Sunday, November 23, 2014
Good news: Leftist newspaper says the Australian government's climate change credentials have been battered
And see below that it includes some surprising claims, such as: "The size of the Reef has halved in the past 30 years". I have been following the barrier reef scares for around 60 years (long before global warming was invented) but that was a newie on me.
But I have traced the claim, and one amusing thing that we read there is: "The exhaustive AIMS investigation reveals coral loss is uneven along the 2300km-long reef, with the far north still relatively healthy." So the WARMEST parts of the reef are doing best! How pesky can you get?
And what the research showed is NOT that the reef has shrunk by 50% but that the CORAL has shrunk by 50%. The reef is of course an ancient and relatively permanent structure of dead coral skeletons.
We also read: "Storm damage accounted for 48 per cent of the coral loss in the past 27 years, crown-of-thorns starfish were responsible for 42 per cent, and bleaching caused 10 per cent of the coral to die". No mention of global warming! Though no doubt they would claim that the storms were caused by global warming. Since severe weather events worldwide have been FEWER in recent years that however would be a rubbish claim, having no regard to the actual statistics.
Warmists have also been known to link starfish plagues with warming but again we read: "The study says the causes of the plagues were still not fully known".
And I won't mention that the period covered by the research was 27 years, not 30.
And I won't mention that the source paper for the research is no longer where it was. Has it been taken down due to inaccuracy?
I could go on but the lesson is clear: As soon as we get into the details of the research findings, the sweeping claims made of the research by Warmists are extensively falsified. So the appeals to authority below are junk. It is the facts that matter, not authorities, and the facts are very pesky indeed for Warmists.
My habit of going back to the detailed research findings behind Green/Left claims once again shows what crooks and crazies they are
Prime Minister Tony Abbott's apparent, if modest, conversion to the idea that climate change was an "important subject" following talks with French president Francois Hollande on Wednesday was greeted with no small measure of cynicism.
This was, after all, a politician who had built a political career on climate scepticism, with his famous remark in 2010 that it was "absolute crap" to assert the science was settled.
It took only two days, but the doubters can claim vindication after revelations that the government sent a briefing note to Barack Obama to dissuade him that the Great Barrier Reef was under threat by climate change.
In an interview with Fairfax Media's Latika Bourke in New York, Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop said the Reef was "not under threat from climate change because its biggest threat is the nutrient runoffs agricultural land, the second biggest threat is natural disasters, but this has been for 200 years".
This is disingenuous, and factually wrong.
To be sure, the government believes the world is warming, and that human factors play a part.
But when it comes to acknowledging the urgency of the problem, how climate change will impact on the world, and what must be done to avert a catastrophic four-degree rise in global temperature, the Abbott government offers obfuscation and excuses.
So it was with the response to Obama's speech in Brisbane last week, when the US leader called on Australia's youth to rise up and demand more action to combat climate change, remarking that "incredible natural glory of the Great Barrier Reef is threatened".
The US leader's speech might have been undiplomatic and rude to his hosts - but his analysis of the impact of climate change on the Reef was spot on.
Just ask the federal government agencies charged with monitoring and protecting the Reef.
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority said in its 2014: "Climate change remains the most serious threat to the Great Barrier Reef. It is already affecting the reef and is likely to have far-reaching consequences in the decades to come."
Averting further degradation of the Reef can "only be successful if climatic conditions are stabilised" reported the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), another government body.
The size of the Reef has halved in the past 30 years. Outbreaks of crown of thorn starfish which consume soft corals - along with cyclones - have contributed to about 90 per cent of that decline, says AIMS.
Coral bleaching is responsible for the remaining 10 per cent.
Coral bleaching is the direct result of rising sea temperatures caused by global warming. The acceleration of crown of thorn starfish infestations - which spawn in warmer months - is also driven, at least in part, by hotter weather.
And, warns the government's marine scientists, cyclone activity will only increase as the planet heats up.
Bishop's personal political stocks have soared in recent months due to some forceful international diplomacy on the MH17 disaster and the rise of the Islamic State terrorist group.
Her intervention on the Reef is unlikely to faze Obama, or harm relations. But some of the gloss has come of Bishop's credentials as a moderate alternative to Abbott.
And, the government's climate change credentials, once again, have been battered.
Thursday, November 6, 2014
How corals can actually benefit from climate change effects
Researchers from Northeastern University's Marine Science Center and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have found that moderate ocean acidification and warming can actually enhance the growth rate of one reef-building coral species. Only under extreme acidification and thermal conditions did calcification decline.
Their work, which was published Wednesday in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, is the first to show that some corals may benefit from moderate ocean acidification.
The authors attribute the coral's positive response to moderately elevated carbon dioxide to the fertilization of photosynthesis within the coral's algal symbionts, which may provide the coral with more energy for calcification even though the seawater is more acidic. They propose that the eventual decline in coral calcification at the very high levels of carbon dioxide occurs when the beneficial effects of fertilizing photosynthesis are outweighed by the negative effects of acidification on the skeleton-forming process.
"The study showed that this species of coral (Siderastrea siderea) exhibited a peaked or parabolic response to both warming and acidification, that is, moderate acidification and warming actually enhanced coral calcification, with only extreme warming and acidification negatively impacting the corals," Ries said. "This was surprising given that most studies have shown that corals exhibit a more negative response to even moderate acidification."
Furthermore, their work indicates that ocean warming is likely to threaten this coral species more than acidification by the end of the century, based on projections from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
He noted that in the past 200 years, ocean pH level has dropped from 8.2 to 8.1 and is expected to fall even further to about 7.8 over the next one or two centuries. That is a significant decrease over a relatively short period of time, Ries said, when looking at the geologic history of ocean acidification.
"The amount of change that would typically occur in about 10 million years is being condensed into a 300-year period," Ries said. "It's not the just the magnitude of the change that matters to the organisms, but how quickly it is occurring."
"Acidification of the surrounding seawater is certainly important for marine organisms, but what is equally as important—perhaps even more important—is how the chemistry of their internal calcifying fluid responds to these changes in seawater chemistry," Ries said.