This is the latest piece by freelance journalist Chris Morrison, who we’ve just appointed our Environment Editor. Chris started in financial journalism in the late 1970s and for nearly 20 years ran a company – Evandale Publishing – that he set up himself and eventually sold.
An 1871 dataset of sea temperatures across the Great Barrier Reef in Australia has been compared to recent measurements logged at the same reef areas. No differences in temperature were found by Dr. Bill Johnson, leading him to conclude: “Alarming claims that the East Australian Current has warmed due to global warming are therefore without foundation.”
The 1871 temperatures were taken by the SS Governor Blackall steamship on a voyage around the Australian east coast to observe a total eclipse of the sun in the north of the continent. Hourly measurements were made between 6am and 6pm every day in the voyage from Port Stanley, north of Sydney, to Cape York and repeated on the journey back. Dr. Johnson, a former research scientist at the New South Wales Department of Natural Resources, allowed for the considerable seasonal variations in temperature across the reef but concluded that nothing much had changed. He said there was no evidence that the system regulating temperature had broken down “or is likely to break down in the future”.
Needless to say, such stories do not tend to appear in the media, most of which is firmly wedded to the notion that human-caused global warming is destroying the coral reefs around the world. In October 2020, the BBC reported that the Great Barrier Reef had lost half of its coral since 1995, citing a report that said it was due to “warmer seas driven by climate change”.