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79 responses to “Climate clippings 36”

  1. wilful

    Trying to think of a silver lining to the US situation, maybe we could get some quality international standard researchers over here?

    Turnbull’s comments were repeated at length on News Radio this morning. Andrew Robb was also questioned, he sounded very grumpy indeed at having to talk about Turnbull.

  2. wilful

    Turnbull’s actually wrong about the GB reef. Only because it’s too late, it’s time has passed, it cannot be saved now. 68 000 families, $6bn industry, more employment than coal exports, all gone in less than two decades from now.

  3. Helen

    I was filled with glee hearing a chunk of Turnbull’s speech on the ABC this morning. It was a fabulous smackdown of Abbott, Joyce and all the other deliberately ignorant members of the Liberal party. Fantastic stuff. I’m enjoying my mental picture of Abbott jumping up and down with rage and the prospect of the ensuing arguments within the Liberal party.

  4. dylwah

    Thanks again Brian.

    CSIRO on the future of wild fires

    Re the Turnbull talk, I reckon that V. C. would have appreciated it. If more Libs had driven Kombi vans from Britain to Australia and kept bees we might not be in this mess.

  5. wilful

    Brina, I’m basing my view on listening to Pr. Ove Hoegh-Guldberg’s talk at the four degrees conference last week. He made it pretty clear that sea temperature changes would cause mass bleaching events every year by about 2030. (from memory)

    Also, about 50 million subsistence fisherfolk (Indonesia, Phillipines etc) are critically dependent on reef ecosystems.

    More here: http://www.coralreefecosystems.org/index.php?page=researchgroup&groupid=1

    I just discovered Ove has a blog: http://www.climateshifts.org/
    And is a twit: @OveHG

    Should encourage him to guest post here, maybe?

  6. wilful

    My apologies Brian, for the typo. What is the word for constant, consistent mistypes, such as teh, taht, etc? (where’s Fran when you need her?)

  7. MikeM

    The Australian is at it again, with a report: “ONE of Australia’s foremost experts [Phil Watson] on the relationship between climate change and sea levels has written a peer-reviewed paper concluding that rises in sea levels are ‘decelerating’.”

    I might have given it more credence had it not quoted an “expert”, Dr Howard Brady, former CEO of Mosaic Oil, as saying that CSIRO’s projections were “dead in the water” and “ridiculous”.

    I might have been less suspicious that Watson’s findings were somehow being twisted if I hadn’t found a separate presentation by Watson on sea level rise that showed figures consistent with CSIRO and IPCC, http://www.pittwater.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0015/34620/Phil_Watson.pdf

  8. Zorronsky

    I don’t know about that Helen. I’m cynical enough to see a bolta moment here as in inject sanity at a rate insufficient to scare the horses for a fall back position when the inevitable backflip occurs.

  9. MikeM

    The Australian’s report is “Sea-level rises are slowing, tidal gauge records show”, http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/sea-level-rises-are-slowing-tidal-gauge-records-show/story-fn59niix-1226099350056

  10. Roger Jones

    Wilful @9,

    yes, but not the entire reef. There may be a window with overshoot scenarios where if we do peak at lower temperatures there may be enough reef for recovery. Ove and I have discussed doing something on this. I’ve an article coming up on The Conversation where Australia’s emissions are converted (roughly) into hectares of reef damaged. That said, it’s the reefs most close to coasts that are most at risk and the millions of fishers dependent on reef resources are in the firing line.

    Re the Bob Carter stuff – actually he could have been right but stuffed it. Atmospheric warming is strongly non-linear and using trend analysis gives incomplete results. His identification of non-linearity (eyeball, not statistics) and using it to ‘disprove’ AGW is completely arse-about, the non-linearity is AGW (complex systems stuff), so neither Carter nor conventional climatology have it quite right. To Tamino’s credit, he says his trend analysis is a model and there may be more going on than meets the eye. I presented on this at the conference in Melbourne earlier this month and will put up a post soon, but have real work to do first.

    And Carter’s cherry-picking is risible.

    And WTF is Monckton doing at the National Press Club? Is it preferable to let him hang himself out to dry, and tolerate the miners wheeling him around the country to lord it over everyone in the name of free lies?

  11. Roger Jones

    Mike M @ 13 and 15,

    thanks. I’ll chase the reference up. I wonder on what authority (knowledge-wise) Dr Howard Brady bases his views?

    Sea level rise is non-linear too, with step changes and significant decadal variability. The land-based records (tide gauges) also need to be reconciled with satellite measurements. It takes a bit of work to get the climate change signal out of gauge measurements, so to dismiss the bulk of research (CSIRO, IPCC) out of hand …

  12. quokka

    Interestingly not all republicans support fossil fuels. It seems the mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, has made a $50 million donation to the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign:


    He is also vehemently opposed to efforts to shutdown the Indian Point nuclear power plant:


    An unusually rational person.

  13. patrickg

    Turnbull’s actually wrong about the GB reef. Only because it’s too late, it’s time has passed, it cannot be saved now. 68 000 families, $6bn industry, more employment than coal exports, all gone in less than two decades from now.

    And yet you don’t see any tourist operators being given free air time about jobs on the news etc. Sigh.

  14. Fran Barlow

    Wilful asked:

    What is the word for constant, consistent mistypes, such as teh, taht, etc?

    I’m not aware that there is one. Certainly I’ve not come across an official term for it, though it seems that we should have one.

    Perhaps I should offer “misscription” — though I can see even that being misscribed! I also think “logomorphs” has a nice ring to it.

  15. Fran Barlow

    An advantage of logomorph is that it is a lot like lagomorph, which refers to large gnawing animals, and this one is going to gnaw away at me all day.

  16. paul of albury

    Carter’s audiences must be willing collaborators in their deception. Those satellite temperature slides clearly show warming – you just need to look at the area between the graph and the zero line. The same for the radiosonde. Anyone that accepts his selected points as representative has to be deliberately deluding themselves.

  17. Incurious and Unread


    I always wondered what happened to vertical-axis wind turbines. Looks like they could make a come back.

  18. Fran Barlow

    Other advantages of VAWT are that they are able to continue to work effectively at much higher wind speeds and have a smaller wind shadow, (though they tend to be poor in light breezes).

  19. Gummo Trotsky

    My favourite Turnbull moment:

    He also rejected the view Australia should wait for China and India to act, saying Australia’s emissions were much higher per capita.

    Mr Abbott said this week that Australia’s emissions reduction target, backed by both sides of politics, was “crazy” because it would be overwhelmed by pollution increases in China.

    But Mr Turnbull said Chinese emissions per capita were one-fifth of Australia’s and India’s were less than one-tenth.

    “Our regular references to their [India and China’s] emissions and ‘Why should we do anything until the Chinese and the Indians do something’ – they find those references incredibly galling,” he said.

    “Those of us who have represented Australia at international conferences on this issue know how incredibly embarrassing statements like that are when you actually confront the representatives of those countries.”

  20. wilful

    VAWT aint HAWT

    (Sorry, couldn’t resist)

    I find it surprising that such fundamental architecture decisions are still unresolved.

  21. wizofaus

    You sure about that Fran? I thought VAWTs were the ones that worked better at lower wind speeds (wikipedia seems to back that up).

  22. GregA

    There’s spoonerisms, although that’s more to Brain’s typing than Wilful’s.

  23. Fran Barlow

    Wizofaus asked:

    You sure about that Fran? I thought VAWTs were the ones that worked better at lower wind speeds (wikipedia seems to back that up).

    Well I thought I was sure of it when I wrote it, but perhaps I misremembered this.

  24. Fran Barlow

    Personally, at an aesthetic level, I always preferred the look of the VAWTs to the HAWTs. If these can be made to work a lot more effectively and from cheaper materials, that would be fabulous news, since it would make a lot more sites viable and with less of a footprint.

  25. calyptorhynchus

    VAWTs can be packed closer together than HAWTs, which means that bird and bat mortality is less likely.

  26. pablo

    I am incensed at the possibility that leaks from within the Gillard Government on support for two steel companies allowed insider trading to occur days before the carbon tax announcement. Share trading in Bluescope and OneSteel roughly matched the $300 million of the assistance package produced by Combet’s department. You get a feel for the ‘outrageous’ from Liz Knight, business journo with the SMH who doubts Canberra will do much about it.
    ‘Politicians don’t understand investment markets and never have. But asking their own regulator (ASIC) to police a market that Canberra abuses is outrageous. Having played with selective leaking of information, Canberra has a nerve asking its regulator to get tough on insider trading’.
    She reckons that more than 100 Canberra people in Combet’s realm would have known details.
    Get all the AFP people off D Hicks’ case and onto this one I say.

  27. Incurious and Unread


    It is acting on inside information that is illegal, not providing it (at least as far as ASIC is concerned). Your outrage should be directed at those who have profited from the leaks.

  28. pablo

    Well aware of the distinction I&U. I would be very disappointed if someone in Combet’s office blabbed, even more disappointed if Combet had not forewarned all of the tremendous importance of confidentiality. The last thing Gillard needs is any suggestion of commercial incompetence. If someone in the know deliberately traded then lets have ASIC throw the book asap.

  29. will i regret getting back in the saddle?

    The press has started to pick up that coral paper now, and have interviewed the researchers. If you recall the paper i posted last week on the Scaring the Children thread about research on resilience of coral in the warm middle east waters , its an example of findings the authors (below) are talking about.


    I hope, Willful, that this research was covered at your conference last week. (Ove Hoegh-Guldberg is in the same faculty as Prof Pandolfi, one of the authors.) If not, i would be proabably asking some hard questions as to why a gal on LP had no trouble finding it last week via Google Scholar, and she is neither a Scientist nor a Lord. :)

  30. pablo

    Brian. I think it comes down to semantics in some way. Pandolfi uses the term ‘dramatically reduced’ (ABC) Ove Hoegh-Guldberg ‘dramatically cut’ on carbon emissions. The former is talking about evolutionary adaptation (to survive), the latter the same IMHO.
    On Carter, I heard his slick presentation courtesy of the Lavoisier sponsorship sometime in 2010. He almost appears bored by the thought that anyone could disbelieve him. Questioners get the Socratic technique with a question thrown back at them. It makes them feel silly in the face of all the, mostly elderly, ‘believers’.

  31. will i regret getting back in the saddle?

    Google scholar is your friend!

    Easiest way to scope out key research findings in any field and time frame. Just go to Google and select Scholar from the Advanced options. Once you’ve worked it out you’re all set to play Duelling Citations with the best !


  32. will i regret getting back in the saddle?

    Or, on the white main google page across the top are some options like this:
    Web Images Videos Maps News Shopping Mail more
    Click the “more” and you’ll get a drop down menu, its in there.

  33. Incurious and Unread

    pablo @36,

    The government has been discussing the carbon price package with industry for months. Almost certainly a draft proposal was circulated to key people in the industry consultation forum (otherwise, what sort of consultation would it be?).

    So it is as likely that the “leak” came from the industry side as the government side. Isn’t it?

    Seems like Gillard is damned if she does (consult) and damned if she doesn’t.

  34. Quoll

    It all just gets stupider with some folks

    Mockton now threatens to sue the ABC

    Climate change denier Lord Christopher Monckton has threatened to sue the ABC and described its chairman Maurice Newman as a “shrimp-like wet little individual”.

    Lord Monckton, who is towards the end of a near month-long tour of Australia, told a Melbourne audience he had met with Newman at a breakfast and requested he intervene in the broadcast of the Radio National documentary Background Briefing.

  35. pablo

    I & U. I hope your inference, that industry leaders may have been more likely to have prompted insider trading in BlueScope and OneSteel shares, if only because it will remove the awful prospect of commercial incompetence from the Gillard Government.
    More widely, the prospect of some people profiting unfairly from GW has considerable consequences for government and social cohesion in general IMV. Why else would you impose million dollar fines on price gouging on carbon taxes as already announced.
    I wish I had confidence that it will work.

  36. Stephen L

    About seven years ago there was a fairly major division amongst marine biologists in Australia over how dire the situation was for coral reefs from pollution and global warming. One side were predicting utter devastation for reefs, the other thought major damage would be done, but there were reasonable prospects for survival in more limited and changed forms.

    Hoegh-Guldberg was one of the lead spokespersons for the pessimists. We ran a lot of their views in Australasian Science, while the optimists got most of their popular coverage in other places. Although I thought the pessimists had a stronger case, this wasn’t an example of real scientists versus cranks as we see with “debates” about whether climate change is human induced – both sides were doing real research and publishing in reputable journals. Nevertheless, it did get a bit testy.

    I’m not sure which side Pandolfi fitted in that debate, but it may be that we’re seeing something of a revival – or indeed that it never went away, it just disappeared from the non-specialist media.

  37. sublimecowgirl

    Thanks Steve L for your insight. I’ve copped flack for suggesting that the view that global reefs will disappear in a generation is still open to debate, prior to the publishing of this latest paper.

    (Btw, a quick search throws up much older papers where both Pandolfi and OH-B (et al ) published together taking the cautiously optimistic adaptive angle. )

    Roger – love to hear from you!

  38. BilB

    That is a very good article on wind turbines, Brian.

    A shortcut to the details


    Download the pdf’s at the bottom of the page for anyone interested in the details.

    I like Vertical Axis Wind Turbines and have thought out the details of a furlable Darrius style turbine built into a flag pole should I ever get the time to dable in that area.

    Dabiri’s schooling fish studies are extremely interesting on their own. One of the many spectacular effects of Climate Change Action is the enormous stimulous to that has been provided to so many fields of study. What we are seeing is really exciting, and I hope that this broad field of opportunity draws more of our very bright minds into science studies, and then on into the commercial world.

    I saw an advertisement in the Industry Update publication the other day which featured a new type of high efficiency air circulation fan which directly arose from the commercialisation of studies into the knobs on whale fins. I’m fully expecting to see a lot more results from this work applied to aircraft, yacht and shipping designs.

  39. BilB


    It is a safe bet that most reefs, if not all, will be damaged by global warming. But nature offers so much variability that there will always be areas that survive and adapt not to mention steadily relocate. I am wondering how sea level rise will protect existing reefs in the long term.

    The one thing that is absolutely certain is that change that will substantially and negatively affect the larger body of reefs is underway. And that is the most important take away argument from both sides of that discussion.

  40. sublimecowgirl


  41. Lefty E


    Mandatory energy efficiency measures for international shipping adopted at IMO environment meeting .

    The regulations apply to all ships of 400 gross tonnage and above and are expected to enter into force on 1 January 2013.

    So much for Australia ‘going ahead of the pack’.

  42. wilful

    Of course, the reefs that are most fundamentally needed for subsistence living are already severely stressed across SE asia. The GBR is surely the candidate least likely to flip, given that we’re already managing it reasonably well, there are many vested interests in using it non-extractively, and there’s a latitudinal (temperature) gradient for migration southwards. If you’re a subsistence fisherman however, I wouldn’t like your chances.

  43. sublimecowgirl

    Comment 4. wilful
    July 22, 2011 at 9:53 am | Permalink
    “Turnbull’s actually wrong about the GB reef. Only because it’s too late, it’s time has passed, it cannot be saved now. 68 000 families, $6bn industry, more employment than coal exports, all gone in less than two decades from now.”


  44. Lefty E

    This really is huge news, and the ALP should be making hay from it: International Maritime Organisation imposes mandatory emissions reduction regime for all ships of 400 gross tonnage and above, enters into force 1 January 2013.


  45. BilB

    Defintiely acidity is a problem. The biggest threat I expect comes with stagantion of currents. I believe in the short term the reefs will survive because seeding colonies will always survive in sheltered locations where perhaps deeper currents flow over part of a reef system or a steep dropoff allows smaller colonies to find a depth level that gives them temperature comfort as well as light comfort. So as long as there are seeding colonies a reef can be repopulated in time should conditions change. Of course that all does nothing much for tourism or for fish breeding grounds in the immediate term once coral die off becomes serious and sustained.

    As I said, I wonder if early sea level rise (1 metre) will allow more mixing and cooling of water to offer some relief and allow some coral recovery, in time. A reef bed is never completely dead until it becomes covered with sediment or another form of life such as algae or weed, both possibilities with sea level rise. Will Abbott really care if reefs die? Only if, and until, it makes him Prime Minister.

  46. jumpnmcar

    Sea level rise is the least of the GBRs troubles.
    The tide here rises and falls between 4 to 7 metres. On a 6m tide, the reef top ( top metre ) can be be dry for 4 hours.
    I doubt being submerged for a little longer will harm it, considering its growth rate.
    A more immediate risk is the species introduced to the ecosystem via ballast water from ships.
    Maybe the “”International Maritime Organisation”” could get that sorted.

  47. Salient Green

    @61, I think it’s more accurate to say the GBR tides rise between 0 and 3 metres.

  48. furious balancing

    “The International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships Ballast Water & Sediments was adopted by consensus at a Diplomatic Conference at IMO in London on Friday 13 February 2004”

    from: http://globallast.imo.org/index.asp?page=mepc.htm&menu=true

    The impacts of exotic species already occurring in reef ecosystems is, of course, a huge issue, but sudden changes in the conditions [temperature, ph, physical disturbance from storms etc etc] in any ecosystem tends to decrease the resilience of the natural system and exacerbates the impact of exotics.

  49. jumpnmcar

    Depends how close to the coast.
    Hay point king tides 7m down to 10cm or less.
    At the ” hard line” or outer reef only around 3m difference.
    ( I was a coral trout fisherman in my yoof)
    Creel reef about 3.5m difference on the full moon.

  50. BilB

    You way off beam jumpncar,


    but that does raise some interesting questions. My recollection of the reefs in New Guinea were for about a 2 and a bit metre variation. The tidal range for the Maldives is just 1.1 metres. I suspect that a low tidal range is an important feature for the positioning of reefs. Reef structures also hold considerable amounts of water, and so are never completely dry from memory, and wave action serves to keep water flowing through the coral at low tide.

  51. jumpnmcar

    “”””Reef structures also hold considerable amounts of water, and so are never completely dry from memory, and wave action serves to keep water flowing through the coral at low tide.””””
    Rubbish, I, with my own eyes have looked at acres of coral at least 1.5m out of the water,and i drove over it in the morning.
    But you win, whatever the books say.

    “””drowned reefs”?? How deep before they drown? 20m? 50m?
    There are some very deep reefs.

  52. jumpnmcar


    BTW on 4 corners this week is a story on wind farms and the detrimental effects on humans. I doubt it will receive the same outrage that the live cattle story got. But thats where we are now.

  53. jumpnmcar

    Lastly , Deep water coral.



  54. jumpnmcar

    “”””Joanie went to work on a computer model of coral reef growth. She used the model to examine the effects of growing reefs on climate. Coral reef growth releases carbon dioxide, the major greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere. Joanie found that reef growth since the last glacial period (18,000 years ago) could have contributed significantly to the atmospheric carbon dioxide content and thus the natural warming of the planet.””””

    Yea, she’s a keeper.

    “””””Amidst the distress signals of climate change, Joanie still retains some optimism. “You have to fight sometimes,” she says, whether it’s to achieve career goals or to help save a vital but fragile ecosystem. And she considers herself lucky to lead the life of a scientist. “It’s the excitement.””””

    Gosh ,even i feel like giving her some money.

  55. furious balancing

    Yeah, pfffft – if all you need to understand reef ecosystems is to go fishing and driving on reefs, why would anyone be silly enough to want ‘achieve career goals’ in research into marine ecology? I bet she had to read a lot of books too! Pah, who needs books!

  56. BilB

    Here is a very informative website on coral reefs, very interesting reading.


    Interestingly fresh water kills coral pollups.

  57. sublimecowgirl

    This may interest some.

    Its a comprehensive Podcast / Interview online via ‘Science’ Journal with John Pandolfi about his latest research on Reef Response to Climate Change in the context of the ‘worst case data’ that has been widely reported.

    Highly recommended listening.


    Cross linked to the Scaring the Children thread , for the record http://larvatusprodeo.net/2011/07/12/scaring-the-children/#comment-324352

  58. jumpnmcar

    Sublimecowgirl @74
    Thank you.
    My original [email protected] was meant to convey( clumsily i admit) the immediate threats that we know cause harm to the coral reefs that we can address now, but don’t get the political attention.

    What i’m trying to say is that there is no point attempting to save something in 100 years time, that might be rooted in the next 40 years by stresses that is has never had to deal with.

    I mean no disrespect @71.
    I have trouble trusting people i have not met.
    And refuse to believe “scientists” don’t have the same weaknesses as humans. I hope you understand.

  59. BilB

    I revise my thoughts @ 60 to reflect that with ocean acidification adaptability of reefs becomes extremely problematic. The problem here is that reefs live in the surface CO2 absorption zone and will be affected early and rapidly as CO2 level climbs.

  60. jumpnmcar

    The wind farm piece on 4 corners.


    Nothing conclusive but worth a look. Interestingly the “big( foreign ) energy conglomerate V sick families” didn’t rate here.

  61. jumpnmcar