that area.

JohnB
Reply to  dudleyhorscroft
July 11, 2016 2:55 am

The troubling downside to his alarmism is that cyclone numbers have dropped in the Australian region and there is no reason to think this will change.
Not only are there fewer cyclones, they don’t travel as far south as they used to. Maryborough, Bowen, Brisbane, when was the last time the siren sounded? 1974? 1976?

JohnKnight
Reply to  JohnB
July 11, 2016 4:06 am

hmm . . when the climate siren was sounding for global cooling ?

Phil Walter
Reply to  dudleyhorscroft
July 11, 2016 3:47 am

Interesting our scientists cite more cyclones per year yet other scientists say our cyclones are at a 500 year low. BTW we are now at the end of cyclone season in Qld and not 1 cyclone this year. http://theconversation.com/tropical-cyclone-frequency-falls-to-centuries-low-in-australia-but-will-the-lull-last-20814

James
Reply to  dudleyhorscroft
July 11, 2016 5:48 am

Perhaps Hugh should stick to being a statistician, I can tell you that he is good at that, as he taught me statistics years ago.

higley7
Reply to  dudleyhorscroft
July 11, 2016 7:25 am

NO, NO, and NO.
Warmer seas: good for coral reefs, higher metabolism, more photosynthesis, less soluble calcium carbonate making coral strangers with more deposition, reefs growing farther north and south than previously.
More acidity: CO2 make carbonic acid which is a weak acid and unable to alter the complex buffer system that is seawater. Coral reefs themselves actively acidify water as it passes by and through them, and it does not hurt a thing. Corals have what is called physiology which is perfectly able to handle these small changes in pH. Given time to adapt, they clearly can handle much higher concentrations of CO2, as CO2 has been much higher than now during the vast majority of the last 600 million years.
More cyclones: There is no evidence of increased cyclonic activity. Actually the atmospheric cyclonic energy has been low for almost 10 years. This is no surprise since we have had no real warming for over 20 years.
After examining all of the alarmist claims for 10 years, I realized why noe of their claims were true. It’s really quite simple: if there is no warming, nothing they point to can be because of warming.

higley7
Reply to  higley7
July 11, 2016 7:29 am

“making coral stronger with more deposition,”
Darn auto-correct!

Reply to  higley7
July 11, 2016 8:20 am

Cyclones are actually good for corals just as forest fires are good for the forest. A mature forest is a dead forest.
It is mans perception and understanding that needs to change.

RoHa
Reply to  higley7
July 11, 2016 9:16 pm

@ higley7
“Darn auto-correct!”
No, you were right the first time. None of my friends are corals. All corals are strangers.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  dudleyhorscroft
July 11, 2016 7:46 am

More cyclones – we can ameliorate that as well. Windmills take energy from the wind, so we need to plant about 100 000 000 windmills on the reef to extract massive amounts of energy from the cyclones, so they become no more than tropical depressions.

I know you were being sarcastic, but wind turbines have to be shut down during high winds, so no energy at all would be generated during a cyclonic event.

Ernest Bush
Reply to  dudleyhorscroft
July 11, 2016 7:57 am

And who is supposed to pay for the trillions of dollars worth of windmills for this project. Also, do you really want to mess with a natural cycle with no idea of what the worldwide consequences might be. It is way cheaper to develop building codes to limit the damage they cause. What would the loss of water these storms bring do to the areas they hit? Lots to consider here.

Ross King
Reply to  dudleyhorscroft
July 11, 2016 9:54 am

Ha! ha!
Last time in UK, a breezy day, we stopped at a pub in a moorland village, overshadowed by a forest of windmills. THEY WERE ALL FEATHERED-OUT!!! Not one was running in the stiff breeze.
The landlord replied: “When the wind gets to a certain strength, they have to feather ’em out, otherwise they’d get trashed!”
And the wind wasn’t *that* strong.
Forget mitigating cyclones!

Latitude
Reply to  dudleyhorscroft
July 11, 2016 10:25 am

More acidity – yes, we can control that too. Use tugs to bring out barges laden with caustic soda,…
…no, will form a localized super concentrate and precipitate carbonate (buffer)
Easier to just use Arm and Hammer

george e. smith
Reply to  dudleyhorscroft
July 11, 2016 12:36 pm

“””””….. Possingham, a former Rhodes scholar who is described by the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute as “the global leader in mathematical modelling and decision science for nature conservation”, …..”””””
Well there you see what the problem is; the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute.
Hello, Earth to Australia; there are NO ” Mathematical Sciences “. Absolutely NOTHING to observe of experiment on, because Mathematics is a totally fictional Art form. We made it all up out of whole cloth in our heads; NONE of it actually exists.
And if you don’t like the mathematics you already have available to you, then you can just make up some more to your own rules.
Trying to observe any mathematical objects in the universe is even more difficult than looking for dark matter, or intelligent life elsewhere. We already know for certain that there are no mathematical objects to observe anywhere in the universe.
But statistics is an interesting pastime, particularly if you have nothing better to do, or you don’t have any 100 mm square (4 inches) sheets of paper to fold.
In a pinch when you just have to do some Origami, it just so happens that most ordinary toilet paper, also comes in 100 mm or 4 inch squares.
It doesn’t make for good Origami though but it could come in handy to clean up after all that guff about the Great Barrier Reef.
g

John Harmsworth
Reply to  dudleyhorscroft
July 11, 2016 6:25 pm

Warmer seas are a local or regional condition and transient. Additionally, coral bleaching associated with warm sea temps is usually aggravated by extremely low tides. There is no reason to think these events haven’t always taken place. They always recover.
There is no ocean acidification nor is there likely to be
Hurricanes are fewer recently
There is a problem with agricultural runoff and perhaps with excessive harvest of reef fish. These issues could be addressed quite easily.

Another Ian
July 11, 2016 12:56 am

Interestingly I heard it pointed out that the reefs down the West Australian coast with similar land, mining and shipping seem to be squeaky clean?
No link to hand

Philip Schaeffer
Reply to  Another Ian
July 11, 2016 1:03 am

Well, how does the water temperature there compare to the east coast reefs in question? And similar land? Spend much time in WA?

July 11, 2016 12:57 am

“choose which parts of the Great Barrier Reef they want to save”
maybe they should ask a real reef scientist.
that would be Paul Kench
https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Paul_Kench/publications

lee
July 11, 2016 1:04 am

‘Possingham, a former Rhodes scholar who is described by the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute as “the global leader in mathematical modelling ‘
Ah, Climate modelling? Increased Cyclones?

http://www.bom.gov.au/cyclone/images/tc-graph-1969-2012.png
Courtesy BoM

spangled drongo
Reply to  lee
July 11, 2016 3:15 am

Spot on Lee. Are these “scientists” corrupt or just stupid:
http://joannenova.com.au/2014/01/australia-has-lowest-number-of-tropical-cyclones-in-1500-years/

Eugene WR Gallun
Reply to  spangled drongo
July 11, 2016 7:18 am

Apparently their “model” doesn’t use current data as input.
It seems all based on the supposition that there will be “warmer seas, more acidity, more cyclones”. This “made up data” is what their model works off of. Then the conclusion is reached — if such happens the reefs will die. This is converted to — such WILL happen and therefore the reefs will die.
If you are a true believer in global warming and evil carbon — such WILL happen — “warmer seas, more acidity, more cyclones” Their current dire predictions are justified by what will become “future current data”.
They can see into the future and from the future they pluck their data and use it in their models.
These people are not scientists — they are seers. Belief in global warming and evil carbon makes the future an open book to them.
Its all just a religious guy making another dumb “end of the world” prediction.
Eugene WR Gallun

Ernest Bush
Reply to  spangled drongo
July 11, 2016 8:08 am

@Eugene – There is no “made up data.” It is all just fraud and lies.

July 11, 2016 1:04 am

Maybe they should transplant Red Sea and Persian Gulf corals?

Alan Kendall
Reply to  Fernando Leanme
July 11, 2016 6:44 am

Wouldn’t work. Very limited range of species, all adapted to higher than normal salinities.

Chris Hanley
July 11, 2016 1:17 am

Where polluting runoff is a problem I say fix it.
Temperature anomalies with trends for three different start dates and all ending in July 2014:
http://mclean.ch/climate/figures_2/GBR_Aug2014_1.gif
“… the trend from January 1982 to July 2014 being 0.082C/decade …”:
http://mclean.ch/climate/GBR_Aug_2014.htm
Thirty five years of data is hardly enough basis for a mathematical model.

Another Ian
Reply to  Chris Hanley
July 11, 2016 1:37 am

Chris
More than enough
As the saying has it
A statician will (under protest) fit a curve through three points
An engineer through two
And an ecofadist through one

JohnKnight
Reply to  Another Ian
July 11, 2016 4:18 am

(While a Clinton will (over protest) fit it through none at all ; )

jono1066
Reply to  Another Ian
July 11, 2016 4:52 am

maybe an `electrical` engineer would.

Mike McMillan
Reply to  Another Ian
July 11, 2016 5:16 am

Or a railroad engineer.

george e. smith
Reply to  Another Ian
July 11, 2016 12:40 pm

Statistical trend lines don’t actually have to go through any known points, and seldom do. Nobody knows what to do about all the new points on the trend line; none of which have ever actually been observed or measured.
G

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  Chris Hanley
July 11, 2016 6:58 am

I was taught as an engineer not to extrapolate beyond the data. I recall an illustration on curve fitting someone put together from order 1 to 5. The behavior of the curves was eye-opening to say the least.
Is was instructed that one might, under duress, extend a graph at one end or the other to the tune of 5 – 10% but only if the need was time critical and everyone had agreed to the risks. I’ve never actually had to do it myself.

Robert from oz
July 11, 2016 1:17 am

“More acidic” “Rhodes Scholar” what a putz, a lying thieving putz.

Dougal
Reply to  Robert from oz
July 11, 2016 2:40 am

Perhaps, less caustic

Jer0me
July 11, 2016 1:18 am

They should come out here. The reef is fine 😊

Peter
Reply to  Jer0me
July 11, 2016 5:45 am

What are you going to believe, a multi-million dollar climate model, or your own eyes?
Apart from the million tourists, most people believe the models.

Another Ian
July 11, 2016 1:39 am

And ground truth those various “Brigalow Declarations” to which he has his name

Johann Wundersamer
July 11, 2016 2:00 am

“Given Coral originated 540 million years ago, has survived numerous catastrophic extinction events such as the Permian-Triassic Extinction, which killed around 96% of all marine species, and has effortlessly survived hundreds of millions of years of abrupt natural changes in global temperature, I would suggest the burden of proof is on marine scientists to demonstrate why a few degrees gentle anthropogenic warming is such a threat, even if that warming actually occurs.”
______________________________
And then there is still the question why marine scientists are snorkeling on the sea surface for coral reefs, count whales in the tropics on diesel powered rubber dinghies and count Adelaide penguins in the arctic summer
instead of doing marine science.

Johann Wundersamer
July 11, 2016 2:06 am

count adelaide penguins in the arctic summer
-> in the antarctic summer.

dennisambler
Reply to  Johann Wundersamer
July 11, 2016 2:43 am

Adelaide penguins? Adelie even?

John Harmsworth
Reply to  dennisambler
July 11, 2016 6:34 pm

Those penguins say all kinds of things!

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  Johann Wundersamer
July 11, 2016 5:19 am

adelie even / uneven
dennisambler on July 11, 2016 at 2:43 am
Adelaide penguins? Adelie even?
whatever you want dennis.

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  Johann Wundersamer
July 11, 2016 5:32 am

http://www.google.at/search?ei=6JCDV_m5AsS1a-mlsPAM&q=fat+white+meat+Ad%C3%A9lie%C2%A0penguins+&oq=fat+white+meat+Ad%C3%A9lie%C2%A0penguins+&gs_l=mobile-gws-serp.12…62512.91441.0.94968.33.24.2.5.5.0.3045.12465.0j5j7j2j2j1j1j3j0j1.22.0….0…1c.1j2.64.mobile-gws-serp..14.15.5109.3..0j41j0i3j0i67j0i22i30j33i21.5FvpsjlEbvA

Hivemind
July 11, 2016 2:45 am

He lost all respect when it turned out he was a modeller. Ground truthing is everything. No ground truth, no science.

Paul from Oz
July 11, 2016 2:48 am

I wonder how he intends to be able to change the climate on the parts of the reef they decide to save, while the rest of the reef is left with its natural climate. Drop in ice blocks over it? He appears to have assumed that climate is having some effect but if he had taken 5 minutes of trouble like I just did and look up the BOMs temperatures for say AYR Research Station 70kms from Townsville which opened in 1951. he would have found the following. Annual Mean Maximium temperature for 1952 was 29.9 DegC. For 2014 it was 30.1 DegC. and for 2015 29.1. So the average of the last two full years ( 2014-15) of records was 29.6 degC. which is 0.3 Deg.C cooler than the Annual Mean Max in 1952. So why do they say the reef is dying due to the extra Mann made heat. It makes no sense. BTW it is only about 22% of the reef has bleached, and it will recover as it has done before.

July 11, 2016 3:32 am

It seems obvious there’s no choice; they can’t save both.
And they can’t save either.
The truth is no one has the power to “save” the kelp forests, or the coral reefs; nor do they have the power to destroy them. It’s hubris; an overwhelming sense of perverted duty to “do something”.
It’s unique to the modern human; the idea they’re so important, the things they do are so significant? They change the entire ecosystem! Hubris writ large? Yes of course, but what does it tell us about the people who live next door?
You aren’t that important. What you do in life is insignificant. If you win a Nobel Prize, they send you a letter. Otherwise, sit down, shut up and watch the movie.

Owen in GA
Reply to  Bartleby
July 11, 2016 4:11 am

I be a whole bunch of Australian dollars could be saved by eliminating his position and research center. That is about the only saving I see coming out of this. Of course since I am not an Australian citizen, it is my tax dollars being wasted. We could use to eliminate a few clock cycles on environmental computer games in the US as well.

Owen in GA
Reply to  Owen in GA
July 11, 2016 4:13 am

Wow, my keyboard dropped a few letters on me. The opening was supposed to say “I bet …”

Berényi Péter
July 11, 2016 4:07 am

Possingham said the looming “triple whammy” of global warming’s impact on the reef – warmer seas, more acidity and more cyclones – meant time was running out and “triage” priorities were needed.

Right. Cooling specific parts of the reef artificially must be cheap &. easy. And mixing a prodigious quantity of lime milk there into the water along with diverting cyclone paths to abandoned segments is surely a piece of cake. Or Possingham is silly. Either — or.

July 11, 2016 4:22 am

Possingham said the looming “triple whammy” of global warming’s impact on the reef – warmer seas, more acidity and more cyclones – meant time was running out and “triage” priorities were needed.

tadchem
July 11, 2016 4:23 am

I have seen elsewhere that the portions of the GBR that are most endangered are those exposed directly to currents crossing the Coral Sea from the strait between Vanuatu and the Solomons, a very active volcanic area. Perhaps the sulfur dioxide released by the submarine volcanism is a contributing factor.

Peter
Reply to  tadchem
July 11, 2016 5:42 am

I think there has been a lot of volcanic activity in the last few years. Earthquakes, and a lot – and I mean a lot, of pumice stone on the beaches.

DC Cowboy
Editor
July 11, 2016 4:43 am

Obviously they need to give the Marine Scientists millions in order to ‘research’ how to save the reef.

Tim
Reply to  DC Cowboy
July 11, 2016 8:41 am

An all-expenses-paid tropical ‘research’ holiday – on the taxpayer. Who wouldn’t enroll? (Just write what we suggest).

Latitude
July 11, 2016 4:51 am

reefs are the aquatic equivalent of weeds in the front yard…they will grow where they can

John Harmsworth
Reply to  Latitude
July 11, 2016 6:44 pm

There’s the brilliant truth!
100 stars!

Mark - Helsinki
July 11, 2016 4:55 am

Corals have developed a method of dealing with sudden warm waters, this evolutionary defense mechanism developed over millions of years, so this is nothing new for corals.
Warmists must not believe in evolution then. Corals have obviously being dealing with environmental change for millions of years including sudden increases in temperature.
This is pure pseudo science to claim corals are suffering from temperatures

Philip Schaeffer
Reply to  Mark - Helsinki
July 11, 2016 5:30 am

Logically, is very weak.
“Corals have developed a method of dealing with sudden warm waters, this evolutionary defense mechanism developed over millions of years, so this is nothing new for corals.”
That doesn’t mean you know that these corals will survive this event.
“Warmists must not believe in evolution then.”
Believing that quick changes will harm certain ecosystems doesn’t mean you don’t believe in evolution.
“Corals have obviously being dealing with environmental change for millions of years including sudden increases in temperature.”
Nobody is claiming that all corals will necessarily become extinct due to a sudden temperature increase.
“This is pure pseudo science to claim corals are suffering from temperatures”
And that was a bunch of pseudo logic.

John Harmsworth
Reply to  Philip Schaeffer
July 11, 2016 7:08 pm

I feel sorry for you, Phillip. I expect you still refuse to give in to the idea that the Easter Bunny isn’t real or that Santa doesn’t bring your Christmas presents. Mark’s logic is concise and flawless, while you advance the preposterous notion( yes Phillip, your ideas are preposterous!), that a temporary upset of a couple of degrees to an area of reef could possibly be the first time in the history of coral reefs that this completely permanent and fatal condition has occurred. You present no counter theory as to why the ocean had some magic temperature limit before humans that prevented this from ever happening. When I was in Cuba years ago I saw hills composed of layers of coral hundreds of feet above sea level. I don’t think they’re alive, Phillip! I flew there in a plane, Phillip! And it was pretty hot there. Did I kill the coral, Phillip? If you think so, go ahead and blame me for Santa and Peter Cottontail!

Philip Schaeffer
Reply to  Philip Schaeffer
July 12, 2016 6:40 pm

John Harmsworth said: “I feel sorry for you, Phillip. I expect you still refuse to give in to the idea that the Easter Bunny isn’t real or that Santa doesn’t bring your Christmas presents”
OK, nothing so far, just an insult.
“Mark’s logic is concise and flawless, while you advance the preposterous notion( yes Phillip, your ideas are preposterous!), that a temporary upset of a couple of degrees to an area of reef could possibly be the first time in the history of coral reefs that this completely permanent and fatal condition has occurred.”
I do? Please do quote me if you aren’t just making stuff up.
“You present no counter theory as to why the ocean had some magic temperature limit before humans that prevented this from ever happening.”
I didn’t say anything about that at all. I just pointed out that the logic used by mark doesn’t prove anything.
“When I was in Cuba years ago I saw hills composed of layers of coral hundreds of feet above sea level. I don’t think they’re alive, Phillip! I flew there in a plane, Phillip! And it was pretty hot there. Did I kill the coral, Phillip? If you think so, go ahead and blame me for Santa and Peter Cottontail!”
Now you’re just ranting.

Mark - Helsinki
July 11, 2016 4:59 am

Also they wont say, when SPS do die off, the rock they leave is a prefect environment for even more diverse reef life. Most don’t die off though, they hunker down expel algae and wait for things to get better, which would be around now as El Nino went. If the waters suddenly cool in the GBR it will also have a negative net effect until temperatures stabalise
Plus we can actually take chunks of reef and seed new reefs, easily. We can grow reefs no problem, this is all complete nonsense

Annie
July 11, 2016 5:10 am

What is ” ‘decision science’ for nature conservation'”? Not to mention ‘conservation modelling’. Where do you start with this idiocy? Triage for the ‘triple whammy’ to the GBR! Good grief! So that’s what a Rhodes Scholarship can do for you.

Gamecock
Reply to  Annie
July 11, 2016 7:36 am

What’s ‘triple whammy’ in Latin?

Akatsukami
Reply to  Gamecock
July 11, 2016 10:23 am

“Triplici whammy”..

Peter
July 11, 2016 5:40 am

This is going to be a big problem. I live in one of the GBR coal ports, near a big river mouth (full of phosphates. The problem is that the reef is not dying! It’s thriving.
The scientists are going to be angry. I just hope they don’t lobby to do something stupid and damage the reef with some silly proposal.

Mark - Helsinki
Reply to  Peter
July 11, 2016 6:17 am

True, there was high mortality on part of the reef, the bit that pokes into the equatorial region, the media went with the reef is dying, overall loss was not significant and that would be replaced within a year with growth.
As some local tourism people have said, the greenies only want to see damaged parts, which is the vast minority of the reef, while the rest will flourish in the warmth as life does in general

John Harmsworth
Reply to  Mark - Helsinki
July 11, 2016 7:24 pm

Reefs are living systems. Life spreads out as far as it can until it is living in places that are not supportive of it all the time. The ecosystem of every organism has areas where the individuals are racing to evolve before the variability of local conditions kills them off. That’s why there are different species of coral and symbiotic algae.Different ones fit a different band of conditions.

July 11, 2016 5:42 am

NAILED IT!

George Ellis
July 11, 2016 6:05 am

It is worse than we thought! Spanish Hogfish are invading because it is so warm.
/stock photo is from the Atlantic 😀

Latitude
Reply to  George Ellis
July 11, 2016 6:52 am

LOL… +1

george e. smith
Reply to  George Ellis
July 11, 2016 8:31 pm

And there’s a lot of hogwash invading the GBR as well.
g

BobM
July 11, 2016 6:30 am

It’s only “anthropogenic warming” of the oceans in the models when they factor in the “missing heat”. And its never “gentle” either, but a man-made disaster.
This is much better:
“Given Coral originated 540 million years ago, has survived numerous catastrophic extinction events such as the Permian-Triassic Extinction, which killed around 96% of all marine species, and has effortlessly survived hundreds of millions of years of abrupt natural changes in global temperature, I would suggest the burden of proof is on marine scientists to demonstrate why a few degrees gentle NATURAL warming is such a threat, even if that warming actually occurs.”

M Seward
July 11, 2016 6:32 am

The cora; that forms the reef may well have evolved 450 million years ago and actually be far more robust than green alarmists will ever admit but that is not the potential extinction that is play here. That extinction is the end of the gravy train that feeds and breeds CAGW alarmism and all its many many tributaries including the one that flows from Canberra via Brisbane to the tropical alarmism hot spot in Big Green Eco Education on North Queensland

Bruce Cobb
July 11, 2016 6:39 am

“The person who creates the burden of proof has always got the upper hand because it’s almost impossible to prove anything entirely when we’re talking about large landscapes and seascapes over long periods of time,” he said.

Yes. It’s like I keep saying about the space aliens. I shouldn’t have to show definitively that they are here, and pose a significant threat to humanity. The burden of proof is too great a hurdle, and the threat is an enormous one. I mean, we’re talking about a planet-wide alien presence, over many decades. We need to act now, before it’s too late!

H.R.
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
July 11, 2016 7:56 am

If your doorbell rings, ignore the flickering lights, all your clocks spinning backward, and don’t open the door, Bruce.

mkelly
July 11, 2016 6:45 am

If (when) we get another glaciation the entire reef will be gone when sea level drops 400 feet. The reef as it is today only exists due to global warming.

schitzree
July 11, 2016 6:51 am

What needs to happen is the Australian government needs to get a prediction out of this guy about which part of the GBR can’t be saved, then leave it to its fate.
Then tell him in five years, if nothing bad has actually happened to that section of the reef, they will fire him and charge him with fraud.
See how doomed he think the reef is then.

George M Hebbard
July 11, 2016 7:04 am

There’s been a lot on the Internet lately about the die-off of starfish, which leads to a proliferation of sea urchins, which are decimating Pacific kelp beds. Nothing in that might be affecting the coral, except what may be affecting the starfish (a normally non-fatal densovirus) might be related to the causative factor of coral polyp mortality.
One possibility is the highly sensitive poisons being spewed our from Fukushima. Since Japan clamped down on dissemination of that data, measurements have been bubbling in the background that are truly scary. Can starfish die of be distantly related to coral mortality?

Reply to  George M Hebbard
July 11, 2016 12:01 pm

Interesting point. It seems to me that with the oceans it’s usually something really not very obvious for a lot of these die offs. Of course whatever ends up being the real cause is always global warming related somehow.

John Harmsworth
Reply to  George M Hebbard
July 11, 2016 7:29 pm

Other way around. Some reef damage is caused by infestations of Crown of Thorns starfish.

george e. smith
Reply to  John Harmsworth
July 11, 2016 8:33 pm

Which sea urchins prey on.
g

Bill Illis
July 11, 2016 7:05 am

All we have to do to stop the bleaching events is to stop the El Ninos. Simple.
Australia can just build a big dam at the equator of the Pacific about 500 kms long (going south to north) and about 500 metres deep. Or one could stop the Trade Winds, stop the Earth’s rotation, remove the atmosphere, accelerate continental drift of Australia northeasterly etc.

gringojay
Reply to  Bill Illis
July 11, 2016 9:31 am

Mexican official says they can’t pay for no 500 km dam & a wall on their northern border at the same time, but certainly want to bid for the deeper excavation contract. (OK, not true)

Jenn Runion
July 11, 2016 7:17 am

triage?
triage??
triage???!!!
“an expert in conservation modelling”
I think that says it all don’t you? Not an expert in marine reef science, not an expert in marine biology, heck not even the word scientist was used…..a conservation modeler.
And what the heck is “decision science?” I decide what is science and squawk my decisions to justify a paycheck? Or to get my name into the media because I have a grant approval pending?
Pahleeze.
Go back to your clean, sterile lab environment dude and let the “dirty”(i.e. field) scientists do the real stuff.

richardX
Reply to  Jenn Runion
July 12, 2016 12:32 am

Nice one, Jenn 🙂 But … does he have an actual lab or is it an office with a computer or three.
I used to model stuff when I was 9 or 10 years old. You could buy these really nice Airfix plastic kits of Spitfires and ME109s and all sorts of exciting things. They came with cards of transfers that you could soak off in water and float onto the assembled model. That made the models real and authentic. It was best to paint the models before you put the transfers on. I think that my models were more accurate than his.

Jenn Runion
Reply to  richardX
July 12, 2016 7:22 am

Never got into models myself…..although…..
I once put together a mouse skeleton from owl pellets (extra credit that I didn’t really need, but was curious to see if I could do it)…I have to say that although I got a few bones wrong and some were missing, it was more accurate than this guy could ever make a model.

Robert Wykoff
July 11, 2016 7:52 am

Can they just set up gigantic water chillers that can directionally spew cold water to specific parts of the reef?

Ernest Bush
Reply to  Robert Wykoff
July 11, 2016 8:53 am

These so-called scientists just need to leave the reef alone. It has been going a lot longer than the human race and may outlive us at the rate we are going. Both of us survived the Holocene warming period just fine when it was a lot warmer than now.

John of Cloverdale, WA, Australia.
July 11, 2016 8:31 am

Like Sir Lancelot, the misguided Guardian comes to the rescue of a princess, who is not in danger.

Reply to  John of Cloverdale, WA, Australia.
July 11, 2016 11:56 am

The other Python bit that comes to mind is the ‘Silly Walk’ sketch.
“It’s not…it’s not really silly at all, is it?”
“No! But I feel that with a government great it could be a lot more silly!”

Reply to  chilemike
July 11, 2016 11:57 am

‘government grant’.. @#$% spellcheckerrrr!!!!

Patrick MJD
Reply to  John of Cloverdale, WA, Australia.
July 12, 2016 1:38 am

No! She *DOES* wanted to be “saved”…and the last line says it all!

Steve C
July 11, 2016 9:17 am

Should be fun, though. Somehow you just know that the areas of reef the politicians choose to ‘protect’ will quickly wither and die, while somewhere they dismiss as ‘dead’ will flourish as never before …

jdgalt
July 11, 2016 9:32 am

It wouldn’t surprise me if parts of the reef are actually destroyed — by too many tourists and/or poaching. Should it happen I hope climate change doesn’t get undeserved blame.

Reply to  jdgalt
July 11, 2016 11:55 am

The other Python bit that comes to mind is the ‘Silly Walk’ sketch.
“It’s not…it’s not really silly at all, is it?”
“No! But I feel that with a government great it could be a lot more silly!”

ferdberple
Reply to  chilemike
July 11, 2016 1:03 pm
ferdberple
July 11, 2016 1:02 pm

The Ozzies should move the Great Barrier Reef to Antarctica where it will be safe from Global Warming.
Too Expensive you say? Not by half! Just stick a 10 cent postage stamp on the Reef, and mail it to Canberra, with a return address of South Pole, Antarctica. The Ozzie Posties will return it to the South Pole, Postage Due.

lewispbuckingham
Reply to  ferdberple
July 11, 2016 1:42 pm

That can’t happen, the postage rate has gone up to $1.

Latitude
July 11, 2016 1:22 pm

Professor Hugh Possingham says authorities must confront prospect that some parts of reef are doomed and focus on what to preserve.
====
start with the doomed parts professor

Bohdan Burban
July 11, 2016 1:24 pm

The “Crown of Thorns” death threat didn’t pan out for these money grubbers, so they roll out another one … such is sustainability paradigm.

CarlF
July 11, 2016 2:06 pm

To save it, just leave it alone. It is human activity that appears to cause the worst damage. Pollution, over-fishing, mechanical damage, etc. Look at the marine parks of Cuba, which are basically off-limits. Diving is permitted, but for only a few divers a day, and no fishing of any significance. They’re in beautiful condition. http://oceandoctor.org/gardens/ Perhaps the Great Barrier Reef has been studied and explored too much?

travelblips
July 11, 2016 3:14 pm

Hhere.. I’ve been arguing that one with the trolls for a while now and they all ignore the science, fail to see the relevance of coral surviving extinction events including meteor impacts and a general geologic existence in a more warmer acidic ocean than today could possibly mean coral is a whole lot sturdier than those fretting about our mild bout of warming…

Gunga Din
July 11, 2016 3:40 pm

Possingham said while he welcomed the presence of climate sceptics, it would be “catastrophic” to delay action until the full consequences of how global climate change will play out and coral reefs would evolve were known.
“The person who creates the burden of proof has always got the upper hand because it’s almost impossible to prove anything entirely when we’re talking about large landscapes and seascapes over long periods of time,” he said.

Hmmm…..So…The Hypothesis has been stated. It has been supported by other littler hypothesis that have often been shown to be exaggerated or in error. (Plus a very fractured Hockey Stick that few seem to want to hold onto anymore.)
Add to that the cracked (I’m being kind.) foundation of the Climate Models used like a crystal ball to unfailingly support The Hypothesis and the skeptics have “the burden of proof”?!?!?
Sheesh!
PS “The person who creates the burden of proof has always got the upper hand because it’s almost impossible to prove anything entirely when we’re talking about large landscapes and seascapes over long periods of time,”
In other words, “We don’t have to prove a d*mn thing. We just have to make the claim that ‘Man did this and we have to control Man NOW!'”

John Harmsworth
Reply to  Gunga Din
July 11, 2016 7:41 pm

It’s identical to “the big lie”!

nankerphelge
July 11, 2016 5:21 pm

The dear old thing has been through quite a bit including Ice Ages but zounds the latest iteration is only about 10000 years old and survived the RWP and MWP. It even put up with rising sea levels. Wow!!!

Asp
July 11, 2016 6:19 pm

Hung Possum, as other ‘brilliant mathematical modelers’, should realize that dexterity in the development of complex mathematical models that normal mortal have no hope of understanding, does not necessarily predispose him to ‘learned’ commentary as to what really happens in the real world. Perhaps the occasional visit to the GBR would help him bridge this gap in perception.
One ponders as to what prompted this former Rhodes scholar to seek attention and have his opinions published by The Guardian. Is his funding drying up?

Bob in Castlemaine
Reply to  Asp
July 11, 2016 8:16 pm

Asp, do you think it could it be that Hung Possum has genuine concerns about potential extinction? Extinction in this case being the prospect of warming gravy train grants being turned off!

Asp
Reply to  Bob in Castlemaine
July 11, 2016 11:20 pm

Everybody has to eat!

July 11, 2016 8:31 pm

Give us the money or your reef will die!
Except that the threats of warming, acidification and storms is BS. The temperature trend on the Great Barrier Reef over the past three decades has been flat and temps are lower than in the Coral Triangle region where corals reach their global peak of biodiversity. A million measurements of oceanic pH over the past century shows no trend in acidification and the incidence of severe tropical cyclones on the Barrier Reef over the past century is less than in the preceding one. These are verifiable facts.
For the past half-century “experts” have told us the GBR is threatened with immanent destruction. Are they liars, fools or experts? You decide.

Patrick MJD
July 12, 2016 1:02 am

This reminds me of the scene from a Woody Allen film, I don’t recall what one as I am not a fan of his “work”, where he holds a fragment of the cloned nose of the president at gun point!

Brian Smith
July 12, 2016 1:59 am

I’ve been diving on the reef for over 40 years and I’ve never seen anything like it. Bleaching everywhere on the northern reefs and last week temperatures 20 metres below at 27 degrees celsius (80 Fahrenheit)- in the middle of winter. That is insane and certainly not something I’ve seen before in my life time.

sophocles
July 12, 2016 2:14 am

Given the global temperature history over the last 65 million years I give the
Australian Barrier Reef far better odds for survival than Prof Hugh Possingham could
ever possibly have without any human intervention required at all.

Brian H
July 12, 2016 2:53 am

Will it survive attempted salvation?

Jim Clarke
July 12, 2016 6:42 am

They will put a fence around them and a “Global warming free zone” sign up. That oughta do it!

observa
July 12, 2016 8:13 am

“The person who creates the burden of proof has always got the upper hand because it’s almost impossible to prove anything entirely when we’re talking about large landscapes and seascapes over long periods of time,”
The stoic perfessor carries the Green Man’s burden heavily upon his shoulders. Now where have I heard something like that before?

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