The peer-reviewed scientific literature is teeming with new evidence supporting the skeptical viewpoint that modern climate changes are neither unprecedented or unusual — nor do they fall outside the range of natural variability. For example, (1) the Arctic’s Bering Sea surface was several degrees warmer and sea-ice-free all year round earlier in the Holocene. (2) Coral bleaching events are naturally occurring and led to mass coral deaths in much warmer seas earlier in the Holocene. And (3) 76% of the world’s beach shorelines have been stable or growing since the 1980s. Activists just ignore this newly published scientific evidence and instead continue peddling alarmism.
1. What Activists Write About The Bering Sea Ice Melt
Image Source: Grist.org
Image Source: Washington Post
1. What Newly Published Science Says…
The Bering Sea’s surface temperatures ranged between 6°C to 9°Cduring the Early Holocene (~11,800 to 9,500 years ago). Slightly further south, in the subarctic North Pacific, sea surface temperatures (SSTs) were as high as 10°C to 12°C between ~9,000 and 5,000 years ago. CO2 concentrations hovered around 260 ppm during this period (versus ~410 ppm today), and yet these Early Holocene SSTs were warm enough that year-round open waters — no sea ice — prevailed in the Arctic’s Bering Sea and the subarctic North Pacific.
Comparatively, saltwater freezes to form a layer of sea ice at temperatures of -1.7°C (NOAA). And in modern times, the Bering Sea maintains a layer of sea ice from about November to May every year, meaning that today’s SSTs are sub-zero for much of the year in this region.
“In this study, the last glacial–deglacial–Holocene variability in SST [sea surface temperature] and sea-ice cover are reconstructed using alkenone-based SST [sea surface temperature] and sea-ice IP25 and PIP25 proxies in sediment cores from the Bering Sea [Arctic Ocean] and the subarctic Pacific. At all sites and during warm as well as cold climatic intervals SST values are well above 0 °C, suggesting ice-free summer conditions throughout.”
“When IP25 [proxy for sea ice] is absent, lack or very low abundance of phytoplankton biomarkers reflects permanent sea-ice coverage, whereas elevated abundance of phytoplankton markers reflects ice-free conditions. Another useful approach that help to distinguish between the two “IP25=0” extremes, i.e., ice-free versus thick closed ice coverage, is the determination of the sea-surface temperature (SST). SST values significantly above 0 °C give important information about surface water characteristics per se, but also clearly point to ice-free conditions if IP25=0 (cf. [Knies et al., 2014, Stein et al., 2016]).”
“The early Holocene is marked by distinctly increased TOC contents, reaching maximum values (>1 wt%) between ~400 and ~170 cm (~11.5–10 ka ~11,500 to 10,000 years ago]). Likewise, continuously increasing SST [sea surface temperature], reaching maximum values of ~ 9°C at ~ 180 cm (~ 10 ka [10,000 years ago]), strongly coincides with the absence of IP25 [proxy for sea ice] in the sediment. … [For the] lower half of the studied section of Core SO202-27-6 [North eastern Pacific], the Holocene is characterized by maximum SST [sea surface temperature] values of 12°C. Relatively low TOC and phytoplankton markers prevailing during this period, coeval with the absence of IP25 [sea ice]. … [For the] North western Pacific (Core SO202 07 6), the Holocene is marked by the absence of IP25 [sea ice], coinciding with low values of TOC, dinosterol and long chain n-alkanes (avg. ~0.5 wt%, ~ 4 µg/g TOC and 78 µg/g TOC, respectively). SST [sea surface temperature] values increase to about 10°C during the early Holocene.”
“At all sites and during warm as well as cold climatic intervals SST values are well above 0°C (i.e., ranging between about 5 and 12°C), suggesting that the SST data represent more the summer situation with ice-free conditions.”
“In the Bering Sea, the transition between the YD [Younger Dryas]-like cold event and the Early Holocene is marked by the rapid disappearance of IP25 [sea ice] around 11.5 ka [11,500 years ago] in both cores from the Bering Sea. The absence of IP25 [sea ice proxy] and minimum PIP25 [sea ice proxy] index values is also registered in the subarctic Pacific during this period. These observations demonstrate that year-round open-water conditions prevailed in these areas during the Early Holocene.”
“A prominent decrease of IP25 [sea ice proxy] and minimum values of PIP25 index, reflecting ice-free conditions in the subarctic Pacific and the Bering Sea during the Holocene Thermal Maximum, is in line with the SST [sea surface temperature] warming. This is likely due to the maximum orbitally forced summer insolation, enhancing the melting of ice sheets and thus a sea-level rise. The resultant opening of Bering Strait (~11 ka) and the Aleutian passages allowed the inflow of Pacific Water into the Bering Sea. This warm-water inflow further enhanced the sea-ice melting, leading to ice-free conditions in the Bering Sea during this period. During the late-Early/Mid Holocene, an increase in IP25 and PIP25 in sediments from the north-eastern Bering Sea reveals a shift to marginal sea-ice conditions that is in line with the recovery of extended sea ice observed in other Arctic marginal seas. The extension of Arctic sea ice during the Mid Holocene was likely triggered by the lower Northern Hemisphere insolation and a general widespread surface water-cooling.”
2. What Activists Write About ‘Unprecedented’ Coral Bleaching
Image Source: Popular Science
Image Source: Mother Jones
2. What Newly Published Science Says…
As recently as a few thousand years ago, sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the South China Sea were at least 2°C warmer than they are today, and mass coral death events routinely occurred due to severe bleaching. Obviously, corals were able to survive past bleaching events, which are a naturally-occurring ecological phenomenon. Nothing that is occurring today is “unprecedented” or falls outside the range of natural variability.
“This study provides evidence that thermal coral bleaching events have occurred in the warmer mid-Holocene (where maximum monthly summer SST was 2 °C higher than at present) in Hainan island. … We carried out this pilot study to explore the responses of corals to abnormally warm conditions in prehistoric periods. Four massive Porites coral fossils that died 3800 – 4200 years ago were collected from the Wenchang fringing reef, Hainan Island, NSCS. The reconstructed SST just prior to the mortality surfaces and growth discontinuities were higher than the [modern] maximum summer SSTs in the NSCS [Northern South China Sea]. This indicated that the corals’ deaths and interruptions in growth – which were observed to be in summer – were accompanied by an anomalously high SST [sea surface temperature]. Enhanced Δδ18O suggested increased evaporation and high-SSS conditions, attributable to warm sea surface temperatures.”
“A significant negative shift in δ13C just prior to mortality surfaces and growth discontinuities indicated a reduced photosynthetic intensity of symbiotic zooxanthellae. Together, this evidence for increased SST and SSS and decreased photosynthetic intensity strongly suggest that the growth hiatuses and coral deaths observed were the results of severe coral bleaching. This in turn indicates that coral bleaching events under high SST conditions have already occurred in the mid-Holocene and are by no means a new ecological phenomenon of current global warming.”
3. What Activists Write About Beach Shorelines Disappearing
Image Source: Futurism.com
Image Source: abcnews.com
3. What Newly Published Science Says…
Two years ago, a paper was published in the journal Nature indicating that shorelines have been growing overall across the world since the mid-1980s (Donchyts et al., 2016). In other words, despite rising sea levels, there is more land area above sea level today than there was 30 years ago because “coasts are growing all over the world“. This conclusion has again been confirmed by another new Nature paper that indicates only 24% of the world’s beach shorelines are eroding, whereas 76% of the world’s beach shorelines are either growing (28%) or stable (48%).
“The application of an automated shoreline detection method to the sandy shorelines thus identified resulted in a global dataset of shoreline change rates for the 33 year period 1984–2016. Analysis of the satellite derived shoreline data indicates that 24% of the world’s sandy beaches are eroding at rates exceeding 0.5 m/yr, while 28% are accreting and 48% are stable.”
“Erosion rates exceed 5 m/yr along 4% of the sandy shoreline and are greater than 10 m/yr for 2% of the global sandy shoreline. On the other hand, about 8% of the world’s sandy beaches experience significant accretion (>3 m/yr), while 6% (3%) are accreting more than 5 m/yr (10 m/yr). … Taking a continental perspective, Australia and Africa are the only continents for which net erosion (−0.20 m/yr and −0.07 m/yr respectively) is found, with all other continents showing net accretion.”