Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Another Greenie shriek about the Great Barrier Reef

This piece of research must have been frustrating to its authors.  They found that the presumed evil -- farm runoff -- actually HELPED the barrier reef.  So they had to do a lot of scratching to turn that around.

The big drama about the reef is that it undergoes periodic bleaching  --  when the coral expels its symbiotic algae.  Nobody likes the look of that but the corals mostly recover after a while.  So that is what all good men and true rally to prevent.  STOP the bleaching!  And now we have found something that prevents it to a degree:  Farm runoff!  How big a disappointment can you get? Farm runoff was supposed to KILL the reef!

But by scratching around in their data, the authors found something to warm their pessimistic hearts.  They found that once the coral had been harmed by some "disturbance", farm runoff hindered recovery to some degree.  But if coral amid farm runoff is less damaged in the first place, does that not make the recovery rate of less concern?

Not so fast!  The authors say.  You have got to balance one effect against another to get an overall conclusion and we have got this nifty little model that will do just that!  So we run the model and we find that that a "6–17% improvement in water quality will be necessary to bring recovery rates in line with projected increases in coral bleaching".

So there's the African-American in the woodpile!  It is all based on a "projection", or in layman's terms, a guess. And the projection is heroic.  They ASSUME that global warming will steadily increase and they ASSUME that warming is the main cause of coral bleaching.  There are large scientific arguments against both those assumptions so if we take them away what is left?  Two people can play the projection game so I project that farm runoff is on balance neither helpful nor harmful so that Nothing needs to be done. Nothing!  Horrors!

My comments so far spring just from a reading of the abstract.  I shudder to think what I would find if I studied the whole article.  I taught applied statistics at a major Australian university for a number of years so I know the tricks researchers get up to if their results don't suit them.  There were so many collaborators on this article that something HAD to come out of it.  Re-running their model with more cautious assumptions would be a ball of fun.

I follow the press release below with the journal abstract

Scientific research published today on the impacts of poor water quality on some Great Barrier Reef corals shows why it’s vital the Queensland Government passes new rules on farm pollution, the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) says.

The study, published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution, found corals in the central and southern sections of the reef would need improvements in water quality of between six and 17 per cent to keep their recovery rates in line with projected increases in coral bleaching.

Corals exposed to poor water quality were also more susceptible to disease and outbreaks of Crown of Thorns starfish, the study found.

Proposed Queensland government laws would phase out harmful farming practices that cause pollution and sediment to run into rivers and out into the reef.

Dr Lissa Schindler, AMCS Great Barrier Reef campaign manager, said: “We need to give the Great Barrier Reef the clean water it needs to recover, and this study shows that clearly. The Queensland Government’s proposals to cut farm pollution need to be passed.”

“What this study also says is that these levels of cuts to farm pollution won’t be enough to save corals on outer reefs from the impacts of rising ocean temperatures caused by global warming.

“We have to make sure we are giving the reef the cleanest water we can, while at the same time stopping the digging up and burning of fossil fuels that drive the warming in the reef’s waters.”

Schindler said while the study found that corals in areas with poor water quality were more resistant to coral bleaching, due to the low level of light penetrating the turbid water, these corals had slower recovery rates and were more susceptible to disease and Crown of thorns starfish outbreaks.

The study, acknowledged that any marginal bleaching protection corals might get from poor water quality “are probably overwhelmed by the most extreme warming conditions” already seen during 2016 and 2017.

Schindler said it was also important to note the study did not consider any impacts of coral bleaching in the vast and once pristine northern sections of the reef that were hit hardest by extreme ocean temperatures in 2016 and 2017.

Media release. AMCS communications manager Ingrid Neilson 0421 972 731

Water quality mediates resilience on the Great Barrier Reef

M. Aaron MacNeil et al.


Threats from climate change and other human pressures have led to widespread concern for the future of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef (GBR). Resilience of GBR reefs will be determined by their ability to resist disturbances and to recover from coral loss, generating intense interest in management actions that can moderate these processes. Here we quantify the effect of environmental and human drivers on the resilience of southern and central GBR reefs over the past two decades. Using a composite water quality index, we find that while reefs exposed to poor water quality are more resistant to coral bleaching, they recover from disturbance more slowly and are more susceptible to outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish and coral disease—with a net negative impact on recovery and long-term hard coral cover. Given these conditions, we find that 6–17% improvement in water quality will be necessary to bring recovery rates in line with projected increases in coral bleaching among contemporary inshore and mid-shelf reefs. However, such reductions are unlikely to buffer projected bleaching effects among outer-shelf GBR reefs dominated by fast-growing, thermally sensitive corals, demonstrating practical limits to local management of the GBR against the effects of global warming.

Nature Ecology & Evolution (2019)

How to lie with statistics:  The BoM are experts at it

"40C heatwave"? The only reading they give for 40C was Gatton, which is quite a way inland and is hence usually hotter.  The temperature in Brisbane on 11th was a touch below normal at 32C.  On Tuesday 12th it was a completely normal 34C. It takes the BoM to make a heatwave out of a single reading at Gatton!

Record-breaking 40C heatwave blasts Queensland as summer rolls on - but a massive thunderstorm is barrelling towards Australia’s east coast

Queenslanders are sweating through the hottest March heatwave in 12 years after the mercury hit 40C on Monday.

As many endure more blistering temperatures on Tuesday meteorologists have also warned that a massive thunderstorm is barrelling towards Australia's east coast.

A severe weather warning was issued on Monday and thunderstorms are expected to hit the Sunshine Coast and Gympie on Tuesday afternoon.

It comes after a slow-moving low-pressure trough directly over Queensland led to the hot air mass hitting the state's southeast yesterday.

According to the Weatherzone website, Warwick also endured a record-breaking 37.4C.

Ipswich also sweltered in highs of 38.6C and Gayndah sweated through 39.8 degrees.

Severe weather warnings were also issued on Monday as Coolangatta and areas north of Noosa Heads were battered by storms, strong winds and hailstones.

On Tuesday, the hot weather is expected to continue in Queensland with temperatures expected to reach 36C.


Coal war: Barnaby Joyce sparks showdown with Liberal Party

Barnaby Joyce and senior Nationals MPs have warned that the ­Coalition agreement could be severed over energy policy, setting up a showdown with city-based Liberal MPs fearing a voter backlash over coal in affluent blue-ribbon seats in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

After Scott Morrison yesterday rejected a push to fund new coal-fired power plants in central Queensland, Mr Joyce, the Prime Minister’s hand-picked drought envoy, told The Australian the termination of the Coalition was an option on the table.

Mr Joyce, who would stand for the Nationals leadership if a spill were called, openly defied the Prime Minister, declaring there was “no law saying the Nationals and Liberals must be together”.

“It is misleading to tell people that we are bound by covenant to always be together,” Mr Joyce said. “The only thing we are bound by is that we must represent our people to the best of our abilities.”

Mr Joyce, who lost the Nationals’ leadership last year after revelations he had an affair with a staffer, described the ­Coalition as a “business arrangement, not a marriage”.

Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals leader Michael McCormack responded with what ­appeared to be a veiled swipe at the breakdown of Mr Joyce’s ­marriage. “I understand what it takes to have a successful marriage, to make sure that we work together to build a better Australia — that’s what I do with the Liberals,” Mr McCormack said.

Rejecting any threat to his leadership, he said: “There is no coal war. There is no war absolutely whatsoever.”

While no move is expected against Mr McCormack’s leadership before the election, Nationals MPs said the future of the Coalition was under pressure and they would defy the Prime Minister by campaigning on a pro-coal platform.

The warning from Mr Joyce — who said he was hurt by Mr McCormack’s comment about ­ marriage — came after Mr Morrison stoked Coalition tensions by ­talking up renewables and slapping down the push by some Nationals MPs for a new clean coal plant in Queensland. The Prime Minister argued that the Queensland Labor government had “no intention of approving any such projects at all”.

“I tend to work in the area of the practical, the things that actually can happen,” Mr Morrison said. “What actually can happen is the investments that we’re making in renewable projects and reliable projects.”

Liberal MPs were furious with Mr Joyce’s pro-coal intervention. Brisbane MP Trevor Evans warned that calls to subsidise coal were coming from a “lonely minority that is whistling dixie”. “They are not speaking for the government or the majority of our colleagues. I want to be really clear and say I won’t vote for that,” Mr Evans said.

Leading NSW moderate Trent Zimmerman said a “Liberal government” should not help fund new coal-fired power stations. “Most voters recognise that we need to be focusing on reliability and our Paris Agreement target, and our existing policies are the best way to do just that,” the North Sydney MP said.

“While existing coal-fired power stations remain cheaper than the alternatives, there are ­serious questions about the economics of building new coal power based on both the cost but also the risk involved in such a long-term investment.”

The party’s candidate in the eastern Sydney seat of Wentworth, Dave Sharma, also joined the protest. Climate change emerged as a key factor in the Liberals’ loss of the seat to Kerryn Phelps after it was vacated by Malcolm Turnbull. “I don’t think the government should be funding new coal-fired power stations. If the market is not prepared to do it I don’t see why the government should be,” Mr Sharma said.

Outgoing LNP senator Barry O’Sullivan said it was imperative for the Nationals to make the ­future of the Coalition conditional on support for a new clean coal plant. “We will fight and we will pledge to the people and deliver a high-efficiency, low-emissions power plant in the future, if ­returned to government, and ­secure a stable environment for the fossil fuel industry and the ­development of the Galilee Basin,” he said. “We need to make it clear that these things are conditions of a ­future Coalition. And the ­Nationals need to remain strong and true to their fundamental ­constituencies.”

Resources Minister Matt Canavan said an effective Coalition partnership offered the “best way to deliver results”, but noted it could not be taken for granted and required “all of us to work together in the future”.

“The Coalition is simply a business relationship, not a personal relationship,” he said. “Our job as Nationals MPs is to stand up for the people we represent.”

Keith Pitt — one of six LNP MPs to sign a letter last week ­demanding the government ­revive its “big stick” energy policy and commit to a new Queensland power plant — said the Coalition was not a “master/servant ­arrangement”. “There will always be differences of opinion between regional people and those who live in the cities,” the Nationals MP for Hinkler said. “Strong Coalition partnership has always been in the best interests of the country, and now and again we disagree on policy.”

Tim Wilson, the Liberal member for the affluent electorate of Goldstein in Melbourne, backed Mr Morrison for rejecting the proposal for a new clean coal plant. The Australian has been told Jason Falinksi, Jane Hume and Julian Leeser have also voiced their concerns about the coal proposal.


Voucher money for better schools and hospitals

David Leyonhjelm, lead candidate for the Liberal Democrats, today called for the introduction of vouchers so all Australians have the option of choosing private schools and hospitals.

“Despite the efforts of many dedicated staff, our public schools and hospitals often underperform compared to their private counterparts,” he said. “This is unacceptable for those Australians who cannot afford private schools and hospitals.

“The Liberal Democrats would introduce a means-tested schooling voucher, at a cost of $33 billion nationwide, so low-income parents and parents of children with a disability can afford better schooling than currently available to them.

“Parents who are happy with their local public school would continue to be able to send their kids there.  But parents who feel their kids would be better off in a non-government school would be able to afford to send their kids there, and the voucher would follow them.

“The Liberal Democrats would also introduce a means-tested medical expenses and insurance voucher, at a cost of $48 billion nationwide, so low income and chronically ill Australians can afford better healthcare and insurance than currently available to them.

“Australians who are happy with their local public hospital would continue to be able to rely on it.  But those suffering long waiting times or poor service could afford a different hospital.

The Liberal Democrats’ voucher plan is part of a fully-costed plan for the Commonwealth and the States to each deliver budget surpluses, tax cuts and cuts to government spending.  This includes massive cuts to education and health bureaucracies and the introduction of user charging at public schools and hospitals.

“With vouchers for low income Australians, and with across-the-board tax cuts, every Australian would benefit from more choice.  The option to go elsewhere would mean public schools and hospitals would be encouraged to improve their performance.  The only losers would be the thousands of back-office bureaucrats who would be out of a job.”

Media release.  More from

 Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

No comments: