Fake Warming Along the Great Barrier Reef

Dr. Bill Johnston

Thanks Sterling Burnett and Anthony Watts for your excellent overviews of my recent research on sea surface temperature along the Great Barrier Reef (https://wattsupwiththat.com/2022/03/29/sorry-wapo-there-is-no-evidence-bleaching-threatens-a-great-barrier-reef-tipping-point/; https://climaterealism.com/2021/08/despite-claims-of-great-barrier-reef-decline-due-to-global-warming-no-temperature-change-in-150-years/).

Although the BomWatch frontstory captures the main messages, the full report is available here: https://www.bomwatch.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/GBR_SST-study_Aug05.pdf.

I have also examined sea level trends at Townsville and Cooktown and extensively investigated temperatures measured by weather stations at Gladstone, Rockhampton, Townsville and Cairns. There is more to come, but each detailed investigation takes several months to complete.

On close examination, much of the ‘science’ about coral bleaching reported in top-shelf Journals repeatedly use the same data or the same tired studies that use the same data to develop a mantra that in the light of empirical data fails the test of reality. By using visions of dying reefs to thieve ever more money from Australian taxpayers, the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies has built an elaborate castle-in-the-air. With their over-paid executives and boards, and being interwoven into government policy, they and their partner organizations have become too wealthy, too unaccountable, and therefore far too costly for the services they provide.

Based on reviewing hundreds of papers, much of their research is questionable, flag-waving, poorly thought-out, done using biased visual techniques and inappropriate statistical methods. Furthermore, it pays them handsomely to have WWF and pretend scientists at the Climate Council, the one-sided The Conversation and even the Australian Academy of Science (otherwise known as The Australian Academy of Drama Queens https://quadrant.org.au/opinion/doomed-planet/2021/04/the-australian-academy-of-drama-queens/) onside and backing their causes. The ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies is not a genuine unbiased research establishment where views are debated out in the open for the public good. Instead, they filter and massage every word and sack people expressing common-sense, refreshingly contrary views like Dr Peter Ridd.

Imagine joining the dots between bleaching somewhere sometime and a coal fired power station in the New South Wales Hunter Valley or India, or the phalanx of private jets flying to Davos. Reef science has little to do with the Reef and much to do with political wrangling and virtue signaling. Contrast for example Donald Trump at Davos in 2020 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2O3Z3IAkUc) with the embarrassing and pathetic essay read by Australia’s Prime Minister Morrison in 2022 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wMLDh7nO9-c).

Under the Australian Constitution, Reef science is a State matter that belongs to Queensland. However, having it declared by UNESCO in 1981 turned it into a political football and the Canberra-based begging-bowl now in clear view. Protected by Labor’s ‘mean-girls’ including former Minister for Climate Change Penny Wong, and green-Liberals including Morrison (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOvrV_JMlbY), the current Australian Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley is too weak to do anything about it. Instead of demanding an audit of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) and allied institutions including CSIRO, The Bureau of Meteorology, James Cook University and the University of Queensland, just the other day the Prime Minister gave them another A$Billion over 10-years to continue to beat the drum.

The Reef 2050 Plan Independent Expert Panel headed by Professor Ian Chubb is part of the problem and should have been disbanded years ago. The 17-member Reef 2050 Advisory Committee which includes WWF with their agenda of closing down agriculture should be next. As there is no warming and they serve no useful purpose, and GBRMPA’s ‘reef managers’ only flap-about, dish-out money and write press- reports, what is the use of plans, targets and ‘investments’, when the real goal is destruction of Australia’s electricity network and the replacement of agriculture in central Queensland with woody-weeds under the auspices of ‘carbon farming’? Of the main Australian political parties, it is only The Nationals who are positioned to rise to the challenge and instigate positive change. However, with a federal election due in May and the Labor Party waiting to continue where Penny Wong left off, they are dragging their feet.

All we can do at https://www.bomwatch.com.au/ is to continue to expose the top-down rot that has taken hold of Australia’s science institutions in the hope that people will take notice. After all, it only takes one good person to build the first snowball, two to get it rolling and as it gathers speed, the rest should demand that Minister Ley and former Minister Wong take action on behalf of taxpayers, or seek less destructive careers than being Ministers and Ministers-in-waiting.

Dr. Bill Johnston

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April 6, 2022 2:22 pm

Makes one wonder how the Great Barrier Reef survived the last glacial advance the last 100,000 years or so, when the global ocean was up to 400 feet lower than now. And then a rapid rise in sea level that saw the corral keep up just fine, including a major change in ocean temps as we arrived in the present Holocene.

Of course we know the answer to that, just as we know the answer to the present condition of the GBR, that there is no fundamental problem presently, only sleazy politics and corrupt science and media for nefarious purposes.

April 6, 2022 2:32 pm

Survives hundreds of feet of natural sea level change. Supposedly threatened by fractions of feet of Anthropometric warming that may of may not contribute to sea level rise.

My money is on nature.

Chris Hanley
April 6, 2022 2:45 pm

If the Great Barrier Reef is in terminal decline as often claimed and believed then the Queensland Government is perpetrating massive fraud.

April 6, 2022 2:46 pm

Great Barrier Reef great place to put up thousands and thousands wind turbines, so Aussies can abandon coal mining (not sarc, seriously gov).
BoJo just published his energy review, offshore wind and nuclear to keep today’s kids warm in their old age.

Reply to  Vuk
April 7, 2022 5:41 am

Wind has a wee correlation problem on its hands-
‘We’re all in trouble’ | Wind turbine makers selling at a loss and in a ‘self-destructive loop’, bosses admit | Recharge (rechargenews.com)
So naturally they’re beginning to squawk and lining up for more noble cause bailouts/handouts.

Tom Halla
April 6, 2022 2:47 pm

Jennifer Marohasy diving on reefs pronounced bleached by aerial surveys, and finding them in good condition should have led to the abandonment of aerial surveys. But they make for such good scary stories.

April 6, 2022 2:48 pm

This topic as reported in media no longer has any grounding in impartial research findings.

The ghoulish headlines and pile-on commentary from the usual suspects guarantees that the hand-to-mouth struggling taxpayers will never get a rational report about the health of the GBR or the events that shape it.

The propaganda has been dialed to 11 now, so the only way to counter this is “eye witness reports from the front” – manned by full-time versions of Jennifer Marohasy operating out of every major marina along the East Coast of Queensland, venturing out to the GBR proper as weather allows and capturing under-the-surface observations of reef life.

Where’s Elon when we need his $$$$$$$$$s?

Rud Istvan
April 6, 2022 2:57 pm

Bleaching is a natural reef event that corals have by and large adapted to in order to survive. (Jim Steele has many relevant posts here.) Ironically, the magnificent three tier coral reef about half a KM off my ocean condo directly on the beach in north Fort Lauderdale (which attracts many scuba divers out of the Earl Lifshey beach access city park directly next door to the south) does NOT bleach from warmth. The shallowest tier bleaches rapidly from cold during those occasional cold weather fronts that also bring South Florida falling green iguanas (invasive, big—up to about 1.5 meters and 9 kg) who get cold stunned below 45F (paralyzed), loose their tree grip (where they sleep at night) and fall.

Ron Long
April 6, 2022 3:07 pm

What a refreshing treat, Dr. Bill lays it out in a good choice of words, my favorite being “…Australian Academy of Drama Queens…”

April 6, 2022 3:26 pm

It’s not the reef dying, but the truth surrounding it.

April 6, 2022 3:46 pm

Men discovered the corals just 80 years ago and pretend to know everything about them which exist for more than 100 million of years …

A Person
Reply to  Hubert
April 6, 2022 8:42 pm

Along with scientists who claim the world existed for way over 100 million years and that people lived for the last 90,000 – 100,000 years (and were evolving for 3 million years) but that none of them wrote anything down in that time, even though a population graph would indicate that that would have led to a current population of about 100 zillion times the world’s population.

April 6, 2022 3:57 pm

This is a propaganda war. Like all wars, there are winners, losers and innocent victims. So who are the victims here? The East coastal tourism industry in general, and reef tour operators specifically. So what to do, what to do?

Poster “Mr” suggest countering with science and facts, by a handful of scientific types. Unfortunately, this strategy has been applied across the Climate Wars in general and for decades, and has been met with abysmal failure.

Plan B: A history lesson.
Around these parts, one winter we had a major blizzard which went down in local lore as “The Blizzard of ’78.
A decade later all 3 local TV broadcast stations picked up on it. That winter, every winter storm which came up in the weather forecast was labeled “The Blizzard of ‘XX”. Then the “Storm” was advertised in the most shrill and alarming way possible.
This was all done in spades if the “storm” would hit during the weekend.
Everything was “The Blizzard of….The Blizzard of…”. Eventually it became obvious that the TV stations were just competing for ratings, especially the much coveted weekend ratings.
No matter. Every time the TV stations broadcast their “Blizzard of…” story, restaurant reservations across the metro area were canceled, en masse. This was especially hard hitting on the weekends, high time for dining out.
This was happening over and over again. It mattered not that every “Blizzard of” forecast was met with a light snow flurry, or a bit of rain, or nothing at all.
That winter, the restaurants got hammered.

Come spring, it was time for a reckoning. The local metro restaurant association sued the TV stations for reckless reporting which had cost them a ton of money. The complaint was straightforward. The TV stations had recklessly broadcast news they “knew or should have known” was false.
The result of the lawsuit was stunning. The judge in the case skipped discovery, pre-trial motions and the trial itself. The judge awarded the restaurants $35 million in Summary Judgment.
Maybe $35 million is not a lot of money as these things go, but it sure eats up a lot of TV advertisement revenue.
That was the end of all the “Blizzard of” stories. Sank without a trace, and never to resurface.

Perhaps the GBR tour operators should sue the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies directly for monetary losses due to cancellations and low bookings ever since the stories started getting advertised. It would certainly give James Cook University something to think about.
Talk about “bringing disrepute to the University”!! (One of the original complaints which led to the firing of Peter Ridd.)

Reply to  TonyL
April 6, 2022 4:32 pm

Tony, I should have been clearer –

I’m thinking that lots of underwater video clips from the outer GBR proper from lotsa ordinary folk to be shared broadly on social media asking the public who they’re gonna believe about the GBR –

mainstream media’s usual ooga-booga stories or your own lyin’ eyes?

Reply to  Mr.
April 6, 2022 5:51 pm

Well put this time.
Lots of underwater video plastered all over social media has much merit.
I would not have thought of it myself.

April 6, 2022 4:40 pm

I am so sick and tired of hearing about coral bleaching….they spent millions of years evolving to do that…they are supposed to do that…and if they didn’t….their would be billions of very lonely zoox floating around with no where to go

Forrest Gardener
Reply to  Latitude
April 6, 2022 6:09 pm

A good point. Coral bleaching is always presented as something that never happened before about 1998 and something which is completely unnatural. The propaganda simply builds on those falsehoods.

April 6, 2022 4:42 pm

Furthermore, it pays them handsomely to have WWF and pretend scientists at the Climate Council,

They deserve the big bucks for their tough work out on the reef. Spending their days diving in pristine water off coral islands could cause sunburn with the ever present risk of skin cancer. Then there are always sharks among those pretty fish and coral; not to mention sting rays and sea snakes – dangerous work!

Tough work but if you pay enough, there will always be someone willing to do the hard yards.

I get a sense from this story that Bill is a tad angry about rubbish being dressed up as science.

Reply to  RickWill
April 7, 2022 5:02 pm

Thanks RickWill
Been on the road 1300 km over 2 days to sunny Melbourne so I have not had time to reply to comments – sorry!

Certainly Bill is a tad angry about rubbish being dressed us as science, but more so that our elected representatives know this to be the case and choose not to do anything about it. With our compulsory voting laws we have to vote for people who are basically dishonest. Even worse, the likes of Cannon-Brookes and Simon Holmes à Court’s gaggle of ‘independents’.

Cannon-Brookes “wants Australia to take the political heat out of climate action by embracing the economic opportunities of decarbonisation”. https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/moving-the-debate-mike-cannon-brookes-on-climate-independents-and-his-budget-wishlist-20220201-p59sw0.html. Of course he does. Those economic opportunities will flow like an endless golden river from all the rest of us to him and his chosen few. That is future he sees for him and us.

All the best,


Steve Oregon
April 6, 2022 4:49 pm

Reef Shmeef. As my dad used to say. Those were the good old days.

April 6, 2022 4:56 pm

The only way to get a handle on our leaders is to cut their staff, same goes for all federal departments. They all have so much staff that if there isn’t enough mischief to keep everyone busy they create their own mischief. Of course if it were left to me I would probably go to far. I think one secretary to type reports and answer the phone and a designated driver for them if they get too drunk to drive. That sounds about right to me.

Reply to  Bob
April 6, 2022 5:28 pm

You’re right Bob.

The biggest employers of journalism graduates these days are government departments’ “media relations” sections.

For example, Justin Trudeau’s office alone runs a herd of over 100 dedicated fulltime ‘journalists’.

Geoff Sherrington
April 6, 2022 5:55 pm

Thank you Dr Bill Johnston for reporting this careful scientific research. It is, as always, better than unrestrained emotion.
There are many misconceptions in official climate change narratives. One starts with the observation that there has likely been a tiny amount of global warming since say 1850, though the error bounds are very large. For Australia, official guesses are up to 1.44C in the last century or so, while my own guess is about 0.4C +/- 0.6C. (And I can show my work).
Here is where an error of assumption creeps in. People assume that if the overall temperature has increased year after year by (say) 0.01C per year for 1C per century, then a lot of related parameters will have such an increase, a trend, built into them. So, if you collect the temperature data showing the hottest day each year, that will show a trend of 1C per century. If you collect data on the hottest 5-day heatwaves each year, that will show the same underlying trend.
Well, what happens is what is important. In the Australian cases that I have analysed, there are some sites that do NOT show these underlying trends. There are also some sites that do. It eventually comes down to error envelopes.
Have a wade through these few graphs to satisfy yourselves. Geoff S

Janice Moore
Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
April 7, 2022 10:07 am

Dear Mr. Sherrington,

Yes, indeed. Bill Johnston deserves much praise for his superb data analysis.

And, so do you. Do publish as often as you are able. Your powerful facts, repeated, are holding back the tide of lies, even if you don’t see much progress (so far) in completely defeating them.

That you are a fine, bona fide, scientist is evidenced by (among other things) your work, your carefully acknowledging error bars, and by honest, accurate, truly scientific, comments such as this one:

my own guess is 

Richard Feynman would be applauding (perhaps….. he is 🙂).


To you and to Dr. Johnston, a heartfelt WELL DONE.



Reply to  Janice Moore
April 7, 2022 5:04 pm

Thanks Geoff and Janice for your encouragement.



Janice Moore
Reply to  Bill Johnston
April 8, 2022 9:49 am


Geoff Sherrington
Reply to  Janice Moore
April 7, 2022 6:55 pm

Janice Moore,
Your are rare. kind words in a battle where chivalry is a forgotten concept.
Some of us decline to enter much into the exchange of insults that currently define the battle. Geoff S

Janice Moore
Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
April 8, 2022 9:50 am

As are you, Geoff S.. Thank you for making my day. 😊

Geoff Sherrington
April 6, 2022 6:04 pm

In all discussions about what is observed about the Great Barrier Reef, remember the word “Great”. It is a very big system.
What is not generally known is that very few people have ever visited the main part of the Reef, the outer, eastern part that is next to the Pacific Ocean. Many fewer still have been there long enough to make systematic observations. And, fewer people again have observed multiple sites along the Outer Reef, to gain an overall impression.
It is quite expensive to go to the Outer Reef for a day trip. There are next to no permanent facilities to allow an extended stay there.
It follows that we are required to believe the observations of those who are paid to go to the many parts of the Reef with equipment like research vessels to allow long observation times.
(I have made many attempts to get to the Outer Reef, most recently by amphibious aircraft, but have been stymied by either weather or unavailability of aircraft. And, for some of this time I lived in Townsville, a possible starting point for a visit.) Geoff S

Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
April 7, 2022 1:45 am

I remember once dropping a BR Pilot outside the outer reef when sailing east from Cairns or Townsville, I forget which, many years ago. Maybe it might be possible to get a lift on a Pilot Cutter sometime. Or try a local Yacht Club; in my YC there is always someone who is up for doing something just for the devilment of it.

Melbourne resident
April 6, 2022 10:43 pm

I spent a day diving on the reef in 2018 right in the middle of a coral spawning event. I have photos to prove it – I dived on the reef in 1980 – and there was no difference in what we saw. Yes two individual samples – but I saw no reason to panic over the supposed collapse of reef systems and the AIMS marine science report confirmed that.

April 6, 2022 11:23 pm

The only chance to limit/dismiss the current climate “sudoscience” in Australia is if the new formed freedom parties will get enough parliament sits to create a hang parliment. Most if not all of them are seeing through the AGW scam and are opposed to the climate narrative. However, if labour/greens or liberal/national coalition get majority in parliament/senate nothing will change. We will see later this year if Australian care about their future.

Ireneusz Palmowski
April 7, 2022 12:59 am

Meanwhile, the SOI is rising again. La Niña continues.comment image

April 7, 2022 9:08 am

James Cook University tourism researcher Denis Tolkach….
Scenic flyers didn’t think about emissions (msn.com)
wins my wanker of the week award if the researchers flew to Fiji over the GBR from Peter Ridd University-

Researchers spoke to passengers on two such flights Fiji Airways operated over the Fiji islands in order to explore their ethical decision-making processes.

April 7, 2022 4:02 pm

While we discuss climate hoax and related matters this admission reported in Armstrong Economics and other similar reports tends to be forgotten;

A shocking statement was made by a United Nations official Christiana Figueres at a news conference in Brussels. Figueres admitted that the Global Warming conspiracy set by the U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change, of which she is the executive secretary, has a goal not of environmental activists to save the world from ecological calamity, but to destroy capitalism. She said very casually:
“This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution.”
She even restated that goal ensuring it was not a mistake: “This is probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the economic development model for the first time in human history.”
I was invited to a major political dinner in Washington with the former Chairman of Temple University since I advised the University with respect to its portfolio. We were seated at one of those round tables with ten people. Because we were invited from a university, they placed us with the heads of the various environmental groups. They assumed they were in friendly company and began speaking freely. Dick Fox, my friend and Chairman of Temple, began to lead them on to get the truth behind their movement. Low and behold, they too admitted it was not about the environment, but to reduce population growth. Dick then asked them, “Whose grandchild are we trying to prevent from being born? Your’s or mine?”
All of these movements seem to have a hidden agenda that the press helps to misrepresent all the time. One must wonder, at what point will the press realize they are destroying their own future?

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