ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies asks ridiculous question: 'Can corals survive climate change?'

And the answer is, Yes. In fact, they’ve already survived millions of years of climate change.

Age of corals since they first appeared on Earth:

Corals are 500 million years old, and date back to the late Cambrian period, during the Paleozoic era – Source: the Global Reef Project

Climate change since then:

What is really hilarious is that right next to the ‘ARC Centre for Excellence’ release, is this one in the Eurekalert feed:


Can corals survive climate change?

Coral reef experts deliver urgent recommendations for future research


A group of international scientists, including scientists from Australia, have issued advice that more research is urgently required to determine whether corals can acclimatise* and adapt to the rapid pace of climate change.

The team of coral experts, led by Dr. Gergely Torda from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (Coral CoE) at James Cook University and the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), have delivered recommendations for future research.

As the Great Barrier Reef faces unprecedented coral mortality from back-to-back mass bleaching in 2016 & 2017, rising carbon dioxide and other natural and human-induced pressures, scientists advise more research is urgently needed into the poorly-understood mechanisms that corals might use to survive in a rapidly warming world.

“There is still a lot to understand about corals,” says Dr. Torda. “While our only real chance for their survival is to reverse climate change, a nugget of hope exists – that the corals may be able to adapt to their changing environment,” he says.

“However, there are major knowledge gaps around how fast corals can adapt or acclimatise to changes in their environment, and by what mechanisms they might use to achieve this,” adds co-author Professor Philip Munday of Coral CoE.

“For example,” explains Dr Jenni Donelson, co-author at Coral CoE,”recent studies show that fish can acclimatise to higher water temperatures when several generations are exposed to the same increased temperature, but whether corals can do the same, and how they might achieve this, is largely unknown.”

Eight research recommendations are published today in the prestigious journal Nature Climate Change and arise from a workshop with a team of experts composed of 22 biologists from 11 institutions in five different countries.

The team agrees that further research identifying how corals respond to climate change is critical, as the Earth undergoes an unprecedented rate of environmental change.

AIMS Climate Change Scientist, Dr. Line Bay says, “There is sufficient inertia in the climate system that we will not be able to prevent further climate-related disturbances affecting the reef in the immediate future.”

“Solutions are required to help corals adapt and acclimate to near-term future climate pressures while we figure out how to reduce emissions and halt and reverse longer-term climate change.”

Co-authors Prof. Timothy Ravasi and Dr. Manuel Aranda from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) warn that the clock is ticking. “The Great Barrier Reef has suffered substantial losses of coral over the past two years. Understanding the mechanisms that could enable corals to cope with ocean warming is becoming increasingly important if we want to help these ecosystems,” they say.

The paper is focused on stony, reef-building corals, which are the ‘ecosystem engineers’ of tropical coral reefs. These corals build the frameworks that provide shelter, food and habitat for an entire ecosystem. When corals are lost, the diversity and abundance of other reef organisms declines, until ultimately the ecosystem collapses.

“Predicting the fate of coral reefs under climate change is subject to our understanding of the ability of corals to mount adaptive responses to environmental change,” says Dr. Torda. “Our paper sets out key research objectives and approaches to address this goal.”

“The time to act is now, as the window of opportunity to save coral reefs is rapidly closing,” he concludes.


The paper titled: “Rapid adaptive responses to climate change in corals” is published today in Nature Climate Change

* “Acclimatisation” is the response of organisms to environmental change through non-genetic processes. It is different to adaptation, which involves inheritance of a genetic change.

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Curious George
September 1, 2017 9:36 am

Can corals survive climate change? No. They never did, they never will 🙂

Henning Nielsen
Reply to  Curious George
September 1, 2017 10:55 am

The coral reefs became extinct when first faced with climate change, ca. 499 million years ago. They were replaced by fake corals put there by benign aliens, who culd foresee the man-made climate disaster and controls the bleaching of the fake reefs in order to make us mend our ways, and stop flying. Except for Leonardo di Caprio and Ridley Scott, who have a special deal with the aliens.

Reply to  Henning Nielsen
September 1, 2017 2:21 pm

Henning Nielsen
It’s Polar Bear science……..Dying, Dying, Dead………Whaaaaaat! A Polar bear ate me!

Reply to  Curious George
September 1, 2017 11:53 am

Anyone who has the arrogance and hubris to call themselves a “CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE ” pretty surely is not.
Were they a CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE before they even started ? Or did they operate for a few years before deciding that if they did not call themselves a CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE , no one would notice how EXCELLENT they were?
Those who are really excellent have the modesty to remain silent and let others judge them and EARN a reputation for excellence.

Reply to  Greg
September 1, 2017 11:58 am

Oddly this self proclaimed “excellence” seems to be the hallmark of left-wing climate groups engaging in activism dressed as science.

Reply to  Greg
September 1, 2017 2:18 pm

Look up your local builder. They all claim to be the best builder in the area.
In other words, given half the chance they’ll rip you off.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Greg
September 1, 2017 5:32 pm

Actually it is a lefty protesteth too much example. Other lefty examples include Deutsche Demokratische Republik, Social Sciences, Political Science, the New Democratic Party, Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea.
ARC Centre also gave us the Ship of Fools expedition of Chris Turney, who wound up with nick name Christmas Turkey for his expedition into the freezing up sea ice that required an international rescue efforts costing millions. Oh they gave him a medal for it for God knows why – also typically lefty.

Reply to  Greg
September 1, 2017 6:00 pm

In Australia , A COE is created to try to get funding.. Some groups may actually do some good work.
But of course, ANYTHING to do with climate is immediately and irrevocably tainted with the socialist totalitarian AGW agenda.

Reply to  Greg
September 1, 2017 6:11 pm

When Mickey Mann introduced himself to congress for his testimony back in March (I think), it was with the words “distinguished Professor”.
I don’t know what the norm might be in the US but is this usual?
Is there some formally recognised academic rank or status attached to “distinguished”?
In Oz or any other place I can think of, the use of the word “distinguished’ is only added when one is, say, introduced by another person at a speaking engagement or some such. It’s a politeness.
Adding the word yourself smacks of the heigh of conceit.
Maybe it’s all part of the pathology and the reason he passed himself off as a Nobel laureate?

Roger Knights
Reply to  Greg
September 2, 2017 12:06 am

Maybe they’re funded by Montgomery Burns.

Roger Knights
Reply to  Greg
September 2, 2017 12:08 am

“I don’t know what the norm might be in the US but is this usual?”
Yes, some U.S. college award “Distinguished” to full professors who are standaouts from the other full profs, AFAIK.

Reply to  Greg
September 2, 2017 6:55 am

Thanks, Roger,
I must say, I still don’t like it. I might be a somewhat too conservative.
I had the term ‘distinguished’ down with the likes of ‘my learned colleague’ or ‘the honourable member’ . . that sort of thing.
Ya live and learn.

Tom Halla
September 1, 2017 9:38 am

As there are corals in the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf, Corals have rather more heat tolerance than supposed.

Curious George
Reply to  Tom Halla
September 1, 2017 9:41 am

Do all biologists believe in intelligent design?

Reply to  Curious George
September 1, 2017 11:23 am

Not the intelligent ones.

Gunga Din
Reply to  Curious George
September 1, 2017 3:27 pm

or maybe the designer is more intelligent than they are.

Reply to  Curious George
September 2, 2017 8:45 am

Since the blind watchmaker was debunked, biologists are left being unable to answer many questions about human ‘purposiveness’ and purposiveness in many life forms. Doesn’t mean there is a God or designer, but it does mean there is a large amount of ‘biology’ we don’t understand.

Reply to  Tom Halla
September 1, 2017 11:00 am

And where exactly is the research showing how a slight increase in temperature causes coral bleaching? All I can find is blanket statements like “the algae become stressed” or “algae leave the tissue”. Well maybe they just start to sweat too much and pack up their bags and take a holiday to the spa because they get “stressed”. This is sounding somewhat like the erroneous conventional wisdom that stress causes peptic ulcers.
It’s merely coincidental that slightly warmer sea surface temperatures typically coincide with decreased water circulation and mixing that the corals rely on to feed, right?

Reply to  RWturner
September 1, 2017 11:26 am

A good bit of the bleached coral is due to dropping sea levels (or rising see floor) exposing reefs. But this contradicts the AGW theory of rising seal levels, so its omitted.

Reply to  RWturner
September 1, 2017 12:15 pm

Well that’s exactly one of the things fueling my skepticism in the coral bleaching meme — when large patches of the GBR are subaerial exposed and a clear mechanism for coral mortality is presented, the alarmists still preach the meme. It’s clear to me that marine biologists have never seriously studied all the variables because the dogma of global warming.
I’ve only come across one paper that mentions the decrease in primary productivity in the water column coinciding with coral bleaching events, and even in that paper there really wasn’t any attention paid to nutrient levels, but rather UV levels. I would think that it’s a compounding effect; decreased nutrients (iron) decreases the primary production and limits the feeding ability of the polyp, the decrease in plankton makes the water column clearer during a time when the sky is inherently more cloud free (high pressure/high temp) and UV increases on the reef which damages the zooxanthellae, so then you have a situation where both feeding mechanisms of the coral is hindered at once, hence, the coral’s health suffers. It’s simply a convenient truth (for the alarmists) that these conditions coincide with relatively warmer temperatures, and if you follow the citation trail it looks like blinders were put on to focus primarily on warmer water from the beginning.

richard verney
Reply to  Tom Halla
September 1, 2017 11:30 pm

Indeed, and the Red Sea is very warm.
You would expect the starting polnt to be the measurement of sea temperatures around all the major corals since this would immediately indicate the range of temperatures that one knows tha corals can survive and indeed in which they flourish.

Roger Knights
Reply to  richard verney
September 2, 2017 12:11 am

A couple of years ago WUWT had a thread on a survey that found that corals around uninhabited islands, about half the total surveyed showed no signs of stress, implying that heat and acidity were not what was stressing the others.

Count to 10
Reply to  richard verney
September 3, 2017 11:06 am

I’ve definitely heard claims that only the coral reefs that are frequented by divers are bleaching.

Horace Jason Oxboggle
Reply to  Tom Halla
September 2, 2017 3:48 pm

What about those at Bikini Atoll?

Reply to  Horace Jason Oxboggle
September 2, 2017 11:14 pm

They have come back to life, surprising everyone.
Its also the best place in the world for shipwreck diving.

September 1, 2017 9:39 am

I dpn’t know about the coral, but those researchers surely will with all those plans for research projects.

September 1, 2017 9:40 am

No, Al. Terrestrial ecology is not “delicate”.

September 1, 2017 9:45 am

There is something strange in all these reports an effect that has actually been noticed and reported that the reef could actually just move south.
So make a big leap of faith and CAGW warming comes up by 2.5 degrees the NSW waters are then within the range for the corals. The corals themselves don’t actually have to adapt at all and one could argue that would be the most likely thing to happen is the just move south. What is strange is that the research funding on that is tiny compared to the doom and gloom story and that seems to be the criteria for dishing out the funding.

Reply to  LdB
September 1, 2017 4:33 pm

That would be a good thing, LDB, it would shorten the trip to visit the reef for we southerners. But I don’t like the fact that it would also bring the crocodiles to our coasts & rivers.

Steve R
Reply to  LdB
September 1, 2017 8:19 pm

That idea could be substantiated already if there were any actual evidence that corals were expanding into higher latitudes. Anyone know if this might be true?

September 1, 2017 9:51 am

Just so I’m clear on the concept…
You can farm them in lagoons that get hotter, throw them in a plastic bag and ship them all over the world…
..they can sit out bone dry in full hot tropical sun..and rain…and do just fine
But 1 man made degree is going to kill them all….

Reply to  Latitude
September 1, 2017 11:37 am

You got it. Human wickedness is a different kind of wickedness and life is instantly doomed by humans.

Reply to  Latitude
September 2, 2017 6:41 pm

That’s a VERY INCONVENIENT TRUTH, Lat ! We grow them in little glass boxes in horrendous conditions, break of 1″ pieces a ship them wrapped in damp tissue anywhere you want, and we grow them again, and again. Activist academics struggle with this concept.

September 1, 2017 10:00 am

comment image
The Mesozoic Era atmospheric CO2 was pretty well always 2 to 4 times the level at which the World Bank cartoon indicates that coral reefs will dissolve, yet the Mesozoic Era was full of coral reefs.

Coral reefs of the Mesozoic Era seemed to like CO2.
For that matter, the modern Great Barrier Reef also seems to like a CO2-enriched diet…

The average calcification rate of the Great Barrier Reef seems to be increasing along with atmospheric CO2. Data from De’ath, G., et al. 2009
A recent paper in Geology (Ries et al., 2009) found an unexpected relationship between CO2 and marine calcifers. 18 benthic species were selected to represent a wide variety of taxa: “crustacea, cnidaria, echinoidea, rhodophyta, chlorophyta, gastropoda, bivalvia, annelida.” They were tested under four CO2/Ωaragonite scenarios:

409 ppm (Modern day)
606 ppm (2x Pre-industrial)
903 ppm (3x Pre-industrial)
2856 ppm (10x Pre-industrial)

The effects on calcification rates for all 18 species were either negligible or positive up to 606 ppm CO2. Corals, in particular seemed to like more CO2 in their diets…

Coral seems to be A-OK with CO2 levels of 1,000 ppmv. This might explain how they thrived in the Mesozoic Era.

Reply to  David Middleton
September 1, 2017 10:21 am

It’s not really “coral”, coral is the host……zooxanthellae (zoox) is the symbiote, a dinoflagellate (not algae).. CO2 limiting to dinos?……absolutely

Reply to  David Middleton
September 1, 2017 11:25 am

IMO what matters is the amount of CO2 in seawater for the photosynthesizing symbionts of corals. Warmer water holds less CO2, but more CO2 in the air also gets mixed in water in the wind-driven mixing layer.
The cold depths are a huge reservoir of CO2. Oceans were astonishingly hot during the Cretaceous Period, yet the ancestors of today’s scleractinian corals thrived.

Reply to  David Middleton
September 2, 2017 7:35 am

along with calcium, the major building block of coral is CO2. Like trees on land, coral reefs are made from billions and billions of tons of CO2.
chem 101. add more CO2, you will get more trees and more coral reefs.

Bob Burban
September 1, 2017 10:03 am

Just before the Northern Hemisphere ice-sheet started melting some 17,000 years ago, world ocean levels were around 400 ft (~120 metres) lower than they are at the moment. So 17,000 years ago, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef did not exist.

Reply to  Bob Burban
September 2, 2017 6:44 pm

There are huge areas of the NE Outback of Australia where old fossilised coral reefs lie exposed.

Reply to  Streetcred
September 2, 2017 6:50 pm

Oops, delete “NE” left over from editing.

September 1, 2017 10:20 am

“For that matter, the modern Great Barrier Reef also seems to like a CO2-enriched diet…”
Of course it does! There is not enough dissolved CO2 to supply all of the photosynthetic needs of the symbiotic zooxanthellae that live in coral tissue. In fact, there is an enzyme called carbonic anhydrase that can allow corals to utilize dissolved carbonates as an inorganic source of carbon for photosynthesis.
And, the more atmospheric CO2 that is present, the more is dissolved in water and converted to carbonates. So, yes, I totally can see how the GBR has enhanced calcification with higher atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Not to mention that corals evolved with the atmospheric CO2 concentration was many times higher than current levels, and probably still have the ability to utilize increases levels of dissolved CO2 even without conversion to carbonate.
I suspect bleaching events reduce the amount of available alkalinity, rapidly increase salinity, or rapidly change PAR levels (or all three simultaneously) that lead to corals expelling their zooxanthellae. El Nino is known to warm waters in the southeastern Pacific as well as suppress cloud cover, so it is not a stretch to think that bleaching is primarily an effect of ENSO.

Reply to  NavarreAggie
September 1, 2017 10:41 am

Worst bleaching event I have ever witnessed…was because of cold

Reply to  Latitude
September 1, 2017 11:08 am

Rapid temperature rise will induce it as well, but cold is a bigger problem.

Reply to  Latitude
September 1, 2017 2:32 pm

Are corals bleaching, or evolving?
Like everything else on the planet that’s evolving.
Yet every minute evolutionary event is put under the human microscope, over analysed with the limited knowledge we have, and declared a disaster.
We have no idea how quickly anything can evolve if pushed.

Bob Turner
September 1, 2017 10:40 am

The straw-man headers misrepresent the article. The article asks: ‘Can corals survive THE RAPID PACE OF climate change’? The part in capitals being omitted changes the sense of the article.

Gunga Din
Reply to  Bob Turner
September 1, 2017 3:38 pm

They often throw in “rapid change” as a fallback when it’s pointed that “the this” has happened before and “the threatened” is doing just fine.
(Of course, the “rapid” part is due to Man.)

Reply to  Bob Turner
September 2, 2017 6:47 pm

Who says it is “RAPID” (implying human cause) ? Evidence more likely points to cyclical nature of changing climate.

September 1, 2017 11:00 am

> “There is still a lot to understand about corals,” says Dr. Torda. “While our only real chance for their survival is to reverse climate change, a nugget of hope exists – that the corals may be able to adapt to their changing environment,” he says.
• We don’t understand corals.
• Their survival requires reversing climate change.
Dr. Torda should be ashamed.

September 1, 2017 11:04 am

Corals survived the Great Dying mass extinction event at the end of the Permian. Rugose or horny corals were indeed wiped out then, along with most other sea life, but scleractinian corals rapidly radiated to fill the niches left empty by their previously dominant kin.
Corals have survived everything that an abusive Mother Earth has thrown at them for about 500 million years. An extra molecule of CO2 in 10,000 dry air molecules, ie four instead of only three a century ago, is as nothing.

September 1, 2017 11:09 am

A little elementary science –
Coral reefs are built by coral organisms. They are made primarily of calcium carbonate. The corals take the calcium (Ca) and carbonate (CO3) from the sea water.
The calcification process involves a chemical reaction: Ca + 2 HCO3 (bicarbonate) –> CaCO3 + CO2 + H2O. The rate of this reaction is controlled by the availability of the scarcest component.
There are about 400 parts-per-million (ppm) of calcium in sea water. There are about 140 ppm of bicarbonate in sea water. The scarcest component is the bicarbonate. Adding more carbonate (by adding more CO2) to the ocean would make the calcification reaction faster.

Reply to  tadchem
September 3, 2017 2:11 am

Probably not, Tad. The reaction is reversible with CO2 being a product as written. Adding more CO2 will drive the reaction in the reverse direction.

September 1, 2017 11:24 am

More JCU nonsense from the Center headed by Prof. Terry Hughes, who Jim Steele exposed as a deliberately misleading coral alarmist here a few days ago. The opposite of excellence.

Mark Vertelli
Reply to  ristvan
September 1, 2017 12:11 pm

The fact they endorse AGW is proof they’re frauds. Their church can’t even calculate the temperature of the atmosphere properly, attaining a temperature in line with the International Standard Atmosphere.

September 1, 2017 11:37 am

It is merely a cry for additional funding to study corals. Had they simply requested more funding it probably would have been ignored. They are just trying to advance their cause by becoming squeaky wheels.
We are lambasting it because it disingenuously uses language that presumes the latest boogeyman is to blame.

September 1, 2017 11:40 am

A little OT but I got this message today from the Cornwall Alliance:
For as long as supplies last, Cornwall Alliance will send you a FREE copy of An Inconvenient Deception [by Roy Spencer] as our way of saying “Thank you!” for a gift of any size between now and the end of September! To take me up on this offer, just mention Promo Code 1709 and ask for An Inconvenient Deception when you make your gift of ANY size by credit card through our secure online donor site or by calling 703-569-4653, or when you mail your check to Cornwall Alliance, 9302-C Old Keene Mill Rd., Burke, VA 22015.
God Bless You,
Megan Toombs
Director of Communications
The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation
Donor site:

Mark - Helsinki
September 1, 2017 11:41 am

Corals adapt every single generation

Mark - Helsinki
September 1, 2017 11:42 am

Evolution is a mix of generational adaption and random mutation.

September 1, 2017 11:42 am

Seems with some warmer waters which were more temperate may be more hospitable to corals that were not before. Perhaps we’ll see stag horn corals in North Carolina some day. Would be nice. Experimental ‘plantings’ in Florida may help damaged reefs as well. Plant a coral next “Earth Day”.,..

Mark - Helsinki
Reply to  Sparky
September 1, 2017 11:43 am

reefs are still today being hacked up for the aquatic trade

Mark Vertelli
Reply to  Mark - Helsinki
September 1, 2017 12:15 pm

Corals reproduce and will keep on reproducing long after mankind is gone. Enormous swaths of coral have been found at the bottoms of previously dried-up seas. They’ve been around millions, and millions of years, and the current static atmospheric conditions, oscillating on either side of the nominal global atmospheric average temperature by about a half degree, isn’t really changing much at all.
If it were, there couldn’t be an international legal and regulatory physics standard called the International Standard Atmosphere. People aren’t being taught about the basics of atmospheric matter-energy relationships.
That international standard couldn’t exist, if climate were currently in a state of flux. That’s all there is to it.

Reply to  Mark - Helsinki
September 1, 2017 12:18 pm

While somewhat true, there are lots of efforts around sustainable aquaculturing, mariculturing, and education for responsible harvesting of specimens. Pollution and tourism are far more damaging to wild coral reefs.

September 1, 2017 12:25 pm

– Corals evolve in the Cambrian-Ordovician under 10-30,000 ppm atmospheric CO2.
– 20th century CO2 increases from 300-400ppm.
– “Scientists” assert that 400ppm is dangerously high CO2 for corals.
– This tells you all you need to know about these “scientists”.
(And don’t jump on the speed of change cop-out, we don’t know the speed of change in the past, paleo records smooth this out massively.)

September 1, 2017 12:27 pm

Any citation for the Phanerozoic climate change plot?

Reply to  JMA
September 1, 2017 12:41 pm

The WUWT palaeo climate page points this to wikipedia: geologic time:comment image
Here’s the wiki page with references:comment image

Reply to  JMA
September 1, 2017 12:42 pm

(try again) Here’s the wiki page:comment image

Reply to  ptolemy2
September 1, 2017 12:43 pm


Reply to  ptolemy2
September 1, 2017 12:50 pm

Thanks! Still not seeing the wiki page w refs but will try to google it down.

Reply to  ptolemy2
September 1, 2017 2:16 pm

Yes, links to Wikipedia commons images seem to mysteriously disappear – but are actually there as a small icon. Learn something every day.

Reply to  ptolemy2
September 2, 2017 6:52 am

You are referencing the Wiki page not the image, here is the image from the page —comment image
aka [https:]//]wikipedia/commons/9/9c/Phanerozoic_Climate_Change.png
Square brackets added to prevent the page loading.

Reply to  ptolemy2
September 2, 2017 2:29 pm


September 1, 2017 12:35 pm

Today’s ecologists suffer en masse from conditioned reflexive dystopia.
However healthy and vibrant life may look, the expert always knows that it’s doomed.

September 1, 2017 12:54 pm

Actually the first link worked–thanks again.

September 1, 2017 1:48 pm

Wrong question, should be how do we protect coral from land pollution”
Where man does not go ( Bikini Atoll) where coral is protected ( 2% ) and where pesticides and fertilizers are not used ( Cuba) the coral is in pristine condition and growing like a forest.

Reply to  richard
September 2, 2017 12:59 am

Exactly. What we need is research into the condition of reefs and their proximity to human conurbations, marine transportation, and associated pollution.

September 1, 2017 2:58 pm

Center of Excellence? More like Center for Mediocrity.
The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef system composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for over 2,300 kilometres (1,400 mi) over an area of approximately 344,400 square kilometres (133,000 sq mi). It stretches from 10 degrees south latitude to 20 degrees south. No water temperature variations north to south, and summer to winter?

old construction worker
Reply to  Robber
September 2, 2017 6:41 am

“….900 islands stretching for over….” Are those islands made of Coral? If so it would seem that the Great Barrier Reef is a natural island making process.

September 1, 2017 3:32 pm

The Oz BoM offers month-average SST anomalies that are based on NOAA data. From their menu offerings, here is the typically hottest month of February. The underlying warming trend is 0.0088 C/year (per download in Excel).
The annual volatility is massive relative to the underlying annual rate of change (which has persisted centennially). There are also a host of biology papers that indicate that corals are not threatened by that modest rate of change. For more than a year I’ve repeatedly advised some ten scientists* at the ARC-COE, AIMS, GBRMPA, and Melbourne University of this, but they remain in denial.
Trends for January and March are 0.0082 and 0.0085/year (2nd and 3rd hottest…..other months are significantly cooler)
Other data shows that the high annual volatility correlates primarily with poorly understood ocean circulation changes, including ENSO and also with interactive “weather”, both of which are unpredictable.
All the “experts” remain in denial of that too…..oh, and that includes the the Head of Science at Melbourne University and the Dean (a biologist).
*Including profs Terry Hughes, Ove Hoegh-Guldberg and David Karoly.
Bob Fernley-Jones

michael hart
September 1, 2017 3:34 pm

As the Great Barrier Reef faces unprecedented coral mortality from back-to-back mass bleaching in 2016 & 2017…

Or was it just one weather-related El-Nino bleaching event that straddled 2016-2017 and they took measurements in both years? That gives them a two-for-the-price-of-one. It’s a trivial point, or should be, but they rarely miss a trick when it comes to attempted deception. I’d like to say my distrust is unprecedented, but then it would probably just be merelymistrust.

September 1, 2017 3:59 pm

From the article: “A group of international scientists, including scientists from Australia, have issued advice that more research is urgently required to determine whether corals can acclimatise* and adapt to the rapid pace of climate change.”
What “rapid pace” of climate change? If you are referring to temperatures, they have been in a flat-line for 15 years.
Rapid pace! These people are not describing reality. You would think they could figure this out. I guess the money is too good, or the delusion too strong.

September 1, 2017 4:14 pm

So the research has already been done and the results are presented right heer. Considering the past climate change that corals have survived, today’s climate change is trivial. On a much shorter time scale, corals survived the previous interglacial period, the Eemian, just fine even though it was warmer than today with higher sea levels and more ice cap melting. They also survived the last ice age and all of the Holocene that has been warmer than today. I would think that chemical polution might be more of a problem for corals than climate change. Anyway the climate change we are experiencing today is caused by the sun and the oceans over which Mankind has no control.

Bruce Cobb
September 1, 2017 4:15 pm

Notice the use of their latest weasel phrase “environmental change”. Great way to conflate any kind of manmade effect including actual pollution, with the fake “carbon pollution”, and its mythical effects on climate.

September 1, 2017 4:33 pm

I gave up on headlines and began looking up and reading the actual research papers themselves not too long ago. Now I am not a climate scientist but I do have a scientific degree so I do understand how the scientific method works and any terms or phrases which I do not happen to understand I simply use something called a dictionary to help me out. I seem to recall that several of these corral reefs’s bleaching had been attributed to changing water levels and additionally that most if not all had already begun to recover on their own. I would gladly site multiple references but while updating my iphone with Apple’s latest version all of the papers and books which I had saved on my ebook app were wiped out. Did these fools simply ignore all of these papers which I have read or have they just been living in a cave somewhere and are just not aware of them?

Reply to  crowcane
September 2, 2017 4:28 pm

Maybe their memorties are subjected to wiping with each IPCC AR-N upgrade?

Gary Pearse
September 1, 2017 5:12 pm
I would say with the entire SH oceans very cool, particularly around Oz, cold water might be the problem

Smart Rock
September 1, 2017 5:50 pm

From the department of meaningless statements:

There is sufficient inertia in the climate system that we will not be able to prevent further climate-related disturbances affecting the reef in the immediate future.

OTOH there’s a lot of inertia in the climate science community – they can’t move beyond the idea that CO2 causes irreversible warming; it’s all our fault; it can only get worse; sixth mass extinction blah blah blah

September 1, 2017 10:00 pm

Can corals survive climate change?

… is the wrong question. It should be: “Can corals survive climate science?”.
Oxybenzone, an increasingly common ingredient in modern sunscreens, seems
to be just a little genocidal where marine filter-feeders are concerned.
How much damage has been, and is being, caused to coral reefs by humans
researching reefs while using sunscreens at the same time?

Roger Knights
Reply to  sophocles
September 2, 2017 12:21 am

If so, they haven’t learned anything from the golden toad debacle.

Reply to  sophocles
September 2, 2017 1:01 am

Not forgetting other pollutants such as plastic micro particles and petroleum run-off from coastal conurbations and marine vessels.

Robert from oz
September 2, 2017 3:08 am

According to the greentards we have to stop mining coal on the Great Barrier Reef .

September 2, 2017 4:50 am

Extinction or survival is a low bar approach to wildlife management and living life. Ecosystem services, opportunities and flourishing are the gold standard. Better questions are how much less valuable will reefs be under rapid climate change, apex predator decline, algae grazer decline, siltation and toxic releases from flooding unprotected human sources in extreme weather events and how many coral species will survive this multi dimensional rapid onslaught? Another good question is how will humans be impacted in a world of rapidly degraded ecosystem.

September 2, 2017 7:17 am

Read any or all of Jim Steele’s coral reef posts here or mine on The Great Barrier Reef Wars.
The ARC Center is the major player in the Great Barrier Reef Wars on the “all is lost — give us more money” side. The opposing forces are the Australian Government scientists working for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.
The alarmists get a lot of support from the generalized CAGW funders internationally — calamity is a surefire way of raising research dollars.
The ARC Center on coral reefs has already declared the GBR dead several times onl be be called out and debunked by the GBRMRA — repeatedly.
It is an ongoing joke in some parts of Aussie academia.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
September 2, 2017 6:55 pm

I remember going to visit the ARC centre to view its display tank in Townsville a few years back … walked away very disillusioned, my 500G coral display was far superior at the time.

Mr Julian Forbes-Laird
September 2, 2017 12:49 pm

I stopped reading at this in para.4:
“Our only real chance for their survival is to reverse climate change”
To when, precisely?

September 2, 2017 3:27 pm

Have done Kip,thanks. In Kip and Jim we trust.

September 2, 2017 7:38 pm

The antidote to the ARC Centre of Bullshit is real Aussie scientists Jennifer Marohasy and Peter Ridd.
Ridd talks about the Great Barrier Reef starting 23 minutes

September 3, 2017 2:24 am

Let’s try to be a little more honest. As usually, activists have oversimplified the nature and current extent of the threat. Coral thrived long ago when CO2 levels were much higher than today. Chemical and biochemical mechanisms exists that permit coral and other CaCO3 dependent organisms to thrive under these conditions. However, the coral species that exists today have adapted over the last several million years to suit recent environmental conditions, which were mostly ice ages with half of today’s level of CO2. The fact that earlier coral species did survive even higher CO2 is not proof that the majority of today’s species will do so.

Reply to  Frank
September 3, 2017 5:33 am

They are more concerned with ocean warming than CO2. See Peter Ridd’s talk in the video

Reply to  Dr. Strangelove
September 3, 2017 1:40 pm

Dr. S: Thanks for the link to the interesting video. As best I can tell, however, it didn’t contradict anything I said. There is a temperature threat to coral and a “CO2 threat” (ocean acidification). Given that coral grows under a range of temperature conditions, it should survive GW and move poleward. However, there is no where to escape from higher CO2.

Brett Keane
September 3, 2017 3:49 pm

Frank, we have data on the range of CO2 encountered and tolerated by modern corals. At all levels, there is no problem for corals likely that they have not demonstrated prior ability to handle. One way or another. They are not in fact receiving optimum CO2 overall. This blog is a good place to start for those who wish to understand….
The ‘excellence’ mob are just full of ‘it’.

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