[Coral-List] Rising sea levels may not submerge atoll islands

Dennis Hubbard dennis.hubbard at oberlin.edu
Wed Aug 13 10:44:35 EDT 2014

Doug et al:

It actually gets much worse. The entire premise here is that "healthy"
reefs can build at rates of 10-15 mm/yr. This harkens back to Schlager's
"drowning paradox" article of decades past. A group of which I am a part,
submitted an article to Science based on an extensive compilation of core
data from the world's reefs. The long and short of it is that fewer than 8%
of the reefs for which we could find core data built at these rates - and
only for short spurts. So, the premise of this news piece (and the paper on
which it is based) is flawed.

We also showed that ca. half of the world's reefs built throughout the
Holocene at rates slower than SL is rising NOW. Given that this occurred in
a time prior to the "creativity" of *Homo stupidus*, this represents the
most optimistic scenario of the future. Science rejected it as
un-newsworthy (i.e., it didn't get a technical review). So, now the
opposite position based on data from one site as near as I can tell and a
very outdated about rapid reef building is worthy or public display. We
have submitted the compendium elsewhere and hopefully it will be accepted.
Those of you who argued about Gene's position that science is not always
built on objective foundations might find the article that Doug cites

We will be preparing a response to this Science piece. If anyone wants to
join in, please contact me offline.


On Tue, Aug 12, 2014 at 6:49 PM, Douglas Fenner <
douglasfennertassi at gmail.com> wrote:

> From Science Now (free online general interest articles you can sign up
> for):
> "Warming may not swamp islands."
> http://news.sciencemag.org/asiapacific/2014/07/warming-may-not-swamp-islands
> The original short article in Science that this is based on has a sentence
> I particularly like, which goes
> "As long as the reef is healthy and generates an abundant supply of sand,
> there’s no reason a reef island can’t grow and keep up."
> That is, of course, a very big "if."  If on the other hand, global
> warming-caused mass coral bleaching, acidification, sedimentation,
> nutrients, overfishing, etc. severely damage the corals and/or coralline
> algae, then maybe reefs and islands won't be able to keep up.  Healthy
> corals and reefs will be critical, atoll island survival hangs in the
> balance.
> Cheers,  Doug
> --
> Douglas Fenner
> Contractor with Ocean Associates, Inc.
> PO Box 7390
> Pago Pago, American Samoa 96799  USA
> phone 1 684 622-7084
> "belief in climate change is optional, participation is not."
> belief in evolution is optional, use of antibiotics that bacteria have not
> evolved resistance to is recommended.
> website:  http://independent.academia.edu/DouglasFenner
> Blog:
> http://cctus.org/conservation-science/2014-expedition-scholar/2014-expedition-scholar-douglas-fenner-ph-d/2014-expedition-scholar-blog/
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Dennis Hubbard
Chair, Dept of Geology-Oberlin College Oberlin OH 44074
(440) 775-8346

* "When you get on the wrong train.... every stop is the wrong stop"*
 Benjamin Stein: "*Ludes, A Ballad of the Drug and the Dream*"

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