Fishery Predictions of Global Warming

Climate change could devastate fishing industry: CSIRO” shouts the ABC news, as scientists predict the salmon, rock lobster and abalone industries, barramundi, prawn and mudcrab fisheries will be affected by changing rainfall patterns. In a welcome trend, the fishing industry have questioned the climate findings in the CSIRO report.

Industry representatives see the report contributing nothing new, and self-serving for the global warming scientists:

“In fact, the report itself is not much more than a collection of observations around what prawns are sensitive to in environmental terms, and that’s salinity and temperature, and none of that’s new. That work’s being accumulated over [a] decade.”

Mr Makepeace says he is concerned scientists appear to be justifying their research instead of providing advice.

“It’s a real problem to be putting so much emphasis into managing climate change in fisheries when there is so little information on which to base those management responses, I’m not sure what responses we can actually make to these changes.”

Another criticized the alarmism:

David Carter from the Northern Prawn Fishing Industry Company says the response has been damaging.

“It just unsettles folks and the use of emotional language can leave the wrong impression,” he said.

Even though the report, is another offering from the Climate Adaptation Flagship, it is actually much more up front about uncertainty than the Drought Exceptional Circumstances Report .

The preface by the Australian Government (huh, where is he, I want to talk to him) finds positive and negative impacts:

… little consolidated knowledge of the potential impacts of climate change. Both positive and negative impacts are expected, and impacts will vary according to changes in the regional environment: south-east fisheries are most likely to be affected by changes in water temperature, northern fisheries by changes in precipitation, and western fisheries by changes in the Leeuwin Current.

On the climate modeling, only one model, the CSIRO Mk 3.5 climate model is used, claiming there are only ‘subtle’ differences between the CSIRO models and other international models. They claim without justification that because of this general agreement, general trends can be used rather than the absolute magnitude of the predicted changes (p4). But this is not justified as here, I have shown that the models even get trends in rainfall completely wrong.

But generally they qualify the uncertainty in the text fairly comprehensively, mentioning both sides of the uncertainty distribution. Although they do cite a piece of flotsom called Rahmstorf et al. 2007.

There is considerable uncertainty regarding climate model predictions, in both time and space. Uncertainty results from model dynamics and resolution, and because the future is not completely known: future changes in greenhouse gases cannot be predicted. Over shorter time periods, climate variability dominates and predictions from models are more uncertain than for longer time scales. At regional scales (100s of kilometers), projections are also uncertain and model development to allow regional downscaling is required in the coming years. Despite this uncertainty, there is agreement between climate scientists about large scale climate features, and we can proceed with caution in exploring future impacts on fisheries and aquaculture. Observational data available for the period since 1990 raises concerns for the speed at which greenhouse gases are impacting the climate system. In particular, sea level may be responding more quickly to climate change than global climate models indicate (Rahmstorf et al. 2007). Therefore, future projections used in this review may be considered as conservative estimates of future climate, and both positive and negative impacts may be of greater magnitude.

I can find no match for the word ‘devastate’ used by the ABC to describe the results anywhere. Unlike the Drought Exceptional Circumstances Report which secreted the qualifications in a distant box, and laced the text with juicy hyperbole, this one is more sanguine. I think the press however, being well trained to respond to every climate report as a code red alert, is responsible in this case for exaggerating the conclusions out of all proportion.

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0 thoughts on “Fishery Predictions of Global Warming

  1. After Code Red we have Code Blue (impending mortality) then Code Black (Terrorism alert).

    I’m simply alerting the media that greater extremes of expression exist.

    How can this fishery prediction be credible when a change of scene (if it happens) is seldom modelled as a benefit? Why are these predictions always so dark? What of the fish that dwell deep enough that midly heated surface water is even less felt at depth?

    It seems ther’s a plot to take Australia apart, piece by piece, and to show how bad Global Warming is going to be. I wonder if it’s headed by a paranoid heatophobic undertaker?

  2. After Code Red we have Code Blue (impending mortality) then Code Black (Terrorism alert).

    I’m simply alerting the media that greater extremes of expression exist.

    How can this fishery prediction be credible when a change of scene (if it happens) is seldom modelled as a benefit? Why are these predictions always so dark? What of the fish that dwell deep enough that midly heated surface water is even less felt at depth?

    It seems ther’s a plot to take Australia apart, piece by piece, and to show how bad Global Warming is going to be. I wonder if it’s headed by a paranoid heatophobic undertaker?

  3. I am still stunned by the preface by the Australian Government. Surely it damages credibility of the science to be prefaced by a distinctly unnuanced politically motivated puffery.

  4. I am still stunned by the preface by the Australian Government. Surely it damages credibility of the science to be prefaced by a distinctly unnuanced politically motivated puffery.

  5. Most stunning is the 126+130+44=300 million for further government research and climate guidance.

    Thunder of the dunderheads, bunch of baffoons or – Luboš Motl; “I would answer that it is a big scale organized crime”

  6. Most stunning is the 126+130+44=300 million for further government research and climate guidance.

    Thunder of the dunderheads, bunch of baffoons or – LuboÅ¡ Motl; “I would answer that it is a big scale organized crime”

  7. The web version of the Fisheries report has this disclaimer, which has started to appear eleswhere on Federal Government documents (eg Office of Renewable Energy Regulator is given here, same wording):

    “The Office of the Renewable Energy Regulator (ORER) website is presented by the Commonwealth for the purpose of disseminating information free of charge for the benefit of the public.

    “The Commonwealth monitors the quality of the information available on this website and updates the information regularly.

    “However, the Commonwealth does not guarantee, and accepts no legal liability whatsoever arising from or connected to, the accuracy, reliability, currency or completeness of any material contained on this website or on any linked site.

    “The Commonwealth recommends that users exercise their own skill and care with respect to their use of this website and that users carefully evaluate the accuracy, currency, completeness and relevance of the material on the website for their purposes.

    “This website is not a substitute for independent professional advice and users should obtain any appropriate professional advice relevant to their particular circumstances.

    “The material on this website may include the views or recommendations of third parties, which do not necessarily reflect the views of the Commonwealth, or indicate its commitment to a particular course of action.”

    Is this another version of “We’re from the Government – trust us”?

  8. The web version of the Fisheries report has this disclaimer, which has started to appear eleswhere on Federal Government documents (eg Office of Renewable Energy Regulator is given here, same wording):

    “The Office of the Renewable Energy Regulator (ORER) website is presented by the Commonwealth for the purpose of disseminating information free of charge for the benefit of the public.

    “The Commonwealth monitors the quality of the information available on this website and updates the information regularly.

    “However, the Commonwealth does not guarantee, and accepts no legal liability whatsoever arising from or connected to, the accuracy, reliability, currency or completeness of any material contained on this website or on any linked site.

    “The Commonwealth recommends that users exercise their own skill and care with respect to their use of this website and that users carefully evaluate the accuracy, currency, completeness and relevance of the material on the website for their purposes.

    “This website is not a substitute for independent professional advice and users should obtain any appropriate professional advice relevant to their particular circumstances.

    “The material on this website may include the views or recommendations of third parties, which do not necessarily reflect the views of the Commonwealth, or indicate its commitment to a particular course of action.”

    Is this another version of “We’re from the Government – trust us”?

  9. Geoff, Is this a change? I should go through previous versions, but doesn’t this sound like we are the government, don’t take our word for it?

    With disclaimers like that, prefaces written by the ‘Australian Government’ in the fisheries report, and the lack of interest in engaging in discussion of the scientific issues in the Drought Report, there is the distinct impression that the CSIRO Climate Adaptation Flagship, and probably others, are simply ‘shop-fronts’ for government policy dissemination. Why should they be regarded with any scientific credibility at all, when the judgement of merit is based on whether they conform to current policy directives?

  10. Geoff, Is this a change? I should go through previous versions, but doesn’t this sound like we are the government, don’t take our word for it?

    With disclaimers like that, prefaces written by the ‘Australian Government’ in the fisheries report, and the lack of interest in engaging in discussion of the scientific issues in the Drought Report, there is the distinct impression that the CSIRO Climate Adaptation Flagship, and probably others, are simply ‘shop-fronts’ for government policy dissemination. Why should they be regarded with any scientific credibility at all, when the judgement of merit is based on whether they conform to current policy directives?

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