Monday, April 18, 2011

Past Alarm. World's Coral: 40% gone by 2010

On Monday 22 April 2002 ABC's flagship current affairs program, 4 Corners, broadcast the following alarming prediction in a report titled: Beautiful one day.
Across the world, coral reefs are turning into marine deserts. It’s estimated that more than a quarter have been lost and that 40 per cent could be gone by 2010.
From the transcript:
According to the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network, 10 per cent of the world's reefs were lost by 1992.
27 per cent were lost by the year 2000.
And it's expected 40 per cent will be gone by 2010.

In 1997 the area of the world's coral reefs was estimated to be 255,000km2. Reference.
If the prediction made on 4 Corners is to be believed, then in 2010 the area of the world's coral reefs should be around 153,000km2. 
Instead, in 2011, one year on from that alarming forecast, we find that the global area of coral reef is estimated to be 249,713km2. Reference.
This amounts to a change from 1997 figures of -2.1%. Given the unreported uncertainties, there has essentially been no change in global reef area over the past 10 years. Within error, essentially none of the reefs are missing in 2010. This ABC story turns out to be yet another beat up, designed to scare rather than inform. 
Will Four corners now provide an update? Or will it leave this forecast of climate doom to go uncorrected?


  1. Oh, the latter. Of course. Naturally.

  2. Why not send them a note and ask?

    Baa Humbug

  3. BH, You're right can't hurt to try.

  4. Do we know what the source of the original prediction was?

  5. This is an ideal candidate for Anthony Watts' new "Climate FAIL Files"

    If no-one else wants to put it in, I'll do the typing.

  6. Source is the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network. I'll see if I can track down the precise report.


  7. Bishop,
    The claim that "10 per cent of the world's reefs were lost by 1992." appears to come from "Status of coral Reefs of the world 2002" Table on page 8 states. (link below)
    "1992 – alarm calls were raised at the 7 th International Coral Reef Symposium in Guam that 10% of the world’s reefs were dead and another 60% were threatened if no remedial action were taken; "

  8. Bishop,
    the claim:
    "27 per cent were lost by the year 2000."

    Appears to come from the same table as the first claim. see "Status of coral Reefs of the world 2002" Table on page 8 states. (link below)

    "2000 – the 2nd Status of Coral Reefs of the World: 2000 report estimated that major climate change events of 1997-98 had devastated a further 16% of the world’s remaining reefs with 32% more under threat;"

    10% plus 16% equals 26% close to the 27% claimed.
    Searched this document for the term "2010" and "40%" and "60" and "40" without luck. The claim that "40 per cent will be gone by 2010." probably elsewhere

    Seems that they have ignored the fact that the reefs can recover!

  9. From the 4 corners message board...
    Four Corners attaches for your information the latest report from the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network which states: "In 2008, the International Year of the Reef, there is a mixture of good and bad news in this ."
    Many thanks,
    Sue Spencer
    Executive Producer, 4 Corners

    Link is...

  10. The 2008 report states...Estimates assembled through the expert opinions of 372 coral reef scientists and managers from 96 countries are that the world has effectively lost 19% of the original area of coral reefs; 15% are seriously threatened with loss within the next 10–20 years; and 20% are under threat of loss in 20–40 years.
    from page 5

  11. And the faithful prophets of Gaia on public purse uttereth and spake saying:-

    And it shall come to pass that the corals shall be bleached and woe to the humans that inhabit and polluteth the earth by the abomination of their exhalation.

    St Loaded Dog

  12. What precentage of world coral reefs are visited by tourists & scientists?

  13. "In 1997 the area of the world's coral reefs was estimated to be 255,000km2."

    The 2008 GCRMN report lists, "Coral reef area from the World Atlas of Coral Reefs (2001)" as 284,803 square km so it appears that we're looking at a moving target. The same report states, "These estimates were determined using considerable coral reef monitoring data, some anecdotal reports and the expert opinion of hundreds of people associated with the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN). These assessments should be regarded as indicative, because there is insufficient coral reef monitoring data for many of these regions to make definitive statements on losses and authoritative predictions on the future."
    (page 11)

    The executive summary notes that there is much recovery in progress and damage comes not just from climate change (bleaching, CO2, invasive species) but from the Indian Ocean Tsunami, hurricanes, runoff, coastal development, over fishing, pollution, poverty, population pressure and others.

  14. fred nerk,Since global warming is a crock don't you think this might be a crock to,ha! just maybe a little.cheers

  15. Just a thought maybe the missing 50 million climate refugees have something to do with it.It's probably just another dodgy data computer model.


Please keep to the topic. Abusive comments and bad language are simply not tolerated. Note that your comment may take a little while to appear.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.