by K. Hansen, Feb 29, 2022 in WUWT
What exactly is the decline effect? Is it the fact that certain scientifically discovered effects decline over time the more they are studied and researched? Almost, but not really. The Wiki has this definition for us:
“The decline effect may occur when scientific claims receive decreasing support over time. The term was first described by parapsychologist Joseph Banks Rhine in the 1930s to describe the disappearing of extrasensory perception (ESP) of psychic experiments conducted by Rhine over the course of study or time. In its more general term, Cronbach, in his review article of science “Beyond the two disciplines of scientific psychology” [ also .pdf here ] referred to the phenomenon as “generalizations decay.” The term was once again used in a 2010 article by Jonah Lehrer published in The New Yorker.”
Some hold that the decline effect is not just a decrease of support over time but rather that it refers to a decrease in effect size over time – or, according to some, both because of one or the other. That is, the support decreases because the effect sizes found decrease, or, because of decreasing support, reported effect sizes decrease. The oft cited cause of the decline effect are: publication bias, citation bias, methodological bias, and investigator effects. Part 1 of this series was an example of investigator effects.
Let’s be perfectly clear: In no case does the decline effect refer to an actual decline in real world effects of some physical phenomena, but only to effect sizes found and/or reported in research reports over time.
One of the best discussions of the decline effect was published in The New Yorker over a decade ago. In an article titled: “The Truth Wears Off — Is there something wrong with the scientific method?” by Jonah Lehrer. At 2100 words, it is about a 10 minute read – and worth every minute.
by K. Hansen, Feb 22, 2022 in WUWT
The subject matter of the paper, examining the decline effect in the field of Ocean Acidification (OA), particularly in studies on the effects of OA on fish behavior, is itself interesting. I have written about OA and OA science many times here at WUWT.
There are two parts to this story about the decline effect. 1) The specific case of the decline effect in OA studies claimed in the Clements et al. paper. 2) The general case of the hypothesized causes of the decline effect in the sciences.
This essay will address the first issue: the decline effect in OA studies.
The decline effect in OA science:
As for the specific OA case, part of that story, featured in the Clements et al. paper, has been well-covered by Steve Milloy at JunkScience in his article “Climate fish scare turns out to be just a fish story”.
There are several obvious potential causes of a decline effect in a field. They are: publication bias, citation bias, methodological bias, and investigator effects.
As part of the review process of the new Clement et al. paper, each of those potential causes was investigated – and all but one were eliminated as a major cause. It is that last cause that I write about today.
The missing parts in Steve Milloy’s coverage are something that I have written about before and is left under-said Clements et al. (2022):
by Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Jan. 9, 2020 in WUWT
A three-year, comprehensive study of the effects of ocean acidification challenges previous reports that a more acidic ocean will negatively affect coral reef fish behaviour.
The study, conducted by an international coalition led by scientists from Australia and Norway, showed that coral reef fish exposed to CO2 at levels expected by the end of the century did not change their activity levels or ability to avoid predators.
“Contrary to previous studies, we have demonstrated that end-of-century CO2 levels have a negligible impact on the behaviour and sensory systems of coral reef fish,” said Timothy Clark, the lead author of the study and an associate professor at Deakin University in Australia.
Although this is good news on its own, ocean acidification and global warming remain a major problem for coral reefs, the researchers said. Ocean acidification is a problem for creatures that rely on calcium carbonate to make shells and skeletons, such as coral reef organisms, while higher ocean temperatures lead to coral bleaching and death.
by Jim Steele, April 2, 2019 in WUWT
Good news continues to accumulate regards corals’ ability to rapidly adjust to changing climates. The view of coral resilience has been dominated by the narrative of a few scientists. In the 1990s they advocated devastating consequences for coral reefs due to global warming, arguing coral cannot adapt quickly enough. Since the Little Ice Age ended, they believed rising ocean temperatures had brought coral closer to a “bleaching threshold”, a more or less fixed upper temperature limit above which corals cannot survive. Their model predicted the speed of recent global warming “spells catastrophe for tropical marine ecosystems everywhere”. Their assertions that “as much as 95% of the world’s coral may be in danger of being lost by mid-century” was guaranteed to capture headlines and instill public fear. However, a growing body of scientific research increasingly casts doubts on such alarming predictions. Unfortunately, that good news gets much less attention.
A recent peer-reviewed paper titled A Global Analysis of Coral Bleaching Over the Past Two Decades (Sully 2019) compared 20 years of ocean temperatures at which coral bleaching was initiated. From 1998 to 2006, the average sea surface temperature that initiated bleaching was 82.6 °F. But that temperature limit proves not to be “fixed” as earlier researchers incorrectly believed. From 2007 to 2017 the average temperature limit that initiated bleaching was higher, 83.7 °F. This indicates coral have been rapidly adapting to warmer regional climates much faster than once believed.
by P. Homewood, February 21, 2019 NotaLotofPeopleKnowThat
Surveys identified 25 coral species in West Hawaiʻi. Lobe coral (Porites lobata), one of the area’s most dominant species, proved to be the most resilient—with only 50% bleaching in 2015. Cauliflower corals (Pocillopora meandrina) were hardest hit—with 98% bleaching—but recent surveys show that they are beginning to recover.
by K. Richard, February 14, 2019 in NoTricksZone
A modest long-term (1800s-present) declining trend in ocean pH values predominantly occurred prior to 1930, or before anthropogenic CO2 emissions began rising precipitously. Since 1930, seawater pH trends have risen slightly, meaning sharply rising CO2 has been coincident with less, not more, ocean “acidification”
Image Source (lower graph): Wei et al., 2015
by Peter Ridd, December 26, 2018 in GWPF
Scientists from James Cook University have just published a paper on the bleaching and death of corals on the Great Barrier Reef and were surprised that the death rate was less than they expected, because of the adaptability of corals to changing temperatures.
It appears as though they exaggerated their original claims and are quietly backtracking.
To misquote Oscar Wilde, to exaggerate once is a misfortune, to do it twice looks careless, but to do it repeatedly looks like unforgivable systemic unreliability by some of our major science organisations.
The very rapid adaptation of corals to high temperatures is a well-known phenomenon; besides, if you heat corals in a given year, they tend to be less susceptible in the future to overheating. This is why corals are one of the least likely species to be affected by climate change, irrespective of whether you believe the climate is changing by natural fluctuations or because of human influence.
Corals have a unique way of dealing with changing temperature, by changing the microscopic plants that live inside them. These microscopic plants, called zooxanthellae, give the coral energy from the sun through photosynthesis in exchange for a comfortable home inside the coral. When the water gets hot, these little plants effectively become poisonous to the coral and the coral throws them out, which turns the coral white — that is, it bleaches.
by ‘Guest Blogger’, December 23, 2018 in WUWT
Obiter dictum. We acknowledge that seawater is basic and cannot truly acidify (pH<7). But that is a losing semantic quibble, not a winning skeptical argument. The generally accepted linguistic convention—for better or worse–is that lowering seawater pH means ‘acidification’. There is no doubt that adding dissolved CO2 does lower pH. The relevant questions are how much and whether that amount matters. This post answers both questions (a little, not much) without the two specific false alarms that motivated the ebook version.
There are certainly some ocean related AGW consequences beyond any scientific doubt. Henry’s Law requires that the partial pressures of atmospheric and dissolved ocean CO2equilibrate. Rising atmospheric CO2 must increase dissolved seawater CO2. That is long established simple physical chemistry.
This lowers pH by increasing carbonic acid. NOAA PMEL has documented this in the central Pacific at Station Aloha off Mauna Loa where sea surface pH has declined from 8.11 to 8.07 since 1991, as dissolved pCO2 increased from ≈325 to ≈360μatm while atmospheric CO2 increased from about 355 to 395 ppm. That is Δ0.04 pH in 24 years.
See also here (in French)
by Rud Itsvan, November 17, 2018 in WUWT
WUWT has posted several excellent articles by Jim Steele on how global warming alarmism uses corals as the poster child for warming and acidifying oceans, none of which is scientifically justified. A brief review follows, calling attention to a recently discovered additional adaptation mechanism not covered AFAIK by Jim Steele’s posts. The motivation for this post was triggered by a recent lunch with newish neighbor Charles the Moderator (CtM), and his sharing many wonderful underwater photographs of the coral reef he now dives frequently off Pompano Beach (same reef system as off Fort Lauderdale, just a few miles further north and more conveniently onshore).
by Anthony Watts, August 17, 2018 in WUWT
From the “science eventually self-corrects” department, new science showing coral bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef is a centuries-old problem, well before “climate change” became a buzzword and rising CO2 levels were blamed.
Marc Hendrickx writes:
New paper shows coral bleaching in GBR extending back 400+ years.
by Anthony Watts, August 4, 2018 in WUWT
MIAMI—New research shows that not all corals respond the same to changes in climate. The University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science-led study looked at the sensitivity of two types of corals found in Florida and the Caribbean and found that one of them—mountainous star coral—possesses an adaptation that allows it to survive under high temperatures and acidity conditions.
“Stressful periods of high temperature and increasingly acidic conditions are becoming more frequent and longer lasting in Florida waters,” said Chris Langdon, marine biology and ecology professor and lead author on the new study. “However, we found that not all coral species are equally sensitive to climate change and there’s hope that some species that seemed doomed may yet develop adaptations that will allow them to survive as well.”
See also (in French) here and here
by JoNova, June 12, 2018 inJoNovaBlog
After half a billion million years of climate change, I’m shocked, shocked I tell you, that life on Earth (and specifically corals) have so many ways to cope with the climate changing. After all, it’s natural (if you are trained by Greenpeace) to assume that corals can only survive in a world with one constant stable temperature just like they never had.
One more tool in the coral-reef-workshop
Corals don’t just have a tool-box, they have a Home Depot Warehouse. h/t to GWPF
by Ross C.L. et al., 2017, June 10, 2018 in CO2Science
The global increase in the atmosphere’s CO2 content has been hypothesized to possess the potential to harm coral reefs directly. By inducing changes in ocean water chemistry that can lead to reductions in the calcium carbonate saturation state of seawater (Ω), it has been predicted that elevated levels of atmospheric CO2 may reduce rates of coral calcification, possibly leading to slower-growing — and, therefore, weaker — coral skeletons, and in some cases even death.
As we have previously pointed out on our website, however (see The End of the Ocean Acidification Scare for Corals and A Coral’s Biological Control of its Calcifying Medium to Favor Skeletal Growth), such projections often fail to account for the fact that coral calcification is a biologically mediated process, and that out in the real world, living organisms tend to find ways to meet and overcome the many challenges they face; and coral calcification in response to ocean acidification is no exception.
See also in French
by Prof. Dr. P. Berth, 5 juin 2018, in ScienceClimatEnergie.be
Voici quelques réflexions sur la théorie de l’acidification des océans. Selon cette théorie, le pH des océans diminuerait inlassablement, en raison du CO2 qui ne cesse de s’accumuler dans l’atmosphère.
• Les mesures directes de pH sont récentes et nous n’avons aucun recul. Selon les médias et les ONG écologistes, qui se basent sur le GIEC et sur certaines publications (e.g., Caldeira & Wickett 2003), le pH des océans aurait été de 8.25 en 1750. Cependant, il faut savoir que personne n’a jamais mesuré le pH des océans en 1750, puisque le concept de pH n’a été inventé qu’en 1909 (par le danois Søren P.L. Sørensen), et que les premiers appareils fiables pour mesurer le pH ne sont apparus qu’en 1924… Nous ne sommes donc pas certains de cette valeur de 8.25 pour 1750… La valeur de 8.25 est donc obtenue par des mesures indirectes et n’est donc pas certaine.
• A l’heure d’aujourd’hui, tous les pH sont possibles. Lorsqu’on dit que les océans actuels sont à un pH de 8.1, de quel océan parle-t-on? S’agit-il du pH moyen global? Si c’est de cela qu’on parle, quelle est l’incertitude sur la mesure? (i.e., l’écart-type?). Ceci n’est jamais indiqué. Il faut savoir que si l’on prend un jour de la semaine, tous les pH sont possibles dans les océans, comme l’illustre très bien la figure suivante.
by David Middleton, June 5, 2018 in WUWT
The Fable of Chicken Little of the Sea
Guest essay by David Middleton,
When if comes to debunking Gorebal Warming, Chicken Little of the Sea (“ocean acidification”) and other Warmunist myths, my favorite starting points are my old college textbooks.
Way back in the Pleistocene (spring semester 1979) in Marine Science I, our professor, Robert Radulski, assigned us The Oceans by Sverdrup (yes, that Sverdrup), Johnson and Fleming. Even though it was published in 1942, it was (and may still be) considered the definitive oceanography textbook. I looked up “ocean acidification” in the index… It wasn’t there.
The notion that CO2 partial pressure influences the pH of seawater isn’t a new concept, *surely* ocean acidification must have been mentioned in at least one of my college textbooks.
by S. Xu et al., December 2017, in AGU1000Biogeosciences
Coral bleaching is becoming a serious issue for coral reefs under the stress of global warming. However, whether it has occurred in the past in times of thermal stress remains unclear. Moreover, an understanding of historic coral bleaching events would greatly improve our insight into the adaptive capabilities of corals under such stresses. It is known that Porites corals, a massive coral, have relatively high levels of symbiotic zooxanthellae and a strong thermal tolerance when compared with most other corals (and particularly branched corals). Thus, growth hiatuses and/or mortality surfaces of fossil Porites may be used to indicate past ecological or environmental stress events, such as severe bleaching. In this study, monthly geochemical and isotopic environmental proxies of four fossil Porites corals with well‐preserved growth hiatuses and mortality surfaces (aged 3,800–4,200 years before 2013 A.D.), collected from Wenchang fringing reef, Hainan Island, Northern South China Sea were analyzed. Specifically, the Sr/Ca, δ18O, and δ13C were measured with a monthly resolution for each sample.
by Kate Wheeling, April 19, 2018 in PacificStandard
Coral reefs are facing no shortage of threats including ocean acidification, overfishing, plastic pollution, and rising temperatures. Sea surface temperatures have been climbing on average for over a century, and ocean heat waves—which can trigger coral bleaching events—are becoming more common and severe. Scientists have long worried that as coral-killing spikes in temperature become more frequent, corals won’t have enough time to recover between bleaching events and will ultimately go extinct. But a new paper, published today in PLoS Genetics, suggests that corals might be able to adapt to another century of warming.
by Donald et al. 2017, in CO2Science from Géochim.Cosmochim.Acta
The influence of pHsw on both pHcf and the calcification rate of Neogoniolithon is plotted in Figure 1 below. As indicated there, this coralline algal species is able to elevate its pHcf so as to increase its rate of calcification under moderate levels of ocean acidification (pHsw of 7.91 and 8.05), which increase the authors say is “most likely due to CO2-fertilization of [algal] photosynthesis” that is limited in Neogoniolithon at these lower pCO2 conditions. (….)
by Matt Ridley, December 12, 2017
A 2010 analysis of 372 studies of 44 different marine species found that the world’s marine fauna is “more resistant to ocean acidification than suggested by pessimistic predictions” and that it “may not be the widespread problem conjured into the 21st century”
by Andy May, October 4, 2017 in WUWT
Georgiou, et al. 2015 have reported that coral reefs in the Australian Great Barrier Reef, near Heron Island, are insensitive to ocean pH changes. The location of Heron Island, about 257 miles (414 km) north of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, is shown in figure 1 using Google maps
by David Middleton, July 17, 2017 in WUWT
The Tethys Sea couldn’t have been a better place for petroleum source rock deposition even if it had been designed for such a purpose. The “Tethyan realm” encompassed much of the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods…
See also here and also here
by S.D. Connell et al., 2017 in Current Biology (in CO2 Science)
The increasing absorption of CO2 and associated decline in seawater pH values is thought to pose direct harm to marine life in the decades and centuries to come by affecting rates of survival, calcification, growth, development and/or reproduction. However, as ever more pertinent evidence accumulates, a much more optimistic viewpoint is emerging.
by Mote Marine Laboratory, June 5, 2017 in ScienceDaily
A controlled lab study led by Mote Marine Laboratory and published June 1 in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS ONE revealed that black band disease was less deadly to mountainous star coral (Orbicella faveolata) as water acidified, or decreased in pH.
by N.R. Evensen and P.J. Edmunds, 2017, J. Exp. Biology
Regardless of the actual mechanism responsible for the densely aggregated corals to maintain calcification rates in the face of ocean acidification, the study of Evensen and Edmunds, in their words, offers “a compelling case for differential densities of branching coral colonies (i.e. aggregation types) mediating the sensitivity of coral communities in at least some habitats” and it further supports “recent indications that neighboring organisms, such as conspecific coral colonies in the present example, can create small-scale refugia from the negative effects of ocean acidification” And that is more good news for those concerned about the future health of these important marine ecosystems.
by Rutgers University, June1, 2017 in SienceDaily
Stony corals may be more resilient to ocean acidification than once thought, according to a Rutgers University study that shows they rely on proteins to help create their rock-hard skeletons.
“The bottom line is that corals will make rock even under adverse conditions,” said Paul G. Falkowski, a distinguished professor who leads the Environmental Biophysics and Molecular Ecology Laboratory at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. “They will probably make rock even as the ocean becomes slightly acidic from the burning of fossil fuels.”
See also here