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Footage shows severe coral bleaching in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef for the second year in a row...

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'We are entering uncharted territory': Scientists alarmed after Great Barrier Reef is hit by a SECOND year of coral bleaching

  • The Australian coral habitat has been put at risk by rising sea temperatures
  • Recent catastrophe follows on from worst ever bleaching event last year
  • Scientists said the disaster provides 'the starkest evidence' of climate change

Scientists in Australia have revealed unprecedented damage to the Great Barrier Reef, warning 'we are entering uncharted territory'.

Surveys have shown the coral reef is entering its second year of year bleaching for the first time.

Bleaching happens when algae that lives in the coral is expelled due to stress caused by extreme changes in temperatures, turning the coral white and putting it at risk of dying. 

The first aerial survey of 2017 has found shocking levels of bleaching in the central part of the reef, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority said. 

Marine Park Authority director of reef recovery Dr David Wachenfeld said: 'Mass bleaching is occurring on the Great Barrier Reef for the second consecutive year.

'How this event unfolds will depend very much on local weather conditions over the next few weeks.'

He said not all bleached coral would die, and last year revealed bleaching and mortality could be highly variable across the vast marine park, a World Heritage Site which covers an area larger than Italy.

The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest collection of coral reefs, with 400 types of coral, 1,500 species of fish and 4,000 mollusc species, and is the habitat of wildlife such as the dugong – sea cow – and the large green turtle. 

Conditions on the reef are part of a global coral bleaching event over the past two years, as a result of unusually warm ocean temperatures due to climate change and a strong El Nino weather phenomenon which pushes temperatures up further.

Dr Neal Cantin, from the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), said the recurrence of widespread coral bleaching in back-to-back summers indicated there was not enough time since 2016's extreme heat event for the corals to fully recover.

'We are seeing a decrease in the stress tolerance of these corals,' he said. 'This is the first time the Great Barrier Reef has not had a few years between bleaching events to recover. 



3E2430C700000578-4301426-image-a-61_1489166140875.jpg

Map showing the extent of coral bleaching along The Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Queensland, Australia


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      By Guest Nicole
      Los Testigos de Jehová: epidemia de casos
      Monica Doumit señala el caso de los Testigos de Jehová: sin clero, sin colegios ni orfanatos ni órdenes religiosas, y con 1.006 casos admitidos de miembros denunciados por abusos sexuales (la tabla RMIT Cahill-Wilkinson hablaba solo de 137 casos). Teniendo en cuenta que los Testigos en Australia son apenas un 0,4% de la población (muy lejos del 25% de australianos que son católicos) asombran esas cifras. De nuevo, la comisión les dedicó apenas una mañana, no tres semanas como a los católicos. 

      Cahill y Wilkinson atribuyen la mala gestión de los abusos en ambientes de Testigos de Jehová a su lectura literal de Deuteronomio 19,15, que pide dos testigos del acto de abuso, por la que los responsables de las comunidades dejaban impunes a los abusadores y sin tratar las denuncias.
      http://www.religionenlibertad.com/celibato-confesion-favorecen-abuso-sexual-hay-59386.htm
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      We went to Antarctica to understand how changes to its vast ice sheet might affect the world. Flowing lineson these maps show how the ice is moving.

      Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/05/18/climate/antarctica-ice-melt-climate-change.html?emc=edit_ta_20170518&nl=top-stories&nlid=54907543&ref=cta&_r=0
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      President Barack Obama signed a letter to the United Nations in 2016 accepting the Paris climate 
       
      Last week, President Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. But it will take more than one speech to pull out: Under the rules of the deal, which the White House says it will follow, the earliest any country can leave is Nov. 4, 2020. That means the United States will remain a party to the accord for nearly all of Mr. Trump’s current term, and it could still try to influence the climate talks during that span.
      So the next four years will be a busy time for climate policy. Mr. Trump’s aides plan to keep working to dismantle domestic climate programs like the Clean Power Plan. And the world’s nations will meet regularly to hash out details of the Paris agreement, even as the United States’ exit looms. Here is what comes next.
      Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/07/climate/trump-paris-climate-timeline.html?smid=tw-share&_r=0
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      “It is time for states and governors to lead,” Gov. David Ige said.

      Hawaiian Gov David Ige (D) signed two new climate bills into law on Tuesday that adhere to the Paris Agreement.
      Hawaii has become the first American state to pass environmental measures that adhere to the Paris climate agreement, just days after President Donald Trump announced the U.S. withdrawal from the international pact.
      “Truly, in this day and age, it is time for states and governors to lead,” Hawaiian Gov. David Ige (D) said at a press conference on Tuesday, ahead of signing the two bills into law.
      Senate Bill 559 and House Bill 1578 commit to expanding methods to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the state. They also target agricultural practices with the goals of improving soil health and removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, according to a statement from the governor’s office.
      “Hawaii’s natural environment is under threat,” Ige said. “Climate change is real, regardless of what others say. Hawaii is seeing the impacts, first hand.”
      Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/hawaii-joins-paris-accord_us_5938096de4b01fc18d3f5f64?d2f&ncid=inblnkushpmg00000009
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Here are the brands speaking out on the president’s plan to withdraw from the Paris climate accord.
      BY ELIZA BROOKE  JUN 2, 2017, 12:57PM EDT
      Yesterday, President Trump announced his intention to withdraw the US from the Paris climate accord, a pact signed in 2015 by 195 countries rallying to combat global warming by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Under President Obama, the US pledged to reduce its own emissions by 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025, and give $3 billion to a climate fund benefiting poorer nations.
      It’s the current president’s view that adhering to the agreement would result in sweeping industrial job losses, though economists and executives at companies like Apple and Unilever contend that investing in the renewable energy sector would, in fact, create jobs. Indeed, it didn’t take long for business leaders, politicians, and brands to start speaking out against Trump’s plan and reaffirm their commitment to the goals set out in the Paris agreement.
      Read more: https://www.racked.com/2017/6/2/15730376/business-response-trump-climate-policy
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      People sleep in a park during hot weather in Dhaka, Bangladesh. CreditAbir Abdullah/European Pressphoto Agency
      Global warming caused by human emissions of greenhouse gases is having clear effects in the physical world: more heat waves, heavier rainstorms and higher sea levels, to cite a few.
      In recent years, though, social scientists have been wrestling with a murkier question: What will climate change mean for human welfare?
      Forecasts in this realm are tricky, necessarily based on a long chain of assumptions. Scientific papers have predicted effects as varied as a greater spread of tropical diseases, fewer deaths from cold weather and more from hot weather, and even bumpier rides on airplanes.
      Now comes another entry in this literature: a prediction that in a hotter world, people will get less sleep.
      Continue reading
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      An Iranian illegal immigrant who faked a homosexual relationship and claimed he had torn up the Koran and become a Jehovah’s Witness has had his application for asylum rejected in Federal Court.
      The man, known in court documents as “CVS16”, came to Australia by boat in May 2013. He was granted a bridging visa in March 2014, but the visa was revoked four months later when he was charged, and later convicted, with one count of reckless wounding.
      In September 2015, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton invited the man to apply for a protection visa, and in February last year, following an earlier incomplete application and interview with a departmental dele­gate, he applied.
      In a statement attached to his application, he claimed to “fear persecution on the basis of his membership of the particular social group comprising homosexuals, and his conversion in 2013 to Christianity and adherance to the Jehovah’s Witnesses faith”.
      The man’s application was rejected by the department in July. Mr Dutton then referred the case to the Immigration Assessment Authority to be reviewed, as mandated under the Migration Act.
      The authority comprehensively upheld the department’s decision, finding that although the man had attended some Jehovah’s Witnesses services and participated in some Bible study groups, they did not accept he had converted to Christianity or had a “genuine interest” in the religion.
      They also “did not accept to be credible” the man’s claim to be homosexual, nor his claim he “had set up a homosexual relationship and tore up the Koran”.
      The authority ultimately rejected the applicant’s claims “to fear serious harm for being a failed asylum-seeker or for having departed Iran unlawfully”, and rejected his visa application.
      The man made a final appeal to the Federal Court, arguing the Immigration Assessment Authority had not adequately considered extra documentation sup­plied. Judge Rolf Driver rejected the appeal on Friday, saying the man had “failed to establish” the authority’s decision had been affected by jurisdictional error.
      The man is in Western Australia’s Yongah Hill centre.
      http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/immigration/wouldbe-refugees-gay-claims-not-credible/news-story/ee7fe3d67e7d8d7578f5119142571e6e
    • By Jack Ryan
      A former member of the Jehovah Witness congregation will appear in court next week after he was charged with sexually assaulting four boys.
      The charges stem from ongoing investigations linked to the Royal Commission into institutional child sexual offences.
      Police allege between 1993 to 2013, the 44-year-old man sexually assaulted four boys aged between 14 and 16 at the time of the offences.
      READ MORE: http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/former-wa-jehovah-witness-charged-with-alleged-historic-child-abuse-offences-20170512-gw37yd.html
    • By admin
      Replies below will be split off to form separate topics as needed.
      Enjoy!
       
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      The changes are already visible in the region, which has had largely ice-free summers since 2011

      The Arctic is undergoing an astonishingly rapid transition as climate change overwhelms the region.
      New research sheds light on the latest example of the changes afoot, showing that parts of the Arctic Ocean are becoming more like the Atlantic. Warm waters are streaming into the ocean north of Scandinavia and Russia, altering ocean productivity and chemistry. That’s making sea ice recede and kickstarting a feedback loop that could make summer ice a thing of the past.
      “2015 was a really anomalous year when we had problems finding a suitable ice flow to launch our drifting buoys,”Igor Polyakov, an oceanographer at the University of Alaska who led the new study, said. “(There was) nothing like that in the past, and it became a motivation to our analysis: why was ice in 2015 so rotten? What drives this huge change?”
      The findings, published in Science on Thursday, show that while warming air has a role to play, processes are playing out in the ocean itself that are fundamentally altering the region.
      Those changes will have impacts on the people, plants and animals that call the Arctic home. They could also create more geopolitical tension as resources previously locked under ice become available and shipping lanes open up.
      In the east Arctic Ocean, the shift is manifesting itself in changing the layers of the ocean. There’s a cap of cold, less salty water that covers the eastern portion of the Arctic Ocean. Underneath it sits a pool of warm, salty Atlantic water that until recently hasn’t been able to find a way to surface. That stratification of layers has kept ice relatively safe from its warm grip.
      The ocean has become gradually less stratified since the 1970s. Using data from buoys and satellites, Polyakov and his colleagues have found a more marked shift over the past decade and a half. Since 2002, the difference in water temperatures between the layers has dropped by about 2°F.
      In winter from 2013-2015, the cap separating the deep water and surface water disappeared completely in some locations, allowing the warm Atlantic waters to reach the surface and cut further into sea ice pack. At the same time, warm air has further reduced sea ice, which is allowing still more mixing of the ocean layers.
      The result is a feedback loop that is essentially turning roughly a third of the eastern Arctic Ocean into something resembling the ice-free Atlantic Ocean.
      “Rapid changes in the eastern Arctic Ocean, which allow more heat from the ocean interior to reach the bottom of sea ice, are making it more sensitive to climate changes,” Polyakov said. “This is a big step toward the Arctic with seasonal sea-ice cover.”
      The changes are already apparent in the region, which has largely been ice-free during the summer since 2011. The sea ice winter maximum, which has set a record low for three years running, has been largely driven by a lack of ice in the eastern Arctic.
      Polyakov said he’s seen the rapid changes in ice firsthand. When they first put buoys in the eastern Arctic in 2002, researchers had to reach the sites on heavy icebreakers.
      “Now we can reach them using an ice class ship,” he said. Ice class ships are not necessarily as reinforced as icebreakers.
      The sea ice changes are having profound impacts outside of researchers’ ability to access more remote sites. Other research published earlier this week in Science Advances shows that thinning sea ice is allowing phytoplankton to bloom across the region.
      Phytoplankton are tiny plants, and like your average potted plant, they need sunlight to bloom. Sea ice has been thick enough to prevent that from happening until very recently. The new findings show that over the past decade, up to 30 percent of the Arctic has become primed for summer blooms.
      “Both of our results show the Arctic becoming a very different place than it has been in the past,” Christopher Hovart, an oceanographer at Harvard who led the plankton study, said. “Water pathways are changing, the ecology is changing, all driven by the declining sea ice field.”
      This article is reproduced with permission from Climate Central. The article was first published on April 6, 2017.
      https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-arctic-ocean-is-becoming-more-like-the-atlantic-ocean/
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