Wednesday, May 30, 2018



No room for differing views

“What happened to me has a massive chilling effect on debate,” says physics professor Peter Ridd, who was sacked by James Cook University last week after saying other scientists, including former colleagues, have exaggerated the dangers to the Great Barrier Reef.

“Any scientist who might agree with me on the reef will just keep their mouth shut, it’s just too risky.”

The well-published professor in coastal oceanography, reef systems and peer review, and a former head of JCU’s school of physics, allegedly has “engaged in serious misconduct, including denigrating the university and its employees, and not acting in the best interests of the university”, according to vice-chancellor Sandra Harding in the letter terminating his employment.

The sacking stems from comments the 29-year JCU veteran made on Sky News that “science is coming out not properly checked, tested or replicated” and those who claim problems with the reef are too “emotionally attached to their subject” — views already aired in his chapter in the book Climate Change: The Facts 2017, produced by the Institute of Public Affairs. Ridd’s academic freedom supposedly has fallen foul of the institution’s code of conduct. A disturbing pattern is emerging on Australia campuses. The JCU experience is typical of the breakdown of free intellectual inquiry at our universities; of debate replaced by dogma.

“I’m a lefty myself, but a monoculture is always a risk, whether you’re part of it or against it,” says Bill von Hippel, acting head of psychology at the University of Queensland. “I’m very worried that the left-leaning ideology of most members of our field might skew the nature of the questions we ask and the way we interpret our findings.”

Ridd has taken his fight to the Federal Circuit Court on the grounds that termination of his employment is a breach of his contractual right to academic freedom. “We need universities to actually encourage different viewpoints so that we get argument,” he says.

Inquirer has spoken to more than a dozen Australian academics across disciplines, universities, and the political spectrum who are concerned about the suffocating monoculture that is gripping our universities, jeopardising research and teaching.

SOURCE 

Tuesday, May 22, 2018







Australian University Professor Sacked for Telling-the-Truth about coral

Jennifer Marohasy

BACK in 2016, when I asked Peter Ridd if he would write a chapter for the book I was editing I could not possibly have envisaged it could contribute to the end of his thirty-year career as a university professor.

Considering that Peter enrolled at James Cook University as an undergraduate back in 1978, he has been associated with that one university for forty years.

Since Peter was fired on 2 May 2018, the university has attempted to remove all trace of this association: scrubbing him completely from their website.

But facts don’t cease to exist because they are removed from a website. The university has never challenged the veracity of Peter’s legitimate claims about the quality of much of the reef science: science on which billions of dollars of taxpayer-funded research is being squandered. These issues are not going away.

Just yesterday (Friday 18 May), Peter lodged papers in the Federal Court. He is going to fight for his job back!

If you care about the truth, science and academic freedom, please donate to help bring this important case to court.

It doesn’t matter how little or how much you donate. Just make sure you are a part of this important effort by donating to Peter’s GoFundMe campaign.

Peter deliberately choose to frame the book chapter about the replication crisis that is sweeping through science.

In this chapter – The Extraordinary Resilience of Great Barrier Reef Coral and Problems with Policy Science – Peter details the major problems with quality assurance when it comes to claims of the imminent demise of the reef.

Policy science concerning the Great Barrier Reef is almost never checked. Over the next few years, Australian governments will spend more than a billion dollars on the Great Barrier Reef; the costs to industry could far exceed this. Yet the keystone research papers have not been subject to proper scrutiny. Instead, there is a total reliance on the demonstrably inadequate peer-review process.

Ex-professor Peter Ridd has also published extensively in the scientific literature on the Great Barrier Reef, including issues with the methodology used to measure calcification rates. In the book he explains:

Like trees, which produce rings as they grow, corals set down a clearly identifiable layer of calcium carbonate skeleton each year, as they grow. The thicknesses and density of the layers can be used to infer calcification rates and are, effectively, a measure of the growth rate. Dr Glenn De’ath and colleagues from the Australian Institute of Marine Science used cores from more than 300 corals, some of which were hundreds of years old, to measure the changes in calcification during the last few hundred years. They claimed there was a precipitous decline in calcification since 1990

The LHS chart suggests a problem with coral growth rates – but the real problem is with the methodology. When corals of equivalent age are sampled, there has been no decline in growth rates at the Great Barrier Reef

However, I have two issues with their analysis. I published my concerns, and an alternative analysis, in the journal Marine Geology (Ridd et al. 2013). First, there were instrumental errors with the measurements of the coral layers. This was especially the case for the last layer at the surface of the coral, which was often measured as being much smaller than the reality. This forced an apparent drop in the average calcification for the corals that were collected in the early 2000s – falsely implying a recent calcification drop. Second, an ‘age effect’ was not acknowledged. When these two errors are accounted for, the drop in calcification rates disappear, as shown in Figure 1.2.

The problem with the ‘age effect’, mentioned above, arose because in the study De’ath and colleagues included data from corals sampled during two distinct periods and with a different focus; I will refer to these as two campaigns. The first campaign occurred mostly in the 1980s and focused on very large coral specimens, sometimes many metres across. The second campaign occurred in the early 2000s due to the increased interest in the effects of CO2. However, presumably due to cost cutting measures, instead of focusing on the original huge coral colonies, the second campaign measured smaller colonies, many just a few tens of centimetres in diameter.

In summary, the first campaign focused on large old corals, while, in contrast, the second campaign focused on small young corals. The two datasets were then spliced together, and wholly unjustifiable assumptions were implicitly made, but not stated – in particular that there is no age effect on coral growth…

Dr Juan D’Olivo Cordero from the University of Western Australia collected an entirely different dataset of coral cores from the Great Barrier Reef to determine calcification rates. This study determined that there has been a 10% increase in calcification rates since the 1940s for offshore and mid-shelf reefs, which is the location of about 99% of all the coral on the Great Barrier Reef. However, these researchers also measured a 5% decline in calcification rates of inshore corals – the approximately 1% of corals that live very close to the coast. Overall, there was an increase for most of the Great Barrier Reef, and a decrease for a small fraction of the Great Barrier Reef.

While it would seem reasonable to conclude that the results of the study by D’Olivo et al. would be reported as good news for the Great Barrier Reef, their article in the journal Coral Reefs concluded:

Our new findings nevertheless continue to raise concerns, with the inner-shelf reefs continuing to show long-term declines in calcification consistent with increased disturbance from land-based effects. In contrast, the more ‘pristine’ mid- and outer-shelf reefs appear to be undergoing a transition from increasing to decreasing rates of calcification, possibly reflecting the effects of CO2-driven climate change.

Imaginatively, this shift from ‘increasing’ to ‘decreasing’ seems to be based on an insignificant fall in the calcification rate in some of the mid-shelf reefs in the last two years of the 65-year dataset.

Why did the authors concentrate on this when their data shows that the reef is growing about 10% faster than it did in the 1940s?

James Cook university could have used the chapter as an opportunity to start a much-needed discussion about policy, funding and the critical importance of the scientific method. Instead, Peter was first censored by the University – and now he has been fired.

When I first blogged on this back in February, Peter needed to raise A$95,000 to fight the censure.

This was achieved through an extraordinary effort, backed by Anthony Watts, Joanne Nova, John Roskam and so many others.

To be clear, the university is not questioning the veracity of what ex-professor Ridd has written, but rather his right to say this publicly. In particular, the university is claiming that he has not been collegial and continues to speak-out even after he was told to desist.

New allegations have been built on the original misconduct charges that I detailed back in February. The core issue continues to be Peter’s right to keep talking – including so that he can defend himself.

In particular, the university objects to the original GoFundMe campaign (that Peter has just reopened) because it breaches claimed confidentiality provisions in Peter’s employment agreement. The university claims that Peter Ridd was not allowed to talk about their action against him. Peter disputes this.

Of course, if Peter had gone along with all of this, he would have been unable to raise funds to get legal advice – to defend himself! All of the documentation is now being made public – all of this information, and more can be found at Peter’s new website.

Together, let’s fight this! Go fund ex-professor Ridd at:

https://au.gofundme.com/peter-ridd-legal-action-fund.

The Institute of Public Affairs published Climate Change, The Facts 2017, and continues to support Peter’s right to speak the truth. For media and comment contact Evan Mulholland on 0405 140 780, or at emulholland@ipa.org.au.

Buy the book if you haven’t already: this is another way of showing your support.

Peter Ridd and Jennifer Marohasy speaking at the Sydney Institute last year.

The most important thing is to not be silenced, shout about this! I received an email last week: “Bought Climate Change, The Facts 2017, as requested, to support Peter Ridd. I’m not making any friends at dinner parties at the moment. Stuff ’em.”

SOURCE 



Friday, April 20, 2018


Great Barrier grief: Coral 'cooked to death' in scorching summer heatwave

This is just an academic republication of some claims made in 2016, which were shown at the time to be greatly exaggerated.  And note below that global sea surface temperatures actually FELL during late 2016. 



So if there was a big warming event in North Queensland waters at the time it was a LOCAL event, not a global one.  So any coral damage was not caused by global warming. 

The BOM does record high temperatures in the reef area in 2016 but admits that there were several factors contributing to that.  I quote:

"The 2015–16 El Niño suppressed and delayed the monsoon, leading to reduced cloud cover and weakened winds this summer. Additionally, a relatively low number of summer storms occurred over the Reef. These factors led to increased surface heating and reduced mixing, resulting in substantially warmer ocean temperatures around northern Australia from December to March 2016."

And note that the BOM places the warming in early 2016, not late 2016.  Pesky!

Something else that happened in 2016 was a regional sea-level fall --which really is detrimental to coral and could alone explain any damage.

And note the announcement from late last year that bleached corals are already recovering nicely.  So no fear for them is warranted.

It's just propaganda below -- propaganda in a scholarly disguise.  I actually wonder whether they did all the surveys they claim to have done? A little bit of interpolation here and there, perhaps?  JCU has a record of dubious integrity.  Ask Peter Ridd about that



Millions of corals on the Great Barrier Reef were 'cooked' during a scorching summer in the northern region, according to scientists.

The underwater heatwave eliminated a huge number of different species of coral during a process which expelled algae after the polyps were stressed.

'When corals bleach from a heatwave, they can either survive and regain their colour slowly as the temperature drops, or they can die.

'Averaged across the whole Great Barrier Reef, we lost 30 per cent of the corals in the nine-month period between March and November 2016,' said Professor Terry Hughes from James Cook University said.

Prof Hughes who acts as the Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at JCU said his team was very surprised to see a quarter of the corals die in just two to three weeks during the March heatwave.

Scientists researched the entire reef by analysing water surveys at various locations along its 2,300-kilometre distance, and combined insight with aerial data and satellite monitoring. 

Results showed 29 per cent of the 3,863 reefs which make up the world's largest reef system lost 'two-thirds or more of their corals', which dramatically impacts the ability of the reefs to maintain full ecological abilities.

'The Great Barrier Reef is certainly threatened by climate change, but it is not doomed if we deal very quickly with greenhouse gas emissions.

'Our study shows that coral reefs are already shifting radically in response to unprecedented heatwaves,' said Prof Hughes.

The team warn that if changes are not made to consider climate change it will have a huge effect on tropical reef ecosystems and, therefore, a detrimental impact on the benefits those environments provide to populations of poor nations.

SOURCE

Thursday, March 8, 2018




Some recent notes from Lizard Island on the Great Barrier Reef

Nothing like the disaster area that the Greenies predicted

The Great Barrier Reef’s resilience has been mightily challenged and it narrowly escaped being placed on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites in Danger last year. The one-two punch of Cyclone Ita in April 2014 and Cyclone Nathan just one year later left Lizard Island reeling. A coral bleaching event in the summer of 2016, resulting from a number of marine heatwaves on top of an already elevated sea temperature, dealt it a further blow.

Yet the reef displays a remarkable ability to regenerate and flourish. “There are a lot of people here studying recovery from disaster, and things are coming back after the cyclones and the bleaching,” Dr Anne Hoggett tells me during an afternoon tour of the research station.

She and her husband, Dr Lyle Vail, were appointed directors of the facility in 1990 and Anne has been working on the Lizard Island field guide, a constantly evolving resource detailing more than 7000 different ­species. “I think you could multiply that number of species by at least five, and people are discovering new ones here all the time,” she says.

Back at Clam Gardens, the cuttlefish has found a mate. Diaphanous skirts rippling, the pair frills up the side of a sherbet-coloured bommie, a ­stand-alone coral outcrop that’s been split like a watermelon by one of the recent cyclones. It looks like a tragedy, until Penny points out the crack has merely increased the surface area of the bommie and that the polyps, like busy little construction workers, are already starting to build on the ­foundations of their ancestors.

Drifting over the columns and canyons of reef we spy several ­thickets of staghorn coral, their tips a spark of pale, luminescent blue. “It’s nice to see,” Penny says, ­surfacing with a smile. “It’s encouraging.”

SOURCE

Thursday, March 1, 2018


The ‘evil twin of global warming’ is melting starfish and other sea creatures, scientists discover

The usual rubbish.  Warming would cause the oceans to OUTGAS CO2, thus making the seas LESS acidic. Below is just an experiment which does not duplicate natural conditions.  It must have been unpleasant for the sea creatures to have acid poured on them.  Are Greenies allowed to do that?  They pretend to be zealous about looking after nature

Sea creatures are literally being eaten away and ‘dissolved’ by pollution, scientists have discovered.

It’s feared that high levels of carbon dioxide in the water could cause irreparable damage to marine ecosystems after tests found acute levels of the gas cause starfish to dissolve.

A team of marine scientists conducted a four-day experiment at Loch Sween on Scotland’s west coast to measure the response to short-term carbon dioxide exposure.

Previously, tests had focused on the effect high levels of the gas had on individual plants or animals, leaving a gap in knowledge about how whole marine ecosystems respond to sudden influxes of carbon dioxide.

When high levels of carbon dioxide enters the oceans it causes them to become more acidic due to a process that’s been described as ‘global warming’s evil twin’.

Researchers from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh and Glasgow University pumped water enriched with carbon dioxide into chambers placed over the coralline algal ecosystem and monitored the community’s response before, during and after exposure.

The experiment revealed acute exposure led to net dissolution, meaning calcified organisms such as the coralline algae and starfish were dissolving.

Heidi Burdett, Heriot-Watt University research fellow, said: ‘We found that there was a rapid, community-level shift to net dissolution, meaning that within that community, the skeletons of calcifying organisms like starfish and coralline algae were dissolving.

‘If you think of pulses of carbon dioxide being carried on the tide to a particular site, it’s like a flash flood of carbon dioxide.

‘Our continued monitoring of the site directly after the carbon dioxide exposure found recovery was comparably slow, which raises concern about the ability of these systems to ‘bounce back’ after repeated acute carbon dioxide events.’

SOURCE


Sunday, February 25, 2018



World's coral reefs face new peril from beneath within decades (?)

This is just a new variation on an old fraud.  For the ocean to become more acidic it has to absorb more CO2 and thus produce carbonic acid (H2O + CO2 = H2CO3). And as CO2 levels rise, that might happen to some degree.

But according to Warmist theory higher CO2 levels will bring higher temperatures.  But higher ocean temperatures will REDUCE the carrying capacity of the oceans for CO2.  So CO2 will OUTGAS from the oceans under higher temperatures and the oceans will be LESS acidic. 

So if the galoots below really believed in global warming they would welcome it as REDUCING the threat to corals.

So there is a small potential threat to corals from higher CO2 levels but it will only eventuate if there is NO global warming. Fun?



The world's coral reefs, already enduring multiple threats from bleaching to nutrient run-off from farming, also face another challenge - this time from below.

New research, published in the journal Science on Friday, has found the sediments on which many reefs are built are 10 times more sensitive to the acidifying oceans than the living corals themselves. Some reef bases are already dissolving.

The study used underwater chambers at four sites in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, including Heron Island in the Great Barrier Reef, and applied modelling to extrapolate results for 22 reefs in three ocean basins.

As oceans turn more acidic, the corals themselves produce less of the calcium carbonate that forms their base. Instead of growing, the reef bases start to dissolve.

"The public is less aware of the threat of ocean acidification [than warming waters]," said Brendan Eyre, a professor of biogeochemistry at the Southern Cross University and the paper's lead author.

“Coral reef sediments around the world will trend towards dissolving when seawater reaches a tipping point in acidity - which is likely to occur well before the end of the century,” he said.

At risk will be coral reef ecosystems that support tourism, fisheries and the many other human activities, he said.

The ocean's acidity has increased about 30 per cent since the start of the industrial revolution, as seas absorb about one-third of the build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

“It is vital that we put pressure on governments globally to act in concert to lower carbon dioxide emissions as this is the only way we can stop the oceans acidifying and dissolving our reefs,” Professor Eyre said.

Rates of dissolving reef sediment will depend on their starting points, including their exposure to organic sediment. The Hawaiian reef studied is already showing signs of its sediment dissolving, with higher organic nutrient levels likely to be contributing, he said.

"Carbonate sediments in Hawaii are already net dissolving and will be strongly net dissolving by the end of the century," the paper said.

Living corals themselves appear to be able to resist the acidification process, with mechanisms and strategies to resist some of the impacts.

Still, the study said the transition of the dissolution of reef sediment "will result in the loss of material for building shallow reef habitats such as reef flats and lagoons, and associated coral cays". It is unknown if the reefs will face "catastrophic destruction" once the erosion begins, the paper said.

Over time, as coral bases begin to dissolve, they are more likely to become more vulnerable to cyclones and other threats, Professor Eyre said.

He said further study was needed to understand how reefs would be affected by temperatures, rising organic and nutrient levels and more acidic waters in combination, he said.

The impact of bleaching - such as the two mass events in the 2015-16 and 2016-17 summers on the Great Barrier Reef - would most likely accelerate the breakdown of reefs by "making more sediment and organic matter available for dissolution", the paper said.

SOURCE

Friday, February 23, 2018



Science or silence? My battle to question doomsayers about the Great Barrier Reef

By Professor Peter Ridd.  His university is desperate to shut him up as he tells basic scientific truth, which they  see as threatening the funding that they have bought with lies and alarmism. Ridd leads the Marine Geophysical Laboratory, James Cook University, Australia and has authored over 100 scientific papers

Around the world, people have heard about the impending extinction of the Great Barrier Reef: some 133,000 square miles of magnificent coral stretching for 1,400 miles off the northeast coast of Australia.

The reef is supposedly almost dead from the combined effects of a warming climate, nutrient pollution from Australian farms, and smothering sediment from offshore dredging.

Except that, as I have said publicly as a research scientist who has studied the reef for the past 30 years, all this most likely isn’t true.

And just for saying that – and calling into question the kind of published science that has led to the gloomy predictions – I have been served with a gag order by my university. I am now having to sue for my right to have an ordinary scientific opinion.

My emails have been searched. I was not allowed even to speak to my wife about the issue. I have been harangued by lawyers. And now I’m fighting back to assert my right to academic freedom and bring attention to the crisis of scientific truth.

The problems I am facing are part of a “replication crisis” that is sweeping through science and is now a serious topic in major science journals. In major scientific trials that attempt to reproduce the results of scientific observations and measurements, it seems that around 50 percent of recently published science is wrong, because the results can’t be replicated by others.

And if observations and measurements can’t be replicated, it isn’t really science – it is still, at best, hypothesis, or even just opinion. This is not a controversial topic anymore – science, or at least the system of checking the science we are using, is failing us.

The crisis started in biomedical areas, where pharmaceutical companies in the past decade found that up to 80 percent of university and institutional science results that they tested were wrong. It is now recognized that the problem is much more widespread than the biomedical sciences. And that is where I got into big trouble.

I have published numerous scientific papers showing that much of the “science” claiming damage to the reef is either plain wrong or greatly exaggerated. As just one example, coral growth rates that have supposedly collapsed along the reef have, if anything, increased slightly.

Reefs that are supposedly smothered by dredging sediment actually contain great coral. And mass bleaching events along the reef that supposedly serve as evidence of permanent human-caused devastation are almost certainly completely natural and even cyclical.

These allegedly major catastrophic effects that recent science says were almost unknown before the 1980s are mainly the result of a simple fact: large-scale marine science did not get started on the reef until the 1970s.

By a decade later, studies of the reef had exploded, along with the number of marine biologists doing them. What all these scientists lacked, however, was historical perspective. There are almost no records of earlier eras to compare with current conditions. Thus, for many scientists studying reef problems, the results are unprecedented, and almost always seen as catastrophic and even world-threatening.

The only problem is that it isn’t so. The Great Barrier Reef is in fact in excellent condition. It certainly goes through periods of destruction where huge areas of coral are killed from hurricanes, starfish plagues and coral bleaching. However, it largely regrows within a decade to its former glory. Some parts of the southern reef, for example, have seen a tripling of coral in six years after they were devastated by a particularly severe cyclone.

Reefs have similarities to Australian forests, which require periodic bushfires. It looks terrible after the bushfire, but the forests always regrow. The ecosystem has evolved with these cycles of death and regrowth.

The conflicting realities of the Great Barrier Reef point to a deeper problem. In science, consensus is not the same thing as truth. But consensus has come to play a controlling role in many areas of modern science. And if you go against the consensus you can suffer unpleasant consequences.

The main system of science quality control is called peer review. Nowadays, it usually takes the form of a couple of anonymous reviewing scientists having a quick check over the work of a colleague in the field.

Peer review is commonly understood as painstaking re-examination by highly qualified experts in academia that acts as a real check on mistaken work. It isn’t.  In the real world, peer review is often cursory and not always even knowledgeable. It might take reviewers only a morning to do.

Scientific results are rarely reanalyzed and experiments are not replicated. The types of checks that would be routine in private industry are just not done.

I have asked the question: Is this good enough quality control to make environmental decisions worth billions of dollars that are now adversely affecting every major industry in northeast Australia?

Our sugar industry has been told to make dramatic reductions in fertilizer application, potentially reducing productivity; our ports have dredging restrictions that threaten their productivity; scientists demand that coal mines be closed; and tourists are scared away because the reef is supposedly almost dead – not worth seeing anymore.

Last August I made this point on Sky News in Australia in promotion of a chapter I wrote in “Climate Change: The Facts 2017,” published by the Australian free market think tank the Institute of Public Affairs.

“The basic problem is that we can no longer trust the scientific organizations like the Australian Institute of Marine Science, even things like the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies … the science is coming out not properly checked, tested or replicated and this is a great shame because we really need to be able to trust our scientific institutions and the fact is I do not think we can any more,” I said.

The response to these comments by my employer, James Cook University, was extraordinary. Rather than measured argument, I was hit with a charge of academic serious misconduct for not being “collegial.”

University authorities told me in August I was not allowed to mention the case or the charges to anybody – not even my wife.

Then things got worse. With assistance from the Institute of Public Affairs, I have been pushing back against the charges and the gag order – leading the university to search my official emails for examples of where I had mentioned the case to other scientists, old friends, past students and my wife.

I was then hit with 25 new allegations, mostly for just mentioning the case against me. The email search turned up nothing for which I feel ashamed. You can see for yourself.

We filed in court in November. At that point the university backed away from firing me. But university officials issued a “Final Censure” in my employment file and told me to be silent about the allegations, and not to repeat my comments about the unreliability of institutional research.

But they agreed that I could mention it to my wife, which was nice of them.

I would rather be fired than accept these conditions. We are still pursuing the matter in court.

This case may be about a single instance of alleged misconduct, but underlying it is an issue even bigger than our oceans. Ultimately, I am fighting for academic and scientific freedom, and the responsibility of universities to nurture the debate of difficult subjects without threat or intimidation.

We may indeed have a Great Barrier Reef crisis, but the science is so flawed that it is impossible to tell its actual dimensions. What we do know for certain is that we have an academic freedom crisis that threatens the true life of science and threatens to smother our failing university system.

 SOURCE

Wednesday, February 21, 2018



A Coral's Biological Control of its Calcifying Medium to Favor Skeletal Growth
    
Great news for those concerned about potential future impacts of so-called ocean acidification on corals. A New Study shows they are able to continue skeletal growth under the most pessimistic of ocean acidification scenarios



Paper Reviewed: Raybaud, V., Tambutté, S., Ferrier-Pagès, C., Reynaud, S., Venn, A.A., Tambutté, É., Nival, P. and Allemand, D. 2017. Computing the carbonate chemistry of the coral calcifying medium and its response to ocean acidification. Journal of Theoretical Biology 424: 26-36.

Introducing their very intriguing study, Raybaud et al. (2017) write that "critical to determining vulnerability or resilience of reef corals to ocean acidification (OA) is a clearer understanding of the extent to which corals can control carbonate chemistry in their extracellular calcifying medium (ECM) where the calcium carbonate skeleton is produced." However, information about the coral ECM is sparse due to the difficulty of accessing it (it is located under several overlying cell layers and has a thickness varying from a few nanometers to a few micrometers).

In an effort to overcome this measurement obstacle, the team of eight researchers presented what they describe as "a novel, alternative means of indirectly assessing ECM carbonate chemistry using coral calcification rates, seawater characteristics (temperature, salinity and pH) and pH measurements of the ECM (pH(ECM))." More specifically, this involved (1) calculating coral species-specific relationships between seawater pH and pH(ECM) using pH(ECM) data from six publications on 5 different species that have measured pH(ECM) at several different levels of seawater pH, (2) calculating the aragonite saturation state (Ωarag.(ECM)) and calcium carbonate ion concentration ([CO32-](ECM)) in the ECM from coral calcification rates previously published in 20 peer-reviewed studies and (3) using pH(ECM) and [CO32-](ECM) to calculate the ionic concentration of the other chemical parameters in the carbonate system of the ECM under current and reduced values of seawater pH. This approach yielded a number of significant findings described in the paragraphs below.

The species-specific relationships between seawater pH and pH(ECM) revealed that all five of the corals analyzed in this stage of the analysis (Desmophyllum dianthus, Cladocora caespitosa, Porites spp., Acropora spp. and Stylophora pistillata) upregulated their pH(ECM) relative to that at normal seawater pH. What is more, the degree of pH(ECM) upregulation increased as seawater pH decreased, indicating, in the words of the authors, "an active biological control of the ECM chemistry by corals."

In the second phase of their work, Raybaud et al. discovered that the Ωarag.(ECM) values calculated from the 20 coral studies they analyzed ranged from 10.16 to 38.31 (mean of 20.41), which values were "~5 to 6-fold higher than Ωarag. in seawater (Ωarag.(SW)), which favors the aragonite precipitation of coral skeleton in the ECM." They also note that "Ωarag.(ECM) was higher for cold-water corals, which have slower growth rates than for tropical ones," adding that "the greater ability of certain cold-water coral species to raise their Ωarag.(ECM) may be an adaptive mechanism, as recently suggested by Hendriks and colleagues (Hendriks et al., 2015), enabling these organisms to grow in seawater that is close to under-saturation with respect to aragonite (Ωarag.(SW) ~1; (Thresher et al., 2011))."

Finally, with respect to the third phase of their study -- assessing other chemical parameters in the carbonate system of the ECM -- the authors report that (1) dissolved inorganic carbon and total alkalinity were approximately 3 times higher in the ECM than in seawater at normal pH, (2) carbonate concentration was 5.9 times higher, (3) bicarbonate ions were 2.1 times more concentrated and (4) hydroxide 2.3 fold higher, which observations clearly indicate the ability of corals to biologically mediate the process of calcification in the ECM under present-day seawater pH conditions. But will they continue to do so in the future under projections of pH decline?

To answer this question, Raybaud et al. utilized data from a long-term laboratory experiment performed on the tropical coral Stylophora pistillata in order to assess how coral ECM chemistry might change due to ocean acidification. The results are presented in the figure below, which illustrate the impact of ocean acidification on calcification rates and various ECM chemical characteristics of S. pistillata coral colonies exposed to normal (8.0) and reduced (7.8, 7.4 and 7.2) seawater pH levels for a period of one year.

As indicated there, Ωarag.(ECM) and [CO32-](ECM) exhibited only small reductions under increasing levels of ocean acidification compared to corresponding changes that occurred in normal seawater. For instance, although Ωarag. of the seawater decreased by 78% (from 3.17 to 0.69, as denoted by the blue horizontal lines in Figure 1e), when the pH declined from 8 to 7.2, Ωarag. and [CO32-] of the ECM each fell by a much smaller 9 percent to values that were 22.4 times higher than those reported in seawater outside the ECM in the most severe ocean acidification treatment (i.e., pH of 7.2). Consequently, the team of researchers write that "the ECM in S. pistillata under ocean acidification has a higher buffer capacity than under current pH," evidenced by the increasing difference between Ωarag.(ECM) and Ωarag.(SW) as the seawater pH treatments decline from 8.0 to 7.2 (see the vertical arrows and orange numbers associated with Ωarag. under the different pH treatments shown in Figure 1e).

In light of all of the above facts, Raybaud et al. conclude their results clearly show that "despite unfavorable Ωarag.(SW) [down to a seawater pH of 7.2], corals are able to maintain Ωarag.(ECM) sufficiently high to allow calcification to proceed," as "the biological regulation of ECM chemistry keeps Ωarag.(ECM) almost constant" under ocean acidification scenarios far beyond those likely to ever occur. And that is incredibly wonderful news for those concerned about potential future impacts of so-called ocean acidification on corals.

SOURCE

Wednesday, February 7, 2018



Critic of coral reef alarmism Raised $99K To Defend Freedom Of Speech In Just 48 Hours

Last week Professor Peter Ridd launched a GoFundMe to fundraise for his legal costs against James Cook University in the Federal Court.

Amazingly, after a public appeal, he has reached the required $95,000 to cover his defence in just 48 hours.

Institute of Public Affairs Executive Director, John Roskam, spoke to Alan Jones on 2GB this morning about Professor Ridd’s case.

In August last year Professor Ridd was interviewed by Alan Jones on Sky News about his chapter in a book Climate Change: The Facts 2017 published by the Institute of Public Affairs.  In his chapter, The Extraordinary Resilience of Great Barrier Reef Corals, and Problems with Policy Science, Professor Ridd wrote:

"Policy science concerning the Great Barrier Reef is almost never checked. Over the next few years, Australian government will spend more than a billion dollars on the Great Barrier Reef; the costs to industry could far exceed this. Yet the keystone research papers have not been subject to proper scrutiny. Instead, there is a total reliance on the demonstrably inadequate peer review process."

Professor Ridd said on Sky News:

"The basic problem is that we can no longer trust the scientific organisations like the Australian Institute of Marine Science, even things like the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies – a lot of this is stuff is coming out, the science is coming out not properly checked, tested or replicated and this is a great shame because we really need to be able to trust our scientific institutions and the fact is I do not think we can any more…

…I think that most of the scientists who are pushing out this stuff they genuinely believe that there are problems with the reef, I just don’t think they’re very objective about the science they do, I think they’re emotionally attached to their subject and you know you can’t blame them, the reef is a beautiful thing."

JCU claimed that Professor Ridd’s comments denigrated the university and the university directed him to make no future such comments.

Thanks to the contributions of many IPA members and supporters of Professor Ridd, he is able to defend scientific integrity and academic freedom in the Federal Court.

You can now read the Professor Ridd’s full chapter. The extraordinary resilience of Great Barrier Reef corals, and the problems with policy science, here

SOURCE

Tuesday, February 6, 2018



Great Barrier Reef in 'deep trouble' as climate, other threats mount: official

More lying Greenie propaganda.  Their claims about bleaching in 2015/2016 were not and could not be verified.  When Prof. Ridd pointed that out, what did they do?  Present evidence of verification?  No way.  They sued Peter Ridd for letting the cat out of the bag.  What frauds!  What jerks!  They just love the funding they get for their lies.  They've just got $60 million from the Feds

The Great Barrier Reef is in "deep trouble" as climate change and other threats mount, hindering the ability of corals to rebound from natural events, a senior scientist with the reef's Marine Park Authority said.

Unprecedented back-to-back mass coral bleachings resulted in 29 per cent of the shallow water corals dying in the summer of 2015-16 and a further 20 per cent last summer, David Wachenfeld, director of recovery at the authority, said.

Fortunately, "there's no prediction of substantial mass bleachings at this point" for this summer. Still, February - typically the worst month for heat stress on corals - "is going to be a slightly nervous month" for scientists, Dr Wachenfeld said.

The roughly 50-per cent death rate for the corals excludes damage done last March by Cyclone Debbie, which tore into the northern end of the southern section of the Great Barrier Reef - an area largely spared from the bleaching events.

While corals have a natural ability to bounce back, the increasing frequency and severity of extreme weather made recovery harder.

"[E]very time we get impacts on the reef, they are slightly or a lot worse than previous impacts," Dr Wachenfeld told Fairfax Media. "And the question is, as we keep seeing bigger impacts, will the reef continue to be as resilient as it has been in the past?"

How climate change will affect the Great Barrier Reef and other parts of Australia will feature at a week-long gathering of senior scientists in Sydney for the first Australian/New Zealand Climate Forum held in seven years.

Terry Hughes, Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and one of the speakers at the event, said scientists were in "uncharted territory" when it came to predicting how fast the reef can recover.

"Normally, after a cyclone, it takes 10-15 years for the fastest-growing species to bounce back," Professor Hughes said.

"Optimistically, 50 per cent mortality after the two recent heatwaves means the glass is still half full," he said. "The survivors ... are tougher than the corals that died - there is about a billion of them, and they are reproducing."

Dr Wachenfeld said tackling other stressors on corals, including from nutrient run-off from farms and the latest big outbreak of crown-of-thorns starfish, were important local efforts to help corals rebound.

"That's the way to give the reef the best chance to survive the global threat of climate change," he said.

"The reef is still a dynamic, vibrant, awesome place," Dr Wachenfeld said. "But it's in deep trouble, and at the moment, it's not heading in the right direction."

SOURCE