Request for Assistance In Assessing an Important Sea Level Study

Note:John Droz asked me for help with research yesterday, and while I have no time at the moment, I did suggest he contact Bob Tisdale, and this is the result. In an effort to get him some help, I present this on WUWT – Anthony

Guest Post by John Droz, Jr.

Friends:

I am asking for help from oceanographers and/or others who have experience with sea level measurements.

I am a physicist (energy expert) who has been involved with several environmental issues over the last thirty years.

I am a traditional scientist in that I am a strong advocate of subjecting hypothesis for solutions to our environmental issues to the Scientific Method. In other words, I would expect that proposed solutions have a comprehensive, independent, transparent and empirical based assessment. (Unfortunately, this now seems to be the minority view among scientists.)

I have written extensively on energy issues, and have given free presentations in some ten states. This is online at EnergyPresentation.Info. There are also several slides about AGW.

Anyway, the case at hand is that I was recently asked by my local representatives for some scientific assistance.

The brief story is that North Carolina is attempting to be the first state in the nation to impose rather comprehensive and consequential (i.e. expensive) rules and regulations on its coastal communities. This is based on projected substantially increased sea levels, due to the assumed effects of AGW.

But it’s worse than that. The basis for these changes is a 2010 NC Sea Level Assessment Report (http://dcm2.enr.state.nc.us/slr/NC%20Sea-Level%20Rise%20Assessment%20Report%202010%20-%20CRC%20Science%20Panel.pdf).

I have been told that the US federal government funded this study. The stated intention was that they would like that this study be used by the rest of the coastal states (plus the federal government) as a basis for new rules and regulations. If this came about as planned, there would clearly be worldwide implications to this simple report.

As such, it is my view, that it is imperative to get it right.

In my reading of the report, the key assumptions are that:
1 – the IPCC sea level rise projections (15± inches by 2100) are the minimum expected, and
2 – that Rahmstorf (rahmstorf_science_2007, is a credible source to use as a high end (55± inches by 2100).

To give the appearance of being reasonable, the report authors (13 esteemed scientists) selected a value near the middle of these numbers: 39± inches by 2100.
Figure 2 (page 11 of the NC sea level report) and the accompanying text in the report shows and explains this.

Figure 2. This chart illustrates the magnitude of SLR resulting from differing rates of acceleration. The most likely scenario for 2100 AD is a rise of 0.4 meter to 1.4 meters (15 inches to 55 inches) above present.

This is not my area of expertise, so I can not make a technical critique of Rahmstorf’s work, or the referenced Church & White (2006) report. If anyone can provide some scientific evidence, pro or con, regarding these documents, it would be greatly appreciated.

Again, what happens about this in NC will likely be a precursor to other coastal states (and countries), so this is an international big deal.

Feel free to email me directly at “aaprjohn [ at ] northnet dot org”.

THANK YOU!

john droz, jr.
physicist & environmental advocate
Morehead City, NC

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86 Responses to Request for Assistance In Assessing an Important Sea Level Study

  1. Latitude says:

    John, the very first thing is establish that the land is not sinking or eroding………

  2. PM says:

    Remotely related sea stuff:

    Plancton is growing fast at antarctica, removes CO2 from athmospere due to increased CO2-concentrations.

    http://www.cell.com/current-biology/abstract/S0960-9822(11)00056-X

    In Finland the Baltic sea ice has hit record high since 1987.

    http://www.itameriportaali.fi/html/icef/icemap_c.pdf

  3. Al G says:

    Thanks for your name Mr. Droz. I will take steps to ensure your views are not represented in the upcoming debate.

  4. Tom Konerman says:

    Sea level may drop in 2010
    Posted on January 17, 2011 by Anthony Watts
    Guest post by John Kehr

    “2010 could likely show a significant drop global sea level.”
    “Since the data has not been updated since August it is difficult to guess more precisely,…..”
    “If the drop does show up as expected it is possible that 2010 will show the largest drop in sea level ever recorded.”

    Has the data for 2010 since August been posted?

  5. MangoChutney says:

    John seems to say he is an old fashioned scientist who relies on empirical evidence, but then says “The brief story is that North Carolina is attempting to be the first state in the nation to impose rather comprehensive and consequential (i.e. expensive) rules and regulations on its coastal communities. This is based on projected substantially increased sea levels, due to the assumed effects of AGW.

    But it’s worse than that. The basis for these changes is a 2010 NC Sea Level Assessment Report“, which gives the impression that he has “done an alarmist” i.e. decided on the conclusion and is now working out how to adjust the data.

    Perhaps my initial read through is wrong, but let’s gather data first and then talk about the conclusion. If the conclusion agrees with the IPCC then so be it.

    /Mango

  6. P Gosselin says:

    Sorry – I see he’s referring to a US funded study. Now it makes sense.

  7. David Larsen says:

    I have read phd. written papers of sea level heights during the Aurginacian Oscillation time period. They stated the sea levels were 120 feet above what they are today in Northern Europe. What imposition of increased tax levels or other ‘solutions’ are going to change a natural process? Do you need more research money? Get it from Al Gore. He has been able to fleece honest people for a while now. He has perfected the art.

  8. kuhnkat says:

    I think we can see why the ClimateGate Crew and others were so emphatic on never admitting anything now. The extra time they gave to the scam has allowed junk science to permeate all levels of public policy and will be nearly impossible to eradicate short term.

  9. C3 Editor says:

    We compiled a list of multiple sea-level studies, including a variety of predictions. The list can be found here:

    http://www.c3headlines.com/2010/11/memo-to-incoming-republicans-climate-scientists-are-full-of-sea-lies-crazy-ass-predicitions.html

    At the bottom of the posting are source url’s for each study. Hope this helps.

    C3

  10. mitchel44 says:

    I think that you might want to talk to Lucia, over at the Blackboard. She has looked at Rahmstorf 2007 pretty hard, here are a couple of links.

    http://rankexploits.com/musings/2008/rahmstorf-et-al-2007-where-does-their-figure-come-from/

    http://rankexploits.com/musings/2009/source-of-fishy-odor-confirmed-rahmstorf-did-change-smoothing/

    Hope this helps.

  11. Don K says:

    A reasonable place to start would be the Wikipedia article on sea level rise which seems actually to be pretty good. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Current_sea_level_rise.

    There is tidal gauge data covering about 120 years and satellite data for less than 20. The observed tidal gauge based rise is less than 8 inches per century. The satellite estimate is closer to 12 inches a century. If I had to make a guess, I’d go with the satellites because the geographical distribution of the tidal gauges is said to be less than optimal for assessing global sea level rise.

    How much global warming based change one appends depends on how much faith one has in “climate science” and how important it is not to underestimate. Personally, I think climate science ranks somewhere between phrenology and economics on the credibility scale, but I don’t have to make important decisions based on my opinion.

    Also, one probably needs to know whether coastal North Carolina itself is sinking or rising and how fast. If one must interpolate from other East Coast locations, remember that coastal locations further North may be affected by isostatic rebound from glaciation.

  12. steven mosher says:

    I’m glad to see NC is taking this route.

    the primary damage mechanism from global warming comes from sea level rise.
    It is far more sensible to let local communities change their coastal development behavior rather than forcing others to change their emissions behavior.

    plan for 1meter of rise.

    The other thing they need to know is that you cant use a global average to estimate the regional number. Its more complex than that. See the dutch studies on regional sea level rise. Some places go up, others go down.

    Plan on a meter. Hope the truth is less than that.

    BTW. it would cost the US 400B to mitigate the damage from a 1 meter sea level rise.
    spread over 90 years. not that big a deal. control c02 globally? big deal.

  13. Phillip Bratby says:

    John Droz is widely regarded for his work on the worthlessness of wind turbines.

  14. Paul Hull says:

    For a layman’s view, it’s hard to beat the late John Daly’s site at http://www.john-daly.com/index.htm. The 1841 mean sea level mark, placed by Captain Sir James Ross Clark on the Isle of the Dead, Tasmania is pretty convincing. “Now who are you going to believe? Me, or your own lying eyes” Sarc / off

  15. Laurence M. Sheehan, PE says:

    The Earth turns, and things change, beyond any control of humans. Wealthy people build grand houses on oceans edges, subject to severe erosion, then expect much less wealthy taxpayers to pay for projects to prevent and reverse the effects of erosion.

    It is no more than a scam that CO2 has any signifiicant effect on temperature or climate.

    I do know that back in the 1

  16. Bloke down the pub says:

    Unless I,m being daft, Fig. 2 seems to suggest that sea level will continue rising even if the global temperature anomaly is negative. I wonder what forcing they suggest is going to cause that?

  17. Claude Harvey says:

    I’d start with the satellite record at http://sealevel.colorado.edu/.

    It has the advantage, I think, of eliminating land subsidence issues. Also note that, contrary to predictions of accelerating sea level rise, the overall average rate since satellites began recording has declined from 3.2 mm per year to 3.1 mm per year. Note also that almost no readings have been recorded above the 3.1 mm trend line since the beginning of 2010.

  18. Taphonomic says:

    You may want to look at John Daly’s website. John died sevral years ago, but the site lives on and he did some interesting studies of sea level rise.

    http://www.john-daly.com/

  19. MikeP says:

    A bunch of comments. First, sea level has been rising since the LIA. Temperatures have been rising since the LIA. That’s the “correlation” that’s shown. It would have been nice if they’d color coded their dots to show time rather than having them all be red. You get no sense from their figure of whether or not the relationship between T and dH seems to be coherently changing with time or not. For example, there used to be more surface area with glaciers during the LIA, so one might expect that sea level would be more sensitive to T back then. Second, actual sea level measurements from satellite altimetry seem to show a recent slowdown in sea level rise rather than an acceleration. This is consistent with measurements from the recent Argos network. There is the built in assumption in the above work that temperatures will continue to rise following IPCC scenarios and therefore sea level rise should accelerate if anything. Third, any change in sea level would not be uniform globally. NC is on the shelf side of the Gulf Stream and would be influenced by changes in Gulf Stream transport among other things. Are there any GPS grounded sea level measurements along the NC coast? I think NOAA might have done some surveying for various projects. If the surveys have been repeated, which should be likely, then you can separate actual sea level change from changes in the elevation of the coast. The rates at which the coast is rising or sinking should be relatively constant as long as there’s been no significant ground water depletion or oil extraction from pumping. So you could potentially come up with measurements of NC sea level change to use. Local use of altimetry is limited by ground track resolution (and shifting by +/- 1 km over which the geoid can vary significantly) plus land contamination when the satellite is too close to shore.

    The biggest assumption, is the high assumed sensitivity of the atmosphere to CO2. Without this assumption, the future projected temperature rises don’t happen and of course the resulting sea level rises don’t happen either. There are a number of threads about this which have appeared on WUWT from time to time.

    Hope this helps.

  20. Gary says:

    Roger Pielke, Jr. should have references in the resource economics field that pertain to coastal flooding and property damage assessments. The issue is both the relative change in sea level from present values and the costs of disaster recovery and mitigation. It’s not a bad thing to use reasonable projections to inform a cost analysis for developers, property owners, and the insurance industry. It is a bad thing when government pushes you around or subsidizes risks that you ought to bear yourself.

  21. Laurence M. Sheehan, PE says:

    I would suggest that a professional chemical engineer, one who knows about the specific heat capacity of gases, be consulted as to the effects CO2 has on atmospheric temperature.

    I know that back in the 1940s, 90 bushels of corn per acre was considered to be a bumper crop, and that 60 bushels per acre was a good crop. As a result of the increased CO2 levels since then, 140 bushels of corn per acre is common as of now.

    As for the measurement of sea levels, the problem is that there is no fixed benchmark from which to measure diffences in elevation.

  22. mkelly says:

    High red dot 3 mm/yr
    90 yrs til 2100
    90 x 3 = 270
    25.4mm = 1 inch
    270/25.4 = 10.6

    So lets call it a foot by 2100.
    Did I miss something?

  23. Hector M. says:

    Rahmstorf’s forecast is just a statistical extrapolation of past trends, and its reception in scientific circles (including those most enthusiastic about predictions of rapid sea level rise) was not of wholehearted approval. Most people (including Rahmstorf) have not insisted with that exercise.
    IPCC projections are based on a variety of sources and models and are on the whole more credible, although quite uncertain in a number of respects.
    Recent work on the various aspects of the matter have not produced projections very different from IPCC scenarios. If anything, observed sea level rise as measured from satellites appears to have decelerated in the 2000s (especially since 2003) relative to the years before (since satellite measurements started in late 1992). At any rate, satellite measurements give a trend of about 30cm per century for the world average.
    On the other hand, all this refers to eustatic or equilibrium average sea level, not to the relative level of sea water relative to the features of a particular coast, which is also affected by land uplifting or subsidence, and by deposition or removal of sediment.

  24. George E. Smith says:

    Well I can make a suggestion to those esteemed 13 scientists; who are selecting values to make things look good. Instead of 39+/- inches by 2100 try using a nice round number like 39.37 inches; that seems much more scientific.

  25. David L. Hagen says:

    John Dorz
    My compliments on approaching it from a scientific viewpoint!

    For papers ignored by the IPCC, see the 880 p
    NIPCC (Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change) 2009 report
    http://www.nipccreport.org/reports/2009/

    See Chapter 4, Section 4.5. Sea-level Rise, pp 184-206.
    http://www.nipccreport.org/reports/2009/pdf/Chapter%204.pdf

    See: Figure 4.5.1.1. Mean global sea level (top), with shaded 95
    percent confidence interval, and mean gsl rate-of-rise (bottom),
    with shaded standard error interval, adapted from Jevrejeva et al.
    (2006).

    Note that the rate of sea level rise appears to be oscillating.
    ( possibly due to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation which has about a 60 year period?)

    See: Figure 4.5.1.2. Cumulative increase in mean global sea level
    (1904-2003) derived from nine high-quality tide gauge records
    from around the world. Adapted from Holgate (2007).

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

    Note that the long term rate of rise has been declining. (Not rising as fast in later years).
    —————–
    Then look particularly for papers by
    Dr. Nils-Axel Mörner, Paleogeophysics & Geodynamics, Stockholm, Sweden

    INTERVIEW: DR. NILS-AXEL MÖRNER Sea-level Expert: It’s Not Rising!
    21st CENTURY Science & Technology Fall 2007 25

    “Question: I would like to start with a little bit about your background.”
    “I am a sea-level specialist. There are many good sea-level people in the world, but let’s put it this way: There’s no one who’s beaten me. I took my thesis in 1969, devoted to a large extent to the sea-level problem. From then on I have launched most of the new theories, in the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s. I was the one who understood the problem of the gravitational potential surface, the theory that it changes with time. I’m the one who studied the rotation of the Earth, how it affected the redistribution of the oceans’ masses. And so on.
    I was president of INQUA, an international fraternal association, their Commission on
    Sea-Level Changes and Coastal Dr. Nils-Axel Mörner has studied sea level and its effects on coastal areas for some 35 years. Recently retired as director of the Paleogeophysics and Geodynamics Department at Stockholm University, Mörner is past
    president (1999-2003) of the INQUA Commission on Sea Level Changes and Coastal Evolution, and leader of the Maldives Sea Level Project.”
    Mörner was interviewed by Associate Editor Gregory Murphy on June 6. The interview here is abridged; a full version appeared in Executive Intelligence Review, June 22, 2007. Evolution, from 1999 to 2003.

    Google search Nils-Axel Mörner with about 418 hits.
    Note Mörner’s latest paper:
    Solar Minima, Earth’s rotation and Little Ice Ages in the past and in the future: The North Atlantic–European case Global and Planetary Change Volume 72, Issue 4, July 2010, Pages 282-293
    Quaternary and Global Change: Review and Issues Special issue in memory of Hugues FAURE

    The past Solar Minima were linked to a general speeding up of the Earth’s rate of rotation. This affected the surface currents and southward penetration of Arctic water in the North Atlantic causing “Little Ice Ages” over northwestern Europe. At around 2040–2050 we will be in a new major Solar Minimum. It is to be expected that we will then have a new “Little Ice Age” over the Arctic and NW Europe. The mechanism proposed for the linkage of Solar activity with Earth’s rotation is the interaction of Solar Wind with the Earth’s magnetosphere; the decrease in Solar Wind at sunspot minima weakens the interaction with the magnetosphere that allows the Earth to speed up, and the increase in Solar Wind at sunspot maxima strengthens the interaction with the magnetosphere that slows down the spinning of the Earth.

    This thesis promises a DECLINING rate of sea level in the upcoming decades in contrast to IPCC’s projections.

  26. Steve in SC says:

    Some annecdotal evidence from my memory which goes back to 1953.
    Coastal development has covered what was at one time pretty much uninhabited sand bars. Back years ago Nags Head was just a few buildings now it is covered up in tourist attractions. Topsail island used to have a few houses and some coastal watch towers on the south end but the north end was just a swamp with some vicious mosquitos. Now, the north end is all built up and subdivided. The whole of the outer banks is and has been eroding and building up for centuries. That is how the barrier islands got there in the first place. Every time there is a storm there is great wailing and gnashing of teeth. It was that way when Hazel hit and it has been the same ever since. No tax, nor fee, is going to change the way nature works. The moral of the story is that if the ocean is trying to come in your back door it is past time to move.
    Insurance rates are high for people who have structures on coastal sand bars and they should be. No tax or fee is going to change anything. If you are dumb enough to put your house right next to the ocean, then do not be surprised when one day the ocean washes it away.

  27. crosspatch says:

    Rahmstorf’s forecast is just a statistical extrapolation of past trends

    And that is something that really bothers me about “climate science” in general. I have made the comment that a climate scientist must be scared to death of roller coasters at amusement parks because they would assume the initial climb would continue forever and they would die from lack of oxygen and then the following drop would continue forever and cause them to burn in hot magma.

    Has the climate warmed since the 1800’s? Sure. And the associated retreat of glaciers would be expected to increase sea levels. That is not in question as far as I am concerned. What *is* in question is whether this is unusual in the context of geological history. We might note that “global warming” has for all practical purposes stopped in the 21st century. According to the graphs provided by U. Colorado, sea level rise has been flat since late 2005; there hasn’t been any. Sure, there are bumps and dips due to thermal impacts of el nino and la nina events, but overall the trend is flat since 2005.

    To conclude that the rise associated with the recovery from the LIA will continue forever is purely speculation. To further conclude that this rise is due to human activity is speculation piled on speculation.

    In addition, we know that sea levels have been up to 2 meters higher than present during the current Holocene interglacial. We also know that glaciers have during this interglacial have retreated to a greater extent in the past than they have since the LIA. We know this because as these glaciers retreat, they are exposing wood that is about 5,000 years old. Assuming this wood was transported some distance by the glacier from where it grew, it would be logical to conclude that the glaciers in the Alps were in the recent geological past much smaller than they are now and that currently glaciated areas were ice free and were ice free long enough to become forested.

    Now back to the question of sea level rise. The question to ask, in my opinion, is what is most LIKELY to happen. Assuming warmer temperatures mean higher sea level, it is most likely that sea level rise will most likely slow a bit or even stop. Should Northern Hemisphere (NH) climate begin to cool for any significant period of time, as is likely with a colder PDO cycle, sea levels may actually decline a bit. As there is much more glacial variability in the NH than in the SH, NH climate would be expected to have a greater impact on sea levels than SH climate. A doubling of ice volume in North America and Europe, for example, would have a greater impact than a doubling if ice volume in South America and Africa.

    What isn’t given enough weight, in my opinion, is the impact of the recovery from the LIA and probably the continued warming of the abyssal ocean (albeit slow) from that event. It is easier to cool deep water than it is to warm it from changes in surface temperature due to convection.

    “Global warming” has been flat for about the past 10 years. Sea level rise has been flat for about the last 6 years. Projections of sea level rise don’t seem to take the latest 10 years into account and don’t seem to take into account the change in trend starting in late 2005.

    If you look at this graph: http://sealevel.colorado.edu/current/sl_noib_global.jpg with the exception of the strong 2009/2010 el nino thermal event, there is no rising trend for sea levels since 2005. The trend is “flat” at about the 20mm line. Sadly this graph is not updated frequently and still only shows data up to the middle of 2010.

  28. I suggest you contact Prof. Nils-Axel Mörner, the former head of the Paleogeophysics and Geodynamics Dept at Stockholmt University. As President of INQUA he did the field work and report for the Maldives and has recently finished the survey for Bangladesh.
    morner@pog.nu

  29. David L. Hagen says:

    See: SEA LEVEL CHANGES IN BANGLADESH NEW OBSERVATIONAL FACTS by Nils-Axel Mörner ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT VOLUME 21 No. 3 2010

  30. Andrew30 says:

    Tom Konerman says: February 24, 2011 at 10:22 am

    “If the drop does show up as expected it is possible that 2010 will show the largest drop in sea level ever recorded.”

    Has the data for 2010 since August been posted?

    No.
    (hide the decline).

  31. APACHEWHOKNOWS says:

    Best solution for the CO2, the sea is about to wash us off the planet crowd,,

    Find a solid rock planet with no CO2 move there, enjoy.

  32. Dave in Delaware says:

    another recommendation toward the work of Dr Mörner

    Dr. Nils-Axel Mörner projects 5 to 10 cm (2 to 4 inches) in the next 100 years-

    Excerpts from Interview: Dr. Nils-Axel Mörner
    http://www.climatechangefacts.info/ClimateChangeDocuments/NilsAxelMornerinterview.pdf

    “…when I became president of the INQUA Commission on Sea-Level Change and Coastal Evolution, we made a research project, and we had this up for discussion at five international meetings. And all the true sea level specialists agreed on this figure, that in 100 years, we might have a rise of 10 cm, with an uncertainty of plus or minus 10 cm—that’s not very much. And in recent years, I even improved it, by considering also that we’re going into a cold phase in 40 years. That gives 5 cm rise, plus or minus a few centimeters. That’s our best estimate. But that’s very, very different from the IPCC statement.”

    —————————————————-

    Tide gauging is very complicated, because it gives different answers for wherever you are in the world. But we have to rely on geology when we interpret it. So, for example, those people in the IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change], choose Hong Kong, which has six tide gauges, and they choose the record of one, which gives 2.3 mm per year rise of sea level. Every geologist knows that that is a subsiding area. It’s the compaction of sediment; it is the only record which you shouldn’t use.

    Now, back to satellite altimetry… 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!

    … So all this talk that sea level is rising, this stems from the computer modeling, not from observations. The observations don’t find it!

  33. Dena says:

    I don’t have any of the skills you requested but I do have common sense. Something that is not mentioned so far is storm surges. Katrina had storm surges approaching 20 feet causing all the damage. Changes in sea level had very little to do with this even though New Orleans has been sinking for years due to ground water drained from the city. Hurricane history should be checked to see what can be expected.

  34. Kev-in-Uk says:

    Do any of the sea level projections take account of any sea floor depth changes?
    This may not seem like a big deal, but to my geological mind – I think it could be significant.
    For example, we have the mid atlantic ridge pushing europe and america apart – and logically presumably making the atlantic ‘volume’ bigger. At the same time, new crustal formation at the ridge will cause some volumetric reduction (?). In the Pacific, is the available volume reducing? due to subduction of plates? etc, etc…. I don’t know if it’s been checked, but did the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004 result from a ‘net’ raising or lowering of the seabed at the quake epicentre?
    Then we have actual ocean depths – are they changing? do we know this to any degree of accuracy? Measuring from satellites the direct surface level does not automatically simply equate to a volumetric change in the actual seawater – i.e. all the usual AGW claims of glacial meltwater entering the sea, etc.
    Then there is temperature/volume correlation. warmer seas mean greater volume – but colder seas mean less volume.
    Actual observed sea levels from marker points are also likely to be affected by lunar orbits (neap and spring tides, etc) and presumably can be affected as already noted by others, – factors such as isostatic rebound on any northern pre-galciated lands or (and as a geotechnical engineer it something I have to consider for buildings at all the time) subsidence (that’s settlement of the foundations) of the actual structure upon which the tidal gauge is mounted. I would presume that sea currents also play a local effect on local tide gauges.
    Then we have actual precipitation/runoff and groundwater storage, along with dams, natural lakes, etc. The hydrological cycle is somewhat complex, with potentially vast quantities of water in an ‘unknown’ and highly variable state – i.e – is it in the ground, the air, or dams and rivers? – and where is it at any particular time? – look at Queensland !
    All in all, the whole prediction of future sea levels is probably as difficult and impractical as the climate in my opinion!
    About the most logical underlying ‘effect’ is that if the climate is warming (generally, I mean, since the last ice age – not the AGW rubbish) then sea temps are increasing and volume must be increasing and also the former ‘glacial ice’ must now be in the oceans (or the ground, or the air).
    Basically, my comment is intended to help (with as much as I can think of in a few brief minutes !) to ensure Mr Droz Jr realizes that any form of prediction will unlikely be able to consider all the possible variables. Sea surface temps are supposed to be cooling but I don’t know if the sea levels are dropping as data not released yet.

  35. Hector M. says:

    Even if errors or problems might be elicited if IPCC’s work is scrutinised in detail, I think in the matter of sea level rise the simple AR4 analysis is, for the most part, sufficient to dispel nonsensical claims going the rounds. Some of the phrasing in the IPCC report is misleading (e.g. “[T]he Greenland Ice Sheet would largely be eliminated, raising sea level by about 7 m, if a sufficiently warm cli¬mate were maintained for millennia” (Meehl et al 2007, p.752). (Meehl et al is the 10th chapter of the WG1 report of AR4). Taken literally, the above statement is a tautology: the total GIS mass (equivalent to 7 metres of sea level) will of course be eliminated if ‘sufficiently warm climate’ is maintained for (an unspecified number of) millennia. Having that effect is, in this context, the very definition of a ‘sufficient’ warming. The likelihood of such conditions being maintained for so long is not discussed in the cited passage, but in any case the question belongs in the very long term (literally millennia according to the same document, citing a model by Ridley et al that estimates the ablation to take about 3000 years…)
    But if one forgets about these nonsensical turns of phrase, the fact is that IPCC projects sea level to rise by about one foot in 100 years: the midpoint of the estimation range (i.e. the spread among models) for the various SRES scenarios goes from 28 to 42 cm from 1980-99 to 2090-99 (a period, by the way, of 105, not 100 years if you take the midpoint of each interval). Even the width of the “uncertainties” are willfully exaggerated (and skewed towards higher upper bounds) by means of playing with the so-called “land ice sum” (Meehl et al 2007, p.820). That’s another story, but indeed a masterful lesson in sophistry.
    All in all, and just as a way of dealing with alarmist predictions, one may simply state that not even the IPCC has predicted more than a very modest rise in sea levels.

  36. Flask says:

    Well, I don’t live anywhere near the sea, but I know a bit about sea-level rise and fall, and swamps and offshore bars, which dominate NC’s coast. The projected 1 meter of rise over a century (if it occurs) will not change the barrier islands significantly. They are always in flux, depending on the seasons and the storms, the action on the sand by prevailing winds and currents form them. The swamps may become wetter and larger, and some of the river mouths will become wider, headlands will remain the same, not a big deal at all.
    Steve in SC has the right take on it; anyone who builds on the ocean can expect their building to be washed away some day, especially if they have built on sand rather than rock.

  37. johanna says:

    I think that apart from the infant and contested nature of the research, one of your most difficult problems will be untangling the issues. We have a lot of this kind of malarkey going on in Australia, where most of the population lives (or wishes it did) as close to the beach as possible. Local authorities are now in a panic because dodgy AGW related ‘projections’ indicate that billions of dollars worth of expensive property is about to be swamped by rising seas.

    Canny property owners are now seeking compensation and other taxpayer funded measures to counter normal phenomena such as erosion, land subsidence and storm surges. They are even threatening to sue if they are denied $$, saying that the agencies that allowed them to build where they did should have warned them of the impending catastrophe.

    Agree with PPs that historical and geological data to map the coastline and demonstrate the naturally occurring changes is an important first step. Old photographs and press reports could be useful – maybe consult some local historical societies and newspaper archives? Perhaps local universities and geologists could assist with geological profiling of the coastal and immediate offshore area as well.

    Good luck. As you say, this boondoggle has to be stopped. And, if you have any sympathetic political researchers around, ask them to address the age-old question of cui boni. I’m guessing that you will find some local real estate interests and cash strapped local authorities not far from the surface.

  38. John from CA says:

    NASA: http://climate.nasa.gov/Eyes/
    Jason 1 | OSTM Jason 2
    OSTM data sets should be available from NASA. NASA states that sea level has risen by 52mm since 1992 (2.74mm/yr x 90 = 247mm or 9.75″ by 2100). UCs website [ http://sealevel.colorado.edu/maps.php ] also makes data sets available.

    UCs website also has an interactive feature that allows for the selection of a specific location and provides graphs and a corresponding table of values [ http://sealevel.colorado.edu/wizard.php?coor.x=323&coor.y=58&dlon=308&dlat=25&map=v&fit=s&smooth=n&days=60 ]. If you select the NC coastline it shows little to no change since 1992.

    Ignoring IPCC conclusions in favor of real data analysis is a good rule of thumb but concerns regarding the stability of the Antarctic ice shelf, which is being naturally undercut by currents, is a real concern.

    Addressing threats like the Antarctic ice shelf to avoid a real problem makes more sense than building sea walls.

    North Carolina Sea-Level Rise Assessment Report
    Maybe its just me but I completely disagree with figure 2 on page 11 which shows an exaggerated rise in sea level.

    “Predicting sea level rise in North Carolina for the next century is now and will be for an extended period, an inexact exact science. Immediate actions should be guided by what we know best, the historical sea level and storm records combined with reasonable safety factors. With improvements in data collection, climate science and modeling, sea level decadal to century-scale predictions should improve in the future. The Panel recommends a general reassessment of the planning predictions every five years or more frequently should any significant breakthroughs develop.”

    Also see:
    Climate craziness of the week: 8°F by 2100, sea level rise to hit US coastal cities hard
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/15/climate-craziness-of-the-week-8°f-and-6-meters-of-sea-level-rise-by-2100/

  39. Curt says:

    To build on the observations of Steve in SC: There is an implicit assumption in many analyses of the results of sea level rise that the land just “sits there” to be swallowed up by rising seas. This static analysis is just not correct in many cases, such as coral atoll islands and river deltas, both of which respond dynamically to sea level changes.

    The Outer Banks of North Carolina similarly respond dynamically to effects like sea level changes. These “barrier islands” are basically just giant sand bars in the ocean, and are anything but static, either horizontally or vertically. My family would camp on the beach there every summer when I was growing up, and I used to devour information on the history of the islands (as how Blackbeard the pirate was cornered and killed there).

    One of the things I discovered (to my astonishment then) was the rapid rate of movement of the islands. In many places, the present location of the islands has no overlap with their location in the 1700s, as they have drifted westward. Misguided attempts to stabilize the islands with things like snow fences to create dunes have failed, and often made the problem worse, because they don’t stop erosion on the east (Atlantic Ocean) side, but prevent the natural build up on the west (Pamlico Sound) side.

    In recent years, I have seen several articles on the supposed deleterious effects of sea level rise on the Outer Banks. However, all the incidents they have reported, like the need to move the Cape Hatteras lighthouse inland, are due to these “horizontal” effects, not the “vertical” effects of secular sea level rise.

    Given the ephemeral nature of these sand-bar islands, there is every reason to believe that they will dynamically respond to sea-level changes of even many millimeters per year. They were not hundreds of feet above sea level during the last glacial period. They survive numerous hurricanes and nor’easters that pummel them, although in altered form. If they are temporarily beaten down by the high winds, big waves, and yes, (temporarily) increased sea levels of these storms, they quickly recover.

  40. daniel says:

    In my remembering there was also a paper quoted on CA last year whereby NH would rather be impacted by Antarctic melting rather than by Groenland’s – this for gravity reasons

  41. Hector M. says:

    Flask alludes to “The projected 1 meter of rise over a century (if it occurs) “. But in fact such rise has NOT been projected, not at least by the IPCC, nor is inferrable from current and past trends. Some people from environmental NGOs and some journalists have spoken about 1 meter, 2 meters, 7 meters and what not. But actual projections from climate models assessed by the IPCC, for what they are worth, never projected more than about one foot in a century as the midpoint projection of various models run on various emission scenarios. Newer models since the latest IPCC models have in general gono no further, though various fears have been circulated about some higher rises that “could not be discarded” (an asteroid hitting Earth or a massive earthquake in San Francisco, as well as any of us being killed by a random sniper in the coming two days, cannot be discarded either). But that is not the way to make rational assessments of the future, is it?

  42. Latitude says:

    Dave in Delaware says:
    February 24, 2011 at 12:57 pm
    … So all this talk that sea level is rising, this stems from the computer modeling, not from observations. The observations don’t find it!
    ==================================================
    Dave, thank you for that
    It is exactly the way I remember it too.

    Like the hokey schick, they spliced it together to get the results they wanted…..

    …and exactly like the hokey schick, they threw away all of the proxies that didn’t

  43. etudiant says:

    This is silly.
    The reality is that the excess development of coastal properties is causing an insurance nightmare, both at the private as well as at the government level. So the regulatory authorities are turning over every rock to find some way to impede this process. This absurd kabuki on sea level rise is what we get when basic science, re hurricane damage to shoreline construction, is ignored thanks to well funded lobbying.
    The underlying objective on the one hand is to ensure more government insured super vulnerable beach front construction. The objective of the State is to find a pretext to block it. Science is just a tool to be used, by both sides.

  44. John from CA says:

    Hector M. says:
    February 24, 2011 at 2:20 pm
    Flask alludes to “The projected 1 meter of rise over a century (if it occurs) “. But in fact such rise has NOT been projected, not at least by the IPCC,…

    =======
    IPCC models indicate .18m to .59m by 2100:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/03/the-ipcc-sea-level-numbers/

    Its a good thing engineers don’t use this level of tolerance in construction.

    I just went back to the NASA site to make sure I didn’t make a mistake and they are now reporting 3.27mm since 1992. Quite a 1 day drop ; )

  45. Bill Illis says:

    I think North Carolina has a particular problem in that post-glacial rebound is actually causing a subsidence of the land level.

    In the ice ages, the northern half of North America was pushed down which created a glacial forebulge from New York to North Carolina. Now that the land in the north is still rebounding, the bulge is declining. It is about 0.5 mms per year in the northern half of North Carolina (and a little less in some places in the southern part).

    The same issue is happening in southern England and the Netherlands.

    Global Map of the post-glacial rebound rates (both positive and negative).

    http://blogs.discovery.com/.a/6a00d8341bf67c53ef0120a8ee8cb8970b-800wi

    And this paper is widely cited.

    http://www.sas.upenn.edu/earth/bph/Res2009/Horton%20et%20al_QSR_2009_2.pdf

  46. AusieDan says:

    John Droz
    I have data for readings at Fort Denison (aka Pinchgut) in Sydney Harbour from May 1914 to October 2009. These include maximum, minimum and mean sea levels on metres.

    According to my calculations the data is quite linear, rising at the rate of 0.00007 per month, 0.00084 per year or 0.084 per 100 years with no sign of any acceleration.
    Say 80 odd milimetres per 100 years, not very frightening.
    If anything the data looks fairly flat for the last 10 years or so.

    My reference comes from ftp://ftp.bom.gov.au/anon/home/ntc/paul/monthlies/sydn_sl_mea.txt
    Which is a site run by the Australian Bureau of Metrology, an Australian government instrumentality.
    When I downloaded it, the data only went to October 2009, but I presume that it is being updated each month since then.

    This may provide you with some ancillary data.
    Anthony has my email address if I can be of any further help.

  47. AusieDan says:

    Steve Mosher,
    I see from your comment that you recommended that John Droz should work on a one metre rise in 100 years.
    That seems to be quite excessive, given the historic rates and that there seems to be no sign of any acceleration.

    I would have advised John to advise his clients to forget about possible sea level rises and to concentrate on more concrete and more pressing and immediate problems (say with a five to ten year horizon).
    Problems which MAY arise in the long distant future can be handled far closer to their incidence, particularly given the questionable quality of the source of the forecast.

  48. W. W. Wygart says:

    Dear Al G,

    A few hours ago you said,

    Al G says:
    February 24, 2011 at 10:17 am

    “Thanks for your name Mr. Droz. I will take steps to ensure your views are not represented in the upcoming debate.”

    From what Mr. Droz wrote at the top in his post it seems that is views are expressed as follows, “As such, it is my view, that it is imperative to get it right.”

    Al G, what precisely is it about, “…that it is imperative to get it right.” that needs to be excluded from the upcoming debate? Are you suggesting that the people of North Carolina get it wrong? or get wronged???

    I bet you feel like a full fledged Fascist now and full of Might and Power that you have successfully made a veiled [and anonymous] threat to stifle someone else’s freedom of expression in the name of Untruth – a threat that you are probably in actuality unable to fulfill – making your statement, perversely, a kind of Naziistic masturbation, merely fantasizing of the ability to silence another in his search for truth so that the Lie you prefer goes unmolested.

    And lest you some lurking Troll feel impelled in your defense to raise the hue and cry of ‘Godwin’s Law! Godwin’s Law! in an attempt to invalidate my critique, let me introduce the group to a novel corollary to Godwin’s Law [you can call it Wygart's Corollary if you wish] which is:

    “As an online discussion grows longer the probability of someone saying something worthy of being denounced as Fascistic approaches one.”

    I for one have past the point where I will tolerate the Faschist Lie – the lust for absolute control to impose a paranoid and delusional version of reality on those who think more clearly – spoken openly in civil society unchallenged.

    Two days ago marked the sixty-eighth anniversary of the executions by the Nazis of Sophie Scholl, her brother Hans and Christian Probst and the execution or imprisonment of a dozen or more other members of the White Rose anti-nazi resistance organization in Munich. If you do not yet know they were executed for distributing anti-war leaflets – free speech in other words. The other night I was rewatching Marc Rothmund’s remarkable 2005 film “Sophie Scholl: the final days” to commemorate the anniversary, so I was struck quite forcefully by your remarks [incensed might be closer to the truth, but in poorer taste] and felt impelled myself to challenge you.

    So, Al G, I would recommend to you to invest the 115 minutes of your life and let Sophie Scholl’s life be the mirror to show you the sad reality of what you have actually become and to see what it looks like when the truth is spoken bravely in the face of a mounting and totalitarian lie. Actually I recommend the film to anyone interested in understanding the darker forces driving political debate at all levels across society – and its cure.

    My apologies to the group for being off topic [but on target].

    Wygart

  49. John from CA says:

    With respect Mr. Droz,
    I think NC got it right and other States can learn from their insight.

    North Carolina Sea-Level Rise Assessment Report
    Maybe its just me but I completely disagree with figure 2 on page 11 which shows an exaggerated rise in sea level.

    “… Immediate actions should be guided by what we know best, the historical sea level and storm records combined with reasonable safety factors. With improvements in data collection, climate science and modeling, sea level decadal to century-scale predictions should improve in the future. The Panel recommends a general reassessment of the planning predictions every five years or more frequently should any significant breakthroughs develop.

    Probability of “significant breakthroughs” for the next 30 years are very close to zero.

    Hope it helps,
    John

  50. Tom Harley says:

    A good place to start looking at sea level would be Broome in Western Australia, where it’s Chinatown precinct is at the high tide mark, about 10 metres above the low water sea level mark, and was first built around 1900. The biggest spring tides used to lap patrons feet at the 1916 Sun Pictures outdoor picture theatre, still in use today. Tides are now 10 to 20 cm lower since about the ’70s and ’80s, however this is small when it is noted that we have in excess of 10 metres of movement twice a day during spring tides in March and October.
    As the picture in the late John Daly’s site shows from Tasmania, any suggestions of rising catastrophic sea-levels is nothing more than fantasy from warmist ideologues, especially Australia’s own (cough, splutter) Tim Flannery.

  51. Tom Harley says:

    Also, in Broome again, high tide also reaches the edge of the runway at Broome International Airport, and a few metres from the new BOM building with weather recording equipment including radar tower, and if the level had got any higher over the last 40 years, the runway would have become unusable.
    With BOM’s new building so close to high water, they now seem to have confidence in sea level not rising, at least here in Broome.

  52. GregP says:

    Here’s a link to the NOAA sea level trends web page: http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sltrends/sltrends.shtml

    It shows Beaufort at 2.57mm/yr from 1953 to 2006 with a 95% confidence of +/-0.44 mm.

    No reason to believe the trend won’t continue up in a linear manner. If so, by 2100 SL would rise by 9″. How can 39″ be considered credible? I’m not sure that 15″ seems is all that credible…

    But really if I live on the coast, am I more worried about the *snail pace* of sea level rise in 90 years or the 10’+ storm surge from a Cat 3 hurricane every 5 years?

  53. Noelene says:

    http://climatesanity.wordpress.com/2010/03/21/rahmstorf-2009-off-the-mark-again-part-1/

    Maybe this can help you?
    Comment by author
    This post was published on March 21st, 2010. The same day I submitted a technical comment at RealClimate (where Stefan Rahmstorf is a contributor) which urged them to read my ClimateSanity post for more details.

    My comment was deleted.

    This was the first time I had ever submitted a comment at RealClimate, but I had heard that they had a tendency to delete difficult comments. I figured they would consider my comment to be a problem, so I made a screen image of the comment submission.

    You can see that screen image here.

    As you can see, my comment was technical in nature, but problematic for Vermeer and Rahmstorf. And as I suspected, they deleted it.

    The same thing happened with a more recent comment, which you can read here

    This is even more interesting when you consider the tone and content of the other comments that they did not delete. Keep reading here to see some comments concerning my post by some RealClimate readers. Not exactly erudite stuff.

    You may not be aware that I have had previous interactions with Stefan Rahmstorf. You can read about it here . I don’t think Rahmstorf was much willing to deal with me after that.

    Here is the bottom line: Rahmstorf has become quite prominent in the global warming sphere. Many influential people use his sea-level rise projections to justify their desire to change the economy of the entire planet. If Rahmstorf wants to have that kind of power, then he is obligated address serious questions and criticisms, whether of not he likes the forum or format of those criticisms.

    I hope you continue to read my long series of posts concerning Vermeer’s and Rahmstorf’s PNAS article. You can see an index of those posts here. I would especially urge you to read parts 9 & 10.

    I think the inescapable conclusion is that their sea-level projections for the 21st century are bogus. Given the influence that Rahmstorf seems to hold with “policymakers,” he has the obligation to “fess-up.”

    Best regards,
    ClimateSanity

  54. Mister Ed says:

    Tom Harley says:
    February 24, 2011 at 7:16 pm
    With BOM’s new building so close to high water, they now seem to have confidence in sea level not rising, at least here in Broome.
    – – – – – – – – – –
    That’s good news, and it agrees empirically with Al Gore’s purchase of an $8.8 million home in a seaside California community.

  55. Mr Lynn says:

    This is OT, but a big “Howdy” to John Droz! I was a fan of his marvelous “Mac vs. PC” website, now

    http://macvspc.info/index.html

    which I used to recommend heartily as Apple was emerging from the dark days of the 1990s. Now of course the Macintosh computer is becoming the favorite of college students and (increasingly) scientists and other professionals, though there are still a lot of PC holdouts here (including Anthony, who hasn’t figured out that he can run his vertical-market applications on virtual machines and still enjoy the stability and elegance of OS X).

    Glad to see you’re on the side of Climate Realism, too, and have not succumbed to the dire emotional hysteria of the Enviro-Alarmists.

    Let those folks in NC watch Nils-Axel Mörner’s videos about the Maldives and the myth of the rising ocean (someone has probably posted the links above).

    /Mr Lynn

  56. savethesharks says:

    John,

    Definitely include Nils-Axel Mörner in your discussion.

    He has been specializing on the subject for his entire career….and is one of the best authorities on the subject, on the entire planet.

    His email is morner@pog.nu and he is very responsive.

    He is aware that NC and VA sit in a similar glacial forebulge region from the last glaciation (similar to the North Sea area), and that land areas there are subsiding at larger rates than others.

    Also…keep in mind that a few hundred years of geological history on the coastal plain muck of the East Coast of the USA…is not enough to spell out a long term trend.

    Physical shifts in the GulfStream, plus a variety of subsidence issues, may have contributed to the increase of “sea level rise” of recent years…among others.

    The global “sea level” “sphere”, like a oscillating bubble, is constantly redistributing itself too, over many years and decades and longer.

    The NC initiative, while progressive and somewhat warranted, is STILL reactionary and on too short of a geologic time scale, as well as being based upon models…not actual observations.

    Even the observations are flawed because the tide gauges are flawed.

    Must look to satellite altimetry readings for better accuracy.

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

    Also, keep in mind that

  57. Mr Lynn says:

    PS My wife and I honeymooned on Long Beach, NC, back in the ’70s. Has the rising sea wiped out all those houses along the shore? I’m thinking we should go back for our 40th, in 2013—if not sooner, and I’ll bet I won’t see much difference.

    /Mr Lynn

  58. savethesharks says:

    steven mosher says:

    Plan on a meter. Hope the truth is less than that.

    ===================

    Really? A meter??

    Show forth the data (not the modeling).

    And don’t just give me tide gauges or anything like that.

    All of those are non-starters.

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  59. Dave Wendt says:

    I’d have to agree with Mr. Mosher for the most part. Since coastal development is problematic for many more reasons than rising sea level and most estimates of sea level rise are global average numbers which are basically wild ass guesses and even if correct would not necessarily be representative of the levels in any particular regional coastal area, it would be prudent to craft coastal development restrictions to a more stringent standard than would be likely to eventuate. Of course in the context of coastal development regulation even a meter of sea level rise would likely be subsumed in the the systemic and chaotic variability of the extreme events these regs are meant to address. With a 20 foot storm surge coming in at high tide an additional foot of seas from rising sea levels is unlikely to be the most significant threat facing those living in coastal communities.

  60. Manfred says:

    Here are a few postings from Steve McIntyre about Rahmstorf et al 2007

    http://climateaudit.org/2009/07/03/the-secret-of-the-rahmstorf-non-linear-trend/
    http://climateaudit.org/2009/07/08/rahmstorf-et-al-reject-ipcc-procedure/
    http://climateaudit.org/2009/08/07/rahmstorf-sea-level-source-code-and-transliteration/

    It is probably one of the poorest publications ever. He computed more or less a smoothed function with a few years of data and extrapolated these to the very distant future.

    Here is a graph showing the stupidity and complete lack of robustness of his approach:
    If new newer data from 2007 and 2008 was added, his function moves away from the upper limit and start to look completely different. Should be even worse when the recent decline in sea-levels is added. Scare gone.

    http://i39.tinypic.com/6fnvqa.gif

    (I think commenter John A submitted this at climateaudit)

  61. savethesharks says:

    Dave Wendt says:
    February 24, 2011 at 9:50 pm
    I’d have to agree with Mr. Mosher for the most part. Since coastal development is problematic for many more reasons than rising sea level and most estimates of sea level rise are global average numbers which are basically wild ass guesses and even if correct would not necessarily be representative of the levels in any particular
    regional coastal area, it would be prudent to craft coastal development restrictions to a more stringent standard than would be likely to eventuate.

    =======================

    An extension of social engineering, really.

    You (and I can not believe I am disagreeing with you here because you are usually on point) and Mosher are falling back into idealistic and non-economic models…as opposed to real-world observations.

    FACT: Most of America’s influential population lives within range of the coast.

    FACT: That is not going to change, for any time (or eon) soon.

    Follow the $$$ baby.

    Step 1: Ask the 50 Million people in America’s largest mega-region, where they are from???

    Within about 50 feet of sea level on the East Coast, that’s where!

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  62. Manfred says:

    Sorry, the picture above was the temperature trend and not the sea-level trend.

    It is still a prove that his sea-level trend projection (using the same method) is not robust. With the recent decline it will look completely different and will be MUCH lower.

  63. fredb says:

    You might want to follow up on this — it considers additional sources of sea level rise other than AGW

    http://wamu.org/news/11/02/24/chesapeake_region_leads_east_coast_in_sea_level_rise.php

  64. steven mosher says:

    savethesharks

    Why plan on a meter?

    If you ask me to use the best available science to predict sea level rise, I’ll use a GCM.
    Knowing full well its limitations. Then, I’d look to add a safety factor beyond that.
    Then I’d PLAN for that. I’d probably do some cost sensitivity studies around that.
    Then build an implementation plan that scheduled actions over time. Then I’d continue to study the hell out of that estimate and adjust the implementation plan as we got better science.

    If your more risk adverse use 2 meters, I’m ok with that as well

  65. steven mosher says:

    Aussiedan.

    Sea level rise varies depending on your location. So its really a local issue.

    What Im suggesting is that instead of addressing the problem globally, it should be tackled locally. Its silly for movie stars living in the high tide of malibu, to dictate that the rest of us should forgo burning fossil fuels SO THAT they can continue to live in an area that climate science indicates might be inundated. They should use a 1 meter estimate and change their coastal development plans accordingly. Put the cost where the risk is. But dont come crying for a bailout if the sea rises and you continued to live there and build there when you were warned that there was a chance (even a slight one) that the sea would rise ( from whatever cause)

  66. Oslo says:

    The same thing is going on here in Norway. A report was made to give advice to politicians regarding future climate change.

    The sea level estimates from IPCC were rejected, and the sea level projections were entirely based on a local adaptation of Rahmstorf 2007, giving estimates of more than 1 meter rise by 2100.

    No credible reason was given to justify the use of Rahmstorf instead of the IPCC estimates.

    It seems that Rahmstorf is a rising star, and I fear that the sea level projections of the next IPCC report will be based on his work, of course making future sea level rise “much worse than we thought”.

    Here are some comments on rahmstorfs work:

    – “The Australian reports a major new controversy after Britain’s Met Office denounced research from Stefan Rahmstorf suggesting that sea levels may increase by more than 1.8m by 2100.

    Jason Lowe, a leading Met Office climate researcher, said: “We think such a big rise by 2100 is actually incredibly unlikely. The mathematical approach used to calculate the rise is completely unsatisfactory.”

    Critic Simon Holgate, a sea-level expert at the Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory, Merseyside, has written to Science magazine, attacking Professor Rahmstorf’s work as “simplistic”.

    “Rahmstorf’s real skill seems to be in publishing extreme papers just before big conferences like Copenhagen, when they are guaranteed attention,” Dr Holgate said.

    The report states:

    Based on the 17cm increase that occurred from 1881 to 2001, Professor Rahmstorf calculated that a predicted 5 degrees increase in global temperature would raise sea levels by up to 188cm.

    Its worse than that. It appears that the extrapolation in R’s model is actually based in a non-significant rate increase of sea level w.r.t. temperature, i.e. a tiny derivative of already problematic data.”

    A comprehensive “audit” of Rahmstorf seems to be the way to go.

  67. Jose Suro says:

    Dear Mr. Droz,

    I have read the report you linked to on your post. I do not subscribe to the notion that sea-level rise is an imminent and present threat. My bias now up front, I still find the report’s conclusions and recommendations quite sensible. They basically state that the current state of the science is not incontrovertible, suggest that more measurement stations be funded and, with more accurate data collection in place, the issue be re-examined every five years thereafter, or sooner than every five years if conditions should warrant it. Seems like a perfectly sensible approach to me.

    Best,

    Jose Suro

  68. Bob Tisdale says:

    Anthony, thanks for cross posting this. John Droz’s needs were specific to North Carolina and the Rahmstorf projections. Hopefully he will find someone familiar with both.

  69. Mr Lynn says:

    I read somewhere that there is a possibility that a tremor could knock one of the cliffs off a Canary Island, which in turn could create a tsunami that would sweep across the Atlantic and inundate the entire east coast of the United States. How plausible this is I’ve no idea, but you could argue that the North Carolineans should built a gigantic sea wall to prevent being swamped by such an event. Hey, you can’t be too careful, right?

    /Mr Lynn

  70. Phyllograptus says:

    The link below is to a USGS publication “National Assessment of Shoreline Change: Historical shoreline change along the New England and Mid Atlantic Coasts” Good figures and data showing the general rise

    http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2010/1118/pdf/of2010-1118.pdf

  71. Flask says:

    Hector, as you noticed, I said (if it happens), and my subsequent comments indicate that that kind of rate (as much as 1 meter by 2100) will be inconsequential to the coastline of North Carolina.
    The barrier islands are dynamic, and as other posters have mentioned, respond to storm surges and seasonal changes, they change shape and position over time, but do not disappear. Any buildings on them cannot be expected to last for more than a few decades without losing their foundations. Many other coastal landforms are almost as ephemeral, and are really not suitable for permanent structures.

    My point is that the threat of sea level rise is not so dangerous as assumed, certain coastal plains may be affected, but the Netherlands dikes system has demonstrated this can be dealt with.
    9 inches in 90 years is insignificant, 4 times that is more significant, but still not a big problem. I’ll append the necessary caveat “if it happens”, because as you said, other, less likely things might also happen. A more rational approach is to designate certain landforms and geographical situations as special insurance zones, where compensation is limited for damages relating to storms and flooding events.

  72. Old PI says:

    This discussion does bring up the question “Can a drop in sea level indicate the beginning of a new Ice Age?” Satellite measurements are precise enough to show a minor drop. Such a drop would have to be due to either cooler oceans, larger glaciers, sinking sea floor, or some other unknown factor. Of those scenarios, I would believe cooler oceans and larger glaciers first – both an indicator that the planet is entering a cooler phase. The idea that ANYTHING in nature is “static” is unscientific. That includes climate and sea level.

  73. Tim Clark says:

    Mr Droz,
    The following is from the report you cite and is focused on NC:
    This record resolves an increase in the rate of SLR from 0.8 mm per year to 3.8 mm per year that occurred AD 1879-1915, which corresponds well with nearby tide gauges.

    Ask the authors to explain how CO2 induced warming caused that increase in NC (note the date).

  74. Arno Arrak says:

    Can I suggest to John Droz Jr. an old-fashioned, direct method for determining sea level rise that impressed me in 2008. It is known that water held in storage can influence the measured height of sea level. As a result, sea level curves in the literature can appear irregular and hard to evaluate. B. F. Chao, Y. H. Yu, and Y. S. Li were determined to overcome this problem. They collected information about all dams built in the world since the year 1900 and then made corrections to published sea level curves for all the water held back by these dams. When they were done with this they found that the corrected sea level curve became linear for at least the last eighty years and that the slope of this curve was 2.46 millimeters per year. I take the view that anything that has been linear for that long is not about to change anytime soon. You will find their report in the 11th April 2008 Science magazine, pages 212-214. Among other things you can determine from their result that sea level rise for a century should come out as 24.6 centimeters, just under ten inches. Ignore Al Gore (20 feet) and other latecomers who have expensive satellites at their disposal. If there are discrepancies ask if their result makes allowance for water held in storage.

  75. Murray Duffin says:

    One other factor to consider is the IPCC SRES that call for atmospheric CO2 concentrations of 1000 ppm in the worst cases, and at least doubling in their base case. It is very unlikely that there is enough available fossil fuel, that can be extracted at a sufficiently rapid rate, to get atmospheric CO2 concentration above 500-550 ppm by 2100. With declining availability of fossil fuels, especially petroleum in the short run, and corresponding price increases, the shifts to both efficiency and alternatives will accelerate, further reducing the anthropogenically generated CO2 concentration rise rate. Thus the IPCC warming scenarios just can’t be supported, and therefore their ocean level rise rates can’t be supported.

  76. I want to thank all who graciousy took their time to make comments here.

    I will seriously consider each one. Of those that I have had the time to investigate so far, many have proven to be insightful. I have contacted most of the experts recommended, and they have been helpful.

    I will hopefully finish a report on this sometime next week, so additional comments will still be considered.

    Apologies to initial readers, that (due to my error) the wrong “Figure 2″ was shown in the article. It is correct now.

    If anyone wants a copy of my report, please email me your name and email. My email is “aaprjohn” at “northnet.org”.

  77. sky says:

    The analysis of sea-level variations is very, very tricky due to the varying datum levels in the historical tide gauge records and the highly erratic nature of the changes. Sattelite records are simply too short to establish a secular trend, which starts to emerge stably only in records longer than half century. If you ask the few oceanographers who are truly expert on the subject, they’ll give you a long-term expectation of 2-3mm/yr. Of course, some know-all nonoceanographers will give a far greater and more certain answer.

  78. JamesD says:

    Contact/Google Dr. Nils-Axel Mörner

  79. Willis Eschenbach says:

    steven mosher says:
    February 25, 2011 at 12:01 am

    savethesharks

    Why plan on a meter?

    If you ask me to use the best available science to predict sea level rise, I’ll use a GCM.
    Knowing full well its limitations. Then, I’d look to add a safety factor beyond that.
    Then I’d PLAN for that. I’d probably do some cost sensitivity studies around that.
    Then build an implementation plan that scheduled actions over time. Then I’d continue to study the hell out of that estimate and adjust the implementation plan as we got better science.

    If you ask me to use the best available science to predict sea level rise, I’ll use the historical trend. Since there was allegedly all of this CO2 caused warming in the last century, and since there has been no corresponding increase in sea level rise in either the tide gauge or satellite records (indeed, there is a recent decrease in the satellite records), I fail to see why you would use a Tinkertoy model rather than the measurable lessons of history.

    Knowing full well its limitations.

    I fear you have not completely grasped the limitations of using a trivially simple linear model in a thermostatically regulated chaotic system if you really think that the limitations of GCMs are so minor. I can replicate the GISS model output with a single line, single-variable equation. Are you seriously claiming that simple equation even approximately models the planetary climate, much less models it well enough to inform our judgements?

    If you don’t think that “limitation” precludes any serious use of such models, I don’t know what to say. I use computer models, I write them, I love them, but the GCMs are junk.

    Having said that, I’d expect around a foot of raise over the next century. Triple that for a safety factor for structures that are likely to be around that long, so about a metre as a design guideline.

    Also, with intelligent planning, you can often respond incrementally to increasing sea level. Walls can be raised, piers can be jacked up, wharves can be filled and resurfaced. So the actual guidelines need to differ for different kinds of structures.

    The real uncertainty, of course, is not in the sea level. It is in the storm surge plus tide plus runoff. The storm surge is the huge area of water under the center of a hurricane that is driven onshore with a hurricane. These can reach as much as eight metres or so above the normal sea level. Couple that with a high tide and huge rainfall runoff coming from the land side and a wind driving the water even further onshore … I don’t think the difference between an 18″ advisory height or a 36″ advisory height will matter a tinker’s dam at that point.

    In any case, after a century of warming, we show absolutely no sign of the widely heralded CO2 induced increase in sea level rise. None whatsoever. On the other hand, a quarter century ago Hansen said his model showed parts of Manhattan would be underwater.

    Now, in the face of that, I’m sorry, Mosh, but I’m not going to believe the models. I’m going to believe the historical data on how the sea is actually behaving, over Hansen’s synthetic ocean. You’re free to follow Jim Hansen down the rabbit hole of models if you wish, where they believe six impossible things before breakfast … but you can’t convince me that’s the “best available science”.

    w.

    See also Putting the Brakes on Acceleration.

  80. EFS_Junior says:

    Anthony,

    Has my 48-hour timeout expired yet?

    I’d like to make a comment here, as I have some expertise in this area (USACE ERDC CHL, and first worked at the FRF (Duck, NC) for Mr. William Birkemeier, at the start of my Coastal Engineering career.

    Thanks.

    REPLY:
    Comment away, be civil. – Anthony

  81. EFS_Junior says:

    OK then, well first off I’m in almost total disagreement with most of what Willis just stated above.

    The storm surge is not under the center of the hurricane, that is just the low pressure bulge, which is at most ~3 feet. The storm surge is wind and wave driven at the shoreline. I almost always occurs in the NE quadrant of the hurricane’s path in the NH and the SW quadrant in the SH, given their CCW and CW rotations, respectedly.

    Most of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts coastal areas are in areas of low land relief, think 1:1000 or 1:10000 slopes. The vast majority of our barrier island system is below +10′ MHHW.

    When I worked at the Outer Banks (FRF) we had a tropical storm with about a 3-4 foot storm surge, the beach road was inundated with 2-3 feet of standing water, and we went around in chest waders checking out buildings and the shoreline, kind of fun actually.

    Storm surge, at the coastline proper, is just one rather small factor. Inland inundation is the ultimate killer.

    Thus, adding just one additional foot of sea level, can lead to additional miles of inland inundation.

    The USACE has a state-of-the-art GCM (general circulation model) called ADCIRC which is used to perdict storm surge and inland inundation from hurricanes and extra-tropical storms. I can assure you that ADCIRC, as a GCM, is definitely not junk.

    The USACE current guidance on sea level rise is the IPCC AR4 WG1 estimates, which IMHO are rather conservative (low) as we speak today, given many subsequent research papers, and what we know is happening in the Arctic (and the potential implications this has for the western side of the Greenland ice sheet).

    The USACE can be rather slow in updating their guidance, and they are at odds many atime with respect to beach nourishment projects due almost entirely to local political considerations.

    Now in offshore engineering designs, the usual factor of safety (FS) is ~three times the actual calculated, or expected theoretical forcings. In soils engineering, FS’s are typically 6-18, and in structural engineering, FS’s are typically 1.5-2.0.

    Thus, even if we take a linear extrapolation of current sea level rise, at ~3mm/yr, we end up with the magical one foot number by the end of the 21th century.

    Thus a prudent coastal engineer “should” be using, for design guidance, a FS of ~3 attached to the minimum expectation of sea level rise (the one foot linear extrapolation), leading to what I believe the NC people have done with respect to their report recommendation of 39 inches (one meter). This is where I agree with Willis.

    What this will mean is that coastal structures (new builds only) will need to be built (almost always on stilts) 39 inches higher than they are now currently built. If you go to the Outer Banks, even now, historical buildings built originally at ground level, are still there and still being used and lived in. Old existing buildings get grandfathered, in other words.

    NC has historically been very anti-shore in terms of coastal structures and beach nourishment projects.

    Also note that linear extrapolations of ~90+ years is a very bad idea IMHO.

    Sea level rise is, IMHO, very much a laging indicator of potental global warming effects. It will be the last thing we see, for sure, when/if ##it hits the proverbial fan.

    Finally, as an aside, if you don’t code in Fortran, than you are neither a serious research scientist or a serious research engineer IMHO, if you don’t code the models, if you’ve never used the models firsthand, that of which you cast down, you simply don’t have the slightest clue what all you are talking about in the first place.

    Models are a tool, they serve a purpose, you might not like what the models say, but they are the best tools we have at any given point in time. Heck, here at CHL, we rarely use a physical model today, which is a dramatic change from just 10 years ago, even.

  82. Smokey says:

    EFS_Junior says:

    “The storm surge is wind and wave driven at the shoreline.”

    Well, that’s part of the surge. Wiki defines a storm surge this way:

    It is this combined effect of low pressure and persistent wind over a shallow water body which is the most common cause of storm surge flooding problems. The term “storm surge” in casual (non-scientific) use is storm tide; that is, it refers to the rise of water associated with the storm, plus tide, wave run-up, and freshwater flooding. [my emphasis]

    So the surge is the combined effect of low pressure [the eye of the cyclone], wind/wave action, tides and flooding. How does that make Willis wrong? Junior also says:

    “Sea level rise is, IMHO, very much a laging (sic) indicator of potental (sic) global warming effects.”

    Wait a minute. For years and years we’ve been told by the alarmist crowd that sea level rise proved that CAGW was already happening. Now it’s a lagging indicator?? Talk about moving the goal posts! Is that lag sort of like the rise in CO2 levels 800 years after a rise in temperature is a “lagging” indicator of temperature?

    Junior says of Willis, “…you simply don’t have the slightest clue what all you are talking about in the first place.” I think the rational folks here would strongly disagree.

  83. EFS_Junior says:

    Smokey says:
    February 27, 2011 at 6:29 pm
    EFS_Junior says:

    “The storm surge is wind and wave driven at the shoreline.”

    Well, that’s part of the surge. Wiki defines a storm surge this way:

    It is this combined effect of low pressure and persistent wind over a shallow water body which is the most common cause of storm surge flooding problems. The term “storm surge” in casual (non-scientific) use is storm tide; that is, it refers to the rise of water associated with the storm, plus tide, wave run-up, and freshwater flooding. [my emphasis]

    So the surge is the combined effect of low pressure [the eye of the cyclone], wind/wave action, tides and flooding. How does that make Willis wrong? Junior also says:

    “Sea level rise is, IMHO, very much a laging (sic) indicator of potental (sic) global warming effects.”

    Wait a minute. For years and years we’ve been told by the alarmist crowd that sea level rise proved that CAGW was already happening. Now it’s a lagging indicator?? Talk about moving the goal posts! Is that lag sort of like the rise in CO2 levels 800 years after a rise in temperature is a “lagging” indicator of temperature?

    Junior says of Willis, “…you simply don’t have the slightest clue what all you are talking about in the first place.” I think the rational folks here would strongly disagree.

    _____________________________________________________________

    So now you believe Wikipedia? :(

    Storm surge is not due to the eye of the storm, as it were. Maximum storm surge, never has, and never will, occur in the eye of the storm, because, THERE’S NO WIND THERE!

    Pressure drops significantly away from the eye of the storm simply due to the Bernoulli Principle, the pressure term is replaced by the velocity SQUARED term.

    Simple enough concept for even you to understand, I hope.

    For example, take Rita or Katrina, get their storm tracks, then get the storm surge data from both storms.

    Guess what?

    Maximum storm surges occures significantly far (tens of miles) from the accociated storm tracks, in there respective NE quadrants.

    Heck, I live in Vicksburg, MS (USACE ERDC CHL also known as Waterways Experiment Station).

    I’ve seen all the data from hundreds of storms, always the same, NE quadrant, never in the eye of the storm, it’s all just a matter of degree.

    So that dispenses with your rather linited, or should I say, total lack of knowledge on said subject matter.

    I won’t even bother with the rest of your nonsense.

  84. Willis Eschenbach says:

    First, EFS_Junior, despite its tone let me thank you for the science content of your post.

    EFS_Junior says:
    February 27, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    OK then, well first off I’m in almost total disagreement with most of what Willis just stated above.

    Meaningless. Quote exactly what I said and tell me why you object to it. It’s also curious because generally you go on to agree with me.

    The storm surge is not under the center of the hurricane, that is just the low pressure bulge, which is at most ~3 feet. The storm surge is wind and wave driven at the shoreline. I[t] almost always occurs in the NE quadrant of the hurricane’s path in the NH and the SW quadrant in the SH, given their CCW and CW rotations, respectedly.

    My friend, I have lived through cyclones. I went through the tail end of one at sea on a 50′ sailboat. I watched the storm surge of another drive the ocean clear over the outer reef of Suva Harbor and into the bay. As an ardent lover of the weather, I had to see it firsthand, so I went outside on the high point of land where I lived. I was driven back in immediately, the rain drove bullets into my eyes and when I faced the wind and opened my mouth it pumped my lungs full of air. I went back inside defeated, but I had to see it. I put on my diving mask and snorkel and went back out. I could stand it, although to stand it I had to lean at about fifty degrees. So although my description might not be up to your standards, your claim that I don’t understand a cyclonic storm surge is a joke. I’m a weather guy. I watched the cyclone as it rolled in, I studied its path, guessed at where the “dangerous quadrant” would strike.

    Most of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts coastal areas are in areas of low land relief, think 1:1000 or 1:10000 slopes. The vast majority of our barrier island system is below +10′ MHHW.

    When I worked at the Outer Banks (FRF) we had a tropical storm with about a 3-4 foot storm surge, the beach road was inundated with 2-3 feet of standing water, and we went around in chest waders checking out buildings and the shoreline, kind of fun actually.

    Storm surge, at the coastline proper, is just one rather small factor. Inland inundation is the ultimate killer.

    Thus, adding just one additional foot of sea level, can lead to additional miles of inland inundation.

    Agreed, very clear.

    The USACE has a state-of-the-art GCM (general circulation model) called ADCIRC which is used to perdict storm surge and inland inundation from hurricanes and extra-tropical storms. I can assure you that ADCIRC, as a GCM, is definitely not junk.

    I can assure you that I had not heard of the ADCIRC, so I am mystified why you believe I think it is junk. Hang on, let me go take a look …

    OK, thanks for waiting. Contrary to your claim, ADCIRC is not a GCM as the term is commonly used. Instead, it is a “Coastal Circulation and Storm Surge Model”, which is a very different beast. It has a number of huge advantages over global climate models. It is solving a much smaller problem in both time (weeks/months) and space (a section of a coastline). The problem has far fewer variables (e.g. no cosmic rays, no solar variations, no biosphere responses). The hydraulics and their equations are well understood. The model can be predominantly physics based. The results can be tested and compared to reality, both historical and more importantly, on wave tables. This last is a huge advantage.

    So yes, I would expect the ADCIRC results to be good. And I strongly support their use by the Army Corps of Engineers, as you mention.

    But you are making a very, very serious mistake if you think that models like the ADCIRC are related to GCMs. Well, I guess they’re related, they’re both models, but the current global climate models are more like some related clan of hereditarily inbred, developmentally disabled, genetically damaged cousins of models like the ADCIRC. You know those relatives, the inlaws you don’t talk about that can’t read or write and try cover it up.

    The USACE current guidance on sea level rise is the IPCC AR4 WG1 estimates, which IMHO are rather conservative (low) as we speak today, given many subsequent research papers, and what we know is happening in the Arctic (and the potential implications this has for the western side of the Greenland ice sheet).

    The rate of sea level rise has been falling lately, so it’s not at all clear what studies you mean. Citations beat pointing at the Arctic and waving your hands.

    The USACE can be rather slow in updating their guidance, and they are at odds many a time with respect to beach nourishment projects due almost entirely to local political considerations.

    Agreed, and that comes with the territory. Do big projects, you have to deal with politics.

    Now in offshore engineering designs, the usual factor of safety (FS) is ~three times the actual calculated, or expected theoretical forcings. In soils engineering, FS’s are typically 6-18, and in structural engineering, FS’s are typically 1.5-2.0.

    Thus, even if we take a linear extrapolation of current sea level rise, at ~3mm/yr, we end up with the magical one foot number by the end of the 21th century.

    Thus a prudent coastal engineer “should” be using, for design guidance, a FS of ~3 attached to the minimum expectation of sea level rise (the one foot linear extrapolation), leading to what I believe the NC people have done with respect to their report recommendation of 39 inches (one meter). This is where I agree with Willis.

    Like I said, so far we haven’t disagree about much except whether I understood cyclonic storms and their effects.

    What this will mean is that coastal structures (new builds only) will need to be built (almost always on stilts) 39 inches higher than they are now currently built. If you go to the Outer Banks, even now, historical buildings built originally at ground level, are still there and still being used and lived in. Old existing buildings get grandfathered, in other words.

    NC has historically been very anti-shore in terms of coastal structures and beach nourishment projects.

    Again, agreed. Best people for building/stabilizing beaches are Holmgren Technologies. There’s been lots of failures by other folks, the shifting banks are a bitch, which has made many areas resistant to further coastal work. Also, often with sand one man’s gain is another man’s loss …

    Also note that linear extrapolations of ~90+ years is a very bad idea IMHO.

    Absolutely.

    Sea level rise is, IMHO, very much a lag[g]ing indicator of potental global warming effects. It will be the last thing we see, for sure, when/if ##it hits the proverbial fan.

    In the first sentence, it’s your humble opinion, and in the second sentence, it’s for sure? … just saying.

    Again, vague. Sea level rise has a steric component, the amount that is due to the temperature change of the ocean. It also has a volumetric component, where melting land ice is added to the ocean. Unfortunately, the sea level budget is not well constrained, although it has been narrowed in recent years. Not sure why you expect a large lag between rising surface air temps and rising ocean temps, is there a sign of one in the records?

    Lastly, I’m not sure what a lagging indicator of a potential effect might look like if I saw one.

    Finally, as an aside, if you don’t code in Fortran, than you are neither a serious research scientist or a serious research engineer IMHO, …

    Dude, you are sooooo last century. In the sixties I learned Alcom. I learned Fortran and COBOL. Moving on in rough chronological order, I learned Datacom. I learned MSDOS. I learned CPM. I learned Basic. I learned C. I learned C++. I learned Pascal. I learned 68000 assembly. I learned Mathematica programming languages, there’s several conceptually different ways to program it, it’s fascinating. I learned LISP. I learned VBA. Within the last decade I learned R.

    So Fortran is an old friend of mine. And I agree it should be in a serious scientists bag of tools. But the idea that serious research only gets done in Fortran? It is to laugh.

    Here’s the problem. Suppose I have a huge block of data, it is measurements of some variable, with rows being years and columns being months. I’ll call it “MyData”.

    In most programming languages, if I want to say take the square root of every datapoint in MyData, I have to declare some variables, then do something that (in pseudocode) looks like this:

    numberofyears=Rows(MyData)
    numberofmonts=Columns(MyData)
    for i =1 to numberofyears;
    __for j=1 to numberofmonths;
    ____MyNewData[i,j]=squareroot(MyData[i,j]);
    __next j;
    next i;

    In R, on the other hand, you say

    MyNewData = squareroot(MyData)

    As a result, R is infinitely superior to any looping language for handling large datablocks. Think about the time savings in never writing loops again, the ease of debugging. For me, you’re not a serious scientist unless you can read and write Fortran but given the choice, you program in R. It’s free, it runs on all platforms. What’s not to like?

    if you don’t code the models, if you’ve never used the models firsthand, that of which you cast down, you simply don’t have the slightest clue what all you are talking about in the first place.

    And if you can’t build a car, you shouldn’t complain if a wheel falls off? You are confusing a model’s inner workings with whether it produces diamonds or dust. Non-modelers can certainly find fault with model results. In any case, I’ve coded models and used them firsthand, I abhor using models secondhand, my arms aren’t long enough.

    Models are a tool, they serve a purpose, you might not like what the models say, but they are the best tools we have at any given point in time.

    Generally true, but definitely not necessarily true for individual models or classes of models. No model is better than the misconceptions of its programmers.

    I know that all models are wrong, and some are useful. I don’t think we disagree all that much, except for your idea that global climate models are anything like those you use in your work.

    w.

  85. EFS_Junior says:

    Willis,

    You clearly did not get the storm surge correct as you originally stated;

    “The storm surge is the huge area of water under the center of a hurricane that is driven onshore with a hurricane.”

    I rather clearly stated that this was NOT the case.

    There is no “huge wall of water under the center of a hurricane”.

    You need to go back and carefully re-read what it was that I actually stated. Come back then, and I’ll try to clear up any further misunderstandings you may have with respect to maximum hurricane surge and it’s location relative to the eye of the storm.

    The pressure bulge is only ~3 ft at most, at the maximum pressure drop at the center of the storm, and it’s incredably simple to figure this out this number, I’ll leave it as an elementary exercise for you to figure out how that number is derived.

    Since I’m a Research Hydraulic Engineer, let’s just say it’s like 2 + 2 = 4, but even you should be able to figure it out in less then a few seconds, even.

    Anecdotal references are totally meaningless, and clearly subjective, without models, and much more specifically data, on actual storm surge events.

    But do carry on, with several pages of anachdotal references, I won’t be wasting any more time on those thoughts though.

    Second, as to ADCIRC, it is a general circulation model (GCM), which is what I clearly stated.

    GCM can be either a global circulation model or a general circulation model, same acronym for both, get it? Where I’m from, a global circulation model is a subset of a general circulation model.

    Beach erosion?

    I’m not, nor have I ever been, a Sand Engineer. Do not get me started on Sand Engineers, they’re much worse than climate scientists, even.

    Sea level rise?

    Not going to go there either, nothing you’ve stated is news to me, plus I know way more than you’ll ever be capable of knowing in said subject matter. I do happen to have worked for the USACE ERDC CHL, and CRREL before then. My thesis was all about stratified flows, something called OTEC, dealing with salt water and temperature gradients even, hundreds of experiments with both even. :)

    Dude, all engineering and scientific software, as used on all the world’s supercomputers is STILL WRITTEN IN FORTRAN! Big iron is nearly 100% Fortran, still writes the fastest code possible, short of assembly coding (And who does that anymore? Seriously.).

    Now on the desktop we have dozens of flavors of *NIX in 64-bits, the main one being OS X, and Windows 7 (I’ve been 64-bit Windows for over five years now).

    Do I need to point you to Intel’s (64-bit and multi-core and vectorizable) or PGI’s (CUDA (or still vectorizable without it) and multi-core and 64-bit) modern Fortran compilers? Or the Fortran 2003/2008 standards?

    There are literally dozen’s of 64-bit Fortran compilers on the market today, and two free 64-bit Fortran compilers (G95 and gfortran).

    So, for instance, FFTW, is written in Fortran, and is the algorithm that MATLAB uses to solve large vector based FFT’s.

    C99 (that’s 1999, as in the year of adoption) finally got complex numbers and IEEE double precision floating point (64-bit longs).

    1999? :(

    That’s all folks, this is now page 2, you won’t be hearing from me again in this thread (with the very slight minor exception of clearing up any misunderstandings you might still have on storm surge).

    Bye-bye.

  86. Willis Eschenbach says:

    EFS_Junior says:
    March 1, 2011 at 9:57 am

    Willis,

    You clearly did not get the storm surge correct as you originally stated;

    “The storm surge is the huge area of water under the center of a hurricane that is driven onshore with a hurricane.”

    I rather clearly stated that this was NOT the case.

    There is no “huge wall of water under the center of a hurricane”.

    You are serious? That’s your nitpick? That I said that the storm surge is the water under the center of a hurricane, when in fact it is both under and in front of the hurricane?

    You come back with the asinine statement that there is no “huge wall of water” … well, duh, EFS_Junior, I didn’t say there was a huge wall of water.

    Next, you say:

    Second, as to ADCIRC, it is a general circulation model (GCM), which is what I clearly stated.

    GCM can be either a global circulation model or a general circulation model, same acronym for both, get it? Where I’m from, a global circulation model is a subset of a general circulation model.

    That’s your nitpick on this one? Everyone in the climate science field uses GCM for a global model. You say you know better, you say where you come from, a local coastline model is called a GCM … but you’re not playing in your own backyard here. You may call it that in your small corner of the planet. Out here in the big world, what you may call it means nothing. Get with the program. Around here, we DON’T USE YOUR TERMINOLOGY, and so no matter how right you may be in your own backyard, out here your’re wrong.

    You need to go back and carefully re-read what it was that I actually stated. Come back then, and I’ll try to clear up any further misunderstandings you may have with respect to maximum hurricane surge and it’s location relative to the eye of the storm.

    Nope. You need to stop being an idiot about small nits that you want to pick. You may be the global expert on storm surges, for all I know. If so, you could likely make a good contribution to this discussion.

    But if all you want to do is whine about the location of a storm surge, and try to get us to call a coastal surge model a “GCM”, you’re useless.

    That’s all folks, this is now page 2, you won’t be hearing from me again in this thread (with the very slight minor exception of clearing up any misunderstandings you might still have on storm surge).

    Thank god. Your focus on trivialities is typical of AGW supporters. I intend to hold you to your claim that “you won’t be hearing from me again”. Don’t bother to try to “clear up any further misunderstanding”, your style is unpleasant and your insistence that we respect your quaint provincial attitudes about computer models doesn’t work here in the real world. In other words, you’re wasting your time casting your pearls of wisdom before us swine, we don’t care …

    w.

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