Human Hothouse Spurs Longest Coral Die-Off on Record

It’s like a bad dream from which one cannot wake.


The big coral die-off began in the Western Pacific as a massive ocean temperature spike built up during 2014. Back then, ocean heat accumulation had hit a very high ramp. A vicious, century-and-a-half long increase in atmospheric greenhouse gasses re-radiated greater and greater portions of the sun’s energy hitting the Earth — transferring the bulk (about 90 percent) to the world ocean system.

Major Coral Bleaching Event

(A report out today from AGU finds that the world is now experiencing its longest coral die-off event on record. Image source: AGU.)

By 2015, as one of the strongest El Ninos on record began to extend its influence across the globe, a broad region stretching from the Western Pacific, through the Central Pacific and on into the Eastern Pacific and Caribbean were all experiencing mass coral die-offs. Into early 2016, die-off events again expanded taking in Australian waters and sections of the Indian Ocean off…

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The oceans can’t take any more: Fundamental change in oceans predicted

GR:  Running out of time. Species extinctions, intensifying storms, dying forests and the seas. Scientists study the causes, activists fight small battles and talk about solutions, and our corporate-controlled governments and politicians say it isn’t practical just now to change course.  The article below and others describe the approaching disaster.

A warm-water coral reef and boat. Credit: A. Venn

Science News:  “Our oceans need immediate and substantial reduction of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. If that doesn’t happen, we could see far-reaching and largely irreversible impacts on marine ecosystems, which would especially be felt in developing countries. That’s the conclusion of a new review study published today in the journal Science. In the study, the research team from the Ocean 2015 initiative assesses the latest findings on the risks that climate change poses for our oceans, and demonstrates how fundamentally marine ecosystems are likely to change if human beings continue to produce just as much greenhouse gases as before.”

New ocean energy plan could worsen global warming

GR:  Unintended consequences lurk behind many of our ideas and our practices.  Reducing our population and learning the equality of other species are the ultimate solutions.  Anything less is only temporary.

By Tim Radford

“An apparently promising way of producing energy from the world’s oceans in fact risks causing catastrophic harm by warming the Earth far more than it can bear, US scientists say.

“One of renewable energy’s more outspoken enthusiasts has delivered bad news for the prospects of developing ocean thermal energy. His prediction is that although the technology could work for a while, after about 50 years it could actually exacerbate long-term global warning.  Source:

Dead Zones: Massive Loss of Ocean Biodiversity From Warming May Take Millennia to Recover

DeadZonesImage from the Washington Post.

“. . . the effects of the current rise in temperatures of our oceans is worse than you or I could have imagined. It’s so bad that it may take thousands of years for ocean life to recover. That’s a recovery time measured in millennia, for those who prefer polysyllabic Latinate words:

“A study has found that it might take thousands of years for the ocean to recover from climate change. Researchers studied more than 5,400 fossils from a 30-foot-long core sample taken from the Pacific Ocean floor near Santa Barbara, California, and found that it can take millennia for ocean ecosystems to recover after periods of deoxygenation and warming waters. […] “In this study, we used the past to forecast the future,” Peter Roopnarine, curator of invertebrate zoology and geology at the California Academy of Sciences and co-author of the study, said in a statement. “We don’t want to hear that ecosystems need thousands of years to recover from disruption, but it’s critical that we understand the global need to combat modern climate impacts.”

“Here is what the article posted at Science News regarding this research study has to say about its importance to our understanding of the impacts of global warming on Ocean ecosystems and biodiversity (Source:”

GR:  I agree with the author “News like this should be cause for all of us to be running around screaming with our heads on fire.”

When one of the Coldwater Farm ponds developed a heavy algae bloom that began killing fish, I felt the same urgency that comes when you watch a newborn on its first search for a teat.  I aerated and filtered desperately, but in the end all the fish died.

Are we as helpless to save our ocean ecosystems?  Probably, but let’s watch for opportunities to urge our leaders to apply the Earth Ethic to our marine ecosystems.