By JR on Thursday, December 17, 2015
Plankton and global warming: Another big crock of the brown stuff
A totally boring finding to the effect that warm-water creatures tend to live in warm water has been hyped into a threat to our fish dinners
I noted yesterday a new report that said plankton were dying out due to global warming. And plankton are an important part of the marine food chain so the implication was that our fish dinners are threatened! As someone who likes fish dinners I take that seriously, but I recently noted another threat to my fish dinners that turned out to be "poorly understood" so I was inclined to be suspicious of this threat too. But I was a bit rushed for time yesterday -- I had to set aside some time for a sociable dinner of excellent chili con carne -- so I contented myself with noting just a few immediately apparent oddities in the news report yesterday.
But today I have had time to look up the underlying academic document. It is Plankton 2015: State of Australia’s oceans, by Anthony Richardson et al., which describes itself as a "brochure". It is NOT an academic journal article that has undergone the rigors of peer review etc. And the apparently most relevant piece of research by others that they cite turns out to be an unpublished honours thesis! Rigor get thee behind me!
It is basically a bureaucratic document from the CSIRO, a once respectable but now rather controversial publicly-funded Australian scientific research organization. Warmists have got hold of it so there goes scientific caution and integrity.
And the latest "brochure" is a good example of its intellectual decline and irresponsibility. The very first statement in their "Summary for Policymakers" is: "Climate change is altering plankton distributions". That is partly all well and good: Plankton distributions along the long East coast of Australia do appear to have changed in various ways. But no evidence that any have died out is presented and there is no note of any significant shrinkage in overall abundance -- so the threat to our fish dinners dies at that point.
But what about the first part of that sentence? Is "Climate change" behind the plankton change? We delve further into the report and find that claim most interestingly expanded:
"Water temperature off Maria Island (east coast of Tasmania) has warmed by 1.5°C since 1944, and is a consequence of global warming and its influence on the intensification of the warm, poleward-flowing East Australian Current (EAC). The EAC now makes more incursions into Tasmanian waters than previously. The increase in strength of the EAC is likely to be a response to climate change, and has contributed to ocean warming off Australia ~3–4 times the global average."
Isn't that fun? It's changes in ocean currents that are now the culprit and those changes are now only "likely" to have been effected by global warming! Not a single piece of evidence or reference is given to support that "likelihood" however. Let me guess why: There isn't any. It's just a statement of Warmist faith.
So they have NO data about effects of global warming. And in fact it is worse than that. Their findings are demonstrably NOT an effect of global warming. They are a result of LOCAL warming. How do we know that? Because, as they themselves admit, the warming in Australian waters is much greater than the global average. If it's not global, it's not global, if I need to put it that way.
So what the report amounts to is a report of totally predictable effects of a change in ocean currents. And ocean currents change all the time and tend to be cyclic anyway. So the opportunistic pseudo-scientists of the CSIRO have dressed up a perfectly routine and uninteresting piece of research as if it proved something dramatic: A threat to our food chain from global warming. It does nothing of the sort. It is just self-serving propaganda designed to shore up their research grants.