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« Outlook bad for Shukla | Main | Quote of the day, hypocritical lowlife edition »

Corals not as threatened as we thought

Blogging is going to be light for a few days. In the meantime, Ben Webster (£) notes that corals are not nearly as threatened as previously thought.

Claims that coral reefs are doomed because human emissions are making the oceans more acidic have been exaggerated, a review of the science has found.

An “inherent bias” in scientific journals in favour of more calamitous predictions has excluded research showing that marine creatures are not damaged by ocean acidification, which is caused by the sea absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

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Reader Comments (66)

Then on the other hand

I just heard an ABC (Oz) report predicting dire coral bleaching for the Barrier Reef

Mar 1, 2016 at 10:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterAnother Ian

@Ian The ABC has 2 recent reports
: Today : One has emotive Climate language

bleaching on Barrier Reef near Lizard Island worst in 15 years
"A lot of that hot water on top of the reef flat is just staying there and cooking the coral."
"The bleaching is clear evidence we must aim for a rapid reduction in carbon emissions to reduce global warming," Dr Miles said.
Yet a few days ago a report pointed to VIRUS not just direct heat.
"But the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority believed the area had escaped a serious mass bleaching for now." (even tho NOAA predicted it for now 3 months ago,)*
as ABC reported in Dec and Oct*
Note the modest language they used then "Scientists have predicted that the world's third mass coral bleaching will happen early next year and damage about 38 per cent of the world's coral reefs."

Mar 1, 2016 at 10:34 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Claims that coral reefs are doomed because human emissions are making the oceans more acidic have been exaggerated…
Now, there’s a surprise!

Actually, I suppose the surprise is that someone has dared to put that idea down in print.

Mar 1, 2016 at 10:35 AM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Publication bias is a well known phenonomen and some efforts are being made to tackle it in medical research. John Ioannidis, tne of the leading researchers into this problem has claimed that "research findings may often be simply accurate measures of the prevailing bias."

Perhaps the phrase "prevailing bias" be replaced by the word "consensus".

Publication bias

Mar 1, 2016 at 10:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

Talking about exaggeration, Harrabin was talking this morning about 30,000 early deaths in the UK from pollution yet the paper that number comes from says 'up to 3 months early death'; eg at halloween rather than xmas. A more valid interpretation of the paper would be that pollution has a negligible effect on our life expectancy! We are not well served by factual reporting being replaced by such stupid scaremongering!

Mar 1, 2016 at 10:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

@Roy memees and publication bias : "The bees are dying" ..."The bees are dying".."The bees are dying"
- I note a recent report by a well known Right Wing Radical group now goes against that meme
"Once thought to pose a major long term threat to bees, reported cases of CCD have declined substantially over the last five years."

Mar 1, 2016 at 10:46 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

How many years/decades do these dire predictions have to go on for before people realise nothing too different (from what has always happened) is actually happening?

Or is everyone afflicted by memory loss and living in the social media moment?

Mar 1, 2016 at 10:53 AM | Unregistered Commenterkellydown

The ocean is warmed by direct sunlight down to 100 metres. The air in contact with the ocean warms only the top few millimetres which is largely lost to evaporation.

Mar 1, 2016 at 11:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterClive B

Well this IS a surprise- Not.

When are these charlatans and fraudsters, milking the taxpayer, going to be charged for their criminal acts?

Mar 1, 2016 at 11:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterBitter&Twisted

It needs to repeating at every opportunity. The ocean is alkaline and cannot become more acidic. It can only become less alkaline.

Mar 1, 2016 at 11:30 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

On the same page in The Times that this report appears, Ben Webster in a separate report says that it has been the warmest winter for 350 years.

Mar 1, 2016 at 11:36 AM | Unregistered Commentermike fowle

No, no, no. This is all wrong because I remember from 25? years ago, a BBC documentary about how the Crown of Thorns Starfish was going to destroy the Great Barrier Reef, by eating all living coral. It even featured film of concerned scuba divers stabbing the pesky critters, such was their fear and hatred.

Obviously this documentary can't have been wrong. Did the Crown of Thorns Starfish go on an Environmental Awareness course and study Global Warming funding opportunities, so they could afford to buy better food, from approved sustainable sources?

Alternatively, should Green Blob Environmentalists be put on a strict financial diet, to encourage them not to force feed the world on their rubbish?

Mar 1, 2016 at 11:42 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Here is the Browman article (and the entire issue of ICES):

Mar 1, 2016 at 12:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterDB

@golf charlie ..saw similar vid a couple of years back. Its the star fish wot did it! And Parrot fish I think.

Mar 1, 2016 at 12:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterEx-expat Colin

I always wonder where the chemists are in this. A solubility product for Ca or Mg in dilute carbonic acid would show that more salt would precipitate as the carbonate concentration increased. This is further confounded by the breakdown of calcium or magnesium bicarbonate which leads to lower solubility of alkali metal carbonates as temperatures increase. That's why limestone deposits are found in areas which had previously been warm shallow seas. In other words warm water and high CO2 increases the rate of CO2 sequestration.

Mar 1, 2016 at 12:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterSean

Ex-expat Colin,

ocean acidification is a dead parrot sketch.

Mar 1, 2016 at 12:34 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie


..I always wonder where the chemists are in this. ....

The chemists are keeping their heads down, because they need their jobs as much as the next person...

Mar 1, 2016 at 12:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterDodgy Geezer

golf charlie

cheep skate joke

Mar 1, 2016 at 12:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterEx-expat Colin

Sean, DG, I can assure you there are plenty of chemists who are frequently outraged by the high-school chemistry and biochemistry often displayed by global-warmers, ocean-acidifiers and environmentalists in general. But a few of them will also be on the take, because they are just as human as other people.

However, the alarmists do usually understand one thing correctly: A tropical coral reef is a great place to have to do research when you want to save the planet.

Mar 1, 2016 at 1:02 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Reefer Madness.

Mar 1, 2016 at 1:13 PM | Unregistered Commenterjferguson

Meanwhile, no less an authority than Leonardo DiCaprio uses his Oscar-collecting speech to warn everyone that 'climate change is happening...'

As he is an ACTOR, he must know all there is to know about climate science, mustn't he..? I mean - he would have got to the BAFTAs in London by pushbike, wouldn't he..?

Mar 1, 2016 at 1:21 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

Look on the bright side, with all this acid, herring will come out of the sea ready pickled, just like climate science.

Will new seafood recipes have to be developed to stop cooking pans corroding?

Could the huge difference in pH between seawater and freshwater be used to create some form of battery cell, and free electricity? There are probably Global Warming sharks keen to get millions of pounds for 30 years to find out.

Mar 1, 2016 at 1:50 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

sherlock1, I am sure Leonardo di Caprio did something to offset the massive carbon footprint of making that film, and the millions of dollars that will inevitably accrue. Perhaps he planted a tree in the Arctic and Antarctic to demonstrate his understanding of climate science.

Penguins have forgotten how to make proper nests with twigs and things, and Polar Bears are never filmed climbing trees in their natural habitat. These are the issues that gullible Hollywood Stars need to concentrate on, to win Nobel prizes in climate science, to match their Oscars for acting. Maybe Mann dreams of an Oscar, to match his Nobel Prize.

Mar 1, 2016 at 3:22 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Free version of article:

Mar 1, 2016 at 3:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnonyMoose

IMHO, although I am sure it may be different nowadays, but actors & actresses were often, & openly admitted it, to be rather poor at school & academia in general. Particularly at the lower end were their technical/scientific grasp of things, being "artistic" in nature!

Mar 1, 2016 at 4:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

This may be of interest. Then again, maybe not?

Mar 1, 2016 at 5:17 PM | Unregistered Commenter...and Then There's Physics

Alan the Brit, Mann shot to fame and fortune by over dramatising something natural, and took the credit and money for presenting it, as all his own work. Bizarrely prescient in climate science.

I wonder if he played 'Twinkle', the Star, in the school Nativity play, and shone above all others. He has never been good at receiving constructive criticism in his adult life, and just demands all the plaudits. He does seem strangely reluctant to subject his talents to a proper trial though. Maybe he has got shy of exposing himself to proper judgement.

Mar 1, 2016 at 5:21 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Thank you for that link though it would have been of more use if I could actually have read it!
I don't quite get your point. It looks as if Browman is complaining about misunderstandings/misinterpretations in the article (well, there's a surprise) but I don't see anything to suggest that the gist is all that far out of line with the thrust of this thread, namely that the coral reef "problem" has been over-egged.
To suggest that there isn't a bias (inherent or otherwise) in favour of scary stories — and not just in the field of climate research — is to ignore the real world and human nature!

Mar 1, 2016 at 6:04 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

We live in such an age of exaggeration that anyone suggesting that things might not be as bad as claimed is immediately met with shrieks of "denier!" "shill!" or whatever the stupid internet mot de jour is at the time.

It's human nature, as stated above, and it really wouldn't matter if the exaggeration wasn't tied so intimately to such destructive political and financial agendas.

Mar 1, 2016 at 6:34 PM | Unregistered Commenterkellydown

Mike Jackson, that is what I thought too.

According to the abstract that aTTP links to, the paragraphs heading this post seem about right.

There is little publicity for articles down playing the threat of ocean acidification, which is a much researched issue,

It must be linked to the warm waters of the tropics, that marine biologists like to frequent. Nobody has got much data on penguins and polar bears suffering from ocean acidification, and you would have thought colder waters might contain more atmospheric gas.

Mar 1, 2016 at 6:44 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

golf charlie

As far as I am aware the only person so far to win both a Nobel prize and an Oscar was George Bernard Shaw. I find it hard to imagine that Michael Mann's artistic ( or scientific ) talent is in the same class!

Mar 1, 2016 at 6:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterSpectator

golf charlie:

Mann didn't play Twinkle the star in the school Nativity play, but he won fame as an Ass.

Mar 1, 2016 at 8:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterGraeme No.3

Ben Webster reporting, reiterating - what we've long known, that the major enemy of coral reefs is riverine pollution, man made drag net trawling, scuba tourism and water born pollution - from rivers.

Lets do some hyping a non existent threat - instead..............

If the UK is allowed to leave the EU, I am sure that in some small way, it will effect corals growing on the great barrier reef to some sort of deleterious effect. Dave's latest civil service draft and EU dodgy dossier tells it.

Erm yes the above statement, not only is a non sequitur it is completely bonkers but that's never stopped them - the green blob can say what they feel like, when and as often as they can and it matters not...... if it is the complete set, and whole pack of lies.

Always, as it is and was with the left, the end always justifies the means, ask Corbyn, Bliar, or consult Mao........... people don't matter, neither does science if it can't be manipulated to suit.

Mar 1, 2016 at 8:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

"One more time, coral reefs are doing fine!:"

Mar 1, 2016 at 8:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnother Ian

‘… “inherent bias” [in scientific journals] … is not the same as “publication bias”…’?
It’s a distinction without a difference.

Mar 1, 2016 at 8:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterChris Hanley

How much threatening is ok, you know, coral-wise? ATTP, please chime in. I don't trust this lot.

Mar 1, 2016 at 9:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterAyla

Ayla 9:10 ...... You sound like a little boy lost in the playground imploring for help .......... aTTP is not equipped to provide you with what you need. Sorry ............ :-))

Mar 1, 2016 at 9:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobert Thomson

Marine biologists have discovered that corals in Bikini Atoll are doing fine despite the nuclear testing.

I did a fair bit of scuba diving 30+ years ago, partially inspired by Jacques Cousteau programmes in the 70s, and remain very interested in marine biology. If I had chosen diving and marine biology as a career, I would have been very keen to obtain grant funding to investigate any possible problem on the Great Barrier Reef, for as long as I could. Clearly it remains a popular career option.

Mar 1, 2016 at 10:03 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Ayla, global warming sharks see everything as a threat to their financial future. I am not surprised that some corals feel a little bit intimidated, by those circling menaces that want them to die to satisfy their primitive urges.

Could the corals sign an anonymous petition, and take it to the United Nations? Or do it via Facebook?

Mar 1, 2016 at 10:16 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Ayla, it is never too late to learn some more chemistry and biochemistry. Then you can trust yourself, and not feel the need to ask an astrophysicist who also teaches something called "astrobiology".

Mar 1, 2016 at 10:44 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Bunch of ignoramus.

Mar 1, 2016 at 11:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterAyla

Re Mar 1, 2016 at 10:34 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

It was ABC on Lizard Island that I heard

Mar 1, 2016 at 11:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnother Ian

Ayla, is a 'bunch of ignoramus' the correct term? If the bunch is just two, it would be a 'pair', but if more than two, a different collective term would be required. As for ignoramus, is that a plural anyway?

At least with climate science, we know it is all bollox, but there is no need to lower standards of English when tripewriting about the noble pigswilliing gruntfunders.

Mar 1, 2016 at 11:29 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Ailsa Craig, I know they are. But to avoid ambiguity, in this case I generally try to refer directly to the individual "astrobiologist" concerned.

Mar 1, 2016 at 11:57 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Over at WUWT they carry more of the Times article. In 2005, there were 5 reports on ocean acidification. In 2015, there were 600.

Hopefully we have reached Peak Ocean Acidification Funding. This type of hysteria is NOT Unprecedented in climate science. To avoid further expenditure at this pointless, and Unsustainable level, cuts must be made. The Great Barrier Reef, and other exotic locations will recover from this mindless academic vandalism of science. Climate science may not be so lucky, but won't be missed.

Perhaps Siberia has a desolate decaying factory somewhere that could be turned into a sanctuary for unwanted climate scientists. Obviously no mains electricity, heating or power would be required, and they could farm all the tundra and permafrost they liked, by hand, within walking distance, to demonstrate the benefits of a cooler climate. In fact, so unintrusive would they be, that the rest of the world could forget they were even there at all.

You never know, some devout Global Warmists might want to renounce their unscientific doctrine, rather than live the lifestyle they have advocated for others.

Mar 2, 2016 at 12:48 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

"Ayla, is a 'bunch of ignoramus' the correct term? If the bunch is just two, it would be a 'pair', but if more than two, a different collective term would be required. As for ignoramus, is that a plural anyway?

At least with climate science, we know it is all bollox, but there is no need to lower standards of English when tripewriting about the noble pigswilliing gruntfunders.

Mar 1, 2016 at 11:29 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie "

An ignorami horde is composed of many ignoramuses?

Does American English count? Our standards have been low for more than a couple hundred years.

Bollox or not "An ignorami horde" is a rather good description for the CAGW devout faithful; though I might prefer an ignorami gaggle as a side reference to the 'birds of a feather' and 'avian intelligence'.

Mar 2, 2016 at 4:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterATheoK

Ayla, as one who has quite recently on this thread declared your own ignorance, why do you proffer the insult to others? Ignorance is nothing to be ashamed of; we are all ignoramuses, in our own ways. It is when this ignorance is brought to your attention, and you do nothing to correct it that the shame lies.

Mar 2, 2016 at 5:45 AM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Who here has fought a bear with their bare hands?

I thought so.

DiCaprio says there is a C before an A before Global Warming.

And he is totally trustworthy.

Mar 2, 2016 at 6:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterAyla


Go to the North Pole and count local wildlife and take an AK47 with you the as the place is over run by Polar Bears ( they look lovable but they,re classed as Vermin ) and you,re gonna need a weapon that wont jam in minus 40 degrees and plenty of bullets.

Never fought a bear with my bare hands

but I have fought a few humans ( who were built like bears and looked like bears and had the same level of intelligence ) but I have had a go with a AK47.

Mar 2, 2016 at 8:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamspid

If you are going to fight a bear with bare hands, pick a small defenceless one. Koalas, bears in name only, aren't too frightening, and lack the "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee" attack strategy, and also the defensive "Ali Shuffle".

They can often be found seeking sanctuary in solitary trees, much like climate scientists.

Mar 2, 2016 at 11:28 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

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