coral reefs doomed for sure

Mike Risk riskmj at
Tue Oct 2 14:24:21 EDT 2001

Joanie has provided a spirited defense of her and her co-authors' work. I
remain far from convinced that some of these matters are solved beyond the
need of further debate. I will respond at length soon, after I finish
getting in this year's firewood. But some quick comments-

It seems that most scientific "clarifications" carry with them the seeds of
further misunderstandings. Here are some additions:

1. The comment about climate modellers not wishing to accept data that
contradicted their models wasn't mine-it came from a well-known NOAA climate
modeller, whom I will mercifully not name. My prior attempts to convince
modellers to accept the need for extremely rapid ocean overturning were met
with benign neglect. I felt it appropriate, therefore, to accept the
valuation of someone in the field.

2. The top of Orphan Knoll lies directly in the Gulf Stream Return Flow, so
to suggest it is not connected with the Gulf Stream is misleading.

3. Some modellers listen, and solicit data. We are now working very closely
with several groups on the East Coast (BIO modellers and their US
colleagues), as we begin to obtain long-term proxy records of the NAO,
Labrador Current, and the inner Gulf Stream: information that was previously

4. I don't consider that land-based sources of pollution are my "reef
issue." (But I admit, I feel they are THE reef issue.) As we have seen,
there is zero political will in North America for CO2 reductions. (Canadians
are worse than the USA, by the way, just to demonstrate that I am an
equal-opportunity slagger.) There will be action on this front only after
the enormous public health costs sink in, and even then the response will be
slow. In the meantime, something could be done about sewage and sediment
stress. This is not rocket science, but would require that at least a large
proportion of reef scientists speak with one voice.  There is already a
trend among reef managers to blame "global change" for impacts that have
clear local causes.

Back to the maul (not mall).

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