The Great Barrier Reef, Catastrophe Laid Bare


I first dived the Great Barrier Reef about 15 years ago. At the time, a marine biologist in Cairns conducted a seminar that I attended, and said that the reef had only a generation of life left in it. Those we the days before abrupt climate change, when contemporary climate change awareness was in it’s infancy (George Perkins Marsh 1847 accepted) .
I don’t believe that my marine biologist tutor really understood how fast our climate change catastrophe would unfold, but his estimate on the reefs life expectancy appears spot on.

Read the below scientific analysis baring in mind the conservative default. I believe that they all know in their hearts that the reef systems on this planet are doomed to collapse and very soon, taking with it the oceanic incubator that forms the basis of the marine food web, that produces 50% of the human populations protein and 70% of the planets oxygen.

The biosphere of this planet is in dire peril.  In your heart, the readers of this blog knows it. I’m not here to sugar coat anything.

Despite the conservative U.N. calculates that we will be losing 150 to 200 species/day,  the real loses from the collapse of the marine food web would make those numbers pale to a fraction of what we could expect.

Cyclone Winston pummelled Fiji with wind speeds in excess of 220 miles/ hour then dumped an enormous amount of rain on the Australian coast and in the Coral Sea  cooling both had not Winston wrought it’s havoc, consider that the reef would have been in far worse shape.

Jack Williams Extreme Weather Events:  “The mechanism behind this incredible new trend is obvious and well understood. As Bloomberg Business week famously said on its cover after Hurricane Sandy, “It’s global warming, stupid.”

Since 1950, more than 90% of the excess heat our carbon emissions that have been trapped in the atmosphere, has gone into the oceans. As a result, their surface temperature has increased by 1C in just the past 35 years.

That puts the water,that much closer to the limit of what coral can bear. Then, when a surge of even warmer water comes through – often as a result of the irregular El Niño cycle – corals over large stretches get stressed, bleach and die.

So well understood is that mechanism, that satellite data on water temperature is a good proxy for coral bleaching. Using that understanding, the US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration looks at satellite data and produces “bleaching alerts” that represent a predicted stress response from coral.

In data produced exclusively for the Guardian by Mark Eakin, head of Coral Reef Watch at Noaa, we can now reveal exactly how much stress ocean temperatures have been impacted the Great Barrier Reef over the 34 years that satellite data has been available.

Since 1982, just after mass bleachings were seen for the first time, the data shows that the average proportion of the Great Barrier Reef exposed to temperatures where bleaching or death is likely, has increased from about 11% a year to about 27% a year.

Looking at the data, Eakin says a clear trend that hadn’t been quantified before is upon us.  “In seeing that what it immediately showed was that there was a real background pattern of increasing levels of thermal stress.

Combined with other stressors hitting the reef, this is having a devastating impact.  Over that period, half the coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef has been lost – and that’s before the mass bleaching this year has been taken into account.

That data has limitations – it’s not direct bleaching, but stress inferred from temperature readings. And it lumps extreme levels of stress – like what is being seen around Lizard Island now – with anything that is expected to cause mortality.” End quote from Jack Williams.

Richard Vivers, The Ocean Agency: “It’s one of the largest die-offs in History“. Within the Guardian article below, be sure to watch the two embedded videos which are shared there:  The Great Barrier Reef A Catastrophe Laid Bare

I'm an anti-imperialist, environmental activist and blue ocean sailor, who is passionate about the earth and all it's inhabitants without favour. Brace for imminent impact as we bare witness to the non-linear unraveling of the biosphere and habitability disappearing for most if not all complex life on the only habitable planet we know of. To quote President Niinistö in North Russia: ‘If We Lose the Arctic, We Lose the World’. Folks we have lost the Arctic.

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Posted in Abrupt Climate Change, Climate Science, Feedback loops, Geography, Habitat, Near Term Human Extinction--NTHE, News, Warnings
22 comments on “The Great Barrier Reef, Catastrophe Laid Bare
  1. bill says:

    Dire Climate Change news is coming in thick and fast now and it’s frightening and devastating! 😦 One feels so powerless. There must be a few fortified bunker denialists now who are freaking out in full nervous breakdown or still convincing themselves a heating world means we can walk around in Hawaiian togs now as Winter disappears.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. […] Read it and weep – for the day draweth nigh: The Great Barrier Reef – Catastrophe Laid Bare […]

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ghostwheel says:

    According to wikipedia, Winston’s 10-minute sustained was 230 km/h (145 mph) and its 1-minute sustained was 285 km/h (180 mph):

    Could you please check your source on the figure you quote and confirm? Otherwise, a fine, succinct statement of the matter.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kevin Hester says:

      ” Tropical Cyclone Winston made history when it tore across Fiji’s main island of Viti Levu early on Sunday morning. It hit with staggering intensity, with estimated maximum sustained winds of up to 185 miles per hour, with gusts to 225 miles per hour.”
      Andrew Freedman is a reliable source.


      • Ghostwheel says:

        Then it seems there’s an extra digit in the figure given in your article:

        “Cyclone Winston pummeled Fiji with wind speeds in excess of 2020 miles/ hour….”

        I assume you meant to type “220 miles/hour”?

        The former figure makes me think of cosmic storms on some gas giant like Jupiter or Neptune. Thankfully, we’re not there yet!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Kevin Hester says:

    That was a typo, thx very much for the correction


  5. Kevin Hester says:

    The entire marine food web is collapsing, you’d have to be blind not to see it. Remember 50 % of the human protein and 70% of our oxygen comes from these dying oceans.


  6. Kevin Hester says:

    R.I.P. dear friend. I swam through your underwater rainforest on a 800m sail down your flank. I fell in love with you and grieve at your loss.


  7. Kevin Hester says:

    The Australian Bureau of Meteorology has us on “El Nino Watch”, when it kicks in it will be the death knell for our coral reefs, the Great Barrier Reef being the largest and oldest single living organism on the planet.


  8. Kevin Hester says:

    “Scientists have now documented four major bleaching episodes along the Great Barrier Reef — 1998, 2002, 2016, and now 2017 — which means that most of the reef has undergone some form of severe bleaching in the past 18 years. ”


  9. Kevin Hester says:

    Hambone Little Tail goes all disaster on the GBR.


  10. Kevin Hester says:

    The stinking, dying, Gt Barrier Reef


  11. […] Read it and weep – for the day draweth nigh: The Great Barrier Reef – Catastrophe Laid Bare […]

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Kevin Hester says:

    The relentless collapse of the global coral community continues apace;


  13. Kevin Hester says:

    “So, you take out coral reefs and a third to a quarter of all marine species gets wiped out. Now that is ecological chaos, it is ecological collapse.”


  14. Kevin Hester says:

    The Australian Bureau of Meteorology now has us on “El Nino Watch’ with a 70% of it eventuating. Check out the Enso Wrap on their website. If it kicks in the bleaching event will be back on steroids;


  15. Kevin Hester says:

    For me this is one of the worst, predictable outcomes that I have been dreading.
    I mistakenly have been saying that the next El Nino would be the death knell for the Great Barrier Reef.
    If a bleaching event is possible in a La Nina phase that means there will be no respite for the largest living organism on the planet.


  16. Kevin Hester says:

    The analysis in this article indicates how stressed the GBR is but it doesn’t mention that this bleaching event is unfolding in a La Nina phase, the next El Nino will be the death knell for the largest organism on the planet and Scomo throws bread crumbs from his coal exports at it.


  17. Kevin Hester says:

    The great Jim Massa’s latest


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Kevin Hester

Kevin Hester is currently living on Rakino Island, a small island in the Hauraki Gulf near Auckland, New Zealand, monitoring the unravelling of the biosphere and volunteering at the Rakino Island Nursery is currently developing a proposal to create a marine reserve near by. The Island has no grid tied electricity or reticulated water.  I catch my own water from the roof and generate my electricity from the ample solar radiation on the island.

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