Friday, August 25, 2017

The vanishing underwater forests: Researchers say climate change is killing off huge amounts of kelp across the globe

There may have been some kelp die-off in the last 30-50 years but it is only assertion that links it to global warming.  Global warming causes everything adverse according to Greenies. Sea surface temperatures have changed little globally so the cause of any dieoff is most likely some disease or predator.  Several such are mentioned below

The report below seems to be a synthesis of two studies so it is amusing to read those two studies.  From Global patterns of kelp forest change over the past half-century we read:

"Our analysis identified declines in 38% of ecoregions for which there are data, increases in 27% of ecoregions, and no detectable change in 35% of ecoregions".

So there has been no overall die-off at all, just local variations.  There was nothing like the global effect we would expect from global warming

And from Invasive seaweeds transform habitat structure and increase biodiversity of associated species we read:

"These introduced seaweeds harbour greater biodiversity of species found at the base of the food web than seaweeds with simpler forms such as the native kelp species."

Which is the exact opposite of what they would have you believe  below. Far from kelp providing "critical food and shelter to myriad fish and other creatures", kelp is not critical at all. The invasive seaweeds do it better.  The new species are providing MORE food for marine life, not less.  The article below is solid deception.  I noted similar dishonesty about kelp in Australian waters just over a year ago

I feel quite safe in saying that there is NO truth in anything Warmists say about kelp or anything else

When diving in the Gulf of Maine a few years back, Jennifer Dijkstra expected to be swimming through a flowing kelp forest that had long served as a nursery and food for juvenile fish and lobster.

But Dijkstra, a University of New Hampshire marine biologist, saw only a patchy seafloor before her.

The sugar kelp had declined dramatically and been replaced by invasive, shrub-like seaweed that looked like a giant shag rug.

Kelp is critical to coastal economies, providing billions of dollars in tourism and fishing.

Kelp losses on Australia's Great Southern Reef threaten tourism and fishing industries worth $10 billion.

Die-offs contributed to a 60 percent drop in species richness in the Mediterranean and were blamed for the collapse of the abalone fishery in Japan.

'I remember going to some dive sites and honestly being shocked at how few kelp blades we saw,' she said.

The Gulf of Maine, stretching from Cape Cod to Nova Scotia, is the latest in a growing list of global hotspots losing their kelp, including hundreds of miles in the Mediterranean Sea, off southern Japan and Australia, and parts of the California coast.

Among the world's most diverse marine ecosystems, kelp forests are found on all continental coastlines except for Antarctica and provide critical food and shelter to myriad fish and other creatures.

Kelp also is critical to coastal economies, providing billions of dollars in tourism and fishing.

The likely culprit, according to several scientific studies, is warming oceans from climate change, coupled with the arrival of invasive species.

In Maine, the invaders are other seaweeds.

In Australia, the Mediterranean and Japan, tropical fish are feasting on the kelp.

Most kelp are replaced by small, tightly packed, bushy seaweeds that collect sediment and prevent kelp from growing back, said the University of Western Australia's Thomas Wernberg.

'Collectively these changes are part of a recent and increasing global trend of flattening of the world's kelp forests,' said Wernberg, co-author of a 2016 study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which found that 38 percent of kelp forest declined over the past 50 years in regions that had data.

'You are losing habitat. You are losing food. You are losing shoreline protection,' said University of Massachusetts Boston's Jarrett Byrnes, who leads a working group on kelp and climate change. 'They provide real value to humans.'

The Pacific Coast from northern California to the Oregon border is one place that suffered dramatic kelp loss, according to Cynthia Catton, a research associate at the Bodega Marine Laboratory at the University of California, Davis.

Since 2014, aerial surveys have shown that bull kelp declined by over 90 percent, something Catton blamed on a marine heat wave along with a rapid increase in kelp-eating sea urchins.

Without the kelp to eat, Northern California's abalone fishery has been harmed. 'It's pretty devastating to the ecosystem as a whole,' Catton said. 'It's like a redwood forest that has been completely clear-cut. If you lose the trees, you don't have a forest.'

Kelp is incredibly resilient and has been known to bounce back from storms and heat waves.

But in Maine, it has struggled to recover following an explosion of voracious sea urchins in the 1980s that wiped out many kelp beds. Now, it must survive in waters that are warming faster than the vast majority of the world's oceans - most likely forcing kelp to migrate northward or into deeper waters.

'What the future holds is more complicated,' Byrnes said. 'If the Gulf of Maine warms sufficiently, we know kelp will have a hard time holding on.'

On their dives around Maine's Appledore Island, a craggy island off New Hampshire that's home to nesting seagulls, Dijkstra and colleague Larry Harris have witnessed dramatic changes.

Their study, published by the Journal of Ecology in April, examined photos of seaweed populations and dive logs going back 30 years in the Gulf of Maine.

They found introduced species from as far away as Asia, such as the filamentous red seaweed, had increased by as much 90 percent and were covering 50 to 90 percent of the gulf's seafloor.

They are seeing far fewer ocean pout, wolf eel and pollock that once were commonplace in these kelp beds.

But they also are finding that the half-dozen invasive seaweeds replacing kelp are harboring up to three times more tiny shrimp, snails and other invertebrates.

'We're not really sure how this new seascape will affect higher species in the food web, especially commercially important ones like fish, crabs and lobster,' said Dijkstra, following a dive in which bags of invasive seaweed were collected and the invertebrates painstakingly counted.

'What we do think is that fish are using these seascapes differently.'


ExxonMobil intentionally misled the public on climate change for decades, Harvard study finds

Exxon had zero obligation to publish its private research and was prudent not to

US OIL giant ExxonMobil knowingly misled the public for decades about the danger climate change poses to a warming world and the company’s long-term viability, according to a peer-reviewed Harvard study.

An analysis of nearly 200 documents spanning decades found that four-fifths of scientific studies and internal memos acknowledged global warming is real and caused by humans.

At the same time a similar proportion of hundreds of paid editorials in major US newspapers over the same period cast deep doubt on these widely accepted facts.

The study also cites ExxonMobil calculations that capping global warming at under two degrees Celsius — the goal enshrined in the landmark Paris climate accord — would impose sharp limits on the amount of fossil fuels that could be burned, and thus potentially affect the firm’s growth.

Both findings are relevant to ongoing investigations by US state and federal Attorneys-General, along with the Securities and Exchange Commission, on whether the company deceived investors on how it accounts for climate change risk.

The new study was published in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

Earlier reporting by InsideClimate News, nominated last year for a Pulitzer, unearthed the internal documents and came to much the same conclusion.

In response, the company — the largest oil producer in the United States, with revenue of $US218 billion dollars last year — denied having led a four-decade disinformation campaign.

“We unequivocally reject allegations that ExxonMobil suppressed climate change research,” it said at the time. “We understand that climate risks are real.”

The company slammed journalists for having allegedly “cherrypicked” data in a way that unfairly put the company in a bad light.

The new study pushes back on that characterisation. “We looked at the whole cherry tree,” Geoffrey Supran, a researcher at Harvard University and co-author of the study, told AFP.

“Using social science methods, we found a gaping, systematic discrepancy between what Exxon said about climate change in private and academic circles, and what is said to the public.”

As early as 1979, when climate change barely registered as an issue for the public, Exxon was sounding internal alarms.

“The most widely held theory is that ... the increase in atmospheric CO2 is due to fossil fuel combustion,” an internal memo from that year read.

A peer-reviewed study by Exxon scientists 17 years later concluded that “the body of evidence ... now points towards a discernible human influence on global climate.”

At the same time, however, the company was spending tens of millions of dollars to place editorials in The New York Times and other influential newspapers that delivered a very different message.

“Let’s face it: The science of climate change is too uncertain to mandate a plan of action that could plunge economies into turmoil,” Exxon opined in 1997, as the Bill Clinton administration faced overwhelming opposition in Congress to US ratification of the Kyoto Protocol.

Natasha Lamb, managing partner of investment management firm Arjuna Capital, said the new analysis could bolster the lawsuits accusing ExxonMobil of deliberately downplaying climate change risks.

“The Harvard research shows systemic bias in sowing public doubt, while acknowledging the risks privately,” she said after reviewing the study’s main findings. “That is at the heart of the investigations.”

Lamb’s firm filed the first shareholder proposal in 2013 asking ExxonMobil to assess whether imposing a 2C limit on warming would result in the company not being able to exploit its reserves.

Those efforts were swatted down, but four years later a decisive 62 per cent of shareholders called on ExxonMobil, in a non-binding vote last May, to detail how climate change will affect its future.

In three other lawsuits, coastal communities in California are suing 37 oil, gas and coal companies, including ExxonMobil.

Marin and San Mateo counties, along with the city of Imperial Beach, assert that these fossil fuel purveyors knew their product would cause sea level rise and coastal flooding but took no action to inform the public or curtail their carbon emissions.

The new study “confirms some of the central tenets of our cases,” said Vic Sher, a senior partner at Sher Edling and a lawyer in the case.

“We will prove that Exxon and the fossil fuel industry knew for decades that greenhouse gas pollution would case warming of the air and oceans, sea level rise, and other consequences,” he said.

“The industry engaged in deception and denial while aggressively marketing and making enormous profits.”

From 2006 to 2016, ExxonMobil was led by Rex Tillerson, currently Secretary of State under US President Donald Trump.


Global Warming Is Almost Entirely Natural, Study Confirms

Most global warming is natural and even if there had been no Industrial Revolution current global temperatures would be almost exactly the same as they are now, a study has found.
The paper, by Australian scientists John Abbot and Jennifer Marohasy, published in GeoResJ uses the latest big data technique to analyse six 2,000 year-long proxy temperature series from different geographic regions. “Proxies” are the markers scientists use – tree rings, sediments, pollen, etc – to try assess global temperature trends in the days before the existence of thermometers. All the evidence suggests that the planet was about a degree warmer during the Medieval Warming Period than it is now; and that there is nothing unnatural or unprecedented about late 20th century and early 21st century “climate change”.

This contradicts the claims of alarmist scientists at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that “man made” global warming is a worrying and dangerous phenomenon.

Time-series profiles derived from temperature proxies such as tree rings can provide information about past climate. Signal analysis was undertaken of six such datasets, and the resulting component sine waves used as input to an artificial neural network (ANN), a form of machine learning. By optimizing spectral features of the component sine waves, such as periodicity, amplitude and phase, the original temperature profiles were approximately simulated for the late Holocene period to 1830 CE. The ANN models were then used to generate projections of temperatures through the 20th century. The largest deviation between the ANN projections and measured temperatures for six geographically distinct regions was approximately 0.2 °C, and from this an Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity (ECS) of approximately 0.6 °C was estimated. This is considerably less than estimates from the General Circulation Models (GCMs) used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and similar to estimates from spectroscopic methods.

In fact as the chart shows, recent warming is well within the planet’s natural historic climate boundaries:

According to co-author Jennifer Mahorasy – who was behind the recent exposure of the scandal in which Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology was found to be erasing record-breaking low temperatures from its records – global temperature has moved up and down quite naturally for the last 2000 years.

We began by deconstructing the six-proxy series from different geographic regions – series already published in the mainstream climate science literature.  One of these, the Northern Hemisphere composite series begins in 50 AD, ends in the year 2000, and is derived from studies of pollen, lake sediments, stalagmites and boreholes.

Typical of most such temperature series, it zigzags up and down while showing two rising trends: the first peaks about 1200 AD and corresponds with a period known as the Medieval Warm Period (MWP), while the second peaks in 1980 and then shows decline. In between, is the Little Ice Age (LIA), which according to the Northern Hemisphere composite bottomed-out in 1650 AD.  (Of course, the MWP corresponded with a period of generally good harvests in England – when men dressed in tunics and built grand cathedrals with tall spires.  It preceded the LIA when there was famine and the Great Plague of London.)

Up until the 1990s, this was widely accepted by the climate science community. But then came a concerted effort led by alarmists including Michael “Hockey Stick” Mann to erase the Medieval Warming Period from the records. Scientists who argued otherwise – among them Willie Soon and Sallie Balliunas – were harassed for their “incorrect” thinking.

However, the new study would appear to confirm that the skeptics were right all along – and that it’s the alarmists who have some apologizing to do.

To be clear, while mainstream climate science is replete with published proxy temperature studies showing that temperatures have cycled up and down over the last 2,000 years – spiking during the Medieval Warm Period and then again recently to about 1980 as shown in Figure 12 – the official IPCC reconstructions (which underpin the Paris Accord) deny such cycles.  Through this denial, leaders from within this much-revered community can claim that there is something unusual about current temperatures: that we have catastrophic global warming from industrialisation.

In our new paper in GeoResJ, we not only use the latest techniques in big data to show that there would very likely have been significant warming to at least 1980 in the absence of industrialisation, we also calculate an Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity (ECS) of 0.6°C. This is the temperature increase expected from a doubling of carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere. This is an order of magnitude less than estimates from General Circulation Models, but in accordance from values generated from experimental spectroscopic studies, and other approaches reported in the scientific literature [9,10,11,12,13,14].

The science is far from settled. In reality, some of the data is ‘problematic’, the underlying physical mechanisms are complex and poorly understood, the literature voluminous, and new alternative techniques (such as our method using ANNs) can give very different answers to those derived from General Circulation Models and remodelled proxy-temperature series.


Dakota Access Pipeline Owner Sues Greenpeace For $300 Million In Damages

The company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline launched an unusual legal attack Tuesday against Greenpeace International and other environmental groups, alleging that the organizations effectively ran a criminal enterprise through their protests of the project.

The suit by  Energy Transfer Partners LP, filed in federal court in North Dakota under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act—a law created to prosecute the mafia—represents an aggressive new front in the continuing battle over the nearly 1,200-mile pipeline. It became operational in June but remains the subject of legal challenges.

The company alleged that Greenpeace ran a “relentless campaign of lies and outright mob thuggery.” Among other things, it alleged Greenpeace and other groups solicited donations under false claims about the pipeline, threatened the company’s investors and lenders, launched cyberattacks against the company, and sought to sabotage the pipeline with serious “terrorist threats.”

Greenpeace USA General Counsel Tom Wetterer said in a statement that the suit was “not designed to seek justice, but to silence free speech through expensive, time-consuming litigation. This has now become a pattern of harassment by corporate bullies.”

The Trump administration gave a green light to the pipeline in February following months of intense opposition from Native American tribes and environmental groups. President Donald Trump made his support of the pipeline and other energy infrastructure projects a prominent part of his campaign. The line can carry as many as 570,000 barrels of oil a day from North Dakota to Illinois.

The Standing Rock Sioux tribe filed a lawsuit to stop the project, arguing that a reservoir crossing could contaminate their water supply, which is 70 miles downstream from the project. The lawsuit failed, but the tribe has since asked a federal court to shut down the line while the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers conducts another environmental assessment of the project.

Energy Transfer’s lawsuit seeks at least $300 million in damages, which can be tripled under the RICO statute. The company alleged it lost revenue and investors as the project was delayed and incurred unnecessary expenses on construction.


Australia is still mining -- with State and Federal support

Copper and gold

THE $916 million Carrapateena mine given the green light by Oz Minerals is set to create 1000 jobs during the construction phase and will support around 400-500 positions over the mine’s 20-year lifespan.

The company on Thursday morning announced the board had approved development of the mine located 160km north of Port Augusta, as it recorded a 51 per cent jump in its first half profit to $81 million.

The Carrapateena project, which is targeting first ore production in the second half of 2019, will become South Australia’s second biggest copper mine after Olympic Dam.

The mine life is 20 years with an estimated average annual production of 65,000 tonnes of copper and 67,000 ounces of gold.

It is expected the project will create about 1000 jobs during construction and 400-500 over the mine’s 20-year minimum mine life.

Premier Jay Weatherill says the project will also provide opportunities for Aboriginal employment and supply contracts in the Upper Spencer Gulf.

“This announcement is yet another vote of confidence in South Australia’s economy,’ Mr Weatherill said.

“This copper project showcases the importance of the resources sector to the South Australian economy with investment in Carrapateena creating local jobs, infrastructure and opportunities for Aboriginal participation.”

OZ Minerals, which is self-funding the project, started construction work on a decline (mine shaft) 1450m-deep to the underground mine last year.

The company has a cash balance of $624 million and no debt. Most of the funding for the project will come from the cashflow generated at its existing Prominent Hill copper mining operations, 130kms southeast of Coober Pedy.

OZ Minerals chairman Rebecca McGrath said it was an exciting time for the company. “Carrapateena will be a robust, cash-generating asset with expansion potential that sets OZ Minerals up for further growth,” she said.

“Our confidence in the economics, constructability and operability of the Carrapateena project as a long-life low cost mine has been further reinforced through the feasibility study phase,” OZ Minerals chief executive Andrew Cole said.

“Strong operating cash flow of $93.5 million in the first half of 2017 continues to support a significant cash balance of $624 .5 million with no debt, allowing for shareholder returns, continued investment in the Carrapateena and West Musgrave projects, and advancement of our growth pipeline,” he said.

The company will begin building an accommodation village, a 550 person camp, called the Tjungu Village and an airstrip in the third quarter of this year.

The mine will be developed in two phases — the first phase starts next month followed by a more intensive second phase in the second quarter of 2018, subject to mining lease approvals.

The group also announced the $150 million concentrate treatment plant — expected to create more than 100 construction and around 100 ongoing jobs — has been removed from Carrapateena’s project financials due to “increased confidence” that the existing copper concentrate will be sought after in international markets.

The company has bought a site near Port Augusta for the plant, which was originally tipped for Whyalla.




Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


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