Friday, October 16, 2015
When NOAA announced today that a global bleaching event is occurring, scientists took notice. coralWhen they wrote that it was the third-worst global coral bleaching event, headlines started blaring "devastating" and "dramatic." But the facts about coral bleaching are usually set aside in the rush to make headlines, and when it comes to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), you really do have to pay attention to what they are declaring. Especially under this current administration.
As we first reported here, NOAA announced in early July that coral reefs are dying off at an unprecedented rate, even though a recently published paper showed that these statements are more alarmist than accurate. Coral reefs can turn white when the algae that surrounds them dies off from too warm (or too cold) water, and the satellites detect that thermal stress. But the paper published in Marine Biology showed that while even though some corals appear bleached, it doesn't mean they are dead or even dying. Why?
Conventional tracking methods (like NOAA's 5-km Coral Reef Watch Satellite Monitoring) can't distinguish between white and bleached (dead) colonies. The paper, by Cruz et al, showed that "although bleaching leaves the coral skeleton visible under its transparent tissue, not all white coral colonies display this feature," which "raises the question as to whether all 'white'-shaded colonies are indeed bleached." To determine whether bleached coral is actually dead, Cruz et al actually sampled coral off the east coast of Brazil, and found that white corals exhibited the same lifelike features as their multi-colored cousins.
Because the white (bleached) corals were physiologically healthy when compared to dark and light-browned colonies, the paper says this would lead to the "overestimation of coral bleaching" by nearly twice as much. This overestimation is caused because satellite monitoring of coral is unable to detect between white living colonies and bleached dead colonies. In fact, surveys off the coast of Brazil showed that the "proportion of bleached and white colonies is similar, thus suggesting that current coral reef surveys may be overestimating the bleaching" by nearly twofold.
So it's surprising to read that Mark Eakin, a NOAA Coral Reef Watch coordinator, told the Associated Press that, "We may be looking at losing somewhere in the range of 10 to 20 percent of the coral reefs this year. The bad news for the U.S. is we're getting hit disproportionately just because of the pattern of the warming." Eakin also called the bleaching a crisis, blaming it first on global warming, and then secondly on natural variability.
Any anomalous ocean warming in the Pacific can be directly linked to the enormous warm blob near Hawaii and a persistent El Niño first announced in June by NOAA. Neither of these two events have anything to do with climate change or atmospheric warming and have been studied extensively by scientists since first discovered.
"Hawaii is getting hit with the worst coral bleaching they have ever seen, right now," Eakinsaid. "It's severe. It's extensive. And it's on all the islands." That's according to satellite imagery as well as computer model forecasts. Eakin didn't actually travel to Hawaii and investigate all the reefs around all the islands, but instead relied on their Coral Reef Watch satellite monitoring system, which the aforementioned paper indicated does a disproportionate job of indicating dead coral reef that's still alive.
Another factor is that other bodies of water, such as the Atlantic Ocean, are showing anoverall cooling trend. Even NOAA's sea surface temperature (SST) anomaly map shows far less warming in the areas where the coral reefs are supposedly dying off. Keep in mind thatin 2010, "cold water temperatures in the Florida Keys caused a coral bleaching event that resulted in some coral death." During that event, water temperatures dropped 12.06 degrees Fahrenheit lower than what they normally are for that time of year.
While no one disputes that warmer water, a byproduct of an El Niño event, can cause some coral to die off, no one fully understands why El Niños form in the first place. Based on historical marine records, El Niños have been documented when people began sailing the world in earnest over 500 years ago. Plus the current Pacific warm blob has been determined to be completely unrelated to global warming and simply a consequence of natural variability. One study, by Washington's state climatologist Nick Bond, showed how the blob has been behind the nearly five-year-long drought in California.
Even as NOAA inarticulately proclaims this die-off as the third ever [sic] global coral bleaching event, they are basing that announcement on measuring instruments that have already been proven to overestimate so-called coral bleaching twofold. They are also making this statement in lieu of the fact that they have only been monitoring coral reef bleaching since 1989, when "a relatively new ocean phenomenon called 'coral bleaching' was increasingly observed in parts of the Caribbean Sea."
Under the supervision of former Vice President Al Gore, the Coral Reef Watch Program took shape and was formally established in 1998 when President Clinton "issued an Executive Order that created the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force." Using satellite data from 1985 to the present, the program created "historical" recreations of the past, allowing NOAA to declare that this "may" be the third-largest global coral bleaching event "on record."
Put another way, coral bleaching events have been occurring for millions of years based on marine and fossil records. Unsurprisingly, the only thing new about this bleaching event is that agencies tasked with environmental initiatives are making a lot of noise just ahead of the Paris Climate Talks, where a climate change treaty is expected to emerge. A quick visit to the NOAA's climate reef watch website shows it devoted entirely to global warming. Unfortunately for U.S. citizens, all of this propaganda comes at taxpayer's expense.
Friday, October 9, 2015
Major coral bleaching crisis spreads worldwide (?)
This utter bulldust is typical of SETH BORENSTEIN -- though he appears to have been suckered by NOAA operatives. Warm water is NOT bad for corals. They are in fact at their most vigorous and diverse in very warm seas like the Torres strait -- which is not far from the equator (at 10.5 degrees South; Hawaii is 21 degrees North). The warmer the water, the happier the coral. A warmer world would have MORE coral. Periodic bleaching does occur but it is not well understood. All we know is that corals always bounce back from it fairly rapidly. You can drop a hydrogen bomb on coral and it will recover. It did at Bikini Atoll
The bleaching of colorful coral is spreading into a worldwide, devastating crisis, scientists say, and they predict it will likely get worse.
Triggered by global warming and the El Nino, record hot ocean water is causing fragile coral to go white and often die, threatening picturesque reefs that are hotspots of marine life, experts say.
The spread of sickly white started more than a year ago in Guam, then devastated Hawaii, infected the rest of the tropical Pacific and the Indian oceans and has now infested Florida and the Caribbean. On Thursday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and international reef scientists pronounced it a global coral bleaching event, only the third in recorded history.
No place with coral has been spared, though some regions — such as Hawaii — have been hit harder than others, experts said. Excessive heat stresses the living coral, which turns white and then becomes vulnerable to disease.
"We may be looking at losing somewhere in the range of 10 to 20 percent of the coral reefs this year," NOAA coral reef watch coordinator Mark Eakin said. "The bad news for the U.S. is we're getting hit disproportionately just because of the pattern of the warming."
He called bleaching a crisis, especially with worsening global warming forecast for the rest of the century: "If that's not a crisis, what is?"
Eakin said he's especially concerned about Hawaii, which already suffered through bad bleaching in 2014.
"Hawaii is getting hit with the worst coral bleaching they have ever seen, right now," Eakin said. "It's severe. It's extensive. And it's on all the islands."
In one part of northwestern Hawaii, "the reef just completely bleached and all of the coral is dead and covered with scuzzy algae."
Florida started getting hit in August. The middle Florida Keys aren't too bad, but in southeast Florida, bleaching has combined with disease to kill corals, Eakin said. It has also hit Cuba, Haiti and the Dominican Republic and is about to hit Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, he said.
Warm water causes bleaching and ocean temperatures are at record high levels, partly because of steady manmade global warming and partly because of the El Nino, which is an occasional warming of the central Pacific that changes weather worldwide, Eakin said. Add to that Hawaii's "blob," a pool of warm water that has stagnated in the northeast Pacific.
The last super El Nino, in 1997-1998, was the first global bleaching event. A smaller El Nino in 2009-2010 was the second.
So far the 1998 bleaching was worse, but that was the second year of an El Nino and we're in the first of two years now, Eakin said.