Sunday, October 16, 2016

Can the Great Barrier Reef be saved? Uproar as writer claims world’s largest living structure is DEAD

We went through all this a few months ago.  The galoots below are just catching up. To summarize:  The tourism operators in Far North Queensland  -- who go to the reef daily -- were all amazed to hear this guff.  The reef does undergo bleaching (which in NOT "death") from time to time but not all parts are affected.  So they did their own survey and found that only a relatively small part of the reef was bleached at the time:  A MUCH smaller part than what the Greenies claim.

They have NO difficulty in finding parts of the reef where they can take their tourist boats and show visitors the reef in all its glory. The main departure point for the reef is the city of Cairns and the tourism industry there at the moment is booming.

The Greenie claim is that agricultural runoff is killing the reef but the main area of coral bleaching at the moment is parallel with the Northern half on Cape York peninsula, where there are essentially NO farms -- So it's ideology, not reality speaking

The Great Barrier Reef was once a scene of thriving coral, but one environmental writer has claimed it is now beyond help.

'The Great Barrier Reef of Australia passed away in 2016 after a long illness. It was 25 million years old,' wrote Rowan Jacobsen in Outside magazine.

Recent pictures show many parts of the reef appear full of swampy algae, brown sludge and rubble, and it is estimated 93 per cent of Great Barrier Reef has been affected by bleaching, which can kill corals.

In his 'obituary', Jacobson wrote 'The Great Barrier Reef was predeceased by the South Pacific’s Coral Triangle, the Florida Reef off the Florida Keys, and most other coral reefs on earth.

'It is survived by the remnants of the Belize Barrier Reef and some deepwater corals.'

However, a Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority report released this week said its preliminary findings show 22 per cent of coral on the Reef died due to the worst mass bleaching event on record.

However, that's not to say the remaining coral is not in dire trouble.

A destructive bleaching process has already affected about 93 per cent of the Great Barrier Reef as of April this year, according to scientists at James Cook University.

The latest before and after shots of the devastating effect of coral loss in the tropical far north Queensland in recent years.

With the December 1 deadline looming, Australia must report to the UNESCO to demonstrate an investment strategy to save the Reef.

WWF-Australia spokesman Sean Hoobin said while there was no scientific study on what killed coral in this specific area, the pictures were indicative of what was happening along the Reef's coast.

'Inshore reefs along the coast are deteriorating and studies say sediment, fertiliser and pesticide run off are taking a toll on coral,' Mr Hoobin said.

An independent report estimated it would cost $8.2 billion to achieve most of the water quality targets for the Reef that governments have committed to deliver by 2025.

'Stopping water pollution will help restore the beautiful coral gardens choked by runoff. This image drives home what a big job we face,' Mr Hoobin said.

'Australia must commit the $8.2 billion as a national priority to protect the Reef and the tourism jobs that rely on it.

This comes as coral samples dating back thousands of years show evidence of the human impact on the Reef, researchers have claimed.

University of Queensland Professor Gregg Webb said coral 'cores' taken from along the Queensland coastline showed definable difference in trace element chemistry, including those linked to European arrival in Australia.

'We can look at ancient events where they're been stressed by bad water, high nutrients, but also just sediment load and see what killed them, what was sub-lethal, how common events are, and just get an idea of what the reef can handle,' he said


Gore Ties Global Warming to the Zika Virus

He would, wouldn't he?  The vector for Zika is the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, which is endemic in the Queensland tropics, where I come from.  And it does carry nasties like Dengue and Ross River virus.  So modern public health measures have been taken in Queensland which nearly eliminate the mozzie concerned -- and it is now rare for people to get ill from those viruses.  So areas troubled by Zika in a warmer world could be similarly protected  

During a campaign rally for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in Miami, Fla., on Tuesday, former Vice President Al Gore warned of the dangers of global warming on mosquitos, specifically as it pertains to the Zika virus.

“These tropical diseases have spread so quickly, partly because of airline travel and the transportation revolution, but the changing climate conditions change the places where these tropical diseases become endemic and put down roots,” Gore said.

Gore noted that there were six more cases of the Zika virus in Dade County.

“The mosquitos mature faster, and then the virus in the mosquito incubates much faster, and they bite more often, because they’re cold-blooded, and when the temperature goes up, their metabolism goes up, and they spread the disease way more quickly,” he said.

“So these and many other consequences, including the fires out West that Secretary Clinton talked about, are really wake-up calls for us,” Gore added.

“Mother Nature is giving us a very clear and powerful message,” he said.

“We cannot continue putting 110 million tons of global warming pollution into the atmosphere everyday as if it’s an open sewer. We’ve got to stop that. We’ve got to wake up and recognize the need for change,” Gore added.

“So most people know that we have to change this, but here’s the really good news that more people should know: We can change this. We now have the ability to change this,” he said. “It’s going to be a long, hard fight.

“We’ve got a long way to go, but we now have the renewable energy technologies and the efficiency improvements and electric vehicles and sustainable and organic agriculture and sustainable forestry and the other ways of changing our lives for the better that can sharply diminish the amount of global warming pollution that we’re putting up there,” Gore said.

“Secretary Clinton is exactly right, that we can create good jobs in the process - jobs that can be outsourced,” he said.


No Slowdown In Temperature Hiatus Research

A small sample of new research papers in scientific journals shows that the global temperature hiatus is widely accepted in the scientific community.

“There was no global hiatus,” said Hansen et al. in a review of the global temperature of 2015. Last year, of course, like the year before and this year, had global temperatures elevated by a very strong El Nino – a short-term weather event.

The so-called pause or hiatus in average annual global surface temperature has been the most talked about aspect of climate science for some years now. To those who only pay attention to the most vocal scientists, campaigners and activists the situation is now clear. The hiatus either never existed, or it is now over.

For some the proof of this viewpoint is easy. To prove it one has to draw a straight line through all of the available data and say that anything else is cherry-picking the data, or hold up a particular graph on a chat show and ridicule any opposition, or seek the opinion of those selected to agree.

There is however a better way to judge what is going on and that is to look at the peer-reviewed scientific literature. What questions are being asked and what research is being done away from the partisan blogs, the TV studios, the twitter put-downs and the soundbites?

Nobody would say that the Geophysical Research Letters is a fringe journal. In it Sevellec at al discuss the nature of hiatus’ in global warming saying that there has been a “recent unprecedented decade-long slowdown in surface warming.”

They write that the global surface temperature was never expected to increase monotonically with increasing radiative forcing because of decadal variations. To my mind, this is rewriting history somewhat. A decade ago there was hardly any discussion of decadal variability in the climate record and it was held that the anthropogenic signal was strong. It was only when surface temperatures did not increase by the 0.3°C per decade that some had predicted that qualifications were made.

Slowly decadal variability was brought in to explain the lack of temperature rise which led to a complete change of view. Now the anthropogenic signal was being obscured by decadal climatic variability and it would be several decades before it emerged and exceeded it, as Meehl et al said recently in Nature Climate Change, “Longer-term externally forced trends in global mean surface temperatures are embedded in the background noise of internally generated multidecadal variability.”

Sevellec et al use a model and they it say demonstrates that hiatus periods are extremely unlikely using the term “rogue event.” They add that hiatus periods will vanish by 2100 and surges in global temperature, greater than that expected due to radiative forcing alone, will take over.

Shi et al in the Journal of Meteorological Research disagree. They analyse what they describe as “the so-called global warming hiatus 1998 – 2012.” They say such a hiatus period has occurred many times in the past and it is likely to be a “periodical feature” of long-term temperature change. Exactly the opposite of Sevellec et al.

Environmental Research Letters contains a paper by Checa-Garcia et al on the “contribution of greenhouse gasses to the recent slowdown in global mean temperature trends.” They say the slowdown has generated “extensive discussion.” They suggest that the hiatus is in part due to variations in ozone-destroying chemicals and the stratosphere’s response – a non CO2 effect.

Middlemas and Clement writing in the Journal of Climate say that “the causes of decadal time-scale variations are currently under debate” and propose that the hiatus is due to atmospheric air interactions with the upper ocean.

Challenging Understanding

Talking to the European Geophysical Union assembly in Vienna in April, Tao and Yunfei state that, “global temperature has not risen in the 21st century, termed a hiatus.”

They think its due to variations in the thickness of the tropopause. According to Gu et al in Climate Dynamics, “global mean surface temperature rapidly increased up to the late 1990s.” They maintain the influence of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation on this hiatus is strong.

And in Nature Geoscience Xie et al say that the earth’s energy budget for the past four decades can now be closed, albeit with a few unrealistic assumptions. In doing so they mention, “the so-called global warming hiatus since the late 1990s.”

Song et al in Scientific Reports say, “the rate at which global average surface temperature has slowed down since the end of the last century.” They think it is due to a downward tendency in cloud activity which started in the early 1990s adding, “it is now accepted that a recent warming deceleration can be clearly observed.”

Yao et al in Theoretical and Applied Climatology say that the globally-averaged annual combined land and ocean surface temperature (GST) anomaly change features a slowdown in the rate of global warming in the mid-twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first century.

“Here, it is shown that the hiatus in the rate of global warming typically occurs when the internally generated cooling associated with the cool phase of the multi-decadal variability overcomes the secular warming from human-induced forcing.”

“We provide compelling evidence that the global warming hiatus is a natural product of the interplays between a secular warming tendency due in a large part to the buildup of anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations, in particular CO2 concentration, and internally generated cooling by a cool phase of a quasi-60-year oscillatory variability that is closely associated with the Atlantic multi-decadal oscillation (AMO) and the Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO).”

The hiatus is being found in new areas. An et al report that it has been detected in ice-core records from the Tibetian plateau.

The cores were taken from the Chongce glacier in 2012 and show a warming trend between 1970 – 2000 and a cooling between 2001 – 2012 which they say has contributed to the relatively stable status of the glaciers in the north western Tibetian plateau.

It has also been found in neighbouring China by Xie et al reporting in the International Journal of Climatology, “As the recent global warming hiatus has attracted worldwide attention, we examined the robustness of the warming hiatus in China. Based on the results confirmed by the multiple data and trend analysis methods, we found that the annual mean temperature in China had a cooling trend during the recent global warming hiatus period, which suggested a robust warming hiatus in China.’

When looking at this small sample of peer-reviewed literature it is clear that there is acceptance of the hiatus among many in the scientific community, and much research being carried out into its nature and causes. Xie et al in Nature Climate Change say that the “recent slowdown in global warming challenged our understanding of climate dynamics and anthropogenic forcing.”

Such a body of peer-reviewed literature cannot be ignored or deleted from soundbyte debates without demonstrating a lack of understanding or interest of what is actually going on in the scientific community. Denial and ridicule of such work is disappointing, and anti-scientific.


UK Falls Back On Coal And Gas Plants To Keep The Lights On

Contracts worth £122m to keep coal and gas-fired power stations on standby will help Britain avoid electricity blackouts this winter, National Grid has forecast, highlighting the difficulties facing the UK as it attempts to wean its power sector off fossil fuels.

The UK’s electricity system operator forecast that the margin between supply and demand over the course of the winter would be 6.6 per cent, an increase of almost 30 per cent on last year’s cushion and wider than a provisional forecast made in July.

However, without measures to ensure the availability of back-up generating capacity when regular supplies run low, the margin this winter would be close to record lows at 1.1 per cent, according to National Grid’s annual Winter Outlook.

National Grid will pay for 10 coal and gas-fired plants to keep spare capacity on standby, with further sums to be paid if they are called into action. These include coal plants at Eggborough in Yorkshire and Fiddlers Ferry in Cheshire that had previously been earmarked for closure.

The dependence on fossil fuels to guarantee energy security during the winter months highlights the challenge facing the UK government as it seeks to phase out coal-fired power by 2025 in pursuit of aggressive carbon reduction goals.


Australia: Huge potential oilfield will not now be exploited

So now Australia will have to continue as an importer.  Despite denials, the decision was undoutedly influenced by the prospect of a big battle with the Greens

The minister for resources, Matt Canavan, says he is “bitterly disappointed” by BP’s decision to not proceed with its controversial plan to drill for oil in the commonwealth marine reserve in the Great Australian Bight.

He said the Turnbull government was still confident the region could be developed, and he would be speaking to other oil and gas companies in coming days.

He criticised environmental groups that have campaigned against BP’s project, saying their celebratory response to the decision showed the “ugly side of green activism”.

“We think up to 100 workers will be impacted, and those workers I’m sure went to bed last night a little restless ... but we had other people in this country popping the champagne corks and celebrating that fact,” Canavan said on Wednesday.

BP announced on Tuesday it would scrap its $1.4bn drilling program in the Great Australian Bight, off South Australia, citing commercial reasons.

The announcement was applauded by green groups, coming after repeated requests for more information from the Australian regulator, the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority, and mounting public concerns about the impact the drilling and any potential oil spill would have on the pristine waters of the bight.

BP had previously boasted the bight had the potential to be as big an oilfield as the Gulf of Mexico, where there are now more than 4,000 oil rigs.

Karoon Gas Australia, which announced its plans to explore for oil last week, has said the bight holds “the world’s last underexplored Cretaceous basins”.

Canavan told ABC radio on Wednesday he was bitterly disappointed . He said BP had been allowed to explore for oil in the marine reserve after making almost half a billion dollars worth of commitments to do work in the area, and now it was walking away from them.

He said he now expected BP to “make good” some of those commitments in other ways. “I’ll be very interested in discussing with them in coming days what those plans might be,” he said.

He criticised environmental groups that campaigned against the project. “What does frustrate me is sometimes the workers in these industries, who tend to be fairly quiet, reticent types of people, aren’t the ones on the radio or in the media telling their stories,” he said.

The government still believed the region could produce large amounts of oil and gas, he said. “Obviously there is still a lot of uncertainty about the area, but we remain confident of its long-term prospectivity and I’ll be talking to some of those other companies about their plans in coming days,” he said.

Canavan was also asked about the effectiveness of the petroleum resource rent tax, after reports that just 5% of oil and gas projects operating in Australia are paying the tax.

The Tax Justice Network has warned that Australia is set to blow another resources boom, forgoing billions of dollars in potential tax revenue, because the PRRT is failing to collect adequate revenue from the explosion in liquefied natural gas exports.

“[The PRRT] is a profits-based tax and what happens, of course, is that resource developments take large upfront costs, particularly some of these LNG developments … that take some time before profits are realised,” Canavan said.

“This tax has delivered billions to the federal government over a number of decades, and it has underpinned the development of a massive industry in this country.

“So we’ve got to be very careful about making any changes, particularly to people that make massive investments. We’ve got to attract this investment to our country.”



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

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