ARC April 2005 General Meeting Minutes


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Written by Phantom Phish ARC- 12 April 2005- General Meeting Minutes <u>ATLANTA REEF CLUB- GENERAL MEETING MINUTES
</u><span style="font-size: 12px;"></span>Date: 12 April 2005 (7:15 p.m. – approximately 9:00 p.m.)
Location: Jocks and Jills Brookhaven, Atlanta, GA
Minutes by: Chris Clark
</u><span style="font-size: 12px;"><ol>
<li>7:15 p.m. – Joint meeting of the Atlanta Reef Club and the Atlanta Reef Dwellers Scuba Club called to order, by Presidents Steve Shindell (ARC) and John Stigaard (ARDSC).</li>
<li>A raffle was conducted, with the lucky ticket holders receiving door prizes, including fish/coral identification booklets and a DVD video.</li>
<li>John Stigaard (President of Atlanta Reef Dwellers) described their Scuba Club to ARC members. Atlanta Reef Dwellers ("><span style="font-size: 12px;"><span style="color: #0000ff;"></span></span></a>) is Atlanta\'s oldest independent scuba diving club, and is not associated with any dive shop or certifying agency. They hold monthly meetings (on the same day as our ARC General Meetings) at The Jocks and Jills Brookhaven location. Their meetings consist of informative lectures, dive equipment demonstrations, slide and video shows, and an opportunity for members to meet and chat with other divers. Members participate in dive trips and/or social events almost every month. John went on to describe upcoming ARDSC functions, including a meeting at a member\'s home swimming pool to check dive gear. Recent dive trips were discussed. Copies of the clubs newsletter were provided, which includes information for anyone interested in joining (see club\'s website above).</li>
<li>Steve Shindell (President of Atlanta Reef Club) described the ARC to members of Atlanta Reef Dwellers. A brief history of our club was given, and our purpose of promoting responsible reef keeping, while enjoying social interactions with other reef aquarium hobbyists, was discussed.</li>
</ol>Steve announced our upcoming May special event, Saltwater U. Our list of speakers was presented, including Sylvia Earle, Eric Borneman, Scott Michael, James Hrynyshyn, Bill Light, Jeffery Swanagan, Walt Smith and Chris Hetlage. Many of the topics being discussed are of interest to both aquarium hobbyists and scuba divers. ARDSC members were invited and encouraged to attend. More information about Saltwater U can be found at [IMG]"><span style="color: #0000ff;"></span></a>. If ARC members have not already signed up for Saltwater U, they are encouraged to do so. This will be an exciting event, and is our most ambitious undertaking to date.
Tim Woolston (ARC Vice President) presented information on Reef Check, and provided printed pamphlets and brochures describing this organization. Reef Check is a non-profit foundation established in 1997 to promote reef conservation. By educating and involving local communities in marine conservation, Reef Check aims to help save the worlds reefs. Further information about Reef Check, including donations and membership, can be found at [IMG]"><span style="color: #0000ff;"></span></a>.
The informal business portion of the meeting was concluded at 7:35 p.m., and the featured speaker for the evening, Dr. Kimberly Cobb, Ph. D., was introduced.
Dr. Cobb graduated from Yale University in 1996, with a BA (honors) in Geology and Biology. She earned her Ph.D. from the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, University of California San Diego, in 2002. Dr. Cobb is currently an assistant professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology. The topic of her discussion was her research on the effects of climate on coral at a private island owned by the Nature Conservancy (Palmyra Island).

[B]Featured Speaker: Dr. Kimberly Cobb
<u>El Nino/ Southern Oscillation and global warming: New Data from old corals
[/B]</u>Approximately every three to seven years, a warming current of water appears in the eastern Pacific Ocean, and is commonly referred to as "El Nino", or more appropriately the El Nino- Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Among the consequences of ENSO are increased rainfall across Peru, the southern US, and other central and southern American countries, often leading to destructive flooding. Conversely, El Nino is associated with drought in the western Pacific, and has caused devastating brush fires in Australia and other Pacific countries. Although ENSO is a phenomenon that originates in the tropical Pacific, it affects climate patterns around the world, and carries serious economic and social costs. In 1982 there was a particularly strong El Nino event which caused significant destruction and devastation. At this time, generating the ability to predict ENSOs was made a priority for the US and other countries. By studying El Nino events throughout history, it is hoped that improved forecasts for the future can be made, and that some of these costs can be minimized.
We have records dating back to the mid 1800s (through instrument readings and study of polar ice core samples) of El Nino/ La Nina events, of average global temperatures, and of atmospheric CO2 content. However, this record is too short to answer some key questions, namely:
<li>Are late 20th century El Nino events more frequent and more severe than those of the recent past?</li>
<li>Is there a correlation between average global temperature (and atmospheric CO2) and El Nino activity?</li>
<li>How much and how fast has ENSO activity (frequency and severity) changed in the past?</li>
</ol>In an attempt to uncover the history of ENSO events prior to the mid 1800s, Dr. Cobb studied modern (living), and fossil corals of Palmyra Island. Palmyra is a largely uninhabited island located in the central Pacific, approximately 960 miles southwest of Hawaii. It's location and exposure to El Nino events, makes Palmyra an ideal site to study this phenomenon.
Dr. Cobb chose the massive form of [I]Porites</em> coral as her research subject. [I]Porites </em>colonies can live for several centuries. Studying these living corals can provide information dating back 200 plus years. But by studying fossil corals, in addition to the living corals, she was able to collect data from over 700 years ago.
Her research involved drilling core samples from both modern and fossil corals, and measuring oxygen isotopes in the calcium carbonate of the coral's skeleton. She found that the measurement of these isotopes provided an accurate indicator of an El Nino event, and it's intensity. By correlating these findings with radioactive decay dating of the coral samples, she was able to show that these corals did indeed provide, within their skeletons, an accurate historical record of El Nino events.
Through her research of the Palmyra island corals, Dr. Cobb reconstructed an extended history of the ENSO events in the Pacific, including the frequency and intensity of these events, dating back to approximately 930 AD. She found that ENSO characteristics (intensity and frequency) can change dramatically from decade to decade. And, interestingly, she discovered that the most intense El Nino activity in this period occurred in the 1600s, during the "Little Ice Age" when global temperatures were low. This fact would seem to suggest that ENSO activity is unrelated to global temperatures, and that the global warming we are currently experiencing is unlikely to cause more frequent or more intense El Nino activity in the near future.
However, as a closing thought, Dr. Cobb raised the concern that, even if ENSO activity doesn't seem to increase with global warming, has Man disturbed the environment to the point that an El Nino event could possibly become the "straw that breaks the camels back?"
More information about Dr. Cobb and her research can be found at [IMG]"><span style="color: #0000ff;"></span></a> .

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