File coral cowl on the Nice Barrier Reef places local weather alarmists to disgrace, media – with that?



The annual data on coral cover of the Great Barrier Reef, compiled by the Australian Institute of Marine Science, were released on Monday and show that the amount of coral on the reef is at record levels.

A record high, despite all the downfall stories of our reef research and management institutions.

Like all other data on the reef, this shows that it is in a robust state. For example, coral growth rates have tended to increase over the past 100 years, and measurements of agricultural pesticides reaching the reef show levels so low that they cannot be detected by the most sensitive of equipment.

These dates are good news. It couldn’t be better. But somehow our science organizations convinced the world that the reef was on its last legs. How did this happen?

This series of data, which began in 1985, comes from the annual long-term monitoring of the reef by the Australian Institute of Marine Science. Source: Peter Ridd

One reason is that colossal amounts of coral are occasionally killed, mostly by cyclones, but also by crown-of-thorns and bleaching.

Thus, with their penchant for bad news, the media can be fed a regular doom diet. Our scientists are always ready to help.

Quiet recovery is generally downplayed or ignored.

Growing up in Innisfail, next to the reef, in the early 1970s, I remember the first doom and gloom stories about the reef.

Scientific exploration of the reef had only just begun, and starfish plagues were just being discovered, eating the corals and making headlines around the world. The reef reportedly only had a decade left.

It was reasonable to worry about these plagues in the 1970s, and they eventually sparked AIMS ‘long-term monitoring of corals and starfish in the 1980s.

I was working at AIMS when this important work began and it is interesting to look back on the changes.

The coral cover is no less, the number of starfish is no more, but the number of scientists and managers working on the reef has exploded. Maybe this is the problem.

In 50 years we have learned a lot about the cycles of coral death and regrowth. The data reported by AIMS each year shows that all areas go through these cycles every one or two decades.

Notably, even with the excellent news about record-breaking corals, scientists are still pessimistic. The reef is apparently still doomed to climate change and this is only a temporary reprieve. How good does the data have to be for them to admit the reef is okay?

The scientific institutions claim that there have been three catastrophic bleaching incidents in the past five years, which is not according to the latest statistics.

Record coral cover means there has been no disaster on the reef. The only disaster is quality assurance in the scientific organizations.

Examination of the data shows that although there were three events, they occurred in very different regions each year. So the reef has effectively seen a major bleaching event in the past five years, and the last major event was in 2002.

So the reef has had about one event in 15 years, and most of the corals on the reef have not been bleached and most of the corals that have been bleached have not died. It is therefore not surprising that the reef is in good shape.

The scientific institutions have been caught by their own delusion. They exaggerated the bleaching events – as usual.

Luckily we have the AIMS long term coral monitoring surveys that are professionally done with high quality protocols to demonstrate the condition of the reef.

The bad news is that the record high coral cover likely means that coral cover will decline over the next few years.

Prepare for the headlines saying the reef has lost much of its coral and is an indication of climate change and pollution of the reef by farmers. And the reef is expected to be gone by 2050 – or whenever.

When will these 50 year old doom stories about the reef end? Will it be like the ancient Greek legend of Prometheus chained alive to a rock so his liver could be eaten by an eagle, just so the liver would grow overnight so it could be eaten over and over again? Will the agony ever end?

Read the full article here.

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