Paper Reviewed: McCulloch, M.T., D’Olivo, J.P., Falter, J., Holcomb, M. and Trotter, J.A. 2017. Coral calcification in a changing world and the interactive dynamics of pH and DIC upregulation. Nature Communications 8: 15686, DOI:10.1038/ncomms15686.
The global increase in the atmosphere’s CO2 content has been hypothesized to possess the potential to harm coral reefs directly. By inducing changes in ocean water chemistry that can lead to reductions in the calcium carbonate saturation state of seawater (Ω), it has been predicted that elevated levels of atmospheric CO2 may reduce rates of coral calcification, possibly leading to slower-growing — and, therefore, weaker — coral skeletons, and in some cases even death. Such projections, however, often fail to account for the fact that coral calcification is a biologically mediated process, and that out in the real world, living organisms tend to find a way to meet and overcome the many challenges they face, and coral calcification in response to ocean acidification is no exception, as evidenced by findings published in the recent analysis of McCulloch et al. (2017).
Writing in the journal Nature Communications, this team of five researchers developed geochemical proxies (δ11B and B/Ca) from Porites corals located on (1) Davis Reef, a mid-shelf reef located east-northeast of Townsville, Queensland, Australia in the central Great Barrier Reef, and (2) Coral Bay, which is part of the Ningaloo Reef coastal fringing system of Western Australia, in order to obtain seasonal records of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and pH of the corals’ calcifying fluid (cf) at these locations for the period 2007-2012. And what did those records reveal?
As shown in the figure below, coral colonies from both reef locations “exhibit strong seasonal changes in pHcf, from ~8.3 during summer to ~8.5 during winter,” which “represents an elevation in pHcf relative to ambient seawater of ~0.4 pH units together with a relatively large seasonal range in pHcf of ~0.2 units.” These observations, in the words of McCulloch et al., “are in stark contrast to the far more muted changes based on laboratory-controlled experiments” (as shown in the dashed black line on the figure), which laboratory-based values are “an order of magnitude smaller than those actually observed in reef environments.”
With respect to DICcf (also depicted in Figure 1), McCulloch et al. report that the “highest DICcf (~ x 3.2 seawater) is found during summer, consistent with thermal/light enhancement of metabolically (zooxanthellae) derived carbon, while the highest pHcf (~8.5) occurs in winter during periods of low DICcf (~ x 2 seawater).”
The proxy records also revealed that coral DICcf was inversely related (r2 ~ 0.9) to pHcf. Commenting on this relationship, the marine scientists say it “indicate[s] that the coral is actively maintaining both high (~x 4 to x 6 seawater) and relatively stable (within ± 10% of mean) levels of elevated Ωcf year-round.” Or, as they explain it another way, “we have now identified the key functional characteristics of chemically controlled calcification in reef-building coral. The seasonally varying supply of summer-enhanced metabolic DICcf is accompanied by dynamic out-of-phase upregulation of coral pHcf. These parameters acting together maintain elevated but near-constant levels of carbonate saturation state (Ωcf) of the coral’s calcifying fluid, the key driver of calcification.”
The implications of the above findings are enormous, for they reveal that “pHcf upregulation occurs largely independent of changes in seawater carbonate chemistry, and hence ocean acidification,” demonstrating “the ability of the coral to ‘control’ what is arguably one of its most fundamental physiological processes, the growth of its skeleton within which it lives.” Furthermore, McCulloch et al. say their work presents “major ramifications for the interpretation of the large number of experiments that have reported a strong sensitivity of coral calcification to increasing ocean acidification,” explaining that “an inherent limitation of many of these experiments is that they were generally conducted under conditions of fixed seawater pHsw and/or temperature, light, nutrients, and little water motion, hence conditions that are not conducive to reproducing the natural interactive effects between pHcf and DICcf that we have documented here.” Given as much, they conclude that “since the interactive dynamics of pHcf and DICcf upregulation do not appear to be properly simulated under the short-term conditions generally imposed by such artificial experiments, the relevance of their commonly reported finding of reduced coral calcification with reduced seawater pH must now be questioned.”
And so it appears that alarmist claims of near-future coral reef dissolution, courtesy of the ever-hyped ocean acidification hypothesis, have themselves dissolved away thanks to the seminal work of McCulloch et al. Clearly, the world’s corals are much more resilient to changes in their environment than acidification alarmists have claimed them to be.
Figure 1. Seasonal time series of coral calcifying fluid pHcf and DICcf. (a) Porites spp. coral calcifying fluid pHcf derived from δ11B systematics for colonies D-2 and D-3 from Davies Reef (18.8°S) in the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland. Shading denotes the summer period when pHcf and seawater pHsw values are at a minimum. Dashed line shows pH*cfexpected from artificial experimental calibrations (pH*cf = 0.32 pHsw + 5.2) with an order of magnitude lower seasonal range than measured pHcf values. (b) Same as previous for Porites colonies from Coral Bay (CB-1 and CB-2) in the Ningaloo Reef of Western Australia (23.2°S) showing seasonal fluctuations in pHcf and seawater pHsw. The blue shading denotes the anomalously cool summer temperatures in 2010. (c) Enrichments in calcifying fluid DICcf (left axis; coloured circles) derived from combined B/Ca and δ11B systematics together with synchronous seasonal variations in reef-water temperatures (right axis; black line) for Porites colonies from Davies Reef (GBR). The strong temperature/light control on DICcf is consistent with enhanced metabolic activity of zooxanthellae symbionts in summer. (d) Same as previous but for Porites from Coral Bay (Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia). Source: McCulloch et al. (2017).
Delingpole: Man-Made Climate Catastrophe Is a Myth, More Studies Confirm
From the world of science – as opposed to grant-troughing junk science – two more studies confirming that the man-made global warming scare is a myth.
One, a study by Scafetta et al, published in International Journal of Heat and Technology, confirms that the “Pause” in global warming is real – and that “climate change” is much more likely the result of natural, cyclical fluctuations than man-made CO2 emissions.
The period from 2000 to 2016 shows a modest warming trend that the advocates of the anthropogenic global warming theory have labeled as the “pause” or “hiatus.” These labels were chosen to indicate that the observed temperature standstill period results from an unforced internal fluctuation of the climate (e.g. by heat uptake of the deep ocean) that the computer climate models are claimed to occasionally reproduce without contradicting the anthropogenic global warming theory (AGWT) paradigm. In part 1 of this work, it was shown that the statistical analysis rejects such labels with a 95% confidence because the standstill period has lasted more than the 15 year period limit provided by the AGWT advocates themselves. Anyhow, the strong warming peak observed in 2015-2016, the “hottest year on record,” gave the impression that the temperature standstill stopped in 2014. Herein, the authors show that such a temperature peak is unrelated to anthropogenic forcing: it simply emerged from the natural fast fluctuations of the climate associated to the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon. By removing the ENSO signature, the authors show that the temperature trend from 2000 to 2016 clearly diverges from the general circulation model (GCM) simulations. Thus, the GCMs models used to support the AGWT are very likely flawed. By contrast, the semi-empirical climate models proposed in 2011 and 2013 by Scafetta, which are based on a specific set of natural climatic oscillations believed to be astronomically induced plus a significantly reduced anthropogenic contribution, agree far better with the latest observations.
Note also that it says the computer-modelled predictions of climate doom relied on by all global warming alarmists to support their thesis are wrong.
The second study, by Hodgkins et al, published in the Journal of Hydrology, concerns flooding in North America and Europe.
What it shows is that, contrary to the claims often made by climate alarmists, there has been NO increase in flooding due to “global warming” or “climate change.”
Flooding events, it shows, have more to do with chance than any noticeable long term trend. It finds no link between flooding and “global warming.”
Concern over the potential impact of anthropogenic climate change on flooding has led to a proliferation of studies examining past flood trends. Many studies have analysed annual-maximum flow trends but few have quantified changes in major (25–100 year return period) floods, i.e. those that have the greatest societal impacts. Existing major-flood studies used a limited number of very large catchments affected to varying degrees by alterations such as reservoirs and urbanisation. In the current study, trends in major-flood occurrence from 1961 to 2010 and from 1931 to 2010 were assessed using a very large dataset (>1200 gauges) of diverse catchments from North America and Europe; only minimally altered catchments were used, to focus on climate-driven changes rather than changes due to catchment alterations. Trend testing of major floods was based on counting the number of exceedances of a given flood threshold within a group of gauges. Evidence for significant trends varied between groups of gauges that were defined by catchment size, location, climate, flood threshold and period of record, indicating that generalizations about flood trends across large domains or a diversity of catchment types are ungrounded. Overall, the number of significant trends in major-flood occurrence across North America and Europe was approximately the number expected due to chance alone. Changes over time in the occurrence of major floods were dominated by multidecadal variability rather than by long-term trends. There were more than three times as many significant relationships between major-flood occurrence and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation than significant long-term trends.
A few take-home points from these studies.
One, they explode – yet again – the myth that there is a consensus among scientists about catastrophic man-made climate change. In fact, as I reported earlier this year, there are dozens of papers produced every year by reputable, honest scientists which call into question the great man-made climate change scare.
Two, the alarmists hate it when you point this out. After my Breitbart piece Global Warming is a Myth, Say 58 Scientific Papers in 2017, an alarmist website published a supposed expert rebuttal by leading climate scientists. The problem was, of course, that all the “experts” involved were members of the alarmist cabal who pal-review one another’s papers and who ruthlessly shut out of the debate any scientists who dare to disagree with them.
Three, the alarmists know the jig is up and have done for some time. But in the interests of damage limitation they’re trying to drip out their corrections (aka admissions of error) slowly – and on their terms – rather than allow any hated skeptics (like yours truly) the chance to crow.
This is what happened after that bombshell paper released in Nature Geoscience last month by leading climate alarmists including Oxford University’s Myles Allen. Buried beneath its misleading and dull abstract was an extraordinary admission: that their computer models had wildly overestimated the effects of carbon dioxide on global warming.
Which in turn means, of course, that the entire AGW scare (which relies above all else on those computer models) is bunk and that really – “Big Mac meal with Coke, 5 chicken select, curry dip and two large teas, thanks Myles” – it’s about time these taxpayer-funded Chicken Littles did something useful with their lives for a change.
But when journalists pointed this out, the alarmists responded by attacking the journalists, supposedly for having misrepresented their paper. Yeah right. Look guys, if a dodgy company – say Enron Inc – releases its annual report with a summary that says: “Good news. Our profits are up again and our prospects are better than ever” but on closer examination of the company accounts this turns out to be drivel, it is not the job of journalists to report that rosy executive summary, however much Enron/Global Warming Inc might prefer it.
Let’s get something absolutely clear about this global warming debate. (I may have mentioned this before but it’s worth restating). Anyone at this late stage who is still on the alarmist side of the argument is either a liar, a cheat, a crook, a scamster, an incompetent, a dullard, a time-server, a charlatan or someone so monumentally stupid that they really should be banned by law from having an opinion on any subject whatsoever.
And that’s just the scientists.
The parasitic industry profiting from all that junk-science nonsense the alarmists keep pumping into the ether is even worse.
Just one brief example. The other week, the British press was chock full of stories about this incredible advance which had been made in the offshore wind turbine industry whereby costs had fallen so markedly that suddenly those sea-based bat-chomping, bird-slicing, whale-killing eco-crucifixes were more competitive than ever before. There was barely a newspaper that didn’t fall for this “good news” propaganda story.
The story had been heavily promoted by a number of vested interests: a “coalition of companies and civil society organisations” (including Dong Energy, GE, ScottishPower Renewables, Siemens Gamesa, SSE, Vattenfall, Greenpeace, Marine Conservation Society, and WWF.”
Look at that list and marvel and the range and influence and financial muscle of those co-conspirators. Mighty, global NGOs and vast industrial conglomerates with a combined income running into the many billions. Environmentalism is not some gentle, bunny-hugging Mom and Pop operation. It’s a ginormous, many tentacled, spectacularly greedy and corrupt Green Blob.
And guess what? That story – repeated unquestioningly by the MSM, crowed about by the BBC – was horse shit. Actually, it was worse than that: it was fox shit, which – as anyone who has smelt it will know – is an altogether more noisome, pungent, vile substance.
Now the Global Warming Policy Foundation has reported these liars to the Advertising Standards Authority.
And Paul Homewood has done the numbers and worked out that actually, far from being a bargain, this is yet another massive taxpayer rip off.
Never forget this next time you hear anyone bleating about Trump doing something sensible like pulling out of the Paris climate accord or scrapping the Clean Power Plan. The global warming scare is the biggest scam in the history of the world. It cannot be killed off soon enough.
SCIENTISTS – Yellowstone Volcano a Bigger Threat than Climate Change!
An eventual supervolcano at Yellowstone National Park may be a greater threat to humanity than “Climate Change” EVER was.
If it bursts, Arizona State researchers believe it could cover the entire United States in ash.
Arizona State University researchers have analyzed minerals around the supervolcano at Yellowstone National Park and have come to a startling conclusion. It could blow much faster than previously expected, potentially wiping out life as we know it.
According to National Geographic, the researchers, Hannah Shamloo and Christy Till, analyzed minerals in fossilized ash from the most recent eruption. What they discovered surprised them – the changes in temperature and composition only took a few decades, much faster than the centuries previously thought.
“We expected that there might be processes happening over thousands of years preceding the eruption,” said Till said in an interview with the New York Times.
The supervolcano last erupted about 630,000 years ago, according to National Geographic. Prior to that, it was 1.3 million years ago, per a report from ZME Science.
If another eruption were to take place, the researchers found that the supervolcano would spare almost nothing in its wrath. It would shoot 2,500 times more material than Mount St. Helen did in 1980 and could cover most of the continguous U.S. in ash, possibly putting the planet into a volcanic winter.
The new discovery, which was presented in August after a previous version of the study, comes after another study in 2011 which found the magma reservoir in Yellowstone has moved considerably, gaining about 10 inches in seven years.
“It’s an extraordinary uplift, because it covers such a large area and the rates are so high,” the University of Utah’s Bob Smith, an expert in Yellowstone volcanism, told National Geographic six years ago.
Al Gore unhinged – now even climate change believers are ‘deniers’
Bjorn Lomborg writes:
Al Gore recently had a telling altercation with a journalist. The Spectator’s Ross Clark wanted to ask him about Miami sea-level rises suggested in the new film, “An Inconvenient Sequel.” The reporter started to explain that he had consulted Florida International University sea-level-rise expert Shimon Wdowinski. Gore’s response: “Never heard of him — is he a denier?” Then he asked the journalist, “Are you a denier?”
When Clark responded that he was sure climate change is a problem but didn’t know how big, Gore declared, “You are a denier.”
I was recently on the receiving end of a similar rebuff from Chile’s environment minister. I’d written an op-ed for a Chilean newspaper that, among other things, quoted UN findings on how little the Paris climate treaty would achieve and argued that vast investment in green energy research and development is a better policy. Marcelo Mena proclaimed, “There is no room for your climate-denying rhetoric in Chile.”
Something odd — and dangerous — is happening when even people who accept the reality of man-made climate change are labeled “deniers.” The unwillingness to discuss which policies work best means we end up with worse choices.
Consider the case of Roger Pielke, Jr, a political scientist who worked extensively on climate change. He believes that climate change is real, human emissions of greenhouse gases justify action and there should be a carbon tax.
But he drew the ire of climate campaigners because his research has shown that the increasing costs from hurricane damage is not caused by storms made more intense by climate-change but by more and pricier property built in vulnerable areas. He took issue with the UN’s influential International Panel for Climate Change over a chart in its 2007 report that seemed to imply causation when there was only circumstantial evidence.
Pielke was proven right, and the IPCC’s subsequent outputs mostly accepted his arguments. Yet, he was the target of a years-long campaign, including a massive but baseless takedown that later turned out to have been coordinated by a climate-campaigning think tank funded by a green billionaire, alongside an investigation launched by a congressman.
Pielke left climate change for other fields where “no one is trying to get me fired.” And sidelining him has made it easier for climate-campaigners to use hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria to argue for carbon-cut policies, even though these will do very little to prevent future hurricane damage.
Pielke finds that we should make relatively cheap investments to reduce vulnerability, like limiting floodplain construction and increasing porous surfaces. Ignoring this means more harm.
Leaving out dissention echoes the worst of the leaked “ClimateGate” e-mails. In 2004, the head of a leading climate-research organization wrote about two inconvenient papers: “Kevin and I will keep them out [of the IPCC report] somehow — even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!”
Journalists also ensure debate “purity.” In Scientific American, climate writer and former CNN producer Peter Dykstra stated baldly that “climate denial extends beyond rejecting climate science,” comparing policy questioners to Holocaust deniers and dismissing my own decade of advocacy for a green energy R&D fund as “minimization.”
This intolerance for discussion is alarming. Believe in climate change but wonder how bad it will be? You’re a “denier,” says Gore. Believe, but argue that today’s policies aren’t the best response? You’re a denier, says Chile’s environment minister. Believe, but point out problematic findings or media reporting? There’s no room for you, say the self-appointed gatekeepers of debate.