Threat To Coral Reefs Exaggerated, Says New Study

 Some scientists and media have gotten much attention claiming that the world’s coral reefs could disappear in as little as 20 to 30 years – all because of humans consuming fossil fuels and whatever.

Now the Financial Times Germany reports on a study that claims this is all exaggerated.

The world’s largest coral reef off the east coast of Australia is not going to disappear as fast as once previously thought, according to a new study. Warnings that the Great Barrier Reef could die off due to climate change over the next 20 to 30 years are exaggerated says Sean Connolly of the James Cook University.”

This comes to no surprise for skeptics. How many millions of years and through what ranges of  temperature swings have the coral reefs survived so far? Indeed a few tenths of a degree Celsius of change over decades will have no impact on the reefs. And I seriously doubt the reefs are going to do what the models tell them.

The James Cook University Press release here says:

…some current projections of global-scale collapse of reefs within the next few decades probably overestimate the rapidity and uniformity of the decline.”

Again, if the relatively sudden transition from ice age to optimum did not kill them, why would a few tenths of a degree over decades or centuries do it?

Wikipedia writes that coral reefs in the Persian Gulf have adapted to temperatures of 13 °C (55 °F) in winter and 38 °C (100 °F) in summer, i.e. 25°C change in 6 months. Like any species on the planet, reefs are always threatened by something. The press release writes:

However reefs are naturally highly diverse and resilient, and are likely to respond to the changed conditions in different ways and at varying rates.”

The James Cook press release, despite its obvious findings, still tries to convey an aura of alarm (for funding) yet admits that climate change is a natural process that has occurred time and again in the past.

Past extinction crises in coral reef ecosystems appear to coincide with episodes of rapid global warming and ocean acidification, they say. This has led some to predict rapid, dramatic, global-scale losses of coral reefs.”

The rapid changes they mention here were measured in degrees per decade and century, and not tenths of a degree as is the case with today’s relatively boring rate of change.

7 responses to “Threat To Coral Reefs Exaggerated, Says New Study”

  1. hemp

    Most coral reefs are built from which in turn consist of that cluster in groups. Reefs grow best in warm shallow clear sunny and agitated waters..Often called rainforests of the sea coral reefs form some of the most diverse on Earth. coral reefs flourish even though they are surrounded by ocean waters that provide few nutrients.

  2. grayman

    Correct me if i am wrong, i beleive i am right on this, that coral is a living entity, and as such it has a life span, how long i do not know.
    I learned from Cousteas programs many moons ago that the bleaching of coral was coral dying. He found that one of the biggest reasons for this was divers, mainly touching them, more damage that is man-made,”unintended consequences”. I wonder if all the alarmist”projections” of bleachimg coral just might be because of all these studys that are being done, much less of boat accidents, ie greenpeace rainbow warrior running aground on coralreefs in I ndonesia or Phillippeins do not remember which, do know they were fined by the country. The fishing that goes on around these reefs by the locals may also have an impact but these studys do not devle into that, my guess because they would loose funding because they might have found the problem not being ocean ACIDIFICTION(pun intended).

    1. Bruce of Newcastle

      James Cook Uni also looked at the mechanism of coral bleaching – and found that if the temperature went up the corals kicked out their sybiontic algae and took in a different higher temperature algae.

      JCU and University of Queensland (home of Prof Ove Hoegh-Guldberg) appear not to see eye to eye. All the alarmist cr*p comes out of UQ a 1000km south of the reef. JCU in Townsville is right at the reef. But Prof Ove gets all the headlines since he puts out lots of dramatic press releases.

  3. TimiBoy

    The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is fished to approximately 9kg per square km. Some reefs in Asia are fished sustainably at up to 4 tonnes per square km. So our massive fishing bans (30% of the reef) on the GBR are a furfy of the highest order. To those without the understanding of it’s size, get out your Atlas and LOOK! Then match it with our population in Qld of about 4.5 million, and you’ll no longer wonder why, even though so many of us fish, it is a barely touched resource. Same re diving. So little of it is dived; no, bleaching is caused by something else.

    I read a paper recently (sorry, don’t have the source) studying bleaching events in the South China Sea from the last 200 years. Bleaching is by no means a new phenomenon, it’s just that we never saw them until we started diving.

    Seasonal and geographic fluctuations in pH are as much as 0.5, but total acidification so far is about 0.1 to 0.2 if you believe the Alarmists. So bleaching is nothing to do with that either.

    I wonder whether it is a natural, cyclical event, and we should tax Mother Nature, instead of destroying our economy decarbonising…

  4. DirkH

    It is noteworthy that while the researchers scale back their alarmism they still insist that antropogenic GHGs must be curbed to save the corals – IOW they will die in their opinion only slower.

    So we’re in phase 3 – negotiating or bargaining.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C3%BCbler-Ross_model

    The five stages of dying:
    Denial
    Anger
    Bargaining
    Depression
    Acceptance

    Expect depression next.

    1. mindert eiting

      No quite sure, Dirk, whether this personal model applies. Sometimes I wonder what happened with people who followed their leader to the top of a mountain to enjoy the end of times. Thereafter, they disappear in the void. Perhaps they start some kind of black-stocking religion, as we call it here. These communities may continue for centuries. Perhaps a kind of depression but certainly not acceptance.

  5. Edward

    The barrier reef is fine, it depends where you look, if you want to shout AGW then you can find suitable areas, the majority of the reef is OK – they just don’t want that idea getting out.
    The Aussies, will never allow over-fishing on the reef.

    Unlike the EU, which, permits outrageous overfishing – in some waters – the North Sea a case in point – it always strikes me as very ironic, the EU trumpeting ‘save the earth from mankind’s exploitation’ but when it comes to fishing – this idea is dropped like a stone – how I hate the EU and particularly: it’s hypocrisy and duplicity.

    I can only say, I hope the Euro-zone goes ‘tits up’ soon, it won’t be good for us short term…………………but in the long run – our freedom [for all Europeans] is a price worth paying.