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Divers say less than 5% of Great Barrier Reef is dead, not half

March 20, 2017

By Paul Homewood




From Blasting News:


A team of divers is pushing back on a so-called second mass bleaching event occurring on the #Great Barrier Reef, which media reports said affected 50 to 60 percent of Cape York region. Scientists from the government-funded ARC center also found a 35 percent mortality rate, with an ultimate death toll topping 90 percent. That’s prompted local dive operators, who physically visit the reef each day, to survey the hardest hit parts. They only found between one and five percent damage.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, which oversees the 1,250-mile-long structure, also added on their website there were still a great many reefs with abundant living coral for tourists to view, but it was imperative the world acts and carries out the “Paris Climate Agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

The local divers, however, used their own money and spent two weeks surveying 28 sites on 24 outer reef shelves ARC said were decimated. They found the reefs looked identical to how they did twenty years ago. Despite alarmist headlines of a mass bleaching event, they found no changes in two decades. They said the discrepancy between what they found (five percent damage) and what was being reported was “phenomenal.”

Other reef threats include the crown-of-thorns starfish. This starfish feeds on coral polyps, which are needed for new coral colonies to grow. The starfish population has exploded since the early ’60’s when its chief predator, the Pacific triton, was devastated by shell hunters. Since then, the starfish has wiped out many of the central reefs. The corals survive through a symbiotic relationship with zooxanthellae, which gives them their vibrant colors.

Marine Park Authority Director of Reef Recovery Dr. David Wachenfeld said local weather conditions will also define the final outcome of the dying or bleached coral or lack thereof. More importantly, Wachenfeld said, not all bleached coral will die. He said last year’s bleaching and mortality were highly variable across the 133,000-square-mile Marine Park, which is bigger than Italy.

Reports of death widely exaggerated

Last summer roughly 22 percent of coral became bleached despite claims of widespread destruction. Because coral species have different tolerances to ocean temperatures, some can survive in above-average seawater temperatures. While some scientists are quick to blame #Climate Change on any #Bleaching Event, it didn’t occur across the entire reef but largely in one area.

Last June, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s Chairman Russell Reichelt said there was a lot of widespread misinterpretation on how much of the reef was dead, with others saying 90 percent was gone. But only 22 percent of the reef was negatively affected by the 2015 El Nino and green groups intentionally mislead the “extent and impact of coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef.”

Accidental discovery

Exploration of the reef began when British explorer Captain James Cook accidentally ran his vessel into the reef. Charting the reef’s many mazes, channels and passages continued into the 19th century. Dating of the reef shows it was growing on Australia’s continental shelf around the Miocene Epoch (23.7 to 5.3 million years ago). Tectonics pushed the continent northward into more tropical waters, allowing coral to form.

The Great Barrier Reef survived multiple ice ages, which lowered sea levels, another cause of coral death. It also survived multiple warm periods (ex: Medieval and Roman) when the Earth experienced above-average temperatures of three to five degrees. And fossils showed widespread bleaching events occurred well before CO2 levels reached today’s levels.

  1. Joe Public permalink
    March 20, 2017 10:21 pm

    One would have expected both parties to post numerous GPS-logged images to support their case.

  2. bjc70 permalink
    March 20, 2017 11:35 pm

    A real pity there is no link/source to “The Local divers”

    • toorightmate permalink
      March 21, 2017 4:41 am

      There is no link to the several I have spoken with in Mackay, Bowen, Cairns and Port Douglas.
      They have always said the Reef conditions are variable – like any other “crop”. You have good seasons and bad seasons.
      They are unanimous that there is no noticeable difference for the past 20 to 40 years (depending on the age of the diver).
      But how would they know? They only go out daily during the tourist season.
      Not like the boy and girl “researchers**” from JCU and ANU who go out once a year.

      ** researchers – what a bloody joke.

    • Tom Richard permalink
      March 23, 2017 6:55 pm

      Sadly, the site doesn’t allow me to link to third-party sites. It’s a trend happening on more sites, but the information and pictures to back it up are behind a paywall at the Cairns Post. I got around it by using google search.

  3. Athelstan permalink
    March 21, 2017 12:41 am

    How do these armchair marine biologists correlate and link CO2 with mass bleaching?


    it’s like blaming the Fukushima tsunami disaster, on the reactor’s exterior paint job.

  4. John F. Hultquist permalink
    March 21, 2017 2:09 am

    A simple person’s take on coral demise is confusing. For years (15+) there have been reports of “massive” bleaching or dying, such that, it seems the sum of the percentages must exceed several hundred.
    Simple addition indicates this can’t be true.
    [No, I do not have numbers. This is just a simple “it seems” notion.]

    Maybe coral regrows faster than anyone knows.
    Anyway, back to my mantra: “They just make stuff up.”
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    From————: Australian Institute of Marine Science
    The summer of 1997–1998 was one of the hottest recorded on the Reef in the 20th century. Mild bleaching began in late January 1998 and intensified by February/March. Extensive aerial surveys of 654 reefs conducted by scientists from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) showed that 74 per cent of inshore and 21 per cent of offshore reefs had moderate to high levels of bleaching.

    Most reefs recovered fully, with less than five per cent of inshore reefs suffering high coral mortality. The most severely affected reefs were in the Palm Island area, where up to 70 per cent of corals died.

    Capture this page before it disappears!

    I do wonder what the headlines in the MSM said that year.

    • Graeme No.3 permalink
      March 21, 2017 8:03 am

      John F. Hultquist:
      When I was on a schoolboy trip to the Great Barrier Reef we went to a sub-reef not listed on the brochure. When I sought why, I was told “Oh, the colour there has faded, it does that sometimes. It will be OK in 1 or 2 years”. Certainly that fading wasn’t evident at the alternate site.
      I would suggest that the bleaching recently has been subject to AGW i.e.
      CO2 causes warming (a belief yet to be proven)
      CO2 is rising, therefore temperatures must be rising (hence causing bleaching)
      Applications for Research Grants are due and I must investigate this disaster.

      The Reef has been in Danger since roughly 1981 (when it was agricultural runoffs blamed).
      It was then going to be wiped out by harbour dredging.
      Now it is going to be wiped out by “warming”.
      I would quote from joannenova

      Chris in Hervey Bay
      March 17, 2017 at 12:44 pm · Reply
      I live right on the southern section of the Great Barrier Reef, and I can assure you that it is not ‘dead’. In fact, over the last 3 years, the southern section has shown a 300% increase of coral. Only some sections in the north, north of Cairns, have shown some bleaching. Greenpeace were discovered showing pictures of coral bleaching which were in fact taken in American Samoa. All these scare tactics have done, is to reduce the number of overseas tourists coming to visit our wonderful reef. Numbers were 60% down last year and effects the economy of the small coastal towns.

      For many years, I had my own business, working in the tourist industry in a small town, and eventually had to close because of the dwindling numbers of tourists. Cancellations from overseas because people were convinced there was nothing left to see !

      • March 21, 2017 12:00 pm

        In 1968, I was in the wedding of an Australian friend in Adelaide. While I went directly to Adelaide to play maid-of-honor, my parents flew to Brisbane and then went out from Mackay to the Great Barrier Reef. I still have my late father’s wonder collection of slides from that adventure with plenty of color everywhere as they walked around on the reef.

        Then they flew to Alice Springs–the wildflowers were in full bloom due to greater than usual rainfall. They climbed Ayers Rock and then took the train to Adelaide, changing gauge a couple of times. I shivered in the cold of Adelaide in August.

  5. March 21, 2017 7:14 am

    According to Cardinal Harrabin on this morning’s news, quoting from the latest WMO report, the coral just can’t take the heat due to all that extra CO2. I think the WMO and all the alarmists are getting very desperate with their propaganda.

    • bea permalink
      March 21, 2017 7:42 am

      It is just flat-out, constant, lying now. It is always about somewhere or something which 99.9% of people will never see – and so they can be tricked into hysteria about it.

    • Athelstan permalink
      March 21, 2017 12:35 pm

      “I think the WMO and all the alarmists are getting very desperate with their propaganda.”

      There’s a bloke whose commenced to drain the swamp and the swamp hounds are getting very, very nervous……………Ay up, the.thing is though as in the fable where, the little shepherd boy found to his ultimate cost – you can only do so much crying ‘wolf!’
      As did, the people during the EU referendum campaign – the public cocked a deaf un to all of call me dave’s threats and exhortations “world war III – on it’s way if……………you vote LEAVE!!!!”

      And so too with, cardinale cowpoo for brains harrabin and all of these ferkin alarmist shills can shout and scweam but – no one is listening to ’em. And apart from those doomed delegates infesting the halls and corridors of the Islam4UN – the whole of the western world is moving on. Goodness gracious, even that loser ‘energy minister’ Altmaier of the Merkel mafia has said it is time to maybe, ‘rethink’ Germany’s ‘green’ energy policy……………..whodda thunked that? Or maybe not after all the Fatherland is planting new coal fired stations is she not and if one actually views German energy policy I’d say that the green thing was down the tubes about circa in the aftermath of the terribly natural Fukushima disaster – mutti just wont let on – typical German double dealing but did you ever expect anything other from the krauts?

      Not me.

  6. March 21, 2017 7:57 am

    Less than 5% of climate alarmism bears comparison with the truth.

  7. Richard111 permalink
    March 21, 2017 8:50 am

    Funny how these claims gain a life of their own.

    The science is quite clear that when sea temperatures RISE the sea expels CO2.
    It certainly absorbs LESS CO2 as it warms.
    So how they claim CO2 is responsible for coral bleaching makes no sense.
    Sea water DOES NOT ABSORB INFRARED. Look it up.
    And limited infrared is all CO2 can radiate. Therefore CO2 gas in the atmosphere
    does not, and cannot, warm sea water. In fact science tells us infrared radiation
    COOLS the sea surface. Again, look it up.

    • John F. Hultquist permalink
      March 21, 2017 3:19 pm

      It is not clear to me what you are responding to.
      This time, the claim is that coral is bleaching because of warm water.
      If anyone claimed the water warmed because of infrared from CO2, I missed that.
      Pacific Ocean water seems to be warmed (mostly) when clouds are few and energy from the Sun (shortwave; colored) penetrates. No role for CO2.
      I must have missed the memo (from where?) that CO2 warms sea water.

  8. Matty permalink
    March 21, 2017 8:53 am

    Yes the 5% half and not the 95% half. You have to be wary of warmists wielding percentages. Whereas the media, aren’t they always faking it ?

  9. Broadlands permalink
    March 21, 2017 12:20 pm

    Look it up… temperatures on the GBR… 84° in their Summer is normal…

    Media pollution in the area is damaging…to credibility?

    • Richard111 permalink
      March 21, 2017 1:40 pm

      “Look it up… temperatures on the GBR… 84° in their Summer is normal…”

      Quite correct. That is approaching 30C. Surface sea water does not get much hotter than that as evaporation kicks in and cools it down (among other things).

      The radiation bands of visible light can penetrate to nearly 100 meters which is why they can capture all those lovely pictures. Sunlight warms the sea nicely as long as there are not too many clouds around. Do you know that there are tiny creatures in the sea that make a gas when they get too hot? This gas bubbles up, rises in the air and makes clouds. Stops the sea getting any hotter while the sun is still up. James Lovelock wrote about it years ago.

      • Broadlands permalink
        March 21, 2017 3:59 pm

        And check the status of corals in the Red Sea.

        They are doing just fine were it not for humans polluting their environment. Temperatures in the Persian Gulf are regularly in the 90s. The max being 96°F. The GBR seems to be the southern “poster child” for “global warming”…trying to outdo the polar bears?

  10. Dave Ward permalink
    March 21, 2017 12:37 pm

    A nephew of mine was round here recently and mentioned that the Great Barrier Reef was suffering from mass bleaching. I said “Except it isn’t” but I don’t think my comment even registered! He could accurately be described as a “Millennial”, having received a university education and now living in Londinistan. I’ll save the pages linked by John F. Hultquist & John, Uk – perhaps I should print them out, and present them as a gift at his forthcoming wedding…

    And a note to John F. Hultquist & others – it’s dead easy to save a web page (at least using Firefox, and derivatives) – just click “File” > “Save Page As” from the Menu Bar. Under the “Save as type” option “HTML Only” is normally sufficient to capture the important content, and keeps the resulting file size down. You can then view the page any time you want, even without an internet connection. Alternatively, there’s a FF Addon called “Pearl Crescent Page Saver” which allows you save part or all of a web page as an image.

    • Athelstan permalink
      March 21, 2017 3:34 pm

      I mentioned in passing once, chatting with a youngster and related on my Ma’s side – never a good thing, that, the world wasn’t burning up and anyway man made CO2 was FA to do with it albeit a tad more politely than that. Woe, woe and thrice woe and all that, she barely registers a moue these days when the Klan is gathered, not that I really miss the informed and enlightening repartee – too much. The thing which does gall, the purblind way these kiddies just swallow the green guff and the contrast with and to, my education and hers – where, we were taught to question and find out – ourselves by doing something they used to name, ‘reading round a subject’ – which was hammered into us at school, to read both sides of the argument and then – make up your own mind on it.


      Many moons ago, I had a very in depth conversation with a rabidly pro Communist but very senior lecturer who in the past had regularly visited the then Soviet Russian republics. I said to him that, unless your hard work [student theses] somehow and in some way reflected your [his] Marxist prejudiced warped world view – there ain’t no way you can pass, I finished the conversation by pointing out an alternative method of marking, just throw the papers down the stairs and the one’s at the bottom get the pass?! I must say that, here he was not a Don – of my faculty but that we had to suffer some of his lectures and why I turned up then – I can’t think why now.

    • John F. Hultquist permalink
      March 21, 2017 3:45 pm

      You saved that page and I hope some others did, as well.
      I do not have, and do not plan to have, a public blog. Thus, I encouraged others to save.
      I sometimes will include a link to a page if I think others may never have found it.
      One such that I like, I put on Jo Nova’s site in 2013: LINK

      • Dave Ward permalink
        March 21, 2017 4:10 pm

        No problem, John. I added the instructions on “how to save” in case there was anybody reading who doesn’t know about such possibilities. The Wayback Machine is handy, but can’t possibly save everything.

  11. Gerry, England permalink
    March 21, 2017 1:43 pm

    I did enjoy the irony as the Australian state bewailed the bleaching and death of the Great Barrier Reef, while the tourist industry responded with rage that their lies and misinformation were damaging their businesses. Very hard to get the truth past the fake news in the legacy media.

    • Richard111 permalink
      March 21, 2017 3:13 pm

      Umm… didn’t one of those tourist liners crash into the Great Barrier Reef recently?

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