Sea Level Graphs from UC and some perspectives

I got a couple of emails today saying that I should take a look at the most recently posted sea level graph from the University of Colorado shown below:

uc_seallevel_2009r2

The reason for the interest is that it dropped the rate of change from 3.3 mm/yr to 3.2 mm/yr. as shown in the next graph. That’s hardly news, since it is well within the error band of +/- 0.4 mm/yr.

uc_seallevel_2009r1

But I thought it might be interesting to go back and see what I could find in the UC sea level archive of graphs. I’ve presented all of the ones I’ve found below. I should note that in some years, UC may only release 2 graphs (as indicated by the release #) or up to 5 in one year like they did in 2005. For the sake of presentation simplicity, I’m only presenting the last graph to be released in any year.

uc_seallevel_2008r4

uc_seallevel_2007r2-1

uc_seallevel_2006r3

uc_seallevel_2005r5

uc_seallevel_2004r3

I realize there has been a great deal of interest in the flattening of the 60 day smoothing line that started in 2007 and continues to the present. But the trend line will take awhile to reflect any appreciable change in the rate if it continues to flatten. The yearly rate of rise has been between 3.0 and 3.5 mm per year since 2004.

Many projections by various models predict the rise of sea level:

Note the trend of the observations line from 1950 to 2000, if you follow the linear trend, it will end up somewhere between 20 and 30 cm by the year 2100. The graph above is from Wikipedia’s “global warming art” which for some reason doesn’t show the observations back that far.

Here is a better graph, from New Zealand’s Ministry of the Environment, which shows more of the historical record, all the way back to 1870:

sea-level-observed-plus-models

It seems sea level has been rising for awhile, and that the observation line in black, if you follow the linear trend, will also end up somewhere between 20 and 30 cm by the year 2100.

To put it all in perspective, some example images are useful.

Here is what 3 millmeters of sea level rise in 1 year looks like. This is a tiny fuel cell chip, just 3mm x 3mm in size:

3mm-fuel-cell-ross-eng

3mm square chip - approximately the sea level rise in one year

I know that many people are concerned about sea level rise over the next century. In the rate of 3 mm per year continues, we’d be at 300 mm (30 centimeters) of rise in 100 years. Here is what 30.48 cm (12 inches) looks like:

wood_ruler

30.48 cm = 12 inches, the expected sea level rise in 1 century if the 3mm/yr trend holds

And  finally, here is what the tide gauge at Anchorage Alaska looks like:

Historical Anchorage Tide Gauge at extreme high and low tide

Historical Tide Gauge at Anchorage, Alaska - photo NOAA

Anchorage Alaska boasts the world’s second highest tides: varying over 40 feet (1219 cm), low to high tide. Ok, that is an extreme example, how about this one in France:

Mt. St. Michel on the north coast of France at low tide (left) and high tide (right).
The water surrounding this island is the Gulf of Sant-Malo.

Low tide

High tide

The point I’m making is that in 100 years, for some places that extra foot won’t make much of a difference. Some low lying areas will be affected certainly, but even some of the lowest lying areas of the earth won’t see all that much impact from a third of a meter of sea level rise in 100 years. Probably the worst place to live is in a river delta which is almost at sea level anyway. Even so, 30 cm falls short of the lowest notch on this graph of 1 meter.


Bangladesh is another low lying river delta where it is not desirable to live, yet many do. Even so it appears much of it is 1 meter or more above sea level.

Florida is often talked about as being at risk. yes there are a few places there that might be touched by a 30 cm rise in sea level 100 years from now.

Looking at the whole world, at the rate we are going, I’d say it will take awhile.

click for a very large image

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201 thoughts on “Sea Level Graphs from UC and some perspectives

  1. I believe our fingernails grow more than this rate per annum.

    As for river delta, would there not be a corresponding build up of silts & sands over the same period adding to the land mass around the delta? The problems for river delta tend to be from sudden & dramatic tidal surges & or thro’ storms effects. Form the map supplied very little land will be susceptible to sea-level rises.

    OT, why did Gorey Al not use the opening title sequence for Kevin Costner’s Waterworld movie, where it showed all the land dissappearing under water. Much more melodramatic I think.

  2. Second line “seal” >> sea

    No need to post this on this thread – I don’t know how to get it to you any other way. John

    Way off topic: What to do about dated and/or biased material that, perhaps isn’t intended to be?

    The web site “ http://www.absoluteastronomy.com ” has a number of articles dealing with climate subjects. Two are:
    LITTLE ICE AGE

    http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Little_Ice_Age

    MEDIEVAL WARM PERIOD

    http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Medieval_Warm_Period

    Each of these seems to use WIKIPEDIA as a sole source and to include much from the IPCC including the “hockey stick” of temperature and statements and references questioning both the LIA and the MWP.

    Comments on WUWT have been made regarding the bias of an editor on WIKIPEDIA to the effect that materials of a skeptical nature regarding AGW are removed. I do not know this story and so cannot comment further.

    However, the “hockey stick” temperature graph was initially questioned by Stephen McIntyre and a good source is from a conference presentation given on May 16, 2008 :

    http://www.climateaudit.org/pdf/ohio.pdf

    I know there are more recent additions to this story (ex. the censored data file) but I’m not familiar enough with this material to pull it together.

    Questions about the MWP seem to be answered on the Idso’s site http://co2science.org/ with the weekly addition of a new research abstract confirming the MWP.
    I do not know of a similar undertaking for the LIA, although I know there are many articles and references about it.

    So the question: Might it be useful for readers here at WUWT who come across such material on sites that might be open to new or less biased ideas report them and, perhaps, once a week a thread could be started that could critique parts of the site’s material and then the whole thing could be directed to the site’s owners/operators/principals?

    While any one of the folks so inclined, me being one, could send a comment to a site, I know I cannot do justice to all the work others have done. Further, I think a site’s owner(s) would be more inclined to reflect on their material if they know they are being seriously reviewed by a large group – not just an individual.

    Sorry, to take up so much space off topic! Just wondering. Thanks, John

  3. Sure sounds scary when the units change… most people I know, and that includes Canadians who have been metric since the 70s, can’t show me an estimate of 3mm. Here’s a free clue: a dime is about 1mm thick.

    But hey, start throwing 30cm around, and now you’re on to something. “THIRTY! And since I don’t know what a cm is, I’ll assume it’s like a foot, right?” Sure.

    But the real confusion comes when the con-men get involved, and start throwing METERS around. 30m! And it’s easy to show people that a meter is about a yard. So there’s a letter missing. Who cares? We’re all gonna drown!

    And don’t forget those GREAT charts that all start at an arbitrary zero. That way the change can be REALLY UBER SCARY! Just like the CO2 ppm charts that all place zero at 280 so the change can be grossly exaggerated. I always have fun showing people the actual chart with zero at zero… they often are boggled.

    Crash course in metric: An inch is about 2.5cm. A meter is about 40 inches. See? 40×2.5 = 100.
    Each meter has: 1000mm, 100cm, 10dm. 1000 meters is a kilometer, which is 5/8ths of a mile. If you’re driving 50mph you’re going 80km/h.

    By the way, when I see those charts, I don’t see a straight line shooting up to infinity, I see the top of a sine wave, about to start downward. Straight lines are so deceiving.

  4. It does not really seem to be worth making the graphs with this data. In the 2004 graph the “Measured” sea level was 20mm, yet on the 2009 graph the “Measured” sea level in 2004 was 10mm. If they are going to historically modify the measured data whats the point. Now I can understand modifying predictions or models but isn’t the Jason data from a satellite? Am I missing something obvious here?? I’m sure someone will explain it to me.

  5. Anthony, your very second line refers to “seal level” graphs.

    Now, we all know that polar bears just love seals, so I would imagine that when the “seal level” goes up, it is because there are less polar bears eating them.

    In that case, we should probably get the clubbers out in order to cull the seal levels!

  6. I do not have the numbers but where the river is not channalized (as is the Mississippi) the sometimes yearly flooding deposits thin to thick layers of alluvium, clay and sand mostly, over the existing delta. When portions of the delta are raised in this manner the flood will go to lower parts and even build new land. When the flooding river cannot change its course because it is confined between levies it will flush all that material into the gulf or sea into which it discharges. This, in itself, ought to cause sea level to rise a bit as the material displaces the water upward. Thus, Bangladesh will rise because it is mostly delta of an uncontrolled alluvial river while the Mississippi delta will continue to disintegrate.

    • REPLY: yes there’s an extra “L” …I fixed it, thanks to all for pointing it out. Now get on with your lives. ;-)

  7. But..but the Copenhagen Climate conference told that the sea level (and temperature levels) rise beyond all projections?
    Somewhere I saw sea level graph, based only of some high-quality measuring points. The rise was strongest up to 1960 and almost flattened after 2003.

  8. We also have to remember that there genuinely has been warming and one would expect rising sea levels as a result. The key thing as always is how much of the level rise one can pin on AGW and what will it do from now on. I’ve sailed in tropics and in the UK for 25 years now and I have seen no significant change in sea levels during that period.

    A question, how do you measure MSL and the average annual increase given the number of variables that can affect sea level such as pressure, position of planets, wind, etc? Seems to me as dodgy as average surface temperature?

  9. Hmmmm… the trend of about 3mm per year is based on satellite observations. Funny how satellites can look down from such great distances and at such great relative speeds at the heaving ocean and determine these measurements with millimeter precision, while other satellites can look down at the ice pack and miss the measurements by hundreds of thousands of square kilometers.

    I can’t quite figure it out, but there seems to be something rather odd about the evolution of the 2003 spike… Has it been lowered with respect to the 2004 spike? Are these adjustments more evidence of human caused sea level rise? I guess sometimes these graphs must be tortured into submission…

    Would love to see Dr. Morner comment here.

    Thanks for putting some of these numbers into perspective.
    Mike

  10. Just eight points I’d like to make.

    1) Whether or not it is a problem depends very much on where you have built your bungalow, mansion or coastal road. My local council has been in an uproar for a few years now over whether a big real estate development should be allowed to go ahead given that the land is one to two metres above sea level. (Google “apollo bay development”). And there are an increasing number of such disputes appearing around Australia. The issue of maintaining and in future moving roads and other such infrastructure is a big one as it is a potentially huge burden on the rate payers of coastal councils.

    2) It won’t be a simple matter of vertical rise in sea level.
    * The rise will in many places cause all sorts of kick-on events in coastal processes. With the coastal development I mention above, a big concern is that a rise of half a metre will cause the loss of coastal sand dunes which shield the area where the development is proposed from storms.
    * The loss of these dunes will mean that a major road may need to be rerouted away from the coast and through the area where the development is proposed, or will need to be built onto a causeway at great expense.
    * The causeway will probably be necessary in any case because without the dune barrier storm surges onto the river flats on and around which the development is proposed is likely to be significantly increased.
    * Furthermore the inundation of the estuary and river flats will mean that when floods occur, they will back up much higher than now.
    * Because sea levels have been relatively constant for a few thousand years, dune systems have built up along many coasts. As the erosion kicks in, a small rise is likely to cause much bigger changes to inundation regimes than otherwise would be expected.
    * Also, inundation in bays is constrained by the cross sectional area of their inlets. With many Bays a small increase in average tidal height will significantly increase the rate at which water can enter. This will translate into a significant magnification of tidal heights along some bay shores.

    3) Sea level rise will not be uniform around the World due to prevailing winds, currents etc. Along some coasts the rise will be much higher than the average.

    4) The productivity of many of our ocean fisheries is dependent on estuarine and near coastal ecosystems such as mangroves and saltmarshes. Because throughout much of the world land is inhabited and farmed right up to the current high tide mark, as sea levels rise, people will defend their land by building sea walls. Those ecosystems will therefore have nowhere to go and will diminish, thereby impacting on fisheries.

    5) Many coastal regions are currently protected from storm surges by wetlands and marshes (think New Orleans). So the loss of such ecosystems in addition to rising sea levels will further exacerbate the impact of storm surges.

    6) The rise won’t stop when we get to 2100.

    7) Goodbye to your favourite beach.

    8) I hope the trend is in fact linear. Because if it follows some of the newer projections that include glacial melt then the cost of adaptation in coastal cities is going to be astronomical and unrelenting. Heck, we saw recently that the wealthiest nation on earth couldn’t even keep one city safe. And that disaster was also predicted decades in advance. Good luck with Florida!

  11. NOAA’s Tides and Currents webpage is here:

    http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/index.shtml

    It includes Sea Level Trends by State with a map showing that, for the majority of the contiguous US, the sea level rise has been less than 1 foot/century:

    http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sltrends/sltrends.shtml

    Select a state from the list on the left-hand side, then Click on a location and it provides a graph with trends.

    They’ve also got graphs of the global network (PSMSL) Data:

    http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sltrends/sltrends_global.shtml

    Regards

  12. And another thing about alluvial rivers: (see my previous note 00:35:54) As the level of the water in the bay or gulf or sea rises the in-flowing river will begin to slow farther upstream. Such slowing causes the material carried by the water to settle. So a rising sea will produce more rapid land buildup. These processes are not linear. Look at “competence”, and “capacity” on this site: http://myweb.cwpost.liu.edu/vdivener/notes/streams_basic.htm

    With the things I’ve mentioned going on and the sea level rise so small it doesn’t seem that much ought to be made of the issue.
    Storm surges and seismic sea waves are way bigger worries and will remain so regardless of any climate change.

  13. Measuring something as bumpy as the sea to +/-0.4mm can’t be easy :-)

    On a more serious note, what is the height relative to? Could it not equally be the land mass sinking..?

  14. 3mm rise per year will lead to an average coastal recession of 3cm to 30cm per year for sandy beaches – that puts places like Florida in line for more than 100 feet of coastal recession this century with a low end sea level rise. This simple fact is captured in Brunn’s rule which is well known to scientists. Here’s some examples of what happens when sea level rise meets people…

    http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/byron-bay-wont-budge-over-rising-sea-liability/2007/05/19/1179497333614.html

    http://informet.net/tuvmet/tide.html

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/5092218.stm

    200 million people live within 1m of sea level… so these stories will be repeated countless times this coming century.

  15. Yet another thing blown out of all proportion… and the backlash continues to grow.

    On a radio station here in New Zealand specialising in Rock music, (Radio Hauraki, for those of you from round here), they have a series of ads asking you “your rcok gone soft?” The solution to this terrible malaise being to listen to said radio station. Their latest ad goes like this:

    “Worried about the recession?
    Concerned about global warming?
    Your rock gone soft?
    Notice a trend here? – HARDEN UP!”

    I didn’t think commercial radio was capable of this anymore. Gave me a chuckle on the way to work.

  16. Regarding satellite sea height measurements. I worry about the accuracy of the published data for the following reasons:
    1/ I don’t believe that the parameters of the satellite orbit are known to within millimeters.
    The altitude of the obits are affected by many things such as orbit decay, the position of the moon, diurnal effects from the sun, mass concentrations in the earths crust (masscons) etc.
    I believe that to get a fix on altitude the operators are using fixed land based objects to obtain a reference base on each orbit or part of an obit, I further believe that they must be using continuous approximation calculations in their computers, and they must be referencing local tide tables for each satellite measurement taken.
    Note that local tide tables make no allowance for barometric pressure and sea movement due to wind.
    2/ If they use land base reference points, how certain are they that these points are stable enough for the purpose ?

    Can some one tell us how they do this and how confident we should be about the stated measurements

    I worry about the accuracy of many of the measurements quoted about things being published concerning our climate ie, How accurate are the measurements of the average temperature for the whole globe 100 years ago, indeed how accurately do we know that even today ?.
    How do they measure the average temperature of the globe ?
    Who measured pH of the sea within 0.1 pH 100 years ago, remembering that pH is a logarithmic scale ie you have to change the concentration oh hydrogen ions by 10 to cause a 1.0 pH change. If the solution is heavily “buffered” as sea water is, it would take a LOT of CO2 to reduce the pH of the oceans that are already very alkaline.
    As a retired instrumentation engineer I wouldn’t be able to even measure the average temperature of the interior of my modest house within +/- 2 deg C let alone 0.1 deg C.

    All of these things and others pass through my mind when I hear all of the doomsday prophets speaking. I may well be mistaken, I do not believe in conspiracy theories, but at the moment I feel that the kids (big and small) are too busy playing with their computer games to see the real world.

    My son is head of mathematics at a university and he doesn’t believe that you can properly model climate or economics to predict the future as we don’t know enough about the variables involved .

    Thanks for this forum

  17. One thing I find interesting is the way the “0” of the ΔMSL in the sea level graph from the University of Colorado keeps shifting. For example, the first TOPEX reading in 2004_rel3 is around -11mm, in 2006_rel3 the same reading is at 4mm, in 2007_rel2 it’s -30mm, in 2008_rel4 it’s -23mm, and in the 2009 graphs it’s hovering around the -26mm line. Do they recalculate every time? If the rate of change is only ~3mm/year, why does the MSL shift so radically (34mm between 2006 and 2007)?

    I also noticed that the Jason readings aren’t static. For example, there are two “outliers” above the highest blue 2002 peak in the 2004_rel3 graph; the two squares are practically stacked in a column. In 2006_rel3, those outliers overlap; in 2007_rel2 they’re side by side (or something else moved up); in 2008_rel4, it’s another stack; then in the 2009 graphs, it’s a trio in an L formation. That doesn’t look like a change caused by compression of the graph. WUWT? I thought with satellite measurements, once it’s measured, it’s measured. Are 2002 readings adjusted/corrected as late as 2009?

  18. I remember using Ahrennius (sorry bout spelling) curve many years ago when looking for failure mechanisms at semiconducting junctions.

    A curve like the sea level one above would indicate 2 failure types, that is, of different values in electron volts. One before about 2003/4 and one after. It is a very obvious change in ‘mechanism’.

  19. 6 metre sea level rise

    This report on the Wilkins Ice Bridge has been running ABC News Australia for the last couple of days. I am sceptical because everytime there is a conference we have some dramatic event that coincides which supports global warming theories for

    ‘Ice shelf split due to ‘climate change’

    Global warming no doubt contributed to the shattering of a major ice shelf in Antarctica , Environment Minister Peter Garrett says.

    The ice bridge linking the Wilkins Ice Shelf and two islands snapped at the weekend.

    ‘I don’t think there is any doubt global warming is contributing to what we are seeing on the Wilkins Ice Shelf and also more generally in Antarctica ,’ Mr Garrett told ABC television from Washington on Monday.

    The Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR), comprised of peak scientific bodies from 23 countries, including Australia , will present modelling on global warming at a conference in the US on Monday night.

    It has found ice loss has accelerated and the sea level could rise by as much as six metres by the end of the century.

    Mr Garrett said he had not seen the SCAR report yet.

    ‘The fact is we are now entering a period where we are in a position to observe, particularly in the Antarctic, the consequences of global warming and climate change,’ he said.

  20. Kaboom (00:33:12) :

    Anthony, your very second line refers to “seal level” graphs.

    Now, we all know that polar bears just love seals, so I would imagine that when the “seal level” goes up, it is because there are less polar bears eating them.

    In that case, we should probably get the clubbers out in order to cull the seal levels!

    Perhaps it is the additional displacement caused by the growing seal population that has caused the increased sea levels? ;)

  21. I have a question about sea levels that I was hoping someone could answer.

    I’ve heard numerous times that sea level rise has ‘accelerated’ since 1992. However, this appears to be the time when sea levels measurements largely shifted from tidal gauges to TOPEX/Jason.

    My question is, what have the tidal gauges said about rising sea levels since 1992? Have sea levels been rising more quickly or is it the switch from two different measurement systems that gives the appearance of an acceleration? And lastly, if there is a discrepancy between the two measurement systems, how do scientists reconcile the two?

    Thanks . . .

  22. The Port of Auckland Mean Annual Sea Level graph seems to dance about like a fiddlers elbow… up and down… with some big changes over a small periods of time. This made me wonder how can anyone really be estimating a Global Sea Level figure with any real accuracy… measuring all point simultaneously and allowing for all the high and low tides… and what about the height of the waves… and what impact might plate tectonics have over a period of a 100 years… mmmm…. then i saw the graph caption: Seasonal Signals Removed… and i thought: Here we go again; data massaging…. Then i was thinking back:
    How many times have i seen waves less than 30cm high?

    So are these Sea Level graphs really accurate, factual or meaningful?????

    Then I started Googling and found: http://www.mfe.govt.nz/publications/climate/coastal-hazards-climate-change-guidance-manual/html/page20.html

    And this does seem to indicate that this science is really an art form…..

    QUOTE
    Longer-term fluctuations (lasting at least a month) in the mean level of the sea are important components when assessing inundation and erosion hazards. These fluctuations are typically related to:

    1) The annual heating and cooling cycle caused by the influence of the sun on the ocean. Mean sea levels tend to be higher in late summer and autumn and, over a year, can fluctuate around ± 0.04 m on average, but up to ± 0.08 m in some years.

    2) Interannual 2–4 year El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycles. Mean level of the sea is depressed during El Niño phases, and is higher during La Niña phases, with fluctuations of up to ± 0.12 m on both east and west coasts of the upper North Island. An analysis of the magnitude of fluctuations further south is currently underway.

    3) Interdecadal 20–30 year Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO) cycles. The rate of sea-level rise tends to be higher during negative phases of IPO and tends to flatten out during the positive phases of IPO. The IPO facilitates sea-level fluctuations of up to ± 0.05 m. The IPO has been in a negative phase since about 1999.

    UNQUOTE

    So looking at your Auckland graph it looks like the HIGH WATER mark was reached in the late 1940s and that the curve then started on a downwards trend… and that seems to have a familiar ring to it somehow…

    I know i really enjoy a massage…. but i do not extend this luxury to data…

  23. “DJ (01:33:42) :

    3mm rise per year will lead to an average coastal recession of 3cm to 30cm per year for sandy beaches – that puts places like Florida in line for more than 100 feet of coastal recession this century with a low end sea level rise. This
    ……….
    Craig Allen (01:02:02) :

    Just eight points I’d like to make.
    ………”

    Perhaps valid points but if you build a house on a flood plain, don’t be surprised when it gets flooded.
    Sea levels rise, and fall, over time.

  24. Gerard (01:47:55) :

    This report on the Wilkins Ice Bridge has been running ABC News Australia for the last couple of days. I am sceptical because everytime there is a conference we have some dramatic event that coincides which supports global warming theories for

    ‘Ice shelf split due to ‘climate change’

    This is my view on the ice shelves breaking off.

    It is my feeling that the ice shelves do not indicate current or recent conditions, but rather, an accumulation of various effects over time. During the LIA they were exposed to SST’s which were much cooler.

    The record indicates that, from 1701 to 1761, surface temperatures were on average 1.4°C cooler than during the past 30 years. ( Source: http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=1132291 )

    At other times the oceans in the area have been much warmer (Holocene Climate Maximum, Roman Warm Period, Medieval Warm Period, etc). Yes, some of the Ice lost has been tens of thousands of years old. However, 40,000 years ago their reach over the ocean was most likely much further. A lot has changed in the past 10,000 years, the warming into the Holocene. That warming and 10,000 years of the interglacial, 10,000 years of temps 8 degrees warmer than when they formed, 10,000 years of warmer seas beating on them is what the break-off’s reflect. A process which started long before fossil fuels.

    To some extent, ice shelves are a poor climate indicator, they react to slowly. The story they tell is at times the same story that Glaciers which do not have a coastal edge tell. I did a brief blog on The Story of Glaciers not long ago.

    http://penoflight.com/climatebuzz/?p=88

    Having been attached and anchored the shelves will add to sea level, but, only the portion / volume of them that was previously above the water will be an addition.

  25. Correct me if I’m wrong. But, isn’t these satelite numbers adjustet against the Hong Kong tide gauge??? And Hong Kong is sinking 2-3mm/year. Could this leveling of mean that hong Kong has stopped sinking? ;-)

  26. re Gerard – the same story was published in our online newspaper. The article claimed unprecedented ice loss and whopping 3°C warming in Antarctic! It was fun to debunk that junk in following discussions by linking to the (increasing) southern ice anomaly and (decreasing) southern polar satellite temperature record. Another folks got their eyes open, I would say.

  27. Now that the Antarctic ice shelf has collapsed sea levels will show a sharp rise in levels. The Penguin populations of Antarctica will be threatened due to having to dive deeper for food after years of suffering altitude sickness from being elevated on top of a thickening ice sheet.
    Peter Garret, Australian environment minister had this to say while moving his arms in a strange manner in relation to his hips.

    “I don’t think that there’s any doubt that global warming is contributing to what we’ve seen both on the Wilkins Ice Shelf and also more generally in Antarctica,” he said.

    “And it is the case that scientists, because of the fact of the Antarctic’s unique and critical role in the world’s climate system, are focusing very strongly on climate change research and also potential impacts.

    “This is a really significant mass of ice and it is the case that scientists previously had identified that it might potentially start to break away or collapse and that that would be as a consequence of warming.”

    Mr Garrett has dismissed the suggestion the shelf’s collapse is simply the latest in a very long history of such events. Doh !

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/04/07/2536710.htm

    He has the power and the passion.

  28. The fact is sea level are flatlining now since 2006 are may actually start to decline…..due to reduced watts/mt from the sun. There is also a hint that Co2 levels are starting to do same.. very speculative but there are signs…re Peter Garrett should stay with his music band (or really learn some meteorology or like) LOL

  29. @craig

    there are thousands of scientist out there, who have the mission to figure out the dyre consequences of the projected sea level rise and they are very creative in doing this.

    the ipcc projections, however, are not much different from the experience of the last century, and hardly anybody did take notice in the past or suffer from anything related to the rise. the previous 30 cm sea level rise was a non-event and the next 30 cm rise (if it happens at all) will be the same.

  30. Sid Brooks.. Actually its true I ain’t seen ANY change in sea levels anywhere since I was a child 50 years ago! Has anyone else?

  31. DJ (01:33:42) :

    3mm rise per year will lead to an average coastal recession of 3cm to 30cm per year for sandy beaches – that puts places like Florida in line for more than 100 feet of coastal recession this century with a low end sea level rise. This simple fact is captured in Brunn’s rule which is well known to scientists. Here’s some examples of what happens when sea level rise meets people…

    Just wondering – do you happen to know of a period since the last ice age when sea levels weren’t rising.

  32. Like Sid Brooks, due to the fineness of variability, I have zero confidence in this data. There are so many uncontrolled variables in this type of measurement as to make the conclusions worthless. Strikes me as more of a case of predicting what you expect rather than what there is. A lot of the methodology I read about, once you strip away all of the complex math and stats, seems to begin with the old saw we learned in early physics classes: “assume a frictionless surface…” Assuming net sum zero uncontrolled variables plus $10 might get you a Starbucks.

  33. DJ (01:33:42) : Part II

    Just had a look at one or two of your links. I’m sure this wouldn’t be done deliberately, but the BBC needs to be careful it doesn’t confuse sea level rise due to global warming with other factors such as postglacial rebound and coastal erosion. Note that the Thames area is sinking slowly (and will continue to do so for a good while yet) due to the effects of the LGM. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-glacial_rebound where there is a specific mention of the the Thames problems.

    Incidentally Sea Level rises over the past 20,000+ years can be found here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_level_rise.

  34. “Gerard (01:47:55) :
    6 metre sea level rise

    This report on the Wilkins Ice Bridge has been running ABC News Australia for the last couple of days. I am sceptical because everytime there is a conference we have some dramatic event that coincides which supports global warming theories for

    ….

    It has found ice loss has accelerated and the sea level could rise by as much as six metres by the end of the century.

    …”

    I think as some pointed out above this may be a problem of math challenged individuals. The high estimate of sea level rise on the charts above is 80 cm with the normal predictions being 20 to 60 cm. This could get changed into 6 meters easy enough. Or someone is really extrapolating melt from the western peninsula of Antarctica which has warmed in the last few decades to the whole of Antarctica which is getting colder. Of course it is also possible that the trend is not linear and sea level may drop over the next hundred years.

  35. Alan the Brit (00:08:42) :

    I believe our fingernails grow more than this rate per annum.

    13 angstroms per second! I remember calculating this in college. I had smashed my finger and measured how fast the bruised area of the fingernail grew back over a few weeks, and this is one of my more astounding “fun facts” from those days… I think it’s reasonably close.

    13e-10m/s*3600*24*365=.041m/yr, or 4cm per year. So yes, our fingernails grow MORE THAN 10x faster than sea level rise.

    I’ll have to send this message to a couple of my college buddies… HAH! I KNEW this little tidbit would come in handy! Only took 27 years.

    Stated another way, sea level is rising 1 micron every 2 HOURS!!!. .0005 inches per day! Run for the hills!

  36. One thing that is’nt mentioned here is that local sea levels are largely dependend on Earth’s gravitational field. “Sea level” to us all means a flat surface over thousends of kilometers, but that’s far from true.
    As shown in http://www-app2.gfz-potsdam.de/sec13/animated-potato-e-cms.html sea level differences are up to 200 m in “relatively close” areas as east of South Africa and south of India. 30 cm is nothing in comparison to that entirely natural factor.

  37. I read recently the WAIS is melting at 150 cubic kilometers if ice each year. I make that 136.4 cubic kilometers of water. This will raise sea levels by 0.4mm (zero point four millimeters) which is about the error bar level of all the above graphs. Quite frightening.

  38. Take a look at these:

    http://klimakatastrophe.wordpress.com/

    The three posts are about sealevel change. Teil 1, Teil 2 and Teil 3.

    Even if you don’t understand the german language, the graphics can be understood:

    http://klimakatastrophe.wordpress.com/2009/03/22/beschleunigt-sich-der-globale-meeresspiegelanstieg/

    http://klimakatastrophe.wordpress.com/2009/03/27/beschleunigt-sich-der-globale-meeresspiegelanstieg-teil2/

    http://klimakatastrophe.wordpress.com/2009/03/28/beschleunigt-sich-der-meeresspiegelanstieg-teil3/

    Nothing extraordinary…. Im Westen nichts Neues ;-)))

  39. Quoting:
    “Many coastal regions are currently protected from storm surges by wetlands and marshes (think New Orleans). ”

    Commenting:

    Don’t think New Orleans. N.O. is built on a river delta and the surrounding wetlands were drained to make more city. Most of it is well below sea leve and survives only by extensive man-made dikes. The French quarter is above sea level and was not flooded.

    It is an absolutely stupid place for a ctiy but it won’t go away. But only an uniformed or dishonest person would try to use it as a scary example of what’s going to happen to Floorida.

  40. Anthony,
    Thank you for the article but the illustrations you have added to illustrate the flooding potential caused by sea level rise gives the article a somewhat alarmist impression. There is no reason for any alarm at all.

    Why? Because the sedimentation process in accord with the tides will raise the land in the river delta area.

    Speaking of Alarmist Propaganda at this moment in time:
    The Wilkinson Ice Shelf is making the (political) news again, big media coverage (CNN) directly followed by a comment from Clinton that we finally understand how serious the Global Warming problem is and that we have to act now.

    The skeptics now have to show what they are worth now and undertake a counter offensive.

    They are seriously trying to put us all in Green Shackles.

  41. CodeTech (00:23:57) :

    You missed the big scary one; 300 mm/century. That would give Craig kittens.

  42. In the 2004 graph, the 2003 peak is higher than the 2004 peak.
    In the 2005 graph, the 2003 peak is higher than the 2004 peak.
    In the 2006 graph, the 2003 peak is now a little lower than the 2004 peak.
    In the 2007 graph, the 2003 peak is well below the 2004 peak.
    In the 2008 graph, the 2003 peak went back to being higher than the 2004 peak.
    In the 2009 graph, the 2003 peak once again became lower than the 2004 peak.

    I thought they ‘measured’ this stuff. Did Babe Ruth now hit 64 Home Runs in 1927? Is data really allowed to change so much after the fact?

  43. Craig Allen (01:02:02) :

    Just eight points I’d like to make.

    8) I hope the trend is in fact linear. Because if it follows some of the newer projections that include glacial melt then the cost of adaptation in coastal cities is going to be astronomical and unrelenting. Heck, we saw recently that the wealthiest nation on earth couldn’t even keep one city safe. And that disaster was also predicted decades in advance. Good luck with Florida!

    Craig, using New Orleans is a very poor way of illustrating doom and gloom for sea level rise for very many reasons. First and foremost, New Orleans did not flood because of any sea level rise, it is already below sea level! The New Orleans flood was certainly man made however, it was a failure in maintenance, and as you cited, was warned about for decades!

    Seems to me, if you cannot fix something that you know about for decades, something as simple as maintenance, then sea level rise becomes rather moot. If your that stupid, then you should probably drown. I am continually amazed at how people think they can park their rears anywhere they wish and they expect nature to respect them. Such stupidity and arrogance!

  44. There appears to be a great difference between tide guage-measured and satellite altimeter-measured results. For example, Holgate (2007) estimated 2.03 mm/yr (1904-1953) and 1.45 mm/yr (1954-2003). Domingues et al. (2008) estimated ~ 1.5 mm/yr for the last 50 years, while Wunsch et al. (2007) estimated 1.6 mm/yr also for the last 50 years. Morner is even lower. Woppelmann et al. (2007) found that correcting for exact GPS position also reduced the rates.

    We know that there is great regional variability (up to two orders of magnitude larger than the mean) from altimeter measurements (and tide-guage?), but I believe that this variability is greater with altimetry. Since altimeters are to some extent set to tide guage records, it probably depends on which ones they are standardised against.

    Morner had a comment (don’t know where) that recent altimetry was set to a Hong Kong tide guage that showed an unusually high rate.

    While we also know there is considerable lifting and sinking of land masses, how can we resolve the differences between these two methods, tide guage and altimetry?

    Refs cited above are:

    Domingues, C.M., Church, J.A., White, N.J., Gleckler, P.J., Wijffels, S.E., Barker, P.M. and Dunn, J.R. 2008. Improved estimates of upper-ocean warming and multi-decadal sea-level rise. Nature 453: 1090-1093.

    Holgate, S.J. 2007. On the decadal rates of sea level change during the twentieth century. Geophysical Research Letters 34: 10.1029/2006GL028492.

    Wunsch, C., Ponte, R.M. and Heimbach, P. 2007. Decadal trends in sea level patterns: 1993-2004. Journal of Climate 20: 5889-5911.

    Woppelmann, G., Miguez, B.M., Bouin, M.-N. and Altamimi, Z. 2007. Geocentric sea-level trend estimates from GPS analyses at relevant tide gauges world-wide. Global and Planetary Change 57: 396-406.

  45. DJ (01:33:42) :

    3mm rise per year will lead to an average coastal recession of 3cm to 30cm per year for sandy beaches – that puts places like Florida in line for more than 100 feet of coastal recession this century with a low end sea level rise. This simple fact is captured in Brunn’s rule which is well known to scientists. Here’s some examples of what happens when sea level rise meets people…

    http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/byron-bay-wont-budge-over-rising-sea-liability/2007/05/19/1179497333614.html

    http://informet.net/tuvmet/tide.html

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/5092218.stm

    200 million people live within 1m of sea level… so these stories will be repeated countless times this coming century.

    And if you can’t out run that, they I suspect you are doomed from more things than just sea level rise!

    Why are humans so arrogant to think that they can just sit their asses down somewhere and expect the universe to move around them? Such idiots.. If the sea is getting too close to you move!

  46. Andrew P (01:52:43)

    The converse is also true:

    If the seal levels are falling, polar bears have less to eat.

    Less food for polar bears = reduced population thereof.

    Less seal levels = less polar bear levels

    Less seal and polar bear levels = less mass.

    Less mass = less displacement.

    Andrew P = A Big “F”.

    QED :)

  47. To my previous posts, I am wondering, is it cheaper and more plausible to stop sea level rise, or to move your ass somewhere else?

  48. Mike Bryant (00:52:24) :

    I can’t quite figure it out, but there seems to be something rather odd about the evolution of the 2003 spike… Has it been lowered with respect to the 2004 spike? Are these adjustments more evidence of human caused sea level rise? I guess sometimes these graphs must be tortured into submission…

    Sid Brooks Australia (01:41:02) :

    Regarding satellite sea height measurements. I worry about the accuracy of the published data for the following reasons:
    1/ I don’t believe that the parameters of the satellite orbit are known to within millimeters.
    The altitude of the obits are affected by many things such as orbit decay, the position of the moon, diurnal effects from the sun, mass concentrations in the earths crust (masscons) etc.

    I am on the same page. It is only yesterday or so that on the Lindzen thread we were told that the UV spectra had to be corrected because the satellites were losing height, or something like that. I wonder if this correction is in ? If they are losing height they will be measuring a smaller distance to the sea, taking it as rising waters? who knows. As this error favors the alarm I would suspect, like the surface station data, nobody will be correcting for it. It is erendipity that it goes the other way for UV?

    Just heard on the greek radio an alarmist announcement: things are much worse than we thought, we will all drawn.

    too m

  49. Katherine (01:42:19) :

    > I also noticed that the Jason readings aren’t static.

    I noticed that too. (Sticks out more than that seal thing….)

    Who does the blink comparator images? I’d really like to see one comparing 2009_rel2 with 2009_rel1, Unfortunately, with the change in the Y axis, the result will be a bit muddy unless we get raw data from UoC. Or, we could just ask them why. Offer them a guest post and all that.

  50. “Craig Allen (01:02:02) : Because sea levels have been relatively constant for a few thousand years, dune systems have built up along many coasts. As the erosion kicks in, a small rise is likely to cause much bigger changes to inundation regimes than otherwise would be expected.”

    Sea levels have been relatively constant? Could you show a source for that? Only sources I can find show some major increases in the past, and pretty much the same slow, steady gains that we see now for about the last 8K years or so.

  51. It is interesting that the graphs show the rise slowing or stopping for the past few years (definitely below trend line). This would appear to correlate with the cooling which has also occurred in the same timeframe. In other words, since we are about to head into several decades of cooling, I think we have bigger things to worry about than sea level rise!

  52. I would suggest that ordinate scale to be expressed in NANOMETERS
    and ocean level variation observed through a SEM :)
    By the way, right now, BBC keeps on “promoting” (it seems a paid ad)the dissapearance of artic ice.

  53. DJ: Your second link leads to pictures of the Tuvalu Met Office. We’ve discussed Tuvalu Sea Level numerous times here at WUWT. There are multiple reasons why Tuvalu becomes inundated with sea water. I’m sure others will elaborate.

    The following is a link to a graph of the Sea Level data for the coordinates of 8s by 179E (Tuvalu’s coordinates) from the University of Colorado Sea Level wizard. Link to Sea Level Wizard is here:

    http://sealevel.colorado.edu/wizard.php

    Tuvalu’s Sea Level graph is here:

    Using the smoothed data as reference, Sea Level at Tuvalu rose a whopping 3.6 cm from Jan 2000 through the end of the data. Prior to that, the data is skewed by the 1997/98 El Nino, which caused the dip at that time. And before that, the data is impacted by the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo.

    And here’s a graph of the Byron Bay Sea Level (28S, 154E):

    Can’t get a much flatter trend line than that. There must be something else going on in Byron Bay.

  54. Craig Allen (01:02:02) :

    Just eight points I’d like to make.

    1) Whether or not it is a problem depends very much on where you have built your bungalow, mansion or coastal road. My local council has been in an uproar for a few years now over whether a big real estate development should be allowed to go ahead given that the land is one to two metres above sea level.

    Several others here have pointed out problems resulting from building homes in unstable conditions.

    Its just a part of human nature to build where it doesn’t really make sense. Several factors contribute to this: overcrowding in cities, nice views, etc.

    Here in Colorado we have many of the same issues.

    People have these fantasies about a cozy little cabin overlooking a pristine mountain valley; surrounded, of course, by a lovely pine or aspen forest. So, they build a home in the mountains.

    A few years later, we get a forest fire. The Hayman fire, started by a government employee who was paid to ‘protect us’, destroyed 700 structures and burned over 137,000 acres. Many of those structures were people’s dream homes. Everything seemed fine when the homes were built, but it wasn’t so fine during a year (2002) that saw only 56% of normal snowfall over the state.

    Jefferson county neglected to inform people building those lovely homes on Green Mountain just West of Denver the soil there was prone to sliding. See http://myapa.planning.org/landslides/docs/KBerryoutline.pdf. Lots of legal squabbles since then.

    We spent a lot of money building Denver International Airport. One of the reasons given was the complaints from people living in the flight paths. Now there are new developments by the airport. Sure enough people are complaining about the noise of the planes.

    Others are finding out there are no sewage lines out to their little ‘nest in the west’. Some are having to pay hundreds of dollars every month to have their septic tanks emptied. Seems the neighbors don’t like driving on roads covered with raw sewage. See http://www.denverpost.com/search/ci_11954468.

    Do we see a pattern here?

    Why is it, even when warned, people insist on building where it doesn’t make sense? And after the inevitable occurs, want the government to fix them up?

    Sigh.

    One nice thing about these types of problems: they tend to be self correcting. If the oceans the rise high enough to take out a neighborhood, that is that.

  55. Sid Brooks

    I couldn’t agree more. As an engineer who struggles to get plants to work within the limits you quote how are these people able to measure parameters with such massive global and time variations to fractions of a degree or mm? How do people write programmes for such a massively complex system as climate and claim accuracy? Just impossible.

  56. “Now, back to satellite altimetry, which shows the water, not
    just the coasts, but in the whole of the ocean. And you measure
    it by satellite. From 1992 to 2002, [the graph of the sea level]
    was a straight line, variability along a straight line, but absolutely
    no trend whatsoever. We could see those spikes: a very rapid
    rise, but then in half a year, they fall back again. But absolutely
    no trend, and to have a sea-level rise, you need a trend.
    Then, in 2003, the same data set, which in their [IPCC’s]
    publications, in their website, was a straight line—suddenly it
    changed, and showed a very strong line of uplift, 2.3 mm per
    year, the same as from the tide gauge. And that didn’t look so
    nice. It looked as though they had recorded something; but
    they hadn’t recorded anything. It was the original one which
    they had suddenly twisted up, because they entered a “correction
    factor,” which they took from the tide gauge. So it was
    not a measured thing, but a figure introduced from outside. I
    accused them of this at the Academy of Sciences in Moscow—
    I said you have introduced factors from outside; it’s not
    a measurement. It looks like it is measured from the satellite,
    but you don’t say what really happened. And they answered,
    that we had to do it, because otherwise we would not have gotten
    any trend!” -Dr. Nils-Axel Mörner

  57. Alan the Brit, John Hulquist re sedimentation of deltas.

    I think there are not enough geologists on this site (although its not WUWT’s fault). The most significant blogs on this thread are the two above who have noted the well known phenomenon (to geologists anyway) that when sealevel rises, river deltas rise, too. With a sealevel rise, the river flow is slowed a bit upstream and it drops its sediments early, building up the delta to its original level. Indeed, the level of the delta is decided by the sealevel itself! During the last ice age, the Mississippi delta was 130 metres below what it is today. As the water rose, the delta kept pace with it and when sea level more or less stabilized, the delta grew outward into the gulf.

    I haven’t seen any models of current conditions (people seem to be building only doomsday models these days) but the mechanism is so simple that a credible model would be easy to design knowing the river burden of sediment per year and volume of water average per year, and the delta area and profile below the sea level, one might show that with a 30cm sea level rise a century, the Ganges delta may actually continue to grow in areal extent above sea level. I would say, that this has happened already in the 20cm sea level rise since 1870 shown by the NZ tide guage.

    This flooding of the Ganges Delta has figured so prominently in the AGW arsenal of disasters to come and is a fixture on BBC’s doomsday documentaries that gets trundled out every time there is something new to say, that I think WUWT should find a professor of geology to do a post on this item. When I graduated, my calculator was a slide rule so I’m not computer graphics savvy enough to make a contribution in the pretty form that it deserves. Anyway, this pesky drowning of the Bangladeshis has got to stop.

  58. Using the most up-to-date data into 2009, the sea level rise from the Jason-1 satellite has fallen to 2.37 mm per year.

    But there is something funny going on with the different algorithms used to adjust for the seasonal signal and sea level pressures (inverse barometre adjustment etc.). I think they were designed for the 3.4 mms per year world and they are not working as well in the current environment where sea level is not rising as fast in the majority of the ocean basins.

    Look at the North Atlantic with all the corrections applied that one should normally use (and this is typical of all the ocean basins right now except for one).

    This is the only outlier, the Indian Ocean, which was rising rapidly (and when averaged into the overall ocean sea level numbers caused sea level rise to be as high as 2.4 mms per year) is declining now after being loaded up by successive El Ninos from 1997 to 2006.

  59. Dr. Nils-Axel Mörner also pointed out”

    “There’s another way of checking it, because if the radius of the Earth increases, because sea level is rising, then immediately the Earth’s rate of
    rotation would slow down. That is a physical law, right? You have it in figure-skating: when they rotate very fast, the arms are close to the body; and then when they increase the radius, by putting out their arms, they stop by themselves. So you can look at the rotation and the same comes up: Yes, it
    might be 1.1 mm per year, but absolutely not more.”

    So LOD measurements should help either verify or put the lie to the 3.2 mm/yr… unless those are also being adjusted…

  60. for Craig who is worried about road maintenance –
    the entire US interstate system has been built since the 1940’s. What is that? The time required for sea level to rise 5 inches?

    I am 64 years old and your warning that I would have to say goodbye to my “favorite beach” by 2100 terrifies me. If Venice, Italy is any proof of what people will do in response to such issues, I would have to believe that man can deal with worse.

    I am an optimist, I see the situation in reverse. Obviously, sea level rise created the beaches we now have (it has been rising for a very long time). Why would that process stop?

    I think that what is “astronomical” is the tendency to hyperventilate about something that few of us will ever see.

  61. Re Craig Allen (01:02:02) :

    Just eight points I’d like to make.

    According to the charts there has been ~ 10 CM of sea level rise since 1950.

    IF your points were valid you should be able to point to these effects NOW.

    Can you show where “Those ecosystems will therefore have nowhere to go and will diminish” has occurred?

    Can you show evidence that this statement is true: “much of the world land is inhabited and farmed right up to the current high tide mark” (I’ve traveled a bit and I’ve never seen anyone farming right up to the high tide mark as seasonal storms make the land well beyond that point too salty for traditional crops)

    Finally, “we saw recently that the wealthiest nation on earth couldn’t even keep one city safe”, ah Craig, that was due to a HURRICANE, not rising seas, and the area in New Orleans that flooded was approx 9 FEET below sea level, so once the levees got breached it was all over but the shouting. To claim that this multiple levee failure was in any way shape or form relavent to cities currently above sea level is just scare mongering.

    Arthur

  62. So we have three independent measures observing ocean decline in rate of warming:

    Flattening in rise of temperature with direct measurements, sea-level rise by flattening of temperature-controlled thermal expansion, and flattening of rise of MLO measured atmospheric CO2 owing to Henry’s Law–temperature controlled partial pressure of CO2 in the oceans.

    All confirming the tail is wagged by the dog and the tail cannot possibly alter its behavior.

  63. While putting sea level rises in perspective, 3 mm is equivalent to two stacked pennies.

    See http://www.usmint.gov/about_the_mint/index.cfm?flash=no&action=coin_specifications.

    Our fingernails grow around 3 cm per year. That is ten times faster than the rate of the sea level rise. It also about 33% slower than the rate the North American plate is moving towards Asia.

    See http://cddis.nasa.gov/926/noamtect.html.

    And here is a fun fact: the above implies your fingernail is growing at the rate of 1 nanometer per second. That’s right. You can see one billionth of a meter change in a natural process by simply watching your fingernail. It takes your fingernail 2.5 seconds to growth by the width of a DNA molecule.

  64. This reminds me of another issue I have with “increase” graphs.
    Here is CDIAC/BP’s graph of global fossil fuel CO2 emissions
    Here is Mauna Loa’s graph of seasonally-adjusted CO2 rise, with the global fossil fuel CO2 emissions curve tucked in.
    MLO’s emissions curve does not have the shape of the CDIAC/BP curve at all. It’s veeeeery smooth. Makes one wonder.

  65. OT – things are still looking grim for the Catlin team; it’s still minus 35’C, and the lastest updates mention chronic hypothermia, slurred speech, and dreams of croissants in Paris. I really worry for the safety of the team members, I fear that their determination to find thin ice and open water will lead take them well beyond their own capabilities, and could lead to tragedy. http://www.catlinarcticsurvey.com/

  66. “It seems sea level has been rising for awhile, and that the observation line in black, if you follow the linear trend, will also end up somewhere between 20 and 30 cm by the year 2100.”

    Except that the sea level rise trend before 1900 was less than the slr trend after 1900. Which is exactly opposite of what you expect from a “little ice age recovery” which should have the fastest response early on and then slow. Except that the whole point of AGW is that we _don’t_ expect the trend to just be linear if we keep pumping GHGs into the atmosphere. And the projections you show are the IPCC projections which specifically note that they don’t include any acceleration from greenland or Antarctic ice melt, which, while still not well understood, certainly seems unlikely at this point. So, if we’re _lucky_ SLR will be less than 30 cm in 2100. But if, heavens forbid, all the people on this site are wrong and we’re unlucky, we are looking at a meter of SLR, which won’t matter to people living in Colorado, but will matter a lot to people who are living near coasts, especially anywhere were there are already storm surge problems…

  67. Florida is practically a pile of seashells. Living there, several miles inland from the coast, and well above the category 5 surge line, I dug postholes for a fence in the back yard, and it seemed to me the soil was a pile of loose ocean debris. The inland waterways there are a great place to find fossils of sea life.

    So, a few degrees of warming, and coastlines will be a tad smaller? Isn’t an ice age just 14 degrees colder? Read that somewhere. So, what do we lose with another little ice age? I’m moving back to Florida.

  68. Holgate determined that 70% of the sea level rise of the 20th century was due to thermal expansion of the oceans and the balance due to melting glaciers etc. The 20th century had an increase of sea level the same as that prognosed for the 21st century, but hundreds of millions of people weren’t displaced and beachfront property remains very popular. Therefore a continuation of the current trend would not be alarming at all.

  69. Anymore on Dr Morner’s somewhat incendary views on sea level rise?

    http://www.mitosyfraudes.org/Calen7/MornerEng.html

    The Ganges/Brahmaputra delta is being affected by upstream errosion, caused by deforestation, leading to more mud being brought down river and an increase in flooding.
    The entire delta is changing on an annual basis, existing land being eroded by the monsoon floods, the same floods depositing new land, so the inhabitants move frequently.
    Good job there isn’t a borderline running down the middle of the delta, the arguments over which country owns these ephemeral islands would be continual.

  70. “I don’t believe that the parameters of the satellite orbit are known to within millimeters.”

    Sid hits the nail square on the head. If we can’t tell whether two satellites are going to collide or pass 1,000m apart then the error bars on these graphs should be measured in meters. Which makes them nothing more than ‘art’.

  71. IF the second quote from Dr. Mörner is correct, that sea level rise has not been more than “… 1.1 mm per year”, what has the real trend been since 2004?
    Mike

  72. The CU data can be accessed at their website; if anyone wants to play around with it in Excel…

    http://sealevel.colorado.edu/results.php

    I haven’t

    The Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory has some very good sea level data bases too. Jevrejeva (2008) built a post-1700 sea level reconstruction, corrected for local datum changes and glacial isostatic adjustment.

  73. If you download the “Inverted barometer not applied, Seasonal signal removed” data file and apply a 10-year moving average; the rate of sea level rise has clearly begun to level off since 2005.

  74. Don’t see what the fuss is all about. How much has sea level risen in the last 200-500 years? Was there mass panic? No. if your feet get wet move.

  75. It is ironic that the University of Colorado is the authority on sea levels, given the program’s location in the Rocky Mountains.

    I, of course, understand that some very smart people teach and study there.

    My most recent post happens to be on the topic of sea level alarmism:

    http://www.talkingabouttheweather.com

    Harold

  76. >>On a more serious note, what is the height relative to?
    >>Could it not equally be the land mass sinking..?

    Yes, very much so. As this report makes clear, all of the sea levels in Scandinavia are measurably falling, because Scandinavia is rising. Thus the measurements have to be ‘rebased’. But since this rising of the continent is tricky to measure, there is a lot of guesswork.

    So yes, against what yardstick are we measuring sea-level rise?

    http://www.john-daly.com/ges/msl-rept.htm

    .

  77. The projections don’t appear to consider the possibility of future moderation in sea level rise. If the oceans cool, the water will contract. The NOAA station data along the Pacific Coast show a general peak at around 1998, with slightly lower readings in the past five years. This may reflect the warmer ocean in 1998 and the cooler ocean since then. Dr. Willis, of JPL, found the Pacific had not warmed over the previous four years, with minimal if any increase in sea level over that period.

  78. In Singer’s book “Unstoppable (Every 1,500 Years) Global Warming”, in his chapter on rising sea levels he states that the most likely sea level rise this century will be about 10 -15 cm (4 – 6 inches), the same rate of increase as in recent centuries, and that melting at the poles is offset by increased humidity and snowfall, adding further ice.
    INQUA’s (International Union for Quaternary Research) Commission on Sea Level Changes and Coastal Evolution forecast of “seal level” (yes, the typo is right there in the book) rise is “10 cm – plus or minus 10 cm”.
    Alarmists LOVE to exaggerate predicted sea level rise, and consequent damage from that. Most coastal damage though, is from sheer stupidity. Of course, what they miss entirely is the fact that sea level rise, like warming is just about 100% natural.

  79. It seems as if the rate has flattened since JASON (2.3 mm/yr) replaced TOPEX (3.2 mm/yr). The present flat spot seems similar to the 1998-2000 time frame so I wouldn’t make any assumptions right yet about the rise stopping.

  80. Marcus (05:16:07) :

    So, if we’re _lucky_ SLR will be less than 30 cm in 2100. But if, heavens forbid, all the people on this site are wrong and we’re unlucky, we are looking at a meter of SLR, which won’t matter to people living in Colorado, but will matter a lot to people who are living near coasts, especially anywhere were there are already storm surge problems…

    All I can say is “oh well”. We apparently haven’t learned from history that coastal areas always have been and always will be vulnerable to any number of issues, but slow sea level rise is the least of their worries.

    But again, we’re taking an incredibly small snapshot in time and calling it a catastrophe. It’s tantamount to taking measurements of rainfall over a 10 minute time period and declaring a worldwide flood from rainfall because the rate increased 10 fold in 10 minutes.

    Insanity.

  81. If the continents move at 4cm/yr and the MSL is only increasing by 2mm/yr, why can’t this change in MSL be attributed to a change in sea basin geometry.

  82. Given all the eschatology that the AGWers are purveying I can finally understand why it was such a powerful force for the early Christians.

  83. Dave,

    Does that data also remove the “shifting zero” that Katherine brought up?

    Just as an example, looking at 2006, its values are: 35, 33, 33, 26, 55. WUWT??? Like the temperature data, I would assume one should set a zero and stick to that standard in all subsequent runs, otherwise how can a time trend be detected.

  84. NASA says Arctic sea ice is thinning

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-11128_3-10213891-54.html

    The 2009 Arctic summer melting season is starting out with a substantial amount of thin seasonal ice and an unusually small amount of the thick sea ice, making it more vulnerable to melting, according to the NSIDC’s report.
    The older, thicker sea ice is declining and is being replaced with newer, thinner ice that is more vulnerable to summer melt,” Kwok said in a statement.

    “With these new data on both the area and thickness of Arctic sea ice, we will be able to better understand the sensitivity and vulnerability of the ice cover to changes in climate,” he said.

  85. One thing I could not help but notice is that 2006 R3 shows an increase of 45 mm, while all the other releases show 20-25 mm. From 2004 to 2008 the line is flattening at 20-25 mm. Clearly someone had some data problems there.

    And one has to take into account the increased accuracy of the global measurements achievable by TOPEX/Poseidon and Jason. These two missions employed differential GPS that allowed accuracies of 10’s of CMs in surface measurements. Before that the error bars must have been in the meters range. If you look at the period for these two missions it is +/- 20 mm, well within the error bars for differential GPS from LOE considering the tidal situations you illustrated so well.

    If one takes the limits of differential GPS from LOE into account, then the changes form 1960 to 2008 shown in the New Zealand graph could all be due to simply having better measurements – no appreciable increases may have occurred during this period.

    Trying to say there are 20-25 mm’s difference in a measurement whose accuracy I doubt is below 10 cm’s seems to be a stretch.

    FYI – I am doing this all from memory from my work at NASA reviewing applications of GPS to NASA programs from the mid 1990’s. If someone has actual references that would be interesting to see.

    Cheers, AJStrata

  86. Gary Pearce notes:

    This flooding of the Ganges Delta has figured so prominently in the AGW arsenal of disasters to come and is a fixture on BBC’s doomsday documentaries that gets trundled out every time there is something new to say,

    The primary cause of delta fatalities are cyclones (hurricanes) and water born diseases.

    The April 1991 Bangladesh Cyclone killed 138,000 people. Packing 255 km/h (158 mph) winds, the cyclone brought drove ashore a storm surge estimated at between 6 m (20 ft) and 9 m (30 ft). Many deaths were attributed to a lack of cyclone shelters. See Risk factors for mortality in the 1991 Bangladesh Cyclone C. Bern et al. Bull. World Health Organization, V.71, pp 73-78 (1993)
    Their survey suggested that those who reached shelters survived, while deaths were primarily among women and children below 10 who did not reach cyclone shelters.
    See: The Bangladesh Cyclone of 1991: Why So Many People Died
    A. Mushtaque R. Chowdhury 1 , Abbas U. Bhuyia 2 , A. Yusuf Choudhury 3 Rita Sen 4 (1993) Disasters Vol. 17 #4, pp 291 – 304, 18 Dec 2007
    ABSTRACT

    Living with natural disasters has become a way of life in Bangladesh. On the night of 29 April 1991 a severe cyclonic storm, accompanied by tidal surges up to 30 feet high, battered the coastal areas of Bangladesh for 3–4 hours. Thousands of people were killed and property worth billions of dollars was destroyed. After the cyclone, several studies, using epidemiological and anthropological methods, looked at the impact of the cyclone. It was estimated that over 67,000 people lost their lives. Women, children and the elderly were much more at risk and so were those from the socio-economically disadvantaged section of the population. Cyclone shelters were few in relation to need but proved very helpful in saving lives. At least 20 per cent more deaths would have occurred in the absence of these shelters. The article documents impressive improvements in Bangladesh’s-ability to cope and makes recommendations for the future.

    Even after shelter construction following with 1970 and 1985 cyclones, there were only 311 shelters with a capacity for 350,000 persons.

    Adaptation will be far more cost effective to build 100,000 storm shelters at $10,000 each (for $1 billion) than to pay $45 trillion trying to control climate with dubious results.

    Ocean rise of 3mm/year is negligible compared to 6,000 mm to 9,000 mm storm surges.

  87. OK, stopped being lazy and did a quick search and noticed that the TOPEX altitude can only be determined via differential GPS to 5-8 cm, which means the measurement of sea surface is probably in the 10 cm range. There is no statistical basis for +/- 25 mm shown in the chart. It would seem to me this is statistically zero rise in sea level.

  88. Re:

    DJ (01:33:42) :
    3mm rise per year will lead to an average coastal recession of 3cm to 30cm per year for sandy beaches – that puts places like Florida in line for more than 100 feet of coastal recession this century with a low end sea level rise. This simple fact is captured in Brunn’s rule which is well known to scientists.

    DJ: If wave action is eroding sand in one location, it will be doubtless be busily creating a new beach somewhere else. The location of the second beach may be quite inconvenient to the inhabitants of the first. I don’t know if this is a law of nature, or one coined by Murphy. : – )

    WRT

    200 million people live within 1m of sea level

    It seems that some people will always try to live too close to the sea, too close to volcanoes, too close to earthquake faults. Your picture of Tuvalu illustrates this if nothing else. From what I can gather on Wiki about these tropical atols, (your island?) looks, as they say, like a beautiful place to visit, but…

    The highest elevation is 4.5 metres (15 ft) above sea level,[10] which gives Tuvalu the second-lowest maximum elevation of any country after the Maldives.

    The question of whom they will sue when they are threatened by the sea is certainly of some pressing urgency to them.

    As for:

    so these stories will be repeated countless times this coming century.

    I have no doubt about that. Another law which seems to have gained ascendancy among scientists and victims-in-waiting of nature these days: “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.”

  89. “3mm rise per year will lead to an average coastal recession of 3cm to 30cm per year for sandy beaches – that puts places like Florida in line for more than 100 feet of coastal recession this century with a low end sea level rise.”

    Maybe the sea levels will rise as high as they did during the last interglacial (I believe some 6 to 8 meters higher than they are now).

  90. Sid Brooks,

    TOPEX and Jason use differential GPS to determine the altitude of the satellite to within tens of cm. This is a post pass process that combines the GPS position measured on board to extremely well surveyed stations on the ground (TOPEX used NASA’s Deep Space Network stations). The fact the station locations are known to extreme accuracies allows the satellite position to be refined over many ranging contacts.

    Basically by triangulating the satellite to known fixed points on the earth, all using the same GPS time reference (within nanoseconds in many cases) then you can drive out the on-orbit errors in altitude. Many samples over the orbit drive out the orbital decay effects.

    But you are right, there are limits and these data are seem to be well within the error bars.

    AJStrata

  91. Aron (06:29:59) :

    “Everybody save articles like this for future reference…”

    Thanks, Aron, but…for sure this year even small tropical storms will receive a “name”, otherwise it would mean to say that the “King is naked”, nobody would dare to do that.

  92. Comparing these nanometer sized increases with continents which are RISING up, chances are, that nature will not please Gwrs.

    “The Arctic Ridge has the slowest rate (less than 2.5 cm/yr), and the East Pacific Rise near Easter Island, in the South Pacific about 3,400 km west of Chile, has the fastest rate (more than 15 cm/yr).”

    http://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/dynamic/dynamic.pdf

  93. No, no, no… It cannot be possible that UC is taking a very small portion of a cycle rise of sea level like a signal of anthropogenic global warming or something unusual or atypical. As I’ve written in another WUWT thread, currently the mean sea level is going on a phase of regression, that is, within a longer phase of sea level declination. Normal small declinations and rises happen into the four phases on every cycle, which are not larger than one meter. Today, the MSL is on a phase of regression and it has not yet touched the bottom, i.e. the MSL has not yet reached the lowstand phase, from which it would begin a true and maintained rise of the sea level. Nevertheless, globally and in a long term scale, the trend is towards smaller flooded areas, which means that in some centuries ahead, once the phase of transgression is reinitiated, the area of flooded continents will not be larger than 12%.

    It’s quite evident that this people’s agenda is to terrorize people with ominous anthropogenic disasters.

  94. The highest resolution measurements of ocean level at specific locations appears to be from using quartz resonant pressure sensors. See:
    High Accuracy Pressure Instrumentation for Underwater Applications Mark H. Houston and Jerome M. Paros, ParoScientific

    Highly Stable Long-Term Measurements of Height Differences with Digiquartz Depth Sensors, Dr. Theo Schaad, Paroscientific Inc. Technical Note G8072 Rev. A, 13 April 2006

    Nano-Resolution Oceanic, Atmospheric, and Seismic Sensors With Parts-Per-Billion Resolution, Dr. Theo P. Schaad, Paroscientific, Inc. Technical Note
    Doc. No. G8218 Rev. E, 10 March 2009

    The long term “accuracy” is claimed to be about 100 ppm.

    Can or have the satellites be calibrated against ocean patches with an array of such pressure sensors?

  95. If we look at the rowboat moored alongside the historic Alaska Tide Gauge in the ‘low tide’ image, the red painted line (well, what maybe would be red, if this was a colour pic) stands at probably about 300 mm above the water level. So this is the amount by which sea level may rise over the next century. This truly throws into perspective the garbage which is being spoken about life on the planet being irrevocably altered by rising sea levels. (New York being abandoned, and so on! What hogwash, as so ably demonstrated by Anthony)!

    Geoff Alder

  96. AJStrata,
    Thanks for those eye-opening observations. Are the numbers for Jason similar?
    Mike Bryant

  97. This post isn’t science. More politics, or how sea level rise affects the debate at the average guy level. I think I can offer insight into that.

    I look at that graph at the top. I see flattening from 2006 with my unscientific eyes. No biggie. I see 3 years of flattening from 93, or 98 as well. In fact that appears to be the pattern in the 16 years offered. 2 to 3 years of flattening then a spike.

    If I’m looking at that graph in 2010 and it’s still flattening I’ll notice it, but it won’t affect my opinion.

    However suppose the American election year of 2012 comes around and not only is sea level rise still flattening, but it’s made the teensy weensy dip to 2004 level. The world conferences on climate have come and gone. Decisions have been made to apply pressures which have filtered down to me, and my average joe compatriots. Taxes are higher. Energy is more expensive, and less reliable. Other problems we didn’t even expect have surfaced. At that point I look at that graph in 2012. I see no sea level rise in 8 years, and now I’m pissed. In my average guy brain, I finally, fully get how bad I’ve been swindled.

  98. I agree with Sid, Masonmart, and others, that IMHO, we know mean sea level to the degree of accuracy published is very unlikely. The same with temps. I see many graphs, extending back for 100 plus years, with an implied accuracy of .001 degrees. Seems unlikely to me. Like looking at stock charts with a microscope. UAH mid-troposphere temps. peaked in 4/1998 and bottomed in 1/2000. Neither extreme has been breached for many years now. ISTM that there can not be a “trend”, without a new high/low. fm

  99. I thought AGWrs. in some point would change their speech and turn it to a more general “climate change”, but it seems they are totally convinced of global warming. Somebody let the King know that he is really naked!

  100. Dear David L. Hagen (07:32:01),

    Nice post and as a follow up I’d like to add some more recent information from Bangladesh.

    I was in Bangladesh just after cyclone Sidr in 2007 and although I don’t know the intensity in relation to the 1991 event, the number of deaths was only around 5,000 due to the building of shelters and early warnings. The death of 5,000 people is tragic, but even in a country as poor as Bangladesh the ability to protect their inhabitants has been vastly improved by development in the intervening years.

    I know many people working in development in Bangladesh and they are all being thrown into panic by the claims of metres of seal level rise, forgetting that they have coped with rising sea levels, and a growing population, and still developed their country enormously over the last 30-odd years since independence.

    I just wish those alarmist commentators who insist we should hamstring our development “in case the worst case scenarios turn out to be true” could understand what that really means to a developing country: If Bangladesh had limited its CO2 emissions by not building cyclone shelters tens of thousands would have died in 2007.

    Sorry for the off-topic rant, but I get cheesed off when people don’t consider the impacts of climate change alarmism and tell you we should do things ‘just in case’.

    Rob

  101. Marcus:

    But if, heavens forbid, all the people on this site are wrong….

    Please show me, Marcus, how enacting the draconian reductions in fossil fuel energy use “cure”, allegedly required to prevent the allegedly disasterous GW “disease” effects, will themselves not instead most certainly produce massive disasters of their own – ill effects of the “cure” which are rather easily envisioned but have intentionally not been included in the ipcc’s Climate Change/Science “scientific” analysis of Climate Change, just as the obvious benefits to GW regardless of cause have not been included, or at least not anywhere near to the extent that GW’s adverse effects have been projected and even rather obsessively and neurotically disasterized.

    [The ipcc’s efforts in these matters sound more like a massive Panic Attack, its proposed cure to which looks mostly like Suicide.]

    Face it, Marcus. The ipcc, enc., is simply not doing real Science.

  102. Oh, horrors! The sea is rising at 32 MILLION ÅNGSTROMS a year! Oh, the humidity! DJ’s old Bijou Theater will be under water! We’re all gonna drown! Well, those of us who can’t run faster than 32,000,000 Å/yr, anyway. But wait! Maybe it’s really the SKY is FALLING at 32,000,000 Å/yr….

  103. Seems to me I see a hockey stick, where the rate of change goes to zero starting in 2005….

    Hasn’t anyone taught these so called scientists what a “significant figure” means? The AGW crowd talk about 0.6 degree temp rise when the equipment isn’t calibrated to closer than +/- 2 degrees. A 3mm/year rise in sea level when the sea has tides… give me a break I very much doubt the ability to measure a dynamic land/sea area with this type of accuracy, especially with rebound, erosion and sedimentation. The land is a DYNAMIC system where land is eroded and lakes and seas get filled with sediment. Time to take GEO 101.

  104. Any maps that show how the continents have shrunk since the Holocene sea rise began some 10,000 years ago? Might be good for people to see the large natural changes that have already taken place in our coastlines and land mass.

  105. I would urge caution to the literal use of Bruun’s rule as some have suggested to determine beach loss as a result of increasing sea surface levels.
    Any local projection of inundation must take into account geologic changes. New Jersey is a prime example where the land mass is sinking some 7 inches per century as the result of isostacy -glacial rebound. The City of London which is also routinely shown at risk has a very large component that is due to natural sinking of the land mass. Projections of sea rise that do not incorporate geological forces paint a very distorted picture.

  106. Here is a link showing the UK and France were not split by the Channel, Ten Thousand years B.P. (before present). It shows England and France were part of a sweeping Boreal Forest and a large connected Temperate Forest.

    http://www.walrus.com/~syrett/sy_res/sy_proj2.htm#NGDC

    Perhaps there are more maps, showing the natural changes in coastlines, as the ongoing Holocene melted the Ice Age ice and oceans rose.

  107. Mike Bryant,

    TJ Overton grabbed the right numbers above and they are equivalent – Jason is attempting to gain more accuracy, but physics has its limits.

    As I suspected the precision of the satellites is not down to the level of the mythical changes, Statistically these satellites show no increase.

  108. David L. Hagen (07:32:01) :

    “The primary cause of delta fatalities are cyclones (hurricanes) and water born diseases.”

    I’m not sure David if you are criticizing or not my issue that the Ganges delta will grow along with sea level which is the behaviour of all deltas. I do agree that you are correct regarding primary cause of delta fatalities but I am only trying to assure that this problem will not be changed for the worse by gradually rising sea level.

  109. So I’ll bite,

    Why is it that the data for earlier years (the red dots) keeps on changing even in 2009. Are these people just making up data as they go.
    I gather from the graphs that the correct result is supposed to be a perfect straight line, so all those point deviations from the straight line are just random noise.
    Looking at the green dots in the first graph, it seems that the best fit curve to the dots starts flattening around 2004 or earlier, and the flattening accelerates around 2006, so in a few years it would seem to be turning down if the flattening and the acceleration increases as the recent data shows.

    And just what part of the earth’s oceans does this refer to, since the Arctic ocean has actually been falling at least for about the ten years ending mid 2006 (based on European satellite measurements.

    So why then do all the distant future predictions show an ever accelerating upward trend.

    Oh I forgot, these are future predictions from a computer video game, and not actual physical data.

    What if all those dots; well I suppose they are really circles, turned out to be actual measured values; meaning that is what the sea level was when theat particular circle was measured. If those were actual meausred sea levels, what is the purpose of the wavy blue line which seems to ignorte most of the circles, and then what is the straight black line for since the circles are clearly not following that black line.

    It would help if these “scientists” published a physical equation that says what the sea level should be.

    After all Max Planck managed to publish an equation for the spectral emittance of a black body radiator, wherein all the parameters in the equation are known exactly in terms of a few fundamental constants of the whole universe, that are mostly known to about 8 significant digits. Come to think of it, Max didn’t even have a real black body radiator to take measurments from; yet everybody who has made one since has been able to confirm his theory to the ultimate limits of experimental measurement.

    It seems to me that one of those achievements is science and the other is largely nonsense.

    Scientists should refrain from draweing straight lines on what purports to be experimental data graphs, unless they also provide the theoretical equation that describes that straight line, and explains the physical phenomenon being graphed.

    Yes I think the problem can be described largely by saying that Meteorology is a complex, and somewhat inexact science that rests on real physics and chemistry and suffers from a lack of information to close the gaps; while Climatology which seems to be the snootier of the two; is in about the samer category as Astrology and Economics; and isn’t based on any theoretical models of any planet that we know about.

    When the climate models can be run backwards to produce the original data on which Hansen’s AlGorythm for GISStemp is based; then the promoters of that pseudo-science may start getting noticed.

  110. Note that the smooth of the sea level data is always huge. In this case, the smooth is decadal. The raw data clearly shows that there is significant variation in the rise of sea level during the past century; however the smooth removes this information

  111. ” Taxes are higher. Energy is more expensive, and less reliable. Other problems we didn’t even expect have surfaced. At that point I look at that graph in 2012. I see no sea level rise in 8 years, and now I’m pissed. In my average guy brain, I finally, fully get how bad I’ve been swindled.”

    And that, sir, is why these graphs must be continually homogenized, massaged and tortured for your pleasure.

  112. It seems to me that satellites basically overstate the sea level that really matters. I suggest that the only sea level that matters is the one that is measured from shore. Aren’t we only concerned with encroachment to shore structures and features? Does it really matter how much the western pacific rises if you can’t measure the rise from shore?

  113. crosspatch (00:08:07) :

    What I would like to see is a graph of trend since January 2006.

    Your wish is my command.

  114. Watching the record of sea level rise is about as exciting as watching grass grow.

    Oh, wait. In a couple more weeks or so the grass will be more exciting and it’ll be time to pull the mower out of winter storage. With nearly an acre of grass to cover {and it’s not a riding mower – hey, exercise is exercise}, by the time the backyard is finished it’ll be time to start over in front.

    As for sea level change, get over it. It’s been changing since the end of the ice age (the real one, not just the little one). Now, if sea levels start dropping, then that’ll be something to start being concerned about.

  115. “So the measurement accuracy of the instruments on these satellites is an order of magnitude less than the changes they purport to measure. How does that work, exactly?”

    I will show you how. Here are 5 measurements from some instrument having a resolution of 1 unit. So the error could be +- 0.5 units

    14
    2
    18
    53
    32

    The average is 23.8 so I report that number. Now lets see what happens when one of them changes. Say 53 changes to 52 … average changes to 23.6 so a “global” change of .2 is reported.

    The thing being measured didn’t change “globally” but the global average of individual readings did. So what does that 0.2 change mean to someone who wasn’t at the point reporting 53 units of measure? Absolutely nothing. Nothing changed. AND people are mislead into believing there was a “global” change of 0.2 which is less than the margin of error for any of the measuring locations.

    This is the problem with using stations that were designed to observe weather for long term climate research. When you have rates of change of a tenth of a degree per decade you are within the margin of error of drift for an instrument or an eyeball reading a thermometer.

    Things such as “average global temperature” or “average global sea level” are meaningless. Temperature variations cause more sea level change than “melting” ice caps. Sea level hasn’t risen since 2006 because the Pacific has cooled. When the water cools, it contracts and sea level drops. And a local change in the mid Pacific that changes the “global average” doesn’t mean that sea level changed at all in New York.

  116. Kaboom (03:57:21) :

    Andrew P (01:52:43)
    The converse is also true:
    If the seal levels are falling, polar bears have less to eat.
    Less food for polar bears = reduced population thereof.
    Less seal levels = less polar bear levels
    Less seal and polar bear levels = less mass.
    Less mass = less displacement.
    Andrew P = A Big “F”.
    QED :)

    But if fewer seals = more fish
    And more fish = more displacement

    Or do you want to take this all the way down to phytoplankton? Methinks you take my first post too seriously.

  117. DJ (01:33:42) :

    “3mm rise per year will lead to an average coastal recession of 3cm to 30cm per year for sandy beaches – that puts places like Florida in line for more than 100 feet of coastal recession this century with a low end sea level rise. This simple fact is captured in Brunn’s rule which is well known to scientists. Here’s some examples of what happens when sea level rise meets people…

    http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/byron-bay-wont-budge-over-rising-sea-liability/2007/05/19/1179497333614.html

    http://informet.net/tuvmet/tide.html

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/5092218.stm

    200 million people live within 1m of sea level… so these stories will be repeated countless times this coming century”.

    DJ,

    Especially sandy beaches will adapt to higher sea levels.

    A sand beach is the result of the tides adding sand to the beach and the wind blowing them into dunes.
    That is how a beach is formed and it is the best tidal defense for millions of years.
    Next to catastrophic run away climate caused by CO2, rising sea levels are the second biggest hoax in the Green Box of Pandora, together with the hoax of the melting ice caps.

    It’s all propaganda for dummies.

  118. ralph ellis (06:00:29) :
    .
    “What about this analysis, that argues against historic sea-level rises (last 100 years or so).

    http://www.john-daly.com/ges/msl-rept.htm

    Any flaws in what is argued here?”

    The post glacial rebound (PGR) is very real. Its affects are most easily observed in the the Hudson’s Bay region where rebound averaged 1metre per hundred years:

    http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_461511036/Hudson_Bay_Lowlands.html

    The aspect of PGR that makes determining historic changes in actual sea level more complicated than just trying to compensate for the rising of land in the northern hemisphere in particular, is the fact that the adjacent seabed is also rising and spilling water southward causing the water to rise relative to the land away from the northern lattitudes. Geologists have attempted to estimate the viscosity or plasticity of the mantle of the earth out of scientific interest but few, I would wager, would be comfortable in its application in calculating such small annual overall sea level changes when so many other determinants are at play.

  119. Doug (06:49:31) :

    If the continents move at 4cm/yr and the MSL is only increasing by 2mm/yr, why can’t this change in MSL be attributed to a change in sea basin geometry.

    Good point; sounds plausible and relevant to me.

  120. There is an offset in the Topex and Jason data in the sense that Jason measures 4 +- mm more as of 2002.
    This is visible by the many green points above the average line after 2002.
    This contributes to a somewhat higher average value in mm/year.

  121. An inconvenitent truth. The NOAA website has data from a tide station in Santa Barbara, CA. The data has time breaks in it. The most recent set of sea level measurements is clearly lower than the previous set.

  122. Harold Ambler (06:10:09) :

    It is ironic that the University of Colorado is the authority on sea levels, given the program’s location in the Rocky Mountains.

    I, of course, understand that some very smart people teach and study there.

    Yes, one of those really smart people was a gentleman named Ward Churchill.

    He was caught lying and committing plagiarism in his writings. He was fired.
    He sued to get his job back. He won.

    So he will be back soon, teaching at CU.

    Perhaps the AGW stuff is another symptom of the Ward Churchill syndrome?

  123. Coral atolls (such as the Maldives) are amongst the lowest lying land areas in the world, so one would think they are particularly vulnerable to sea level increases. But they’re constantly replenished by ongoing coral growth at their peripheries. Indeed it is characteristic of atolls that they are effectively live-coral outlines of ancient islands that eroded away long ago. Darwin originally speculated that the coral limestone skeletal deposits were immensely deep, and it has since been demonstrated that some atolls are solid limestone extending down a kilometer or more. Atolls are inherently at present sea level because they can’t deposit limestone much above sea level, and erosion rapidly removes any exposed dead materials.

    The fastest growing stony corals (the Acropora etc) grow at over 150mm per year and hence dominate atoll deposition. Even the phylogenetically older stony corals grow at over 50mm per year. 3mm per year could not possibly drown corals. Atolls would be safe at even 10X higher rates of sea level increase.

    As well as growing in place, all coral organisms reproduce and propagate by releasing massive numbers of a motile spore-like form that can travel potentially great distances to establish new colonies. Even in the event of a dramatic one-time increase in sea levels, corals would survive by establishing new colonies anywhere they could find favorable conditions.

    The same mechanism would be used by corals to survive any substantive global warming. Stony corals are currently confined to tropical waters because they’re temperature limited — 22C is about the minimum sustained cold they can endure. With higher temperatures they would rapidly establish new colonies in more temperate latitudes.

    Given the .5C temperature increase measured during the last century, coral ranges must have already been extended some measurable amount, and indeed this is documented in the literature.

    It’s perhaps unsurprising that coral’s ability to positively adapt to warming conditions goes unmentioned in popular accounts.

  124. Craig Allen (01:02:02):”Because sea levels have been relatively constant for a few thousand years…”

    Wrong as usual, Craig. And since that particular statement is the crux of your argument, your argument fails: click

    As can be seen in the graph, the sea level is still increasing in what appears to be a flattening curve. Most of the post-Ice Age rise is past, but a very small decadal increase remains.

    And as always, it must be kept in mind that the current sea level rise is the result of natural climate variability. The theory of natural climate variability has never been falsified. And unless natural climate variability is falsified, the AGW/CO2 hypothesis fails.

    The burden is on the promoters of the new AGW/CO2 hypothesis to falsify natural variability — not vice-versa. Since they have failed, the AGW/CO2 hypothesis is falsified: click [chart by Bill Illis].

  125. Mike asked, “Does that data also remove the “shifting zero” that Katherine brought up?”

    I only downloaded the most recent data set…So the “shifting zero” isn’t an issue. I’m fairly certain that only the most recent data is available to be downloaded directly from the CU site.

    I’ve been playing around with the correlating the CU sea level data to the UAH Lower Trop. Ocean and Land temperature data. The Lower Trop. Ocean temperature correlates very well with the CU Sea level data right up until mid-2004. At that point the temperature data starts to show a clear cooling trend; while sea level continued to rise (albeit more slowly)…Although the onset of oceanic cooling in 2003-2004 does seem to correlate to the flattening of the seal level rise. Now that the land temperatures are also cooling…I’ll bet that sea level starts to decline over the next 20 years.

    The Jerejeeva reconstruction clearly shows a hiatus of sea level rise (if not an actual declining of sea level) from 1942-1978…Coincident with the last cold phase of the PDO/QDO. Those sea level data can be accessed through the Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory’s website.

  126. Great post. Two points, though. The Mississippi Delta is already dissappear because of erosion-there is an extensive plan to correct the outflow so that silt will be deposited were it was before the river was redirected, allowing the Delta to re-expand. The second point is that sea level trends regionally depend on various factors and may rise more or less than globally. Notice that in Aukland, there is little difference between the 40’s and recent data. :)

  127. In Edward Tellers autobiography he talks about the Egyptians, in the late 1950s, thinking about using nuclear weapons to blast a canal from the Meditteranean to the Qattara Depression which is in the Sahara desert close to Libya. The Qattara Depression is 17000 square miles of desert which, on average is 200 foot below sea level. They are now, apparently, intending to do the same thing using more conventional means and, using the effects of gravity, pass the water through turbines to generate electricity.

    Filling the Qattara depression would take at a questimate 40 years and, back of envelope calculations suggest, would reduce mean sea level by 6-7mm in that time.

    If you believe mean sea level is rising, and that itself is open to debate, maybe we should encourage the Egyptians to fill up the Qattara depression and make an inland sea in the Sahara.

    An aside; how much sea level rise is accounted for by the massive cargo ships and supertankers we have built over the last century. They displace sea water don’t they? I’ll leave somebody else to do the maths. Enjoy.

  128. Re Gary Pearse (10:48:31

    Isostacy shows that the land elevation changes in two directions from glacial weight. At the height of the glaciers the land covered by the ice sheet is depressed. This glacial weight pushing down under the ice sheet causes the land at the fringe of the ice sheet to be pushed up. (think of what happens when one squeezes a balloon) When the glaciers recede the cycle reverses. The Maritimes are seeing the land rise as the rebound continues from the ice retreat however it is important to appreciate the shore lines of the MidAtlantic region are now sinking from the same process. NJ will see higher “relative” sea levels whether or not the sea is increasing in volume. It is unfortunate that only AGW components are deemed worthy of attention.

  129. DJ – the Brunn rule is out of date and absolutely crude – a 2-dimensional model established in the 50ties. Check out some later work “testing” the rule here:

    Davidson-Arnott R.G.D. 2005. Conceptual model of the effects of sea level rise on sandy coasts. Journal of Coastal Research 21: 1166-1172.

    or http://www.bioone.org/doi/full/10.2112/03-0051.1

    so overall, coastal erosion/aggradation will always occur as not a single coastline can be described as “stable” – unless you have a rocky shoreline and then it appears relatively stable. Coastline are probably the most dynamic environments on our planet. If you check out reports on sandy coastlines over the last few decades, you will notice that there were periods when the same beach was building up material and a few years later the beach material vanished (natural causes).

  130. Why so much racket? These changes of MSL are natural fluctuations! This tiny 0.003 m per year is contemplated into the phase of regression. The trend will soon change and it will be negative again, so it has been through eons on Earth. Calculating how many years it will take for reaching one meter higher than today, at the current rate or rise and if and only if it is maintained forever, i.e. if it is a lineal trend, it will take 333 years… Three centuries! Isn’t it ridiculous? The latter could happen if the trend wouldn’t change, which is almost impossible given that nature is always evolving.

  131. >Why are humans so arrogant to think that they can just sit their asses down somewhere and expect the universe to move around them? Such idiots.. If the sea is getting too close to you move!

    Squidly in one sentence you sum up all that is wrong with the sceptics.

    The arrogance is that we can defy the laws of physics which have applied on this planet since the year dot. CO2 is a greenhouse gas which will warm the planet. In the past it has contributed to warming and large sea level rise and it will do so again in the future.

    The second point shows a complete disregard to the human and property rights of others. The “science” of the “sceptics” is hoisted on society without any warranty offered to those who will suffer the consequences if it is wrong.

    Finally, you resort to insulting others you have never met and whose circumstances you will never understand. The compensation for a lack of “science” is all too common among “sceptics”.

    REPLY: Well gosh, two can play at that game. the constant anger, the regular denigration of others skills and comprehension, and the hiding behind anonymity when hurling such attacks is all too common for “alarmists”, such as yourself. It’s fair dinkum when we look at your 95 comments here. – Anthony

  132. An intelligent and thorough post which highlights several factors:

    a) If sea levels are rising, they are occurring at a glacial pace (actually, horizontally, most glaciers would nearly double this speed!),

    b) The graph back to 1870 shows movement even at this early point in human industrialisation, which would suggest that something other than Human Induced CO2 may be responsible,

    c) All graphs shown here reveal a linear relationship which has been extrapolated on recent upward movement, however, there are previous points steeper than this period (1915-30, 1965-69) which smoothed back to a linear progression,

    d) The graphs are linear, or at the very least, less exponential than the CO2 graphs which would suggest that the two factors are not statistically related.

    Like many, I am a firm advocate for many pressing environmental issues, but global warming has stolen billions of dollars and thousands of hours of attention away from these issues. This is the real tragedy.

  133. Andrew P (10:17:54) :

    “And more fish = more displacement
    Or do you want to take this all the way down to phytoplankton? Methinks you take my first post too seriously.”

    But Andrew, look at how serious this all is!

    Because of the highly learned discussion between you and Kaboom, I predict that our esteemed leaders Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi will declare the debate over, and no time to lose! “It’s obvious, scientifically, that more fish swimming will cause the water to warm rapidly, due to mechanical effects of their little tails waving back and forth,” I believe they’ll say. “Warmer water will mean even more rapid ocean level rises.” Then, they will propose doubling American tax rates to fund a new ocean going form of traffic police, to force fish to swim slower, thus wasting less energy, and keeping the oceans cooler. This force will require a large bureaucracy, which will be headed by whichever of their relatives aren’t currently under indictment for influence-peddling.

    And they haven’t even begun to tax us for your “phytoplankton” observations yet.

    Henry ;-)

    (/sarc off)

  134. Say, now, didn’t genericoracle (13:13:31) : do a fine job of summarizing the salient points of the post?

  135. Thought it was interesting how much alike the charts above and the charts here of the dow futures are looking.

  136. I agree with chillybean. Each graph seems to give a differing levels for the same year over time. eg The 2004 map shows 2003 as 30 yet shows only 16 in the 2009 graph. Any reason for this (or has it been explained above somewhere?). I read somewhere that since the satellite data wasn’t revealing the modelled predicted increases they (IPCC?) incorporated tidal measurements back into the measurements to reveal a so-called ‘truer picture’. But this doesn’t explain what seems to be anomalies in the data between the graphs above.

  137. Katherine (01:42:19) :
    Who does the blink comparator images? I’d really like to see one comparing 2009_rel2 with 2009_rel1, Unfortunately, with the change in the Y axis, the result will be a bit muddy. . .

    Not muddy at all. Here’s your blink:

    .
    Ron de Haan (03:40:05) :
    Anthony,
    Thank you for the article but the illustrations you have added to illustrate the flooding potential caused by sea level rise gives the article a somewhat alarmist impression.

    A better reason for no alarm is the alarmist color scale. Red is around 5 meters, 16 feet, which ain’t happening in this millennium. Most likely would be about a third of the way into the black area.

  138. Squidly (03:58:03) :

    To my previous posts, I am wondering, is it cheaper and more plausible to stop sea level rise, or to move your ass somewhere else?

    The Dutch, among others, have come up with a third option.

  139. A mention was made of finger nail growth rate (13 angstroms/sec) for sea level rise,funny I remember finger nail growth rate is rate that Australia is moving towards Indonesia,quite fast for continental drift.

  140. The comment was made to compare the rate of rise to a 1 mm dime. Maybe a better comparison is two pennies (USA) because two pennies = 3 mm. Then the statement can be made, “This is the rate of rise every year, though it appears to be leveling off. Just my two cents worth regarding global warming” Give the two cents to the gorebulist.

  141. DJ warns:

    The “science” of the “sceptics” is hoisted on society without any warranty offered to those who will suffer the consequences if it is wrong.

    DJ, where is the science and warranty which shows that the consequences to “those who will suffer” as a result of instituting the alleged “cure” to the alleged “disease” of GW will not be worse than the alleged disease?

    Conveniently and intentionally, the ipcc did not do this particular science, which would involve a thorough analysis both of the “costs” of the cure and the benefits of GW, regardless of the cause.

    DJ, can’t even such a concerned individual as yourself at least wonder somewhat sceptically “why not” ?

  142. Satellite altimetry Topex/Poseidon/Jason data is adjusted by the University of Colorado for NASA to match the rate of sea level rise measured by a set of 64 tide gauges. Any difference between the raw satellite measurement and the tide gauge measurement is assumed to be the sum of satellite measurement drift error and the vertical land movement at the tide gauge location. A separate estimate of vertical land movement is made to determine the altimetric drift. This measurement drift as determined by the set of tide gauges is applied to the raw satellite data to create the adjusted satellite data.

    The tide guage calibration procedure is shown at the University of Colorado at Boulder Sea Level Calibration page here http://sealevel.colorado.edu/calibration.php

  143. @ Alan the Brit (00:08:42) and John F. Hultquist (00:35:54) sedimentation rates and deltas.

    First, the channel of the delta will migrate over time. As the river empties into the ocean (or lake, or another body of water depending on the river), sediments are deposited. Over time, these sediments build up and the channel changes course (water flows down hill). So some parts of a delta are active, while others are not. Here is an image I found in a quick google search.

    Not the best image, but illustrates the point. Now there are a couple of things that happen when you are no longer adding sediments. First, river sediment tends to have a LOT of organic matter. That organic matter is quick to break down and this leads to subsidence. Moreover, sediment sitting on more sediment leads to compaction and dewatering and this leads to more subsidence, so parts of the river delta are slowly sinking.

    Additionally, because of the sediment load on the crust, isostatic adjustment occurs which causes the crust in that area to subside.

    So Alan, while there is the addition of land mass, its not as substantial as one would first think.

    And John, the addition of sediment will not “raise sea level” because subsidence and sedimentation are happening at almost equal rates.

    Gary Pearse (04:53:32) :

    “I think there are not enough geologists on this site (although its not WUWT’s fault). ”

    Hi there.

    Ben

  144. Craig Allen (01:02:02) wrote: “Just eight points I’d like to make.
    1) Whether or not it is a problem depends very much on where you have built your bungalow…”

    I have holidayed and lived in Airey’s Inlet, just down the road from the quoted “Apollo Bay development”, since 1942. For 15 years I lived on the banks of the Inlet, maybe three foot above sea (ocean, actually. Bass Strait) level, and times the waters of the Strait lipped up on the bank after coming in across the bar. There were also times when the highway, the Great Ocean Road (which continues on to Apollo Bay) was only inches above water backing up in the Painkalac Creek – but still runs in the same general alignment today.

    Based on that, Craig, I suggest your 8 points are only valid if we believe we have to take control and engineer the future from a perspective of what we believe to be the future today. This is man at his most presumptious; and stupid. (And is not in any way to be taken as an opinion of yourself as your comments are both interesting and useful in the context of this thread.)

  145. J. Peden (20:46:40) :

    DJ warns:

    The “science” of the “sceptics” is hoisted on society without any warranty offered to those who will suffer the consequences if it is wrong.

    DJ, where is the science and warranty which shows that the consequences to “those who will suffer” as a result of instituting the alleged “cure” to the alleged “disease” of GW will not be worse than the alleged disease?

    Conveniently and intentionally, the ipcc did not do this particular science, which would involve a thorough analysis both of the “costs” of the cure and the benefits of GW, regardless of the cause.

    DJ, can’t even such a concerned individual as yourself at least wonder somewhat sceptically “why not” ?

    The basis of my professional work is cost benefit analysis. I have little doubt that there is “no room, nor desire” at the IPCC for a competant and objective analysis of the cost benefit of the current proposed “Cures” for “AGW”.

    Such an analysis would quickly show that the CURE (CAP & TRADE, De-Industrialisation) is the nothing short of Disasterous.

  146. Give yourself a chance to know, chat and date with wonderful girls or guys. Yes, there is a good place let you to do that—-T allfinder.com—-.Do not forget to tell us, if you get dreamful lovers.

  147. Smokey (11:23:49) : Craig Allen (01:02:02):”Because sea levels have been relatively constant for a few thousand years…”

    Wrong as usual, Craig. And since that particular statement is the crux of your argument, your argument fails: clickclick… the AGW/CO2 hypothesis is falsified: click [chart by Bill Illis].

    I love seeing Smokey’s ripostes, again and again pretty spot-on to the particular warmist argument – and though warmists often say our arguments are the same, tired, old, long-ago-refuted arguments, IMO the reverse is a lot truer. There are a number of well-identified warmist tactics and arguments.

    I’d love to see a collection of context-sensitive ripostes, perhaps done as an FAQ, perhaps a wiki format for skeptics to collaborate in? Or perhaps Smokey can do a post here, and Smokey, or myself, or someone, can gather up all the responses into an FAQ-type resource.

    This is another variant of my visions for a skeptics’ wiki. This could be a way to start the ball rolling for a wiki – or not – it doesn’t matter because an “FAQ” would work in its own right. Just my thoughts.

  148. This is ridiculous. The analysis provided may align somewhat with the statistical science of dealing with datum in charts and graphs (or not), however it completely ignores other real world and science related data that predicts a rise in sea level greater than 30 cms.

    For instance, if you consider the fact that most of the polar ice that has melted thus far is from the Arctic, which rests on no land mass but rather the ocean itself, you can easily conclude why the sea level has risen so little in recent years is not due to no future threat of oceanic floods, but because the ice that melted was RESTING IN WATER ALREADY, and as any sixth grade scientist knows, ice is 9/10ths the density of liquid water. Thus, minor fluctuations of water level based on what mass of ice was already in/under water (think icebergs) and how little was actually above it.

    When the Antarctic ice melts however (land-based ice mass), the ocean levels are going to increase at a must higher rate than a few millimeters a year.

    Time to reframe your calculations and give back the “Best Science Blog of 2008″ award

  149. Mt St Michel dates from the 13th century, yet rising sea levels do not seem to have disturbed its serenity in that 700 years. Local talk has it that one has always been able to wlak to it at lowest tides, though with danger from soft sand and a fast rising tide. Can’t imaginr it’s evidence for any sea level rise. Likewise the battlements at nearby St Malo, giving no impression of being inundated.

    So either sea level is unchanging there or there has been recent unprecedented change leading to unprecedented projections leading to unprecedented consequences.

    Sometimes I think people don’t realise how hard it is to measure sea level. Even some of the satellite top guns are still working to find a datum point like the centre of the earth, but the earth’s shape is in continuous change and so is the datum. Might be good to a few cm. on a good day. Who knows where this datum might be in a century? Nobody does.

  150. O. Weinzierl (03:25:57) :

    One thing that is’nt mentioned here is that local sea levels are largely dependend on Earth’s gravitational field. “Sea level” to us all means a flat surface over thousends of kilometers, but that’s far from true.
    As shown in http://www-app2.gfz-potsdam.de/sec13/animated-potato-e-cms.html sea level differences are up to 200 m in “relatively close” areas as east of South Africa and south of India. 30 cm is nothing in comparison to that entirely natural factor.

    Now that IS sobering! If gravity is a function of mass (as I think Mr Einstein proposed) then presumably the variation is mainly due to the composition of the mantle, which I believe is capable of some movement. This looks like a more significant factor than a bit of surface warming…

  151. because the ice that melted was RESTING IN WATER ALREADY..
    Time to reframe your calculations and give back the “Best Science Blog of 2008″ award

    None of us thought of that, Anthony, did we? Better pack up that award now.. :-)

  152. xiphoidprogress,

    I’m sure that WUWT will give back its “Best Science” site award — just as soon as the charlatan Al Gore gives back his mistakenly awarded Nobel. Fair enough?

    You claim that “When the Antarctic ice melts… the ocean levels are going to increase at a must [sic] higher rate than a few millimeters a year.”

    Have you considered the fact that Antarctic ice is currently at about –50° F.? And that current “global warming” predictions are in the range of 0.6 ° F? It seems that we have a long way to go, in order to change frozen ice into liquid water.

    Please explain how your putative global warming will cause –50° ice to suddenly change state, and become water. Where will the heat come from? As a scientist, I would be very interested in that mechanism.

  153. Not all coastal erosion is due to sea level rise. These houses were several fields away from the edge when they were built, but this bit of the Isle of Wight has been crumbling away for some time, taking houses, roads, hotels, a naturist camp and bits of a local theme park with it.

    We lose about 10 feet a year, on average, but it tends to fall away in chunks after heavy rainfall has penetrated down to a layer of Gault clay, known locally (and aptly) as ‘blue slipper’. Geology 1, AGW 0.

  154. Smokey,

    The Al Gore obsession around here is a little weird?

    Not all of Antarctic ice is -50ºF. Much of the edge gets within several degrees of zero in summer, as mapped here. The Antarctic peninsular is of particular concern.

    Glaciers flow in spite of the temperature of ice within them being below zero.
    There are concerns that as coastal ice sheets break up the glaciers flowing into them will accelerate (as explained here). And research is suggesting that surface melt on the fringes of Iceland and Antarctica is flow down through cracks called moulins, lubricating the base of glaciers and thereby accelerating them.

  155. “Ken Gregory (21:03:59) :

    Satellite altimetry Topex/Poseidon/Jason data is ADJUSTED by the University of Colorado for NASA to match the rate of sea level rise measured by a set of 64 tide gauges. Any difference between the raw satellite measurement and the tide gauge measurement is ASSUMED to be the sum of satellite measurement drift error and the vertical land movement at the tide gauge location. A separate ESTIMATE of vertical land movement is made to determine the altimetric drift. This measurement drift as determined by the set of tide gauges is applied to the raw satellite data to create the adjusted satellite data.”

  156. Please explain how your putative global warming will cause –50° ice to suddenly change state, and become water. Where will the heat come from? As a scientist, I would be very interested in that mechanism.

    So, before the Antarctic [continent] moved to where it is, straddling the south pole [40MYA?] sea levels must have been much higher than today.

    How come life survived? Ahhh, I get it, the creationists in the AGW movement must believe that Noah’s Ark is a real story.

  157. If I put icecubes in a glass and they melt, the glass doesnt run over, but if I throw a rock in there it will over flow. Could some of the rise in sea level in some areas be due to ‘island building’ undersea? How much does that new material displace water? I hear that volcano near Tonga is building a new island.

    http://www.reflector.com/news/world/strong-quake-near-tonga-prompts-tsunami-warning-498835.html

    Its done it before….

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=7126

    So while were worrying about melting ice raising our water levels, has anyone considered how much water must be displaced by a volcano that rises from the ocean floor to the surface? Tonga, Hawaii, Im sure there are others..

  158. @ pkatt (06:52:18) :

    As new material is being added, older material is being taken away.

    Check out this image of sea mounts being caught up in subduction zones.

    and

  159. Craig Allen reminds me of the kid in that old parade joke making the rounds among the military when I was in boot camp back in the ’60’s: “Look, Mommy, everyone is out of step but Daddy!” The best evidence available shows that changes in the sea level are entirely natural. The sea level is nothing to be concerned about.

    Why do glaciers flow when they are well below the freezing point of water?

    Glaciers flow due to precipitation at higher altitudes. Temperature has almost nothing to do with it. And CO2 has nothing whatever to do with it. Glaciers flow in spite of the temperature of ice within them being below zero, because of the plasticity of ice.

    Check out these pics of the mean sea level in 1841: click There is absolutely nothing to worry about WRT the sea level.

    [And please, for the sake of honesty if nothing else, don’t link to Realclimate here. They are not credible. They are losers. They censor polite comments made by knowledgeable posters, when those comments contradict their AGW/CO2 agenda. And they are financially supported by George Soros. More reasons on request.]

  160. I’m surprised than no one (especially those of you with a geology background) has raised this issue of subsidence here. Specifically geologic subsidence. This is reality with a good part of the gulf (US) coast off the Mississippi river delta. Some have said (no cites, too lazy) that it is a result of pumping out all that “awl” out of the ground. Not true says one geology PhD at LSU who says it has more to do with sediment loading from the river emptying into the gulf (google it, I’m too lazy yet again). Regardless, the gulf coast *is* sinking which of course contributes to the apparent rise in sea levels in these parts. And over geologic time scales, the barrier islands (see Galveston) are nothing.

    And finally, DJ – you do little to enlighten or advance your case. Why post here? It’s not like you have anything to add.

  161. ” Jared (03:48:08) wrote:

    In the 2004 graph, the 2003 peak is higher than the 2004 peak.
    In the 2005 graph, the 2003 peak is higher than the 2004 peak.
    In the 2006 graph, the 2003 peak is now a little lower than the 2004 peak.
    In the 2007 graph, the 2003 peak is well below the 2004 peak.
    In the 2008 graph, the 2003 peak went back to being higher than the 2004 peak.
    In the 2009 graph, the 2003 peak once again became lower than the 2004 peak.”

    There are actually 3 graphs. Not just the 2003 peak changes, every peak and valley is different. Even the loose points hovering around the 60-day smoothing line are different. This is obvious when you look at the shape of the 1998 peak and the loose points above it.

    2004: graph a – the 1998 peak is sharp
    2005: graph a
    2006: graph b – 1998 not so sharp anymore
    2007: graph c – 1998 not sharp at all
    2008: graph a again(!) – 1998 is sharp again
    2009-1: graph c is back
    2009-2: graph c

    -This graph has been completely redesigned\recalculated twice – once in 2006 and again in 2007. Does anyone know how that has been done?
    -It is peculiar that graph a comes back in 2008. What could be the reason?

    Anthony, thank you for this great blog, on which I have been spending way to much time. It’s very good for my serenity of mind though.

  162. Robin I can’t understand the data at all. It seems to be manipulated to achieve a desired effect. The starting point for 60 day smoothing has shifted from -14 in the ’04 graph to -26 in the 2009 graph.This would give a consistent upward trend to the smoothing line.
    However, the graph for 2006 seems totally inconsistent with the others. What is actually happening?

  163. Chuck near Houston (12:40:24) said:

    “I’m surprised than no one (especially those of you with a geology background) has raised this issue of subsidence here.”

    Chuck you may have missed my post at (21:18:59).

    More than just subsidence due to sediment loading, is isostatic adjustment of oceanic crust as it cools down. Cooler things are more dense, and as oceanic crust cools and moves away from the spreading axis, it cools down, becomes more dense and “sinks” lower in the mantle.

    So we have some crust sinking due to sediment loading, other sinking because of isostasy, and some crust (continental) rising due to isostatic rebound that has been occurring since the glaciers melt.

    The whole deal makes for an interesting mess when trying to measure rates of change with respect to sea level.

  164. I think some of the changes in the graph are the result of an error which was discovered last Summer in the processing algorithms for Jason-1 sea level when they were calibrating the new Jason-2 satellite.

    This reduced Jason-1 ‘s sea level trend from 3.3 mms per year to 2.4 mms per year and the old years were restated.

    What is very interesting is that the Jason-2 calibrations were completed early in the Fall and operation of the satellite was turned over to JPL.

    But, no data has been released from Jason-2 yet.

  165. Ken Gregory,

    OK, I have to ask – what satellite measurement drift? As far as I know there is none, and it would not be linear. There is no drift in the position or timing (GPS based with RF link radiometric measurements used to provide independent tracking).

    I would have to look at the payload designs again but there is no ‘drift’ in their performance.

    Will check your link but that sounds like a lot of CU BS to me.

    AJStrata

  166. Keep flapping them gums Smokey. The more you say the less sense you make.

    I’m not sure how providing a photo of the Port Arthur historic sea level mark without any context helps you. But if others are interested, here is an explanation of its relevance. Remember it is a single location, and so can’t be considered a proxy for the entire ocean.

    You first said that because the temperature in Antarctica is below 50ºF a few degrees warming can in no way affect the ice. Then, when I demonstrated that that is a misleading assertion, you said that temperature doesn’t affect glacier flow. Interesting theory; I suggest you do a little more reading on that.

    Here’s a puzzle. If, as you suggest, the predicted warming can not possibly cause significant melting of our ice-caps. How is it that the ice-cap covering a very substantial portion of North America during the last ice age to a depth of several kilometres, melted away with a global increase in average temperature of just 7 or so degrees?

    Here is an article from NASA that you may be interested to read Snowmelt In Antarctica Creeping Inland, Based On 20 Year Of NASA Data

    I’m sorry if the RealClimate people hurt your feelings. I’ve observed that they welcomes skeptical posters, but get cranky if writers don’t make sense, try to misrepresent data, are abusive, use dodgy rhetorical tricks to advance their case, or refuse advance their understanding of the science. They do the same if folks who believe global warming is real try the same tactic. Scientists are very strict on people talking gobbldegook.

  167. “ian George (15:12:51) wrote:

    Robin I can’t understand the data at all. It seems to be manipulated to achieve a desired effect. The starting point for 60 day smoothing has shifted from -14 in the ‘04 graph to -26 in the 2009 graph.This would give a consistent upward trend to the smoothing line.
    However, the graph for 2006 seems totally inconsistent with the others. What is actually happening?”

    Ian, the zero has been moved 3 times on the vertical axis.
    2004 60-day smoothing starts at -14
    2005 60-day smoothing starts at -14
    2006 0 goes 12 units down, 60-day smoothing line starts at -2
    2007 0 goes 30 units up, 60-day smoothing line starts at -32
    2008 0 goes another 6 units down again, smoothing line starts at -26
    2009-1 smoothing line starts at -26
    2009-2 smoothing line starts at -26

    But that doesn’t change the shape of the graph. As you can see when you compare graph 2004 and 2005 with graph 2008. Exactly the same graph with the zero in a different place.
    Of course the 2008 graph is horizontally compressed to get more years in the same space, but it is easy to see that it is the same graph as 2004 and 2005.

    Now compare graph 2008 with the 2 graphs of 2009.
    The zero is in exactly the same place, the 60-day smoothing line starts in all graphs with -26, but the graphs themselves are very different.
    And it’s not just some recalculation of the smoothing line, because the individual measures points that hover around the smoothing line are also in differently positions.
    They have changed\corrected the measurements.
    Why?!

    And the weirdest thing: they had already done that in 2007. Compare the 2007 graph with 2009 and you’ll see that it’s identical.
    Then why in 2008 did they go back to the 20004/5 graph?

    Not to mention that the 2006 graph is different in shape from all the others.

  168. “Bill Illis (16:23:48) wrote:

    I think some of the changes in the graph are the result of an error which was discovered last Summer in the processing algorithms for Jason-1 sea level when they were calibrating the new Jason-2 satellite.

    This reduced Jason-1 ’s sea level trend from 3.3 mms per year to 2.4 mms per year and the old years were restated.”

    Bill, the first recalculate graph appears in 2006, the next one in 2007.
    So that can’t be what you mention.

    I see no obvious differences in the 2008 and 2009 graphs, just 2 measurements in 2002 that have been retroactively corrected.
    I’d love to see the corrected graph. If the trend goes down from 3.3 to 2.4 mm/year, that must might the sea level has been decreasing a bit.

  169. Craig Allen offers an interesting question:

    Here’s a puzzle. If, as you suggest, the predicted warming can not possibly cause significant melting of our ice-caps. How is it that the ice-cap covering a very substantial portion of North America during the last ice age to a depth of several kilometres, melted away with a global increase in average temperature of just 7 or so degrees?

    Are you suggesting that we are facing a further 7 or so degrees rise in average global temperatures because of human produced CO2? If so, over what time frame?

    If not, what temperature rise are you suggesting will occur because of human produced CO2 and over what timeframe, and what sea-level rise will that cause? What other effects will it have? Please be explicit.

    Further, what will it cost to mitigate those problems by reducing CO2 production? What probability do you place on the proposed mitigation actually doing anything usefull? What cost do you place on mitigating the problems using other approaches, like moving people?

  170. “I’m sorry if the RealClimate people hurt your feelings. I’ve observed that they welcomes skeptical posters, but get cranky if writers don’t make sense, try to misrepresent data, are abusive, use dodgy rhetorical tricks to advance their case, or refuse advance their understanding of the science. ”

    Fatuous nonsense. No one here cares, we’re overweighted with engineers with virtual or actual minors in math and physics. Only trolls provide links to RC and beg us to visit and mourn Gaia’s defilement.

  171. Richard Sharpe:

    Reread my post. I clearly did not say that we are facing “7 or so degrees rise in average global temperatures because of human produced CO2″.

    I’m not sure about the latest models, but the IPCC’s AR4 report [beware that’s a big pdf file) concluded that climate scientists believe that if we let greenhouse gasses rise to 1000ppm (in CO2 equivalents) we would face somewhere between 3.5 and 8 degrees rise by the time the climate equilibrium was reached. I hope humanity isn’t that suicidal. They concluded that if we continue on a business as usual emissions scenario we are likely to get between 2.3 and 4.8ºC warming between 2000 and 2100 with 3ºC being the most likely.

    Smokey:

    “And as always, it must be kept in mind that the current sea level rise is the result of natural climate variability. The theory of natural climate variability has never been falsified. And unless natural climate variability is falsified, the AGW/CO2 hypothesis fails.”

    Mate, a straw-man doesn’t compensate for a logically flawed statement. The climate is naturally variable. No one has ever disputed that. We are taking a variable system and forcing it toward a state it is very unlikely to have otherwise have reached and at a far faster rate than is otherwise plausible.

    Gary Gulrud,

    The various economic analyses I’ve seen suggest that reducing CO2 emissions significantly will have a modest affect on the growth rate of economies, and may even boost them. It’ll certainly be a lot cheaper than wars and unrestrained financial scullduggery. The costs (in both financial and human suffering terms) of adapting to the predicted consequences of our current emissions path are otherwise going to be unimaginably huge.

  172. “It’ll certainly be a lot cheaper than wars and unrestrained financial scullduggery. ”

    Envirofanaticism pursued by intellectual lightweights who remain politically powerful can easily bankrupt or starve billions to no good purpose.

    For example, have your studies into the decrease in C13:C12 fraction considered the man-induced loss of billions of tons of naturally sequestered CO2 over the past century or two to soil erosion?

    Have they considered the deleterious effect of an increased world price of corn, increased nitrogen pollution of river deltas, increased aldehyde pollution of urban air, increased fuel consumption following decreased mileage creating world recession and financial failure, of increased potable water use and exhausted aquifers, and decreased resources via failure of ethanol plant closures in the enviornmentally friendly pursuit of biofuels?

    Your much.too.lame.to.read illiterati at RC are dangerous, not well intentioned and reasonable. Return to your ‘dog’s breakfast’.

  173. While researching and preparing my comments for EPA’s “CO2 is harmful to humans proposed finding”, I came across this interesting graph and article from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS).

    http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/briefs/gornitz_09/

    The graph shows sea level rise of 120 meters over 18,000 years since the last ice age. The increase was not uniform, but had at least three meltwater pulses (MWP), and possible four, that led to rapid sea level rise.

    The interesting point of this graph is that the rate of sea level rise has decreased dramatically in the past 5000 years, rising only 5 meters in that time. The rate of rise is only 1 mm per year.

    The takeaway from the graph and accompanying text is that human influence was zero during that entire 23,000 year period, except for the past 150 years at the most. Yet, sea level rose rapidly at times, and held almost constant at times. The concept that humans have any impact at all on polar ice melting, and sea level rise, is ludicrous. Other forces are clearly at work, and their effects are overwhelming when compared to human activity.

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