Friday, December 13, 2013
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority scientists say baby corals are blooming on the Great Barrier Reef
GBRMPA and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service have carried out their second inspection of a series of reefs between Townsville and Tully, in the wake of cyclone Yasi.
GBRMPA's Climate Change and Ecosystems Manager Roger Beeden has been heading up the survey and says that the coral bloomings are a positive sign of recovery.
"We are seeing baby corals in some of the shallows and also in some of the deeper areas," he said.
"It is showing that even though it has had multiple impacts in the last few years, it is able to bounce back.
"It has got that natural resilience to recover, provided it doesn't get hit with too many other events."
Mr Beeden says many parts of the reef looked like "moonscapes" when they surveyed after cyclone Yasi.
"Even though coral are animals it was akin to seeing a whole forest knocked down in lots of places," he said.
"That was really, almost heart breaking for many of us to see, and yet two years on we are beginning to see lots of the early signs of recovery."
Mr Beeden says it is not just wind from the cyclones that causes damage to the coral.
"During cyclone Yasi ... there were some monitoring stations that are out on reefs and there was actually mixing in the water down to 200 metres in some places," he said.
"So it was a huge event in terms of moving water around and it is that water movement that caused the damage to about 15 per cent of the Great Barrier Reef."
Mr Beeden says it is good news for fast growing coral, but there are slower growing coral that need more time.
"In the fast growing ones we can begin to see quite good recovery in 5-10 years, but in the really big ones, the kind of huge, great big trees if you like, actually can take decades to centuries to recover," he said.
"What we are seeing now is actually the ones that are 2 or 3 years old, so they are actually the ones that have spawned after cyclone yasi and you can actually visibly see them now on the reef."
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Hoagy is at it again
After his own research showed that corals recover rapidly from damage, Hoagy went quiet for a couple of years -- but it looks like he is back at his old stand now. And even his fellow Warmists are predicting a temp rise of less than 4 degrees. And guess where corals thrive best -- in the warmest waters! Hoagy is a crook!
RISING sea temperatures might sound nice for us wanting to go for a warmer dip, but it could kill off the Great Barrier Reef by the end of the century, a scientist claims in a new book.
The coral would have to move 4000km southward over 100 years to survive scientists' worst-case scenario of a 4C degree rise in sea temperatures by 2100, Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg says.
In his book, Four Degrees of Global Warming: Australia in a Hot World, the University of Queensland reef specialist says the outlook for the reef is bleak.
"In a four-degree world, the Great Barrier Reef will be great no longer. It would bear little resemblance to the reef we know today," he wrote.
"There is little evidence that marine resources like the Great Barrier Reef possess the resilience to withstand the impacts of a dramatically warming world." Even a more conservative 2C temperature rise estimate would likely be too much for the reef to handle, he wrote.
The death of the almost 2300km-long reef would destroy its $6 billion tourism industry as well as other areas like fishing. The book looks at how Australia will adapt to a warmer and drier climate in the next 100 years.
Warmer and more acidic seawater is a knock-on effect of increased atmospheric carbon levels.
Prof Hoegh-Guldberg wrote that sea temperatures rose by 0.5C in the 20th century but the effect is expected to speed up this century.
The result is that coral cannot move fast enough to cooler southern seas or genetically adapt fast enough to stay where they are.
"Unless we dramatically reduce carbon dioxide emissions which are acidifying our oceans and leading to their warming, we will face the destruction of the Great Barrier Reef and serious decline in our marine resources," he wrote.
Coastal developments approved in Qld.
Greenies will all be holding their breath at the moment -- building up to a massive tanty. Note that Gladstone is South of the GBR anyway. There is no reef to speak of offshore from Gladstone
Several massive resource projects have been approved on the Great Barrier Reef coast by the federal government including the dredging and dumping of spoil near the reef and a new coal export terminal.
Environmentalists have hit out at the decision, with the WWF and the Greens saying it further industrialises and threatens the world heritage protected icon. Environmental campaigners Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and the Australian Marine Conservation Society, dressed as Nemo and turtles, will protest against the approval in Brisbane's CBD on Wednesday.
The projects approved by Environment Minister Greg Hunt late on Tuesday include the dredging of 3 million cubic metres of spoil - which will be dumped in the reef's waters - for the development of three coal export terminals at Abbot Point.
Mr Hunt also approved the building of a new coal terminal at Abbot Point by Indian mining giant Adani.
Approval was also given to a new processing plant for coal seam gas on Curtis Island, which includes 1.4 million cubic metres of dredging at Port Curtis and the mouth of the Calliope River near Gladstone. A pipeline to the plant - being proposed by Arrow Energy - was also approved.
In making the decision Mr Hunt said he had imposed 148 strict environmental conditions on the Abbot Point and Curtis Island developments. They included conditions to ensure the water quality impact from the dumping of dredging spoil was offset.
Mr Hunt said the offsets - which would stop sediments entering the Great Barrier Reef marine park from land sources such as farm runoff - would require an overall gain in water quality.
"It is important to note that each of these sites is already heavily industrialised and that the processes were highly advanced at the change of government," Mr Hunt said.
"The conditions I have put in place for these projects will result in an improvement in water quality and strengthen the Australian government's approach to meeting the challenges confronting the reef."
Water quality is a significant problem for the Great Barrier Reef with increasing pollutants and nutrients resulting in damage to corals, sea grass and other important marine habitats. There is also emerging evidence that poor water quality can encourage populations of a damaging starfish know as crown of thorns that has plagued the reef.
The World Heritage Committee has also been alarmed by increasing development on the reef's coast - with a number of major resource projects approved in recent years - and will consider in 2014 whether it should be placed on an "in danger" list of world heritage sites.
Richard Leck from WWF said Mr Hunt had failed the reef and had turned his back on scientific evidence of the damage dredging would cause.
"Approving a massive amount of sediment to be dumped at a time when the reef's health is so low, it really is against what the science tells us," he said.
Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche welcomed the decision and said it confirmed that industry could co-exist with the reef.