It will Survive!

Dave 07Australia’s great barrier reef will survive! This astonishingly good news was in a recent article in Bloomberg headlined: Great Barrier Reef “Showing Signs of Recovery.” This just one year after it was declared doomed!

To be honest with you, I always thought it would recover and I’ll tell you why. I’ve read enough history related to climate to know that over the centuries and millennia, mother nature has delivered, and taken, some tremendous hits, and has usually recovered.

The only time nature hasn’t is after truly cataclysmic events, like the meteor strike near the Yucatán Peninsula that wiped out the dinosaurs, or a volcanic explosions that blow entire islands into dust, or humans hunting passenger pigeons to extinction. But generally speaking, nature is pretty resilient.

More recently, I watched a documentary series on the Great Barrier Reef. In it they related how a sunken ship had, within a few years, developed a mini coral reef, and then when a major storm came through and severely damaged the coral, it only took about five years for it to recover. It appears that even coral is remarkably resilient.

Holocene_Sea_Level.pngAnd by the way, did you know that the Great Barrier Reef only began forming about 10,000 years ago? Before that it was a coastal plain inhabited by an aboriginal Australian tribe, that still, in their traditional songs and dance, remember the rapid sea level rise experienced by their ancestors. The rising sea levels sometimes pushed them back half a kilometre in one year.

Recent_Sea_Level_Rise.pngThe fact is, sea levels have risen over 300 feet during the last 15,000 years, or about 2 feet per century. The current rate of sea level rise is 10 to 12 inches per century. From the graphs I think you’d have to conclude that current sea level rise rates are relatively normal, nevertheless, if you build on a beach you’re eventually going to get flooded.

In a later episode of the documentary on the Great Barrier Reef, they took us to a research facility where Australian scientists are measuring the possible impact on coral, of the warmer water temperatures projected by computer models for 100 years from now. But here’s the crazy thing. Since they didn’t want to take 100 years to test this hypothetical warming, they compressed the time frame to one year! As you might expect, the coral experienced some damage, and now, this bogus experiment informs Australian government policy.

So I thought of an analogous, but hypothetical experiment, to test what happens when you brake a car from 100 kilometres an hour to zero in 300 feet, or 100 meters. downloadExcept there is a brick wall in the way on the test track and you don’t have 100 meters, so you shorten the available braking distance to 1 meter before the wall. Then, using those 1-meter test results, you confidently tell the world what will happen when a car brakes from 100 to zero in 100 meters.

And you wonder why a lot of people don’t trust a lot of 21st century science?

Why would they.

I’m Dave Reesor.

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