Widespread Coral Bleaching Strikes Great Barrier Reef Again in 2017

During early 2017, the region over Australia’s Great Barrier Reef (GBR) experienced its hottest summer atmospheric temperatures on record. Peak water temperatures lag peak air temperatures by about a month. But already, sections of one of the world’s most vital marine sanctuaries are experiencing bleaching and disease. Worryingly, bleaching and heat stress is expanding over the reef at a faster rate than at the same time last year.

Coral Bleaching Great Barrier Reef

(The Great Barrier Reef is already experiencing extensive bleaching in 2017. With warmer waters headed toward the reef over the coming weeks, researchers fear that this year’s coral mortality event could match or exceed 2016’s severe damage and loss. Image source: Commons.)

A Precious Global Treasure Under Threat

During 2016, the GBR experienced its worst coral bleaching event on record. This severe event followed two years (2014-2015) in which the reef saw less widespread bleaching. A strong El Nino combined with the highest global temperatures ever measured to produce ocean conditions that were too hot to support living corals and many regions saw bleaching and high mortality. In the reef’s northern sections, more than 2/3 of the corals bleached and died out.

Scientists who’d long warned that global warming would put the fate of the great reef at risk, issued an alarm and a call for action. Global temperatures had now reached a threshold that threatened to put Australia’s natural wonder at risk with far greater frequency than ever before. Scientists warned that by the 2030s, ocean temperatures would be warm enough to produce a bleaching event similar to the 2016 die-off every 2-3 years. A separate study indicated that the reef could experience severe coral bleaching through at least 2040 (and well beyond if the world continued to burn fossil fuels and to warm up at such rapid rates).

frequency-of-coral-bleaching-events-projections

(Under human-forced warming the frequency of coral bleaching events and reef mortality is expected to dramatically increase over the coming decades. However, with global temperatures now 1.2 C warmer than 1880s levels, the amount of stress to corals is already remarkably high. Image source: The World Resources Institute.)

Some questioned if the reef could survive such a severe onslaught of global heat brought about by human fossil fuel emissions. Others pointing out that, unless those heat-trapping emissions were dramatically curbed, warming alone had the potential to kill off most of the reef within the next 20 years.

More Coral Bleaching as Ocean Near GBR Fails to Cool in 2017

Nearer-term concerns were also raised that risks to the reef remained high in the present abnormally warm ocean environment. For as 2017 followed 2016, the global coral bleaching event that began in 2014, and that had already claimed the lives of so many of the world’s corals, remained in force.

During the winter of 2016-2017, a weak La Nina event (NOAA) brought some hope that the GBR might get a chance to recover from this most recent spate of extreme ocean warmth. However, by February, La Nina (which was never strong enough to be officially recorded by Australia’s BoM) had faded even as indicators pointed toward a new El Nino beginning to gather. Meanwhile, global atmospheric carbon continued to increase — hitting 490 CO2e by late 2016.

coral-bleaching-affects-gbr

(NOAA predicts another bad year for the world’s corals as a new El Nino threatens to emerge and as global temperatures remain near record highs set in 2016. Image source: NOAA.)

Ocean temperatures in the 30 C + range that typically produce bleaching began to spread over parts of the reef. These conditions were warmer than during the same period of 2016 — raising the awful potential that impacts to the reef during 2017 could be as bad or even worse than last year’s record event.

Worse than 2016 So Far

As of this week, new reports of bleaching were starting to emerge in six GBR reefs in the region of Mission Beach. According to Queensland’s Environment Minister Steve Miles:

“Queensland has just experienced its hottest summer on record and above average temperatures are predicted until the end of March. Some corals were still under stress from last year’s bleaching event and that was exacerbated by a warmer than average winter. The next four weeks will be critical and we can only hope that water temperatures will be cooler than the forecast.’’

The six reefs in question, stretching from Cairns to Townsville, already showed 60 percent bleaching — primarily among the more heat-sensitive corals. And the extent of bleaching was more advanced than during the same time in 2016. Over the coming weeks, the pulse of warm water is expected to spread, putting still more corals at risk as the unprecedented ocean heat moves southward through the marine sanctuary.

So it appears that the GBR is in for another rough summer — one with the potential to see impacts similar to or exceeding those of 2016. Moreover, with global oceans continuing to warm, with world governments still dragging heels on carbon emissions reductions, and with Trump and others vowing to reinvigorate coal, the plight of the GBR is now quite dire.

(UPDATED)

Links:

Great Barrier Reef Faces New Coral Bleaching Threat

Ecologists Steel For More Coral Bleaching on Great Barrier Reef

Large Scale Projections of Coral Reef Futures

Reef Authority Reveals More Coral Bleaching

Global Coral Bleaching Event

The World Resources Institute

BBC

Hat tip to Keith

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66 Comments

  1. Spike

     /  March 2, 2017

    And yet the extremists in the Australian government want their Clean Energy Finance Corporation to invest in new coal stations, even when no private investors with half a brain would touch it. What folly is this? I suspect this will not be the last wondrous ecosystem on Earth to be casually consigned to extinction.

    Reply
    • They’ve definitely got blinders firmly attached. Single-focus corporate special interest politics as we’ve seen so many times recently (Trump campaigning to privatize public education today — which is related to this same corporatization and wasting of things that benefit the public trend). The coal market is evaporating now due to the superior economics of renewables and natural gas. These kinds of actions will delay some failures in the coal market. But with China backing out of coal mining, coal based power, and related steel production, coal appears to be suffering about every sling and arrow a market can serve up. Worth noting that China is spending 15 billion to retrain coal workers. Something that we’ve recommended many times for the U.S. Unfortunately republicans appear to care not a whit about actually helping people and far more about using the tragic crisis among coal workers as a political asset. Preying on those who’ve fallen into economic crisis for political gain rather than actually working in a rational way to solve the problem. China has other problems. But at least it is doing the right thing by helping its workers to get out of a failing industry.

      Reply
    • mulga mumblebrain

       /  March 4, 2017

      Spike, the hard, hard, hard Right Abbott regime in Australia, currently fronted by multi-millionaire former Goldman Sachs bankster, Malcolm Trumble, were Trumpistas long before Trump. We’ve been careering Right ever since Howard became PM in 1996-he was, and as far as I can see remains, a die-hard denialist, seeing climate science as a ‘Communist conspiracy’.
      The usual suspects are to blame. Murdoch, whose fake-stream media apparatus remains ferociously denialist (they even denied last year’s GBR bleaching), viciously anti-Green and anti-environmentalist, and, latterly, frenetically against renewable energy. The rest of the fake-stream media are classic soft denialists, either ignoring the disasters (as with this year’s GBR bleaching so far)or down-playing their significance and extremity. And talk-back radio is simply a sewer of Rightwing insanity. The Liberals and National Party are captured by fossil fuel money, as are the Rightwing think-tank propaganda cess-pools, and the Labor Party seems frozen in fear to speak the truth, lest Murdoch launch a trade-mark vendetta (he will in any case) or the business lobby fund a giant propaganda campaign.
      As a result, climate destabilisation is more or less ignored by the serfs. In this year’s vigorous attack on renewables and the pushing of ‘clean coal’, the campaign has blatantly, but typically, been clearly co-ordinated between the Murdoch machine and the Federal regime. The rest of the fake-stream media is either on board, or treats the entire question of renewable energy as ONLY a matter of price and reliability. Climate destabilisation, the reason for renewables after all, is NEVER mentioned, save by the occasional renegade independent journalist who somehow gets on air, or by a Green politician.
      This, of course, is where the fake-stream media’s habitual Groupthink becomes really sinister. Just how do all ‘journalists’, Murdochite, other fake-stream and Government ABC and SBS, ALL decide NEVER to mention climate destabilisation, even during record heat-waves where New South Wales, 50% bigger than Texas, suffered an average of 44 degrees Celsius (111 F) over its entire territory? Obedience to power doesn’t come stronger than sacrificing your own children on the altar of ‘Business As Usual.

      Reply
  2. Shawn Redmond

     /  March 2, 2017

    I’ve attempted to copy the graph showing the mean temperature of the top 100 meters of the global ocean. It shows a rise of about .5c between 1955 and 2016 globally. That is a lot of heat when you think how much more energy is required to warm the water than the air. The ice in our glass (the poles) is shrinking drastically to boot. With continued forcing guaranteed for the next decade at least the long term out look for the reefs is dire to say the least. Anyway here’s the NOAA link where I found the graph if the image doesn’t work:
    https://www.nodc.noaa.gov/OC5/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/index3.html
    the graph?:

    Reply
    • Shawn Redmond

       /  March 2, 2017

      Hey it worked! Some days are diamonds some are coal.

      Reply
      • Shawn Redmond

         /  March 2, 2017

        That should read “with continued adding to the forcing”. The forcing that is already there and won’t be reducing in any time frame meaningful on the human scale is in all likelihood enough to take out the corals anyhow. Haha it worked it’s the little things that get ya.

        Reply
    • Excellent illustration that shows how much of a step up we’ve taken when compared to the 1998 El Nino. The world ocean state is now one where bleaching stress is prevalent — not just something that happens every 5-10 years on a global basis. Among sensitive species (and these are the most populous), the bleaching stress is basically globally permanent.

      This is the first blow to corals. The second blow — acidification — is coming. That’s the kind of follow on that will result not just in mass die offs, but a mass extinction among corals. They get hit hard enough by bleaching heat to wipe out about 70-90 percent globally, then comes the acidification to take down the more heat resistant species and sub-groups. BAU burning track does this by 2040 to 2050. If we manage to halt the carbon forcing (adding CO2 to create carbonic acid) on the world ocean by the 2040s and 2050s we might be able to significantly blunt the acidification wave that’s coming. But we will really have to work to rapidly reduce carbon emissions to do it.

      Reply
  3. wharf rat

     /  March 2, 2017

    OT
    California Department of Water Resources
    1 hr ·
    Progress continues on #OrovilleSpillway. 110k cubic yards of debris, of an estimated 1.7 million, has been removed from the diversion pool. Reoperation of Hyatt Power Plant possible Friday 3/3. Once operational, the plant can discharge up to 14k cfs. Current lake level is 846 feet elevation. Read more here: http://www.water.ca.gov/news/newsreleases/2017/030217_dwr_news_release.pdf
    For photos and video regarding the Oroville spillway
    incident: Photos: http://www.water.ca.gov/pixel Video: http://www.youtube.com/user/calwa
    ter

    Reply
  4. Ryan in New England

     /  March 3, 2017

    This is devastating. I don’t see how we have much coral left by the 2030s. The worst part is that nobody even notices, other than Scribblers and those like us.

    Reply
  5. climatehawk1

     /  March 3, 2017

    Tweet scheduled.

    Reply
  6. Report of major methane source I was not familiar with.
    First direct measurements of Pacific seabed sediments reveal strong methane source.
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170224111725.htm

    …The largest pool of marine methane on Earth spans from the coast of Central America to Hawaii in the Tropical Pacific Ocean.

    Writing in the journal for the International Society for Microbial Ecology, the team describe for the first time how microbial methane production in parts of the seafloor, where the water is very low in oxygen, feeds a vast methane pool which extends from Panama, up to Mexico and as far out as the Hawaiian archipelago.

    Joint lead author Felicity Shelley, from QMUL’s School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, said: “The research is novel because it’s the first time anyone has successfully retrieved sediment from this part of the ocean and directly measured methane production using specialised equipment on board the research ship.”

    Reply
    • A map of the pool can be found at http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/source-enormous-pacific-methane-pool-found-1608419

      The methane in the low oxygen zones does not reach the surface, but as the dead zones expand the potential for that does.

      Reply
    • Fascinating. I haven’t delved too deep into the piece yet, but I wonder if anyone has any idea how long this feature has existed as it is today.

      Reply
      • According to he original paper – http://www.nature.com/ismej/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/ismej20176a.html
        OMZs (oxygen minimum zones) have reservoirs or pools of methane. Their explanation for choosing the site –

        “We focused on locating the origin of methane in the Eastern Tropical North Pacific (ETNP), between 70 and 720 km off the Guatemalan coast. The ETNP OMZ is both the world’s largest OMZ (Paulmier and Ruiz-Pino, 2009) and the largest reservoir of oceanic methane (Sansone et al., 2001, 2004; Reeburgh, 2007; Naqvi et al., 2010). Here, the methane is thought to be formed by a combination of decomposing sinking organic matter and coastal or benthic sources but neither have been directly measured (Sansone et al., 2001, 2004). Porewater and bottom-water methane concentrations along with stable isotope ratio data suggested the sediments were the source of the pelagic methane and the flux was greatest where the anoxic core of the OMZ touched the sediment (western Mexican margin, Sansone et al. (2004)). Although these studies offer useful insights, there are no direct measurements of sediment methanogenesis or methane efflux in a marine OMZ.

        Pelagic methane oxidation in marine environments is a rarely quantified process but on the margins of an OMZ, where methane intersects traces of oxygen, it could be a significant process. Published rates span ~0.001–10 nmol l−1day−1 and all studies used either 3H-CH4 or LL-14C as a tracer (Mau et al., 2013). The only study to have successfully measured methane oxidation in the ETNP OMZ (Pack et al., 2015) found exceptionally slow rates (0.000034–4 nmol l−1day−1), which could explain how the methane, if of benthic origin, can be sustained hundreds of kilometres offshore.”

        The paper brought to mind another one about possible deep water formation (which in climate models sometimes occurs spuriously) in the North Pacific at the end of the last ice age – https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100708141543.htm
        That is far from the area of the Shelley paper, which was tropical, but a possibility is raised of more southern Pacific water (carrying methane) being entrained into the North Pacific deep water formation site. A little tenuous maybe, but interesting nonetheless.

        “”Around 17,000 years ago, the North Pacific surface waters grew saltier, and the resulting higher density there caused massive sinking. Newly formed icy deep water spilled out of the subarctic North Pacific at depths of 2000-3000 meters merging into a southward flowing deep western boundary current. A warm, strong poleward current, moreover, formed at the surface. It released much heat into the atmosphere and supplied water for the Pacific deep overturning circulation,” explains Yusuke Okazaki of the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology and lead author on the paper.

        The deep overturning circulation in the Pacific may have also stirred up old carbon-rich deep waters, contributing to the increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration during the last glacial termination. “This could have catalyzed further warming and accelerated the glacial meltdown,” says Laurie Menviel, also at the International Pacific Research Center and a co-author on this study.”

        Reply
  7. Off topic, but… amazing what we are doing to our only planet:

    Confused bees use green plastic instead of leaves to line nests

    Don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

    Reply
    • Ryan in New England

       /  March 3, 2017

      Things like this just break my heart. It’s terrifying to think what the Earth will look like in another couple hundred years. Will plastics and a few “lucky” species be all that’s left?

      Reply
    • That can’t be healthy for the bees or anything that eats the honey.

      Reply
  8. redskylite

     /  March 3, 2017

    I can’t imagine what it feels like to older experienced oceanologists who grew up with pristine, thriving ecosystems only to see warm acidic oceans playing havoc. Even more worrisome is what is happening to the once pristine Arctic waters, where the result of years and years of dumping CO2 from fossil burning into the ocean, is causing alarm.

    Climate change is causing rapid, deeper and more extensive acidification in the Arctic Ocean.

    A new study reported in Nature Climate Change this week says ocean acidification is spreading rapidly in the western Arctic Ocean in both area and depth. That means a much wider, deeper area than before is becoming so acidic that many marine organisms of key importance to the food chain will no longer be able to survive there.

    The study by an international team including scientists from the USA, China and Sweden, is based on data collected between the 1990s and 2010. Presumably, things have got worse rather than better since then. Unfortunately, it takes a long time for scientific research to be evaluated, reviewed and published, so current developments can easily overtake assessments which are already alarming enough in themselves. So yes, I would say this should make us sit up and listen, and lend even more urgency to the need for reducing emissions and combating climate change.

    http://blogs.dw.com/ice/?p=17761

    Reply
    • Ryan in New England

       /  March 3, 2017

      It’s absolutely insane that we are destroying the world’s oceans with little thought or worry about the consequences. When the oceans die they will likely take humanity down with them. We have depended on the oceans for as long as we’ve been human, but most people seem to think all the oceans do is provide beaches for vacations.

      Reply
    • So the acidification over the next few decades will come from a few major sources:

      1. Continued fossil fuel burning is the primary driver — dumping more and more carbon into the atmosphere and oceans.
      2. Permafrost thaw, primarily in the Northern Hemisphere, will dump a lot of high carbon soil into rivers and oceans — adding to the acidification stress.
      3. As the Arctic and Antarctic ocean regions warm, microbial activity will increase. These creatures will draw more carbon out of the atmosphere on balance and then transfer it to the oceans as they perish (related to 1, but it serves as an amplifying feedback to ocean acidification).

      It’s worth noting that the bleaching heat stress expands poleward from the equator, while the acidification stress expands toward the equator from the poles. Corals will be hit from both eventually. Those closer to the poles and polar originating water currents taking the acidification hit first. Those closer to warm water bodies and near the equator taking the heat stress and bleaching hit first.

      Reply
  9. Keith Antonysen

     /  March 3, 2017

    Terrible news about the Great Barrier Reef, though not unexpected.

    Robert, a minor correction, Josh Frydenberg is the Australian Minister for the Environment and Energy, Steve Miles is the Queensland Minister for the Environment. Though Frydenberg is Minister for the Environment in name only, his emphasis is on Energy; created by coal. It comes under the title of “Energy Security”, the Coation government are pushing for “clean coal” to be used.

    Reply
    • Thanks for this, Keith. Updating.

      Reply
    • mulga mumblebrain

       /  March 4, 2017

      ‘Clean coal’ being a term invented by the coal industry in the USA, that means ‘ultra, super, hyper or hyped up, critical’ coal-fired electricity, a massive 20% or so less polluting in CO2 than the regular stations. Or if that lie ain’t enough for you, try Carbon Capture and Storage, like nuclear fusion always just ten or twenty years away.
      But when they want to go all ‘politically correct’, they push ‘clean gas’, fracked here from coal-seams. The few amateur studies of fugitive gases from this process show it to be more green-house polluting than coal. Meanwhile solar, wind and anything else non-fossil is attacked with relentless viciousness by the Right and 90% or so of the entire ‘fake-stream media’. And at the very same time, utterly ignored, the GBR bleaches again. Lemmings are amateurs compared to the lotus-eaters of this place.

      Reply
  10. Cate

     /  March 3, 2017

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/proposed-epa-changes-trump-pruitt-1.4007910

    CBC reporting: Steep cuts to EPA, end of reporting of methane emissions proposed in D.C.

    “The Environmental Protection Agency said Thursday it is withdrawing an Obama-era request that oil and natural gas companies provide information on methane emissions at oil and gas operations. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said the withdrawal is effective immediately, adding that he wants to assess the need for the information the agency has been collecting under a directive issued in November.Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and eight other states had questioned the reporting request as overly burdensome…..
    “This appalling decision shows how quickly Pruitt is turning the EPA into an oil industry vending machine,” said Vera Pardee of the Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental group……
    Meanwhile, a source with knowledge of the proposal told Reuters the White House is proposing to slash a quarter of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s budget.”

    Reply
    • Keith Antonysen

       /  March 3, 2017

      Cate
      Trump, Pruitt et al are quite frightening. With climate change causing increasing havoc huge numbers of people will lose their lives through war, famine, inadequate water resources, high temperature, or failing agriculture. Trump, Pruitt et al will have blood on their hands.

      Pushing old fossil fuel industries will lead to stranded assets.

      Reply
      • Cate

         /  March 3, 2017

        Keith, agreed, but perhaps stranded assets will be the least of their worries for most folks if the Four Horsemen show up. I try to find good news in the fact that no matter what Trump does, Europe, Africa, India, and even China will be forging ahead on the climate change battlefront, moving to renewables and new economies based on sustainability, leaving North America (the US and its little protectorate of Canada) behind in the suffocating dust of our addiction to fossil fuels and filthy-energy economies.

        Reply
        • Cate

           /  March 3, 2017

          I may well be pulling the wool over my own eyes in thinking this, of course.

        • Ryan in New England

           /  March 3, 2017

          If the Trump administration survives for four years we will emerge from the other side in an upside down world. China will be the leader in clean energy while the US is choking in smog and drowning in pollution, with the government being nothing more than a corrupt cabal of plutocrats (we’re pretty much there already).

        • Cate

           /  March 3, 2017

          https://newrepublic.com/article/141000/can-world-beat-climate-change-without-us

          Here’s Abby Rabinowitz in The New Republic mulling over this very topic: Can the world reduce emissions without–or despite–the US?

          “The global economy is “set” toward de-carbonization with or without the Trump administration. That’s what Christiana Figueres, the Costa Rican diplomat who led the Paris Climate Agreement, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour earlier this month. “It’s not set by ideology. It is set by economics, and it is set by the advance of technology,” Figueres said. She pointed out that, in the U.S., one out of every 50 jobs is in solar energy, and argued that if the United States doesn’t meet demands for cheap renewable energy, China and India will.

          “Perhaps the more useful question to ask is not whether other countries will cut greenhouse gas emissions without the United States, but how far they will leave us behind when they do so….”

    • This is exactly the kind of policy changes we expected from the Trump admin and it’s why we’ll be lucky to run to stand still on emissions policy over the next 4-8 years. Failure to talk rationally about policy combined with singular focus by republicans to support industry special interests has led us to this pass. We will all (not just people in the US) be hurt by this terrible policy stance. That said, the economic factors are more encouraging.

      Reply
    • mulga mumblebrain

       /  March 4, 2017

      Slashing a quarter will just be the first installment. Watch the Democrats roll over, too. What was it-seventeen?-who voted for Pruitt in the Senate?

      Reply
  11. Cate

     /  March 3, 2017

    http://blogs.dw.com/ice/?p=17761

    “A new study reported in Nature Climate Change this week says ocean acidification is spreading rapidly in the western Arctic Ocean in both area and depth. That means a much wider, deeper area than before is becoming so acidic that many marine organisms of key importance to the food chain will no longer be able to survive there….The latest published research shows that acidification is not only affecting much wider areas of the Arctic Ocean, but also that it is happening down to a much greater depth than before.

    “The rapid spread of ocean acidification in the western Arctic has implications for marine life, particularly clams, mussels and tiny sea snails that may have difficulty building or maintaining their shells in increasingly acidified waters”, said Richard Feely, senior scientist with NOAA and a co-author.

    “Among the Arctic species potentially at risk from ocean acidification are subsistence fisheries of shrimp and varieties of salmon and crab.”

    Incidental note: according to DFO Canada, shrimp and snow crab stocks on the Atlantic coast of Canada have shown steep declines in the past few years. DFO scientists attribute the crab decline in particular to warming waters.

    Reply
  12. Keith Antonysen

     /  March 3, 2017

    An area of 52,000 square miles where permafrost is thawing in North West Canada.
    Quote:
    “Huge slabs of Arctic permafrost in northwest Canada are slumping and disintegrating, sending large amounts of carbon-rich mud and silt into streams and rivers. A new study that analyzed nearly a half-million square miles in northwest Canada found that this permafrost decay is affecting 52,000 square miles of that vast stretch of earth—an expanse the size of Alabama.”

    from:

    http://insideclimatenews.org/news/27022017/global-warming-permafrost-study-melt-canada-siberia

    Reply
  13. Hatrack

     /  March 3, 2017

    Robert, thank you for the update! Cross-posting to Democratic Underground.

    Reply
  14. Looks as if the US is not the only country going backwards. From The Guardian:
    Maldives plan to embrace mass tourism sparks criticism and outrage.

    When Mohamed Nasheed, the young, first democratically elected president of the Maldives, said in 2008 that he was seeking to buy a new homeland to save his people from being inundated by rising sea levels, it made the country of 1,200 coral islands the moral leader in the UN climate talks and helped persuade rich countries to act.

    This week the Maldives, under new president Abdulla Yameen, apparently changed environmental tack, saying that mass tourism and mega-developments rather than solar power and carbon neutrality would enable it to adapt itself to climate change and give its young population hope for the future.

    I wonder how long their coral reefs and tourism will last in the brave new world.

    Reply
    • Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow there will be no more land. I think that’s an apt proverb for this kind of political stance. I suppose they could start building floating islands and desalination plants. And maybe that’s how some of these countries adapt. Would be tough to engineer to effectively deal with storms, though.

      The natural habitats and vital corals are taking hits now. The natural water sources and dry land are already in trouble. These have 1 to possibly 3 or 4 decade lifetimes on the outside for most locales in the Maldives if things don’t get too nasty.

      Reply
    • mulga mumblebrain

       /  March 4, 2017

      One creature in no danger of going extinct an time soon is the evil human imbecile, Homo destructans destructans.

      Reply
  15. June

     /  March 3, 2017

    The depths of the ocean will experience the impacts of warming and acidification as well.

    Warming seas, the increasing acidification of the oceans and the loss of oxygen from seawater could destroy ecosystems in the ocean’s dark abyss, and drastically change the biodiversity of the deep sea, according to new research.

    …“These habitats currently rely on less carbon per metre-squared each year than is present in a single sugar cube. Large areas of the abyss will have this tiny amount of food halved, and for a habitat that covers half the Earth, the impacts of this will be enormous.”

    http://climatenewsnetwork.net/deep-ocean-danger-temperatures/

    Reply
  16. Cate

     /  March 3, 2017

    Reading the comment threads on the last couple of posts, I think it’s safe to say we’re all probably feeling fragile, if not seriously wounded.

    Every day, it seems the news can’t possibly get any worse—-and then it does. It feels like a relentless assault and we are all aching and exhausted, just from the sheer outrageousness of what is happening. All the more reason for us to preserve this place as an oasis of sanity, safety, camaraderie, and generosity. As RS says, the worse it gets out there, the more important it is to maintain this scribblers’ bolt-hole, where we can join RS in telling the stories of what is, what should be, and what could be. Scribble on!

    Cue the music, CB. 🙂

    Reply
    • June

       /  March 3, 2017

      Absolutely, Cate. I alternate between anger, depression, despair, more anger, and then determination. This is where I come to help fend off the despair and get back to the determination. Thank you to everyone.

      Reply
  17. Cate

     /  March 3, 2017

    In other news: how about a CO2 forecast?

    The UK Met Office is predicting 2017 levels specifically for Mauna Loa: “levels of this gas in the atmosphere will rise by 2.5 parts per million to average 408 ppm in 2017.And the monthly average could exceed 410 ppm for the first time during this year’s peak in May (CO2 levels rise and fall each year with seasonal changes in plant growth). The precise forecast is 409.86 plus or minus 0.61 ppm.”

    https://www.newscientist.com/article/2123273-first-yearly-co2-forecast-predicts-one-of-biggest-rises-ever/

    “The prediction of a 2.5 ppm rise this year is the first ever official CO2 forecast by the UK’s Met Office….The predicted increase of 2.5 ppm in 2017 is well below the record 3.4 ppm rise last year, but still significantly more than the annual average of 2.1 ppm over the past decade. There have been only half a dozen years with annual increases of 2.5 ppm or more, the first being 1998.”

    Reply
  18. Raul M

     /  March 3, 2017

    Strange news concerning stranded assets- do suddenly removed people from the US strand assets. And if IRS fraud is reason to prove revocation of citizenship, is that another reason why t rump doesn’t want his IRS filings released?
    Sorry causation of improper actions that lead to climate change- off topic?

    Reply
  19. Shawn Redmond

     /  March 3, 2017

    As the old saying goes something about chickens coming home to roost!

    Chevron is first oil major to warn investors of risks from climate change lawsuits
    Big Oil’s lies about the existential risk posed by its product are now catching up with the industry and threatening profits.

    https://thinkprogress.org/chevron-admits-climate-lawsuits-threaten-profits-33937dd562fd#.5x27drqgv

    Reply
    • mulga mumblebrain

       /  March 4, 2017

      Them’s not chickens Shawn-them’s vultures.

      Reply
  20. June

     /  March 3, 2017

    “Concurrent heat waves, air pollution exacerbate negative health effects of each”

    “It’s important to study the combined effects of pollution and prolonged heat events because we expect these conditions to become more prevalent in a warming climate,” Prather said. “Our evidence suggests that pollution and heat waves are synergistic stressors that produce disproportionately greater adverse health impacts. Policymakers should be taking these issues into consideration going forward.”

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170301162137.htm

    Reply
  21. Sheri

     /  March 3, 2017

    The words “insane” “cognitive dissonance” and , my word “madness” appear here and from friends of mine about climate change but mostly about the members of the US government. I think perhaps living things, animals and human, may all go mentally ill from the stresses of trying to keep too many different “realities” in our minds and dealing with what we see and feel everyday. I swear I feel like this more and more daily…

    Reply
    • mulga mumblebrain

       /  March 4, 2017

      High levels of CO2 affect cognition. They are higher in cities and much higher in buildings, particularly hermetically sealed ones. It’s quite likely that the ruling class are yet further deranged by this effect.

      Reply
  22. generativity

     /  March 4, 2017

    As the evidence heats up, the irresponsible cover up. Contrary to meme, the cover up is worse than the crime. Foregiving stretches then snaps.

    Reply
  1. Friday, March 3, 2017 Climate Change Open Discussion: Permafrost Decay, Ocean Acidification, Renewable Energy Advances, Trump Turning EPA into Fossil Fuel Vending Machine | robertscribbler
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