Update 7/30/2010: WUWT debunks this scare: here!
Reading the German online daily news this morning, today’s scare-de-jour is the “shocking” reduction of phytoplankton now underway, all due of course to manmade climate change. The “news” is based on a report just published in Nature by scientists Daniel Boyce and Marlon Lewis of the Dalhousie University (Halifax) and Boris Worm of the German Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (think Schellnhuber and Rahmstorf).
When reading about such stories, it’s a very good idea to first read the following:
Here’s a sampling of today’s headlines in Germany:
Die Welt PLANKTON REDUCTION PUTS FOOD CHAIN AT RISK
Der Spiegel: FOOD CRISIS IN WORLD’S OCEANS
Focus: GREEN FOOD SUPPLY IN OCEANS SHRINKING
Süddeuschte Zeitung: DISAPPEARING IN THE OCEANS
The cause of the phytoplankton decrease is “warming of the oceans”, Nature reports. Satellite measurements since the end of the 1970s have shown fluctuation in oceanic plankton levels, but have not delivered a clear picture.
That’s why the researchers went back and looked at data of ocean chlorophyll content. The team analysed almost 450,000 measurements from the period 1899 to 2008. The result, according to Die Welt:
In eight of ten oceanic regions, phytoplankton has decreased during the 20th century. Content dropped with increasing sea surface temperature, especially in the tropics and subtopics regions. It is suspected that as a consequence of warming, a more pronounced layering of water occurred.
Süddeutsche Zeitung writes that phytoplankton concentrations in the oceans have declined by two thirds since 1899.
What do I think?
The study involves the Potsdam Institute For Climate Impact Research, directed by Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, visionary of The Great Transformation , and Stefan Rahmstorf, who predicts sea levels will rise 1.7 meters in the next 90 years, but refuses to even bet on a 60 cm rise. This is an institute that is well well-known for activist science and fear-mongering, with the clear agenda of reorganizing how people live. A dangerous social engineering experiment.
I’m sure the findings of this study will turn out to be more plankton-crap.
UPDATE: Beware of science authority. Above I mentioned the Science Turns Authoritarian story, which looked at how often certain authoritarian phrases are used in the media. Click on the following graphic:
Be wary, be very wary, of media claims on climate science.
6 responses to “Foodchain-Angst: Scientists and Media Spread More Enviro-Shock & Awe”
This was my comment on the Independent web-site:
Warmer oceans and more CO2 are beneficial to phytoplankton, as they are to all photo-synthesing life forms, hence plankton numbers are higher in summer than winter, leading to plankton blooms in some oceans in the Spring. I suspect that this sweeping generalisation of “40% decline in phytoplankton” will not stand close examination, but the agenda is being ramped up as all institutions are now seeking to nullify Climategate and prepare for Cancun.
Mixing of data is a classic source of error as in the hockeystick and in ice cores. Homogenous data back to 1899? I don’t think so. Sampling methods are notoriously suspect: “Data recently collected in the northern Pacific Ocean shows two to three times more organic matter produced by photosynthesis than had been reported previously. Some biologists think that the open ocean has not been sampled often enough to catch periods of high productivity, resulting in !ow productivity assumptions. Others think that the sampling techniques themselves may have been responsible for erroneous results. Previous sampling methods and contaminated containers may be responsible for low estimates of productivity Phytoplankcton are delicate organisms that can easily be damaged by the collecting techniques” – Introduction to Marine Biology, by Karskint, Turner and Small.
The Greens could of course lobby their environmmentally friendly and global warming-aware friends in Norway, who have huge factory ships in the Southern Ocean, sucking up plankton for health foods and cosmetics.
We have not believed their propaganda, so their answer is more and “better” propaganda. The one characteristic I note in these people is breathtaking arrogance. Is this a mental disease?
Followed the link to this Great Transformation: “This Great Transformation can only be achieved with a new global contract between science and society which needs to tap all sources of ingenuity and cooperation to meet this challenge of the 21st century. The scientific community and the leaders, institutions and movements representing the worldwide civil society have to engage in a strategic alliance. ”
IOW, Science and Politicians take all the money and decide how to spend it. Now if i would find a political party here that doesn’t want to be part of this biggest gravy train of all history i would elect them. Still searching.
Injuries to the head (brain and sensor carrier) in hockey from aggressive stick use reached such a point that a penalty is now automatic if a player is contacted with a stick raised over shoulder height. Drawing blood means an automatic 5-minute “major” (doesn’t end if opponents score), and possibly a game or “match” (multi-game) suspension.
The danger from data fudging and trend manufacturing is no less. I suggest a similar rule for scientists: 2 months without any funding for minor offenses, and cancellation of all current funding and a 5-year ban from all grant-supported research for major intent-to-injure offenses.
As for penalties to journalists, I’m afraid that we’re stuck with the market mechanisms: withdrawal of patronage and consequent bankruptcy of their employers. This seems to be proceeding apace. “Faster, please!”
Thanks for the comment and the rock solid analysis.
Schellnhuber is an ass.
A simple check of the facts:
New: “Our Climate Iphone App” released. Provides honest climate data for your i-phone. http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/07/29/new-our-climate-iphone-app-released/
WUWT has just posted on the plankton topic: