It is impossible to reconcile the official statistics and what is under-the-water with the media reporting – including the reporting from Glasgow. There are meant to be more cyclones and less coral, but we have quite the reverse according to the official statistics. It is also making no sense that those who purport to care so much about the Great Barrier Reef still haven’t visited it. Then there are those who have visited it once, and then there are those who have visited it but never actually got in the water. Some of them are in Glasgow.
It was not for nothing that former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull – he apparently visited Magnetic Island some years ago but never got in the water – approved a A$443 million grant to the tiny Great Barrier Reef Foundation. As far as I can tell it is paid out in little bits to all those in proximity who are prepared to lament how the corals are dying. I’ve meet so many who have received something, and so the useful idiots are paid off by the special people now in Glasgow.
On the eve of Glasgow, the same foundation put out comment:
Insufficient global action on climate change is taking a serious toll on the health of our Great Barrier Reef and coral reefs around the world. The facts are clear – coral reefs and their communities are on the front line. We know current climate change commitments don’t go far enough to protect them and we know this is the critical decade in which to act with urgency. Next month’s UN Climate Change Conference – COP26 – will be a pivotal moment in the global response to climate change.
Cyclones are a major problem for corals. They must be increasing.
On Tuesday 13th October 2020, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology put out a media release ‘Tropical Cyclone seasonal outlook for The Coral Sea’ in which it was acknowledged that, and I quote:
Recent decades have seen a decline in the number of tropical cyclones in our region.
Bureau climatologist, Greg Browning, went on to explain that this summer is likely to buck that trend, and that:
On average Australia sees 9 to 11 tropical cyclones each year, with 4 crossing the coast.
Cyclones can be devastating to coral reefs. Huge waves pound relentlessly smashing branching and fan corals. Sponges and squirts are upended. Massive Porites can be lifted and thrown metres – sometimes beyond the reef proper and onto the beach.
Given the Great Barrier Reef, as one ecosystem comprising nearly 3,000 individual reefs stretching for more than 2,000 kilometres, cyclone damaged areas can almost always be found somewhere. A coral reef that is mature and spectacular today, may be smashed by a cyclone tomorrow. So, I’m always in a hurry to visit my next reef particularly given all the modelling suggesting an inevitable increase in the number of cyclones and an inevitable decline in coral cover.
The 2020–21 Australian region cyclone season was another ‘below average’ season, producing a total of just 8 tropical cyclones with just 3 of these categorised as severe. So since records began it is a case of less cyclones and less severe cyclones which must be good for the corals.
Perhaps not surprisingly we are also seeing an increase in coral cover, and this is exactly what the latest report from the Australian Institute of Marine Science concludes. According to their Long-Term Monitoring Program (LTMP) based on surveys of 127 reefs conducted between August 2020 and April 2021, and I quote:
In 2021, widespread recovery was underway, largely due to increases in fast growing Acropora corals.
Survey reefs experienced low levels of acute stressors over the past 12 months with no prolonged high temperatures or major cyclones. Numbers of outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish on survey reefs have generally decreased; however, there remain ongoing outbreaks on some reefs in the Southern GBR.
On the Northern GBR, region-wide hard coral cover was moderate and had continued to increase to 27% from the most recent low point in 2017.
On the Central GBR region-wide hard coral cover was moderate and had increased to 26% in 2021.
Region-wide hard coral cover on reefs in the Southern GBR was high and had increased to 39% in 2021.
Meanwhile former US President Barack Obama – who has never ever actually visited the Great Barrier Reef – confirmed he will attend the COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow. He is apparently meeting young climate change activists and highlighting their work around the world. I’m wondering when he will bring them to see the corals. The closest he has got, so far, is to Brisbane back in November 2014. He gave a speech at my old university lamenting the parlous state of the corals and claiming he wanted to take his daughters to see the corals before they were all gone.
But. We are still waiting. As far as I can tell, like Malcolm Turnbull, Barack Obama frightens the children about that which they have never actually seen or experienced with his own eyes – and with opinion that often does not even accord with the available statistics.
Former US President Bill Clinton hasn’t made it to Glasgow, but he did visit the Great Barrier Reef back in November 1996. He apparently spent a short hour snorkelling at a reef off Port Douglas.
If I didn’t know something about the scientific method, greenhouse gases, the Great Barrier Reef, and that foundation, I would be inclined to believe there was a crisis – and that there really was something I should do about it. As it is, I know that coral bleaching occurs as part of a natural cycle that will repeat irrespective of any agreements made in Glasgow. I also know as fact that there has been no increase in the incidence of cyclones and that coral cover is good and improving. It is also fact that coral reefs would benefit if there was rising sea levels because they could keep growing-up and also that they grow faster as sea temperatures increase. Did you know that there are arguably more colourful corals and even better coral cover in waters just a few degrees warmers? The warmer waters are just to the north of Australia around New Guinea and Indonesia.
UPDATE 8PM, 4TH NOVEMBER 2021
There is now an updated cyclone chart at the Bureau’s website.
And much thanks to Charles for reposting at WUWT.
The feature image shows a blue Acropora, one of the genera most susceptible to devastation by cyclones and one that has done well at many reefs over recent years. The photograph was taken at Pixie Reef just to the north of Cairns by me.
Frank Vardanega says
Jennifer you are the defender of the scientific method and facts beat fantasy any day in my book.
Michael Burston says
Thanks Jennifer, Thanks for that clear and concise appraisal. What you’ve written is ideal for the metropolitan press.
Allan C says
Thanks once again Jennifer to put in writing what all those gas-bags in Glasgow don’t know, but should know, before blowing more hot CO2 into the air that will undoubtedly raise the temperature somewhere; well, in the hall they’re in, perhaps.
I use you as a proxy to tell me what’s going on in the GBR as I don’t scuba, snorkel, swim, or otherwise do any of that heroic stuff you do. Please, don’t stop.
John Hultquist says
Thanks for the report, and that is a nice photo.
I wish I could come and see your reefs and corals.
That isn’t going to happen, so I will rely on you for the experience.
Dr Christine Finlay says
Thanks from me too!!! Took a huge data crunch to put that together. This is what those your are exposing once called research.
Joao Martins says
A great article by a great biologist.
Thanks again Jennifer for your research and hard work. BTW Dr Johnathon Nott has researched cyclones on our Aussie NE coast over the last 6,000 years and the last SUPER cyclone hit the QLD coast in the early 1800s.
Here’s the ABC’s Catalyst program and SUPER cyclones were more prevalent during the LIA ( Little Ice Age) and today we haven’t had to face these monsters for about 200 years.
Here’s the ABC program and the transcript with Dr Nott. Also note that since 1970 the only year without a SEVERE cyclone was in the 2015 to ’16 season.
Contrary to the nonsense from the delusional Glasgow CLOWN show the REAL world DATA proves there is no climate crisis or Biden’s so called EXISTENTIAL threat at all.
Here’s Willis Eschenbach and Dr John Christy’s recent summaries of all the issues and proves we live in a very safe world even though there are 7.8 bn people today compared to just 1.8 bn in 1920.
And today deaths from SEVERE weather events have dropped by 95% over the last 100 years.And yet the silly Glasgow donkeys want to waste trillions $ for a GUARANTEED ZERO return. Unbelievable but true. Here Willis Eschenbach tries to find their Climate emergency…..
And Dr Christy puts the extremists claims to the test and his Global Hurricane/ cyclone trends + Tornadoes + Global Wildfires trend and so called HOT SPOT data are revealing.
Here Dr Hans Rosling number crunches the entire HUMAN world over the last 200 years, 1810 to 2010.
He proves that today we are WEALTHY and HEALTHY compared to 30, 50, 100 or 200 years ago. He uses REAL WORLD DATA and his BBC video uses 120,000 DATA points for 200 countries since the start of the Industrial REV in the UK.
Here the Biden donkey claims “we can feel climate change in our bones”, see about 9 seconds from start of video. AGAIN unbelievable garbage but true and he’s supposed to be the leader of the free world.
So why have we seen such rapid improvement in Human life expectancy since 1970 and 1990?
In 1970 global life expectancy was 56.5 years , but by 1990 this had increased to 64. But today global life exp has increased to about 73 years.
YET the population has increased by 4.1 billion people since 1970 and 2.3 billion since 1990.
African life exp in 1970 was about 46 and today 2021 is about 63 years. YET African pop was just 363 million in 1970 and today has blown out to 1370 million or 1.37 billion people.
Can anyone show me a climate crisis or EXISTENTIAL THREAT around the world or for our poorest continent? Obviously not, just check out the REAL world DATA and EVIDENCE.
Of course their Glasgow FANTASY world is whatever they want it to be. So why will the world waste endless trillions $ for decades and force us to use TOXIC, unreliable fantasies like S & W energy and destabilise our electricity grids FOREVER?
Keith Woollard says
seen the latest post from JCU on the conversation?
Note my first comment
Lomborg provides a very sobering summary of the Glasgow con merchant’s clown show.
Even if the USA hit NET ZERO today it wouldn’t make any measurable difference to temp.
And the cost would be horrendous for every citizen and would certainly wipe out the DEMs at the next election.
Ian Thomson says
Looks like a large La Nina this summer, (but seems to be weakening, down near the start of the current).
So there may be some damage done.
There seems to be a lot of heat near the current in mid Pacific. Best batten down for a couple of bigger ones up there this summer.
Well written, as always.
Richard Bennett says
The quickest way to reduce global warming is to exclude temperature readings taken within the urban heat islands and increase the temperature measuring stations in rural areas which represent +95% of the land area of the earth. Check it out for yourselves and you too can get a result which represents the real state of the earth’s climate although you will meet resistance from politicians because they have too much money tied up in the promotion of their “Project Fear” agenda.
Richard Greene says
This is the best Australian climate science website.
Has the best coral articles in the world.
And is among the best climate science websites in the world.
I read over one dozen of them every day.
I believe other readers feel the same way.
But I decided to put it in writing,
because that’s what I think
as I read every article here.
Bingham Farms, Michigan, USA
At last we can watch a debate between Benny Peiser of the GWPF and Gavin Schmidt of NASA and they cover COP 26, extreme events, renewables , future of countries’ pledges etc, etc.
Gavin Schmidt is a joke and he opens with more yapping about how co2 is causing all these extreme weather events etc and how cheap TOXIC ruinables are today. AGAIN the DATA shows deaths from EXTREME weather events have dropped by 95% over the last 100 years.
Benny Peiser wipes the floor with his claims and explains what a disaster they’ve been for the UK and the EU and if Ruinables were any good and so cheap China, India and the developing countries wouldn’t be building many hundreds of coal plants and ongoing into the future.
This is unique and is just 15 minutes but at last we can understand why NASA’s so called top maths guru usually runs and hides. Big mistake for him this time and he definitely made a fool of himself.
The debate starts at 34 minutes.
Ian Thomson says
This is beautiful. Wonderful quotes , from loonies with an agenda.
spangled drongo says
Thanks Jen for your usual realistic coverage of the current climate craziness.
If we had a return to the cyclone levels here that were regular fare in the ’60s and ’70s, the screams would be deafening.
The storm surges generated by them along the Gold Coast strip created rising seas that broke clear over the frontal dunes and caused huge flooding inland with the river current running UPSTREAM at the flood peak in spite of record rainfall.
There has been nothing like it since and those ocean front homes that were being washed out to sea and you couldn’t give away in those days are today changing hands for tens of millions.
Amazing how people forget so easily.
Karl Hanke says
I agree with Richard Greene above. Here in Breslau (Germany) we are surrounded by windmills despite having access to excellent coal. I also have some ivermectin just in case. Your site is incredible, literally.
Great work, Jennifer. While the GBR is actually at record growth the motivated extremists reject reality to push an anti-scientific climate policy. It is amazing but no longer surprising how the climate consensus explicitly depends on rejection of facts and the imposition of censorship.
Haydn Walters says
Why is JCU publishing such devastating GBR coral data? Presumably they believe it? Could it be true; are they lying; or is someone else lying; or is the data just flawed? Could someone lease clarify.
Geoffrey Williams says
Thanks Jennifer for another post confirming the truth about the health of the Great Barrier Reef. The cop 26 in Glasgow was full of untruths about our climate and as such was a great failure. That is a failure for them, but for us I think that it was a great success.
Look forward to your next post many thanks for being a champion of our cause.
BTW here’s Prof Steve Koonin’s recent lecture at the GWPF ( 16-11-21) and he’s very clear and very sane about their so called climate CRISIS or EXISTENTIAL threat and he covers the data consistently and accurately.
Here Steve Milloy of Junk Science has a red hot blast at the US EPA about their Particulate matter 2.5 claims, or PM 2.5.
Steve has always been a very hard hitter and he certainly doesn’t hold back in this submission and the EPA has not responded so far.