Climate Craziness of the Week: IPCC’s Pachauri claims 17cm of sea level rise made the Tsunami worse, but let’s check

From this article in The Hindu: (h/t to WUWT reader Adam Gallon)

“In the 20th century, sea-level rise was recorded at an average of 17 centimetres. If the sea-level was significantly lower, clearly the same tsunami would have had a less devastating effect. Therefore, sea-level rise is a kind of multiplier of the kinds of threats and negative impacts that will take place anyway,”

It seems to me that clearly Dr. Pachauri can’t mentally manage the concept of scale. Here’s the NOAA wave height graphic that was flashed around the world on news media shortly after the Tsunami Warning was issued, while the tsunami was still traveling across the Pacific:

Source: NOAA Center for Tsunami Research and NOAA Scientific Visualization Lab

Note the inset I added, now here’s that inset area magnified with the color key added and the 17cm Pachauri mentions marked:

Hmmm, for the people of Japan in the hardest hit areas, I don’t think it would matter much. But let’s compare the numbers and find out.

We can describe it another way in the scale of familiar human experience. Wiki gives this 2006 value for the average height of the Japanese people, the left figure is male, the right is female:

Japan 1.715 m (5 ft 7 12 in) 1.580 m (5 ft 2 in)

Let’s look at some other things:

Bonsai trees reach an average height of two feet (61cm)

Read more: Why Is the Bonsai Tree Passed Down Within the Family? | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/facts_6744566_bonsai-passed-down-within-family_.html#ixzz1HR1GULDU

From Wiki, the height of the sea wall at the Fukushima reactor site:

“The plant was protected by a sea wall and designed to withstand a tsunami of 5.7 [570cm] meters…”

The actual height of the Tsunami wave there:

…but the tsunami had a height of about 14 meters [1400 cm] and topped this sea wall

OK let’s make some scale imagery to help visualize these values:

Now let’s insert the image above into the image which shows the height of the Tsunami as reported at the Fukushima reactor complex:

Click the above image to present it at the actual 1 pixel = 1 centimeter scale on your monitor.

That 17 centimeters that Dr. Pachauri speaks of makes all the difference, doesn’t it?

Note to other bloggers: feel free to use these graphics under “fair use” terms, but please provide a link back to this article at:

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/03/23/climate-craziness-of-the-week-ipccs-pachauri-claims-17cm-of-sea-level-rise-made-the-tsunami-worse/

UPDATE: I had noted the actual sea level trend near the north coast of Japan as measured by satellites, but figured I need not mention it since the story stood well enough on its own.

Commenter “Skip” however seemed to think otherwise, so I had to bring it up. See below:

University of Colorado Seal Level map

Works out negative with the correction applied too: http://sealevel.colorado.edu/current/sl_ib.jpg

Note the negative trend in sea level for Japan’s north coast, which makes Pachy’s 17cm worries totally pointless. Doesn’t he have Internet access?

UPDATE2: This report of sea level trends in Japan  from the Japan Meteorological agency shows the current SL lower than in 1950 by about 20mm. That certainly doesn’t square with AGW theory well, and again makes Pachy’s 17cm value for the area pointless. See: http://www.docstoc.com/docs/10897163/National-Report-of-Japan

h/t to WUWT reader “An Inquirer” for the report


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256 Responses to Climate Craziness of the Week: IPCC’s Pachauri claims 17cm of sea level rise made the Tsunami worse, but let’s check

  1. Steeptown says:

    Is Pachauri Indian for pillock?

  2. John503 says:

    Pachauri lost credibility ages ago.

  3. Crispin in Waterloo says:

    I love it when people put real numbers on things.

  4. Mark_K says:

    Aside from the fact that it was only 17cm, the fact is that people build relative to sea level, flood plain, etc. If the sea level had been two meters lower, the buildings would have been two meters lower.

  5. TZ says:

    Doesn’t a 17cm increase play a similarly critical role in Pachauri’s magnum opus, Return to Almora?

  6. OLSTHRO says:

    Perhaps Pachauri thinks 17 cm in Hindu is significant in English???
    Pachauri’s comments demonstrate once again, the desperation of the AGW movement and the “height” they will stretch to support their cause!

  7. ew-3 says:

    Just need to imagine the tsunami barriers being 17cm higher.

    That would have prevented all this. /sarc

  8. TERRY46 says:

    I really appriciate how you put things into perspective with the chart.The climate change crowd,along with the global warmingist,are having to abandon ship because their ship is sinking

  9. Sonicfrog says:

    Good Lord! I’m so blogging this!!! (can I steal the “scale” image… please oh please????)

    [If you do, give Anthony credit. ~dbs]

    REPLY: sure, have at it – Anthony

  10. TrueNorthist says:

    Perhaps Mr Pachauri mistook the height of the heels in his shoes for the sea level change? Towering man of stature that he is… Just for the record, I don’t wear pumps. I prefer stilettos.

  11. P. Solar says:

    In fact it would have made exactly Zero difference.

    When japanese engineers were calculating the height of the required sea defences, how ever they worked it out, they would have concluded that they only needed at wall of 1.83m to afford the required protection since the ocean would have been lower.

    Good job they did not throw him out, we need his constant stupidity to show the IPCC for what it is. He a perfect chair (or stool maybe).

    You have to love him for trying.

  12. Alexander K says:

    Pachauri’s statement is too silly for words!

  13. Smokey says:

    “…or stool…”

    Sly, P. Solar. I liked it!

  14. kbray in california says:

    17 cm is quickly absorbed by the tidal flux of 181 cm.

    http://www.tide-forecast.com/locations/Yotukura-Fukusima-Japan/tides/latest

    With a 1000 cm high tsunami, 17cm would only make a minor difference.

    Having a tsunami at low tide with a 17cm additional layer of water is the same as having the tsunami about 1/2 hour before or after the low tide without any sea level rise.

    At 17 cm lower, you still have a tragedy.

  15. Peter Ward says:

    Leaving aside the apparent stupidity of the claim, is he correct that sea levels rose by 17cm in the 20th century?

  16. guam says:

    Frankly this individual is one of the most distasteful and insensitive examples of humanity I have ever seen.

    I was prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt on the Earthquake issue, however, following up with this, takes the probability, that reporter was correct, to better than 98% on either a Bayesian or Frequentist model!!

    Surely he can’t keep that position much longer?
    Whatever remaining credibility the IPCC still had, just vapourised I would suggest!!!

  17. What was the state of the tide at the time, I wonder?

  18. Eric Anderson says:

    It’s not even the 17 cm. Has it risen 17 cm since the nuclear facility was built or most of the houses were built or the retaining wall was built? Didn’t think so. In other words, when I’m building something, I don’t care how much the sea level has risen in the prior 50 years, or 100 years or 1000 years. I do an assessment of the current sea level, stability factors, foundation needs, etc. and build to that.

    In addition, it is not at all clear that a 17cm rise makes any difference whatsoever, or in which direction it makes a difference. How does the extra 17cm feed into the water’s reaction to the quake, the water’s wave pattern, the water’s roll/movement once it reaches the shallows and the land?

    Finally, even if the 17cm additional water added to the tsunami, it is a rounding error.

  19. Hu McCulloch says:

    The relevant comparison is not to the 2m open ocean waves (which are harmless and perhaps not even noticed by ships), but to the 10m breaking waves when the tsunami reaches shore.

    Even then, as Mark K notes above, the tsunami-relevant damage depends on the height of the wave relative to average sea level. Given that most new building has already adapted to the 17 cm gradual rise (assuming that’s correct), there’s no reason to expect more damage today than 100 years ago (assuming the same degree of settlement and equal tsunami add-on).

    Century-old buildings within reach of the tsunami might have received an extra 17 cm of flooding, but that is not what the great problem was.

  20. George Tetley says:

    Ah, another remark that has gone off the rails for Mr Choochoo, it gives a insight to the mentality of those that make his employment possible.
    Give this genius a measuring tape and send him to help King Knut they need each other.

  21. Thon Brocket says:

    Just speculating – 17 cm higher sea-level means the sea-bottom that moved was 17 cm deeper under water. I’d guess that the shallower the water, the higher the tsunami for the same size of quake. So might a higher sea-level alleviate a tsunami’s effects to some extent?

  22. Bengt Abelsson says:

    Mr Pauchari was quoted in Times of India that human actions contributes to earthquakes and tsunamis.

  23. Lady Life Grows says:

    He is counting on the stupidity of most people. Most people will not think of the fact that buildings are built to current sea levels, nor the fact that sea levels have been rising unevenly for the past 10 000 years, and most people are way too stupid to think with numbers to realize how idiotic the stement is when scale is considered.

    Those who blog the picture will wake up a few people.

  24. Doug says:

    Not to mention only a tiny fraction of that 17 cm can even arguably be attributed to anthropogenic causes.

    Also, if the sea level were lower, all the buildings would be placed proportionally lower, so there would have been no effect anyway. Strange logic.

  25. Mike says:

    If there was no water, the earthquake would not cause a wave. If the water was very thick, say hundreds of miles, such a disturbance at the bottom would likely not be noticeable at the surface. So, what is the “optimum” depth needed to maximize the wave?

  26. Robert M. Marshall says:

    Terry46,
    The ship didn’t sink, it remained stationary while the sea level (and the sea floor in this instance) raised 17cm.

    I think we should cut Mr. P som slack, he’s probably confusing this with something from his next novel.

  27. P. Solar says:

    @Anthony. Please say wikipedia if that is what you are refering to. Wiki is the name of the software that wikipedia chose to use and from which it derives its name.

    Wiki is wiki, not wikipedia.

    regards.

    http://wiki.org/wiki.cgi?WhatIsWiki

    Wiki is a piece of server software that allows users to freely create and edit Web page content using any Web browser. Wiki supports hyperlinks and has a simple text syntax for creating new pages and crosslinks between internal pages on the fly.

    REPLY: The link in the word is self explanatory for anyone who bothers to click on it – Anthony

  28. TonyK says:

    This prat is either completely barking mad or a very sick guy! The very idea of using this terrible event as a means of scoring points is deplorable.

  29. Myron Mesecke says:

    I emailed this to my daughter. She is in her second semester of an accelerated program to get a Master’s in Environmental Engineering with a minor in Petroleum Engineering in five years. Yes, she has a 4.0. Here is her reply.

    “That is just completely stupid – sounds like something a 6-year-old would try to argue, NOT a doctor/scientist”

  30. polistra says:

    That is ONE BEAUTIFUL GRAPH!

  31. MikeW says:

    The problem here is that Dr. Pachauri wasn’t really focused on the question he was asked. Instead, he was thinking about the next novel he’s writing, with his hand deep in his trouser pocket, when he was quoted as saying “My word! 17 centimeters, that would be huge!

  32. Charlie A says:

    I can find only the one online news article reporting his comments.

    Does anybody know if there is somewhere to find the entire text of his speech to confirm that the newspaper actually reported things accurately?

  33. Anoneumouse says:

    Did the earthquake lower or increase the land mass relative to sea level?

  34. Bob Diaz says:

    Let’s see a 1,400 cm wave hits Japan and he’s talking about it being 17 cm higher. That comes to an increase of around 1.2%.

    To put it another way, you are about to be hit by a 100 ton train, be happy it wasn’t 101.2 tons!!!

  35. Sceptical Me says:

    ‘Peter Ward says:
    March 23, 2011 at 10:44 am

    Leaving aside the apparent stupidity of the claim, is he correct that sea levels rose by 17cm in the 20th century?’

    I too am interested in what the actual sea level rise was during the 20th century.

  36. davidmhoffer says:

    This isn’t making sense to me on either front.

    Willis – assuming the significant factor was 17 cm higher water, you’d have to weigh the consequences of how much further inland the water would go. If the land slope is agressive, not much. If slope is low, perhaps much further.

    Pachauri – 17 cm makes it worse? Put aside the height vs people, or if the ocean really is 17 cm higher for a moment. What causes the tsunami in the first place? Movement of the ocean floor. At what depth? I have no idea, but for sake of argument, let’s say 200 meters. The ocean floor shifts, moving the mass of water above it, causing a wave of perhaps 2 or 3 cm. At sea surface, the shift is small and spread out, more like a gentle rise. As the wave travels inland the rising sea floor tends to compress the wave from front to back causing it to increase in height. So the real question in my mind is this:

    How high a wave would a tsunami caused by lifting a mass of watter 200 meters thick be in comparison to a mass of water 200.17 meters thick?

    My Wild A** Guess rounded to 3 decimal places is 0.000%

    The amount of damage a Tsunami does has everything to do with how high the wave is in comparison to normal sea level at the time of the wave, how fast it is moving, and how much energy and water it expends when it hits shore. I really don’t see the normal sea level at the time being 17 cm higher or lower having much to do with the major factors. Against a retaining wall I suppose you could make the argument for topping it or not. But other than that…0.000%.

  37. dave38 says:

    You know, if Pachauri didn’t exist the IPCC would have had to invent him!

  38. Pamela Gray says:

    I wonder how the reclaimed land Japan has made figures into sea level rise around the islands.

  39. skip says:

    Mr. Watts:

    This is simply a silly response to Pachauri and a testament to the gullibility of yourself and your readership.

    First of all, for any of you who doubt that the sea level rise was at least 17 centimeters in the 20th century there is this from the scientific literature:

    http://www.springerlink.com/content/p364381652174757/fulltext.pdf

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2006/2005GL024826.shtml

    Fourth grade proficiency in math shows how the 17 cm derives from the observed yearly means. (No, I’m not giving any hints.)

    But more important:

    Does it even occur to any of you people that what the makes the tsunami more devastating is not the extra 17 inches of height per se, but the overall *mass* of water that strikes via tsunami because sea level is higher? Is this really that hard to understand?

    Do you honestly think the point of concern is whether the Tsunami is too tall for the barrier walls or Japanese civilians?

    I am not claiming to understand the precise physics of tsunamis, just the obvious fact that if you multiply 1.7 meters times the area a tsunami with its abnormally long wavelength covers from say, the latitudes touching Morioka and Sendai (the rough shoreline of the main tsunami strike), you’re talking about literally tens of *billions* of kilo*tons* of additional seawater in 2011 relative to 1900, all other things being equal. It’s the *mass* of water that kills and destroys, not the height.

    Did you really not see and consider this simple, obvious counterargument, Mr. Watts?

  40. onion says:

    Doesn’t the damage depend on the energy of the wave which depends on more than the height? Those waves were travelling at tremendous speed and horizontal propulsive energy with an incredibly large mass of water behind them

    Imagine the earthquake happened at a much greater depth (which would be equivalent to a higher sea level). Wouldn’t the energy of the tsunami be less?

  41. 1DandyTroll says:

    So essentially he took it right out of his book where the “hero” is laying in his bath tub when “something” suddenly arose and stretched itself up to the hight of 17 cm, and being an outdated engineer as Pachauri seem to be, of sketchy quality no less, he fumbled with the formulae for what happens to a body of water when a voluminous object is sprung from ones shorts displacing the same amount of water.

  42. Ralph says:

    When Pachauri was talking about an increase of 17 cm (6 inches), was this in relation to sea levels, or to his red silk hanky episode?? Perhaps he has got the two confused.

    .

  43. Holbrook says:

    The fact that this guy has made two comments trying to link the terrible events in Japan with AGW shows all too clearly the desperation in their movement.
    What intrgues me though is the claim the sea levels are rising and have been on the move for a long time.
    Last year I heard a radio presenter in the UK talk about a a trip to Portsmouth and from a measure they have on the sea wall there is no change in sea level whatsoever dating back many, many years.
    Likwise I have visited Cornwall for the best part of 55 years and the low tide and high tide areas I am familiar with have also not changed.
    Anthony…just what is going on?

  44. Charles Sainte Claire P.E. says:

    Pauchari’s estimate of sea level rise isn’t necessarily true. However, if correct it is about 7 inches. The tsunami was 30 feet.

    In my opinion, if the sea level does manage to increase 7 inches every hundred years, I think people can adjust to .07 inches per year. They can just move away from the ocean a couple of feet every decade or so.

  45. ddpalmer says:

    So skip, I see your name refers to what you did in school.

    The wave is the same height above sea level, whether sea level rose 17 cm or 17 meters. So there is no extra mass of water involved. The size of the earth movement determines the wave height.

    In fact as davidmhoffer implies, if the sea level is 17 cm higher than the shore line is farther from the continental shelf and there is more gently sloped sea floor rise (as opposed to the abrubt jump of the continental shelf). More gentle slope means more energy expended before reaching the shore line and thus LESS energy when the wave hit.

  46. You distort we deride says:

    [snip]

    Seventeen centimeters is often enough to make the difference between drowning and survival.

    Especially when the victims are children.

  47. Blade says:

    Pachauri …

    “In the 20th century, sea-level rise was recorded at an average of 17 centimetres. If the sea-level was significantly lower, clearly the same tsunami would have had a less devastating effect. Therefore, sea-level rise is a kind of multiplier of the kinds of threats and negative impacts that will take place anyway,”

    This outrageous smear should be Waterloo for the AGW cult, or at least for Pachauri. This is the most egregious bit of ambulance chasing I can think of right now, and that includes the verbal spewing from Romm and Gore. The man has sneakily accused us of killing some portion of those 20,000 lost souls. Well, how many Patches? How many did we kill with our SUV’s? Despicable. He should resign or be removed just for this slander. Unless something got lost in translation then I believe this is a very disturbed pathetic man. The desperation is now palpable. It won’t be long before some of them begin to crack, or pardon the pun, meltdown.

    Did everyone catch this: “In the 20th century, sea-level rise was recorded at an average of 17 centimetres …”, he certainly cannot be a bona fide scientist since that statement implies that sea-level rise is 100% due to man’s presence here, a statement that is impossible. He is blaming us for natural inevitable occurrences! That level of critical thinking is on par with elementary school kids or brainwashed AGW fanatics. Such carelessness from ‘scientists’ about 100% of a measurement being attributable to humans is a reoccurring theme, for example: 1/2 deg temp rise in a dubious planetary average over a century, what fraction of that was ‘avoidable’? A quarter or eighth degree? I do hope they continue down this irresponsible road, it can only hasten their crumbling.

    @Anthony, you should append the graphic to show on the far left another smaller blue block representing the miniscule sea-level rise that can safely be attributed to human influence, the so-called ‘avoidable’ part of sea-level rise. What would that be? 10cm, 5cm?

    TZ [March 23, 2011 at 10:30 am] says:

    “Doesn’t a 17cm increase play a similarly critical role in Pachauri’s magnum opus, Return to Almora?”

    Now that was funny :-) And I seriously thank you for that because I was absolutely seething with rage from Pachauri diatribe, just scrolling through the thread, and when I got to your post you saved me a blood pressure incident or stroke. ROTFLMAO pretty much covers it. The cat wasn’t so lucky though nor was my leg which is now perforated.

  48. Marc says:

    You’re all forgetting about the positive feedbacks!

  49. Pamela Gray says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but the tsunami height depends greatly on the degree of seafloor displacement. Equal magnitude Earthquakes can have very different tsunamis, because while shaking can be just as severe, seafloor displacement can be quite different between equal magnitude Earthquakes. Sea level rise during the 20th century is a much smaller variable.

  50. It’s the *mass* of water that kills and destroys, not the height.

    Did you really not see and consider this simple, obvious counterargument, Mr. Watts?

    So it’s mass & not energy that causes destruction? I’m glad we have such smart ______ (I’m not sure who “skip” is, but I’m sure he can fill in the blank with quite a lot of 4th Grade Proficiency In Math degrees) to answer these difficult questions.

  51. ZT says:

    “is a kind of multiplier” remember those intensive years of mathematics training and the difference between addition and multiplication? No, ok, that explains why trains rarely run on time, and everything Pachauri says is nonsense.

  52. mcfarmer says:

    what difference does it make. The 17 cm is refering to an estimated(computer modeled) sea level rise. Just because the sea level is higher does not change the final size of the wave produced by the earthquake. I would also like to know how accurate the modeled wave height is.

  53. Lars P. says:

    skip says:
    “…17 cm …..17 inches …. 1.7 meters …”
    dear skip learn first the units of measure.

    Actually in the ocean reference page, sea level, is shown a negative sea level rise for the coast of Japan 1992-2011.

  54. kbray in california says:

    skip says:
    March 23, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    The term “pillock” appears to suit you as well.

    A tsunami is similar to a shock wave transmitted through the water.
    Water is not compressible, and as a transmitted wave, the water does not really move location until it reaches shore. In the deep ocean, the shock wave doesn’t care how deep the ocean is. 17cm of additional water and its weight is irrelevant.

    Put a pipe (size is irrelevant) next to your ear and bang on it with a hammer, listen to the shock wave and you’ll quickly grasp the concept.

  55. Tom in Florida says:

    skip says: (March 23, 2011 at 12:18 pm)

    First you say 17 cm, then 17 inches and then 1.7 meters. ?????????????

    The height of the wave as it comes ashore is dependent on the contour of the bottom and the geography of the adjoining land. But it is the extraordinary long wave length that propels the water so far inland with such devastating force.
    For those who are not familiar with swimming in surf perhaps this will help. Standing in 4 ft of water, a 3 ft wave is over your head. The water in a wave only moves as it breaks. If the wave was created fairly locally by medium winds (wind chop) there is little power and one can easily jump through it and feel no effects after going only about 1-2 linear feet through the wave. If the same size wave was created by sustained winds and has traveled a longer distance (swell), there is a lot more power to it and you must go 5-6 feet of linear distance through the wave to escape the power. With a tsunami the linear distance you must go through the wave to escape it’s power could be miles. That’s miles of rapidly moving water that just doesn’t stop. That’s what it does. That’s all it does. It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear.

  56. Pirran says:

    17cm. That’s just over 6.5 inches. Guys usually exaggerate more than that when no further proof is thought necessary. He can’t even get that right.

  57. pat says:

    17cm? Even the Warmists give the rise in sea levels to be more like 3.8 cm, with periods of inexplicable, to them, plateaus.
    http://www.agu.org/journals/ABS/2006/2005GL024826.shtml

  58. Rob R says:

    Regardless of whether or not sea level rose by 17 cm in about 100 years or how much it rose since the wall was built at the reactor site, how much change was there in terms of the local sea level. This is an area subject to tectonic activity so the land could be rising, falling or stable. Further, there could be non-tectonic isostatic adjustments occuring relating to readjustments follong the last glaciation and the post-glacial sea level rise. On top of that, due to the effects of rotation on a sphere, sea level rise is not uniformly distributed. You simply cannot apply a global average to any particular locality and expect to get the right answer in terms of sea level change.

  59. Stephan says:

    OT but it seems that CA’s last 4 posts may add up to be a major bombshell. It seems that more and more fraudulent activity by the team is coming to light mainly by omission of data. It now seems that legal action could take place?
    “The Supreme Court has said that companies may be sued under the securities law for making statements that omit material information, and it has defined material information as the sort of thing that reasonable investors would believe significantly alters the ‘total mix’ of available information” copied from a posting at CA
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/23/health/23bizcourt.html?_r=1&hpw

  60. skip says:

    Owing to a decimal space out on my part the 1.7 must change to a .17 but it has no significant bearing on the argument.

    (Now watch AW pounce with glee . . . brother.)

    [Reply: Why would he? Anthony has been ignoring your comments. ~dbs, mod.]

  61. DesertYote says:

    MikeW says:
    March 23, 2011 at 11:52 am

    The problem here is that Dr. Pachauri wasn’t really focused on the question he was asked. Instead, he was thinking about the next novel he’s writing, with his hand deep in his trouser pocket, when he was quoted as saying “My word! 17 centimeters, that would be huge!“
    ###

    If Dr. Choochoo thinks 17 cm is huge, I think he might have a problem with his reference.

  62. Sea levels have been rising WELL BEFORE increased CO2 emission activity. Sea levels change all the time, being MUCH HIGHER just a few thousand years ago: http://sabhlokcity.com/2010/03/constantly-changing-sea-levels-and-dwarka/.

    “Over the last 6000 years, sea level rises and falls of 2 to 4 meters over periods of several decades are common”

    This man Pachauri is a total ass. Let no more be said. The credibility of IPCC is in deep negative territory.

  63. Mac the Knife says:

    Excellent graphics, Anthony! It perfectly illustrates how inane Pachuri’s ludicrous claim really is… and how ethically bankrupt all such alarmist exaggerations are.
    A picture that is truly worth a thousand words……..

    And now………
    skip says:
    March 23, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    Skippy – Your comments are a testament to the gullibility of yourself and your cadre of deniers that global warming is natural.

    Do you know if the land at Fukushima has been rising or falling tectonically over the last century, in relation to the local average sea level? Do you know what the average tide height is at Fukushima, or if the tide was high or low at the time of the tsunami? These and other natural factors could easily have larger ‘multiplier’ effects on the tectonically induced tsunami that resulted, than any purported 17cm of sea level rise over the last century.

    Further, the dispute is over the unsubstantiated claim that mankind (Bad man – Bad!) has had some or any influence on the ‘average sea level height’ in the last century and thus contributed in any way to a naturally occurring, tectonic plate shift inducing tsunami.

    Did you really not see and consider these simple, obvious counterarguments to your 4th grade analysis that man had any contributing influence on a natural tsunami event?

  64. William Rice says:

    Mark_K made the most salient point, I’m dissappointed that nobody followed up! The impact of the tsunami is completely independent of long-term sea level rise, since the buildings would have simply been built at a lower elevation if there were no sea level rise.

    Aside from this, it’s difficult to understand how they could cast sea level rise as the boogie man (and implicity mann-made global warming) when sea level rise occurred pretty steadily through the century (well before human CO2 emissions ramped up).

  65. skip says:

    Here is the corrected version with all typos/edits fixed.

    Mr. Watts:

    This is simply a silly response to Pachauri and a testament to the gullibility of yourself and your readership.

    First of all, for any of you who doubt that the sea level rise was at least 17 centimeters in the 20th century there is this from the scientific literature:

    http://www.springerlink.com/content/p364381652174757/fulltext.pdf

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2006/2005GL024826.shtml

    Fourth grade proficiency in math shows how the 17 cm derives from the observed yearly means. (No, I’m not giving any hints.)

    But more important:

    Does it even occur to any of you people that what the makes the tsunami more devastating is not the extra 17 cm of height per se, but the overall *mass* of water that strikes via tsunami because sea level is higher? Is this really that hard to understand?

    Do you honestly think the point of concern is whether the Tsunami is too tall for the barrier walls or Japanese civilians?

    I am not claiming to understand the precise physics of tsunamis, just the obvious fact that if you multiply .17 meters times the area a tsunami with its abnormally long wavelength covers from say, the latitudes touching Morioka and Sendai (the rough shoreline of the main tsunami strike), you’re talking about literally tens of *billions* of kilo*tons* of additional seawater in 2011 relative to 1900, all other things being equal. It’s the mass of water that kills, not the height.

    Did you really not see and consider this simple obvious counterargument, Mr. Watts?

    REPLY: “Does it even occur to any of you people…” Ah yes the sound of the yellow feathered anonymous breast beater in the AGW wilderness.

    Oh yes, “Skip” I considered lots of things, (including all the decimal point/unit errors you made) but didn’t include all of them in the post, since it stands well enough on it’s own. My advice to you is that you check the sea level map from UC before you blather further:

    University of Colorado Seal Level map

    Works out negative with the correction applied too: http://sealevel.colorado.edu/current/sl_ib.jpg

    Note the negative trend in sea level for Japan’s north coast, which makes both Pachy’s 17cm and your argument totally pointless, since there is no “extra” water, either as height or mass from supposed sea level rise in this instance. Now, be as upset as you wish ;-) – Anthony

    UPDATE: just in case you don’t notice this equally important harpooning of your premise:

    An Inquirer says:
    March 23, 2011 at 1:29 pm (Edit)

    I looked up what the tide gauges in Japan at http://www.docstoc.com/docs/10897163/National-Report-of-Japan
    to see what they say about sea levels in Japan. Actually the sea level for Japan in the last few years is lower than what it was in the 1950s.

  66. Ben of Houston says:

    Myron, please read the critical word in your comment, “Engineer”.

    Engineers are constrained by reality because their stuff has to work and they are accountable for their actions. Most “academics” become insulated and recurse among themselves, gradually drifting away from reality.

    Kind of like a climate model.

  67. DirkH says:

    onion says:
    March 23, 2011 at 12:21 pm
    “Doesn’t the damage depend on the energy of the wave which depends on more than the height? Those waves were travelling at tremendous speed and horizontal propulsive energy with an incredibly large mass of water behind them”

    The height is a result of the energy. More energy, higher Tsunami. Tsunami = Big wave in the harbour. The damage depends mostly on weather the Tsunami makes it over the seawalls.

  68. Charlie A says:

    Peter Ward says “Leaving aside the apparent stupidity of the claim, is he correct that sea levels rose by 17cm in the 20th century?”

    Yes, he is correct. 1.7mm per year is roughly the rate of rise averaged across the 1900′s.

    See plot http://www.cmar.csiro.au/sealevel/images/CSIRO_GMSL_figure.jpg at the bottom of http://www.cmar.csiro.au/sealevel/sl_hist_few_hundred.html

  69. Scarface says:

    This guy is killing the AGW-cult all by himself. A true Nobel prize winner.

    Pachauri, the gift that keeps on giving!

  70. DirkH says:

    You distort we deride says:
    March 23, 2011 at 12:42 pm
    “[snip]

    Seventeen centimeters is often enough to make the difference between drowning and survival.

    Especially when the victims are children.”

    Explain how a Tsunami with a height of 1400 cm leaves a child unscathed that a Tsunami of 1417 cm sweeps away. I don’t understand the mechanism yet.

  71. DaveS says:

    These people are nutters. They are insane.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/mar/23/peak-water?commentpage=last#end-of-comments

    Seems we have passed peak water now.

    It is so surreal.

  72. davidmhoffer says:

    Hey Skip;

    I quite agree with your 4th grade math skills. In one post you managed to quote 17 cm, 17 inches, and 1.7 meters as if they were all the same thing. How many years have you been in grade 4?

    As for your physcis, I agree again with your claim to not understand physics as applied to a tsunami. The mass of water “moved” isn’t related to the area the tsunami crosses, it is related to how much water was lifted in the first place and by how much. So for argument’s sake, somewhere on the ocean floor at say 200 meters depth, the floor moves straight up by a couple of cm. This causes a ripple. As the ripple moves toward shore, the sea floor is rising, and the ripple becomes compressed, the wave taller, because the energy is being transferred from a large volume of water to a smaller volume. You could ride out the swell at sea in a small boat, you might not even notice the ripple.

    Amount of water move upward = 200 meters.
    Plus a supposed 17 cm calculated via 4th grade math skills
    Amount of water moved upward = 200.17 meters

    Rounding error.

  73. dbleader61 says:

    Skip,

    You meant to say “…multiply .17 meters times the area a tsunami…”

    The huge extra mass you describe is expressed against the whole distance you also described. The impact of the extra .17 metres worth of water is negligible – as Anthony purports.

    And yeah, there’s a few WUWT readers that don’t accept the 17 cm increase in sea level. I do. But its not because of CO2 from humans.

    Try again.

  74. R2 says:

    Pop Quiz:

    Q1. Which of the following is thicker?

    a) 17 cm
    b) a short plank
    c) Rajendra Pachauri

    /sarc

  75. mkelly says:

    skip says:
    March 23, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    “Does it even occur to any of you people that what the makes the tsunami more devastating is not the extra 17 inches of height per se, but the overall *mass* of water that strikes via tsunami because sea level is higher? Is this really that hard to understand?”

    1400cm^3 = 2744000000 cm^3 = 724888.1 gal 8.2 lb/gal or 5944082 lbs
    1400*1400*1417 = 2777320000 cm^3 = 733690.3 gal or about 6016258 lbs

    Yes we know the mass or force behind the extra 17cm but there is no way any structure fell because of the extra 72176 lbs. Both are so close to 6 million that it would scare ya. (don’t know speed so I can’t continue the F=ma calculations for you)

  76. DJ says:

    Some preliminary calculations on the impact of an initial sea level rise of 17cm (assuming ALL of the 17cm is an anthropogenic result) reveals some startling facts.

    Homes and businesses in Japan washed off of their foundations occurred 18 seconds sooner than if the sea level had been 17cm lower at the inception of the tsunami.

    The total damage to the reactor’s back up generators would have been .02% less with an initial sea level of 17cm lower. Those same generators would have also lasted an additional 42 seconds with the lower sea level.

    The additional radiation released as a result of the higher initial sea level is below detectable limits.

    The total estimated damage is currently estimated at $309Billion, and my calculations show the damage would have only been $308,998,762 had the sea level been lower by 17cm.

    These figures are in consideration of a 17cm sea level rise over the entire 20th century, while it should be considered that the total sea level rise as a direct result of anthropogenic forcing during the time since the construction of the existing homes, businesses, infrastructure and nuclear power plants is appropriate to the discussion.

  77. An Inquirer says:

    I looked up what the tide gauges in Japan at http://www.docstoc.com/docs/10897163/National-Report-of-Japan
    to see what they say about sea levels in Japan. Actually the sea level for Japan in the last few years is lower than what it was in the 1950s.

  78. Mike says:

    @onion says:
    March 23, 2011 at 12:21 pm
    “Doesn’t the damage depend on the energy of the wave which depends on more than the height? Those waves were travelling at tremendous speed and horizontal propulsive energy with an incredibly large mass of water behind them

    Imagine the earthquake happened at a much greater depth (which would be equivalent to a higher sea level). Wouldn’t the energy of the tsunami be less?”

    The wave speed is fixed. A loud sound does not travel faster than a quiet sound. At a greater depth the energy is the same but the energy dissipates in the water, eventually becoming heat. More water would increase the wave size directly but decrease it by dissipation. At least this is my intuitive sense of the main factors. I have no idea what depth gives the maximum wave size/mass/destructiveness.

  79. Theo Goodwin says:

    TZ says:
    March 23, 2011 at 10:30 am
    “Doesn’t a 17cm increase play a similarly critical role in Pachauri’s magnum opus, Return to Almora?”

    Spot on. I think Pachauri is thinking about himself again. However, his IPCC heart is in the right place. There is always more to fear and more to fear from less. For Pachauri, a 17 cm sea level rise that occurred before the facility was built is reason enough for a ten percent surcharge on all incomes in the world. Hysteria!

  80. Mountainbear says:

    17cm on a 10 meter tsunami that washed over every single levy and protection wall… Yeah, that’s going to change a lot… Not.

    A few thousand years ago the sea levels were several times low enough to allow animals AND humans to settle in Japan. OMG! Those cavemen created the worst men-made global warming in history!

  81. R2 says:

    Pop Quiz Answer:

    a) 17cm

    (a short plank is about 1 cm thick; Pachari is only as thick as two of these!)

    /sarc

  82. geo says:

    Pachauri is complaining that the rampaging elephant had just had lunch before he flattened your house.

    17/1400 = 1.2% Puh-lease.

  83. pk says:

    17cm is a little less than 7″, nah a little less than 6& 3/4″, nah a little less than 3& 11/16″ (-.005″).

    its a lot less than normal high tide.
    its quite a bit less than fall extreme high tide.

    its a he&& of a lot less than spring extreme high tide (3-4 feet on the california coast).

    as i remember this guy has been beating the drum about the effect of what are to us “minor” tides/waves for years. if the coast is so flat in the areas where he lives or grew up or owes political favors to why don’t they build breakwaters etc.. they could get pretty good advice from the dutch. and if they can’t afford madinery to do the deed then the chinese can advise them on how to do it by hand.

    coulldn’t be that he’s just making money out of this stuff?

    nahhhhhhh.

    C

  84. DocWat says:

    Skip, You do know the difference between 17 cm and 1.7m?

  85. Peter Miller says:

    Someone has to respond to Skip’s stupid comments.

    1. No one is arguing that there has been a small rise in sea level over the past century – although apparently slowing now. This probably has something to do with the ~0.7 degrees C rise in Earth’s temperature witnessed over the past 150 years. The alarmists will say this is all down to rising CO2 levels, while the sceptics say it may have a little to do with the activities of man, but mostly this rise is just part of the Earth’s normal climatic cycles. If you don’t believe in the Earth’s normal climatic cycles, then you can fully embrace the alarmist argument.

    2. As someone else has already said here, 17cms is dwarfed many times over by the daily tidal movements – so Patchy’s statement is particularly stupid.

    3. Much of the recent sea level rise is probably caused by residual ‘isostatic bounce’ of the Earth’s crust as a result of the major glacial melt 10-12,000 years ago.

    As for Patchi, this is a man with dubious business dealings, a controller of dodgy charitable organisations, an expert at feeding from government grant troughs, a purveyor of soft core porn and a man as far removed from an understanding of real science as it is possible to be.

    He is an embarrassment to the alarmist cause, but refuses to make way for younger more honest individuals. So when this man makes yet another goofy statement to the press, there are certain to be many who pounce upon it as being pure unadulterated BS.

  86. LEN says:

    for those asking, 3mm per year(not looking to see if the ocean is rising or falling faster at that point just the “average” 3+-0.4- i notice someone pointing out that the reference page has the sea level dropping in that area of japan…)

    the facility is 40 yrs old say it took 5 years to build so 45yrs ago
    the ocean would have risen between ~12-15.3 mm(2.6mmx45/10 to 3.4×45/10)
    so 17 is a good guess

  87. FerdinandAkin says:

    Dr. Pachauri has got it all wrong. That 17cm actually helped the situation because it cut 17cm out of the vertical height they had to pump the sea water up to cool the reactor cores.

    If they had to pump that water another 17cm up to the reactor, it could have been worse than we thought. /sarc off

  88. roger says:

    skip says:
    March 23, 2011 at 12:18 pm
    “Does it even occur to any of you people that what the makes the tsunami more devastating is not the extra 17 inches of height per se, but the overall *mass* of water that strikes via tsunami because sea level is higher? Is this really that hard to understand?”
    and…
    “Fourth grade proficiency in math shows how the 17 cm derives from the observed yearly means. (No, I’m not giving any hints.)”

    Not only are you a boorish and gratuitously rude fellow, you are also stupid enough not to have read over your childish, vituperative and ill considered rant before posting.
    There is an old motto ” manners makyth the man”. Quite what the tenor of your post makes of you, I will leave you to consider.

  89. Ray says:

    Pachauri must be using a broken ruler to measure sea level and tsunami.

  90. skip says:

    *These and other natural factors could easily have larger ‘multiplier’ effects on the tectonically induced tsunami that resulted, than any purported 17cm of sea level rise over the last century.*

    Straw man and red herring. The possibility of other factors is neither in dispute nor the issue. The point is that AW has again made another absurd argument against an IPCC “icon” in the hope of a skeptical decapitation strike, and he failed.

    *Further, the dispute is over the unsubstantiated claim that mankind (Bad man – Bad!) has had some or any influence on the ‘average sea level height’ in the last century . . . *

    Another straw man and red herring. That is also a different argument. Again, AW thinks he has made a clever retort against the IPCC and all he has done is show his own gullibility. The fact that you defend it with these side bars shows your own.

    Let me ask you a direct question, Mac: Do you agree, as AW argues, that the hypothetical 17 cm increase in height of the tsunami is the crucial factor in determining whether sea level rise exacerbates tsunami damage?

    Again, please consider that a direct question.

  91. Theo Goodwin says:

    skip says:
    March 23, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    “Does it even occur to any of you people that what the makes the tsunami more devastating is not the extra 17 inches of height per se, but the overall *mass* of water that strikes via tsunami because sea level is higher? Is this really that hard to understand?”

    Now, this person is a first rate hysteric. This person has a golden future at the IPCC or as a network anchor specializing in events that can be spun as disasters. Notice the subtle way that 17 cm becomes 17 inches and that a flood becomes one massive strike!

  92. skip says:

    Oh for godsakes . . .

    Guys, please . . . what is the average wave length of a tsunami? Its not a roller that hits land like something you surf on. Tsunamis can have wavelengths of 100s of km. An extra 17 centimeters of *that* will have a massive additional impact by virtue of added *mass* of water, not *height*, all other things being equal. That’s Pachauri’s point, and AW’s fixation on the additional height as the crucial factor shows he has no discernment. Quit defending this nonsense!

  93. Hu McCulloch says:

    Is Pachauri still leading AR5? I thought he had been eased out.

  94. Laurie Williams says:

    Many good points here re extent of rise or otherwise, its time frame, its causes and other factors.

    Andrew Bolt made the point that attention seeking warmist alarmist Tim Flannery is the ideal person to front Oz PM Mrs Brown’s Climate Commission. For the same reason I agree with other commenters that Pachauri is the ideal person to front the IPCC.

    Perhaps he should return to railway engineering. Well, no. I can see what the results of that could be.

  95. skip says:

    And I *fixed* my editing errors before even noticing any responses. For Godsakes! Because AW organizes this blog so goofily–most recent comments at bottom–I didn’t even realize there had been responses to my initially unedited post and had caught the errors myself. Brother!

    REPLY: Oh right, now your inability to keep your units straight is *my* fault. Heh. – Anthony

  96. Theo Goodwin says:

    skip says:
    March 23, 2011 at 1:13 pm
    “Here is the corrected version with all typos/edits fixed.”

    Skip’s back! He is a true Warmista. Not a word written to him had an impact. What hath Warmista wrought?

  97. darthvincent says:

    for those wondering about the land-shift the 9.0 quake caused….

    Oshika peninsula in Miyagi prefecture shifted a whole 5.3 meters (17 ft) east and its land sank 1.2 meters (4 ft).

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110319/wl_nm/us_japan_quake

    Using my 4th grade math skillz it would seem that 17cm has nothing to do with anything when the ground drops 1.2 meters.

    ~Norby

  98. Smokey says:

    skip,

    This article has been rated “excellent” by 32 people so far. Did it ever occur to you that you might be mistaken, and that everyone else is correct?

  99. Beesaman says:

    The use of this sort of thing by, so called, scientists to try to promote a point of view is abhorent. Is Dr. Pachauri really saying all those thousands of lives lost are down to such a small sea level rise? If so then he is an arrogant fool. He should be deeply ashamed of himself and so should all the others who are using the misery and suffering of so many in a bid to promote their own inflated positions. The Japanese people are not statistics or scientific theories, they are real and they deserve more respect.

  100. skip says:

    [Snip. If you're going to insult our host, do it elsewhere. ~dbs, mod.]

  101. Alan Clark of Dirty Oil-berta says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t Pachauri write in one of the Climategate emails that he would rather delete the data which proves his credibility and competence than release it to the world? Perhaps I’m confused. /sarc.

  102. Seamus Dubh says:

    So by IPCC’s Pachauri, and most greenies, we shouldn’t build anywhere near coastal regions because of ‘future’ sea level rise.

  103. kbray in california says:

    kbray in california says:
    March 23, 2011 at 1:02 pm
    Put a pipe (size is irrelevant) next to your ear and bang on it with a hammer, listen to the shock wave and you’ll quickly grasp the concept.

    Skippy, I don’t think you’re listening…
    let me expand on the above for comprehension…

    The pipe is the ocean.
    The hammer impact is the earthquake shock.
    The air between the pipe and your ear is the shore.
    The pain in your eardrum is the damaged town.

    The energy wave was transmitted from the hammer (the earthquake) to your eardrum (the town), via the pipe (the ocean) and the air (the shore). The amount of steel in the pipe (water in the ocean) is of no importance. This analogy is close enough for illustration. The harder you hit the pipe, the stronger the impact on your ear, the more damage to the town.

  104. Brilliant graphics, brilliant post!

    A most entertainingly elaborate way of pointing out the ludicrousness of Pachauri’s assertion that the the present-day sea level, 17cm higher than a century ago, has significantly exacerbated the destructive consequences of the 1400 cm tsunami.

    And as an added bonus, some of the elaborate replies have also been entertaining. DJ’s calculations of how much the damage would have been reduced had the sea level only been 17 cm lower deserve special mention as ironic masterpieces:

    “Homes and businesses in Japan washed off of their foundations occurred 18 seconds sooner than if the sea level had been 17cm lower at the inception of the tsunami.

    The total damage to the reactor’s back up generators would have been .02% less with an initial sea level of 17cm lower. Those same generators would have also lasted an additional 42 seconds with the lower sea level.”

    Love it!

  105. jrwakefield says:

    Of course being a subduction island arc system Japan’s relative sea level changes won’t be the same as that from thermal expansion or melting ice. Some parts of Japan are rising above the sea level (http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sltrends/sltrends_global_station.shtml?stnid=647-071) some show a sinking of land into the sea twice the rate of sea level rise (http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sltrends/sltrends_global_station.shtml?stnid=642-141).

    Now someone of Pachauri’s stature should know this before making claims. Hence more evidence that the IPCC is not a science organization.

  106. Jer0me says:

    In my limited idea of a tsunami, I would expect the height of the wave to be the height above the sea level at the time. Surely that makes any sea level rise, tidal factors, or local barometric pressures completely irrelevant (note that these last two completely dwarf the first).

    Maybe I’m missing something, or maybe Patchy is.

  107. Jer0me says:

    skip, I’m afraid there is no additional height! The wave is the height above the current sea level!

    Logic: a game that seems to confuse so many alarmists…..

  108. Anthony Watts says:

    Since Skip has trouble following comments, I’m placing this one to direct him to scroll upwards until he sees responses. Always happy to help.

  109. jrwakefield says:

    That’s Pachauri’s point, and AW’s fixation on the additional height as the crucial factor shows he has no discernment. Quit defending this nonsense!

    Yep, it’s all our wickedness of an advanced society to blame for the damage. If we did not have an advanced society the wave would have been smaller, there would not have been as many homes destroyed, and no nuke plants to affect. So let’s all give up this modern society, return to hunter gatherers, end our CO2 emissions and the world would never have a bad event ever again. Right…

  110. Mark in London says:

    skip says:
    March 23, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    Pauchauri’s evil henchman writes,

    “First of all, for any of you who doubt that the sea level rise was at least 17 centimeters in the 20th century…”

    “Does it even occur to any of you people that what the makes the tsunami more devastating is not the extra 17 inches of height per se…”

    “I am not claiming to understand the precise physics of tsunamis, just the obvious fact that if you multiply 1.7 meters times…”

    Do I notice a trend here, namely to exaggerate logarithmically?

    Bollocks, Big Bollocks and Ginormous Bollocks

  111. Stephen Brown says:

    My only comment is as follows:-
    “BANG!! Another hole in the foot of Choo-choo Pachauri.”
    A 17cm sea level rise?
    For goodness’ sake, a difference of 1700cm either way would have made not one jot of difference to the effects that that dreadful inundation wrought. And that the Fukushima nuclear power station could have withstood such an unimaginable catastrophic event says much for the over-engineering which the original constructors of the plant insisted upon.

  112. Peter Wilson says:

    skip says:
    March 23, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    Even with fourth grade proficiency in maths, it would seem obvious not to confuse, as you do within a few sentences, 17 cm with 17 inches, and then 1.7 meters (!?!?).

    When you attempt to be condescending to those who have actually bothered to do the maths, it might be a good idea not to make elementary school errors like that – it just makes you look very foolish

  113. jrwakefield says:

    Let me ask you a direct question, Mac: Do you agree, as AW argues, that the hypothetical 17 cm increase in height of the tsunami is the crucial factor in determining whether sea level rise exacerbates tsunami damage?

    A completely academic question. Assuming the 17cm increase is correct (over which time frame?), it’s a natural change, would have happened regardless of our CO2 emissions. Hence there was NOTHING we could have changed in the last 100 years which would have changed that 17cm. Being an island arc system the relative sea level changes anyway.

    So, Skip, may I suggest you go back to Coby’s ScienceBlog where you will feel far more at home in your fantasy world.

  114. the_Butcher says:

    Skip,
    Are you saying that if the ocean was -17cm there would be no tsunami???

  115. Michael Jankowski says:

    “If the sea-level was significantly lower, clearly the same tsunami would have had a less devastating effect.”

    LOL. If the sea-level were significantly lower, you’d have just had more development over the years at those lower elevations. If the coast of Japan were 17cm (or more) lower, the building wouldn’t have stopped exactly where it has now.

  116. 1DandyTroll says:

    @skip

    “Its not a roller that hits land like something you surf on. Tsunamis can have wavelengths of 100s of km. An extra 17 centimeters of *that* will have a massive additional impact by virtue of added *mass* of water, not *height*, all other things being equal. ”

    You seem to think that the width of the wave has nothing to do with its height, which of course it does. A tsunami with a “wavelength of 100s km” doesn’t have much height which is why it doesn’t topple any ships. But come land all that mass of water compress’ and create the sensationalist height.

    However that isn’t what dirty old novelist Pachauri meant, but if the original sea level was 17 cm higher that would have even more catastrophic effects. Although he don’t seem to take into account that if an earth quake has to move a body of water that is 17 cm more that’ll take even more force to move and thus create a higher wave since it is much heavier. It’s what them weird people, throwing things in the air just to have trajectories calculate, call physics, which apparently happen to be rather big thing in all schemes of things including reality. :p

  117. peter_dtm says:

    well – I thought I check the tidal range as well

    I found this on google maps Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan
    and this web site for tidal ranges (I think it’s the same place; spelling across different web sites is just not consistent) :
    http://www.tide-forecast.com/locations/Isinomaki-Miyagi-Japan/tides/latest

    the 7 day tidal chart shows a tidal range of 1.69 metres – um – close enough to 1.7 metres as makes no odds (since it will no doubt have at least a ±0.01m error)

    OR

    the tidal range exceeds the claimed sea level rise by an order of magnitude.

    If some one has a Japan Pilot kicking around; perhaps they could see at what state of tide the tsunami hit?

    Why do all these people thing that sea level is a constant? Don’t they know about tides? Even Canute knew about them; long before AGW

  118. son of mulder says:

    Forget 17 cm rise. The reactors are post 1970. 70/100×17=12 cm rise prior to the reactors being built. So 5cm rise since they were built. But reactor design in tsunami zones is not one of my areas of expertise but clearly Pachuri understands even less.

  119. TonyG says:

    “Are you smarter than a Fifth Grader?”

    At least one person here apparently is not.

  120. Dave Andrews says:

    Skip,

    Yes the mass of water involved in a tsunami would make a difference. But you have already been told a number of times that sea level around Japan has been falling for a considerable time.

    So perhaps you could go away and look at the figures again and have a rethink.

  121. TomRude says:

    This is in fact properly disgusting. And it truly shows how the green propaganda stops at nothing. Pouah.

  122. Stephen Brown says:

    Only the Japanese could do this!!

  123. kwik says:

    MikeW says:
    March 23, 2011 at 11:52 am

    17 cm in a smutty novel is huge!

  124. James Sexton says:

    Smokey says:
    March 23, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    skip,

    This article has been rated “excellent” by 32 people so far. Did it ever occur to you that you might be mistaken, and that everyone else is correct?
    =========================================

    Oh, no! It’s Skip’s presence that makes it an excellent post! First he does a self pwn with a decimal point and derisive 4th grader remarks and then to show his complete lack of understanding of a tsunami and height conventions, he details his lack of understanding for additional self-flagellation. His being a Pachy defender and a warmist exemplar, this is what makes the post.

    We need to have a climate blog equivalent to failbook.

  125. Magnus says:

    We can all agree that when it comes to mr. P: it’s worse than we thought!

  126. diogenes says:

    Anthony

    Please do not give any of his ravings any credibility. Pleaase just consign them to internet hell. [snip - ad hom,]

  127. George Turner says:

    As others have said, the exact value of sea level has no effect on wave height above the immediate sea level, or the mass of the wave above sea level, since the size of the wave is determined by the energy and nature of the seismic disturbance and local topography. The argument that a higher sea level makes a tsunami bigger makes no sense, implying as it does that a 17 meter tsunami couldn’t hurt a neolithic beachcomber back when sea levels were 17 meters lower – because the wave height would be zero. Physics doesn’t work like that.

  128. GaryP says:

    Dr. Pachaui is going to be in poor standing with the Climate Science Rapid Response Team™. If only he had consulted with them first, they could have referred him to the proper scientist/publicist. They certainly would have insisted on using units matched to the resolution of the satellites currently in orbit.

    Any marketing guy could have told him to say 170 mm. It sounds so much larger in a sound bite than a mere 17 cm. One hundred, seventy. It even has more syllables.

  129. TrueNorthist says:

    It is simply amazing to see skip beat his head against reality until it bleeds. A glib and shallow understanding of things appears to be a trait among AGW hysterics. It used to be sadly humorous to look back at the ignorant and superstitious ways of our ancestors. Wee Skippy demonstrates plainly how that pitiful ignorance is making a comeback.

  130. sky says:

    peter_dtm says:
    March 23, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    “If some one has a Japan Pilot kicking around; perhaps they could see at what state of tide the tsunami hit?”

    Nearby tide gauges show that the tsunami hit very near low tide. Otherwise, it could have been considerably worse insofar as run-up elevations are concerned.

    BTW, run-up is usually measured from tidal datum level, whereas wave height is trough to crest. Many here confuse the two measures.

  131. kbray in california says:

    [[[roger says: (to Skip)
    March 23, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    Not only are you a boorish and gratuitously rude fellow, you are also stupid enough not to have read over your childish, vituperative and ill considered rant before posting.
    There is an old motto ” manners makyth the man”. Quite what the tenor of your post makes of you, I will leave you to consider. ]]]

    I love the gifted way the British have of putting English words together… well done, Roger. After all, the language is from England. They have had more practice.

  132. geo says:

    Btw, apparently the 14m estimate was very conservative. At least one field survey now puts it at 23.5m: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2011/03/23/height-estimate-japans-tsunami-wave-tops-70-feet/

  133. skip says:

    *I would expect the height of the wave to be the height above the sea level at the time.* –Jerome!

    Wow! So would I. What is “sea level” relative *to*, Jerome? The *land*. A greater volume of water will hit any given land location *more* so if sea level is higher. Massively more so—even if its only 17 cm higher now than in 1900. AW cannot see this simple fact and its appalling that neither can any of you! Any coastal location that has not migrated the appropriate distance up hill (which would vary by topography of course) will *get more water*–massively more. Do you deny that?

    The key point here is that AW is trying to argue that 17 cm is not a whole lot relative to the height of a Japanese person or a water barrier, when the issue is the increased *volume* and thus mass of water when you multiply (to certainly oversimplify; wave dynamics are probably quite complex) that 17 cm times the crucial area of the tsunami–which can have a wavelength of up to 500 km.

    *A completely academic question.* –RWakefield.

    Richard! You remember me. I’m charmed. Hey, have you shared your T-test analysis with the boys at WUWT yet? Want me to? Have you told the Wattslings about your ideas about the Weather Channel? How about your email conversations with Judith Curry?

    And you’re right, it is an academic question—and as such is probably beyond your grasp

    *Are you saying that if the ocean was -17cm there would be no tsunami???*

    Where for the love of God did you get this inference from my statements?

    *You seem to think that the width of the wave has nothing to do with its height, which of course it does.* –Troll

    What? When did I say that? The height is what it is—and in this case its 17 cm higher what it was in 1900—however its width affects it. That is a massive volume of additional water to strike any fixed coastal location.

    *But you have already been told a number of times that sea level around Japan has been falling for a considerable time.* –Dave Andrews

    Where? As calculated how? That’s crucial. Upward shifts of submarine plates do not count as “falling sea level”.

    But the bottom line, guys, is this: I want you all to throw in your vote. I want to give everyone a chance to really weigh in on this. I really want to see this.

    Who thinks the raw additional *height* (17 cm), relative to the height of barrier walls, trees, and people, of the tsunami, is the crucial detail in determining how a 17 cm total sea level rise would affect the destructive power of a tsunami? Come on now, don’t be shy!

    Everybody vote. Who agrees with AW that that is the right way to respond to Pauchari?

    REPLY: Skip, this is my website, you don’t get to choose what I write here or how I do it. You also don’t get to run your own voting campaigns here. And you’ve missed the point, again. You may want to stick to playing cops and robbers, more your speed. – Anthony

  134. DirkH says:

    You distort we deride says:
    March 23, 2011 at 12:42 pm
    “[snip]

    Seventeen centimeters is often enough to make the difference between drowning and survival.

    Especially when the victims are children.”

    How does a difference of 17 cm affect children in a different way than grown-ups? For instance, if you are a 1.58 m high man standing next to a 1.75m high woman, that’s the same difference than between a 0.87m high girl next to a 1.04m high boy. Could you elaborate?

  135. Michael Ozanne says:

    Can we clarify this with a few questions?

    What does he mean by ’17cm sea level rise’ is that an absolute i.e measure earths diameter between two points that are both at ocean surface; was x, is now (x+34cm)?
    Or is he claiming that the net result at the Japanese coast of subsidence, land heave, volcanic activity, other tectonic changes and land reclamation activities is equivalent to a sea level rise of 17cm?

    How significant should this be regarded in comparison to other known variabilities like the twice daily tidal changes, wind force and direction, shape and gradient of ocean floor, apogee of the moon etc etc…

    Let’s be honest this was an event of cataclysmic power that moved the planet on its axis, shifted the whole country a few feet to the left, shortened the planetary day. Do we seriously consider that a nominal difference of 6+3/4 inches makes that much difference, particularly when we haven’t indicated what that means concerning the actual relationship between sea-level and coastline in Japan

  136. Andrew30 says:

    Skip;
    I don’t think that it was the 17 km or water that caused the problem, I think that it was the nuclear reactor.
    You see nuclear reactors create a lot of energy all in one place, and as we all know from E=MC2 an increase in energy caused an increase in mass equal to the amount of energy times C, which is the speed of light. C it 300,000 meters/second so at 1 GW the rector was placing point load onto the earth of nearly 3 quadrillion tons.
    It was this point loading of the tectonic plate that caused the earthquake in the first place. The mass created by the concentrated energy of the reactors in Japan pushed down and flipped the middle of the pacific plate up, simple.

    If they had used windmills and solar cells evenly distributed throughout the country then the weight created by the mass caused by the energy creation would have been properly distributed and the quake would never have happened.

    So Skip, keep this in mind when you next post.
    1. Nuclear reactors create energy.
    2. Mass (weight) is equal to the energy created times the speed of light.
    3. Generating a lot of energy in a single location puts a sever point load on the earth.
    4. Nuclear reactors cause earthquakes.

    Have a nice day

  137. Latitude says:

    I think I missed something…
    ..what is that sex God talking about?

    I thought sea levels had fallen in Japan?

  138. Clive says:

    Skip

    That 17 cm was accumulated over one century. I am going to guess that most of the buildings destroyed were less than 50 years old. Did they move farther back up hill as the 85 mm (50 year’s worth) encroached? Nope ’cause no one seven noticed. (As others have already said the relative sea level is actually lower in that part of the world.)

    Please please pray tell what difference 17 cm would have made to the souls being washed away in these photos? None.

    http://dailyaperture.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/japan-tsunami21.jpg
    And here…
    http://www.latimes.com/media/photo/2011-03/60246626.jpg

    You piously act as if you and your ilk could have saved these poor souls. Shame on you!

  139. JohnWho says:

    skip says:

    March 23, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    Mr. Watts:

    This is simply a silly response …

    ‘Nuff said.

    :)

  140. TrueNorthist says:

    TEPCO now indicates wave was 14 meters!

    http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/RS_Fukushima_faced_14-metre_tsunami_2303113.html

    Or should I say 13.983 meters without agw?

  141. Toms says:

    This is beyond stupid. What do you think would happen if sea levels were 14 metres lower? There would be no tsunami? The sea level is totally irrelevant – even if it had risen

    This kind of scare mongering should illegal

  142. Green Sand says:

    I suppose I really should go and do some math, but time and motive are in short supply, but I wonder…..

    “World shipping fleet grows by 10.1% in deadweight tonnage during 2010”

    “According to a new research from N.Cotzias Shipping Group, the world’s shipping fleet in service has grown by 10.1% in terms of carrying capacity, and amounts 1.39 billion tones compared to 1.26 billion tones in 2009.”

    http://www.shippingonline.cn/news/newsContent.asp?id=18361

    Has Dr. Pachauri bought a yacht? Could account for 0.0000… about the same effect as 17cm in a century or a super moon? Or super Moonie? Voodoo Science is getting warmer, moved from ice to water.

  143. OldOne says:

    re: skip’s 17cm, to 17in, to 1.7m all in one post.
    Do I detect super-exponentially accelerating sea-level rise here?

    Hey Skip, write a quick “draft” report & submit it to Romm. He’ll swallow anything and is sure to blog it without any fact-checking since sounds so alarming.

  144. Video footage of the tsunami that hit Japan this month makes it clear: This was no ordinary wave. And now there are initial estimates for just how high it reached — nearly 80 feet in at least one place.

    A field survey from the country’s Port and Airport Research Institute put the height of a tsunami wave that struck a coastal city in Japan’s Iwate Prefecture on March 11 at 77.4 feet high.

    But even at that height, the wave in Ofunato was lower than Japan’s domestic record of 125 feet, measured in the 1896 Meiji Sanriku Earthquake Tsunami, which killed 27,000 on the Japanese island of Honshu.

    Kazuhiko Toda, a researcher at the institute, told Kyodo News the height of the recent tsunami was measured where counter-tsunami facilities and breakwaters were set up. He added that the location of the reading may have given an artificially lower power recording than the tsunami in 1896.

    A 2004 magnitude 9.0 earthquake off the coast of Indonesia’s Sumatra generated a 114.5 foot wave that killed 230,000 in a dozen countries surrounding the Indian Ocean.

    http://www.foxnews.com/world/2011/03/23/height-estimate-japans-tsunami-wave-tops-70-feet/

  145. James Sexton says:

    skip says:
    March 23, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    much more blathering.
    ============================
    Skip, do yourself a favor and read the posts. If you still don’t understand, read them again. If you still don’t yet understand how you are indeed oversimplifying the question, making assertions that can’t possibly be known, and then asking a question based on the previously mentioned fallacies, then simply ask for a differently worded explanation. The people here, are generally of more grace, but, you start by attacking your host. I don’t care where you’re at, it is bad form. And, as you can see, by engaging in such form and continuing to do so, you’re simply serving the blog equivalent of a chew toy.

    Its been explained. A 14m tsunami, regardless of sea level is 14m. It has been shown that the area hit has experienced sea level decrease. Scroll to the top. It has also been touched upon that the 17cm is a highly questionable number to come to with any degree of certainty. Here’s a poll to take back to wherever you came from, how many of them would agree that as a representative of the IPCC, that Pachy should have considered these questions before making his sweeping and overgeneralized statement?

  146. peter_dtm says:

    sky says:
    March 23, 2011 at 3:53 pm
    peter_dtm says:
    March 23, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    “If some one has a Japan Pilot kicking around; perhaps they could see at what state of tide the tsunami hit?”

    Nearby tide gauges show that the tsunami hit very near low tide. Otherwise, it could have been considerably worse insofar as run-up elevations are concerned.

    So very near low tide would be almost 1.7 m below High Tide.

    So with the daily tidal range plus17cm (0.17m) – nope; sorry can’t see much difference; however being near low tide surely made a large(r) difference. Time of day is more important than any supposed sea level rise.

    Shore lines are normally derived from High Water (Mean Spring High Water IIRC for England; Spring High Water for Wales and I think Scotland is Mean High Water. Japan no doubt measures start of land from some variant of the High Water Mark). However people build where their planning authorities let them – using 100 year highs as the normal precautionary line to stay above if you want to stay dry. A twentieth century rise of a whole 17cm (0.17m/170mm) seems pretty damn irrelevant – that’s what some 68mm (0.068m/6.8cm) rise since 1970 – compared to a daily tidal range of 1.7 m – please it is like AGW should be – an irrelevance!

  147. P. Solar says:

    REPLY: The link in the word is self explanatory for anyone who bothers to click on it – Anthony

    Yeah sure. My point was about credit being given where it’s due. A topic it seems you are keen to support.

    Wiki is an impressive piece of software that does not deserve to have its name misappropriated for refering to Wikipedia, which after all is just one on thousands of sites that use it.

    Wiki is Wiki not Wikipedia. ;)

  148. Doug Jones says:

    The energy and momentum of the wave in deep water is set by the movement of the earthquake, not by the depth of the water. Any difference in sea level as measured at a coast merely determines where the wave runs up on land and breaks… if the sea bottom slope is 1:10, this moves the break point (drumroll) about 170 cm seaward.

  149. pk says:

    has anyone calculated the plus or minus effect of storm surges from typhoons in the area over the years.

    it seems as though those would be enough change in depth over a large enough area to do the kind of weight change effects you guys are talking about.

    C

  150. Mac the Knife says:

    skip says:
    March 23, 2011 at 1:49 pm
    “Let me ask you a direct question, Mac: Do you agree, as AW argues, that the hypothetical 17 cm increase in height of the tsunami is the crucial factor in determining whether sea level rise exacerbates tsunami damage?

    Again, please consider that a direct question.”

    Ahhh Skippy,

    To quote you, “Straw man and red herring!” Yet, I personally cannot bring myself to use that lame evasion so here’s my direct answer anyway, Skip!

    A purported 17 cm (0.17M) change in sea level over a century of time has no bearing on the unproven hypothesis of Man Made Global Warming. Nor does it have any bearing on Pachuri’s and your claim that it adds ‘something special’ to a tsunami.

    Changes in sea level are natural events. Sea level is always changing, over centuries or aeons. Gradual crustal rebound and subsidence are natural events, continually altering perceived sea levels. Earth quakes are natural events, with attendant sudden crust upthrusts and drops that affect local perceived sea levels. Tsunamis are natural events, caused by those sea bed upthrusts or drops.

    In addition, the destructive forces of tsunamis are greatly influenced by the height of the local tide, the sea bed slope approach to the local shore, the concavity or convexity of the local shore line, the local winds driving water ‘onshore’ or ‘offshore’, and a host of other natural influences and constraints. Claiming that 0.17M (6.8 inches) more or less of natural average water height had paramount significance to a cataclysmic natural event like the tsunami that hit Japan is a fools fevered fantasy, given all of the other naturally contributing variables of equal and far greater potential. Further claiming that man had any significant ‘sea level’ contribution to these natural events is unsupported, despicable machiavellian alarmism. A fool may be pitied but willful deceit should never be tolerated.

    Forgive my following sarcasm, but it mirrors your previous dismissive derision:
    Fourth graders can understand this. Why can’t you?
    Consider that a rhetorical question…….

  151. davidmhoffer says:

    Skippy,

    You’re a hoot. Following this thread has been like watching someone read Einstein’s explanation of E=MC^2, get to the end, and with a wave of the hand dismisses it with that ultimate of rebuttals:

    DOES NOT!

    I got my kids trained out of Does To! Does Not! long before grade 4.

  152. kbray in california says:

    Skip, Try This:

    Fill up your bathtub to within 1/2 inch (1+cm) of overflowing.
    Put some of your Play-Doh in the overflow drain to maintain the overfull level.
    Mark the water level with one of your crayons.
    Ask your big sister to borrow your Dad’s bowling ball.
    Have her help you drop the bowling ball from ceiling height into the filled bath.
    A mini-tsunami will form and spill over the lip of the tub onto the floor.
    You can include your rubber ducky and toy boats for authenticity.
    Collect the overflow into a measuring cup using a mop.
    Refill the tub again to the crayon mark.
    It may need a little extra water to compensate for the dent in the bottom of the tub caused by the bowling ball, but it should not affect the results.
    Add one extra cup of water above the fill mark to represent the 17cm increase in sea level.
    Ask your sis one more time to drop the bowling ball from ceiling height into the tub.
    Again, collect the overflow from the second “enhanced tsunami” into another measuring cup.
    I predict the difference in mini-tsunami water volumes will not be measurable.
    You can re-use the Play-Doh to fill in the dents in the bottom of the tub caused by the bowling ball drops. (good re-cycling of play-doh)
    Thank your sister, go finish your homework, have a glass of warm milk, and go to bed early.
    Remember as they say:
    “Early to bed and early to rise….makes a man…wise.”
    Judging by your comments here, you can use a healthy dose of that…
    Best regards, kbray.

  153. Old Grump says:

    I have to take a somewhat contrary point of view on this one. We should give credit to Dr. Pachauri for being at least partially correct as to what he said. “If sea level had been significantly lower…”, things really *would* have been much different. IF all of the structures, roads, etc. been built *in the same places in the same ways*, AND sea level had been 10 meters lower (He *said* significantly.) there really would have been hugely less damage. So, he almost has a point.

    If, if, if, if….
    There’s an old folk saying about IF. I have no idea where it came from. I only know it was told to me by my grandfather.
    IF a frog had a glass ass, he wouldn’t hop but once. And, IF he had wings, he wouldn’t bust his ass every time he hops.

  154. Bob K. says:

    Maybe what Pachauri means, is much simpler:
    Say, sea-shore is sloping at the rate of 100 cm per 1000 m. If the water wave is 100 cm high, it reaches 1000 m inland. If the wave is 117 cm, then it reaches 1170 m inland, etc. In his mind, the extra 17 cm was added by sea-raise over last 100 years – that’s why it reaches further inland to cause more damage! I would almost bet that what Pachauri is trying to say.
    What he might have forgotten, though, is that the shoreline itself moved 170 m inland as the water kept rising over those 100 years…

  155. Latitude says:

    ok, one of us is missing something again…..
    ==============================================
    skip says:
    March 23, 2011 at 4:12 pm
    The height is what it is—and in this case its 17 cm higher what it was in 1900—however its width affects it. That is a massive volume of additional water to strike any fixed coastal location.
    ===============================================
    skip, you really need to rethink this…..

    The wave is exactly the same height, width, and volume as it would have been before or after a 17cm rise or fall.

    Adding 17cm (which is not true anyway) to the height of sea level, did not affect the wave at all.

  156. Darren Parker says:

    Anyone that has ever rang a call centre or actually been to India willbe shakingtheir heads at the thought of an Indian running anything. No offense but they are a race of indecisive head-wobblers (they can’t decide between shaking their heads or nodding)

  157. Steve Oregon says:

    There was a time when much of the world was worried about the possibility of a Nuclear Holocaust.
    No one ever considered the possibility of a Stupidity Holocaust.
    Pachauri is verifying that we are in fact in the middle of that Stupidity Holocaust.

    The totality of the AGW “movement” involves a lot of the not so good human traits.

    IMO, plain old stupidity has risen above them all. How is that?
    On it’s face this latest Pachauri claim is so stupid he has apparently lost his mind entirely.
    This level of stupidity has been spreading like a holocaust.
    Where does it end?

  158. Fesun says:

    17cm*

    Could you not have said the same thing, for the same amount of time, since the end of the last ice age ?

  159. Sean Peake says:

    @kbray: priceless!

  160. Sean Peake says:

    Just wunderin’… is skip an English dumpster, as in, “Oy Nigel, toss that rubbish in the skip!” ?

  161. Gary Krause says:

    Funny how all the previous tsunamis of yester year were less devestating; after all, sea level was lower by …. .17 m? 50 m?… Tell me the difference. If you are on the beach you are on the beach! WUWT?

  162. Steve in SC says:

    Since Japan itself moved 8 feet the extra 7 inches must be important.

  163. davidmhoffer says:

    Steve Oregon;
    This level of stupidity has been spreading like a holocaust.
    Where does it end?>>>

    Mighty strong words my friend. But I suggest you read a bit of history and pay close attention to cause and effect.

    Hitler => stupidity => holocaust (8 million)
    Stalin => stupidity => holocaust (20 million)
    Pol Pot => stupidity => holocaust (5 million)

    We are certainly witnessing wide spread stupidity, with people driven by Mass Systemic Misinformation (often call the MSM) being brainwashed into the most bizarre idiotic conclusions. There is no holocaust of stupidity. But don’t lose site of exactly what a holocaust is the result of:

    Stupidity implemented.

  164. old engineer says:

    A good primer for tsunami can be found at:

    http://walrus.wr.usgs.gov/tsunami/basics.html

    The referenced site breaks down the tsunami into four stages. Here are some quotes from the that site:

    1. Initiation “However, near the source of submarine earthquakes, the seafloor is “permanently” uplifted and down-dropped, pushing the entire water column up and down. The potential energy that results from pushing water above mean sea level is then transferred to horizontal propagation of the tsunami wave (kinetic energy).”
    “ In the open ocean, the waves are at most several meters high spread over many tens to hundreds of kilometers in length.”

    2. Split: “Within several minutes of the earthquake, the initial tsunami is split into a tsunami that travels out to the deep ocean (distant tsunami) and another tsunami that travels towards the nearby coast (local tsunami). The height above mean sea level of the two oppositely traveling tsunamis is approximately half that of the original tsunami.”
    “The speed at which both tsunamis travel varies as the square root of the water depth. Therefore, the deep-ocean tsunami travels faster than the local tsunami near shore.”

    3. Amplification: “Several things happen as the local tsunami travels over the continental slope. Most obvious is that the amplitude increases. In addition, the wavelength decreases. This results in steepening of the leading wave–an important control of wave runup at the coast (next panel). Note that the first part of the wave reaching the local shore is a trough, which will appear as the sea receding far from shore. “

    4. Runup: “Tsunami runup occurs when a peak in the tsunami wave travels from the near-shore region onto shore. Runup is a measurement of the height of the water onshore observed above a reference sea level. Except for the largest tsunamis, such as the 2004 Indian Ocean event, most tsunamis do not result in giant breaking waves (like normal surf waves at the beach that curl over as they approach shore). Rather, they come in much like very strong and fast-moving tides (i.e., strong surges and rapid changes in sea level).”
    ========================================================
    Note that in every quote above, the tsunami is referenced to “above mean sea level.” Therefore the fact that sea level has changed over the past 100 years makes no difference in the wave in the measurement of wave height. An additional 0.5 feet of water above the earthquake, will also make no practical difference in the initial water displaced in a depth of a hundred or more feet of water.

  165. Robb876 says:

    Maybe we’re all just a bunch of dumb hacks and we don’t know what we’re talking about…. Maybe we should ask Dr P. what he meant… Just an idea…

  166. apachewhoknows says:

    On seas that rise and fall.

    Back when the ones of Spain came to the southwest. The horse came with them. We Apache stole this good thing from the ones of Spain. 400 or so years of not getting along later the last of the range gathering of the horse was done by my great grandfather in Eastern New Mexico and they marked them and drove them from there across Texas to just south of the Red River where the horses where rested and some time later a deal was made via the Comanche of Ft. Sill to sell them to the U.S. Army.

    As they waited for the horses to gain back form and the price to get settled they did learn of the area where they grazed. It is now known as Rattle Snake Canyon and Lake Kickapoo is there too. Many old bones , very old bones were seen by those old Apache eyes and later when Dr. Romer came from Harvard to dig the bones my grandfather who knew the places of the bones helped them find the dinosaur bones.

    Seems there was millions and millions years ago an inland sea shore there on the side of the up lift and an island where these old dinorsors fell into the edge of the sea where the bones where dug up in the 1940′s and 1950′s.

    The inland seas comes and the inland seas go and never one thing to do with CO2 being up or down some seem to know.

    To many of these CO2 cult people have never been outside in the real world to see what is at the edge of things.

  167. KenB says:

    Old Grump

    The saying here is “if, ifs and ands were pots and pans, we’d never need any tinkers! (or for that matter any Patchouri stinkers!!)

    The sky might fall…..

  168. noaaprogrammer says:

    A little OT, but as long as we are talking about elevations, do we know if the “average” elevation of any of Japan’s islands has changed since this recent quake? What about tilt? It seems that with the lateral shift toward the east of around 8 feet as some have reported, a movement in the vertical direction may have also occurred.

  169. Mark T says:

    To skip:

    Rather than make unfounded suppositions regarding what you think occurs during a tsunami, I would suggest you actually do some research. Deeper water simply changes the point at which the wave breaks on the shore. Since you’re a self proclaimed expert at 4th grade math, i’d suggest you figure out the length along the shore 17 cm would create with perhaps a 10 degree slope… hint: 17/sin(10) = a/sin(90) for the hypotenuse, and 17/sin(10) = b/sin(80) for the horizontal distance.

    The depths at which such tsunami are created are essentially infinite w.r.t 17 cm so the effect on the wavelength is zero. The waveheight at the shore being a function of the impinging wavelength implies no change in mass on-shore other than the corresponding pythagorean relationship as already noted. Since we can assume they chose to build above the sea level, which was, as noted, likely higher when the area was growing, it is a certainty that the impact would have been the same had sea levels been 20 m (yes, 2000 cm) lower and they built correspondingly further down the slope of the shore.

    Next time you accuse people of not understanding, I would suggest checking the room to see if someone else understands more than you. This concept is easy to research on the web, btw. AAny idiot could have figured this out… leaving you.

    Mark

  170. TimTheToolMan says:

    If the sea levels were 17cm lower and there was an additional, say 5m down to the waterline then the coastal town would have been built 5m closer to the waterline too. Sea level rise would have made no difference.

  171. Dave Worley says:

    A modest Easterly breeze in Japan would more effect on the sea level than the entire 20th century rise cited by Pachuri and Skip.

  172. Ron House says:

    Thank you Anthony for this article. Skip’s attitude here is shocking. He posts from a total lack of knowledge of basic physics. First, Skip, it is not *mass* that does damage but *energy*. The earthquake released a specific amount of energy that would not be changed by trivial differences in the sea level. But set that to one side.

    The key problem with tsunamis is that waves in water travel slower the shallower the water. The tsunami might have been only a few feet high in open sea, but as it moves towards shore, the rising sea bottom slows the wave and successive wave fronts squash up. So the same water must fit in a shorter horizontal distance, and so the wave height must rise. Therefore the tsunamis piles higher and causes terrible damage.

    The amount of damage comes from the energy expended. But there is something else the energy could do – it could be reflected back into the open sea. Pretend for the moment that the coast of Japan were like a really big swimming pool: an abrupt edge and a vertical fall right down to the depth of the open sea. In this case the few-feet-high wave would still be travelling at full speed, would still be low, and would lap against the vertical edge, the entire energy of the wave being reflected back out to sea with no damage at all to the land.

    What we learn from this is that the actual damage in real life depends critically on the features of the terrain of the sea bottom as the wave approaches land. What proportion will be reflected and what proportion absorbed by the land, thus causing damage? We don’t know unless we have a detailed terrain map and we simulate the physics of the approaching wave.

    One thing that is perfectly possible (I don’t say it applies here because I don’t have any of the data I just mentioned) is that the extra 17cm depth results in a slightly faster wave, slightly lower height, slightly more energy reflected back to sea, and slightly less damage.

    Only a detailed simulation could tell us the answer, but Pachauri and Skip demonstrate incredible arrogance by assuming they know the answer when they clearly know nothing about wave physics.

    But let’s assume Pachauri is right. Then there is something yet worse about their argument: any change makes some difference. A child in the water at a beach in Chile might make some difference – a very small one, but some – to the damage in Japan by burping at the wrong instant. Some water molecules are now where they weren’t before, right? So claims by the likes of Pachauri that the damage is “worse” are impossible to argue against because, even if only to an extremely tiny degree, they may actually be true. So the honest and careful thinker cannot disagree no matter how trivial the extra damage might be. So claims like this are in fact just a nasty cheap shot, using the tragedy of those many lives lost for political purposes.

  173. 1DandyTroll says:

    @Bob K.

    “What he might have forgotten, though, is that the shoreline itself moved 170 m inland as the water kept rising over those 100 years…”

    Actually I believe even Japan’s shore line has moved outward what with them building on so called reclaimed land, as in it once was the ocean floor, and such things can not happen, at least not cheap, if the shore line has moved inland.

  174. skip says:

    [snip - read the post above - Anthony]

  175. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    Pachauri, did you decide to leave out the beneficial effect of global warming in this case just to trumpet only the negative? Although since all the commenters here have so far also missed it, it might have been an oversight.

    With all the global warming your IPCC says has happened, the water was warmer. Hypothermia kills. After the tsunami there were lots of wet people, including those frantically looking through drenched wreckage in flooded areas. And the warmer air temperatures helped too, especially afterwards when so many had little shelter and no heat.

    Surely all that global warming must have saved at least as many lives as were taken by that extra 17cm you are complaining about!

  176. Ron Durda says:

    At the risk of revealing what might be a grade four level grasp of physics (and I’m happy to take any instruction needed here) I do have a question about a point Skip seems so determined to push. As preamble here are a couple quotes from his earlier posts.

    At 1:13 he writes, “…what the (sic) makes the tsunami more devastating is not the extra 17 cm of height per se, but the overall *mass* of water that strikes via tsunami because sea level is higher?”. He goes on to say, “you’re talking about literally tens of *billions* of kilo*tons* of additional seawater in 2011 relative to 1900, all other things being equal. It’s the mass of water that kills, not the height”. He repeats this claim at 2:04pm.

    Then, at 4:12pm Skip argues that, “The key point here is that AW is trying to argue that 17 cm is not a whole lot relative to the height of a Japanese person or a water barrier, when the issue is the increased *volume* and thus mass of water….”

    The question I have relates to the connection between mass and volume. What, exactly is the cause of this increased volume of water that makes sea levels 17cm higher? If it is assumed to be entirely the result of thermal expansion (GW), then would it not be the case that the mass (weight) of the water has not changed, and hence this increased height (volume) of the wave would have a lower energy per unit of volume, and thus render this added 17cm more or less impotent?

    My apologies for missing this if it was addressed earlier.

    Ron

  177. Jer0me says:

    Skip,

    The wave is the mass of water above the existing sea level. When the wave has gone, the sea level will be back where it was.

    If the sea level was higher to start with, it ends up higher, and vice versa.

    My advice to you is to stand where a large tsunami is about to hit. You’ll see all the water being drawn away before it hits. That is the wave, and how it works. That 17cm is just not there when the wave hits, even it it did have any additional effect. Then run…. ;)

    What comes onto land is the wave. The wave is the water above existing sea level. The rest stays where it was (not quite as simple, but close enough). The extra 17 cm before the wave appears does not make the wave itself any larger.

    I am not sure how I can make it simpler.

  178. Jer0me says:

    I agree with others here that Patchy is the perfect chairman of the IPCC and I sincerely hope he stays on. After all, he is so obviously arrogant, wrong, corrupt and woefully ignorant of basic physics that I learnt in high school, that he is the perfect leader to lead the IPCC to its eventual merciful and ignoble implosion of wild rhetoric and political polemic.

    Go Patchy!

  179. Magnus says:

    I learned much from watching skip’s fourth grade math class. No sure he did though.

  180. Jer0me says:

    Mark T says:
    March 23, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    Deeper water simply changes the point at which the wave breaks on the shore.

    Thank you, Mark. That was the bit I was grappling for and could not quite recall.

  181. Keith Minto says:

    That first image would not Pachauri’s retinal scan by any chance ?

  182. DCC says:

    @Ben of Houston who said:

    Engineers are constrained by reality because their stuff has to work and they are accountable for their actions. Most “academics” become insulated and recurse among themselves, gradually drifting away from reality.

    I know THAT feeling. I have recursed a few academics in my days in grad school!

  183. Jim says:

    Climate Science is very much a controlled religion, Pachauri is just one many high priests. Everybody knows if Pachauri was in Japan at the time of the earthquake that he would have taken out his 17 cm squared stained silk handkerchief and held back the tsunami, that’s just the kind of hero he is.

    There isn’t a single natural disaster in the world that Pachauri’s cult would not have stopped, had people listened to his after-event prophecies!! Pachauri, or should we say Sanjay, is the world’s first truly super wanker tsunami buster.

  184. David says:

    “UPDATE2: This report of sea level trends in Japan from the Japan Meteorological agency shows the current SL lower than in 1950 by about 20mm. That certainly doesn’t square with AGW theory well, and again makes Pachy’s 17cm value for the area pointless. See: http://www.docstoc.com/docs/10897163/National-Report-of-Japan

    In the areas that did rise there was no possible human impact prior to 1960s. The trend was up prior to this anyway, and continued so until 2005 at about the same rate. Humans are not likely responible for more then 4 or 5 C.M. of the trend, at the most.

  185. Blade says:

    Steve Oregon [March 23, 2011 at 6:33 pm] says:

    “There was a time when much of the world was worried about the possibility of a Nuclear Holocaust. No one ever considered the possibility of a Stupidity Holocaust. Pachauri is verifying that we are in fact in the middle of that Stupidity Holocaust.”

    Good analogy. I often used the virus metaphor in the past to describe what happens when an infection (let’s call it liberal green progressive socialism) is dropped into a population lacking a recent immunity. Some will develop a resistance and fight on and pass on this new trait to their offspring, while others will succumb to the illness and/or spread it others causing great mayhem in the community, but with the potential to impact our entire civilization. Your post and current events makes me think of yet another analogy, that of:

    Fissioning stupidity‘. The net effect of decades of trendy mis-education has produced a tangible result: a civilization comparable to a fissionable fuel perhaps approaching critical mass. The simultaneous AGW insanity demonstrated by scientists, academics and citizens all over this big blue planet can be likened to spontaneous fissioning where escaping neutrons (Mann, Romm, Gore) impact other unstable isotopes (greenies, progressives, socialists, malcontents, etc) feeding further reactions. Some of these reactions yield dramatic short-lived power excursions (AGW wild-eyed outbursts) but then the neutron counters return to normal. However the very recent insane mantra of claiming Blizzards demonstrate AGW, sure looks like a superprompt critical event.

    “This level of stupidity has been spreading like a holocaust. Where does it end?”

    Normally the fissionable fuel is spent or moderated long before any criticality incidents are realized, however in this brave new world we have major media, colleges, universities and even grade schools (uggh!) working overtime as breeder reactors churning out more efficient highly enriched nuclear material. So we are entering a new experiment now, one with the vital neutron moderator influence removed (the absence of traditional academic and media responsibility and self-restraint mechanisms). In such a situation, well, anything is possible.

    Thankfully blogs like WUWT and CA with threads like this act as impromptu geiger counters and dosimeters. It gives a chance for stable isotopes (rational people) to act as control rods against the hysteria thereby reducing the probability of a meltdown.

    ;-)

  186. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    From old engineer on March 23, 2011 at 7:22 pm:

    A good primer for tsunami can be found at:

    http://walrus.wr.usgs.gov/tsunami/basics.html

    NWS-NOAA also has an online brochure:
    http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/brochures/tsunami.htm

    Over on the one Japanese nuclear thread, I was arguing with some anti-nuke activist after virtually everyone else left. Life intervened before I could finish and post the one reply. They were looking at the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami (which flopped as an example) and then the 1923 Great Kantō earthquake in Japan as a “known occurrence” of tsunami waves up to 10 meters in height, therefore the reactors and the diesel generators should have been protected to (at least?) that height.

    In the linked brochure, it says “Large tsunamis have been known to rise over 100 feet…”

    Somewhere on the planet, at some point in time, there was at least one known instance of a tsunami wave over 30.48 meters. Therefore, the tsunami wall protection in Japan should be at least 31 meters above sea level. To be on the safe side, 35 meters sounds reasonable.

    A robust sea wall over ten stories high protecting facilities and people in Japan, because of a known example of at least one instance, somewhere at sometime, of a tsunami wave over 100 feet (30.48 meters) tall? Yep, that makes perfect sense, to some people, apparently.

  187. LeClimatique says:

    Just a question. If the whole ocean level grew 8 to 17 cm in the 20th century, that would be a huge increase in total volume and mass, looking at the entire pacific ocean. Wouldn’t this increase in total mass influence tsunami behaviour?

  188. Brownedoff says:

    It appears that Dr. Pachauri does not know his tsunami from his tumescent.

  189. Dave Wendt says:

    It would appear that almost everyone commenting has missed the most salient point here. Although the consensus +17cm change in GMSL, though there seem to be as many estimates for the number as there are people making the estimates, might have made an incremental change in effect of the tsunami, or not, the fact is that the coast of Japan in the area in question didn’t experience any of it. Both tide gauges and sat data show declining sea levels in the area.

    Then of course, there is the larger problem that GMSL is pretty much a meaningless concept in the first place. Archimedes is famously misquoted as saying ” Give me a lever and a place to stand and I’ll move the world”. Anyone trying to measure the sea level of the planet has the same problem as Archimedes, there is literally no place to stand to take the measurement. Any place on the globe you chose to place a tide gauge is apt to be moving as much or more than any change you are trying to measure. The addition of satellites improved the situation somewhat, but the sat systems aren’t actually referenced to the planet itself, but to a reference ellipsoid and the geoid. Both of these are entirely artificial concepts with only a fairly loose relationship to the physical reality of the planet. The gravitational center of the planet is believed to move about significantly and continually. The gravitational center of the reference ellipsoid is fixed. Also the mathematical parameters that define it are one set of a number of which have been put forward over the years and there isn’t really any rock solid way to determine which is the best fit.
    The geoid, an idealized model of the equipotential surface the oceans would form if all land masses were permeable to the oceans waters and all effects other than variances in the gravitational strength of the planet were removed, has undulations of 200 METERS over the span of the globe and data from GRACE and GOCE satellites indicate that the variance in gravitational strength is greater than had been thought. They are trying to modify the geoid model to reflect the new data, but that puts all the old data on sea level from the Topex/Poseidon generation sats into question.
    But even if they could actually determine the GMSL to the hyperprecision that it is always quoted, it would still be meaningless because the water in the oceans is not like the water in a bath tub and knowing the average level will tell you nothing about any particular regional coast, as the data from Japan clearly illustrate. Given that we are supposed to drowning ourselves by melting glaciers and ice sheets with our carbon profligacy it is interesting to note on the map of sea level trends that Anthony posted above, and on all similar maps I’ve come across, the one big “hot” spot for most sea level rise is located in the Pacific north of Australia, an area not known for a lot of glaciation.

  190. HaroldW says:

    The math doesn’t matter to Pachauri. The important thing is to attach, subliminally, the idea “disaster multplier” to “climate change.” So that people associate “climate change” with disaster. As “climate change” has already been associated with fossil fuels/CO2, when it comes time to support a carbon dioxide tax / regulation etc., people will have become conditioned to think of CO2 as causing disaster. There doesn’t need to be a clear causal chain [in a person's mind]; in fact it’s the vagueness of the association that makes the association more emotional and therefore more powerful.

  191. jrwakefield says:

    Everyone should be aware that Skip is only here to SDisturb. He and his ilk at ScienceBlogs has been constantly trashing this site, and insulting anyone who disagrees with the Faith. He’s not here for the science, he’s not here to learn something new. He just wants to go back his faithful clique and confirm that Anthony and this award winning blog is garbage. Nothing more. Best to ignore him.

  192. skip says:

    Snip . . . Snip . . . Snip.

    Is it not one-sided enough without AW snipping my responses?

    Please note a number of things that I am *not* saying:

    I do not deny that other factors affect sea level. I am not saying that the tsunami proves the AGW hypothesis. I am not saying 17 cm of sea level rise proves the AGW hypothesis (that is a different argument, Mac). I do not deny that other factors mentioned by a number of posters here (shifting tides, winds, tectonic plates) could affect the destructive power of this particular tsunami. I am not denying that energy level is a key component of a Tsunami’s destructive power (although greater volume of water also will hurt in a given location.)

    My entire point was to address AW’s argument *on its own terms*.

    People, go back and look at the graphic accompanying AW’s first post. Its as plain as the nose on your face. He shows a picture of two little people, a sturdy but short protective wall, and a tree. Look how short they all are relative to a tsunami, he proclaims. Whats an extra 17 cm? What a fool is Pauchari!

    *That* is a terrible argument. Not one of you has addressed its terribleness.

    If you want to argue that any number of other factors have affected the destructive force of this tsunami, I am not disputing you. But *holding all those factors* (winds, tectonic shifts, tides, poor adaptation in coastal construction, etc.) constant, the extra “17 cm” of water *will* cause substantially more destruction.

    Please also note that AW is shifting the focus of his argument now: Sea levels around Japan have declined. But initially he tried to argue that an extra 17 cm of water was superfluous, and its telling that he now feels the need to censor me regarding it.

    If this post survives moderation I’ll rethink my agnosticism.

    [Reply: I snipped your insulting comment, not Anthony. ~dbs, mod.]

  193. Peter Miller says:

    Reading Skippy’s comments, he strikes me as someone probably still at school and suffering from the lamentable state of our education system, especially when it has become prone to teaching trendy, as opposed to real, science.

    Anyhow, Skippy serves his purpose and helps reminds us all of the quality of most AGW arguments/”science”.

  194. skip says:

    I have attempted to respond in good faith to as many of the points raised here as possible in critiquing the completely irrational argument AW has made against Pauchari’s comments about sea level rise and the destructive force of tsunamis. When I respond to criticism my posts are snipped.

    It is quite telling that the host of this forum relies on censorship. This is why [snip] are called just that.

    [You may not refer to those you disagree with as "climate change deniers." Read the site Policy. ~dbs, mod.]

  195. Vernon E says:

    I really would like to get a better understanding of this “rising sea level” business. Sounds as though somebody sticks a ruler in the sand somewhere and watches the level of the sea over a number of years. Yes? No, nonsense. Here in the UK our tidal range (the difference between high tide level and low tide level) varies between about 5.5 meters and over 10 meters according to season and moon phase (neaps and springs in yachting terms). I assume that we’re not unique in the world – I sailed in Bombay harbour many years ago and we had one heck of a tide there – so what is the level that people are making all these claims about? Is it the height of the highest tide? Or is it the mean height of the highest tides (MSLHWS), or is it the mean sea water level (MSL) a purely terrestrial “imaginery” reference used for survey maps, and so on. Whatever it is, the UK’s official Maritime Agency reports that “there has been no discernible change in sea levels for over a hundred years”

  196. David Jones says:

    Mark_K says:
    March 23, 2011 at 10:27 am
    Aside from the fact that it was only 17cm, the fact is that people build relative to sea level, flood plain, etc. If the sea level had been two meters lower, the buildings would have been two meters lower.

    And thus the wave height (relative to sea level) would also have been 17cm lower!

  197. David Jones says:

    skip says:
    March 23, 2011 at 1:11 pm
    Owing to a decimal space out on my part the 1.7 must change to a .17 but it has no significant bearing on the argument.

    (Now watch AW pounce with glee . . . brother.)

    [Reply: Why would he? Anthony has been ignoring your comments. ~dbs, mod.]

    Anthony sets us all a good example. Would be better if we all ignored skip’s comments, PAST & FUTURE!!

  198. ddpalmer says:

    “…the extra “17 cm” of water *will* cause substantially more destruction.”

    But that is the point that has been mentioned a number of times in responses to your posts and you haven’t respond at all.

    There is no “extra 17 cm of water”. The height of the wave is above sea level, not above the sea level in 1900. With the same conditions, except for average sea leve,l the same earthquake in 1900 would have caused a tsunami of exactly the same height above sea level. The water above the epicenter being 17 cm higher doesn’t make the tsunami 17 cm higher.

    Same size wave means same destructive force. Except that if sea level at Fukushima has risen by 17 cm then the gently sloping sea floor running up to the shore line is now longer than in 1900, so by forcing the wave to travel further it will have lost more kinetic energy before reaching the new higher shore line. So the effect of rising sea level would cause the wave to have less energy by the time it reached any structures not more.

  199. jrwakefield says:

    I have attempted to respond in good faith to as many of the points raised here

    Yeah, right. i tried that on ScienceBlogs after being invited to comment on my temperature analysis and all I got from people like you was continued insults. You consantly trashed WUWT as garbage, do I have to go back and report here some of your comments about Anthony and WUWT you have made there? Good faith, that’s a laugh. You just got borred at Coby’s blog without me around, so you came here looking for a thrill.

  200. skip says:

    *The water above the epicenter being 17 cm higher doesn’t make the tsunami 17 cm higher.*

    Maybe. Maybe not. I am *not* claiming to fully understand the fluid dynamics of tsunamis. I was responding to *AW’s* argument in the original post that Pauchari was being silly *even if the 17 cm increase is assumed.* I do not claim to know how increased ocean volume has affected this particular tsunami. I suspect that would be an interesting debate.

    To repeat the point: Go back and look at AW’s graph and claims based on the relative height of Japanese people, protective walls, and trees. Its an outlandish argument. No one has addressed this. This is why AW is now switching the argument to the relative sea level rise around Japan. He realizes his trees-people-wall height argument is a loser.

    * . . . the gently sloping sea floor running up to the shore line is now longer than in 1900 . . . *

    By how much do you think? A meter? Two?

    * . . . so by forcing the wave to travel further it will have lost more kinetic energy . . . *

    How much relative to the additional volume of water striking a fixed land location if the ocean is, on average 17cm higher–as AW *assumed* in his initial dismissal of Pauchari? (The same dismissal that was voted “excellent” by so many visitors to this forum?) And that brings up another point someone posted earlier about relative regional sea level rise, but that is a different story . . .

    Richard: I’ll ask again: Do you want me to talk about your Weather Channel pronouncements, your self-contradicting citations of Judith Curry (how’d the email exchange go?), or your postmodern use of the difference of means test? I’m sure your chums here would be quite impressed.

  201. Smokey says:

    Thanks for this graphic, Anthony. It puts the ridiculous “17 cm” argument in perspective.

  202. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    From skip on March 24, 2011 at 6:14 am:

    If you want to argue that any number of other factors have affected the destructive force of this tsunami, I am not disputing you. But *holding all those factors* (winds, tectonic shifts, tides, poor adaptation in coastal construction, etc.) constant, the extra “17 cm” of water *will* cause substantially more destruction.

    You have an interesting definition of “substantially.” A minivan has rolled down a hillside. The vehicle is destroyed, all occupants are dead. You are pointing at a pebble and arguing that it caused substantially more destruction. Shall you now methodically investigate and locate one small dent on the sheet metal that can be attributed to that pebble, and cite that as proof that pebble caused substantially more destruction? Will removing that pebble make a substantial difference the next time a minivan rolls down that hillside?

    Please also note that AW is shifting the focus of his argument now: Sea levels around Japan have declined. But initially he tried to argue that an extra 17 cm of water was superfluous, and its telling that he now feels the need to censor me regarding it.

    Strangely enough, I have not detected the “shift” you refer to. The extra 17cm was mentioned as superfluous, then it was mentioned how it didn’t exist anyway. Whether the 17cm does or does not exist, it doesn’t matter either way. Why can you not grasp this, and have to resort to insults that will get you snipped? You resemble a protester shouting loud disruptive logic-free chants, pushing harder and harder against the crowd control barriers, until finally a police officer has to push you back. Then you get to try to impress your “main squeeze” with your commitment to “the cause” by citing how you “got beat up by the pigs.”

    Here’s a tip. If you’re going to brag about your daring exploits against we evil anti-science deniers, don’t provide the link to these comments. This internet record is better than news footage at showing what really happened. ;-)

  203. ddpalmer says:

    “I am *not* claiming to fully understand the fluid dynamics of tsunamis. I was responding to *AW’s* argument in the original post that Pauchari was being silly *even if the 17 cm increase is assumed.* ”

    And if you had confined your comments as such I wouldn’t have brought this up, but you didn’t.

    “I am not claiming to understand the precise physics of tsunamis, just the obvious fact that if you multiply .17 meters times the area a tsunami with its abnormally long wavelength covers from say, the latitudes touching Morioka and Sendai (the rough shoreline of the main tsunami strike), you’re talking about literally tens of *billions* of kilo*tons* of additional seawater in 2011 relative to 1900, all other things being equal. It’s the *mass* of water that kills and destroys, not the height.”

    So you don’t understand tsunami dynamics but you are willing to claim that the 17 cm change in sea height would lead to a more massive and thus more a energetic wave.

    “By how much do you think? A meter? Two?”

    My back of the envelope calculation say about 1 meter.

    “How much relative to the additional volume of water striking a fixed land location if the ocean is, on average 17cm higher…”

    There is no additional water. The 17 cm of sea level rise shifts where the shore line is, it does not make the wave larger, thus there is no additional volume. I do know that the loss of energy for an extra 1 meter of slope that the wave has to travel is trivial, but at least it exists while this mythical additional volume or mass doesn’t exist.

  204. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    From David Jones on March 24, 2011 at 7:48 am:

    Anthony sets us all a good example. Would be better if we all ignored skip’s comments, PAST & FUTURE!!

    We all should skip skip?
    ;-)

  205. kbray in california says:

    Like a broken record, Skip’s record player is “stuck in a groove”.

    His first comment starting with an insult to everyone here is a clue…

    skip says:
    March 23, 2011 at 12:18 pm
    “Mr. Watts:
    …a silly response… and a testament to the gullibility of yourself and your readership.”

    “Pillock’s” point presented, pulling the plug on this player is perfectly prudent.

  206. Steve Oregon says:

    Skip,
    You just can’t grasp how Pauchari’s foolish supposition was also dishonest.
    “If the sea-level was significantly lower, clearly the same tsunami would have had a less devastating effect”

    His presumed 17 centimeters is not “significant” relative to a major tsunami.
    His then speculative claim of less devastation without the presumed 17 centimeters is baseless gibberish pretending to be a plausible theory.

    He has nothing but his conniving imagination.
    His being “IPCC’s” Pachauri and making these ginned up claims in order to suggest the AGW warming planet is worsening tsunamis is seriously unethical.

    It’s the kind of unethical and baseless claim spewed forth by many alarmists from their every imaginable observation.

    Your verbose attempt to put lipstick on the Pauchari has only worsened this alarmist episode.

  207. skip says:

    There are too many of you to respond to at once, and I do have a day job, but let’s try this one more time.

    Pauchari speculated that the increased volume of water, assuming a 17 cm 20th century sea level rise, would increase–all other things being equal–the size of the tsunami striking Japan.

    AW’s clever response? Go look at his graph: What’s an additional 17 cm when people, trees, and wave barriers are already shorter than a 14 meter tsunami? Gotcha, IPPC flunkie!

    He completely ignored the issue of the potential addition of *billions* of kilotons water, and focused on additional *height*. He clearly thought, “It doesn’t matter if you’re drowning under 14 meters or 14.17 meters; you’re still drowning.”

    We can argue until R Wakefield fesses up to you people about his multiple embarrassments over at ScienceBlogs about the substantive importance of the extra volume of water. I am not claiming to know. The point is that Pauchari’s speculation is not the straw man AW so clumsily made it out to be, and the fact that his argument was digested by this readership so unquestioningly (E,g., Smokey still being swooned by AW’s graph.) says more than a graduate textbook on oceanography ever could.

    You folks are so easily swayed by anything that sounds anti-IPCC that you never even stopped to think.

    REPLY: OK “Skip” enough with the condescending “you people” I expect better from a professor. Your expertise is in teaching criminal justice at a university, what makes you think you have any qualified insight on the specifics of oceanography? Your arguments have been picked apart by multiple people, and they simply don’t hold up. You seem incapable of getting the fact that the 17cm simply doesn’t matter for multiple reasons.

    - Anthony

  208. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    After looking at those University of Colorado sea level maps, I really want to know what is happening east of the Philippines. What is the cause of that dramatic localized sea level rise? While previously researching sea levels, I had read how the prevailing trade winds and currents will cause water to “pile up” at the western side of the Pacific Ocean along the tropics, resulting in higher sea levels there than on the eastern side. Is that what we are seeing, the water is piling up against the Philippines?

  209. Charles Sainte Claire P.E. says:

    Paucharie’s argument is quite correct. 17 centimeters on top of 10 meters of tsunami wave will obviously add to the problem. By 1.7%. And of course the sea level has been rising since the end of the last ice age. Long before the industrial age.

    People want money and fame.

  210. skip says:

    AW:

    I am not complaining about the condescension shown to *me* on this blog.

    My argument has not been “picked apart” by anyone, because my only argument is the quality of *your* argument.

    Allow me to pose it differently:

    I want to see someone finish a sentence that begins thus:

    “Under the presumption of 17 cm sea level rise, the height in meters of people and flora potentially affected by a tsunami is relevant because . . . ”

    REPLY: And again, you don’t get to choose how things are done here. People see your argument as pointless and I agree. The 17cm is inconsequential whether you look at height or mass in the scope of the size of the Tsunami, or as one commenter aptly put it: ” Pachauri is complaining that the rampaging elephant had just had lunch before he flattened your house. ” which is essentially your argument also. Plusthere’s evidences staring you directly in the face that Japan’s sea level in that area is actually lower than the worldwide average, so even if it WAS relevant, the effect would be less.

    You lost, get over it, move on. – Anthony

  211. skip says:

    *Pachauri is complaining that the rampaging elephant had just had lunch before he flattened your house. ” which is essentially your argument also.* –AW

    Incorrect.

    “Damage” in the case of a “flattened” house is a quantum. The analogy is inapplicable, because the “elephant” in this case is flattening *thousands* of houses–a number determined by its size and force. If that size and force are greater owing to sea level rise–a premise you granted in your cavalier dismissal of Pauchari–then that means a commensurate number of more flattened houses.

    If you now wish to just [snip – final warning. ~dbs] that sea level rise increased the height of the recent tsunami, then just do that. I have no immediate way of knowing either way–although I am now interested. But if you are still insisting that the shortness of trees and Japanese people proves that an extra 17 cm of water on a tsunami is superfluous, I stand by my earlier assessment of the quality of your analysis and the discernment of your readership.

  212. kbray in california says:

    REPLY: OK “Skip” enough with the condescending “you people” I expect better from a professor. Your expertise is in teaching criminal justice at a university…

    Defense attorneys come up with some pretty “off the wall” defense claims in defending criminals. Maybe “Skip’s” class is where they learn the crazy irrational ideas. If that’s the case, skip’s position makes sense now. Maybe he also has a flair for “community organizing” too. I see a certain mindset here… ?quantum?? Skip, do you do bowling?

  213. George Turner says:

    Skip, you still don’t get it. In the past 18,000 years the sea level has risen about 120 meters (roughly 400 feet), which is vastly larger than the height of the Japanese tsunami. Yet even back then tectonic activity caused major earthquakes and tsunamis, and those tsunamis packed the same energy as those today, had the same wave heights, and traveled at the same speeds. If we could raise the sea level another 400 feet, earthquakes would still cause tsunamis and those tsunamis would pack the same energy and have the same wave heights. If changing sea level by 800 feet doesn’t affect the nature of the tsunamis, how does changing the sea level by 6 inches make a difference?

    Also note that the Japanese would’ve elevated their roadways by six inches just by paving them twice – in 100 years.

  214. 1DandyTroll says:

    @skip

    do you understand scale in relation to its surrounding?

    One cubic kilometer plus one kilometer times one kilometer times 17 cm (this assuming the sea level rise was 17 cm at that particular area, if you haven’t noticed it yet sea level rise is local phenomenon where the global average is only in the statistics) has to be put into relation where the surrounding land has experienced land rise (which is an ongoing process for a large part of the northern hemisphere due to the loss of all the ice since the last ice age.)

    And to note another explanation of yours 17 cm truly is, yet again assuming the sea level rise at that particular area was 17 cm, a true 17 cm rise of actual added water and not due to the fact of the floor underneath rising 17 cm there by pushing the above pillar of water upwards, 17 cm.

    Now tell us again the importance of your 17 cm rise?

  215. Slacko says:

    Mike says:
    March 23, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    The wave speed is fixed. A loud sound does not travel faster than a quiet sound.

    A surface wave is not analogous to a sound wave. I’m sorry you missed out on your childhood. Put a gallon of water in your sink and play with waves for a minute. Wave speed is related to height.

  216. Slacko says:

    skip says:
    March 23, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    “Guys, please . . . what is the average wave length of a tsunami? Its not a roller that hits land like something you surf on. Tsunamis can have wavelengths of 100s of km.”

    Considering that four (4) waves are visible in one picture, I’m not buying into this extreme wavelength idea. Though I’m wary of mkelly’s short assumption of 1.4m as well.

    mkelly says:
    March 23, 2011 at 1:26 pm
    “1400cm^3″ and “1400*1400*1417″

  217. Ron House says:

    skip says:
    There are too many of you to respond to at once, and I do have a day job, but let’s try this one more time.

    Well you seem to have conveniently overlooked my previous contribution. I wonder why. If you recall, you claimed that there would be much more water *mass* causing much more damage. You advanced that as a positive claim, you didn’t merely say “Anthony was wrong” as you now try to tell us. In fact you said:

    Does it even occur to any of you people that what the makes the tsunami more devastating is not the extra 17 inches of height per se, but the overall *mass* of water that strikes via tsunami because sea level is higher? Is this really that hard to understand?

    I pointed out that depending on the structure of the sea bottom, it could even be that the extra depth causes more energy to be reflected rather than absorbed by land, thus lessening the damage. Certainly extra water depth lessens tsunami wave height, but whether it overpowers the effect of the 17cm or just reduces it depends on detailed information we don’t have. That means that your claim is just that – a claim that might or might not be true. More importantly, since Pachauri clearly doesn’t have an atom of understanding of what he is talking about, ignoring this real physical principle and chucking worthless vague and untrue words like “kind of multiplier” around, he is misrepresenting the science. Given his position and the expectation of authority from his pronouncements, that is dereliction of duty.

  218. skip says:

    Moderator/AW:

    Please . . . I am willing to tone down the rhetoric (“you guys” . . . “4th grade math” . . .etc.) but can I at least use the word “deny” in a grammatically appropriate context?

    I mean, come on.

    REPLY: Your first post starts off by insulting me and continues to insult people, and you want special treatment? Sure, why not, you’ve earned yourself a troll bin chair – Anthony

  219. skip says:

    *do you understand scale in relation to its surrounding?* –Troll

    I am sorry, Dandy, but that you would use this argument shows you bought AW’s faulty analysis. To wit, the idea that people are small compared to 14 m, therefore an extra 17 cm doesn’t mean anything on a tsunami.

    Reminder: AW *stipulated* the extra 17 cm when he dismissed Pauchari without even considering the possibility that increased volume/mass/force, not height, is/are the crucial factor(s) in the destructive force of a tsunami. Please refer to his graph. Nobody called him on it except me. When I asked which of the commentators here bought this argument (“look how small the 17cm wave increase is relative to the size of people and trees”) not *one* of you rushed to his defense. Not one. What do you think I should make of this?

    AW, why not just do this: Admit it was a blunder. I’ve committed a few myself. (I even contradicted myself once in *this* discussion and no one caught it yet . . . but I’ll let you work for it and then I will fully fess up.)

    The only way any of us can get better at anything is when we look at our mistakes and *learn*.

    Repeat/summary: The relative height of people/trees is irrelevant in gauging the destructive force of a tsunami with an extra 17cm added–which addition AW *stipulated* in his smug dismissal of Pauchari. Yet he made a huge show of giving us the average height of Japanese men, women, the bonsai(sp?) tree, etc. It was a blunder, pure and simple. The inference he left all of you to make was, “Well, gee, what’s an extra 17 cm when you’re already 14 m underwater.”

    Again, no one caught the nonsense but me. And now you’re fighting me to the death over it when all you have to do is acknowledge the error and move on!

    REPLY: Are you Tim Flannery?

    - Anthony

  220. George Turner says:

    Skip, there is no extra 17 cm. The power in a surface wave is in reference to the normal water level, whatever that level happens to be. A one foot wave on a mountain lake, thousands of feet above sea level, is the same as a one foot wave in the Dead Sea, 1700 feet below sea level.

    The main thing a 6″ increase in sea level could do is change the relative height of the shore versus the ocean by 6 inches, which is less than the height of a cinder block. If anything, claiming that this tiny difference in height makes a difference in survival also argues that everyone should drive a big SUV (because the extra 6 inches of ground clearance spells the difference between life and death in a tsunami caused by an earthquake caused by tectonic forces) and live in a bigger house with an extra row of cinderblocks in the foundation. It also argues that we should pave more, to raise road heights by six inches, giving people that extra margin of survival.

    Of course houses, airports, surf shacks, and nuclear plants should also move inland and then beachward again, a few miles a day, as the tides come in and out.

  221. sky says:

    Tsunamis of any height propagate as long gravity waves, whose phase speed c is governed by the square root of gh, where h is the depth of water. Their periods are on the order of tens of minutes, thus the wavelength is cT, where T is the period in seconds. Wave height comes into play only with great heights that produce steep faces and/or bores nearshore, which may induce secondary undulations such as those noted by Slacko. Once the bore advances upon dry land, the run-up elevation becomes the effective h. Such elevations are highly variable along a coast. There’s simply no single height or wavelength that can be ascribed to a particular tsunami event nearshore; it’s much more complicated than that.

  222. skip says:

    AW:

    A number of your comments above suggest you know who I am–a nobody. I am not a socialist who hates free markets. I do not want one world government. I am not a misanthrope who despises prosperity and progress. I am just a devoted father of newborn twins who cares about the future of the world they inherit. Hence my interest in this issue.

    And will offer this compliment, Mr. Watts; Despite my vigorous repudiation of your comments on Pauchari I do humbly appreciate your discretion in not revealing who I am to this forum. I am not in this for notoriety.

    While I am exactly as Irish as Mr. Flannery, but I am not the man.

    REPLY: OK now you are talking semi-realistically. Here’s my honest answer. The 17cm makes no difference, and someday you may come to understand why. – Anthony

  223. skip says:

    If you are stipulating the 17 cm then it of necessity *must* make some difference in the destructive force of the tsunami, which you showed no evidence of grasping when you initially mocked Pauchari. This is my key point.

    Look at your contributors’ comments. They all are rushing to argue against the 17cm increase because, in many cases, they recognize its threat if conceded. (Believe me its a fascinating and complex discussion in itself but its not germane to my critique.) Your criticism of Pauchari was premised on his silliness *even conceding* the 17 cm increase in the height of the wave. Nobody spotted/acknowledged the problem except me.

    I’ll purge the word “gullibility” from my presentation but I find it very . . . concerning . . . that it was so glibly lauded by your readership when you first posted it.

    REPLY: It still doesn’t matter, it’s like comparing gnats to gigatons. – Anthony

  224. Slacko says:

    skip says:
    March 23, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    A greater volume of water will hit any given land location *more* so if sea level is higher. Massively more so. … Do you deny that?

    The key point here is that AW is trying to argue that 17 cm is not a whole lot relative to the height of a Japanese person or a water barrier, when the issue is the increased *volume* and thus mass of water … that 17 cm times the crucial area of the tsunami–which can have a wavelength of up to 500 km.”

    Yes, I deny that!
    There is no greater volume in the wave. The earthquake imparts a given amount of energy to the water, regardless of sea level. That energy is transmitted by the waves, which slow down in shallow water as the wavelength is coverted to height increase. A wave will travel the same distance inland from the shoreline (for a given groundslope of course) regardless of sea level. Thus, if the tide rises 17cm, the wave will ingress to a limit 17cm higher in altitude than if the tide had not risen. That is Anthony’s point about the Bonsai tree. The wave is not higher, nor more voluminous, because its energy is the same regardless of sea level.

    Put a book under your monitor. Now your monitor is bigger?
    No, you only raised the desk level. It’s amazing you don’t get this.

  225. skip says:

    *The wave is not higher, nor more voluminous, because its energy is the same regardless of sea level.*

    But, its impact on land will be greater if its 17 cm higher–which AW stipulated in his dismissal of Pauchari (this is key!)–than *it would have been* without sea level rise. Pauchari never made the straw man argument–nor am I–that sea level rise makes waves “bigger” in absolute terms. They would be higher *relative to the land they strike*, and thus imbued with greater destructive force as per the massive increase in the amount of water that is mathematically required when you multiply the additional height by the size of the wave.

    Please understand what I am saying here.

    REPLY: OK let me try to explain this in criminal justice terms which you might understand.

    Let’s say you live in a state where you can have up to 17 oz of drugs for *personal use* without any penalty. You like that, and get yourself a legal baggie.

    You decide you like it a lot and stock up, you fill your garage from floor to ceiling with drugs. You have 10,000 ounces of drugs in that garage.

    A nosy neighbor calls the cops, the cops come in and bust you and your 10 kilo-ounce stash.

    They log 10,017 ounces of drugs into evidence. The first 17oz baggie you got, plus the 10,000 ounces in the garage.

    At the trial, your lawyer claims that 17oz bag was for personal use, and should be excluded. The defense laughs and agrees, saying: “OK, but you’ll stipulate to the 10,000 ounces?” You say sure, all I care about is the 17oz bag.

    In the context of scale for the evidence for the crime, the 17 ounces make no difference whatsoever, it’s a throwaway. You’re still busted by the sheer magnitude of the other evidence. That’s the point. The Tsunami was so large, whether the was or wasn’t a 17cm effect, it makes no significant difference whatsoever given the magnitude of the wave.

    Now before you write anything again, you should view this image. – Anthony

  226. kbray in California says:

    Skip: if you really are the father of newborn twins…
    then you likely have sleep deprivation.
    It adversely affects the brain and cognitive function.

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

    Try some earplugs. Your clarity will slowly improve.
    Good luck with your progeny!

  227. Slacko says:

    skip says:
    March 23, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    *But you have already been told a number of times that sea level around Japan has been falling for a considerable time.* –Dave Andrews

    Where? As calculated how? That’s crucial. Upward shifts of submarine plates do not count as “falling sea level”.

    Wow! You gotta go tell the AGWa team that, Skip.
    I would tend to agree, but as is evident in the graph above, that ain’t how they like to do it. How can sea level fall around Japan and yet rise around the Soloman Islands? It’s obviously not the ocean, it’s the crust that’s changing. But it’s crucial they find a way to blame it on anthro-catastrophic CO2.

  228. Tom in Florida says:

    skip says: (March 24, 2011 at 10:36 pm)
    “But, its impact on land will be greater if its 17 cm higher–which AW stipulated in his dismissal of Pauchari (this is key!)–than *it would have been* without sea level rise. ”

    If I was surrounded by 100 bees, all attacking me at once, would the attack be “greater than it would have been” had there been only 99 bees? One could argue yes but what’s the real difference? It’s about scale, Skippy, scale.

  229. skip says:

    *How can sea level fall around Japan and yet rise around the Soloman Islands?*

    Because crustal uplift–and myriad other factors–affect different regions differently??? What is the point of this question? Are you inferring that I am saying crustal uplift is uniform?

    Mr. Watts, it is comments like the above from your readers that bother me so much.

    But more to the point:

    I am sorry, but the illicit drug analogy suffers from the same malady as the engorged elephant analogy you brought up earlier:

    An elephant would flatten your house whether it ate prior to its attack or not. It’s flattened . . . If you’re caught with drugs it doesn’t matter if its a 1000 grams or 1017 grams. You’re still busted . . . If a tsunami is 14 or 14.17 meters you’re still struck by a tsunami.

    If fully understand the analogies and their application but they are simply *wrong*. Damage from a tsunami strike is not a binary measure; it is a function of the size and strength of the tsunami.

    A far better version of the drug analogy would focus on the potential extent of the human damage associated with my crime. (Although for adults I would argue drugs are by and large a ‘victimless’ crime but that is another and complex matter.) If I am dealing drugs to schoolchildren, I am a more menacing drug dealer if I sell 1017 grams of crack then if I am dealing only 1000. And to make the analogy even better–because again the wavelength of a tsunami can reach hundreds of kilometers–if I deal drugs at this rate (1017 versus 1000) for month after month after month, the accumulated additional damage of my narcotics distribution begins to mount in real, tangible, and quite horrific human terms. (I am a proponent of drug decriminalization but I fully acknowledge that drug dealers are scum, but that is again another issue.)

    Its not just a question of whether I’m dealing or not (binary measure); its a question of the *extent* of harm done (continuous measure). More dealing to children means more harm. More water in a tsunami–as you again stipulated in your thought experiment when mocking Pauchari–means more harm associated with the tsunami against a fixed coastal location.

    Are you willing to say with confidence that the additional 17 cm (which is a gross oversimplification of which we are both guilty but serves as a talking point) would cause *no* additional human and material damage over the course of the tsunami strike? If so that seems extremely bold–as it was extremely dismissive and cavalier to mock Pauchari’s speculation, which is why I have been attacking your post.

    There are number other tangential issues. Sea levels in Japan are a function of many things *in addition* to overall ocean volume, such as ENSO patterns, tectonic shifts, lunar influences, and so on. But holding all those things equal except increased oceanic volume from thermal expansion and glacial runoff, it strongly suggests there *was* more water available for this earthquake to move *relative to 1900*. Furthermore the rising amplitude and shortening wavelength of a tsunami as it breaks land means any additional water mass would not be the exact “17 cm” stipulated; it would be much, much higher. These issues by no means help your case but they are not my main point, which is that you mocked Pauchari, who was making a far more reasonable speculation than you initially allowed, and attracted a clamor of supporting jeers from your readers, not one of whom bothered to think about the lacuna in your logic.

    REPLY: Sounds like a perfect synopsis to apply for a government grant, and still your point is irrelevant. You brought the jeers on yourself with your opening insults, stop whining about that which you reap from what you sowed. – Anthony

  230. skip says:

    Tom, by restricting your analogy to one victim of the bee attack you’re committing the same fallacy of of viewing “damage” as binary that AW is committing with his engorged elephant and drug bust examples.

    If a swarm of aggressive bees attacks a *group*, that one extra bee might nail someone with a deadly allergy. It might be “just one more” sting, but that I suspect will be of little consolation to the poor sod dying of cardiac arrest.

  231. Steve Oregon says:

    Skip’s argument reminds me of the default play by alarmists who often try and make their case by pointing out that many/most skeptics admit that CO2 emissions are contributing to the “greenhouse” effect and therefore impacting climate.
    There again the magnitude of likely impact is ignored.

    The meaningless 17 CM of sea rise impacted the tsunami just as the minuscule amount of human produced CO2 emissions impacts the atmosphere and climate.

    But Skip et al insist level of impact doesn’t matter.

    That we need the massive efforts to reduce them regardless of how meaningless the level is. In fact they don’t want to talk about the level.

    If they can hypothesize any impact drastic action must be taken.
    How stupid is that?

    Take it to any problem in any arena and it’s equally stupid.
    Legislatures are forever falling into this foolishness in producing legislation.

    We don’t need their remedies for problems that exist only by their irrational pandemonium and dishonest advocacy.

    And their demanding and devouring countless millions in funding themselves must stop.

  232. Steve Oregon says:

    “Pauchari, who was making a far more reasonable speculation”
    Oh just BS, Skip.
    His “speculation” was just another ridiculous and dishonest AGW stunt used to pile more on top of the mountain of observations falsely attributed (in some ginned up way) to AGW.
    The ease at which these dishonest lunatics attribute all things seen and imagined to AGW, along with their convenient presumption that skeptics must then prove them wrong is maddening.
    Your lame attempt to apply reasonable lipstick to this latest stunt FAILED and amounted to no more than the usual, “well there could have been be an impact from the maybe 17 cm”, so therefore, Pachauri was reasonable.
    It’s amazing that so many of you lofty perchers can’t recognize the egregious nature of it all.

  233. skip says:

    * . . . still your point is irrelevant.* –AW

    That is again a very bold statement. I wonder if you or any of your readers are willing to venture the certitude that *no* additional damage–in material and human terms–would have been generated by an extra 17 cm in sea level (as your graph stipulated) or in the case of this particular tsunami, *whatever* the contribution of 20th MSL rise was to its mass. If I were in your shoes I wouldn’t. That’s real “skepticism”, and none of the contributors her that I have read yet have shown it in regarding your belittling of Pauchari.

    *You brought the jeers on yourself with your opening insults, stop whining about that which you reap from what you sowed* — AW

    Jeer at me all you want. I’m a big boy. The jeers to which I referred were the remarks about Pauchari that followed your post. Your readership delighted in this mockery of him, never considering the crucial gap in your height comparison, and that his speculation was far more plausible than you initially allowed. (Compounding the misleading visual comparison of trees and people was the width of the wave in your visual. True you are restricted by screen size, but if that wave was truly to “scale”, as the caption posits, how far *latterly* to the right of the screen would it have extended? More to the point, had you even *considered* that when ridiculing Pachari over the 17 cm figure? ["Look how wee the people and trees already are? What's another 17 cm?"] I have my doubts.)

    And this brings up a larger and probably final point. This is a tactic I see AGW disputants use with great frequency: Attempted decapitation strikes: Find something apparently ridiculous or flawed about a prominent individual person who promotes the AGW hypothesis (Gore, Hansen, Pauchari), and then revel in this as if it were somehow of crucial relevance in assessing the scientific case for AGW. I of course do not know for certain whether Pauchari’s speculation will pan out; it might well not. My acceptance of the theory has nothing to do with *him*, but that of course, is a much larger and very different story.

    REPLY: Oh, puhleeze. The scale and the objects are pixel accurate, note the size of the image (and the objects) corresponds vertically to pixels= centimeters, which you can see in the image info, if you know how to do that, but I’m guessing you don’t from your fractured understanding. Get a bigger monitor or learn how to work zoomed, and count the pixels. At least we have the courage to put our name to our words and claims. As I’ve always said those who snipe from the comfort of anonymity are simply cowards, and if they feel their words are important, they should stand behind them. But, think whatever you want “skip”, no amount of logic can penetrate your thought process. We’re going in circles, so we’re done. Go back to criminal justice where you may actually do some good in things you hopefully understand. Here, all you are doing is wasting everybody’s time (including the time of your state funded University employer) arguing for an argument that only you agree with. Your point remains irrelevant. – Anthony

  234. TonyG says:

    I think a better analogy might be if a 300km diameter meteor were to hit earth, vs. a 317km diameter meteor. Obviously, the 317km meteor would cause MORE damage than the 300km meteor. But the difference, given the scale of the event, would be relatively misiscule – small enough to be irrelevant.

    Kenny Wayne Shepherd understood:
    Blue on black, tears on a river
    Push on a shove, it don’t mean much
    Joker on jack, match on a fire
    Cold on ice, a dead man’s touch
    Whisper on a scream, doesn’t change a thing

    The extra 17cm is nothing more than ‘tears on a river’

  235. skip says:

    You might regard me as a coward, but it has no bearing on the dispute.

    * . . . the image (and the objects) corresponds vertically to pixels= centimeters, which you can see in the image info, if you know how to do that . . . *

    It is telling that you do not understand my point at all. To *horizontal* scale, the tsunami would extend a city block off your screen. This is what makes the extra 17 cm stipulated so much more meaningful in absolute terms than your graphic suggests. Your statement above bolsters my suspicion that you had not considered this aspect of tsunami dynamics when mocking Pauchari, and neither had your readers.

    Most of my posts on your forum have been made after working hours, and right now I am on lunch.

    REPLY:Actually your inability to put your name to your words says a lot. Now you are just being disingenuous, the issue was vertical height, the 17 cm, quoted from Pachauri, not horizontal breadth. You can’t change the argument to a different dimension simply because you lost the vertical argument. What next to try to salvage your still irrelevant argument? As I said before, I’m not going to waste any more time on this. You’ve lost, get over it. Waste time elsewhere, you’ve worn out your welcome with this comment. – Anthony

  236. Tom in Florida says:

    skip says: (March 25, 2011 at 7:58 am)
    “Tom, by restricting your analogy to one victim of the bee attack you’re committing the same fallacy of of viewing “damage” as binary that AW is committing with his engorged elephant and drug bust examples.
    If a swarm of aggressive bees attacks a *group*, that one extra bee might nail someone with a deadly allergy. It might be “just one more” sting, but that I suspect will be of little consolation to the poor sod dying of cardiac arrest.”

    No, the analogy stands. Take the entire area of destruction as one victim. A minuscule bit more or less water spread over that area would not have made any difference.

  237. kbray in California says:

    From reading “Skip’s” comments on this thread,
    and trying to follow his illogical “logic”,
    and knowing that he is a professor teaching at a state university…
    is frightening… I pray he doesn’t yet have tenure.

    If he does lose tenure, maybe he can find employment at his local water treatment plant where he can learn a lot about water levels, waves, and debris. Skip’s “illogical arguments” would blend in well there because just like the treatment plant, they really stink !

  238. kbray in California says:

    Skip treats this 17cm water layer like it is a separate independent killer monster with an agenda…

    Strangely, this image comes to my mind:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Attack_of_the_Killer_Tomatoes.jpg

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

    All fantasy.

  239. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    skip, you have shifted from originally arguing how the extra 17cm could make the tsunami “more devastating” to trying to wring out an admission that the purported 17cm caused some extra damage, or as you specifically recently worded it:

    I wonder if you or any of your readers are willing to venture the certitude that *no* additional damage–in material and human terms–would have been generated by an extra 17 cm in sea level (as your graph stipulated) or in the case of this particular tsunami, *whatever* the contribution of 20th MSL rise was to its mass.

    Actually, it can be argued the extra 17cm may have yielded less damage. Open your braincase a bit and let in a consideration of the chaotic nature of the event. You wish to argue the extra mass and force of the 17cm made a difference? That could be enough to break through some feature of the landscape, from a man-made wall to a ridge line, which would lead the water to be directed to a low-lying feature where it will cause less damage. Likewise water that is rushing in a channel could break through the banks and spread out over a larger area, dissipating the force of the flow. Such behavior is routinely noted in even common seasonal flooding.

    For the longest time now, you’ve been basically arguing (when you have the numbers right) about how much more damage a 10.17 megaton nuclear bomb makes versus a 10.00 megaton nuclear bomb. You’ve shifted to fishing for a concession that the difference would make any extra damage. As far as this tsunami is concerned, given the possibilities inherent in the situation, you’re not even getting that.

  240. sky says:

    Let’s put a rational end to this discussion by distinguishing between two different things: 1) the dynamics of the tsunami waves and 2) the reach of run-up on dry land. A 17cm difference in sea-level has NO practical effect upon the wave heights generated, thus upon the power of the waves, which comes from the vertical displacement of the entire water column offshore. It does, as would a similar increment in tidal stand, raise the maximum run-up level by ~17cm, which MAY make some practical difference at some marginal locations.

    Now everybody can enjoy a good week-end!

  241. 1DandyTroll says:

    [snip -off color]

  242. skip says:

    I have to make a concession/apology to Mr. Watts and this forum.

    I reviewed all the comments to make sure that no one else hadn’t spotted the error I now realized in my own critique so as to give credit where credit was due. I did not locate any such argument after a cursory review/recollection of the comments so if I am failing to credit someone I apologize to them in particular.

    I was treating the extreme wavelength of a tsunami as if that figure could be used as a simple multiplier to determine the additional mass of water striking a fixed land location. This of course cannot be correct. (I had this epiphany when watching ripples when dropping something in the dishwater and then pondering the matter when changing a diaper.)

    The crucial factor is more likely the outer surface area of the *crest*–whatever that is in the case of a tsunami, but it is certainly less than the wavelength. (My confidence in my assessments of wave dynamics is shaken so I won’t even state this much adamantly.) No doubt this still adds substantial destructive force, and thus it could still be argued that AW’s graphic is both misleading and dismissive, but not for the reason *I* presumed. I suspect the surface areas of the tsunami crests are *much* larger than AW depicted in his graph, that the additional destructive force is still much greater than the mere addition of 17cm would suggest, and that Pauchari’s speculation is not the sideshow AW made it out to be. Just because my critique was wrong does not make AW right, of course.

    But that was not my initial argument and I acknowledge that, so it would be classless to try to save face with a different one.

    I hope my concession, retraction of insulting comments, and apology are all well taken, and I promise, if allowed to contribute to this forum, to be a little more thoughtful. There is still *much* to be intelligently critiqued here, even if I personally scotched this one.

    Adieu

  243. skip says:

    Wording correction on the above: please read “crest” as “cresting wave”.

  244. George Turner says:

    Skip, but the extra 6 inches doesn’t actually exist, as we’ve all pointed out.

    1) The energy of the wave is determined by the earthquake, not tiny changes in sea level.
    2) Sea levels hadn’t increased in the area of Japan struck by the tsunami.
    3) Even if local sea levels had changed, you can’t just add the change in sea level to the height of the tsunami to make a bigger wave, or else the hundred meter sea level rise since the ice age would mean that waves as small as the SS Minnow’s wake would create hundred meter waves that could wipe out all of Hawaii.
    4) The hundred year change in average sea levels is a tenth as large as the tides at Sendai (which is a famous surf spot). If the tsunami had struck at a slightly higher tide level would Pachauri be demanding that we nuke the moon?

    But let us imagine that Pachauri and the AGW alarmists had their way. What would the likely effects be?

    1) The Japanese would’ve been almost totally dependent on electric trains for transport. Those that were already on a trains would’ve died on the train (Japan lost four trains in the tsunami), and many of the rest would’ve died waiting on the trains because other transportation options would be limited or non-existent.

    2) Personal transportation would’ve been by small electric vehicles, and those don’t float even a little bit. Remaining vehicles (which would average a half a charge) wouldn’t have had the range to get the fleeing survivors out. Rescue operations would likewise depend on electric vehicles (zero emissions!), and since the area’s electric grid is still down, rescuers would be trying to deliver relief supplies on foot or with bicycles.

    3) Japan would have no flood walls at all, nor many concrete buildings able to stand up to a tsunami, because making concrete emits tremendous amounts of CO2. Japan likewise wouldn’t have elevated roadways or bridges, so even fewer people would’ve escaped the danger zone when the tsunami warning sounded (most would’ve died waiting on the electric trains, which don’t like magnitude 9 earthquakes).

    In Pachauri’s eco-utopia, the Japanese people would’ve been no more able to cope with the disaster than impoverished third world countries like Bangladesh.

  245. Frederick Oliver says:

    “Skip, but the extra 6 inches doesn’t actually exist, as we’ve all pointed out.”

    In that case this whole article has become obsolete, because it’s primary goal was to argue against the scale of the extra damage caused by the average global six inch rise in sea-levels, as opposed to the damage which would have been caused had the sea-levels not changed.

    Whether or not this rise actually took place, is beside the point, as the argumentation by AW is flawed. For instance, I don’t see the link between the height of a bonsai tree, an average Japanese man and the additional 170 L/m² of water caused by a 17cm rise in see levels.

    The point is, that 170L/m² translates into 170000000 L/km², and we can’t assume that the earthquake efficiently transferred all of it’s energy into propelling the water away from the epicenter.
    For all we know some of the energy might have been “wasted”, which otherwise could have been used by an extra few billion liters of water.

  246. Frederick Oliver says:

    Skip, you do ofcourse understand that a wave caused by the breaking of surface tension such as “ripples when dropping something in the dishwater”, has a completely different dynamic than that of a tsunami wave…?

  247. skip says:

    http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/world/2011/03/27/japan.kesennuma.flooding.cnn?hpt=C2

    Here’s a new video showing how the tsunami hit in a Japanese coast city. Please notice how you don’t have *anything* like AW’s little roller. Thing about the distance from the front and back of the cresting wave as it reaches landfall and what an extra 17 cm means in terms of volume/mass/destructive force of water.

    Again I do *not* say this to mitigate my own mistake; I still acknowledge it fully. This is only to show that AW’s mockery of Pauchari was unfounded. If you presume the additional 17 cm (which AW did in his graphic) the additional damage inflicted is very, very tangible.

  248. Smokey says:

    skip,

    Interesting video, but it shows the effect of the tsunami, not the tsunami itself. You’re just making a conjecture that another 17 cm is significant, but the video isn’t evidence of anything of the sort.

    And you’re fixated on Anthony for some strange reason. Only you know what that reason is, but one thing is certain: it’s not because of his comments about Pachauri. Others including me have made much stronger criticisms of that self-serving, incompetent, mendacious IPCC clown. Do an archive search for “Pachauri” and you’ll see.

  249. skip says:

    The effects of the tsunami versus the tsunami itself? That’s an argument? Did I *say* the video showed there was an extra 17cm?

    Smokey, you have never understood my argument, have you? AW *stipulated* the extra 17 cm in order to ridicule Pauchari. I don’t think you’ve ever grasped this or why said stipulation is the basis of my critique.

    And I knew that would happen eventually: The what-is-your-fixation? argument.

    Smokey–you who were one of those duped by AW’s clear mistake from the beginning–any fixation I have is on the *issue*, not the individual forwarding it.

    I could just as easily make the same empty rhetorical drive-by. To wit:

    *that self-serving, incompetent, mendacious IPCC clown.*

    Its obvious that, you’re “fixated on [Pauchari] for some strange reason. Only you know what that reason is, but one thing is certain: it’s not because of his comments about [the effects of AGW].”

    You see, Smokey? Anyone can throw out such vacuous blather anytime anyone criticizes anybody.

  250. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    From skip on March 27, 2011 at 8:38 am:

    Here’s a new video showing how the tsunami hit in a Japanese coast city. Please notice how you don’t have *anything* like AW’s little roller. (…)

    (…) This is only to show that AW’s mockery of Pauchari was unfounded. If you presume the additional 17 cm (which AW did in his graphic) the additional damage inflicted is very, very tangible.

    Which merely takes you back to where you’re fishing for that concession that the extra 17cm would have done *any* extra damage, when it’s actually possible it could have done *less* damage. It also reveals you have a serious problem with understanding the limits of death and destruction. The extra 17cm would not make the dead even deader. A building that is utterly destroyed is not more utterly destroyed by having one more brick knocked loose.

    And you’re complaining about the depiction of the tsunami wave in the graphic? Please, be consistent, and complain how the people weren’t anatomically correct as well!

  251. Smokey says:

    Projection, Skippy. To comment on Pachauri isn’t a fixation. It’s a fixation when you’re On/Off switch is wired around, and you won’t let go.

    I liked Anthony’s graphic. It made the point. And I suspect you’re a closet Pachauri groupie. There’s no defense of his self-serving aggrandizement at our expense. Even his own countrymen reject his anti-CO2 preaching and scolding, and his businesses get rich via the UN resources directed solely by Pachauri himself.

  252. kbray in California says:

    Skip, you’re like a guy who goes into an outhouse and comes out covered in fecal matter.
    Everyone wonders, “How is that even possible? Did he fall in?”
    I don’t think you have a “fixation”…
    It’s more like “religious brainwashing”…
    or a “possession” that you fell into.
    Prayer will help.
    Go to church.
    Amen.

  253. skip says:

    Now let me first qualify that I am only responding to follow up comments, I still concede my misuse of the open ocean wavelengths of tsunamis, ok?

    *The extra 17cm would not make the dead even deader.*

    Never argued. And that you are still focusing on the 17 cm of *height* shows that you too were fooled by graphic’s cardboard argument. The issue is the additional *volume/mass* of water striking a fixed land location all other things being equal. That *would* magnify the destructive force of the tsunami. To probably oversimplify, you have to add the 17 cm to the *bottom* of a wave which has a distance across the crest of *thousands* of meters, not the few dozen meters that AW’s graph depicted. Multiply that times .17 and we are talking literally thousands of additional kilotons of water rushing into a fixed land location of even small width, all other things being equal. It won’t make the dead an deader, but it might very well make a larger number of dead. That is nothing to scoff at, which AW’s graphic and presentation, as well as the numerous jeering commentators duped by it, did.

    *And you’re complaining about the depiction of the tsunami wave in the graphic? Please, be consistent, and complain how the people weren’t anatomically correct as well!*

    Fine. I agree they are ugly, unrealistic, preposterous looking figurines. I don’t see how that is relevant to anything but I hope you are impressed with my improved consistency.

    This is why the socialist-man-hating-one-world-government-promoting-IPCC-conspirators pay me the big bucks, I guess.

    REPLY: Oh, I had a coughing eyes watering LOL attack reading this! You go Skippy! – Anthony

  254. kbray in California says:

    Skip you are definitely over the top… 17cm over the top to be exact !!…
    (but you’re behaving like you’re “a quart low”…)

    I mentioned this before but to empathize, I think you should look into this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Effects_of_sleep_deprivation.svg

    Your judgment seems off.

  255. skip says:

    That’s it?

    That’s the response?

    AW, I submit that you *never* considered the length of the approaching tsunami (from the front to the back of the cresting wave) when making your blithe dismissal of Puachari.

    Am I wrong? *Had* you considered that?

    I want to hear your *honest* answer of this question.

    I admitted my mistake (imposing the deep ocean wavelength of a tsunami on the shore, where the run up contracts the wavelength and ups the amplitude) . Let’s see if you can admit yours.

    Again, AW, I respect you for hiding my identity. That counts for much. It shows character and virtue. Why not extend that same virtue in admitting that you’d never considered the points I made? (Again, not that this mitigates my mistake.)

    REPLY: I had considered the issue broadly, but chose only to speak to what Dr. Pachauri actually said, and compare height. I actually tried and discarded a couple of different image designs before settling on these. No matter whether you compare water by height, volume, gallons, barrels, or any other metric, the side argument you are making is irrelevant to the scale of the event. That’s it, that’s my final answer. – Anthony

  256. skip says:

    [snip - Skip, we're done, I'm not going to waste any more time on your arguments. You aren't satisfied with my answer, so we'll have to agree to disagree. -thread closed - Anthony]

Comments are closed.