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« Cognitive dissonance in media over climate change | Main | Obituary: The Prof goes to new pasture »

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AcidComments

"This from a Kiribati Foreign Investment Commission brochure:

Some other areas in which foreign investment is allowed but subject to restrictions include the:

• fisheries sector: drifter fishing, dynamite fishing, chemical fishing, conservation areas, coral exploration;"


Yep.

Also you can add the 'inconvenient truth' of the Causeway project altering tidal flow and increasing coastal erosion in places.

Man-made causes include the deleterious effects of causeway construction across inter-islet channels whichhave cut off the supply of sand from the ocean reef to the lagoon and re-aligned the adjacent lagoon shoreline

CM

>>>The cold hard fact is Kiribati and other Pacific islands are not suffering rising sea levels because of CO2 - but because they're submerging themselves through dynamiting their protective coral reefs for both fishing and the export of coral sand.<<<

How does the 'cold hard fact' that "they're submerging themselves" match up with Eschenbach's "the islands are floating upwards with the sea level rise"? Which 'cold hard fact' is it? How can it be both?

Ian Wishart

Some of the islands are actively sinking as part of tectonic movement (Takuu, for example), others are eroding due to human stupidity (Takuu again, Kiribati and others). It is true that coral grows with rising sea levels, and the islands rise correspondingly, but if you are blowing your coral to bits it kind of overwhelms the natural order.

Bob D

CM:

Which 'cold hard fact' is it? How can it be both?
Easily. Coral reef growth is of the order of tens of millimetres per year (in the vertical direction). Current sea level rise (about 1.8mm/yr) is compensated for by the growth of the coral. See Darwin (1842). The coral grows upwards with the sea level rise (or subsidence of the volcanic base).

Dynamite, however, is very effective at destroying coral.

Kiribati's problems are fresh water-related, and have more to do with depletion of the freshwater lens galleries than sea level rise. This is two-fold: the population growth has meant more extraction from the galleries, and this (together with the blasting) has allowed salt water incursions that make the water brackish.

The freshwater issue is current and urgent. The sea level rise issue is distant and imaginary.

There are two further options to counter the water problem: rain water collection and desalination plants. Rain water collection is difficult due to sporadic droughts, and desalination plants are expensive, both to build and to run.

Antipodean59

Go back to the 1940s reconnaissance WWII photos of Kirabati and one can see the atoll lower in the sea than it is, even now.
Just another pack of greedies on the AGW rort gravy train.

probligo

"Easily. Coral reef growth is of the order of tens of millimetres per year (in the vertical direction). Current sea level rise (about 1.8mm/yr) is compensated for by the growth of the coral. See Darwin (1842). The coral grows upwards with the sea level rise (or subsidence of the volcanic base)."

A "fact" that totally ignores another equally important fact.

Coral only grows below low tide mark. Therefore live coral (growing coral) is never above the water.

Bob D

probligo:

A "fact" that totally ignores another equally important fact.

Coral only grows below low tide mark. Therefore live coral (growing coral) is never above the water.


I'm not sure why the fact of vertical coral growth, as postulated by Darwin in 1842 and tested in labs around the world for many years "ignores" the fact that live coral lives under the water.

Please explain why this is significant, and what bearing it has on Darwin's theory of atoll formation and growth?

probligo

Bob D,

For coral that is above water -

a) The coral polyp (the little animal) can not survive out of water.
b) Therefore the coral that is above water is dead.
c) Because the coral is dead, it does not grow at 10mm per year. It might erode. It might be dynamited or in some instances nuked. But it does not grow.

For coral that is under water -

a) It might grow at 10mm per year. I am a bit sceptical of that as a fact but it is a minor not worth the quibble.
b) It needs access to open water and light in order to feed and multiply.
c) That kind of infers that coral grows on the outside of reefs, islands and boulders.
d) That also does seem to agree with observation.

From this I deduce that the likelihood of there being little coral animals underneath an island like Kiribati valiantly pushing the atoll upward from beneath is fairly unlikely.

I tend to favour the far more probable idea that at some time in the past sea levels were higher than they are at present. Then the little coral animals were able to do what they do best under water. When sea levels went down some time later but before now, the hard work of all those myriad coral animals was left high and dry to collect passing coconuts and eventually the odd ship- (or perhaps canoe-) wrecked sailor.

Sometimes of course, the little coral animals discovered that someone else's god had decided to raise them up in the world. Regrettably, millions of their number must have died as a result because they were no longer under water.

Is that simple enough to be understood?

cj_nza

Yes, it is rather simple.

But then we seldom need to judge the merits of a position on strength of its simplicity only.

There are rather well written pieces explaining the relationship between coral growth, sand deposits, wind and wave erosion and sea level changes.

Once the interaction of the various constructive and destructive forces are understood; it is not necessary to construct and dismiss a "valiantly pushing the atol upwards" strawman.

probligo

cj_naza -
I agree that there are well written, scientific expositions on "the relationship between coral growth, sand deposits, wind and wave erosion and sea level changes". Far better than my little effort.

But Bob D was either trying me out, or has not read the more learned and better written expositions.

Equally, there are others who have written here who might like to refer to some of the more scientific writings to which you refer. There is also the possibility that they enjoyed my simplistic effort and learned something at the same time.

Who knows?

Bob D

probligo:

It might grow at 10mm per year. I am a bit sceptical of that as a fact but it is a minor not worth the quibble.
I suggest you read Buddemeier and Smith "Coral reef growth in an era of rapidly rising sea level: predictions and suggestions for long-term research", where the question of vertical growth rate is addressed. Some quotes:
"If we assume an effective sediment porosity of 50%, these figures are equivalent to 7-70 mm/year upward growth."

"Massive corals have typical linear growth rates of about 10 mm/year, with maximum rates of about twice that value;"

"Branching corals may have vertical linear growth rates of several tens of mm/year;"

They settle on a conservative estimate of 10mm/yr. Again, the current long-term sea level rise rate is about 1.8mm/yr, some five times lower.

probligo:

From this I deduce that the likelihood of there being little coral animals underneath an island like Kiribati valiantly pushing the atoll upward from beneath is fairly unlikely.
I honestly have no idea what you're talking about here. Who is suggesting there are little coral animals beneath the island pushing it upward? This is the most inventive strawman I've ever seen.

If you read the Willis Eschenbach article Ian links to, together with Darwin "The Structure and Distribution of Coral Reefs" (1842), you'll see what the argument actually is, as opposed to what you imagine it to be.

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/01/27/floating-islands/

http://darwin-online.org.uk/pdf/1842_Coral_F271.pdf

In a nutshell: Atolls are maintained and protected by their coral reefs (and the creatures that inhabit them). The reefs stay at sea level, and are easily able to cope with sea level rise many times what it is currently. Destroy the reefs or the creatures maintaining it, and the atoll becomes inundated. Also, over-extraction of the freshwater lenses leads to brackish water.

probligo

And none of which goes against my statement that "Coral only grows below low tide mark. Therefore live coral (growing coral) is never above the water."

...or is there a scientific study that shows this statement to be false?

Bob D

probligo:

And none of which goes against my statement that "Coral only grows below low tide mark. Therefore live coral (growing coral) is never above the water."
It's a bit like saying "The sky is blue." What exactly is your point about the coral growing underwater, in the context of this discussion about rising sea levels? And why did you ramble on about little coral animals pushing islands upwards from beneath?

Also, why would you want us to believe that previously high sea levels formed the atolls, rather than the generally-accepted theories of Darwin, especially considering the known history of steadily rising sea levels (about 130m over the past 22,000 years) - see Fleming (1998 & 2000), Milne et al. (2005)

You wrote:

But Bob D was either trying me out, or has not read the more learned and better written expositions.
Which expositions would those be then? I've provided you with several sources to back up my position. Where are yours?

probligo

CM said -
"How does the 'cold hard fact' that "they're submerging themselves" match up with Eschenbach's "the islands are floating upwards with the sea level rise"?"

Ian Wishart said -
" It is true that coral grows with rising sea levels, and the islands rise correspondingly,..."

CM again -
" Current sea level rise (about 1.8mm/yr) is compensated for by the growth of the coral. See Darwin (1842). The coral grows upwards with the sea level rise (or subsidence of the volcanic base)."

I doubt that Eschenbach said "islands float upwards", or that Darwin made the point that the rise in sea level is compensated for by the growth of the coral. My (intentionally humourous) thought on the islands being pushed up came directly from Wishart.

It is in the inaccuracy of the language... or more likely the inaccuracy of the writer.

RK

IPCC Official: “Climate Policy Is Redistributing The World's Wealth”


Climate policy has almost nothing to do anymore with environmental protection, says the German economist and IPCC official Ottmar Edenhofer. The next world climate summit in Cancun is actually an economy summit during which the distribution of the world's resources will be negotiated.

http://thegwpf.org/ipcc-news/1877-ipcc-official-climate-policy-is-redistributing-the-worlds-wealth.html

RK

On Kiribati sinking
Richard Treadgold | November 17, 2010 | 9:33 pm

We didn’t mention straws, only facts
CORRECTION: 18 NOVEMBER

Bryan Walker, of Hot Topic, insists on the fact of the sinking of Kiribati along with a human cause of the sinking. Under the heading “Clutching at straws” he says:

http://www.climateconversation.wordshine.co.nz/2010/11/on-kiribati-sinking/

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