2011-05-28 07:52:24Great Barrier Reef "skeptic" claims for Ove H-G to refute
Dana Nuccitelli

Bob Carter made a statement "the Great Barrier Reef is in fine fettle" in one of his Gish Gallops, so I asked Ove H-G if he would do a post in response to this.  He says:

"I will put together the piece.  What would really help me, is if you were to list the questions that I should answer as part of the treatment. If you can send me the sort of questions that sceptics or denialist might pose, I can write the piece around those, referencing it heavily in the peer-reviewed literature as appropriate."

Here's what I came up with:

1) What's the current state of the GBR (i.e. is it really "in fine fettle")?
2) If not such fine fettle, how do we know the decline is due to human impacts, particularly climate change?
3) How does ocean acidification impact the GBR, how significant do we expect that impact to be, and how soon?
4) Same question for sea surface temperature.
5) With regards to the previous questions, at approximately what atmospheric CO2 concentration do we expect significant GBR decline due to acidification/warming?
6) Corals survived in past climates with warmer temps and higher CO2 than now, so shouldn't GBR survive now?

Anybody know of any other "skeptic" claims/questions Ove should address in this post?

2011-05-28 09:14:08Question
John Hartz
John Hartz

Who is Ove H-G?

2011-05-28 09:16:42Is the End in Sight for The World’s Coral Reefs?”
John Hartz
John Hartz

 “Ponder these facts: The atmospheric levels of CO2 we are already committed to reach, no matter what mitigation is now implemented, have no equal over the entire longevity of the Great Barrier Reef, perhaps 25 million years. And most significantly, the rate of CO2 increase we are now experiencing has no precedent in all known geological history.

"Reefs are the ocean’s canaries and we must hear their call. This call is not just for themselves, for the other great ecosystems of the ocean stand behind reefs like a row of dominoes. If coral reefs fail, the rest will follow in rapid succession, and the Sixth Mass Extinction will be upon us — and will be of our making."

These words are the last two paragraphs of a very sobering article, “Is the End in Sight for The World’s Coral Reefs?” posted on the Yale 360 website.


The author of the article, J.E.N. Veron, is former chief scientist of the Australian Institute of Marine Science and the author of numerous books, including the three-volume Corals of the World. His research has taken him to all the major coral reef regions of the world during 66 expeditions. His latest book is “A Reef in Time: The Great Barrier Reef from Beginning to End.”

2011-05-28 10:29:40
Rob Painting

Badger, Ove Hoegh-Guldberg is one of the world's foremost experts on coral reefs. See his site: Climateshifts

And John Bruno (another expert in the field) posted a video here a while back. See here.


Dana, looks like the obvious objections are covered. maybe:

7) Won't corals be able to migrate into cooler waters to escape high sea surface temperatures? Isn't this happening in the Sea of Japan?

Off the top of my head there's a long list that might be dredged up, rebutting them all would turn the post into a novel.