Good news for Australia’s Barrier Reef you’ll likely not hear about in the media

Dr. Peter Ridd writes on his Facebook page:

In 2016, there was a major bleaching event in the northern section of the Reef.

There were doom headlines around the world and Prof Hughes, who led the monitoring of the coral, famously tweeted“I showed the results of the aerial surveys of bleaching on the GBR to my students. And then we wept”

It is time to stop crying.

The worst affected area for that event, around Lizard Island where coral cover halved, has now totally recovered. It only took 5 years. The bleaching certainly caused the worst mortality in this area since records began in 1985. In this period, it had not been smashed by cyclones like other areas further south. In future posts I’ll show some other regions with huge natural changes in coral cover. All except the Swains region are at, or above, long-term average values. Some, like the Townsville region, are at near-record highs.

See links below.

The rapid recovery of the coral in the Cooktown region is not surprising. Despite what our institutions are saying, these events are perfectly natural – they certainly did not start in the 1970’s as many scientists, such as Prof Hughes, claim.

The rapid recovery is also indicative of an ecosystem in excellent shape. If it was on its last legs, it would struggle to recover.One of the reasons it recovers quickly is that the coral in deeper water, which is not measured by the AIMS long term surveys, or the aerial surveys conducted by Prof Hughes, is relatively unaffected by bleaching. This means that there is still a huge amount of coral spawn produced close by that repopulates the shallow waters where bleaching was worse. In addition, spawn can drift hundreds of kilometers from other areas.

Thanks to the AIMS long term monitoring team for producing this data. They survey a hundred or so reefs for coral cover each year. It is a huge job and they have been doing it for 35 years. I have some slight reservations about the early data (see my book for more detail) but it is a great data set with useful quality assurance protocols. I just wish I could persuade AIMS to do the same with their coral growth rate data (coral coring) – but that is another story.

The trouble with this data is that it shows a quiet recovery. It is good news. But good news does not sell, so I doubt you will hear much about it in the media.

Reference Links:




4 ABC Radio National. (2016). Widespread coral bleaching detected on the Great Barrier Reef. [online] Available at:…/widespread-coral…/7212760

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John Tillman
June 15, 2021 6:02 pm

Bleaching: it’s a good thing!

Hold my beer while I clean house and reopen with new symbionts.

Reply to  John Tillman
June 15, 2021 11:34 pm

Well it stops them committing nature crimes against the poor crown of thorn starfish … Starfish Lives Matter.

Tom Schaefer
Reply to  LdB
June 16, 2021 5:41 am

I killed ~12 at Capt. Cooks Memorial, South West coast of the Big Island, in 1992. It felt good to be surrounded by all the fishes gobbling up the remains, as if they were celebrating. At the time, they were thought a plague.

June 15, 2021 6:09 pm

Perhaps we should think of coral bleaching as a hibernation and renewal part of a lifecycle in a specific biome, instead of a growing disaster. I suppose that wouldn’t play well amongst the talking heads of 6 O’clock either.

Reply to  dk_
June 16, 2021 5:31 pm

Beware bleach supremacy.

John in Oz
June 15, 2021 6:17 pm

The news media are, for the most part, the bringers of bad news… and it’s not entirely the media’s fault, bad news gets higher ratings and sells more papers than good news. 

Peter McWilliams

As it ever was

Alan the Brit
Reply to  John in Oz
June 15, 2021 10:19 pm

The old saying, “News travels fast, & nothing travels faster than bad news!” Where the environment is concerned, the meedja are rather reluctant to spread any good news!!!

June 15, 2021 6:25 pm

“The environment is doing fine, we’re all going to be ok. Send more money.”

Nope, that ain’t gonna cut it.

Reply to  WR2
June 16, 2021 2:49 pm

It worked for George Carlin.

(now does it automatically embed when I do that, or will y’all have to copy/paste to see it?)

June 15, 2021 6:28 pm

Climate doomers seem to think wildfires, coral bleaching, hurricanes and everything else are unnatural events and never happened before the industrial revolution. Soon they will start blaming any regular hot summer day on cLimAtE cHaNGe.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Daniel
June 15, 2021 8:26 pm

That’s been happening for a couple of decades now.

Reply to  Daniel
June 15, 2021 8:34 pm

I fear they do that already.

Reply to  Daniel
June 15, 2021 11:26 pm

1770, & Captain Cook is sailing up the Oz east coast. He continually sees the smoke of bushfires in behind the coast.

I have sailed the same coast many times between 1970 & 1990 & only seen smoke a couple of times.

Could that be because we no longer have aborigines wandering around chucking fire sticks into the thick bush, & thus renewing the flora continually.

No wonder our bushfires are all big ones today.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Hasbeen
June 16, 2021 3:25 am

What was the landscape like before the aborigines arrived tens of thousands of years ago?

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
June 16, 2021 9:53 am

Los Angeles?

shortie of greenbank
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
June 16, 2021 6:32 pm

much larger rainforests and small amount of eucalypts. various theories abound on the ‘firestick farming’ of the early peoples did much damage to allow the eucalypts to take over and rainfall to drop over time if you believe theories like ‘biotic pump’ where rainforests drive rainfall and in this case increase monsoon penetration in Australia back in that time.

Reply to  Daniel
June 16, 2021 8:09 am

Hot days are caused by humans. Cold days are caused by nature.

Done a fair amount of scuba in the tropics. Seen lots of bleaching in surface corals. Never seen it at depth. In any case, the coral quickly recovers. Polyps are pretty much born pregnant. They just need a solid surface to latch onto, like a clean spot left by parrot fish grazing.

Kill all the parrot fish and the algae moves in and smothers the coral.

Joel O'Bryan
June 15, 2021 6:34 pm

Professor Hughes and his ilk continually re-prove Upton Sinclair’s observation on the time-less, very human intersection of greed with the stating of truth.

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” – Upton Sinclair

The very foundation upon which the climate scam now rests depends entirely on that “not understanding” by so many supposed scientists.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
June 15, 2021 8:20 pm

We should repeat it as such:

“It is difficult to get a man to understand there is no climate crisis when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” – Upton Sinclair

The very slight mis-quotation is a pimple on the elephant compared to the outright lies and propaganda we’re up against.

Christopher Hanley
June 15, 2021 6:37 pm

Peter Ridd’s appeal in his important academic freedom case against James Cook University will be heard by the High Court of Australia in seven days on Wednesday 23 June.

Reply to  Christopher Hanley
June 15, 2021 7:02 pm

My first thought when I saw Peter Ridd’s name was to wonder when his court date comes up.

I suspect that Australia’s High Court is like Canada’s Supreme Court in that they won’t hear a case they think is without merit. That gives me a bit of hope.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  commieBob
June 16, 2021 1:01 am

I am not so sure of that these days.

June 15, 2021 6:49 pm

I’ve commented about this a few times now, but if ever coral worry-warts want to appreciate just how these things can grow like weeds, look no further than the Bikini Atoll reefs that were totally obliterated by atomic bombs testing in the 1950s, only to completely regrow in just 60 years to their former size and glory.

June 15, 2021 7:13 pm

Shallow and clear waters is where coral bleaching happens. Due to UV light (my specialty).
Recovery takes place as waters become deeper and cloudier – which absorbs most UVB.

Easy to prove with a Solarmeter® UVB meter. Take one in a thin plastic baggie to bleached and healthy reefs and see for yourself the difference in UVB intensity at top of reefs.

PS: I sold my Solarmeter company in 2015. So if someone buys one the $ do not go to me.

Reply to  UV Meter
June 15, 2021 7:26 pm

Is there a link missing in this story?
The 2020 report says bleaching. Where is the link to a current check 2021?
Best of luck to Peter Ridd with Supreme Court.
Politics seems to be winning at the moment unfortunately

Stephen Tapper
Reply to  angech
June 15, 2021 8:15 pm

There are two links joined together at link 2.
The 2nd link takes you there.

Reply to  Stephen Tapper
June 15, 2021 8:19 pm

And fixed.

Reply to  angech
June 15, 2021 8:52 pm

Reference 2 should be split into two. The first one is ABC report almost for the same period that the CORALS ARE ALL BLEACHED FROM NORTH TO SOUTH. The second link is to the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) that shows annual surveys of the reef and the latest is the one shown in this article.

This shows the media’s bias. AIMS is a statutory body created by parliament in 1972 but government decides to throw money to James Cook University as the university is more quoted and relied by the media instead of AIMS. Although as a statutory body AIMS do get regular funding.

June 15, 2021 7:29 pm

Time is proving the AGW “consensus” wrong. How many more failed declarations of AGW destruction to our environment before the people realize they are being scammed?

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  markl
June 15, 2021 8:19 pm

I’ll take 1000 times for a hundred dollars

Reply to  markl
June 15, 2021 9:24 pm

The Team is following the consensus.

Reply to  gringojay
June 15, 2021 10:13 pm

That’s the second team

Reply to  gringojay
June 15, 2021 11:48 pm

There is a problem with the photo Biden should be wandering around lost and saying stupid things. I assume they are warming up Kamala to take over because there is no way he will make the term end.

Mumbles McGuirck
Reply to  LdB
June 16, 2021 5:33 am

That was the original plan. However, the DNC has discovered what a nincompoop they selected as VP. She can’t even lie with a straight face like any good Dem politician. They’re now stuck keeping Dementia Joe for a while as they formulate Plan B.

Reply to  Mumbles McGuirck
June 16, 2021 9:02 am

Plan B:

Joe holds on to 2023.
Republicans take back the House and Senate.
Republicans appoint TRUMP! speaker of the House.
Republicans force Joe’s removal due to mental incompetence.
Kamalalala removed via impeachment or before Senate appoints new VP.
Speaker of the House- TRUMP! – becomes President TRUMP!

First step, force the SCOTUS to re-review their upholding of Obama DACA “prosecutorial discretion” that TRUMP! revoked, but the SCOTUS refused to “let him” because of John Roberts. Reversal of that opinion opens to door to revocation of any and all previous “executive” actions without “Judicial” review. And MUCH is accomplished quickly.

Since TRUMP! is president for the second time for less than 2 years, he runs again in 2024 and stays President for almost 4 more years. Plenty of time to finish the job he started.

The most important action would be to charge, try and CONVICT the MSM both corporate and individually for conspiracy to aid the Dems it their elections, holding them in violation of campaign finance laws and bankrupting CNN, MSNBC, CBS, NBC, ABC, NYT, WaPo, and all their “NEWS” anchors and reporters who do not identify themselves as “opinion” reporters.

Jeff in Calgary
Reply to  markl
June 16, 2021 10:38 am

Problem is that most people still believe the old lies. They believe the arctic has melted, that the GBR is dead. They don’t see that the consensus is wrong.

June 15, 2021 9:50 pm

“And then we wept”. Newsflash….We have three-years to overt A global high-salinity induced extinction event caused by pusillanimous Professors and students deadlocked in an emotional battle of virtual signal King of the Hill.

WTF has the Western World come to when pansies like this shape the belief systems of our young? Why is it a sin for men to behave like men? A counter cultural revolution is brewing my friends, and WUWT and like minded blogs are leading the charge.

No more razzle dazzle, no more Harry and Magan BS. We think, therefore we are, and we shine the light of truth for all to see. No more pal review hogwash; truth must prevail over the academic rubbish foisted on the backs of the working class by coddled children pursuing degrees in, the racial inequality of Goldfish in suburban fish bowls.

We demand the unvarnished truth about the Wuhan virus. Anything less is a crime against the millions who have perished, and the millions who will perish from this scourge against humanity. This my friends is the preeminent issue of our time…..for what will become of us if we succumb to Doublespeak and simplistic propaganda? Take a stand, demand the truth.

June 16, 2021 12:33 am

“The bleaching certainly caused the worst mortality in this area since records began in 1985”

So the seeds of the dooming were sown children-
10 Top Inventions in the 80s that Gained Huge Popularity – InventGEN (

Lewis Buckingham
June 16, 2021 2:35 am

A bit off topic.
With the state of the MSM in Australia, its unlikely they will be reporting much about this case in a non partisan way.
Perhaps it could be arranged for some person of legal background to be present at all the hearing to give an account, as it happens.
This was done in the George Pell appeal to the High Court, which led to a unanimous decision in his favor.
So a valid account now exists.
However large groups of the MSM were amazed at the unanimous result, as they had not been following the evidence.
When the renewed debate starts on the GBR and academic freedom, it would be useful to have a factual, non ideological, report of the case.
Its a pity that we now have learned not to trust the reporting of our own ABC in Australia.
The case may turn on Academic Freedom.
In a carefully argued article, Professor Adrienne Stone draws the distinction between intellectual freedom, which is broad and can be defined away and Academic Freedom, which is tightly constrained.
She then considers how this affected the determination of the Supreme Court.
Peter Ridd, May your Tribe increase

Lewis Buckingham
June 16, 2021 2:43 am

Note the error.
The decision mentioned June 16 2.35 am was a majority decision, so not unanimous, in the Full Federal Court of Australia, so not a State court, or a Supreme Court.

June 16, 2021 2:44 am

One of the reasons it recovers quickly is that the coral in deeper water, which is not measured by the AIMS long term surveys, or the aerial surveys conducted by Prof Hughes, is relatively unaffected by bleaching.

So coral bleaching is a shallow water event?
Is this vulnerability related to the fact that corals are marine critters that are not observed to live out of water above sea level?

Reply to  Philip Mulholland
June 16, 2021 9:44 am

Yes Corals that grow too much above low water events….make coral islands bigger when their dead parts wash up on the beach….It is a reliable part of island formation. I once worked on a Caribbean construction project, and many of the local 1920-50 era buildings were made out of quarried coral blocks. After that…concrete…plus there was a whole industry for locals salvaging old coral blocks from no longer occupied buildings.

Michael in Dublin
June 16, 2021 3:29 am

If the situation of warming and its damage has continued since 2016, then the coral situation should be even worse and not better. That dreadful coral, how dare it go against the catastrophic global warming narrative?

June 16, 2021 9:25 am

I’m curious why crown of thorns has a bad rep and parrot dish have a good rep. They both eat coral.

A dead reef is quite obvious. It is covered in thick algae and thousands of urchins. Bleaching on the other hand is much more specific.

For example it is not unusual to see a reef where one species of coral has bleached while right beside it are dozens of other species that are not bleached.

What we call coral is hundreds if not thousands of different species all competing for space on the reef.

Diving a reef the outer wall often drops off vertically for hundreds of feet. Well beyond what you can see in even the clearest water. It can be pretty intimidating. It can be very tempting to explore the wall, but it is mostly impossible due to serious restrictions on scuba limiting sports divers to about 60 feet.

60 foot depth on the reef is the area of sponges. Much of the light has been filtered out. You have about 30 minutes to explore at this depth before decompression and the bends become an issue.

If you continue downwards you can expect nitrogen narcosis somewhere approaching 90 feet. At this depth your dive tables limit you to maybe 5? minutes without decompression (no D in diver lingo). Will you remember in your state of rapture or will you continue further?

With experience, planning and spare tanks I know scuba divers operate to 200 feet. But I’ve been very happy to beg off joining them.

Reply to  Ferdberple
June 16, 2021 8:58 pm

A different opinion on the safety of diving. I have over 2,500 dives in the 50 years or so that I have been diving. There is no serious restriction to diving below 60 feet. The old Navy tables allowed 60 minutes at 60 feet but newer tables limit that to closer to 52 minutes. But with computers, the rules are all changed. Computers account for the total time at different depths, using one of several different models to account for nitrogen uptake or release in your tissue compartments. It isn’t unusual to spend 20 or 30 minutes at 90 feet or about and then taking your time to slowly move up to the surface.

Note that these models have been validated using Doppler studies of bubble formation in blood vessels. Some models are more liberal and allow small bubble formation while other, more conservative models don’t allow bubble formation when followed properly.

Nitrogen narcosis can occur at almost any depth past 80 feet but it is very unusual and rare for it to occur above 110 to 130 feet. I personally have never felt it above 120 feet. I feel it a little at 130 feet or lower.

Diving past 150 feet gets tricky. It is do-able but the deeper you go the greater the risk. I’ve only been as deep as 168 feet for just a minute and spend the rest of the 70 minute dive in about 20 feet of water outgassing.

Bottom line is that it isn’t unusual to dive to 100 feet, spend time down there for 20 minutes and then start to make an ascent, breaking the surface at about 70 minutes or so into the dive. This is a perfectly safe dive profile using a dive computer. As you come up, your body begins to outgas nitrogen allowing you to surface within the no decompression limits. You just need good air consumption, which comes with proper buoyancy and experience.

June 16, 2021 2:55 pm

“Scientists” assuming cyclical phenomena as straight lines?

June 17, 2021 4:30 am

Survival of the fittest is naturally selecting algae best suited to the climate of the coral. The inconvenient truth getting in the way of the usual AGW gloomy news stories.

Russell Haley
June 17, 2021 12:05 pm

So to recap:

  • The reefs are not dying
  • The polar bears are not dying
  • There is no appreciable increase in “adverse weather events” in either long or short term trends
  • The data has been manipulated
  • The models are sloppy
  • The “hockey stick” used to justify panic is so small as to not be visible if one views the entire range of surface temperatures
  • Even NOAH admits that CO2 levels will hit a maximum amount of reflectivity in the air.
  • CO2 levels are *still* historically excessively low compared to any period outside of this current *ICE AGE*
  • Temperature “increases” or “decreases” can be claimed depending on where you start counting and which data sets you include

So lets add that to the historical fails:

  • We will run out of food if the population keeps growing
  • Burning gasoline is causing the earth to *cool* and we were headed for a new ice age
  • We are going to run out of fresh water by 2025
  • on and on and on…

If any single MSM published the complete list of failed Malthusian claims this entire hoax would fall apart. Also, we should ban governments from making policy decisions based on unproven models:

Warren Inman
June 17, 2021 5:15 pm

Ask yourself, what qualifications do you need to be considered a scientist? Don’t think this ‘scientist’ bothered with some vital parts of his ‘scientific’ research….

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