Indian Ocean heatwave off Western Australian coast – beatup continues now correlated with shark attacksDecember 25th, 2012 by Warwick Hughes
I first noticed these claims when the ABC Catalyst TV show (IPCC TV) ran “Taking Our Temperature” in November. I enjoyed the calm statements in the “Catalyst” NARRATION such as – “In fact, it was part of the biggest heatwave to hit Australia’s waters ever. It began just north of Ningaloo Reef, hitting it heartbreakingly with the force of a pot of boiling oil.”
Oh OK, only as hot as boiling oil then !! We will leave Catalyst there.
A few days ago the media has been running with – “WA ocean heatwave linked to shark attacks” – but the most scientific article I can find online is this UWA page from last July – “Unprecedented Indian Ocean heatwave creates melting pot”.
They say – “In the summer of 2010/11, the region experienced the highest seawater temperatures in at least 140 years”. Now taking the region off Perth as 30 to 35 South and 114 to 116 East, just the coastal strip and checking out the HadSST1 SST data at KNMI Climate Explorer; we find that the summer (Dec-Jan-Feb) of 1999-2000 was warmer (1.33 deg) than 2010-2011 (1.27 deg). So, claim shot down or at the very least marginal. The Reynolds SST data confirms that summer of 1999-2000 was warmer than 2010-2011 in that coastal strip off Perth.
To get a little perspective we can look at this global map of SST anomalies and ask what is so special about the warm SST anomalies off WA compared to the warm patch off Angola ?
Would the Angola media be running “ocean heatwave” stories ? Is their marine flora & fauna less worthy than ours ? And how about the large warm anomalies in the SE Pacific and South Atlantic ? – are teams of highly paid marine scientists writing papers about the effects of those large areas warmer ocean on the zillions of micro-organisms to be found there ? Or are they less worthy than marine life near the Perth coast.
Note the cold anomalies in north European seas and all around the USA in their winter 2010-11, some of which are relatively colder than the Perth anomalies are warm. Do cold patches of ocean have less significance for affecting marine life than warm patches ?