Field of Science

The Great Barrier Reef - Going, going, ....

The Phactor has been pretty lucky that his pursuit of botanical scholarship has taken him to a lot of really neat places.  If remembered correctly, TPP has visited the Great Barrier Reef five times over the past 25 years.  Coral looks pretty tough, but actually it's pretty sensitive to things like silt, too many nutrients from agricultural runoff and increases in water temperature.  When that happens corals expell their algal symbionts, and the result is "bleaching", which makes corals very sensitive and often leads to their death.  Episodes of bleaching have been recorded on reefs around the world periodically, but now a new analysis indicates that roughly half the coral cover of theGreat Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia has bleached and died, and it did so in less than 30 years.
In comment w00dview captures what a lot of us are thinking:  "You know, I honestly wished the deniers were right. I wish climate change was a big hoax and the evil doers were arrested and everything was just hunky dory. I wished they fiddled with the data. The pictures of the melting sea ice were just meticulously photoshopped and polar bears were doing great. I wished the deniers were actual sceptics who had a convincing, coherent alternative hypothesis as to what is happening out in our atmosphere. I wished there was a great cabal of immoral scientists blocking dissent and even controlling the media to show us all these images and news of the damage that is already taken place. I wished Climategate actually showed up irrefutable evidence that we were being taken for fools. I wish that the seas were not being threatened by ocean acidification. I wished that some of the most beautiful, complex awe inspiring and vital ecosystems were not under threat from the fossils fuels we burn.   I’m sure climate scientists wish they were wrong too."   

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