Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Scientists unravel history of climate change upheaval on the Great Barrier Reef

Natural fluctuations in reef health

FOR the first time ever, a group of Australian scientists have unravelled the history of climate change upheaval on the Great Barrier Reef over the past 8000 years.

A team led by University of Queensland graduate Dr Marcos Salas-Saavedra analysed rare earth elements in drilled reef cores, unveiling a deep history of wild weather.

“Eight thousand years ago, extreme run-off from an intense Indian-Australian summer monsoon affected water quality in the southern offshore Reef,” Dr Salas-Saavedra said.

“Water in the GBR was much dirtier, and poor water quality is known to be a major cause of reef decline around the world. “But 1,000 years later, monsoonal rains eased and the water quality greatly improved.

“We noticed water quality declined during times of dampened El Nino Southern Oscillation frequency, which may have led to more La NiƱa-dominated wet climates in Queensland at those times – just like the weather we have seen this year in Queensland.”

But as El Nino-dominated weather patterns became established, he said the southern Great Barrier Reef water quality improved to give us the beautiful Reef we know and love.

The new data allows researchers to understand for the first time what water quality was like on the Great Barrier Reef over an extended period.

UQ Professor Gregory Webb said the study provides a new and independent source of palaeoclimate data, not only for the Great Barrier Reef, but potentially for reefs around the globe.

“Knowing more about how the Great Barrier Reef responded to past environmental changes is essential to help inform us how reefs can be better managed in the future,” Professor Webb said.

“We have created a toolkit to understand subtle differences in water quality – even in offshore reefs – and it can be applied over much longer time frames where reef core material is available.

“Importantly, this type of analysis enables us to examine how ancient water quality may have impacted coral growth rates, overall reef growth rates, and any shifts in reef ecology at the same time.”

He said knowing more about how the Great Barrier Reef responded to past environmental changes was essential, helping to inform how it could be better managed in the future.

Reef cores were recovered from Heron and One Tree reefs by UQ’s Dorothy Hill Research Vessel, before Professor Jianxin Zhao dated and analysed the cores at UQ’s Radiogenic Isotope Facility.

The analysis focused on rare earth elements preserved in microbialites – rocks made by microbes – that have been growing throughout the Great Barrier Reef’s history.


Bushland wiped, homes at risk: Fears over land gift to Queensland Aborigines

The Leftist state government has been accused of steamrolling Redland City Council by using its superior planning powers to make permanent the allocation of 249ha of bushland on North Stradbroke Island to indigenous housing development.

Under the plan the Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation would take administrative possession of 25 parcels of land, which would then be offered to traditional owners for housing, tourism and community uses.

Redland City Council is undergoing community consultation for the rezoning, which local experts say could see 800 dwellings housing almost 2000 people built in prime bushland on the island.

However, council officers have raised concerns some sites won’t be able to be built on due to overlay risks including the potential for erosion, bushfire and flooding.

They fear, because the land has been zoned urban residential, landowners would have an expectation their application to build a home would be approved by the council.

Any rejection of an application could lead to prolonged legal battles between landowners and the council at a significant cost to ratepayers.

A planning study undertaken by the state government in 2014 noted a number of the sites were “not suitable for development”.

Huge swathes of bushland at Point Lookout and Amity Point could be destroyed to make way for the 25 parcels of land, which are not serviced by trunk infrastructure such as town water or electricity.

Redland City Council Mayor Karen Williams said the council had been “directed” to undergo community consultation on the land rezoning and acknowledged local government had little power in controlling what could be built.

“In this instance we don’t really make the decisions,” she said. “We have no choice as council to do this. “It’s damned if you do and damned if you don’t.”

While the state government has agreed to a partnership with the council for community consultation, it has not provided any funding.

Opposition MP Mark Robinson, whose electorate of Oodgeroo includes North Stradbroke Island, said the government’s plan had raised concerns among traditional owners.

“There are serious questions about the suitability of some parcels of land for what the draft plan proposes,” he said.

“In one case, some locals have described the situation of a conservation area and a duck pond being earmarked for residential development.

“The Quandamooka people deserve to be treated better than that.

“The draft plan could also dramatically increase the size of the island’s population without a plan for infrastructure and services, and who pays for that?”


Global ratings agency issues warning on Albanian $45bn spending spree

Labor risks putting the country’s triple-A credit status in danger if it races to implement nearly $45bn in “off-balance-sheet” election promises, one of the top rating agencies warns.

As Anthony Albanese flags the potential for additional cost-of-living support, Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings lead country analyst Anthony Walker told The Australian that further government spending risked stoking ­inflation and a more aggressive Reserve Bank response.

Mr Walker also said those risks would provide a further brake on the economic recovery, and place pressure on the commonwealth’s finances.

The Prime Minister has promised a $10bn fund to increase social and affordable housing and a $20bn “rewiring the nation” fund to modernise the electricity grid and build transmission infrastructure. In addition, the government has also pledged a $15bn “national reconstruction fund” to revitalise manufacturing.

While such spending commitments tend not to appear in the underlying cash balance, Mr Walker said the rating agency would include them in its assessment and that they could “pressure the AAA rating” if the spending was frontloaded.

A top credit rating provides a stamp of approval for how the country’s finances are managed and the ability to access cheaper funding from international ­lenders.


The Covid jab data which reveals one VERY surprising detail about pandemic deaths - and it’s certain to spark HUGE debate

Over two thirds of Victorians who died from Covid-19 this year had received at least one vaccination jab - but were still killed by the virus.

Statistics released by the Victorian government showed that 68 per cent of people who died with Covid in 2022 were vaccinated. But less than a third of those who died were unvaccinated.

However medics warn the figures are not quite as they seem.

Just four per cent of the Victorian population aged 16 and over is unvaccinated - which means the 32 per cent dying unvaxxed is eight times higher than it should be.

Between January 1 and May 25 this year, 2022 so far 1,742 Victorians have died from Covid, the Herald Sun reported.

Of those, 558 were unvaccinated (or had an unknown status), about 32 per cent of the total Covid deaths in 2022.

The doubled vaxxed accounted for 41 per cent of deaths (720 people), while 24 per cent has three shots. Three per cent (53 deaths) had just one jab.

A Department of Health spokesman argued that the numbers showed per capita vaccinations save lives because 5.1 million Victorians over 16 years of age were double-dosed, compared to several hundreds of thousands remaining unvaccinated.

Out of the 1,742 deaths, 349 were genomically sequenced to reveal the strain that killed the patients. Omicron was by far the deadliest strain, at least in raw numbers. The Omicron BA.1 sub-variant caused 201 deaths, while Omicron BA.2 strain was responsible for 110.

A third dose gave up to 97 per cent better protection against hospitalisation and death for people over 50 compared two or fewer doses, he claimed UK research showed.

Meanwhile, pathologists are sounding the alarm over the low uptake of coronavirus vaccine boosters as the national immunisation group suggests a fourth dose for some Australians.

The Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia says third doses are particularly low in Queensland and NSW even as COVID-19 cases rise.

'With winter commencing, it is important for everyone that they are fully up to date with all relevant vaccinations,' RCPA fellow Professor William Rawlinson said.

'The RCPA recently highlighted that it is very likely that we will experience far more influenza cases in Australia this winter. This, combined with the current, rising trend of COVID-19 cases, is likely to put an extraordinary strain on the healthcare system.'

Western Australia has the highest uptake of third doses about 80 per cent, while Queensland is the lowest at 58 per cent. Nationally, about two-thirds of eligible Australians have received a booster.

On Wednesday, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation expanded eligibility for a second booster to people with health conditions or a disability.

Leading immunologist Peter Doherty, of the Doherty Institute said it was too early to say for sure how effective third and fourth doses were in protecting people against 'long Covid'.

But he said people could be 'confident' they would help prevent the severest forms of the illness.


Election 2022: Change agents at teal heart not all ex-Liberals

Of the dozens of suburbs that turned teal last Saturday, turfing six Liberal moderates out of parliament and contributing to the downfall of the Morrison government, beachside Avalon on Sydney’s northern beaches was the tealest of them all.

But electoral analysis by The Weekend Australian has disproved the widespread belief that all of the new ­Climate 200-backed independents picked up the ­majority of their votes from dis­affected Liberal ­voters.

In the Melbourne seat of Kooyong, the swing against Josh Frydenberg was smaller than the swings against each of the Labor and Greens candidates, while in another three teal victory seats, the swing against the sitting Liberal was smaller than the combined swing against Labor, the Greens and all other candidates.

Nationwide, voters at 12 booths in three different seats were so ­attracted to the teal option, the majority gave the independent their first ­preference.

In the quiet enclave of the sunburnt and the wealthy that is Sydney’s northern peninsula, four polling booths in Jason Falinski’s seat of Mackellar reported more than 50 per cent first preference votes for Sophie Scamps.

Avalon South recorded 56.3 per cent, the highest teal independent primary vote of any large booth in the country, followed by Avalon Beach (55.4 per cent), Bilgola Plateau (53.1 per cent) and Avalon (52.4 per cent).

Former state independent upper house member for Pittwater Alex McTaggart said Avalon was a wealthy, well-educated community that prioritised climate as a key issue. “Avalon’s right on the coast and the average young person here is involved in the surf or the surf club,” Mr McTaggart said.

“They see the effects of climate on the coast.”

Mr McTaggart said a federal anti-corruption commission and health – the nearest hospital is 22km away – were other issues on which Dr Scamps successfully campaigned.

Most of the teal independents picked up many of their votes from Labor or Greens voters. In Kooyong, the former Liberal treasurer’s primary vote fell by 6.3 per cent while Labor lost 11.1 per cent and the Greens 15 per cent.

In nearby Goldstein, where ­former ABC journalist Zoe Daniel overcame Tim Wilson, the swing against Labor almost hit 18 per cent, compared with the ousted Liberal MP’s 11.7 per cent.

The vote pattern was different in North Sydney, where Liberal MP Trent Zimmerman suffered a primary vote fall of 13.7 per cent, much larger than Labor’s 3.6 per cent and the Greens’ 5.7 per cent. And in Wentworth, teal victor Allegra Spender’s 38.8 per cent primary vote drew largely on the vote former independent Kerryn Phelps won in 2019 and Liberal MP Dave Sharma’s support. Labor and Greens votes held steady.

Redbridge executive director Kos Samaras, whose polling company undertook research for the Climate 200 candidates, said the location of polling booths influenced how the primary vote split. A high proportion of younger voters and renters translated into a stronger turnout for teals.

Four of the top five teal booths in Kooyong weres in Hawthorn, a suburb that mixes wealthy families in $20m mansions and students in rental apartments, while top of the list in North Sydney was Greenwich, another suburb with a high proportion of apartments. And Wentworth’s top booths were in renter-heavy Bondi, Paddington and Bronte

Dr Scamps had a campaign budget of $1.4m, half of which was raised from the community and the other half coming from millionaire climate activist Simon Holmes a Court’s fundraising war chest Climate 200.

Semi-retired teacher John Lettoof, 65, has lived in Avalon for 30 years and said he voted Greens one and Dr Scamps second due to concerns over climate change.

“You can just see it (climate change),” said Mr Lettoof, a keen surfer and fisherman.

“You know I could point behind me right now to the shellfish that are missing off the rocks – the pool is denuded, it‘s not full of life as it normally is.”

Dr Scamps’ campaign was also more youth-friendly, including a free concert on May 1 – called Election Beats – in Avalon’s Dunbar Park headlined by local artists Angus and Julia Stone, Lime Cordiale and comedian Dan Ilic. The event attracted about 1500 people. At the same time, Mr Falinski treated about 250 supporters to sausage rolls and beers at Cromer Golf Club.

The first-world problems of ­Avalon residents were satirised in 2015 in the film Avalon Now, which later became a web series, depicting a couple torn between pairing pinot gris or pinot grigio with barramundi for dinner.


Also see my other blogs. Main ones below:

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM -- daily)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ (TONGUE-TIED)


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