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

Risk, Michael riskmj at mcmaster.ca
Tue May 2 10:43:28 EDT 2017

   Good day.

   Sheesh, I hate agreeing with Ulf-but he is right on the money in two areas,
   one proximal and one distal. First of all, the only logical explanation for
   the   present   decline   in   coral   reefs  is  that  of  widespread
   pollution-"pollution" defined broadly as sediments, sewage, sunscreen,
   stuff. Secondly: coral reef science is supposed to be interdisciplinary, but
   some of you need to get out more and read more. (At some schools in the US,
   it is possible to obtain a PhD in “Ecology” without ever taking a course
   outside the Biology Department.)

   The  Younger  Dryas Event was a rapid onset of cooling of the northern
   hemisphere, believed to be triggered by a massive meltwater event that
   destabilized the Gulf Stream-although recently an asteroid impact has been
   suggested. How rapid is “rapid?"

   I suggest readers observe a paper with which I am familiar because it was
   written by my wife: Smith et al., 1997: Nature 386: 818-820. In this, the
   authors used isotope stratigraphy of deepwater corals in the return flow of
   the thermohaline circulation of the North Atlantic to tie down the onset of
   this event. They found that this happened in less than 4 years. Similarly,
   meltwater pulses of the early Holocene have produced increases in sea level
   of more than 13 m in less than 300 years. That is a rise in sea level equal
   to a person’s height during their lifetime. During these rises, as Walter
   Adey has shown, corals marched uphill and inland  (after waiting about 1,000
   years for waves and currents to prepare the substrate.)

   The onset of the Younger Dryas produced warmer waters in the Caribbean. It
   is even possible that, because the meltwater coming off North America would
   have been of low pH, this came along with reduced alkalinity. So-Caribbean
   experienced warm, maybe less alkaline, LOW-nutrient waters.

   I am unaware of any reorganization of the Caribbean coral fauna taking place
   12,000 years ago. I am, however, aware of several past coral extinctions
   that were triggered by nutrient excursions.


   On May 2, 2017, at 8:18 AM, Ulf Erlingsson <[1]ceo at lindorm.com> wrote:

   What I am saying is,
   1) In the very recent past there were temperature changes more dramatic than
   what is predicted to happen in the coming century,
   2) there were global transgressions more dramatic than what is predicted to
   happen in the coming century,
   3) all now living coral species survived all of this, and they probably have
   experienced many such events.
   4) Of course, many coral REEFS went from being barrier or fringing reefs to
   becoming submerged reefs, but so what? New species take over.
   Here is an article for you to start
   digging: [2]https://www.researchgate.net/publication/230135618_A_jokulhlaup_
   The biggest upset was not to the corals, it was to the human civilizations
   that existed close to the sea. Many cities were buried, many civilizations
   went under and are only preserved in myths. What Plato writes about the
   sinking of Atlantis is with high probability based on actual events, the
   sinking of Dogger Bank in the North Sea around the year 8,200 BC as a result
   of a global transgression punctuated by a megatsunami at a critical time
   when only a low island remained. However, the western seaboard of Europe is
   full of accounts of sunken cities. Such myths abound around the world. Some
   have suggested they have to do with psychology but they don't; they all
   reflect real events. How can I be sure? Because on the island of Gotland
   that instead has risen from the sea, the creation myth talks about the
   island risking from the sea. And take the Lakota myth of the water monster
   Unktehi that blocked the river and then let out all the water. That is just
   what the inland ice sheet
   did according to recent geological findings (around the year 14,600 BC). A
   huge flood on the Mississippi is also recorded by Native American myths
   further down river. And all of this is confirmed by geology; every ice age
   of  our present ice age period (i.e. the last million years or so) has
   created  a  separate  canyon  and submarine fan in the Gulf of Mexico,
   accumulating miles of sediment (in thickness).
   What do you think the inflow of all that glacial meltwater in less than a
   year did for the corals in the Caribbean? You'd expect them all to be dead
   by now, wouldn't you? Each of those mega floods raised the global sea level
   by meters. Yet all the coral species living there naturally today survived,
   because there has been no migration over the Central American isthmus since.
   The mega floods must also have plaid havoc with the circulation in the
   Caribbean Sea. All societies founded on deltas and lowlands must have been
   wiped out (except those with enough foresight to build a boat, like Noah;
   speaking of which, the Biblical account of the deluge forms part of these
   myths that tell the story of the last mega flood: It tells us that the water
   rose by 15 cubits, i.e. around 7 meters, and that is in the realm of where
   geology says if was).
   Now, returning to the issue of why corals are dying. The coral death started
   HAPPENED. So even if the predictions are true, and even if they would be
   unprecedented (which they are clearly not), it can still not explain the
   coral  decline  already  observed.  THE ONLY REASONABLE EXPLANATION IS
   We don't have to point out which chemical and how it affects the cells. It
   is enough to take a geographical / geological approach and say, the last 2
   centuries the humans have released an ever larger number of completely new
   chemical species in the environment, many of which are sure to be very toxic
   to at least some species, most of which is probably still unknown. What goes
   up in the atmosphere gets mixed up in a matter of months or years; what goes
   into the surface of the ocean gets mixed up in a matter of decades through
   the gyres; and what goes into the deep ocean gets mixed up in a matter of
   millennia through the thermohaline circulation. Most of the North American
   pollution  reaches  the  Gulf  Stream, and some circulates back to the
   Caribbean, another branch goes past Europe and sinks to become new global
   bottom water, emerging in a thousand years or so in the eastern Pacific from
   where it will then bathe the Pacific corals. Remember Silent Spring? What
   happened to fresh
   water lakes and rivers back then also happens to the ocean, it just takes a
   lot longer time, but eventually all the hens will come home to roost.
   What to do about it? Change paradigm, do as the European Union: Instead af
   allowing everything except what is banned, ban everything new until it has
   The  U.S.  law  that  allows ingredients to be secret is appalling and
   Ulf Erlingsson
   Lindorm, Inc.

     On 2017-05-02, at 06:29 , Richard Plate <[5]richarp33 at gmail.com> wrote:
     I'm unclear about what you mean by "dramatic" in this context.  Are you
     saying that we have geological records showing us climatic changes similar
     to the current changes in magnitude and rate of change that did not result
     in massive reduction of corals and other species?
     If so, could you direct me to a paper where I could read more about that
     kind of comparison?
     I'm referring to this statement:
     "The hypothesis of those who warn of climate change seems to be that the
     anthropogenic temperature changes at the present time are more dramatic
     than anything in the past, and that they will lead to consequences that
     are unique. They seem to think that past changes were never that dramatic.
     That is where I beg to differ. In what we Earth Scientists call "Recent"
     time, as late as a few hundred human generations ago, there were much
     larger and at least as dramatic changes according to the geological
     Thanks for your help.
     On    Fri,    Apr   28,   2017   at   7:32   AM,   Ulf   Erlingsson
     <[6]ceo at lindorm.com <[7]mailto:ceo at lindorm.com>> wrote:
     The hypothesis of those who warn of climate change seems to be that the
     anthropogenic temperature changes at the present time are more dramatic
     than anything in the past, and that they will lead to consequences that
     are unique. They seem to think that past changes were never that dramatic.
     That is where I beg to differ. In what we Earth Scientists call "Recent"
     time, as late as a few hundred human generations ago, there were much
     larger and at least as dramatic changes according to the geological
     archive. And if we look at absolute temperatures, then it is disingenuous
     to compare to the 19th or 20th century as a baseline, since that was the
     peak of the Little Ice Age.
     Furthermore, after the existence of an Ice Age covering northern Europe
     (Germany,  Poland,  Holland) had been convincingly shown by Swedish
     geologist Otto Torell in the 1860's, and it later was understood that
     there  had  been  several,  combined  with  the evidence of falling
     temperatures, science started worrying about a new ice age. It was in that
     atmosphere (no pun intended) that Swedish physicist Svante Arrhenius in
     1896 calculated that our emissions of greenhouse gases might actually
     prevent a new Ice Age.
     However, we still don't know for sure why the Ice Age happens, although I
     have an idea which I have presented as a project on ResearchGate, which
     has to do with ocean circulation, and if that is true, it is very unlikely
     that global warming can do more than delay the onset a little.
     But back to corals: I am convinced that the biggest issue is NOT global
     warming, but POLLUTION.

     On 2017-04-27, at 20:13 , Douglas Fenner
     <[8]douglasfennertassi at gmail.com <[9]mailto:douglasfennertassi at gmail.com>>
        It may be that geologists, because of their understanding of the vast
     expanse of earth history, which has included periods of larger temperature
     variation than the last few decades, and which some groups of organisms
     survived, have been more resistant to the evidence of human-caused global
     warming in recent decades.  However, my understanding is that most if not
     all geological societies now agree that the recent rapid warming of the
     earth  is  mostly  caused  by  humans, by greenhouse gas emissions,
     deforestation, carbon soot on snow absorbing heat, positive feedback from
     melting of Arctic ice which reflects light more than water, etc.  In fact,
     some of the effects of humans, such as the emissions of aerosols (such as
     SO2  from  burning  fossil  fuels)  actually  work to reduce global
     temperatures, though the effects of other emissions are greater and cause
     net global warming.
         Am I wrong about the geological societies?
        Cheers,  Doug

     also responding to this:

        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 ques


     on 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

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   1. mailto:ceo at lindorm.com
   2. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/230135618_A_jokulhlaup_from_a_Laurentian_captured_ice_shelf_to_the_Gulf_of_Mexico_could_have_caused_the_bolling_warming
   3. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/230135618_A_jokulhlaup_from_a_Laurentian_captured_ice_shelf_to_the_Gulf_of_Mexico_could_have_caused_the_bolling_warming
   4. http://lindorm.com/
   5. mailto:richarp33 at gmail.com
   6. mailto:ceo at lindorm.com
   7. mailto:ceo at lindorm.com
   8. mailto:douglasfennertassi at gmail.com
   9. mailto:douglasfennertassi at gmail.com
  10. mailto:Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
  11. mailto:Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
  12. http://coral.aoml.noaa.gov/mailman/listinfo/coral-list
  13. http://coral.aoml.noaa.gov/mailman/listinfo/coral-list
  14. mailto:Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
  15. http://coral.aoml.noaa.gov/mailman/listinfo/coral-list

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