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Should we move species threatened by climate change?

Climate change is one of the greatest threats the world’s animals and plants are facing. In fact the world is facing an extinction crisis, which should concern all of us. The major problem with climate…

New Zealand’s ancient tuatara might need a helping hand to cope with climate change. Flickr/Sheep"R"Us

Climate change is one of the greatest threats the world’s animals and plants are facing. In fact the world is facing an extinction crisis, which should concern all of us. The major problem with climate change is not so much that climate is changing, but that it is changing faster than species can move or adapt.

One of the solutions is to move species to places with a more suitable climate. But the idea of introducing species to areas where they have never occurred before is controversial, because species introduced to somewhere they’ve never lived could have devastating consequences for the species already there. Just think of foxes, lantana, cane toads and other invasive species in Australia.

So how do we weigh up the costs and benefits? In a new study published today in journal PLOS ONE, we developed a way of finding the answer.

Australia’s species at risk

Moving species threatened by climate change isn’t a new idea. In fact we’ve already moved some, while others are being considered.

One of them is the critically endangered Western Swamp Tortoise from Perth in Western Australia - Australia’s rarest reptile. It currently faces extinction thanks to declining seasonal rainfall, which is drying up the swamps the tortoise calls home. To stop the tortoise becoming extinct, scientists have considered potential new sites far to the south of its home range.

Another species facing climate extinction is the Mountain Pygmy-possum, a tiny mammal that currently resides on three snowy mountain tops in Victoria and New South Wales. As temperatures warm the possum is running out of room to move upwards. Snow cover, and the length of time snow stays on the ground, is decreasing rapidly.

This means the possums come out of winter hibernation earlier, and can’t find enough food. The mountains have also seen an influx of feral predators, which previously found the area inaccessible thanks to snow cover.

Weighing up the costs

It’s far from clear cut which species might benefit from this drastic action, and for which it would be a costly and risky mistake. How should wildlife managers approach the decision of whether to move animals into new areas, or leave them in places that may become uninhabitable for them?

In our study we outlined a framework that can quantify whether the benefit of moving a species outweighs the ecological cost.

The benefit of moving a species is based on the likelihood it will go extinct in its original habitat as the local climate becomes hostile, the likelihood that a breeding population can be established at a new site, and the value or importance of the species.

The ecological cost depends on the potential for the species to adversely affect the ecosystem at the new site. Species are considered candidates for re-location only if the benefit of doing so is greater than the ecological cost.

This decision involves both scientific predictions (what’s the likelihood the species will go extinct in its current range?) and subjective judgements (how do we value the conservation of this species compared to species already living at the introduction site?). Our framework separates these questions out.

The framework is intended to support the revised “IUCN guidelines for re-introductions and other conservation translocations”, which explicitly calls for structured decision-making frameworks for conservation introductions.

Testing on tuatara

We test drove our new framework using the hypothetical case of the New Zealand tuatara which is being considered for relocation from its home on a number of small offshore islands in the north of NZ to the South Island, outside of its current range. The tuatara is the country’s largest reptile and the only surviving representative of an ancient lineage.

The tuatara faces a peculiar threat from climate change. Like many reptiles, the sex of a tuatara is determined by incubation temperature, with higher temperatures giving rise to males and lower temperatures to females. The population from North Brother Island in New Zealand’s Cook Strait is already showing signs of too many males. This is expected to worsen as temperatures increase, putting the population at risk of extinction.

We considered an introduction from the North Brother Island population to a hypothetical mainland sanctuary on New Zealand’s South Island. We used a previously published population model to predict the effect of climate change on the North Brother Island population, and estimated that the current population of 550 tuatara has a 0.43 chance of persisting in 150 years time. If we remove animals to introduce them elsewhere, this slightly decreases the probability to 0.42.

We found that the chance of successfully establishing a new population was good, and that the chance that the new population will impact negatively on the ecosystem was low.

Tuatara show why it’s essential to have a rigorous framework like this to take the gut instinct and guesswork out of the decision, so we can make smarter choices for conserving species under climate change.

Join the conversation

137 Comments sorted by

  1. Mark Ireland $.now()

    logged in via Twitter

    I just wanted to complain about how these opening paragraphs are so badly written.

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    1. Ben Marshall
      Ben Marshall is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Writer

      In reply to Mark Ireland $.now()

      I just wanted to complain about how your comment was so badly written.

      Nah, only kidding. The early para's could have been broken up a little for clarity, but we're talking scientists here, not professional journalists.

      And, weighing it up - talking about global mass extinction event and doing something about it versus poor sentence structure? Umm...

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    2. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to James Whitmore

      Mmmmm, I suspected you may have been the culprit James. Your apology is accepted and you're forgiven. Unfortunately, you will still need to spend 15 minutes in the naughty corner. Your time starts now.

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  2. Mark Lawson

    senior journalist at Australian Financial Review

    Okay, so the fact that temperatures have done little for the past 15 years is now widely acknowledged, including by the IPCC but two of the examples given do not deal with temperatures directly. They involve long-term changes in snow fall patterns (pygmy possums) and long-term changes in rainfall patterns in WA (Western swamp tortoise).

    Forecasting long term global temperature trends is bad enough, as we have seen, but there is nothing whatever to justify faith in long term rainfall forecasts. As has been pointed out often, back in 2009 scientists were forecasting that the mega drought in SE Aus would continue forever only to get two years worth of floods. Something similar could be said about snowfall patterns. Those caught out by the floods have now claimed that the long term trend is still towards drying but it hardly inspires confidence, in their pronouncements. To move species on the basis of existing forecasts would be a bad idea.

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    1. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      That view is from a very low altitude from this perspective.
      Mark Lawson wrote; "... nothing whatever ....to justify faith in long term rainfall forecasts." From this worldview there is plenty to justify the byline. "Should we move species threatened by climate change?"
      Because the southwest of Western Australia has experienced a significant decline in rainfall since the 1970s. This is a matter of public record and well known to Western Australian's. Because since the mid 1970s, rainfall has declined…

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    2. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      "To move species on the basis of existing forecasts would be a bad idea." On the other hand, looking at relocating some members of a species might be reasonable, IF existing population is already observed to be declining in response to historical changes.

      I think that's what this article is looking at, and I congratulate the authors for their work in developing a system for addressing their question.

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    3. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      @Mark. Hello. re: "so the fact that temperatures have done little for the past 15 years". What exactly do you mean by "done little" Mark? eg precisely what "temperatures" are you referring to here?
      re: "now widely acknowledged, including by the IPCC" Okay, so if I understand you correctly you're saying that the IPCC has acknowledged 'temperatures have done little'. In the WG1 2013 report or something else? Would you mind providing a ref to support what you say the IPCC has 'acknowledged' please…

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    4. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Paul Richards

      @Paul. re http://goo.gl curious if these have a use-by date, like prior options that expired? thx sean

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    5. Mark Lawson

      senior journalist at Australian Financial Review

      In reply to Paul Richards

      Paul - the south west of WA may well be so.. there are a lot of regional variations and a lot of climate cycles in Aus. There was a megadrought in the South East Aus which scientists blamed on greenhouse effect but the forecasts were largely proved wrong at least in the short term. In the west the climate cycles are different so the general settings are different. I know that there have been scientists confidently blaming the stronger drought in the wheat belt of last year(?) on greenhouse effects…

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    6. Mark Lawson

      senior journalist at Australian Financial Review

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      Sean - its now common ground that temperatures have not moved very little. I think the official rate of increase is 0.03C per decade. Yes it was the IPCC report that came out recently.. it acknowledges this point, albeit in a dismissive way and you have to search for it. The usual explanation for the pause, as it is called, is that its just a natural variation, warming will resume shortly, or that the heat is going into the oceans, Aerosols have also been blamed. Check the report and the media coverage…

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    7. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      @MarkLawson Hi, No Slowdown in Global Warming YALE University USA - Sep 4, 2013
      In recent months, a lively media conversation has taken place in regard to what the surface temperature record is telling us. Here, a group of LEADING Atmospheric and Ocean experts put the data in context. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=047vmL6Q_4g
      Well Mark I word searched my WGIAR5-SPM_Approved27Sep2013 copy on my PC, and 'pause' has a nil result. A complete site search of www.ipcc.ch for 'pause' delivers 9 results…

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    8. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      typo: The BMO does say "the recent pause in global surface temperature rise .... does NOT invalidate the fundamental physics of global warming, NOR the scientific basis of climate models..." - end of those mythical stories

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    9. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      Arctic SEA ICE extent averaged for September 2013 was 1.17 million square kilometers (452,000 square miles) BELOW the 1981 to 2010 average extent. http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/
      That is a northern summer arctic sea ice loss greater than the average summer loss which equates to being larger than the land area of South Australia. But, it's the smallest loss since 2009. September 2013 average sea ice extent was the sixth lowest in the satellite record. The record low 2012 September extent was 32% lower than this year’s extent. http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/files/2013/10/Figure3_Sept2013_trend.png
      The last 7 years from 2007 have all been smallest summer extent than every year back to 1978.

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    10. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      I would add that the "big dry" can be proved to be a direct result of climate change. "Rising land temperatures related to a pole-ward shift of climate zones,(currently), estimated at about 400 km, combined with warm air currents derived from the Indian Ocean northwest of Australia, result in tinder-box conditions in southeast Australian forests, which are adapted to cooler and wetter mid-latitude conditions, and to wetter conditions in northern Australia.""There is now a large body of evidence that…

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    11. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      Sean, you're dead right.

      Mark is a single-trick pony - he just regularly inserts remarks about the unreliability of forceasts and, when people point out the inaccuracies of his statements, as you have very sensibly and rationally done here, he just comes back with something along the lines of 'no you have misunderstood what I was saying' when all you've done is take his words to mean what the dictionary and customary grammatical usage would suggest...then he just ends up prattling on about how forecasting is really a business discipline (the BoM must be amazed) and it doesn't work very well (which, in the business case, I'll concede, is largely true)...and so on...

      He is, in short, a serial distractor and time waster with nothing of any substance to add. He's best just ignored.

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    12. Suzy Gneist
      Suzy Gneist is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Multi-tasker at Graphic Design & Montville Coffee

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      I do struggle to understand your logic, that if something is uncertain one should not plan to act on it - i would think considering and implementing contingencies early on is a wise choice. As a matter of fact, the future is unproven and uncertain, yet we all plan for it every day.

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    13. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Alice Kelly

      HI Alice, re "a pole-ward shift of climate zones", I can't recall the many times I seen such a comment nor the sources off the top of my head now. But in regard sw-WA rainfall patterns the gist of that was the prevailing moisture laden wind, used to be called the 'roaring 40s' as in 40 latitude, which perfectly timed winter rains (?) to the WA wheat belt has shifted south progressively the last 20 years. I think that is something which @PaulR above has commented on too. anyway, if i recall correctly…

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    14. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Paul Richards

      Got it. Exactly what I needed, four years ago! Where is Google you need them? Like Yahoo, they change things you don't want changed and always turn up late to a party.

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    15. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      @mark re: "....a lot of climate cycles in Aus." Best not to confuse the term regional 'weather patterns' with 'climate cycles'. The latter operate across millennial time scales. It's irrelevant to issues related to the rapid human caused climate change and shifting weather patterns now. There is no such thing as climate cycles in Aus. It does not exist in reality. Words matter. They need to be fit for purpose. Don't they? Still, I guess it depends on what that purpose actually is too.

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    16. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      "the fact that temperatures have done little for the past 15 years"

      How certain are you of that?

      The fact is that there has been no statistically significant slowdown in global warming in the past 15 years.

      When you say "fact" above, you're just making it up.

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    17. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      @ Felix, ty. My guess is that I know more business (and forecasting accurately and adjusting rapidly when those forecasts fall over) from direct experience and personal 1on1 education from some well known and successful business people in Aus than he ever will. But I digress. I believe a more apropos term is "serial detractor". http://www.thefreedictionary.com/detractor detractor - one who disparages or belittles the worth of something. I also truly believe that he best not ignored. If per chance…

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    18. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      Is mark really offering an unbiased or even truthful opinion here or is he intentionally spreading mis-information?

      lets look at his track record

      http://www.afr.com/tags_authors?aut=Mark%20Lawson

      IPCC report is unconvincing
      Are CDM credits the icing on the capitalist cake?
      Climate change: what all the fuss is about
      Climate scepticism – the pay’s bad, the abuse worse
      It’s time to blow away green energy targets
      SAM stays south for the winter
      No pain, no gain for Doha

      I don't…

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    19. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      Mark you have been caught lying multiple times now, we know what you are up to and we know how disengenious you are

      How many times have you been corrected and yet still push the same old denialist rubbish

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    20. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      I'm with you, Sean - it's just that I'm not sure how well the counter-Mark view ever gets reported, given the kind of bully pulpit he can access..nonetheless, maybe my 'warning' should have been reframed as 'don't expect a sensible response from Mark.'

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    21. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Suzy Gneist

      re: " I do struggle to understand your logic " It's possible there is no logic to it Suzy. In some peoples world view, they would never dress up, not put on make up, not wear their best dress, not shower shave then add a bucket of Brut, then not call a cab to go see a live band at the local. Some sit at home and imagine to themselves "what a waste of time, effort, and money .. on the off chance that * ***** *** ****?" Me, well I am a 5Ps kind of guy, well when I was younger. Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance. I learnt that one at business management training, but works equally well in the above scenario too! also re "As a matter of fact, the future is unproven and uncertain, yet we all plan for it every day." an excellent analogy, spot on! Facts do Matter!

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    22. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      Sean, The scientific senate submission, I was sent by A. G. mentions this , but I can not replicate the detail of it it on the internet. I believe put simply, across the whole of Au, highs remain present for the lower latitudes more than they did, in winter, and we now get the upper tail end of southerly rain systems as they move across, and not as many full fronts as we did. The system has moved south, because there has been a contraction of the Antarctic wind vortex.
      And I have no reason to doubt this, as a horticulturalist who is passionate about weather observations, and am old enough to call my observations climatic.
      Where I live now in southern NSW similar lack of winter rain is observed over the last 25 years.
      When I'm told even pear trees are dying in Adelaide, something is wrong. Adelaide soils have a clay base and need the soft continuous winter rain they used to get, to re-charge. Then they're like a locomotive over summer.

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    23. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      Agreed Mark, there are a lot of regional variations and cycles in Australia. The ENSO years have been a good basis for our long term records, many highlight these basic cycles of uncertainty as these are our strongest. While missing the unimaginable interactions across all our local ecosystems in a globally integral and immeasurable range of systems. Our only comparison is human system complexity and earth systems transcend this by orders of magnitude.
      Mark Lawson wrote; " My point ... climate…

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    24. Mark Lawson

      senior journalist at Australian Financial Review

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      Sean - that is the longest post I've seen from anyone but I see you're beginning to grasp what I'm saying. All the stuff you are complaining about, in not very constructive terms, is exactly what I said in a different form. Global surface temperatures haven't gone anywhere - finally you've grasped that point - and the global warming industry have offered various reasons/excuses for it, thus the placing in "context" . I note that you had no idea that temperatures had paused until I pointed you to those links. Okay so we can agree that the models aren't reliable. they forecast one thing and something else happened. Basing policy on them is a bad idea.

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    25. Mark Lawson

      senior journalist at Australian Financial Review

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      Right - never said it did, sure the pause can be accommodated within the models if you push and shove and add other factors - that's another argument.. but I see you've grasped the bit about the pause.. that's good..

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    26. Mark Lawson

      senior journalist at Australian Financial Review

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      Felix - if you're becoming annoyed with me then perhaps I have achieved something. The truth is uncomfortable. Feel free to ignore me, however.

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    27. Mark Lawson

      senior journalist at Australian Financial Review

      In reply to Suzy Gneist

      Suzy - its a fair point.. I fact the most sensible comment made so far.. I was merely saying that the rainfall models are almost totally untested, so I don't think we should base any action on them, particularly if the species are marginal to begin with.. you could kill them off by attempting to move them.. As a general comment there'd have to be good reason for drastic intervention..

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    28. Mark Lawson

      senior journalist at Australian Financial Review

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Chris - lot of discussion on this pause of temperatures, and its now widely acknowledged. However, the global warming industry says the global warming is still continuing but the heat is going into the ocean or whatever.. I wasn't arguing that point, but the models forecast temperature increases (nothing about heat going into the ocean) so they're not doing very well are they.

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    29. Mark Lawson

      senior journalist at Australian Financial Review

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      Sean - I'm so glad you know about forecasting. But if you applied what you know to climate forecasts the moment they had to be defended by "heat going into the oceans" you would have prompted dumped them and looked for something else..

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    30. Mark Lawson

      senior journalist at Australian Financial Review

      In reply to Paul Richards

      Paul - true, I stand reproved about not paying much attention to WA. But my point still stands, although I seem to have attracted a crowd of hecklers. Rely on long term rain forecasts in the current state of knowledge at your peril..

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    31. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      @ MarkLawson re "stuff you are complaining about " - I am not complaining about thing nor you Mark Re: "Global surface temperatures haven't gone anywhere - finally you've grasped that point " nope, you do not have a point and are totally dismissive and being disingenuous or .....? but I'm on top of it. No biggy for me. Re: "I note that you had no idea that temperatures had paused until I pointed you to those links." Mark, when you assume things about others you make Ass of U and me. You imagine…

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    32. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      "lot of discussion on this pause of temperatures, and its now widely acknowledged"

      There may be a slowdown, but it is not yet (if it ever will be) statistically significant. For some reason, denialists think that not getting statistically significant warming out of 15 years of data is oh so important but not getting a statistically significant slowdown is completely irrelevant. The inconsistency is pathetic.

      "the models forecast temperature increases so they're not doing very well are they."

      The models for surface temperature are doing fine. Models don't forecast statistically insignificant variations, surprisingly enough.

      Anyway, you probably don't understand any of this. The best disinformation to spread is disinformation the spreaders don't understand. You are admirably qualified for this task.

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    33. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      @ Mark re "never said it did etc..." Mark I have no idea to which of my comments your are referring to. That's not good.

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    34. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      @Mark re: " I'm so glad you know about forecasting." Yes, in particular business, IPCC reports and a good many other things not worth mentioning. Mark I believe that if you applied what I know about "climate forecasts" in the IPCC and via active climate scientists plus predicting human behavior, the moment you knew that .... well goodness knows what might happen. I have a question for you though. What was it that initially motivated you to begin writing about Climate Science in 2007 all of a sudden? Also do you actually have an academic degree in Journalism, or are you self-taught like myself? Thx Sean

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    35. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      Sean Rundell

      I do not know how completely you have read AR4 2007 IPCC Fourth Report, but the claims made by the IPCC were indeed that warming over the future decades would be as Mark has suggested. While they did not, as you say write specific notes covering the period 1997 to 2012, all of the information and "scientific" claims related to their one and only source of information - the models - was clearly telling us that the warming would be some significant amount higher than has proved to…

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    36. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      @ Mark re "the models forecast temperature increases" IPCC Refs please that support this unfounded claim being repeated on multiple articles boards. Re: "(nothing about heat going into the ocean)" - That is incoherent disinformation. Please clarifying with specifics this wild claim about "nothing" - which report, what year, over what time frame is this supposed "nothing" not being mentioned or present in the IPCC reports which directly addresses heat transference to the Oceans as a priory about long known global climate activity? In my opinion the IPCC is doing a lot better than you at this moment Mark. But hey, I could be wrong. Wouldn't be the first or last time. :)

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    37. Suzy Gneist
      Suzy Gneist is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Multi-tasker at Graphic Design & Montville Coffee

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      I thought the purpose of this article was to discuss parameters and possibilities of such action, i.e, make contingency plans if and when drastic intervention may become necessary or other interventions have failed. It's not much use to wait until the species is in final decline before considering actions, none of which would be solely based on rainfall models alone.
      It seems to me you propose a 'do nothing' model unless you have prior assurance of success, which I believe is impossible to achieve and is not implemented in most other areas (an example that comes to mind is CSG and uncertain detrimental impacts or for that matter climate change). I also don't think that such drastic action would be implemented for an entire population without testing the suitability/success first, at least that's my assumption if we have learned from similar experiments.

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    38. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to John Nicol

      @ JohnNicol re: "... the claims made by the IPCC were indeed that warming over the future decades would be as Mark has suggested." Then it should easy enough to either copy/paste or provide a page number, right? Yes, I read AR3 & AR4 all WGs front to back, and saved them too. I don't have a photographic memory. That why people making claims about what the IPCC says and means, must provide original source references. Unless it is merely a casual conversation about opinions. I am not interested in…

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    39. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      A climate prediction or climate forecast is the result of an attempt to produce an estimate of the actual evolution of the climate in the future, for example, at seasonal, interannual or long-term time scales. Since the future evolution of the climate system may be highly sensitive to initial conditions, such predictions are usually probabilistic in nature
      http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/annex1sglossary-a-d.html
      Can anyone point to any IPCC model based *Climate Prediction* for Average Global Surface Temperatures (land/ocean combined) that was prepared in advance for any part of the period 1995 to 2012 inclusive? I do not believe even one "prediction" exists . Has anyone seen one? If such a prediction was never done, then no one can claim temperatures in the last 15-17 years have been less than what the IPCC "Predicted" it would be.

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    40. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      Sean Arundell

      I have read some but not all of the TAR - not usually referred to as AR3 - all of AR4 Chapter 8 _The scientific story and much of the other chapters but not all. I have read several sections on the models, predictions and claims for CO2 in AR5 plus many other sections. and have presented the essential details of these as far as the role of carbon dioxide in global warming is discussed - not very comprehensive unfortunately, but typical. I have not given opinion in my post, just referenced…

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    41. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to John Nicol

      Hi John, re your reply "I have read some but not all of the TAR ..... etc" yes I would happy to address all those questions for you. Given the complexity and wide ranging scope of those, it will take some time to do so. The main point is that I do understand your questions, and why they are important to you, and where you're coming from. Climate change issues is only a hobby for me for I am not a professional. In my spare time I will do what I can, however I can't guarantee I can complete your requests…

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    42. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      @MarkLawson Re: "...global warming is still continuing but the heat is going into the ocean or whatever.. .. "What ocean heating reveals about global warming" Climate modelling Climate Science El Nino Instrumental Record Oceans skeptics — stefan @ 25 September 2013 http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2013/09/what-ocean-heating-reveals-about-global-warming/
      Quoting an IPPC actively connected Climate scientist: "The heat content of the oceans is growing and growing. That means that the greenhouse effect has NOT taken a *** pause *** and the cold sun is not noticeably slowing global warming. NOAA posts regularly updated measurements of the amount of heat stored in the bulk of the oceans. For the upper 2000 m (deeper than that not much happens) it looks like this: http://www.realclimate.org/images//heat_content2000m.png , regards Sean

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    43. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      @MarkLawson Re: " What I do [know] is that that such forecasts are entirely unproven, so they can't really be relied on for making decisions about species conservation."
      Useful starting point reference: "Stronger regional differences due to large-scale atmospheric flow."
      Filed under: Climate impacts Climate modelling Climate Science Communicating Climate Reporting on climate statistics — rasmus @ 20 November 2012 = A new paper by Deser et al. (2012) (free access) is likely to have repercussions…

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    44. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      Sean Arundell

      Happy to try to explain. Need to go soon. It is annoying that TC remove interesting forums like this so early at times and let boring ones run forever!!!

      Prediction : not a word they like in recent times, expunged it from vocabulary about 2006.2007

      Projection - a forecast with some leeway in the form of "if this happens then " - basically in the context of a "scenario". (They have really developed a new language in many ways for their own convenience") The term "forecast…

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    45. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      Sean Arundell

      Surely the plot of temperature "projections" shown in both AR4 and AR5 constitute their claimed "prediction for the period. The curves certainly indicate the results of their modelling which is the only basis they use for any of their "forecasts" Thus, yes, they have attempted to predict the glonbal temperature for the last 17 years but the forecast has been shown to be totally wrong.
      John Nicol

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    46. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      The hecklers are unfortunate, but it is generally an outward response of a frustrated interior.
      Mark Lawson wrote; "I seem to have attracted a crowd of hecklers" Some seeking risk management of local climate change can be adversarial. That is also the nature of those who have just grown through our meritocracies view and feel aggressive confrontation is still effective. After all, their relatively new heightened awareness of change cannot grasp the lack of understanding GCC.
      Mark Lawson wrote…

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    47. Trevor S

      Jack of all Trades

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      "Global surface temperatures haven't gone anywhere - finally you've grasped that point - and the global warming industry have offered various reasons/excuses for it,"

      I don't think you genuinely appreciate how dangerous the situation is. Think of the heat imbalance, all those extra Terajoules... everyday and the surface temperature increase has only slowed ever so slightly.

      Heat a pot of water, drop an ice cube in, keep applying the heat, the ice cube doesn't "stop" the water from boiling. I don't find this hiatus alarming, I find it terrifying. When the cyclical nature of whatever oscillation (ENSO, IDO etal) is holding it back cycles the other way (cause that's what oscillations do) the increase in surface temperature is going to be sudden and dramatic i.e terrifying.

      To be dismissive borders on near lunacy.

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    48. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to John Nicol

      @JohnN re your reply "on predictions projections etc" - from AR4/WG1 - Predictability-Since knowledge of the climate system’s past and current states is generally imperfect, as are the models that utilise this knowledge to produce a climate prediction, and since the climate system is inherently nonlinear and chaotic, predictability of the climate system is inherently limited. Even with arbitrarily accurate models and observations, there may still be limits to the predictability of such a nonlinear…

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    49. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to John Nicol

      @ John re: ".... but the forecast has been shown to be totally wrong." That belief / opinion is provably FALSE. All, repeat ALL, actual global average surface temps the last 17 years sit within the predictions +/- bands. Those predictive bands are shown as a background colour, with the actual temp avgs being a black line connecting the dots for each year. I suggest you and everyone else who believes this myth have another look. Even go check the figures in the source data, check the maths, and check the models used in the original Papers and compiled predictions/actuals in each of the ARs 1 thru 5. I make no claims about how well the IPCC has communicated this, nor how it has been reported in the media, nor how individuals and interest groups have interpreted or understood those IPCC reports. Regards Sean

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    50. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      Sean Arundell

      Sean, I cannot see how you can claim that all of the actual global average (actually "effective" not "average - see IPCC somewhere) surface temperatures over the last 17 years are within predictions, sorry projections.

      The IPCC do not claim that, Dr Pachauri did not claim that when admitting that no statistically significant warming had taken place over the last 16 years - as it was then - and all of their statements, while not addressing this issue as such, show quite clearly…

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    51. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      Sean Arundell

      Sean, Am I to understand from what you have explained is that:

      1. Prediction : not a word they like in recent times, but NOT expunged from their vocabulary.

      2. Projection - a forecast with some leeway in the form of "if this happens then " - basically in the context of a "scenario". (They have really developed a new language in many ways for their own convenience") A projection is thus a prediction with about four or five methods of interpretation while a

      3. "forecast" is a prediction with only about two possible interpretations.

      I think I have the picture now and thanks for your help. Regards, John (Aren't I a cynical old so and so!)

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    52. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to John Nicol

      @JohnNichol and other readers re your comments "Sean, I cannot see how ...etc". I can accept that and do not blame you for it. I suspect that the initial cause goes back to accepting incorrect information from others who convinced you of their argument because it fitted an existing state of cognitive dissonance created by feelings/doubts/beliefs. This is usually called confirmation bias. It is not unusual for it is human nature:101, iow quite common. All humans have to deal with and confronted by…

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    53. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to John Nicol

      @JohnN re: " Am I to understand from what you have explained is that:" Um, not quite, but close.
      IPCC predictions are there best practice guesstimates into the future of what is likely to occur if the status quo is maintained, given the IPCCs current state of knowledge/work at that time. Every subsequent prediction changes due tot he fact that in the interim they have improved best practice, and have to hand more knowledge than previously. Uncertainties are specifically noted at all times, and…

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    54. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      Sean Arundell

      Thanks again Sean. We seem to have a lot to talk about, some to agree on and some to disagree on.

      I think my comment here is that I do agree with you completely that the IPCC should get its act together and make its statements more meaningful and at the same time be more honest. They let us know what the errors are in their estimates, but do not empahsise just haow extraordinarily inaccurate the models are. !20 models of which NO TWO can give the same answer, 120 models, but…

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    55. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to John Nicol

      @JohnNichol .... Dear John, irrelevant details aside and accepting understandable variations between what each of us has seen or not seen ... (and understood to the best of our ability) I hear you loud and clear. You'll get no argument nor disagreement from me about striving for the ideal situation to become a reality. Your sincerity and genuine concern about these matters is palpable. I thank you for your courtesy, and really appreciate all your questions and honestly held commentary. That you've been willing to even read what I have presented here means a lot to me, and has been incredibly helpful. More power to you mate! Sean

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    56. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to John Nicol

      John Nicol, if there is one single thing I would really like hearing back from you about if you wish to that is (at any time in the future) is your feelings and findings about the issues raised in the Medieval Warm Period video about the doctored IPCC graphs and the schematic. [sorry for misspelling your surname repeatedly, I only noticed that now.]

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    57. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      @MarkLawson re: "I think the official rate of increase is 0.03C per decade. Yes it was the IPCC report that came out recently.. it acknowledges this point.." Using one of his own phases that perfectly applies here: "Mark - your comments are too clever to be understood." Perhaps not clever enough? Where did Mark get the idea to insert the word "official" into his response? The appearance is given above that this so called 'official rate' came from the recent Sept 27th IPCC report. However quoting…

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    58. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      Sean Arundell

      Sean, one of the things that I find quite amazing, given the consensus and all the talk about excessive global warming which appears on these pages, is that the world has not warmed so much faster than it has as shown by the measurements.

      After all it started in about 1650 to 1700 to emerge from a very severe cold period of the little ice age.

      Surely one has to wonder why it did that rather than continuing in a state of being very cold so that people could continue to skate…

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    59. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to John Nicol

      John, keeping in mind I am not a good source for accurate science on the subject a couple of things come to mind. I think the number is 27K in very diverse disciplines, people following their own interests/motivations. the scale of the complexity demands multiple interactions and sharing where they are all learning from each other individually and cross feeding knowledge and skills. I believe in the near future the whole process will hit a critical mass. [would the period Einstein's theory to 1945…

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    60. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      @Mark Lawson 'AFR Journalist' stated 18/10: "The truth is uncomfortable." and also "There was a megadrought in the South East Aus which scientists blamed on greenhouse effect but the forecasts were largely proved wrong at least in the short term."
      However, Roger Jones, Professorial Research Fellow at Victoria University states on 22/10: "South-east Australia saw a temperature change of about 0.8C when we compared temperatures before 1996 and after 1997. We know that it got drier after 1997 too…

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    61. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      @Mark Lawson Senior AFR 'journalist' (?) stated 17/10: "its now common ground that temperatures have not moved very little. I think the official rate of increase is 0.03C per decade." thus attempting to re-frame this discussion about "species-threatened-by-climate-change" in Australia into the *Rate of increase* of Average Surface Temperatures Globally. However on 22/10 Roger Jones, Professorial Research Fellow at Victoria University stated on TC "In RESEARCH I did with colleagues earlier this year…

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    62. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      About the Framing and RE-Framing Public Discourse: FRAMING refers to the social construction of a social phenomenon often by mass media sources, political or social movements, political leaders, or other actors and organizations. It is an inevitable process of selective influence over the individual's perception of the meanings attributed to words or phrases.
      It is generally considered in one of two ways: as frames in thought, consisting of the mental representations, interpretations, and simplifications…

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  3. James Walker

    logged in via Facebook

    Hmm...unless the species is relatively new, surely it was around last time temperatures were at this level? If so, wouldn't they have been in the areas currently being considered?
    Might be worth checking where the species were 100,000 years ago, to confirm that the right locations are being considered.

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    1. Craig Miller

      Environmental Consultant

      In reply to James Walker

      I remember recommending that we bring tuatara back to the South Island West Coast mainland, when we were developing our Conservation Management Strategies in DOC back in the 90's. Cape Foulwind, with its seal colony, near Westport was my first choice.

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  4. Paul Felix

    Builder

    Surely this is premised on the fact that humans will be little effected by global warming. It is probable we will be most affected and will be in no position to help other species.
    Alternatively we can pull our mental fingers out and take real action.
    Talk about relocating species, last year a $M75 G W agricultural mitigation program for Bangla Desh was cancelled because it was decided it had no hope of success, 40+ million people live in that delta, the smallest rise in sea level will swamp them.
    This has the possibility to be a catastrophe unlike any humans have experienced in thousands of years, partly because of the extent of warming but also because of our numbers and complexity of our structures.
    We will need to relocate more than pygmy possums if what is predicted does occur.

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    1. James Walker

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Paul Felix

      Bangladesh's problem is logging upstream has makes the river floods worse.
      Going 'global warming!' every time there is a disaster is why the skeptics have so much traction: when 99% of claims can be disproven easily, the 1% of serious claims don't get heard.

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    2. Paul Felix

      Builder

      In reply to James Walker

      Not to put to fine a point on it, you are wrong.
      The program was cancelled because of the likelihood of sea level rise due to global warming.
      NGOs do not pull major agricultural programs when there are solutions available.
      My point was that the moving of animals will take 2nd place to relocating tens of millions of people, regardless of how worthwhile that is.
      Skeptics have traction because they are supported by vested interests and shout loudly, 95% of involved scientists have disproved the deniers claims, the vested interests enable the 5% to have an overly large influence in places like here and the USA.
      Apologies to authors for being off topic.

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    3. Philip Dowling

      IT teacher

      In reply to Paul Felix

      The height of deltas is ultimately determined by the height of the sea level. If the sea level rises, the height of the delta will rise also, all other factors not changing.
      People live on deltas because they are very fertile. Early civilizations mainly developed in the most fertile areas, which were subject to annual flooding.
      Australia does not have a significant delta.

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    4. Paul Felix

      Builder

      In reply to Philip Dowling

      Sadly for the people of Bangla Desh the scientists assessing the agricultural mitigation program disagreed with you and advised it would be a waste of time and money, because of global warming.
      Floods happen, look no further than NSW/Qland/Vic, but NGOs do not pull programs because of floods.

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    5. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Paul Felix

      Paul Felix

      ".....if what is predicted does occur". It is a very big if, Paul so I think we will all be OK.

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  5. Stephen Ralph

    carer at n/a

    In the beginning I thought this going to be about humans.

    But in one sense it could be a metaphor.

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  6. Simon Oliver

    logged in via Facebook

    The idea of moving individual species is flawed - ecosystems consist of multiple species and to preserve any particular one means moving most, or all, of them to be in the same place. If an ecosystem is collapsing because one or more keystone species ranges are changing, then the right thing to do is move the species being left behind to the new range(s). If it is collapsing because the acceptable range for the species (e.g. grey seals/polar bears) is disappearing, then there's nothing that can be done.

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  7. Leigh Burrell

    Trophy hunter at Trophy hunter

    I hope Joe Hockey is reading. This is exactly the kind of "research" we need to cut funding to. What a load of codswallop!

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  8. Greg North

    Retired Engineer

    Many species are known to have died out over the millions of years of life on earth and then some have survived, including humans who are to a large extent more likely less durable when it comes to climate changes being progressive or rapid.
    It was a decade or so ago that about 15,000 people in France died because of a warmer summer which people found difficult to adjust to.
    As cute as the Tuatara might be and far cuter than a cane toad I would have thought that there are still far more important projects that humans can work on for adaption to warmer times.
    For instance, there are quite a few Pacific Islanders on some islands that regularly enough get inundated with king tides and storm surges whereas there are also many islands with plenty of land at a reasonable level above sea level and much more ought to be done on relocating people sooner rather than later.

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  9. Edward Cannella

    Zoologist

    I would think direct anthropogenic impacts (eg., land clearing, increased waste production, urbanisation, water usage, etc) will see many more species become extinct before we need to be at a point to consider translocations to mitigate climate change effects. Given that we have been lax in the control of the more direct impacts, the tenor of this article would suggest a retreat in the conservation stakes. Put up your hands in defeat and concentrate on something that will probably happen so slowly that we, as a self-absorbed species, would miss the boat.

    Climate change is a problem that will impact tomorrow but we need to plan for it today. But we have problems today that we keep putting off until tomorrow.

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    1. Tim Allman

      Medical Software Developer

      In reply to Edward Cannella

      I have an issue with "Climate change is a problem that will (have an) impact tomorrow but we need to plan for it today." The northern part of my country, Canada, is being devastated by global warming now. It is certainly true that the other problems that you mention are highly significant but they are no more "direct" than climate change is right now.

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    2. Tracy Rout

      Post-doctoral Research Fellow at University of Melbourne

      In reply to Edward Cannella

      Hi Edward,

      I agree that other anthropogenic impacts like habitat loss and fragmentation are hugely important when it comes to species conservation. They also exacerbate the effects of a changing climate – species can’t move themselves to other locations where the climate’s better because there’s no habitat left there, or because they can’t get across the sea of urban/agricultural development to the remaining islands of habitat.

      I disagree though that climate change impacts are something solely…

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    3. Edward Cannella

      Zoologist

      In reply to Tracy Rout

      Thank you for your response Tracy. The issue I have to face every day is prioritising conservation mitigation measures. Climate change is happening, there is no doubt. Thankfully, it happens rather more slowly and that gives us a little breathing space (as I said we work today to mitigate the issues it will bring tomorrow). However, a more immediate threat to all of these species that we want to conserve are happening now and at a much faster rate. Yet we seem to have an almost blaze view on the…

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    4. Edward Cannella

      Zoologist

      In reply to Edward Cannella

      PS. To align the fate of the Western Swamp Tortoise to CC is erroneous. All the evidence point to the rapid anthropogenic impacts since the colonisation of the Swan Coastal Plain. It will be exacerbated by CC possibly due to lack of suitable habitats and areas where suitable habitats could be constructed.

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    5. Bernie Masters

      environmental consultant at FIA Technology Pty Ltd, B K Masters and Associates

      In reply to Edward Cannella

      The fate of the Western Swamp Tortoise is very much aligned to climate change. The tortoise requires winter-wet wetlands in which its food - tadpoles and other aquatic organisms - thrive so that it can eat well during the winter and aestivate in summer after burying itself into the muddy base of the wetland. The tortoise was first found 100 or so years ago, lost to science until a young lad brought one in to the annual Wildlife Show at the Perth town hall where it was identified and the rest, as…

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    6. Edward Cannella

      Zoologist

      In reply to Bernie Masters

      Too true Bernie. But that is the point. What is needed is forethought, not afterthought. The issues that can slow down habitat degradation can be addressed now. We can then work towards finding locations and the processes that can effectively maintain a viable population of the species. My point is that although CC is/will have an impact, there are more immediate concerns that could render the translocation and conservation of species a theoretical exercise in hindsight.

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    7. Nicola Mitchell

      Associate Professor in Conservation Physiology at University of Western Australia

      In reply to Edward Cannella

      Hi Bernie and Edward,

      Great to see your thoughtful comments on the issues surrounding the potential for assisted colonisation of the Western Swamp Tortoise. We are working on a variety of fronts to identify optimum locations for tortoises under the future drier climate projected for southwestern Australia. Here are some resources and media coverage that you might find interesting:

      - A story broadcast earlier this year on ABC's 7:30 report: http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2013/s3729273.htm

      - the open-access paper on which the article was based: http://www.mdpi.com/2079-7737/2/1/1

      - and an earlier piece I wrote for The Conversation: https://theconversation.com/australian-endangered-species-western-swamp-tortoise-11630

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    8. Edward Cannella

      Zoologist

      In reply to Tim Allman

      Tim, my apologies. I was thinking in terms of Australia where climatic extremes are much more "part-and-parcel" of the ecosystems (at least in my lifetime of work). I realise that some areas in this world are experiencing changes resulting from CC that will have much more immediate effects. But then again, should that not be the trigger to do something today and not put it off tomorrow - that is, the immediate priority should now include impacts from CC.

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    9. Nicola Mitchell

      Associate Professor in Conservation Physiology at University of Western Australia

      In reply to Philip Dowling

      It is certainly possible that abandoned clay pits could be engineered and revegetated to provide an appropriate wetland habitat for western swamp tortoises. Most clay based wetlands on the Swan Coastal Plain have been lost to agricultural and urban development, but there are clay pits further south that are worth investigating. However, our focus is to identify sites that will be viable for more than a few years - ideally we need sites that remain viable for decades.

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    10. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Edward Cannella

      Edward Cannella

      You say: "However, a more immediate threat to all of these species that we want to conserve are happening now and at a much faster rate."

      What direct scientific evidence based on well controlled, experimental observations, which demonstrate that global warming is an "immediate " threat and "is happening now" to endanger these species.

      For that statement to be valuable, surely you would already have "a fairly detailed understanding of the specific impact of CC".

      Since…

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    11. Edward Cannella

      Zoologist

      In reply to John Nicol

      Hi John

      My apology, a remnant sentence that should have been reviewed prior to posting. It should read "However, there are more immediate threats to all of these species that we want to conserve which are happening now and at a much faster rate."

      I was actually referring to the more immediate anthropogenic impacts on ecosystems as stated in the following sentence. In these, I do have greater experience through the past 25 years of my work as a field zoologist. These include such impact resulting…

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  10. Terry Morrison

    retired educator/instructor

    Comments about the use of language -if we use the original concept of the words used: Global Warming" instead of a benign climate change comment would a more engaged conversation be possible check this out: TONY JONES: OK. But you know, because in 2002 that memo was revealed in the New York Times, that it appears to have been the template for the Bush Administration and certainly for example President Bush stopped using the term 'global warming' and started using the words 'climate change', apparently…

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    1. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Terry Morrison

      Hi Terry, re "....Global Warming" instead of a benign climate change comment..." I do have a vague memory of this intentional shift of emphasis (maybe created by some 'genius' marketing thought bubble at a think tank in the US). Though do not understand what you're getting at in your query, and the difference in using one term or the other you're alluding to. I'm curious why you see it as an issue here. thx sean

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    2. Tim Allman

      Medical Software Developer

      In reply to Terry Morrison

      This isn't a marketing thing. The the warming of the planet in general is only one part of the changing climate.

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  11. John Nicol

    logged in via email @bigpond.com

    "The major problem with climate change is not so much that climate is changing, but that it is changing faster than species can move or adapt"

    Do please tell us what evidence there is - that is real scientific evidence - that the temperature of the planet is changing faster than these animals, which have come through ices ages (10,000 years ago) the LIA (300 years ago), cannot handle. Day and night temperature change, summer winter temperature change must be a real challenge for them..
    John Nicol

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    1. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to John Nicol

      @JohnNicol re: "Do please tell us what evidence there is - that is real scientific evidence ..." How much time do you have John, and where would you prefer to start? Would like some info on why "... these animals, which have come through ices ages (10,000 years ago) .." is incorrect and way too generalised a statement to make? Happy to help if your are genuine about it. Meanwhile rabbits sleep in warrens, snakes hibernate under logs, birds have nests, wombats snooze during the day inside hollowed out logs, and the possums love to set up home in aussie's roofs during the day. Sean

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    2. Tracy Rout

      Post-doctoral Research Fellow at University of Melbourne

      In reply to John Nicol

      Hi John,

      The problem is that species have to adapt to a rapidly changing climate given all the other impacts they face - such as habitat loss and fragmentation, and introduced predators or competitors. Where species may have adapted in the past by moving themselves to new locations where the climate is more suitable, often now there's no habitat left nearby. Hopefully some species will be able to adapt in their current habitat by changing their behaviour or through rapid evolution. For the species we mentioned in our article though, the climate is already having an impact.

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    3. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to John Nicol

      John, I had thought that you were at least a vaguely sophisticated contrarian, but to rehearse the day-to-night or summer-to-winter temperature change doesn't even make it in high school science.

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    4. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Alice Kelly

      Thanks Dianne.

      However, a lot of water has flowed under the bridge since 2002 - 11 years ago - and coral reef researchers now seem to be saying that the bleaching, as in :
      "One particularly visible sight that brings climate change to the attention of the public is the series of large tracts of bleached coral on the Great Barrier Reef resulting from unusually warm summers. "
      is not now believed to have been the result of "global warming" and certainly the references to global warming in the…

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    5. Philip Dowling

      IT teacher

      In reply to Alice Kelly

      Climate change has also meant that galahs and cockatoos have invaded many areas of Sydney in recent years.

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    6. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      Felix MacNeill

      Thank you for your comment Felix.

      I accept that seasonal and diurnal temperature changes are partially irrelevant but so are most of the claims in this article and from many commentators here that there are clear signs of the effects of climate change in the habitats of various threatened species.

      However, the point I was trying to make is that animals accustomed to these very significant maximum temperature variations of up to between, say, -10 and 30 K in some cases, from…

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    7. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      Sean Arundell

      Thanks for your brief statement. Perhaps you can explain just where these animals were then during the ice age, or are you claiming they have popped out of the food chain in the last 10,000 years?

      I am genuine about my question so any real information you might have with references would certainly be appreciated. Thanks. John Nicol
      P.S. I am not able to make much use of the information you have already given me about rabbits and snakes etc with which I am fairly familiar.

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    8. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to John Nicol

      @John Nicol re: "...will indeed find these changes in temperature unacceptable, but have yet to receive any answer or even comment on my question". I believe the problem is not that you don't receive an answer but that you're asking the wrong kind of question. You appear to only focusing upon changes in temperature affecting these animals. Sounds to me that you believe a relatively small 1C, 2C, or 4C permanent change to average global surface temperature is unlikely to make a difference to these…

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    9. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to John Nicol

      @JohnNicol re: "..any real information you might have with references would certainly be appreciated."
      John perhaps you'd like to start here, and if then you'd like to get more specific "real" information regarding Australian fauna we could continue.
      The Quaternary period saw the extinctions of numerous predominantly larger, especially megafaunal, species, many of which occurred during the transition from the Pleistocene to the Holocene epoch. However, the extinction wave did not stop at the end…

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    10. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      @JohnNicol PS at the bottom of every wiki page is listed the References. That is where the real "juice is". eg http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quaternary_extinction_event#References You can then use the information provided in the wiki pages to copy and paste keywords and phrases you want more high quality scholarly references about by using this service www.google.com.au Remember to take regular breaks form the computer as you could be stuck there a very long time. Best wishes, Sean aka 'The Google Master' I think it was back around 2001 that I was awarded that title by intelligent people who recognised I had earnt it. :) I have been on the internet since early 1995. My first foray was on an academic public discussion board run out of America that didn't even go through www html. Ah, the old days of FTP and logging into University databases all over the planet before barely a soul had heard the term World Wide Web or the Internet. Seems like a lifetime ago now.

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    11. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      Sean Arundell

      Thanks again Sean.

      I was not criticising at all the the work they are doing or reporting and as a physicist, I would not presume to be able to do so. However, as a scientist, it is not difficult to understand that there is a significant part of their argument missing in relation to the speculation that the migration of animals is a given, without being able to quantify what conditions must pertain in order for the various species to require relocation.

      Neither do they…

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    12. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      Sean Arundell

      Sean, Thanks again and for the links.

      Yes, I am well aware of the earlier epochs of extinctions and also realise that the jury is still out on the causes. I am also aware that the imposition of man on the earth including in Australia has been responsible for many species both fauna and flora going the way of the dodo. - the Tasmanian Devil springs immediately to mind.

      However, the claims made in the above article seem to be exaggerating the current situation in regards to…

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    13. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      Sean Arundell

      I am well aware of the processes of studying references and chasing information on the internet having used some of the earliest available computers in the sixties and continuously through to the present having cut my teeth in the laboratory with all the various models such as the ubiquitous PDP8 and others used for data collection as well as in house developments using Z80 and other microchips wired up to transistors and a black keyboard.

      However, I was never awarded the prestigious title of "The Good Master", so do congratulate you on acquiring that empowering accolade.

      But thanks for the tips. My good wife makes sure that I do not spend too much time sitting and take regular breaks within the hour!! Best,
      John

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    14. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to John Nicol

      @JohnN re: comment "I was not criticising at all...etc". Apologies for any offence taken re snide remark, i did intend it that way nor personally as a total judgment, but humorously by way of an analogy which came to mind. Honestly I don't make myself seriously so no need for anyone else, though I totally understand how it could have come across too. so feel free to use the report option john because i am ok with it being deleted, and wont get offended nor upset. I really have to run now, will try to deal other matters later. Much appreciated, and always say what you want. Sean

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    15. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      typo bugger ... i did NOT intend it that way ...

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    16. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to John Nicol

      Hi John, re ":"What knowledge is there about the sensitivity of species to, if you like, environmental change", Surely this is a valid question given the theme of the article?" ... Probably a lot more knowledge now than was 20 to 50 years ago I suspect. The way I was looking at it was that the article was presenting one small slither of new knowledge being developed right now and was making the public aware of that. I really don't know all the details but have noticed a slow but steady rise in the…

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    17. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to John Nicol

      John re ".. the prestigious title of "The Good Master"..." um, that was Google, and yeah what a big deal hey? :) [ur catching my soh] btw I can be good but when i am bad, i am better.

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    18. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      Sean Arundell

      Hi Sean,

      Yes I agree we have probably entered some new age of extinction, which is certainly because of the unlimited expansion of the human species. I guess, when it is all said and done, most extinctions have taken place because of some sort of competition between species coupled with a change in conditions which allows one or more to dominate those for which conditions are least suited. This may even have been the case for the Dinosaurs, since their "cause of death" is not…

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  12. Paul Prociv

    ex medical academic; botanical engineer at University of Queensland

    Isn't this approach simply denying the inevitable? Both climate change and direct human encroachment are working seriously against the survival of many animal species, mainly through habitat loss. Surely a single species is valuable biologically only as an integral component of a complex ecosystem, not as a museum curiosity? But because it might falsely convince politicians and the public that something constructive is being done, this kind of research finds ready funding.
    Disintegration of entire ecosystems will see the extinction of numerous iconic species, including elephants and rhinos in Africa, tigers in Asia; maintaining a residue of individuals in zoos will be a hugely expensive exercise, and for what purpose - to show our descendants what once was? The essential problem remains: human population growth.

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    1. Tracy Rout

      Post-doctoral Research Fellow at University of Melbourne

      In reply to Paul Prociv

      Hi Paul,

      I think the question of how we value species is a really interesting one. Are species valuable because of the services they provide in an ecosystem, or because they have some intrinsic value independent of that? Should we value them more in the wild or in captivity, in their original habitat or in a new habitat? I don't have the answers I'm afraid - I don't think there are any easy answers.

      In making a decision about whether or not to move a species, judgements must be made about what we want for that species and how much we value different outcomes. What we've tried to do with this framework is make those judgements transparent, so the motivations behind the decision are clear, and separate them out from the scientific predictions. This means the end decision is a rational one, even though subjective judgements are involved.

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    2. Paul Prociv

      ex medical academic; botanical engineer at University of Queensland

      In reply to Tracy Rout

      Yes, I can see that. It is one helluva dilemma. I suppose that for most of us, that's about the limit of what we can do to somehow postpone the inevitable. Keep up the good work!
      For my part, I'm working my guts out trying to preserve just one small parcel of habitat; maybe one day we could park some threatened species here!?

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    3. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Paul Prociv

      Paul Prociv

      You make some good points as does Tracy Rout below. I often ask myself the same questions about the relevance of the environment and endangered species and come to the conclusion that yes, all other species will be endangered unless we control our own population of human beings. Climate change is irrelevant.

      I also think that all creatures are important since we do not know what role they ply in sustaining th world we live in nor what we might discover they can contribute in the future. We should strive hard to protect and propogate ALL species for their own and our own sakes.
      John Nicol

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  13. Sean Arundell

    Uncommon Common Sense

    Should we move species threatened by climate change? aka imminent extinction.
    My standard answer would be no. There will likely be some rational and rare exceptions to my rule of thumb which I could understand as being of long term benefit. That would be constrained on a case by case basis after a reasonable cost-benefit analysis. Simply because some species are "rare" couldn't be the primary determinate of itself in my view. The Seed Bank program on the other hand is of a different order. Not continuing that would be foolhardy. Thx for the article and refs though James for it is worth raising and the people directly involved in these problems deserve to be heard.
    [ PS James fwiw I feel that phrases like this "which should concern all of us" don't usually help to break through very well. Has to do with basic human communication modes from early childhood. Using 'should' can be an emotional trigger point not well understood. eg "You shouldn't use it!" smiling ]

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    1. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Tracy Rout

      Hi Tracy, I know. :) I reworded the phraseology within the article intentionally. My personal hobby could be described as The Science of Communicating Climate Science. Sorry that I don't have the time nor expertise to read through your paper etc. What I would suggest (on the rare possibly you haven't already focused upon it yet) is recognise your whole project/goals will probably swing on the meaning and use of the word "reasonable", more than the science itself. Do not take my word for it though. There will someone more qualified than me at UoM you could seek guidance from. No doubt given the article content you already get that "cost-benefit" goes way beyond money which is only one aspect. Though some readers may miss that. Twice a year for months on end I can sit on the headlands watching the humbacks go by. Priceless!

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  14. Bernie Masters

    environmental consultant at FIA Technology Pty Ltd, B K Masters and Associates

    Very disappointing that some many comments are off topic, so may I be allowed to bring everyone's minds back to the issue of moving species in the face of climate change-threatened extinction?
    The authors focus their article on 'iconic' species which is understandable if governments or the public are to provide the necessary funds to allow such species to be relocated. But climate change - which is real and poses serious biodiversity threats - will impact upon 100s or 1000s of species. The financial…

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    1. Paul Felix

      Builder

      In reply to Bernie Masters

      Yet our concerns are whether to replace our car, where to catch a plane to, build a bigger house, pay less tax. The solution of paying the equivalent of a few cups of coffee a week appears to be too expensive to consider.
      We may rescue a few pygmy possums because they are cute but there are myriad more living things that will also suffer (creatures) or die (vegetation), both from global warming and habitat destruction.
      Caring for our planet and its inhabitants, even ourselves, appears to be beyond us at present.
      I am not suggesting the authors stop trying but that the rest of us try harder.

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    2. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Paul Felix

      Paul Felix

      As I have already asked the authors, what direct, irrefutable evidence is that species will not be able to handle the small changes in temperature which may arise if the IPCC's worst "scenarios" are realised.

      These species have evolved through the last ice age, only 10,000 years ago, the Little Ice Age, only 300 years ago, and been unaffected by the wide range of temperatres associated with the twelve month seasonal cycle and the 24 hour diurnal cycle.

      Why do we expect that a couple of degrees hotter or colder associated with "climate change" is going to have any significant effect? And what objective research has been undertaken to establish the likely effect of this change?
      John Nicol.

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    3. Paul Felix

      Builder

      In reply to John Nicol

      Any evidence can be denied and there is no evidence that smoking directly and irrefutably causes lung cancer.
      I am unsure what you mean by objective research, if the snow melts the bears have no prey and no home so they die of hunger, extreme weather events implies habitats will be severely altered or lost.
      Are you asserting absolutely that there is no need to be concerned, that they (and we) will adapt to global warming?

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  15. Suzy Gneist
    Suzy Gneist is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Multi-tasker at Graphic Design & Montville Coffee

    Although this does not resolve the alpine species issue which the authors suggest to address through direct human intervention (relocation), i do believe one other parallel option is to implement connected wildlife corridors unencumbered by roads or human habitation (inconvenient, yet ultimately beneficial), allowing species to move to new areas. As with most problems, there are no single simple solutions but a need to implement several strategies consistently - unfortunately this is often being hampered through local planning decisions which do not take larger issues like migration options into account. (Example: Maleny Precinct wildlife corridor implementation http://www.communityrun.org/petitions/demand-that-sunshine-coast-council-uphold-their-best-practice-environmental-charter)

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  16. Robert Molyneux

    Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

    "One of the solutions is to move species to places with a more suitable climate. But the idea of introducing species to areas where they have never occurred before is controversial, because species introduced to somewhere they’ve never lived could have devastating consequences for the species already there. Just think of foxes, lantana, cane toads and other invasive species in Australia."
    I don't think the article addresses the issues very well. Given today's knowledge, how would we assess the pros…

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  17. Mark Wright

    logged in via Facebook

    This post is not written as perfect as your previous one was but it is also written good..
    britishessayhelp.co.uk

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