Eye roller: Dead whales beached in Chile, climate change suspected

From AFP and the “tabloid climatology” department

A dead whale on the seashore of the Coquimbo region. (AFP PHOTO / SERNAPESCA)
A dead whale on the seashore of the Coquimbo region. (AFP PHOTO / SERNAPESCA)

Dead whales beached in Chile, climate change suspected

SANTIAGO, CHILE: Several huge whales have washed up dead over recent months on beaches in northern Chile, where scientists suspect they are moving in increasing numbers due to climate change.

After the beaching of hundreds of dead whales in the south last year, the trend has now shifted to areas where the phenomenon was previously rare.

Last weekend a 14-meter (46-foot) fin whale was found dead on rocks at a beach in the city of Coquimbo.

That prompted experts from the state National Fisheries and Aquiculture Service (Sernapesca) to investigate.

They say sea creatures in the Pacific off Chile’s coast are acting unusually.

“We have detected a rise in recorded cases of beached whales on the coast, which is not normal,” Sernapesca biologist Gerardo Cerda told AFP on Wednesday.

“It is strange to see this kind of incident” in the north, he said.

There have been three beachings in the region reported this year and six in 2015, Sernapesca said in a statement.

The whales migrate north from November to March during the southern winter, gathering in a marine reserve area around the Charanal Islands.

Whale numbers there have swelled over recent years, possibly drawn by a growth in the number of krill—a crustacean prized by sea creatures.

“There has been an increase in marine life in the area, possibly due to climate change,” said Frederick Toro, a conservation medicine professor at Andres Bello University.

“That may have increased the diversity of the whales,” he told AFP.

The rise in whales beaching may be a natural consequence of these greater numbers of whales in the region, Cerda said.

In the case of the fin whale found this weekend, he said investigators had ruled out the theory that the whale was harmed by a fishing boat or other human factors. The whale was thought to have died of illness or old age.

In December scientists were shocked by the discovery of 330 whales on a remote beach in the south.

Scientists suspect those whales were poisoned by a toxic red algae.

In July this year, some 70 smaller dead whales were found washed up, also in the south.

Millions of salmon have also washed up this year on southern Chilean beaches, poisoned by the algae.

Scientists suspect the algae proliferated due to “El Nino,” an extreme weather phenomenon that strikes Pacific regions every few years

Gosh, what a mishmash of conflicting causes.

First in the headline, “climate change”, then it was “growth in the number of krill”, followed by “There has been an increase in marine life in the area, possibly due to climate change,” and then “The rise in whales beaching may be a natural consequence of these greater numbers of whales in the region”, and then “whales were poisoned by a toxic red algae” finalized with “Scientists suspect the algae proliferated due to “El Nino,” an extreme weather phenomenon that strikes Pacific regions every few years”

Newsflash: El Nino is NOT climate change. It is a regional change in wind and ocean that allows the Earth to warm the seas in that region, which have global temperature impacts. It has been going on for millenia, long before there was some some scientist and idiot reporter to wildly speculate about it.

Maybe they should have consulted this article I found in a few seconds:

Ask an Expert: How will this year’s El Nino affect oceans and fisheries?

Off the coast of North America, we can also expect declines in some fish stocks, specifically in the cold water fish stocks, like anchovy, that are important prey for a lot of species like tuna, whales, sea birds, seals and sea lions. So the loss of the anchovy off North America will also impact those higher predators. I think we may see more strandings of sea lions, seals and whales.

Additionally, there can be periods of harmful algal blooms that typically are associated with warmer, low-nutrient waters. There are some species of algae, or phytoplankton, that are toxic under certain conditions.


But gosh, no, let’s blame that universal boogeyman, “climate change” instead of El Nino.



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September 28, 2016 12:03 pm

just as likely its a megalodon causing the deaths…

Mickey Reno
Reply to  dmacleo
September 29, 2016 9:22 am

No, it’s a Manbearpigorca.

September 28, 2016 12:03 pm

The rise in whales beaching may be a natural consequence of these greater numbers of whales in the region, Cerda said.

Well, duh…..

Tom Halla
Reply to  beng135
September 28, 2016 12:08 pm

My thought exactly.

M Seward
Reply to  beng135
September 28, 2016 3:09 pm

and then there is
“There has been an increase in marine life in the area, possibly due to climate change,” said Frederick Toro, a conservation medicine professor at Andres Bello University.
1 increase in whales chasing increased ‘marine life’ ( i.e. “food”) well DUH indeed
2 “possibly due to climate change” – evidence?
3 “a comservation medicine professor” – is that a euphemism for an “expert”?
If its just more whales there chasing food if follows they are not beaching themselves where they used to chase food.

September 28, 2016 12:12 pm

Yet another two reasons: “[t]he whale was thought to have died of illness or old age.” Probably not climate change at all.

Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
September 28, 2016 12:39 pm

Apparently you don’t understand. CO2/ climate change/ correlates to old age. It’s been happening to me my whole life now. (and hair loss and weight gain)

Reply to  taz1999
September 29, 2016 1:30 pm

And getting long in tooth.

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
September 29, 2016 7:11 am

“Yet another two reasons: “[t]he whale was thought to have died of illness or old age.” Probably not climate change at all.”
Retired_Engineer_Jim on September 28, 2016 at 12:12 pm –
convincing, more sounding like a demographic problem: all that retired old whales living on their pensions.
What with the grandchildren, thei’ll be young and needing the money.

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
September 29, 2016 7:32 am

Retired – I’m a built ’53.
Hope you got my point.
Cheers – Hans

September 28, 2016 12:13 pm

Why not the headline “Krill numbers increased by climate change”, or “More whales because of climate change”? Well that’s easy to answer: positive headlines don’t sell.

Phil R
Reply to  Mike Jonas
September 29, 2016 7:11 am

How about, increased Krill numbers cause increased whale deaths.

September 28, 2016 12:20 pm

Has anyone considered a sharkwaterspout? Lol. (Due to climate change of course).

September 28, 2016 12:22 pm

If climate never changed whales would never die? Who knew.

September 28, 2016 12:40 pm

From what I understand, most catecean beaching is due to pressure-related barotraumatic injuries and that this phenomena has been occurring for millions of years. In some part, humans are responsible for it so I guess my first question would be if the navy is responsible? They just held RIMPAC (which is held every two years) in southern California earlier this summer…

September 28, 2016 12:46 pm

“Millions of salmon have also washed up this year on southern Chilean beaches, poisoned by the algae.”
Heh heh. Ok. I live in Santiago. Let me rewrite that sentence according to what I have heard (disclaimer: I am just reporting what I heard and read in the news) “Millions of salmon have also washed up this year on southern Chilean beaches after the fish farmers illegally dumped them in the ocean after they were suffocated by a different type of algae bloom that depleted the oxygen.” After this first incident then there was a red tide outbreak. The local fisherman who harvest shellfish then decided that the red tide was caused by these dead fish, and not by the elevated El Nino water temps, because in Chile it’s always better to be able to blame somebody rather than something if you want t be compensated. Anyway, we heard it was just a bad red tide, but the worldwide media reported it as …..”The Worst Ever” red tide!! They had talked to a person who couldn’t remember a worse one, apparently. The fisherman were reportedly so worried about the unprecedented Manhattan Sized blooms of death that they were crapping Empire State Buildings. Also, there were reports that the whale in Coquimbo was the victim of a carjacking.

Reply to  chilemike
September 28, 2016 3:27 pm

Thank you chilemike. Observation astute.

September 28, 2016 12:50 pm

“The whale was thought to have died of illness or old age.”
Yeah, Climate Change will do that to you.
Insidious how Climate Change works its way into the end of our lives, isn’t it?

Curious George
September 28, 2016 12:55 pm

Never underestimate the dangers of climate change. Blame on it Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, Obama administration, and an election campaign of 2016.

Bruce Cobb
September 28, 2016 1:15 pm

When in doubt, blame “climate change”. Quick, easy, and no use of brain cells required.

Stephen Greene
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
September 28, 2016 11:18 pm

Or proof it would seem!

September 28, 2016 1:45 pm

Whales are often beached on the Chilean coastline.
“Scientists made a startling discovery on an observation flight over a remote fjord in southern Chile’s Patagonia: 337 dead whales. That is the biggest single whale stranding event known to science.” link
It is possible that whales use the Earth’s magnetic field for navigation across world oceans. Young whales may learn and build magnetic map while following the older generations, however it is possible that some details of the map are fixed during those early years, even (genetically) ingrained in the embryos’ brains.
The Chilean coastline is at the western edge of the South Atlantic Magnetic Anomaly, where the Earth’s field is rapidly loosing its strength. The current area of beaching is about 30S 71W. Some time ago (for totally different project) I plotted diagram of the filed for 45S, not the same as the above latitude, but as relative guidance it shows that the Chilean coastal area lost 2/3 (more than 60%) of its magnetic strength in the last 400 years, which makes it greatest loss anywhere at that latitude.
If whales fix the magnetic map in the very early age or do posses some genetically inherited parts of the map, they might not be able to follow the large changes in the natural variability of the magnetic field, considering that for the fin whale full physical maturity is attained between 25 and 30 years of age, may live up to 100 years of age, although specimens have been found aged at an estimated 135–140 years.

Reply to  vukcevic
September 28, 2016 2:04 pm
Reply to  vukcevic
September 28, 2016 2:31 pm

diagram of the change in the Earth’s magnetic filed for 30S latitude during the last 400 years (not much different to the above) is here

Reply to  vukcevic
September 28, 2016 9:45 pm

That is a really interesting hypothesis. (And I mean that in the actual sense, not the college professorial* sense.) It also seems more likely than nebulous “climate change”. The latter is DEFINITELY interesting in the professorial sense.
*As in, saying “Interesting…” out loud, while thinking “You are so off base that I cannot even imagine how you got there.”

H. D. Hoese
Reply to  vukcevic
September 30, 2016 8:39 am

Interesting idea, have you seen these? Great works!
Jonkers, A. R. T. 2003. Earth’s Magnetism in the Age of Sail. Johns Hopkins University, Press. Baltimore. 300pp.
Jonkers, A. R. T., A. Jackson and A. Murray 2003. Four centuries of Geomagnetic Data From Historical Records. Reviews Geophysics. 41(2), 1006, doi:10.1029/2002RG000115.
There is also a website with a historical model of compass variation. Have not checked it lately.
My copies are currently buried, but there is a citation in there about turtles. This is tied up with the difficulties of determining longitude, which was attempted, sometimes using compass variation and astronomical measurements like Jupiter’s moons and eclipses. They were not very accurate. Fortunately, the continents are currently arranged so it was worse if you wanted to go north or south, since latitude was easier.
You would think that these critter’s genetics would be more plastic since the nautical attempts using magnetism found that it changed over periods of times. There is a magnetism/migration literature that I am not familiar with.

September 28, 2016 2:16 pm

“numbers have swelled over recent years”
Maybe because no-one is hunting them any more, therefor there are more of them, and those which die of old age or illness are more often seen because there are more of them because no-one is hunting them …… and round and round it goes.

Reply to  Oldseadog
September 28, 2016 3:25 pm

The Japanese hunt them, so do the Norwegians.

Reply to  dblackal
September 29, 2016 5:51 am

Not very many though. Whale numbers have greatly increased since the war and some populations like the humpback are growing at their theoretical maximum.

September 28, 2016 2:36 pm

But, but, but ….
Climate change is bringing catastrophically higher ocean levels and flooding billions of people out of their homes, and so whales can now swim in deeper waters closer to shore! Right? /sarchasm – That gaping hole between a liberal and the real world.
(The whale industry in New England began as the original settlers and Indians harvested beached whales around Long Island, Cape Cod, and the entire east coast seaboard. )

September 28, 2016 2:36 pm

Stranded whales in Chile! Must be caused by man’s wicked way of burning fossil fuels. Case closed!

September 28, 2016 2:53 pm

What about God(zilla) ?

September 28, 2016 3:21 pm

I note that no one mentioned Japan’s TEPCO Fukushima’s initial plumes, where everything including seals, whales and dolphins were swallowing radioactive muck. Some by direct inhalation, more by what landed in the snow and ice to end up later in the food chain. We are not told much about Fukushima, what we do know is they can’t fix the leak. These whales off the coast of Chile may well have copped a dose, swimming off the coast of Japan, or slowly accumulating it throughout the Pacific. Even if they are old, this would have increased their rate of diseases on the path to death. Radioactive pollution that climate change activists ignore, has worked its way through the food chain: Caesium 137 with a half-life of 31.5 years and other highly toxic elements were found months later in every organism tested in Alaskan waters, by the US Department of Energy. That’s bad news for these whales, that eat seafood from the Pacific.The fishing industry, various deceitful news outlets, and paid government scientists are the deniers, not anyone who is friends with Anthony Watts. Do the ulcers on the whales in this article look like these? http://www.infiniteunknown.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Skin-Ulcers-On-Alaska-Wildlife-After-Fukushima-Were-Never-Observed-Before.jpg

Ray Boorman
Reply to  dblackal
September 28, 2016 6:48 pm

Unlikely scenario, as most whales stick to the respective hemisphere of their birth. Whales wintering off Chile come from Antarctic waters.

Curious George
Reply to  dblackal
September 28, 2016 7:07 pm

It is amazing how low concentrations of anything we can detect. Caesium 137 gives you radiation. So do bananas, or a 2-hour commercial flight.

Reply to  dblackal
September 28, 2016 11:00 pm

Perhaps if you researched the 1950s-1960s testing of nuclear bombs, particularly the 1954 Castle Bravo test and other Pacific tests, it would help put Fukushimi in proper perspective, and allay your concerns.

Joel O’Bryan
September 28, 2016 3:33 pm

They should file a claim with the UNFCCC for some extra piece of the Paris accords Climate Aid Funds. Then watch if the bureaucrats object.

Thomas Graney
September 28, 2016 4:18 pm

It’s a whale haulout!

Randy Stubbings
September 28, 2016 5:17 pm

No whales or polar bears ever died before catastrophic man-made climate change began.

September 28, 2016 5:54 pm

AFP Agence France Presstitutes

September 28, 2016 6:04 pm

Yes, because no whales ever died before global warming, so clearly, global warming is the cause.

Ray Boorman
September 28, 2016 6:45 pm

I wonder who was the bright spark that said the whales migrate north from November to March during the southern winter?
Here in QLD, Australia, also in the southern hemisphere, the whales start arriving in May, after an epic journey from Antarctica, & they begin their return journey in September. They do this to give birth, and breed in the warm waters, before returning south to catch the food glut in Antarctic waters during summer.

Reply to  Ray Boorman
September 29, 2016 8:25 am

Northern whales seem to do the same, coming to the tip of the Baja to breed during winter, then back north for the summer in the NH.

H. D. Hoese
September 28, 2016 7:18 pm

The journal Harmful Algae, which has been around awhile, finally had a paper with this sort of title. Thomsen, M. S., T. de Bettignier, T. Weinberg, M. Holmer and B. Debeuf. 2012. Harmful algae not harmful to everyone. Harmful Algae. 16:74-80. Harmful, of course, is a value judgement, and since the blooming algae would seem to benefit, is this an oxymoron for a journal title? It seems you have to look mostly at older works to find something on Beneficial Algae.
I am also puzzled with the statement about the toxicity at low nutrients. The triggers for these blooms are apparently still poorly understood, the chemistry understandably complicated. Nevertheless, the usual claimed causation is linked to increased nutrients. Of course these events have been around for a long time with the history too often ignored. Whatever the causes, I have been wondering lately if this negative value judgement bias has damaged/delayed/corrupted/ or whatever the solving of the cause(s) of problems like this.
We had a increased mortality of whooping cranes a few years ago mainly associated with drought. There is some density dependence here.

September 28, 2016 10:13 pm

People untrained in the scientific method often have a real problem assigning causality. Their conclusions all too often follow their delusions.

September 29, 2016 12:04 am

Perhaps the Chilean coast is the cetacean equivalent of Dignitas?

October 1, 2016 5:22 am

Maybe the whales are committing suicide on our beaches to protest our role in their planet’s destruction.

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