Attention Roger Pielke Jr.
New models detail consequences of high emissions for Gulf, Caribbean corals
HOUSTON – (Oct. 5, 2022) – Ocean temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea are on pace to surpass critical thresholds for coral health by mid-century, but rapid action to significantly reduce emissions could slow warming, giving corals and coral conservation programs as much as 20 more years to adapt, according to new research.
Climate scientists and marine biologists from Rice University, the University of Colorado Boulder and Louisiana State University used computer models to simulate climate warming from 2015-2100 under both a “business as usual” scenario with very high emissions and a scenario in which emissions were reduced to high levels. Their study and analysis of ocean warming and ocean acidification levels for specific regions in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean under each scenario is published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences. The researchers found reducing emissions could delay the onset of critically warm ocean temperatures in some areas where reefs are still healthy.
“There are reefs in the Gulf that are really worth saving,” said Rice University marine biologist Adrienne Correa, a co-author of the study. “Some of the healthiest reefs that we still have in the United States are in the areas covered by these projections.”
Live coral cover on reefs has declined worldwide by about 50% since 1950, and few reefs in the Caribbean and Gulf have more than 10% live coral cover. Reefs in Dry Tortugas National Park in western Florida and in the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary off the coasts of Texas and Louisiana are notable exceptions with more than 50% live coral cover.
The study found ocean temperatures in the Caribbean and parts of Florida could reach critically warm temperatures as early as 2050, posing a serious risk for coral survival.
“The fact that we’re going to see these changes by 2050 is a strong wake-up call,” said Correa, an assistant professor of biosciences whose lab specializes in studying corals and reef ecosystems. “We get a lot of bad news about reefs, but we can still draw hope and motivation from this. Some of the reefs that are included in this analysis are really special, like the Flower Garden Banks, and reefs off of Cuba and in some other parts of the Caribbean where there’s still really high coral cover. We can help protect and keep the high-coral-cover reefs we have if we take immediate action to shift how much energy we use and where we get our energy.”
Correa co-authored the study with climate scientists Sylvia Dee of Rice, Allison Lawman of CU Boulder and Kristine DeLong of LSU.
“In one case, we have more time to mitigate, and in the other we don’t,” said Dee, a climate modeling expert and assistant professor of Earth, environmental and planetary science. “People need to be aware this is coming up fast, and the time to explore mitigation techniques is now.”
Corals are symbiotic organisms that live in partnership with photosynthetic algae that help feed their coral hosts. Corals are also builders that draw upon carbonate minerals in seawater to construct their own rocky outer frameworks. Climate warming threatens both coral symbiosis and coral reef-building. For example, heat stress can cause corals to expel their symbiotic algae en masse, a sometimes deadly phenomenon known as bleaching. And oceans become more acidic as they warm, reducing the efficiency of the chemical reactions corals use to build reefs.
Previous studies have shown that heat-related coral bleaching is often triggered by prolonged, abnormally warm ocean temperatures. The critical threshold temperature for bleaching varies between ocean regions and reefs. For example, the threshold temperature for reefs in the Flower Garden Banks is 29.5 degrees Celsius (85.1 degrees Fahrenheit). The researchers analyzed regional warming patterns in each scenario to project when specific regions with coral reefs were likely to reach threshold temperatures under each emissions scenario. A similar regional analysis was performed to project the timing of critical thresholds for ocean acidification.
Lawman, the corresponding author of the study and a former postdoctoral scholar in Dee’s lab, said the study showed heat-related stress was the biggest and most immediate climate-related threat to corals under each emissions scenario.
“The difference was whether you crossed the critical thresholds around 2050 versus 20 years later,” said Lawman, a postdoctoral associate at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at CU Boulder.
The researchers found the key determinant of coral mortality in each scenario was the number of months that corals in the future will be exposed to prolonged temperatures hotter than the hottest average months projected for 2015-2034. The researchers dubbed these “degree heating months.”
“There’s always one month that is the hottest of the year,” Lawman said. “Let’s say it’s August and the average baseline temperature for that month is 29 degrees Celsius in the region we’re studying. A ‘degree heating month’ in that region is any month in the future that has a higher average temperature than 29 degrees Celsius.”
The research showed that under the “business as usual” emissions scenario, “degree heating months” become the norm in the late 2100s, occurring as much as 10 months out of the year in some parts of the Caribbean.
“That’s a huge number of months in which corals could experience thermal stress beyond the usual levels to which they are adapted,” Lawman said.
“These projections are very concerning,” she said. “I think the takeaway message is that the time to act is now.”
DeLong is an associate professor of geography and anthropology at LSU.
The research was funded by the Gulf Research Program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, Rice University, the Department of the Interior (G19AC00086) and the National Science Foundation (2102931, 2109622).
“Rates of future climate change in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea: Implications for coral reef ecosystems ” | Journal of Geophysical Research – Biogeosciences | DOI: 10.1029/2022JG006999
A. E. Lawman, S. G. Dee, K. L. DeLong and A. M. S. Correa
High-resolution IMAGES are available for download at:
CAPTION: The Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary about 100 miles offshore from Texas and Louisiana is home to some of the healthiest coral reefs in the United States. (Photo by G.P. Schmahl/NOAA)
CAPTION: Coral reefs in the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary in the northern Gulf of Mexico. (Photo courtesy of the National Marine Sanctuaries/NOAA)
Sylvia Dee wins fellowship to launch Gulf of Mexico study – Sept. 28, 2021
Houston flooding polluted reefs more than 100 miles offshore – April 6, 2021
Gulf Coast corals face catastrophe – Dec. 5, 2019
Rice’s Correa, Hassanzadeh named Gulf Research Program Early-Career Research Fellows – Aug. 29, 2018
The Climate and Water Lab (Dee group): sylviadeeclimate.org
The Correa Lab: owlnet.rice.edu/~ac53/index.html
Department of BioSciences: biosciences.rice.edu
Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences: earthscience.rice.edu
Wiess School of Natural Sciences: naturalsciences.rice.edu
This release can be found online at news.rice.edu.
Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews.
Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 4,240 undergraduates and 3,972 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is just under 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice is ranked No. 1 for lots of race/class interaction and No. 1 for quality of life by the Princeton Review. Rice is also rated as a best value among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.
Journal of Geophysical Research Biogeosciences
METHOD OF RESEARCH
SUBJECT OF RESEARCH
Rates of future climate change in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea: Implications for coral reef ecosystems
ARTICLE PUBLICATION DATE
Anyone using RCP8.5 should be forced to put a disclaimer on the study.
Anyone using RCP8.5 cannot describe themselves as scientists. They are pseudoscientists.
And that in itself is a kindness to these charlatans. Anybody with an ounce of integrity would choose a more realistic scenario – all they are doing is publishing worthless clickbait ‘studies’ to generate alarmist headlines and garner some media attention for their university. Dishonest and immoral idiots.
Anybody with an ounce of integrity would choose to base predictions on actual data and play with computer models in the background until they start to make valid predictions.
More research is needed on coral behaviour, as the current lab research doesn’t match the robustness of coral, say, of the Great Barrier Reef, or off Indonesian coasts in much hotter water.
Plane tickets and hotels near coral reefs are so much more expensive than obsolete laptops run by teenager’s offering anything for an A.
Studies in the Caribbean, covered here some years back, have shown very healthy reefs outside of the tourist and spear fishing areas.
And pad their CVs. These all appear to be recently minted PhDs at the bottom of the feeding chain, with the titles of “assistant professor.”
They might not feel like they have a choice.
Everybody has a choice, even if it is to take their newly minted PhD and walk away from Academia. Throwing aside the last vestiges of morals and integrity and telling themselves that they had no choice is just their way of being able to live with the bad choices they have made.
Did you perhaps mean to say PROPAGANDIST?
> “Anyone using RCP8.5 should be forced to put a disclaimer on the study.”
“Anyone using RCP8.5 should be forced to put a match to the study.”
Fixed it for you.
The amount of warming in all scenarios is fiction based, so they might as well use the scariest. In addition, the IPCC projections for warming though 2050 have less than 2/10 the of a degree of difference between RCP 8.5 and all the other scenarios (other than constant composition), so the results would be similar.
A fact based on computer models?
So just how well have their computer games performed so far?
The fact that UN IPCC CliSciFi models run hot, have tropospheric hot spots that don’t exist in the real world, differ among themselves by 3℃ in global temperatures and can’t even hindcast past temperatures accurately doesn’t seem to deter these “researchers” from making bold predictions based on their faulty output. What happens when dynamic atmospheric phenonium limit open ocean temperatures to about 30℃?
Yet, the alarmist will say “the science is settled”. When I hear that my blood pressure goes up 20 points. When they say that, they mean “we are not going to listen to you”.
But what about water temps, not heard hardly anything about that, and there’s no way the seas will have any drastic change.
The scientist alarmists soil themselves over a fraction of a degree change like it’s the end of all life as we know it, somehow not knowing that we are currently in a cold phase, especially relative to the 100s of millions of years spent in the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.
Yeah right. New biased assumptions etc
Out of (morbid?) curiosity I searched for the hottest seawater corals normally live in, and it turns out that corals in the Persian Gulf thrive in temperatures up to 36 deg C, and that is 7deg C above the critical temperature of 29 deg C cited in the Modeled study. Enter Charles Darwin and his adaption ideas, and no pasa nada.
Too much rum by the computer jockeys at Rice and LSU methinks.
AGW catastrophe theories require that universities abandon the Darwin v Vatican battles of the 1960s through 1980s (USA-North).
I thought that the warmer the seas become the more CO2 they expel, just like a coke bottle?
Having left a coke can in a hot car one afternoon I can attest to that statement!
Newton was inspired by an apple falling on his head.
Henry obviously left a coke can in a hot car!
CU-Boulder — count me as not shocked.
Did anyone build an Excel ‘water world’ (as I suggested how to do aaaaages ago) to find out what Earth’s temp would be.
A Water World being an Earth with no atmosphere and comprised only of deep crystal clear water.
Here’s the result for a point on the equator:
Incoming solar: 1,375 watts per square metre
Albedo =0.06 (actual figure for water normal incidence)
Emissivity= 0.95 (It’s close to unity but not quite)
If Earth was not rotating, the average energy entering water (from East to West) would be 1375 x (1-albedo) divided by root(2) = 914 Watts/sqm
But water absorbs all that energy to considerable depth (100 metres) and Earth is rotating
So, the water will be absorbing 914 watts for 12 hours and Zero watts for 12 hours each day.
The water will accumulate energy, its temperature will rise until, over the course of 24 hours, it radiates away the energy it receives in each 12 hours ‘day’
So, when the water gets to equilibrium, it will be radiating away half of 914 watts via its Emissivity of 0.95
Via Stefan. I get a figure of 304 Kelvin or 31°Celsius
Which is almost exactly what is recorded – How Many Times has Willis told us that – and wondered why it happens?
There it is, I just worked it out from very first principles.
Anybody could. Why did they not?
Ah you say, the water will cool overnight and not radiate as much
The energy was absorbed into a 1 metre square of 100 metre depth.
if 100 cubic metres of water (this is what slaughters the GHGE) lost energy at that rate, over a 12 hour (nighttime) period it would cool (my calculation) by 0.05°Celsius
So by their very own authority and the maths of a 13 or 14 year old child, there is No Way that deep water on Planet Earth can get hotter than 31°C
(Shallow water can if the mud under is is very dark coloured)
Build the spreadsheet in (say) 5° steps of latitude to take that calculation across (Equator to Pole) the entire Earth and you get an average temp of 10.4°C
Do it properly, sum the TempxArea then divide by the Total Area to get the Average Temp)
A lovely thing you see is that at 40°of Latitude, temp reaches that 10C figure.
And also you see the oft quoted ‘crossover point’ = where we’re told that below that latitude Earth absorbs heat and above that latitude, Earth loses heat
It’s also, roughly as best anyone know, the lowest latitude extent of the so-called Snowball Earth events
The average temp of the 50° latitude point is = Zero Celsius – does that explain ‘Canada’
Ah but then you say, Earth is not all = water.
Yes absolutely.land heats up faster and hotter than water does.
But there are 2 hideous complications..
Land does nor store energy like water does (to 100 metre depth) so it will cool much faster at night
But, when it is growing perennial plants, they are made of water and will store the heat.
Dead and buried plant material in the ground likewise.
Will that cool or warm
What happens if the perennial plants die or are replaced by annual plants.
THAT is what Climate Computer Models should be working on……..
And what about ‘hot spots’ from convection of magma pushing up from Earth’s upper and lower mantle to right under the crust in many places?
That is impressive back-of-the-envelope type calculations, and spreadsheet magic. Awesome.
That really shows that the climate so-called scientists, with million dollar bugets and reserved or dedicated super-computer time, are either incompetent or corrupt – using the hysteria to push their quasi-religious political goals.
It seems to be about 97% political.
97% political, 60% vested interest and 100% demanding the media spotlight.
And 0% mathematics.
What of the relation between the so-called shortwave reflection component (albedo) and the emissivity of the longer waves….
The sum of 0.95 + 0.06 almost precisely unity. what of that? An emissivity of 0.06 is suggestive of a longerwave reflectivity of 0.94. How can the shortwave and longerwave reflections be so similar… a nearly perfectly unnoticeable swap of an apple for an orange.
As the incident solar beam is composed of upwards of 50% in the IR portion of the spectrum, it offers a clue.
Such that from an Earth System perspective, plugging in our approximate 30% shorterwave albedo reflection yields a ballpark swap of 30% reflection of the longerwaves also.
And so a deduced Earth system emissivity of 0.7 to plug into our spaceborne thermal IR gun calibration. Where 100% – % Reflected = Emissivity
Emitting 240 Watts/m2 of power observed, adjusting the emissivity dial to 0.7, gives an active planetary radiating temperature of 278K. Considerably warmer than the 255K conjecture.
I have inverted the lingo in all the swapping and interchangeability. Longerwave emissivity 0.95 suggests longerwave reflectivity of 0.05.
For an instant at solar noon, in deep water, for visible light. Thereafter, the specular reflectance component slowly climbs until at about 60 degrees it starts to climb rapidly, reaching 100% when the point is on the terminator. At the same time, the apparent diffuse reflectance from suspended sediment and plankton varies inversely, reaching zero at the terminator because no light actually enters the water at a glancing angle.
use RCP8.5 as basis. I think even RCP business as usual has been discredited
My model says climate change hysteria, among other things, is driving women crazy(crazier?). See Adrienne Correa, Sylvia Dee, Allison Lawman and Kristine DeLong as evidence of this effect. Perhaps these ladies should be out doing field work instead of slaving over hot models.
Your model is a model for anti-modelism.
Stony corals exist from roughly 30N latitude to 30S.
These are the warmest ocean waters on the planet.
COLD water is the enemy of corals.
Is it a requirement in modern Western universities, that once you start referring to “global warming” in your published research, you are required to forget every basic thing you learned in your introductory courses?
Why is surprising about scientists and modelers playing computer games, millions of people do it every day as it is fun.
The grad student made a rookie mistake in this paper. Never make a climate prediction that can be tested during your academic career. Dead coral by 2050. He needs to learn from the Hansen, Wadhams, and Viner fiascos. Manhattan’s East Side Parkway is not underwater. Arctic still has summer sea ice. And UK children still know snow. I bet the corals will be just fine in 2050.
Thought the same… 27 years? Junior professors? They’ll probably still be alive!
They’ll have to blame it all on someone else if it comes up.
The spell cast by wind turbines in the west will cancel the great increase of CO2 from the east. They will, therefore be able to claim that coral still thriving is indeed due to western society’s destruction.Also, by then, control of information will be total so no one can be the wiser.
They will also, by then, have achieved total control of the criminal justice system so anyone sticking their head up with questions will quickly be enrolled in political reeducation camp, or receive a bullet in the back of their heads.
Hansen was talking about the West Side Highway, Rud.
Some of these “researchers” (gamers) are young. Likely they will be around to see their global warming fantasies turned to dust. This will be the opposite of one of last century’s scientific controversies, the vindication of J Harlen Bretz (see Missoula Floods).
At age 96, Bretz received an award for correctly calling the cause of Eastern Washington’s channeled scablands. He was 96. It is reported he said: “All my enemies are dead, so I have no one to gloat over.”
Most scientists would use the term less basic than more acidic when you are initially dealing with a base. This tells me a lot about their goal.
They have drunk of the Kool-Aid!
I believe it has been pointed out here a few times that the acidification term, although not technically correct, was in use long before AGW reared its head.
How does she claim any particular expertise in coral ecology, or, for that matter, so-called ‘ocean acidification?’
Someone whispered the words to use.
NASA would never have gone to the Moon if they had relied on people like this.
“Culminating with Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong’s first step onto the Moon on July 20, 1969”
And not worth the effort of repeating for at least 50 years
Earth has sent fewer than 10 missions in 50 years, all from one nation, none recently.
When people get excited about Mars, I wonder… why?
Instead I wonder whether a rare-earth metal asteroid could be safely deopsited in the middle of the pacific by robots? I don’t see how to avoid tidal waves.
I remember an entire day of ignorantly entering values into a simulator in engineering school hoping to get a certain transfer function that a professor wanted to see from a then-novel transistor type. I succeeded. Then I graduated and joined a real company. I learned a hard lesson in the dangers of delivering impractical possible answers. I also learned that simulators are easy to build but difficult to get right without excellent understanding of what they should simulate, and learned that the best way to run a computer simulation program is by using my own computer program to simulate everything I am willing to do to torture the desired answer from it.
Based on learning that might not apply to the specific situation in the main article, I worry that the writers went places they didn’t think they would go chasing down results they were told to get to make someone who knows enough to get “the real answer” instead, but does not want to own it. They’d be better educated if they’d used their time scripting data input instead of learning to dislike data reentry.
It gets quite deep in the Pacific, not to mention the aforementioned tidal waves. What’s wrong with nudging it into orbit and mining it there?
Separate note on corals, as I have the only coral reef in the continental US about 300 meters off my beach and love diving it. As with most coral reefs, several different species co-exist here.
When they bleach they are expelling their symbiotic photosynthetic zooantellae. They can survive about 6 months before taking up a better adapted symbiotic system species. If they don’t, they slowly die of starvation. But that reef section will still repopulate within 10 years from coral spawn.
Corals reproduce two ways. They bud continuously, which means the epigenetically adapted phenotype for that location’s conditions is directly reproduced. And once a year they spawn sexually, which means the DNA maintains diversity for evolution.
Biggest dangers to corals are overfishing (fish eat the green algae that could otherwise smother them) and pollution. The big pollution problems here in south Florida are fertilizer run off (encouraging smothering green algae) and sediment runoff (that directly muddies and blocks needed sunlight). We used to dredge sand from beyond the reef to replenish the beach, but now the dredging would stir up the sediment and damage the reef. So this last go we trucked in about 400,000 cubic yards of washed clean sand from a mine in central Florida to replenish the beaches. Advantage was the sand is slightly coarser, so holds place better. But expensive trucking—$60 million to replenish about 10 miles. With dredging, was about 10 last go.
Do you scuba or snorkel, Rud?
I always preferred snorkeling over scuba, I rarely explored reefs deeper than about 30ft, and I was a voyeur, not a seafood hunter, so clear water and bright sunny days were my nirvana.
Only coral reef in the contiguous US? Perhaps you are not aware of the Flower Gardens. It is mentioned in the paper and indeed is doing quite well. BTW, Alaska is part of the continental US.
The current models are wildly wrong in the tropical oceans.
Open oceans cannot get above 30C for more than a very short period of time.
I’m sure Rick Will can provide a better explanation than I have time to at the moment.
This is a question about Ocean Acidification.
Why is that when the pH of a solution moves from pH7.8 to pH7.6 it is said to become more acidic when it still lies in the basic range. Shouldn’t it be less basic ?
Also, I ran the question through an AI and got the more acidic answer but then asked it “what happens to the pH if it changes from pH6 to pH6.5” and it answered the solution has become less acidic – shouldn’t it be more basic ?. Is pH always described in terms of acidity or has logic gone out the window 🙂
AI doesn’t think, therefor it mimics Piltdown Mann
An astonishing amount of waffle words are used to make their claims seem credible.
In other words, junk science mixed by shady alleged scientists makes Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, EurekAlert and BBC happy if totally uninformed.
Conveniently forgotten from their “calculations” is how many new acres of coral develope in areas that are currently too cold. Even by IPCC declarations, temperature increases in the future will be greater near the poles than the equator, so more warming where it’s needed versus where it is already warm.