Sea level rises "decelerating"

Phil Watson

One of the biggest scares used by this government for action on climate change is the threat of rising sea levels, inundating coastal regions and flooding low-lying islands. The IPCC has predicted rises of up to 59cm by 2100, but the Labor government has exaggerated even this, often quoting rises of up to 1m.

Now a new study that actually looks at sea level records has shown that it’s all more of the same: alarmism. It’s ironic, isn’t it, that those who rely on flaky models predict massive sea level rises, but when one actually looks at the empirical data, a completely different picture emerges (much like in the area of climate sensitivity):

ONE of Australia’s foremost experts on the relationship between climate change and sea levels has written a peer-reviewed paper concluding that rises in sea levels are “decelerating”.

The analysis, by NSW principal coastal specialist Phil Watson, calls into question one of the key criteria for large-scale inundation around the Australian coast by 2100 — the assumption of an accelerating rise in sea levels because of climate change.

Based on century-long tide gauge records at Fremantle, Western Australia (from 1897 to present), Auckland Harbour in New Zealand (1903 to present), Fort Denison in Sydney Harbour (1914 to present) and Pilot Station at Newcastle (1925 to present), the analysis finds there was a “consistent trend of weak deceleration” from 1940 to 2000.

Mr Watson’s findings, published in the Journal of Coastal Research this year and now attracting broader attention, supports a similar analysis of long-term tide gauges in the US earlier this year. Both raise questions about the CSIRO’s sea-level predictions.

Climate change researcher Howard Brady, at Macquarie University, said yesterday the recent research meant sea levels rises accepted by the CSIRO were “already dead in the water as having no sound basis in probability”.

“In all cases, it is clear that sea-level rise, although occurring, has been decelerating for at least the last half of the 20th century, and so the present trend would only produce sea level rise of around 15cm for the 21st century.

Dr Brady said the divergence between the sea-level trends from models and sea-level trends from the tide gauge records was now so great “it is clear there is a serious problem with the models”. (source)

As usual, the models are incomplete and unreliable and are no basis for government policy. And I wonder if Gillard and Combet (and Labor MP in drag Malcolm Turnbull), who are always saying we should “trust the science” will be taking note of this? Doubt it – doesn’t fit with their pre-conceived agenda.

And in a shock reversal of its usual pandering to climate hysteria, the UN has rejected climate change as a “global security issue” – despite pleas from Australia’s own moonbat. And again, another empirical study blows the models for sea level rises out of the water (so to speak):

THE federal government’s Parliamentary Secretary for the Pacific, Richard Marles, used dire warnings of rising sea levels and the impact on low-lying islands to urge the UN to adopt climate change as a global security issue.

Evoking images of standing atop Majuro atoll in the Marshall Islands and feeling the “intense vulnerability” of a flat landscape against a rising sea, Mr Marles said that a sea level rise of 1m could lead to the erosion of up to 80 per cent of the atoll, which measures just 3m at its highest point.

However, a new paper in the Journal of Coastal Research by Murray Ford of Hawaii University, based on an analysis of 34-37 years of aerial photos and satellite imagery, says sea levels are only rising around Majuro by an average 3mm a year.

If the present rate of rise is maintained, the total rise at the start of the 22nd century would be about 27cm.

Mr Ford found that while the rural lagoon shore is mainly eroding, “the ocean-facing shore is largely accreting”, or growing, although that may be in surface area rather than in depth.

Strong pleas from Mr Marles and Nauru’s President Marcus Stephen in New York on Wednesday failed to convince the UN Security Council to adopt climate change as a priority.

Climate sense from the UN? Am I dreaming?

Read it here.

Islanders need $millions to cope with 3.6 mm/yr sea level rises

From ABC:

Torres Strait Islanders have warned Prime Minister Julia Gillard they could become Australia’s first climate change refugees if she continues to ignore the effects of rising sea levels in the area.

Torres Strait island communities have repeatedly pleaded for funding to deal with problems like coastal erosion and inundation, but say they have been forgotten in the Government’s carbon tax package.

Mayor Fred Gela says the one-metre sea level rise Ms Gillard recently identified as a risk would devastate his low-lying communities – some of which are already being inundated. [Yes, but that was a total fabrication by Gillard – Ed]

In an open letter to the PM, Councillor Gela and council CEO John Scarce say they are still waiting for help from the Australian and Queensland governments to help them adapt to climate change.

“We cannot afford to keep waiting forever. Failure to act on desperately needed adaptation measures in the Torres Strait puts Australia at risk of being the first developed nation with internally displace climate change refugees,” the letter, dated July 11, 2011 says. (source)

However, the Bureau of Meteorology National Tide Centre database for Darwin tells a rather less urgent picture (as usual):

Darwin tide gauge: 3.6mm/year since 1959 (y axis: meters, x axis: months since 1959)

A fairly gentle 3.6 mm/year, in line with global sea level rises. At that rate it would take 277 years to rise one metre…

Zombie science: the Hockey Stick lives!

No matter how many times it’s killed off, it keeps coming back from the dead. Now it’s Mann-made sea level rise, to go with Mann-made temperature rise:

Return of “The Stick”

See Watts Up With That? for the full press release.

Carbon Cate buys beachfront property… in Vanuatu

Buying beachfront property?

Now if you were really concerned about climate change, as she clearly is, having badgered us all to pay more tax for no reason, why would you buy a beachfront property on an island that all the alarmists agree is one of the first in line to be swamped by the alleged sea level rises resulting from, er, climate change? And why stop at Vanuatu, go the whole hog and buy something on Tuvalu?

The movie star-turned-ecowarrior is believed to have recently bought a plot of land in Vanuatu, one of the countries hardest hit by global warming.

Rising sea levels caused the evacuation of a village in the Pacific island nation in 2005, the first time climate change was known to have displaced an entire community. [Just for the record, climate change had nothing to do with it – sea levels have been rising at the same rate for centuries – Ed]

Blanchett is thought to have bought a waterfront property near the luxury area of Havannah Harbour during a visit last year.

However, it may not be paradise for long. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says sea levels could rise by as much as 59cm by 2100 in Vanuatu, which would obliterate much of beachfront property. (source)

But Carbon Cate isn’t bovvered, clearly. She can just go to one of her numerous other properties around the world when that one falls into the sea.

Unfortunately, Cate is just the latest in a long line of eco-celebrities who lecture the little people on how they should behave, and then go and do precisely the opposite. Like Al Gore. Yawn. Next.

Greenland ice sheet: rumours of death exaggerated

A few cubes for my Gin & Tonic, please

UPDATE: Almost two years ago to the day, this story: Reports of Greenland Ice Sheet’s demise premature

Another inconvenient result from the Science is Settled Department. Great scare story this one. Evil SUVs warm climate, Greenland ice sheet slips gently below the waves, global sea levels rise 7 metres, millions inundated. Unfortunately for the alarmists, it probably won’t happen for several thousand years, if at all. As you read this, if you listen carefully, you can almost hear the Lefty heads popping in the Guardian’s environment desk as they type out the story, as another favourite of the catastrophists bites the dust:

The threat of the Greenland ice sheet slipping ever faster into the sea because of warmer summers has been ruled out by a scientific study.

Until now, it was thought that increased melting could lubricate the ice sheet, causing it to sink ever faster into the sea. The issue was a key unknown in the landmark 2007 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which pinned the blame for climate change firmly on greenhouse gas emissions from human activities.

However, the impact of rising sea temperatures on melting ice sheets is still uncertain, meaning it remains difficult to put an upper limit on potential sea level rises. Understanding the risk is crucial because about 70% of the world’s population live in coastal regions, which host many of the world’s biggest cities, such as London, New York and Bangkok.

“The Greenland ice sheet is safer than we thought,” said Professor Andrew Shepherd of the University of Leeds, who led the research published tomorrow in Nature.

Shepherd’s team used satellite imagery to track the progress of the west Greenland ice sheet as it slipped towards the sea each summer, over five years.

Researchers had feared that more melting from the surface of the ice in hotter years would in turn provide more meltwater for a slippery film at the sheet’s base. More melting would mean more slippage and a greater rise in the sea level.

But they discovered that, above a certain threshold, the slipping began to slow. On-the-ground studies and work done on alpine glaciers suggest that higher volumes of meltwater form distinct channels under the ice, draining the water more efficiently and reducing the formation of a lubricating film. (source)

Yeah, this stuff really is all settled science, isn’t it? If they can’t tell whether a gigantic block of ice is going anywhere or not, what hope is there for the complexities of the climate system…?

Settled science: warming effect of CO2 cut by 65%

We know all there is to know

Once again, here we have an example of settled science, where no new discoveries about the climate are ever made these days and everything was set in stone ages ago. No, wait…

The warming effect of evil [harmless] carbon dioxide has been significantly overstated, and it is almost impossible to determine the “climate sensitivity”:

[…] the report is clear – CO2 does not account for even a majority of the warming seen over the past century. If other species [of atmospheric substance] accounted for 65% of historical warming that leaves only 35% for carbon dioxide. This, strangely enough, is in line with calculations based strictly on known atmospheric physics, calculations not biased by the IPCC’s hypothetical and bastardized “feedbacks.”

Of course, the real reason for the feedbacks was to allow almost all global warming to be attributed to CO2. This, in turn, would open the door for radical social and economic policies, allowing them to be enacted in the name of saving the world from global warming. The plain truth is that even climate scientists know that the IPCC case was a political witch’s brew concocted by UN bureaucrats, NGOs, grant money hungry scientists and fringe activists.

Now, after three decades of sturm und drang over climate policy, the truth has emerged – scientists have no idea of how Earth’s climate will change in the future because they don’t know why it changed in the past. Furthermore, it will take decades of additional study to gain a useful understand climate change. To do this, climate scientists will need further funding. Too bad the climate science community squandered any public trust it may have had by trying to frighten people with a lie. [my emphasis]

Read it here.

In other news:

  • Jo Nova eviscerates Robyn Williams, the ABC’s non-science journalist, who has forgotten what proper science is, doesn’t have a single sceptical brain cell in his head, but is pretty good on alarmism, pseudo-science, mudslinging and propaganda.
  • The government’s unofficial alarmist in chief, Will Steffen, who also doesn’t have a single sceptical brain cell, tells a conference in Hobart that sea levels are rising “at the top end of estimates”. Not sure how 3mm per year works out to be 1m by 2100. But hey, it’s just detail, and it sure makes a good story.

Brace yourselves for even more alarmism

Where's the acceleration?

No matter what happens to the climate between now and the publication of the IPCC’s 5th Assessment Report, we can be sure that the alarmism will be ratcheted up to ever more preposterous heights to keep the research funds flooding in. Everything will be bigger, faster, badder, worse than we thought, quicker than we thought etc, etc. The IPCC, and thousands of climate scientists, are too dependent on the “global warming” scare to let it go without a fight. And it’s started already. The IPCC’s AR4 predictions for sea level rise were exaggerated enough, but AR5 will be worse:

THE world’s peak scientific body on climate change [I think not] will ”almost inevitably” make an increase in its predictions of sea-level rises due to global warming in its next landmark report in 2014, the vice-chair of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says.

Jean-Pascal van Ypersele told The Age recent satellite observations showed extensive melting in the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets.

That new data will be considered in the IPCC’s next assessment report – regarded by governments and scientific groups as the world’s pre-eminent scientific document on climate change – and should lead to an increase in predictions of sea-level rises, Professor van Ypersele said.

The sea-level rises estimated in the IPCC’s last assessment report, released in 2007, were now on the low side. [See, what did I just say? It’s all bigger, badder, faster]

That report put sea-level rises at 18 to 59 centimetres above 1990 levels by 2100.

Members of the IPCC met in Kuala Lumpur last week to discuss the consideration of the Greenland and Antarctic data for the IPCC’s next report – its fifth. Analysis of the extent of reduction in mass of the two major ice sheets will be the report’s main focus.

”The reason there was a workshop in KL is that the IPCC knows very well this is an area that needs particular attention and where a lot of progress has been made,” Professor van Ypersele said.

New satellite data ”are starting to show – but are quite convincing, I must say – that both the Greenland ice sheet and the Antarctic ice sheet are losing net mass, not on the margins but as an ice sheet”, he said.

Funny that the sea level record shows no acceleration of sea level rise, despite attempts to show otherwise.

Strap yourselves in, folks, it’s gonna be one hell of a ride.

Read it here.

Sweet irony: Pacific islands "growing, not sinking"

The game's up

I love it when a story like this comes along – I couldn’t have scripted it better myself. After the wailing and whinging from the Pacific islands at every climate conference about how “sea level rises” are going to sink their homes and that we need to transfer billions of dollars in climate aid, we discover that the islands are actually … increasing in size! The ABC is shocked, shocked I tell you, that yet another disaster in the waiting cannot be pinned on climate change any more:

Climate scientists have expressed surprise at findings that many low-lying Pacific islands are growing, not sinking.

Islands in Tuvalu, Kiribati and the Federated States of Micronesia are among those which have grown, largely due to coral debris, land reclamation and sediment.

The findings, published in the magazine New Scientist [ouch, I bet that hurt], were gathered by comparing changes to 27 Pacific islands over the last 20 to 60 years using historical aerial photos and satellite images.

Auckland University’s Associate Professor Paul Kench, a member of the team of scientists, says the results challenge the view that Pacific islands are sinking due to rising sea levels associated with climate change.

“Eighty per cent of the islands we’ve looked at have either remained about the same or, in fact, gotten larger,” he said.

“Some of those islands have gotten dramatically larger, by 20 or 30 per cent.

“We’ve now got evidence the physical foundations of these islands will still be there in 100 years.”

Dr Kench says the growth of the islands can keep pace with rising sea levels.

“The reason for this is these islands are so low lying that in extreme events waves crash straight over the top of them,” he said.

“In doing that they transport sediment from the beach or adjacent reef platform and they throw it onto the top of the island.”

Barry Brook, well known climate alarmist, is shocked, shocked, I tell you:

“Sea levels are obviously rising – I think in the short term [the study] suggests that there’s maybe more time to do something about the problem than we’d first anticipated,” he said.

“But the key problem is that sea level rise is likely to accelerate much beyond what we’ve seen in the 20th century.”

Ah yes – your flaky computer models tell you that I guess? Well, take a look at the actual sea level measurements for a change, and you will see that they doing nothing unusual whatsoever – rising by a few millimetres a year like they have since the end of the last Ice Age – despite the “global warming” we have apparently had for the last 150 years.

But the people of the Pacific islands are not likely to give up their “climate debt blank cheque” in a hurry, so they’re doing some quick work to sweep all this under the carpet:

Naomi Thirobaux, from Kiribati, has studied the shape of Pacific islands for her PhD and says no-one should be lulled into thinking erosion and inundation is not taking its toll and displacing people from their land.

“In a populated area what would happen was that if it’s eroding, a few metres would actually displace people,” she said.

“In a populated place people can’t move back or inland because there’s hardly any place to move into, so that’s quite dramatic.”

Both Dr Kench and Dr Brook and scientists agree further rises in sea levels pose a significant danger to the livelihoods of people living in Tuvalu, Kirabati and the Federated States of Micronesia.

Sorry – doesn’t wash any more. Go to the back of the queue.

Read it here.

"Disappearing island" in Bengal nothing to do with "climate change"

Nearest tide gauge - less than 1 mm per year…

Although you surely wouldn’t believe it by reading the mainstream media, trumpeting as they are the fact that an “island” has disappeared because of rising sea levels “caused by climate change”. The Sydney Morning Herald does a brilliant job of getting it all wrong:

In an unusual example of the effects of global climate change, rising sea levels in the Bay of Bengal have helped resolve a troublesome territorial dispute between two of the world’s most populated countries, a leading Indian oceanographer says.

Sugata Hazra, the head of oceanography at Kolkata’s Jadavpur University, says a flat muddy patch of land known as South Talpatti in Bangladesh and New Moore Island in India has disappeared under the Bay of Bengal. The landmass had been claimed by both countries but Professor Hazra says satellite images prove it has gone.

”It is now a submerged landmass, not an island,” Professor Hazra told the Herald.

”Only small parts can be seen in very, very low tide conditions.”

Sea-level rise caused by climate change was ”surely” a factor in the island’s inundation, Professor Hazra said.

”The rate of sea-level rise in this part of the northern Bay of Bengal is definitely attributable to climate change,” he said.

”There is a close correlation between the rate of sea-level rise and the sea surface temperature.”

The island was once about 3.5 kilometres long and three kilometres wide and situated four kilometres from the mouth of the Hariabhanga River, the waterway that marks a stretch of the border between south-western Bangladesh and India.

Scientists believe the disputed island was formed following a cyclone in the Bay of Bengal in 1970 and both countries laid claim to the land. (source)

Right, so what’s the reality? It’s not an island, as in a rocky outcrop, it’s a sand bar. As the article says, it was created following a cyclone just 40 years ago. It is in an estuary, an area of rapid erosion and deposition. “Islands” such as this are being created and destroyed on a regular basis all the time. Look at the sea level rise from the nearest official gauge – just 0.54mm per year.  Whatever caused this sandbar to disappear, it sure as hell wasn’t “climate change.”

Thanks to Anthony Watts.

Sea-level rise paper withdrawn from journal

Pure science fiction

From The Science is Settled Department. The UK Guardian [staggers back in amazement – Ed] reports that scary predictions of sea-level rises in a Nature paper have been withdrawn, with the author admitting to “mistakes”:

Scientists have been forced to withdraw a study on projected sea level rise due to global warming after finding mistakes that undermined the findings.

The study, published in 2009 in Nature Geoscience, one of the top journals in its field, confirmed the conclusions of the 2007 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It used data over the last 22,000 years to predict that sea level would rise by between 7cm and 82cm by the end of the century.

At the time, Mark Siddall, from the Earth Sciences Department at the University of Bristol, said the study “strengthens the confidence with which one may interpret the IPCC results“. The IPCC said that sea level would probably rise by 18cm-59cm by 2100, though stressed this was based on incomplete information about ice sheet melting and that the true rise could be higher. [Isn’t it strange that they didn’t say “it could be lower” as well? Cynics may say that shows evidence of bias… – Ed]

Many scientists [alarmists – Ed] criticised the IPCC approach as too conservative, and several papers since have suggested that sea level could rise more [If you torture the data long enough, it will confess – Ed]. Martin Vermeer of the Helsinki University of Technology, Finland and Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany published a study in December that projected a rise of 0.75m to 1.9m by 2100.

Siddall said that he did not know whether the retracted paper’s estimate of sea level rise was an overestimate or an underestimate. [But I bet we can guess which he hoped it was – Ed]

And then the poor chap does his best to put a brave face on it (three times):

  • “It’s one of those things that happens. People make mistakes and mistakes happen in science.”
  • “Retraction is a regular part of the publication process.”
  • “Science is a complicated game and there are set procedures in place that act as checks and balances.”

Read it here. (h/t Climate Change Fraud)

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