[Coral-List] Global risk of deadly heat

Douglas Fenner douglasfennertassi at gmail.com
Fri Jun 23 03:31:26 EDT 2017

    Good question.  Anybody's guess.
    My guess is that if anything like this happens, it is going to be a
ghastly catastrophe for people.  We won't be worrying about corals.  Even
if we tried to move people, it is too many people, Indonesia alone has 230
million people.
    That is the worst case scenario, with "business as usual."  But we now
have the Paris accords, and while they may not be perfect many countries
have pledged to make real progress.  So now it seems quite likely we won't
end up in the worst scenario.  With less warming, there will be fewer
lethal days each year in these countries, the paper predicts.  But it is
still very alarming, people can still die even with just a month or less
above lethal temperatures/humidity.  There is a LOT of time between now and
2100 to try to figure out solutions, though the later we wait, the hotter
it will be.
     Other papers have made predictions on what may happen with corals.
Surely many will die, reefs will not be what we are used to, but hopefully
not all corals will die.  The lethal conditions for humans vary greatly
with humidity.  At high humidity, humans can't cool themselves with sweat.
Any temperature over body temperature that happens along with over 90%
humidity, we can't keep ourselves cool enough, and we are in danger.  Most
of the countries predicted to have the most dangerous conditions have high
humidity, it looks like in the paper.
      Long ago on coral-list, when people made the point that the root
problem for coral reefs was human overpopulation, I argued that human
populations cannot be reduced fast enough to save reefs, without mass human
deaths.  This paper implies that is a possibility in some areas, though
presumably anyone who could leave those areas would do so.  Moving that
many people would be a logistical nightmare, and no country or combination
of countries would be likely willing to accept that many people, not even a
small fraction.
      Yes, reducing the number of people near reefs could in theory help
reefs (assuming that there are much of any corals left alive by then, which
is a very shaky assumption).  That's not the way to save reefs in my
opinion, it is morally unthinkable to say the least (unless the people
simply move, which seems near impossible).  And good point, there won't be
people in those countries to benefit from the reefs.  But what other
options do we have????
      I will agree with anyone who says all I wrote above is just guesswork
(though this new paper is not guesswork).  But then, the world is being
challenged with some very stark choices, it would appear.  If we do all we
can to slow warming, the danger to people will be minimized, the paper
predicts, but it will not be zero.  Same true with reefs, surely.
     Cheers,  Doug

On Fri, Jun 23, 2017 at 4:14 PM, Vassil Zlatarski <vzlatarski at gmail.com>

> Hi Doug,
> So, it is possible bad news for humans (mortality and largely uninhabitable
> countries) to be good news for coral reefs.  Unfortunately, in such HUMEXIT
> our species will not have good chance to profit and enjoy the benefits for
> coral reefs.
> Do you think present coral reefs will survive lethal conditions for humans?
> Cheers,
> Vassil
> Vassil Zlatarski
> D.Sc. (Biology), Ph.D. (Geology)
> On Thu, Jun 22, 2017 at 4:51 PM, Douglas Fenner <
> douglasfennertassi at gmail.com> wrote:
> > Thank you, Vassil!
> >
> > A short, general interest article on this topic:
> >
> > Heatwaves to soar above the hot air of climate politics.
> >
> > http://www.nature.com/news/heatwaves-to-soar-above-the-hot-a
> > ir-of-climate-politics-1.22164?WT.ec_id=NATURE-20170622&spMa
> > ilingID=54331883&spUserID=MjA1NTA3MjA0OQS2&spJobID=118364258
> > 9&spReportId=MTE4MzY0MjU4OQS2
> >
> > Open-access.
> >
> > This article and the one Vassil pointed to are about the effects of
> global
> > warming on human mortality.  They don't mention coral reefs.  But the
> > original article does predict that tropical countries like Indonesia, the
> > Philippines, Malaysia, and Sri Lanka will have temperatures and humidity
> > above a level lethal to humans 365 days a year in most of their area by
> > 2100 if we were to continue business as usual.  That could be interpreted
> > as meaning those countries might be largely uninhabitable by humans (or
> > not, depending on technology like air conditioning, electricity supply,
> > costs vs limited funds, etc.).  Not having people or having fewer people
> > would seem likely to reduce local human impacts on coral reefs.  Using
> more
> > resources to produce electricity to keep people cool might increase
> impacts
> > on reefs.  So maybe these articles are indeed very relevant to coral
> reefs.
> >
> > Cheers,  Doug
> >
> > On Wed, Jun 21, 2017 at 7:50 AM, Vassil Zlatarski <vzlatarski at gmail.com>
> > wrote:
> >
> >> Dear Coral-Listers,
> >>
> >> Hope of colleguial interest:
> >>
> >> Mora, Camilo et 17 al. 2017. Global risk of deadly heat. Nature Climate
> >> Change.
> >>
> >> http://www.soc.hawaii.edu/mora/Publications/Mora%20059.pdf
> >>
> >> Cheers,
> >>
> >> Vassil
> >>
> >> Vassil Zlatarski
> >> D.Sc. (Biology), Ph.D. (Geology)
> >> _______________________________________________
> >> Coral-List mailing list
> >> Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> >> http://coral.aoml.noaa.gov/mailman/listinfo/coral-list
> >>
> >
> >
> >
> > --
> > Douglas Fenner
> > Contractor for NOAA NMFS Protected Species, and consultant
> > "have regulator, will travel"
> > PO Box 7390
> > Pago Pago, American Samoa 96799  USA
> >
> > phone 1 684 622-7084 <(684)%20622-7084>
> >
> > New online open-access field guide to 300 coral species in Chagos, Indian
> > Ocean
> > http://chagosinformationportal.org/corals
> >
> > Join the International Society for Reef Studies.  Membership includes a
> > subscription to the journal Coral Reefs, and there are discounts for pdf
> > subscriptions and developing countries.  Coral Reefs is the only journal
> > that is ALL coral reef articles, and it has amazingly LOW prices compared
> > to other journals.  Check it out!  www.fit.edu/isrs/
> >
> > "Belief in climate change is optional, participation is not."- Jim
> Beever.
> >   "Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not to their own
> facts."-
> > Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> _______________________________________________
> Coral-List mailing list
> Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> http://coral.aoml.noaa.gov/mailman/listinfo/coral-list

More information about the Coral-List mailing list