New GBR Study: 400% Coral Recovery Since 2014 – With 2017 Growth Rates Comparable To The 1970s

A long-term (50 years) study of a Great Barrier Reef (GBR) ecoystem finds corals may quickly recover from El Niño disturbances.

According to scientists (Yan et al., 2019), coral reef ecosystems thrive in centennial-scale warming phases such as the Medieval Warm Period and Current Warm Period, whereas they experience population declines (“switch-off” episodes) during cold periods (the Little Ice Age).

Image Source: Yan et al., 2019

Indeed, corals prefer the warmest waters, which is why they predominantly live near the equator.

Image Source: NOAA

Popularized claims of a greater than 90% coral reef mortality after the 2015-’16 El Niño event are common in media circles (“93 Percent Of The Great Barrier Reef Is Practically Dead“).

Yet GBR expert Dr. Peter Ridd reports (at the 6:00 mark) that even the “extreme” estimate of reef deaths may not have exceeded 8%, and that corals “can actually recover from that within a year.”

Further, Ridd states that between 2011 and 2016, there was a 250% increase in coral cover in the southern GBR, and the abundance of corals in 2019 is no less than 1985.

In a new paper (Davis et al., 2019), scientists compare the growth (calcification) rates for corals observed in the 1970s at One Tree Island (Great Barrier Reef) to today.

Though it’s thought it may take about 9-12 years for corals to recover from El Niño disturbances (Guoezo et al., 2019), Davis and colleagues document a 400% increase in coral growth rates between 2014 and 2017, or before and after the “devastating” 2015-’16 El Niño event.

Furthermore, when comparing the 1970s to 2017, they find calcification rates were “comparable” for corals over the 50-year period.

Long-term observations would appear to offer necessary context to claims that climate change is igniting irreparable and unprecedented harm to coral ecosystems.

Image Source: Davis et al., 2019

7 responses to “New GBR Study: 4007 Coral Recovery Since 2014 – With 2017 Growth Rates Comparable To The 1970s”

  1. Jonathan

    You appear to have missed part of the abstract of the paper by Yang et al. Is there a specific reason you left out the last part of the last sentence?

  2. Graeme No.3

    The Great Barrier Reef must be dead. The press reported scientists saying that within 6 months it would all be dead.
    That was in 1971.

    The story is regurgitated every year, about the time that Government grants are decided.
    Lately one major newspaper has been reporting tourists being surprised about how wonderful it is, contrary to what they expected.

  3. Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #373 | Watts Up With That?
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  5. Togel Online

    Extremely interesting info, thank you for the info you have shared. This will be a reference for all of us

  6. Situs Judi Togel

    Thank you for the info you have shared. This will be a reference for all of us

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