[Coral-List] Evidence that ocean warming has caused most Caribbean coral loss

Douglas Fenner douglasfennertassi at gmail.com
Thu Apr 27 20:13:02 EDT 2017

    My understanding is that climate science data supports the view that
the rapid increases in world temperature in recent decades has been caused
mostly by human emissions, while earlier, more gradual temperature
increases were caused mostly by natural processes (in spite of claims that
we are in the beginning of a new ice age).  Both of these were present in
the graph John presented in his essay.  However, it seems unlikely to me
that corals either understand the causes of temperature increases, or care
what those causes are.  Corals are impacted by temperature increases,
whatever the causes of those temperatures are, surely.  That includes
turning up the heat in aquaria in experiments.  So it seems to me that
John's graph of increasing temperatures IS relevant to the question of
whether corals in the Caribbean have been impacted by temperature increases
or not, and I don't see the relevance of the question of what caused the
temperature increases, at least to the question of impacts on corals.  The
effect of increasing temperatures on corals is a mechanistic thing, higher
temperatures stress or kill corals.  Cause of temperature increase is
irrelevant for that.
     That said, it is good to remind us of the broader processes over
geological time.  That could include the fact that present temperature
increases exceed those that have happened in a very long period of time,
well beyond the range of time you've referred to.
Cheers,  Doug

On Wed, Apr 26, 2017 at 1:14 AM, Ulf Erlingsson <ceo at lindorm.com> wrote:

> Dear John and others,
> Please don't forget to mention that the baseline in that graph is the PEAK
> of the LITTLE ICE AGE, and thus a very poor reference point for global
> warming. A better reference point would be the average temperature the
> first 10,000 years after the end of the last Ice Age, i.e., from 8,000 BC
> until today. In those 10,000 years there has been but one Little Ice Age,
> which is why glaciers advanced from the Middle Ages until the end of the
> 1800's and started receding in the 1900's. It is disingenuous to the point
> of willful desinformation to ignore this in the graphs and arguments.
> Chances are we are heading towards a new Ice Age now, and that the warming
> we see at present is just an interlude to this general cooling that will
> take place over the next 50 to 100 thousand years.
> Ulf Erlingsson
> > On 2017-04-25, at 08:50 , Bruno, John <jbruno at unc.edu> wrote:
> >
> > This is a common misconception from folks unaware that global warming
> began many decades ago. Please have a look at the NOAA data plotted in this
> figure from my post: http://theseamonster.net/2017/04/caribbean-bleaching/
> nclimate2915-f4/ <http://theseamonster.net/2017/04/caribbean-bleaching/
> nclimate2915-f4/>  Or the graphics in Kuffner et al 2014 below it. These
> data should sort you out. The Caribbean had clearly warmed significantly by
> the time mean coral cover had been roughly halved (around the mid-1980s).
> Also, we haven’t lost any reefs yet, what we’ve lost is coral cover (and
> fish biomass).
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Douglas Fenner
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