Sea Level Acceleration: Not so Fast Recently

By Dr. Patrick Michaels from World Climate Report

Sea level rise is a topic that we frequently focus on because of all the gross environmental alterations which may result from anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, it is perhaps the only one which could lead to conditions unexperienced by modern societies. A swift (or accelerating) sea level rise sustained for multiple decades and/or centuries would pose challenges for many coastal locations, including major cities around the world—challenges that would have to be met in some manner to avoid inundation of valuable assets. However, as we often point out, observational evidence on the rate of sea level rise is reassuring, because the current rate of sea level rise from global warming lies far beneath the rates associated with catastrophe. While some alarmists project sea level rise of between 1 to 6 meters (3 to 20 feet) by the end of this century, currently sea level is only inching up at a rate of about 20 to 30 centimeters per hundred years (or about 7 to 11 inches of additional rise by the year 2100)—a rate some 3-4 times below the low end of the alarmist spectrum, and a whopping 20 to 30 times beneath the high end.

To get from here to catastrophe surely requires a significant acceleration in sea level. And, because disasters pay scientists handsomely, a lot of people have been looking. Here is how the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its Fourth Assessment Report summed up its investigation:

Global average sea level rose at an average rate of 1.8 [1.3 to 2.3] mm per year over 1961 to 2003. The rate was faster over 1993 to 2003: about 3.1 [2.4 to 3.8] mm per year. Whether the faster rate for 1993 to 2003 reflects decadal variability or an increase in the longer-term trend is unclear. There is high confidence that the rate of observed sea level rise increased from th3 19th to the 20th century, the total 20th-century rise is estimated to be 0.17 [0.12 to 0.22] m.

Since 2003—the last data assessed by the IPCC—the rate of sea level rise has slowed (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Decadal (overlapping) rates for sea level rise as determined from the satellite sea level rise observations, 1993-2011 (data available from http://sealevel.colorado.edu/).

This observation seems to tip the scale to “decadal variability” rather than an “increase in the longer-term trend” in explaining the 1993 to 2003 behavior.

But there is much more evidence that no anthropogenic global warming-related acceleration of sea level rise is taking place.

A couple of months ago, an important paper was published that examined the changing historical contribution of ground water removal (for human water needs, primarily irrigation) to global sea level. A primary finding was that this non-climate component of sea level rise was both significant and rapidly increasing, currently making up between 15 and 25 percent of the current observed rate of sea level rise. Further, the rate of ground water extraction has been increasing over time, which imparts a slight acceleration to the rate of sea level rise over the past half-century or so. Once this non-climate signal is removed, there remains no evidence for a climate-related acceleration. We covered that finding here.

Another paper has just been accepted in the journal Geophysical Research Letters that identified multidecadal cycles in the historical mean sea level observations from many ocean basins. A research team led by Don Chambers from the University of South Florida examined tide gauge records from across the globe and found oscillations with a period of about 60 years in all ocean basins except the Central/Eastern North Pacific. Chambers et al., note that a 60-yr quasi oscillation has previously been identified in other earth/climate systems including ocean circulation, global mean surface temperatures, large-scale precipitation patterns, and atmospheric pressure, among other things. Many of these cycles can be traced back hundreds of years—an indication of a natural (rather than manmade) origin.

Chambers and colleagues note that given the strong possibility for such cycles in the global sea level data, that care must be taken when attempting to identify accelerations, as they, in fact, simply be upswings in the natural oscillatory behavior. For instance, in most ocean basins, the bottom of the cycle was reached in the 1980s and an upswing has been occurring since then—precisely when the IPCC notes that the rate of sea level rise has been increasing. For this reason, Chambers et al. note:

The 60-year oscillation will, however, change our interpretation of the trends when estimated over periods less than 1-cycle of the oscillation. Although several studies have suggested the recent change in trends of global [e.g., Merrifield et al., 2009] or regional [e.g., Sallenger et al., 2012] sea level rise reflects an acceleration, this must be re-examined in light of a possible 60-year fluctuation. While technically correct that the sea level is accelerating in the sense that recent rates are higher than the long-term rate, there have been previous periods were the rate was decelerating, and the rates along the Northeast U.S. coast have what appears to be a 60-year period [Figure 4 of Sallenger et al., 2012], which is consistent with our observations of sea level variability at New York City and Baltimore. Until we understand whether the multi decadal variations in sea level reflect distinct inflexion points or a 60-year oscillation and whether there is a [Global Mean Sea Level, GMSL] signature, one should be cautious about computations of acceleration in sea level records unless they are longer than two cycles of the oscillation or at least account for the possibility of a 60-year oscillation in their model. This especially applies to interpretation of acceleration in GMSL using only the 20-year record of from satellite altimetry and to evaluations of short records of mean sea level from individual gauges. [emphasis added –eds.]

The bottom line is this: the more people look for the anticipated acceleration in the rate of sea level rise, the less evidence they seem to find in support of it. All the while, we eat into the 21st century with a rate of sea level rise not much different from that experienced during the 20th century—and one which was hardly catastrophic, readily proven by a simple look around.

References:

Chambers, D., M.A. Merrifield, and R. S. Nerem, 2012. Is there a 60-year oscillation in global mean sea level? Geophysical Research Letters, doi:1029/2012GL052885, in press.

Wada, Y., et al., 2012. Past and future contribution of global groundwater depletion to sea-level rise. Geophysical Research Letters, 39, L09402, doi:10.1029/2012GL051230.

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122 thoughts on “Sea Level Acceleration: Not so Fast Recently

  1. The focus on _acceleration_ of the sea level _rise_ (ie the THIRD derivative) is in itself evidence that everybody believes human society can adapt (at least in theory) to changes in sea level, however huge.

  2. Change the title to the proper term, ‘Sea Level Rise is Deaccelerating’ the acceleration is negative not reducing,

  3. Outstanding summary of the current findings. I guess I may look for some property in Orlando after all, despite the warnings of some of my Warmist friends. The fact that I am in my 70s doesnt seem to faze them.

  4. ‘One only has to step outside to see climate change.’ – mcFibben et al

    NO.

    One only has to step outside to see that everything is going pretty much as it always has.

  5. I really did not like the title of this. It should have said “The rate of rise in global sea levels slows.”

    If the sea levels had been affected by the activities of man, it definitely would have been measurable over the past decade and the title should then have been: “The rate of rise in global sea levels increases.”

    As someone who had extensive operations in drilling water wells I can confirm, surface levels subside in soft sediment areas, when you pump water out of them. Aquifers are usually willing to have water pumped out of them, but they really don’t like it if you try and pump water back into them. Therefore, my guess is the “water wells into aquifers” effect is just about over and this alone will slow down the rate of apparent sea level rises.

    A good study here would be to compare recent sea level rises in hard rock coastlines, versus those of soft sediments, ensuring you took your data from areas nowhere near previous glaciation or any tectonic plate activity.

  6. Don’t shout this too loudly!

    The alarmists are always looking for a catastrophe. If they can’t find one in the seal-level figures, the next headline you’ll see, based on these figures, is:

    “The world is throwing away all it’s historically-stored groundwater into the sea!!” …

  7. In fact, recent deceleration of the rate of rise (Houston and Dean 2011) has been detected. Examples of papers that projected sea level increases lower than the range discussed in the fourth IPCC report are Bouwer (2011), Chu et al. (2010), Czymzik et al. (2010), and Xie et al. (2010).

  8. A friend of mine runs a boat hire company on the UK’s South coast. A lady customer who was returning to the area for the first time in many years noted that the sea was a lot higher up than the last time she had visited and asked if it was due to global warming. After working out that she was actually serious, he explained the affect of tides on sea level to her. Which just goes to show, if you take a stupid person and keep telling them that everything is the fault of Cagw, they’ll likely as not believe it.

  9. Envisat compared to isotastatic methods and ajustments. http://stevengoddard.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/paintimage2111.jpg?w=640&h=422

    Further evidence that dangerous SL rise is alarmist hype…
    “All the evidence in fact shows that contrary to the IPCC’s claims, sea-level rise is not accelerating. UK oceanographer Simon Holgate (2008) analysed nine long sea-level records for the period 1904-2003. He found that between 1904 and 1953, sea-level rise was 2.03 mm per year, compared with 1.45 mm per year for the period 1953-2003.
    Further proof that sea-level rises are not increasing, as the climate models predict, comes from a paper by Phillip Watson (2011). Based on century-long tide gauge records from Fremantle, Western Australia (1897 to present); Auckland Harbour in New Zealand (1903 to present); Fort Denison in Sydney Harbour (1914-present); and Pilot Station at Newcastle (1925 to present), Watson concluded there was a consistent trend of weak deceleration from 1940 to 2000. Climate change researcher Howard Brady of Macquarie University was quoted in The Australian of Friday 22 July 2011, p. 1, as saying that the recent research meant sea level rises accepted by CSIRO were already dead in the water as having no sound basis in probability. He added that divergence between sea-level trends from climate models and sea-level change from the tide-gauge records was now so great that it was clear there is a serious problem with the model.”

  10. I am sorry, but isn’t “sea levels rise” just a myth? Jo Nova had a great post on that, called “Sea rise is due to global adjustments”. There is not just no acceleration, there is no rise.

    “Global sea level” is another elusive hard to define and measure concept ideal for exploitation by the charlatans, which they are doing.

  11. Empirical data is the bedrock of physics. The more empirical data we get, the more it seems that CAGW is somewhere between a myth and a hoax. I think we need to ask the warmists what is the measured, empirical value for the total climate sensitivity of CO2..

  12. view from the other side:

    9 Sept: Quadrant Australia: Tony Thomas: The CSIRO sold us a PUP
    The “Planet under Pressure” conference (PUP) in London in March, 2012, is now just a historical curiosity. It was meant to turbocharge the Rio + 20 eco-summit last June but that summit never quite took us to its poverty-ending, green global economy.
    However, the London warm-up is worth a second look, if only because: …

    http://www.quadrant.org.au/blogs/doomed-planet/2012/09/the-csiro-sold-us-a-pup#_edn13

  13. Although sea level change is a valuable area of study, it is hard to get excited about a rise of a millimeter or three per year. I did a quick calc on rising seas and believe that even I could walk inland fast enough to avoid inundation. Does anyone expect sea levels to remain static? I believe we have adapted to changing coast lines, other than catastrophic events, pretty well through out history and will continue to do so. The warmists seem to believe that the climate, sea levels and species populations should all remain static.

  14. The title confused me. I thought the subject (“Sea Level Acceleration”) was to be the acceleration of gravity as measured at sea level. Hard to see how climate change could influence that, but you never know. Even when I got it, the “Not So Fast” part seemed wrong, since that implies the speed of acceleration, or 4th derivative of position. What is that called, “jerk”?

  15. For several other references in the literature to the ~60 year cycle, see:

    http://sealevel.info/papers.html#howlong

    The reason for the difference between the 20th century rate of sea level rise (SLR) (1.7-1.8 mm/yr, after adding an average of about 0.7 mm/yr GIA adjustments), and the rate since 1993 (3.1 mm/yr, after adding 0.3 mm/yr GIA for hypothesized sinking of the ocean floor) is that the two numbers reflect SLR in different locations. In his usual acerbic style, Steven Goddard says, “They avoided the obvious answer that the higher rate from 1993-2003 was due to using a different methodology to generate the numbers. The older measurements are from tide gauges, and the newer ones are from satellite altimetry… This is just another IPCC nature trick – switching measurement systems to create an increase where there is none.” http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2010/11/29/ipcc-sea-level-nature-trick/

    Neither averaged coastal tide gauges nor mid-ocean satellite altimeter measurements are showing any acceleration in SLR. Only by comparing rates of SLR at different locations (or over too-short periods) is it possible to create the illusion of accelerated global SLR. Here are some papers documenting the lack of acceleration in SLR:

    http://sealevel.info/papers.html#acceleration

    The whole basis for predictions of accelerated SLR is that CO2 levels are going up. But mankind has been driving up CO2 levels substantially for roughly 3/4 century, and, thus far, it has caused no measurable acceleration in the rate of SLR.

  16. Sea levels are extremely hard to measure with accuracy now let alone historically. Since land levels also move, historic data is not what it appears sometimes. An example, the estuary near Bristol has an historic mooring post that dates back over 400 years. According to the high tide marks on it, the sea level has actually FALLEN…. but what has actually happened is the land around the mooring has risen due to geological forces.

  17. The usual level of debate then, no change there on WUWT is there?

    I did click the link Anthony, I can see the continued rise even if you can’t. Oh I’m sorry did the fall in 2010/11 give you something to write about???

    Two years solar minimum, 6mm absorbed into the warmer atmosphere and falls as titanic rainfall, massive floods, huge storms and that’s supposed to be a GOOD thing.

    You have learned your lesson well. 60 year cycle. So what? We just wait another 60 years and then say “Ooops we got it wrong, it wasn’t a multi decadal cycle at all”.

    Yes very responsible. So what do all those who lose their homes and habitats do with that 60 years of theirs you wasted? Oh, I know, it’s not your problem it’s theirs.

    As for the puerile comment about walking inland to avoid the rise? I see. Are you going to pay for the land you move to? Is someone going to pay for the land you did own but is now under water? No? Going to take the land and get the government to reimburse you AND the person you took from? Cute.

    About the intellectual logic level I expect here.

    You are also missing the point big time. 2mm per year is enough to unseat the glaciers in the WAIS and on Greenland. In fact it’s already happening. Those glaciers are the only barrier to the great ice fields coming back to earth.

    You have the right to be as optimistic, stupid or downright foolish as you want. You do not have the right to take us all with you.

    Very fortunately more sober heads will prevail.

  18. Its all lies I tell you…lies!

    Dr Hansen has said sea level rise mus accelerate so all the measuring devices around the world must be locked into a Big Oil Denier Funded Drown the Poor and Laugh About it Aha! Conspiracy as foretold by our Great Saviour and Benefactor of Humanity Dr Mann.

    This article full of untruths and propaganda against Hard Working Climate Scientist who toil Only to Bring The Light of Truth – yea even to the Miserable Unclean Sceptics Wallowing in Their Own Filth only goes to show how far the Denialist Corruption has spread. Even tide gauges cannot resist its Insidious Tentacles.

    /sarc (for Yanks, in case they didn’t realise)

    (Received verbatim by LA via teleconnections).

  19. Jimmy Haigh says:
    September 13, 2012 at 3:32 am

    “Sea level rise is probably the least of our worries.”

    Correct. Of course, Jim Hansen at NASA GISS believes there will be some catastrophic sea level rise on the order of *** tens of meters *** by the end of the century. Hmmmm…which do I believe? The data or Jim Hansen’s “predictions”…

    By the way, for those who live near the ocean, to measure sea level rise at your locale, take a meter stick to the beach, wade into the ocean at the shore line, place the meter stick into the water and measure the level to the nearest millimeter. Also record the position of the stick with a GPS device. Next year on the same day, bring your meter stick back to the same location and take your measurement again. You should see that the water level has increased by about 3 mm! It will be very obvious, in fact…

  20. @NeilT

    You say

    ‘2mm per year is enough to unseat the glaciers in WAIS and on Greenland.

    Please can you explain when you expect these things to happen? How high is the land underneath both of those artefacts, and how long will it take (at 2mm per year) for the sea to inundate them?

  21. I am not aware of any change in sea level in my lifetime or the lifetime of my local quay. How is this rise in sea level being detected? In fact what is sea level supposed to mean?

    Get a spring tide coinciding with the wrong atmospheric conditions and a storm surge can occur such as happened in the Thames Estuary in 1953 causing great loss of life, an event that has largely been neglected. That great flood was nothing to do with a rise of sea level and has not happened since but if it did happen again and it probably will then I am certain that the media and the BBC will blame it on man made global warming causing a rise in sea levels.

  22. It’s a sure thing. The climate is in the process of rolling over to a cooling phase and sea level decrease should continue, but it’s just not as fast as I first guessed a few years ago. But OTOH, I was not a climatologist then either.

    With enough ice breakers, at least twenty on order right now I am told, many nuclear, mankind should be able to slice and dice the Arctic Ocean enough to keep it free of ice pack at least half of the year with the north passages established and the development of the north platform fields in place.

    Seems what is really needed now is to double or triple the flow of activists and environmentalists with their ‘studies’ (vacations) toward the North Pole to finance the whole shebang.

    ☺-wayne

  23. @Latimer

    The sea does not inundate them, it floats them. The estimates are that this will begin to happen in the 2050 range and continue for hundreds of years.

    Actual observation shows it’s already in progress. Pine island glacier is already thinning and floating over hundreds of meters of it’s length. As the sea levels continue to rise it raises the shelf more and allows more salt water under to continue the thinning.

    Of course the estimates were created to give Politicians something to present. Politicians who don’t really want to hear the news.

    This is besides the point. 1mm will destroy our society over 2 centuries, 2mm just makes it faster. 3mm guarantees that our grandchildren pick up the check, 4mm our Children.

    The rise in the last century just set the scene. The world no longer has space for populations to move to when things change. The only thing sea level rise can contribute is war and misery. Yet it is dismissed as a minor irritant. Well it may be for some in the West…..

    I discussed this with my Brother many years ago. My point was that I would not be caught in all this because I was aware. His point was that aware or not, those who didn’t care would simply come in numbers and take what I had.

    Look in the mirror and decide which you are. Prepared or a taker. Lots of the attitude on here is a taker attitude. Most in the AGW camp are “aware”. if the cap fits, wear it.

  24. @Bob says:

    >Does anyone expect sea levels to remain static?

    Wasn’t it Fairbridge that investigated the rise and fall of sea level using the East Coast of Auz as a source of information? He found that there were quite rapid changes of 2 metres (!) in the past few thousand years both up and down. Not so? I recall reading the paper many years ago.

    It is a general assumption that sea level only changes slowly and that it is all about forecasting long term trends. His examination of actual shorelines tells a very different story. The shore ridges in Hudson Bay seem to tell a different story (over a very long period, of course).

    There is also some interesting shoreline information from the Welsh coast and eastern Ireland. The shorelines are not sequential at all, and they are tilted slightly differently giving credence to the theory that slight (and sudden) changes in the tilt of the Earth are common. In Paul Dunbavin’s book he proposes a mechanism for this. The first three chapters are probably the best accessible description of how pole shifts wobble and work (the Earth has three ‘poles’ which are rarely, if ever, aligned).

    There is a big difference between a local change in sea level and a global rise in sea level. A tilt change of 0.5 deg causes no perceptible sea level change at the poles and equator, but a 1000 ft change at 45 degrees Latitude. In brief, the cause is because the Earth is a rotating oblate sphere mostly covered by a liquid.

  25. Otter says:

    September 13, 2012 at 2:52 am

    ‘One only has to step outside to see climate change.’ – mcFibben et al

    NO.

    One only has to step outside to see that everything is going pretty much as it always has.

    Not so,Otter.As I sit here typing this,the lake outside my front window has encroached at least 2 mm closer to me.And it’s on fire! OMG. errrrrr….sorry.Gunner informs me it is the sunrise,which seems to be decelarating at an amazing rate,at least until the time change happens.And that 2mm rise?About 200 hundred Canuck geese displace that much water. And really Otter.Shouldn’t you be happy with more water to play in?

  26. A picky correction: the smallest prediction listed is 3 feet by 2100 which is 36 inches. 7 inches per year times 5 gives 35 inches by 2100, so it should read 3-5 times not 3-4 times.

  27. NeilT wrote, “Those glaciers are the only barrier to the great ice fields coming back to earth.”

    So you are expecting a cooling Earth? Got it. Catastrophic global weirding at its best intellectual display.

  28. A couple of months ago, an important paper was published that examined the changing historical contribution of ground water removal (for human water needs, primarily irrigation) to global sea level.
    Two to three years ago, I pointed out on WUWT, that using the UN numbers for groundwater extraction for irrigation alone, that amount of water would add as much as 2mm per year to the sea level.

  29. Guys

    NeilT is clearly young and naive and believes he can persuade others by “The yah boo sucks to you” kind of argument. He is new here and obviously educationally challenged in that he has a very poor grasp of the facts.

    So perhaps it would be nice if he was treated nicely and not sliced and diced as is the usual case for those who support the objectives of the global warming industry.

  30. Another dose of hysteria-quenching reality. Thanks, Dr Michaels. In this age of post-normal science we must, like Diogenes, search diligently for an honest man, ever aware that much of what we hear is lies.

  31. NeilT;
    Two years solar minimum, 6mm absorbed into the warmer atmosphere and falls as titanic rainfall, massive floods, huge storms and that’s supposed to be a GOOD thing.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    That may be a new record for the most things wrong in a single sentence

    Two years solar minimum is assocoated with LOWER temps, not warmer.
    Colder air holds LESS water not more.
    NASA’s own measurements show that atmospheric water vapour has been falling, not rising.
    We just got done with screaming and hollering about droughts in the US being caused by global warming, not floods.
    Huge storms? One recent hurricane doesn’t a trend make. The Total Cyclone Energy has been falling and falling dramatically for years.

    I’m not certain if you are a clever troll who managed to inject a considerable amount of inaccurate information into a single sentence, or if you actually believe what you wrote. I suspect the latter, and suggest that you familiarize yourself with the actual data before quoting it. As for your quip at the end of your tirade about us not taking you with us, that goes both ways my friend. The various schemes for reducing CO2 emissions come with some rather draconian results of their own, and these are certain results, not “projections” that would be disasters for billions of people. I’m not talking about having to move, I’m talking about starving to death. So please, don’t take US with YOU.

  32. Wayne, Pleaaaase!! Here in Canada it costs enogh just to produce icebreakers that venture into the Arctic in summer. In winter they retreat to the Gulf of St. Lawrence and try to keep the sea lanes open there in January and February. How much of our GDP are you expecting us to shell out to get our icebreakers to do any more than they are now doing? And why would we want to, anyway? There is no requiremen t to do any more than we are now doing.

  33. “To get from here to catastrophe surely requires a significant acceleration in sea level. And, because disasters pay scientists handsomely, a lot of people have been looking.

    Very well said Dr. Michaels. Perfect Clarity.

    Gee whiz, I hope the good doctor doesn’t offend the sensibilities of those still insisting they’re all in it with good intentions, and that it’s all a true scientific dispute without political overtones and financial gain.

    It’s all of the above.

  34. Hey NeilT, I was at the beach yesterday. It was no different 50 years ago. No catastrophe there. No “titanic rains,massive floods, huge storms” It was all good. No evidence of catastrophe, No matter that you hope against hope for it to be true. You can’t show it.

  35. The science of evaluating geologic records to understand long term sea level change and it’s effect on coastal processes was pretty much invented by Exxon. Understanding of sea level and coastal processes is very important to oil exploration scientists because many future oil reservoirs are formed at shorelines and delta fronts. Nobody knows more about the history of sea level than Big Oil.

  36. NeilT said “I can see the continued rise even if you can’t….”

    The continued steady rise in MSL is not the issue – the rise (dMSL/dT) just represents the steady and constant recovery from the LIA, as from well before the industrial era and, yes, this will slowly inundate littoral areas but since it well predated industrialisation can have nothing to do with CO2.

    It is only if there had been an acceleration (an increase in the rate of rise with d^2MSL/dT^2 > 0) within the industrial era that one could say with justification that the rate of run-off from land-based ice into the oceans had increased – so infer that global surface temperatures had increased within the industrial era. For myself I cannot see any acceleration in the MSL time series as shown for the last 20 years. The series shows a rise, but not an acceleration – so nothing unusual is happening.

  37. NeilT says:
    September 13, 2012 at 6:32 am

    A little more research would have prevented that you didn’t know the real facts… Most of the outlet glaciers in Greenland (and the WAIS) are already floating and did that for centuries. What is visible and going on since the depth of the LIA is that the breackup point goes back and forth, depending of a complex play of snowfall on the top of the ice field, the melting at the edges, the total pressure of the ice near the outlet and the resistance of narrowings and debris.

    The breakup point of the largest glacier in Greenland at Illulisat/Jacobshavn has moved inland since 1850, with the largest move in the period 1935-1950, then the breakup point moved forward towards the sea, but since 1995 is moving back again. See:

    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/greenland_glacier.html

  38. NeilT-

    “Most in the AGW camp are “aware”.”

    Interesting.

    Depending on the survey, more than 100 million ‘aware’ Americans agree with your apocalyptic predictions of CACC hitting the proverbial fan. To avoid the current situation of you believers coming across as blatant hypocrites, when can the skeptics and luke-warmists expect you and your carbophobic horde to zero out your personal carbon footprints? No carbon credit scams allowed. Cost is no barrier, as you *know* the damages will be infinite. I trust the birthrate among the faithful horde is already zero point zero, as you pro-climateers are aware that every new American baby is a 1600 ton carbon bomb that pushes us closer to climate doom.

    I await seeing the beginnings of a tipping point when the pro-climate congregation acts on its own beliefs with its own money. So far, even the pro-climateer leaders have eschewed any sort of personal sacrifice to Gaia, although UN IPCC bellwether R. Pachauri recently committed to a smaller personal carbon bootprint when he is reincarnated.

  39. NeilT @ various posts above:

    If we go back to MIS-19 we can see three distinct thermal excursions right at it’s very end. That was at the Mid Pleistocene Transition about 800 kyrs ago. http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/03/16/the-end-holocene-or-how-to-make-out-like-a-madoff-climate-change-insurer/ Read further in this piece and you will soon find citations for a possible +21.3 M sea level excursion during the long broad thermal peak at the end of MIS-11, the last half of which is often cited as orbitally the closest match to the end Holocene. The last interglacial back, also an extreme interglacial appears to have had two strong thermal pulses right at its very end, the second one netted somewhere between a +6 to a +45 M rise in sea level, right at its end (read the link above all the way through).

    So let’s play “Fantasy Sea Level” for a moment. Since it’s a fantasy, all of us sign-on, willingly or unwillingly, to do whatever we possibly can to quell whatever prognostication of CAGW sea level rise anyone wants to choose. And then we actually do it. Again, since this is fantasy game playing, it is now 2100 and we are all still here, and at a giant earth party, drinking non-carbonated champagne of course, slapping each other on the back congratulating ourselves for an AGW SLR quash-job well done!

    But, but, sea level goes on up +6 or +21.3 or +45 M anyway, because for whatever reason, this just seems to happen at the end extreme interglacials.

    “How do you feel? How do you feel? How do you feel?” — Computer, “I do not understand the question.” — Spock (NeilT), “What’s the matter, Spock(NeilT)?” — Amanda, “I do not understand the question, mother.” — Spock(NeilT), “Well, your half-human. The computer knows that.” — Amanda, “The question is irrelevant.” — Spock (NeilT).

    Yes, the question of whether or not humans are causing SLR may in fact turn out to be irrelevant at an end extreme interglacial……… So how do you feel, now, NeilT? Assuming that you actually took the time to gain a little knowledge reading the linked essay above, all the way through.

  40. Where is Trenberth with a pithy phrase when we need him. The travesty is that the oceans are missing water and we cannot explain where it is. We know the glaciers and polar ice (well, the north pole, at least) are melting and the water must be somewhere. Maybe the water is hidden in the depths of the oceans.

  41. Dodgy Geezer says

    The world is throwing away all its historically stored groundwater into the sea!

    Good one!

    I can only hope that the environmental movement will come to recognize the importance of “fracking” — that it will help restore those groundwaters. Pump that water back down!

    Not as funny as yours but I had to add a little something.

    Eugene WR Gallun

  42. It may be time to do another post on anthropogenic CO2 and atmospheric CO2 as measured at Mauna Loa.

    The Chinese are throwing vast quantities of CO2 into the air; but I am not sure I see it in the atmospheric data. Or is it? It would be interesting to see a thoughtful post on the matter.

  43. A Warmist says:
    September 13, 2012 at 6:06 am

    “Its all lies I tell you…lies!”

    It is a tale
    Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
    Signifying nothing.

  44. NeilT says:

    This is besides the point. 1mm will destroy our society over 2 centuries, 2mm just makes it faster.

    It is only Sept, and the competition is no doubt going to be tough, but I’d still wager that statement hangs on to become the dumbest GD thing said about ‘global warming’ this year.

    1mm/yr * 200yr = 200mm = ~8 inches over 200 years.

    Sea level rise over the 100 years from 1900-2000 was about 8 inches. Somehow, people were able to cope – in the process increasing the size of “our society” from about 1.75 to something over 7 billion people.

    Have you considered how you are going to spend the prize money, Neil?

  45. Steve Keohane says: “…Two to three years ago, I pointed out on WUWT, that using the UN numbers for groundwater extraction for irrigation alone, that amount of water would add as much as 2mm per year to the sea level.”

    I remember reading your comment, Steve. Seems you were right.

  46. I built beaches along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts for 5 years. They are \typically built by pumping sand onto the beach from 1 to 3 miles offshore. I have a nice collection of very early Indian artifacts that were dredged from these offshore locations and pumped up onto the beach.

  47. NeilT

    Listen up man. The UN some years back claimed that there would be 40 million climate refugees by 2010 — due to rising sea levels indunating islands and coastal lands. Where are those refugees?? Those regions that were supposed to be indunated have actually increased in population.

    Now the UN has put back the date for the 40 million climate refugees to 2020. That is only 8 years away and that are no, nada, zip, zero climate refugees so far.

    Now the UN employs the greatest climate scientists in the world to make such predictions, right? So, back in the day, you must have believed that there would be 40 million climate refugees by 2010 right? How did you feel when it didn’t happen? Disappointed?? And are you looking forward to 2020 because you just know that the world is going to be aswarm with climate refugees in just 8 short years?

    Alright here is your task — investigate all the diaster predictions that climate genius’ like Hansen and Gore have made in the past and then offer us clear expalanations of why they didn’t come true. Don’t talk about future predictions — talk about the past predictions that turned out to be false. Explain those away. Surely this should be an easy task. After you do that then predict the future for us.

    Start with why the prediction of 40 million climate refugees by 2010 failed. Why did it fail?? Tell us, please.

    Eugene WR Gallun

  48. @JJ have you considered that the WAIS and Greenland will do for future generations.

    No of course you havene’t you don’t give a second’s thought about them it’s all abot YOU and NOW.

    Which is one of the dumbest things in this whole equaition. But then this site was never known for it’s nous. Belief, yes, nous? NO.

    @William, the natural interglacial optimum happened during the subboreal. Look it up. What is happening now is not natural. But you already knew that right? You just want to make a point against me!

    But, go on, have it your way. So I’m talking rubbish and may win a WUWT prize for it. It will be a very small prize compared to the megalith WUWT is building for itself in being the prize fool of the climatic debate.

  49. Louis Hooffstetter says: “…I have a nice collection of very early Indian artifacts that were dredged from these offshore locations and pumped up onto the beach.”

    I know there’s a lot of stuff down there. I found an arrowhead in the surf, once. Much wear, but identifiable by the shape.

  50. @NeilT

    You say

    1mm will destroy our society over 2 centuries, 2mm just makes it faster. 3mm guarantees that our grandchildren pick up the check, 4mm our Children.

    Are you quite sure that you’ve really got the hang of the metric system and of its relative sizes?

    1 mm/annum over 2 centuries is 200 mm = 20 cm. I just looked at my trusty school ruler to be absolutely sure and 20 cm is about 8 inches – or about the span of my hand from the end of my little finger to the end of my outstretched thumb. Try as I might I can conceive of no circumstances whatsoever where a sealevel rise of this order will ‘destroy our society’. Especially when we have two hundred years notice to make any necessary minor infrastructure changes to accommodate it.

    I work in Central London. You may know that the River Thames flows through the centre of the city – indeed it is the original reason for London’s existence as a seaport. The river is tidal here and at London Bridge – the ancient heart – the tidal range is about 14 feet (4200 mm). This means that about every 6 hours and 15 minutes the river level goes up or down by that amount. We have river walls. The are about 17 feet high. This to take care of any exceptionally high tides. And we could build them 8 inches taller if needed.

    An earlier correspondent nominated your remark for the dumbest thing said about GW this year. I second his idea. You really have got no idea at all.

  51. Groundwater aquifer drawn down in Oxnard, California (Ca.) in 1950’s went so low seawater went into fresh water aquifer. It would have been a good case study of side effect on local sea level from human pattern of activity (rather than AGW). But this can’t be conclusively researched since a costly remedial 60,000 acre feet of Santa Clara River system water was engineered to re-adjust the Oxnard basin.

    San Francisco, Ca. sea level may possibly also described as an artificially conserved situation . The “Bay Region” only takes 5% of it’s groundwater to provide total needed fresh water use (most comes in from Sierra mountain). If data were available from when the Bay area was both home to pre-colonial settlement(s) and compared to epoch just before Bay region stopped relying exclusively on groundwater that would be a good case study of variable side effects on local sea level from human pattern of activity (rather than AGW).

    In case groundwater use seems inconsequential (in how it might relate to coastal land subsidence) try to imagine if the worldwide human coastal settlement pattern increase over the last decades is only equivalent to the current total population of Ca.. My last available data is that in 2002 Ca.(statewide, not just coastal) used 15 million acre feet of groundwater, verses only 9 million acre feet (estimated) a little over half a century earlier (1947).

  52. Most of the tide gauge data Chambers et al use go back no farther than 1900 (often less) and end in 2003 or 2010, so the authors are properly cautious in claiming to have found a 60-year cycle that has not yet repeated twice in their data. Also they note that some older records do not support this cycle, and that records get less complete as you go farther back. And, their relatively weak cycles describe variation around the well established upward trend, not a departure from that trend.

    One thing cycles clearly provide is predictions. In this case that the rate of sea level rise in the north atlantic and other basins should decrease over the next decade. Predictions based on 60-year cycles have proved spectacularly wrong about arctic ice, but perhaps they will fare better with sea level.

  53. I heard a school boy say this the other day : “Hey I know why the Hurricanes are getting fewer and weaker, its pretty obvious really, warmer temperatures have shifted to the north pole these past few summers so it makes sense there is less heat to start and power the Hurricanes further south”…. I LOVE the logic…. How would a stroppy alarmist to that I wonder !?

  54. NeilT says:
    September 13, 2012 at 6:32 am

    Neil, as I live near the Dutch border and have worked there for almost al my working life, I know something about what they have done to get no wet feet.

    They have built dikes and a lot of other defenses to keep the water out. These are built to last a one-in-thousand years heavy NW storm at spring tide. That means over 10 m higher than MSL. I don’t think that an increase of 0.2 m over 200 years will worry them. If that increases a fivefold to 1 m in 200 years, they may consider to increase the heights with 1 meter… The lowest point in the Netherlands BTW is 12 meter below MSL.

    The Dutch engineers have helped New Orleans with their fortifying of the dikes, with succes… And they are helping Bangladesh now who live in a similar delta…

  55. NeilT

    You are new here so can I ask that you look at the actual data instead of just repeating the things you have read that resonate with you?

    Here is part 1 of my article ‘historic variations in sea levels’ which covers the Holocene to the Romans.

    http://judithcurry.com/2011/07/12/historic-variations-in-sea-levels-part-1-from-the-holocene-to-romans/

    Sea levels were some 20cm higher then than now, but the most important component is to factor in whether the land is rising or falling. There appears to be a cycle based around an oscillation of a metre either side of a mean average. Modern day sea level is some way from the top of the current cycle.

    Tonyb

  56. Ferdinand,

    The inability (or refusal) of those worried about sea level rise to take into consideration our ability to engineer and build structures and equipment that can deal with the issue might go a long way in explaining why most engineers I know are rather skeptical about the “threat” posed by global warming.

    I know that makes them “denialists” , “conspiracy theorists” and “nutters” to the AGW crowd, but what does it say about them?

  57. tonyb says:
    September 13, 2012 at 12:13 pm
    You are new here so can I ask that you look at the actual data instead of just repeating the things you have read that resonate with you?

    Here is part 1 of my article ‘historic variations in sea levels’ which covers the Holocene to the Romans.

    The link you gave only goes to a blog post. Is there a peer-reviewed version of this article?

  58. Yet another record that matches the plot I did of rate of change in UAH lower tropo temps

    dT/dt and rate fo change of sea level are comparable quantities (both power related).

    My plot uses 2 year gaussian filter as the longest , so it shows a bit more sub-decadal change. If we take the midpoint of his decades as the reference year, his peak is about 5 years later. The lesser thermal mass of the atmosphere will probalby account for that.

    TLT hit negative rate of change in 2005 , due account needs to be taken of all the assumptions, inaccuracies and fiddle factors that do into GMSL these days. To know where the sea is by satellite, you need to know where the satellite is. To know that you need to know where the land is. To know that … well you guess how much it has moved and add another guess about how the ocean basins are deepening to make the mean sea level float somewhere above the waves.

    That’s without the huge difficulty of working out where the mean level is by looking at a reflection from the _trough_ of a wave in a 2m swell without getting any systematic errors.

    I take colorado’s GMLS data with a pinch of salt (sic).

    Despite all that the general form is similar to TLT but with a significant residual warming. The turn-around 1995-2000 seems consistent between the two.

  59. See, Obama does keep his promises.

    REPLY: and yet in another thread you write….”Please remove the unnecessary and unhumorous reference to rioting in Libya. It’s uncalled for here.”…sorry it stays as satirical irony… be as upset as your wish. – Anthony

  60. jonny old boy says:
    September 13, 2012 at 11:54 am

    Quite right! (well a reasonable explanation at anyrate!) – but seriously, this is excatly what the climate ‘team’ cannot do – i.e. look at an issue from a wide perspective and invoke logical thinking. Instead, they seem to have this unending desire to link to AGW – beats me!, but there you go……

  61. Ironically, in places where we have altered river delta sedimentation (New Orleans, Nile delta), the rate of subsidence is much more than the rate of sea level rise, with actual consequences.

  62. kwinterkorn says:
    September 13, 2012 at 8:38 am
    Where is Trenberth with a pithy phrase when we need him. The travesty is that the oceans are missing water and we cannot explain where it is. We know the glaciers and polar ice (well, the north pole, at least) are melting and the water must be somewhere. Maybe the water is hidden in the depths of the oceans.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Forget Trenberth, This was already published decades ago in the peer-reviewed music literature by David Byrne et al.

    “There is water at the bottom of the ocean”

    – Talking Heads (1981)

  63. NeilT says:

    @JJ have you considered that the WAIS and Greenland will do for future generations.

    I doubt that Greenland will look very different in 200 years than it does today. If it is substantially different, I hope it is different warmer rather than different colder. If it is warmer, then my descendents might be able to live in some of the places that their Viking ancestors did ~1,000 years ago – places that I cannot live today because they are yet buried beneath great mounds of ice.

    No of course you havene’t you don’t give a second’s thought about them it’s all abot YOU and NOW.

    You can think about them all you want, but you don’t know jack squat about them, so the thinking that you are doing is called “imagining”. How sad it is for you that your imagination is so morose. It takes an unnatural level of defeatism to even entertain the notion that 0.75 inches of sea level rise per generation will destroy “our society”, let alone to succumb to such dystopic fantasy . Have you tried Prozac?

    At any rate, you should stop worrying. MY actual descendents will be able to handle 8 inches of sea level rise over the course of ten generations. If your imaginary descendents are too crippled by their inherited personality disorders to cope, mine will likely step up and keep your disfunctional, maladaptive progeny from being swept out to sea on the crest of that 8 inch tall, super-slow-motion tsunami. No need to thank us. Its just the sort of soft hearted, considerate fellows we are.

  64. Just plotted GMSL and UAH TLT rates of change with approx 2 year gaussian filter , shifting the air temp to 5 years later as observed above.

    The overlay is quite striking, if we accept the premice of a 5 year lag in the responce of the oceans They seem to be saying the same thing.

  65. Otter says:
    September 13, 2012 at 2:52 am
    “One only has to step outside to see that everything is going pretty much as it always has.”

    A Short History of the World’s Climate from 1800 to the Present

    From 1800 to 1899, nothing much happened; the world got a little warmer, and the seas rose a little. Suddenly, in 1900, nothing much happened; nothing much had happened before, and nothing much was happening again. A distinct trend was developing. From 1901 to the present, September 13th. 2012, the trend continued, the Earth got a little warmer, and the seas rose a bit, and so nothing much happened.

    Clearly, citizens of the Earth must take action to stop this worrying trend; if we do nothing, nothing much will continue to happen, and who knows what the result might be.

  66. The rate of sea level rise has and continues to be a problem for Warmists. When you look back 10,000 years bp it’s flattening and most coral island atolls have risen with the sea.

    I’m still waiting for my thermal expansion after our recent stint with global warming and the hottest decade on the record.

    The US (which is only a small part of the globe unless it’s a heat wave) will soon be flooded. / sarc

    http://www.bioone.org/doi/abs/10.2112/JCOASTRES-D-10-00157.1

  67. NeilT says:
    September 13, 2012 at 5:51 am

    The usual level of debate then, no change there on WUWT is there?……………………..

    Whatever happened to our gatekeeper? ;-)

    Calm down NeilT, observations trump fear and specualtion everytime.

  68. NeilT you are getting thrashed here because your facts are not facts at all. Sea level rise has been on the same curve no matter if Co2 was high or low:

  69. NeilT says:
    September 13, 2012 at 5:51 am

    The usual level of debate then, no change there on WUWT is there?

    I did click the link Anthony, I can see the continued rise even if you can’t…..

    Sea levels have been rising since the end of the last ice age many thousands of years ago. Look at the rate of rise – that is the issue. Stating the obvious and assuming sceptics disagree is the wrong track to take. Apparently more Warmists believe that the moon landings were faked than sceptics. Think about it.

  70. There are certainly decadal length variations from ongoing sea level trends, due in large part to ENSO variations.

    The long term trend, however, shows a _significant_ acceleration over the 20th century. See Church et al 2006 (http://naturescapebroward.com/NaturalResources/ClimateChange/Documents/GRL_Church_White_2006_024826.pdf) for details.

    Michaels, in focusing on 2003 and later data only, is cherry-picking a short term variation and claiming it as a long term trend (http://www.skepticalscience.com/graphics.php?g=47). Looking at the full body of data leads to a different conclusion.

  71. It’s also worth looking at a longer term of history – http://www.cmar.csiro.au/sealevel/sl_hist_intro.html shows Holocene sea level rises over the last 140,000 years, with the Holocene flattening around 8000 years ago. And then the very large acceleration over the last 150 years (in Fig. 2).

    Again, Michaels is cherry-picking a short interval, which is not statistically significant given the variations in sea level rise.

  72. I was intrigued by the idea of the shift , so I had a closer look. Seems like a total artefact of their data massaging.

    I always opt for lightly cooked data rather than a puree, so usually I would download the non seasonal , no barom versions. However, as frequent flyers at WUWT will know earlier this year we were deprived of that choice. I wrote and requested ‘nob’ versions and did not even get the courtesy of a reply.

    Now, I just went back and dug out an old ‘nob’ copy I had from April 2011 and plotted it all up.( I also looked at the effect of their deseasonalising but that does not show anything odd.)

    Just look at that HUGE change in “climate” in the more recent version of the same dataset. The pre-2000 data is completely reversed. WTFUWT ??

    What’s worse is that the no-longer-available earlier version actually does bear some resemblance to the atmospheric data. I have some ideas about why it drifts up a bit recently but it’s in the same ballpark.

    I’ve always been very dubious of how a barometer adjustment could have any effect on MEAN global sea level. But we no longer get the option , like we don’t the option of the GAIA “correction”.

    Now maybe this is not due to B.A. at all , it’s just some other “corrections” they applied earlier this year when they remade the GMSL dataset. That is probably more likely.

    What ever they did it looks like they got it badly wrong.

  73. Oops! I just spotted the dates are back to front on the legend of that graph. I have double-checked dates and content of the data files and my comments are correct as to which is which. Sorry for any confusion.

    This is really bad news. The two datasets where corroborating each other last year which would have given a bit more confidence in both .

    Now that corroboration suggests Roy Spencer et al are producing reliable data and Colorado have gone off into the land of adjustment fairies.

  74. KR,

    CSIRO has less credibility than GISS. They regularly “adjust” their charts. Actual sea level rise has kept closely to Holgate’s curve:

  75. KR,

    CSIRO’s graph is model-based. Here are actual sea level charts I found with a short search:

    http://c3headlines.typepad.com/.a/6a010536b58035970c0133f328df8d970b-pi

    http://ecotretas.blogspot.com/2011/07/more-hiding-decline.html

    http://stevengoddard.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/paintimage2111.jpg?w=640&h=422

    http://bp2.blogger.com/__VkzVMn3cHA/SFc69IZ90yI/AAAAAAAAACk/7pcWSxd5Vug/s1600-h/UC+Global+Sea+Level.bmp

    There are lots more charts showing the same data. Sea levels are not accelerating.

    CSIRO and you are cherry-picking, not Dr. Michaels.

  76. D Boehm – You’ve shown a great many graphs, primarily from blogs, and mostly of very short time periods. For example, your first link is of the US coastline, where the glacial isostatic rebound is strongly seen – thus (if not accounted for) masking global sea level rise.

    Can you point to any peer-reviewed (i.e., considered by people who actually know the field) references that indicate that Church et al or CSIRO are incorrect? Data that is global in extent, rather than from a few tidal gauges?

    Please keep in mind that we are seeing sea level rise against the Holocene sea level drop, as would have been expected at the end of an interglacial – sea level rise that is therefore not part of the historic Milankovitch cycle.

  77. KR,

    It is clear that no matter how many sources I post, you will never agree with any of them. I only posted those examples to show everyone that your links are contradicted.

    Remember that ‘Skeptical Science’ is an unreliable blog that changes peoples’ comments without admitting it, invents charts, and links to known fabrications. If you don’t know they are unreliable then you haven’t read the sidebar. They have their own special category.

    You purport to show that the sea level rise is rapidly accelerating. That is false. I think you know it to be false. Therefore you are spreading deception:

    The only way your kind can argue is by spreading deception. That is why your credibility is nonexistent.

  78. From D Boehm on September 13, 2012 at 5:51 pm:

    CSIRO’s graph is model-based. Here are actual sea level charts I found with a short search:

    Access Denied. Goddard’s old site.

    http://c3headlines.typepad.com/.a/6a010536b58035970c0133f328df8d970b-pi

    Vulnerable to cherrypicking charges. Lacks most recent data, not global.

    Hack job, data deleted.

    http://bp2.blogger.com/__VkzVMn3cHA/SFc69IZ90yI/AAAAAAAAACk/7pcWSxd5Vug/s1600-h/UC+Global+Sea+Level.bmp

    Source?

    Data only to 2000?

    http://stevengoddard.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/paintimage2111.jpg?w=640&h=422

    See this:

    Improvement of Envisat RA-2 reprocessed data v2.1
    28 August 2012

    Just in time for the next IPCC report, an error was “discovered” in Envisat data that’s allowed them to dramatically increase the found MSL rise rate, by over 400%. So that chart has been obsoleted.

    (And how could KR have evaluated the “access denied” charts? He shot them down without even trying the links. Why bother looking at other evidence when you’ve already decided what the evidence should conclude?)

  79. D Boehm, that last graph you linked to was for a 20 year period that showed no sign of acceleration or decelleration. But as usual, 20 years is probably not long enough for the signal to overcome the noise, particularly as you are looking for the second derivative of sea level.

  80. kadaka,

    As I explained, those links were found after a quick search. There are lots more that show the same thing. There has been no rapid acceleration of sea levels, as KR claims.

    I agree that the Envisat “adjustment” was highly questionable. John Daly shows that after a century and a half there is no significant sea level rise. That is a verifiable observation, which I accept over a dubious Envisat adjustment, which, as you pointed out, was done conveniently in time for AR-5. The IPCC, GISS, and other agencies have been so thoroughly dishonest that the default position must be that they are lying about Envisat. Every ‘adjustment’ seems to go in only one direction: that of the climate alarmist narrative. The onus is on those claiming the adjusted data is correct, to prove it beyond any doubt. What they are improbably claiming is that all other sea level data is wrong.

    The U of Colorado has an updated sea level chart online:

    It is a compilation of satellites’ data, and it shows conclusively that there is no acceleration in the sea level rise. It also contradicts the Envisat “adjustment”. And it is in line with the findings of the late John Daly:

    http://www.john-daly.com/deadisle/index.htm

  81. KR said on September 13, 2012 at 4:22 pm, “The long term trend, however, shows a _significant_ acceleration over the 20th century. See Church et al 2006 for details. Michaels… is cherry-picking.”

    KR, you’re behind the times. The long term trend shows no statistically significant acceleration in the rate of sea level rise.

    However, you’re not alone in your confusion about sea level rise. Much of that confusion results from misunderstanding the findings of the paper you cited, Church & White (2006), “A 20th Century Acceleration in Global Sea-Level Rise.”

    Church & White fit a quadratic to averaged and adjusted tide gauge data, and detected a small acceleration in rate of sea level rise for the 20th century as a whole. But it turns out that all of that acceleration occurred in the first quarter of the 20th century (and the late 19th century). After 1925, their data showed a small deceleration in rate of sea level rise, rather than acceleration.

    Since nearly all of the anthropogenic contribution to CO2 levels occurred after 1925, that means Church & White detected no acceleration in rate of sea level rise in response to anthropogenic CO2.

    In 2009, Church and White released a new data set, based on a different set of tide gauges. I applied their 2006 analysis method to the new data. I found that it not only showed deceleration in sea level rise after 1925, all of the acceleration in sea level rise for the full 20th century was also gone.

    I shared my results with Drs. Church & White, and on June 18, 2010, Dr. Church replied, confirming my analysis: “For the 1901 to 2007 period, again we agree with your result and get a non-significant and small deceleration.”

    In 2011, Church and White released a third data set. This one shows a very slight acceleration in sea level rise after 1925, though much smaller in magnitude than the deceleration seen in their other data sets. The post-1925 acceleration in this data set, if it continued to 2080, would add just 0.8 inches of sea level rise, compared to a linear projection.

    These results were published in Natural Hazards this year, DOI:10.1007/s11069-012-0159-8.

    For many more references in the literature to the fact that sea level measurements show no acceleration in response to elevated CO2, see my web site:
    http://www.sealevel.info

    KR also asked on September 13, 2012 at 6:13 pm, “Can you point to any peer-reviewed (i.e., considered by people who actually know the field) references that indicate that Church et al or CSIRO are incorrect? Data that is global in extent, rather than from a few tidal gauges?”

    Yes, KR. See my paper in Natural Hazards, cited above, and the results confirmed by Dr. Church.

  82. daveburton – Thank you, the comment you linked to is greatly appreciated and worth reading.

    I will note a few things, however: The Houston and Dean paper you linked has some significant issues, including that they chose a 1930 minima in acceleration (http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2011/07/is-sea-level-rise-accelerating/), which can be directly related to the mid-20th century plateau in warming – it is not a good measure of recent warming or the effects thereof on sea level. I find it quite curious that the minima they discussed is the lowest value in a 140 year span, not the average rate over that period.

    Secondly, linear extrapolation from a subset of tidal gauges (without, I will note, any glacial isostatic adjustment discussed in your comment) is not really comparable to the global data when accounting for land rise/sink changes in addition to sea levels.

    Third, the 2011 Church and White paper (ftp://dossier.ogp.noaa.gov/NCASLR/Publications/Church_White_2011_HistoricSLR_1880_2009.pdf), published after your 2010 discussion, states that:

    The linear trend from 1900 to 2009 is 1.7 ± 0.2 mm year-1 and from 1961 to 2009 is 1.9 ± 0.4 mm year-1. However, there are significant departures from a linear trend. We estimate an acceleration in GMSL by fitting a quadratic to the time series, taking account of the time variable uncertainty estimates. From 1880 to 2009, the acceleration (twice the quadratic coefficient) is 0.009 ± 0.003 mm year-2 (one standard deviation). This estimate is slightly less than but not significantly different from the (one standard deviation) estimate of Church and White (2006) of 0.013 ± 0.003 mm year-2, but still significantly different from zero at the 95% level. From 1900 to 2009, the acceleration is also 0.009 ± 0.004 mm year-2. If the variable uncertainty estimates are ignored the equivalent accelerations are 0.010 and 0.012 mm year-2.

    So they find, in their current work, faster rise since 1961 than since 1900, and a continuing acceleration in the sea level rise rate.

    Have you discussed these matters with Church et al since 2010? If so, I would be quite curious as to their response.

  83. D Boehm says:
    September 13, 2012 at 8:13 pm
    John Daly shows that after a century and a half there is no significant sea level rise.
    =========
    The British Admiralty charts from 200+ years ago, made by the likes of Cook, Vancouver, Bligh and Flinders also show no significant sea level rise.

    The BA charts remain one of the finest scientific records in existence. They show the sea levels world wide to an accuracy of 1 foot, from a time long before CO2 became an issue.

    The BA charts drawn 200+ years ago have not been corrected for climate change or sea level rise, even though people’s lives depend on the charts being correct. This is rather conclusive evidence that sea level rise is cyclical. Over a period of 200 years it nets out to less than 1 foot.

  84. KR, first of all, your criticism of Houston and Dean is misplaced. Contrary to that ridiculous Rahmstorf RC blog post that you cited, there was no minima in sea-level rise acceleration circa 1930. Just the opposite, in fact: there was a spike. C&W 2006 called it “a clear change of slope at ~ 1930.” By “change” they meant “increase.” (You can see why Rahmstorf gets little respect around here.)

    Rahmstorf then compounds his error by citing a Tamino blog post, for crying out loud. Tamino censors his blog to prevent dissent and embarrassment, and it’s easy to see why. Here’s another of his blog articles attacking Houston & Dean, and here’s a quote from it:

    “Here’s some sea level data, in fact two data sets. One is a global combination of tide gauge records… The other is satellite data… I averaged the two data sources during their period of overlap, and computed a smoothed version…”

    Do you see it? Tamino conflated coastal tide gauge data with mid-ocean satellite altimeter data! And he doesn’t even understand that there’s anything wrong with that!

    That’s the only way you can get a graph from actual data that seems to show acceleration in the rate of sea level rise in the last 3/4 century: by comparing apples to oranges, i.e., sea level in different locations (or by using too-short intervals).

    Sea level trends vary widely from one location to another. At some places in Scandinavia sea level is falling about 8 mm/year, due to post-glacial rebound. At Galveston, it was until recently rising at about 6 mm/year, due to land subsidence. If you draw a graph with sea level at one location until 15 or 20 years ago, and then replace it or average it with sea level from a different location for the remainder of the graph, then you can create the illusion of acceleration.

    That’s what Tamino did.

    Averaged tide gauges show no acceleration in the rate of sea level for more than 3/4 century.

    Satellite data has major quality issues, and there’s less than 20 years of it (about 60 years is needed to establish a robust trend), but, such as it is, it also indicates that sea level rise has decelerated in the last few years.

    Only by gross statistical malpractice is it possible to detect statistically significant acceleration in sea level rise over the last 70-85 years.

    The entire basis for projections of accelerated sea-level rise is that CO2 levels are going up. To test the hypothesis that CO2 drives sea-level rise, one should not look for acceleration in rate of sealevel rise before CO2 levels went up substantially. But that’s exactly what you’re doing when you fit a quadratic to sea level from 1870 to present or 1900 to present, because CO2 levels didn’t start going up significantly until about 70 or 80 years ago.

    The important thing to recognize is that all (in C&W 2006, C&W 2009, and most other datasets) or nearly all (in C&W 2011) of the acceleration in rate of sea-level rise occurred before there was a substantial anthropogenic contribution to CO2 levels. When CO2 levels took off, sea-level rise acceleration ceased!

    Now, as we all know, correlation does not imply causation. So I’m not suggesting that anthropogenic CO2 caused the end of the late-19th and early-20th century acceleration in sea-level rise. But it’s a lead-pipe cinch that anthropogenic CO2 did not cause the acceleration in sea-level rise which preceded it.

    Since the last 3/4 century of anthropogenically-driven CO2 increases have resulted in no measurable acceleration in rate of sea-level rise so far, it’s a safe bet that the next 3/4 century of anthropogenically-driven CO2 increases won’t cause much, if any, acceleration in the rate of sea-level rise, either.

  85. ferd,

    You are right, as usual. Here is more evidence that sea level rise is cyclical:

    Next, this chart shows there has been no acceleration either short term or long term:

    http://oi51.tinypic.com/28tkoix.jpg (The provenance is in the text below the chart. The original papers can be found with a simple search.)

    Below is a Bill Illis chart going back to the 1870’s:

    Bill is very precise in his chart construction.

    KR’s arguments are unconvincing. He wants to show that isostatic sea level rise proves AGW because of supposed recent acceleration. However, isostatic SL rise is not happening as predicted. As Bill Illis shows, there has been recent deceleration. That fact all by itself challenges Kevin Trenberth’s belief that the ‘missing’ heat from AGW is hidden somewhere in the oceans. If it were, isostatic SL rise would be happening, but it isn’t.

    What really shows that SL rise is a non-issue is the fact that SL is not a major warmist argument. There are too many problems with it from the point of view of the warmists. They don’t want to be continually shown that they are wrong. So they make a much bigger deal out of sea ice instead. I suspect they will move on to other alarms once sea ice begins to re-freeze. Because there is always some weather event they can blame on AGW.

    As others have pointed out, AGW is only a conjecture. There is no real scientific evidence to support it. Yes, radiative physics is valid. But radiative physics is not AGW. They are different, and we don’t know much about all the various climate dynamics. It is entirely possible that co2 cools on balance, or that it is essentially neutral.

    What we do know is that for the most part, the holocene has been very much in balance. The extremely small 0.8º change in temperature since the mid-1800s is in fact pretty unusual. Long term, the global temperature has changed by ten degrees or more in a very short decadal time frame.

    Someone asked a few days ago: show us just one instance of positive fedback. AGW could be a candidate – if it reaally existed. There is no proof of AGW, but there is plenty of evidence that co2 is caused by temperature, not the other way round. So AGW is only a conjecture, it is not a hypothesis, and it is not a theory. It could be true but its effect is so minor that engineers can easily handle any resulting problems.

    And so far there are no AGW problems., showing any global harm or damage fom anthropogenic co2 emissions. Every claimed problem always turns out to have other explanations. If climatology were an honest science, then at this point scientists would have to admit that their conjecture was wrong in the first place. But money and egos intervene, and so what would normally be rejected takes on a life of its own.

  86. KR

    You will be aware of Simon Holgate’s work, who estimated that sea level rise in the first half of the 20th century was greater than in the second half of the 20th century (although statistically there was little difference)

    Tonyb

  87. daveburton” Contrary to that ridiculous Rahmstorf RC blog post that you cited, there was no minima in sea-level rise acceleration circa 1930. Just the opposite, in fact: there was a spike.”

    There was certainly a spike in sea level rise – but the inflection point of the rate of acceleration ~1930 just prior to a mid-century flattening is indeed a minima in the acceleration data. In addition, H&D only used a quadratic fit, when there have indeed been non-quadratic variations over the last 150 years – which closely match the temperature record.

    See Rahmstorf 2012 (http://www.nature.com/scitable/knowledge/library/modeling-sea-level-rise-25857988) Fig. 1 for a comparison of rates of change between sea level rise and temperature, in addition to a very interesting discussion of physical versus semi-empirical models and predictions of sea level.

    “Tamino conflated coastal tide gauge data with mid-ocean satellite altimeter data! And he doesn’t even understand that there’s anything wrong with that!”

    Do you realize that the tidal gauge data Tamino used, which was also used by Church and White, comes from Domingues 2009 (ftp://soest.hawaii.edu/coastal/Climate%20Articles/Domingues_2008%20Improved%20estimates%20of%20sea%20level%20rise.pdf), 500 globally distributed gauges which are corrected for both atmospheric pressure and glacial isostatic adjustment – meaning that the tide gauge and satellite data are directly comparable? It’s _entirely_ appropriate to consider those two sources on the same baseline, and I don’t think your objection is supportable.

    “Now, as we all know, correlation does not imply causation. So I’m not suggesting that anthropogenic CO2 caused the end of the late-19th and early-20th century acceleration in sea-level rise. But it’s a lead-pipe cinch that anthropogenic CO2 did not cause the acceleration in sea-level rise which preceded it.”

    I would point out that sea level rates follow temperature – which is a quite separate discussion from temperature following CO2. From Kemp et al 2011 (http://holocene.meteo.psu.edu/shared/articles/KempetalPNAS11.pdf):

    Sea level was stable from at least BC 100 until AD 950. Sea level then increased for 400 y at a rate of 0.6 mm/y, followed by a further period of stable, or slightly falling, sea level that persisted until the late 19th century. Since then, sea level has risen at an average rate of 2.1 mm/y, representing the steepest century-scale increase of the past two millennia. This rate was initiated between AD 1865 and 1892. Using an extended semiempirical modeling approach, we show that these sea-level changes are consistent with global temperature for at least the past millennium.

  88. First, I botched a link. Clicking on “Rahmstorf” (the first of my two links) should have gone here:

    http://tinyurl.com/rahmstuff

    Sorry about that!

    Second, KR, I don’t understand what you meant with this: “Secondly, linear extrapolation from a subset of tidal gauges (without, I will note, any glacial isostatic adjustment discussed in your comment) is not really comparable to the global data when accounting for land rise/sink changes in addition to sea levels.”

    Are you objecting to the use of tide gauge data? Tide gauge data is “the global data.” Tide gauges are the source of the best data we have about sea level, by far. Some of the best tide gauge records are 10x as long as the satellite records, and certainly more trustworthy. (Plus, of course, the tide gauge records are vastly more reliable than attempts to infer ancient sea levels from “proxies.”)

    What’s more, tide gauges have the advantage of measuring sea level where it matters: at the coast. Satellites measure sea level over the open ocean, where it doesn’t matter, and where the measurements are affected by factors that don’t affect coastal sea levels (such a sea surface temperature).

    As for glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA), if you’re trying to detect acceleration, GIA is nearly irrelevant. It’s a (very roughly calculated!) “adjustment” to measured local sea level rates of change, to account for PGR, the the current, very slow isostatic response to events that happened thousands of years ago. The great northern ice sheets have been mostly gone for 6000 years, and tide gauge records, most of which are much less than 200 years long, are so comparatively short that GIA can be closely approximated as linear over the periods of the tide gauge records, which means it doesn’t significantly affect acceleration calculations.

    Note that my Natural Hazards article referenced two kinds of sea level data:

    1) Church & White’s various global data sets, which are “gridded” (a crude weighted averaging technique), adjusted with Peltier’s GIA estimates, and adjusted with “an additional spatially uniform field… to represent changes in GMSL” (whatever that is); and,

    2) Local, measured sea levels at NY tide gauges, used for making projections of future sea level there.

    Because rates of PGR are not changing much on sub-century timescales, when projecting local sea level rise on those timescales it is a mistake to muddle the data with GIA estimates. The measured rates of local mean sea level include all factors that affect sea level there: eustatic (global) sea level change (which is at most linear), PGR/GIA (which is very close to linear), and local land subsidence (the most potentially variable component). Unless you anticipate changes in local local land subsidence rates (perhaps due to increased or decreased extraction of groundwater or oil or gas), a linear projection of the historical sea level trend at a particular location is clearly the best predictor for future sea level change there.

  89. daveburton – An additional overview of the current science (filmed early this year) is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yHrVOnLKjuQ&feature=plcp. We are seeing acceleration according to the best data available.

    “Satellites measure sea level over the open ocean, where it doesn’t matter…”

    What a curious statement. Sea level rise affects the entire world, albeit with different geographic effects when combined with coastal land rise and fall. Satellite measurements are a good measure of the global rise rates.

  90. NeilT September 13, 2012 at 6:32 am

    ……… 1mm will destroy our society over 2 centuries, 2mm just makes it faster. 3mm guarantees that our grandchildren pick up the check, 4mm our Children…….

    Don’t panic yet, Neil, we should all be OK:

    ….. likely to raise sea level 15 cm by the year 2050 and 34 cm (1 foot) by the year 2100.
    There is also a 10 percent chance that climate change will contribute 30 cm by 2050 and 65 cm (approx 2 ft) by 2100. ……..

    A two foot rise in sea level (USA) would eliminate approximately 10,000 square miles of land (including current wetlands and newly inundated dry land), an area equal to the combined size of Massachusetts and Delaware (EPA, 1989).

    That is an area of 100 x 100 miles.

  91. NeilT wrote, “1mm will destroy our society over 2 centuries, 2mm just makes it faster”

    I have good news, Neil. If sea level rises at just 1mm/year, dust accumulation and vegetation growth can likely keep up with the slowly rising water levels indefinitely, in most climates. In the tropics, peat can sometimes accumulate at over 10mm/year. Coral can grow even faster than that.

    Do you feel better, now, Neil?

  92. KR, I’m familiar with Peter’s video featuring Josh Willis of NASA JPL. He’s wrong.

    Here’s an example of NASA JPL’s scientific malpractice w/r/t sea level rise. This is a slide from a presentation by NASA JPL’s Lee-Leung Fu at a JPL Climate Symposium, Oct 24, 2009:

    Look at the circles. Do you see what they’ve done?

    For the “2.0 mm/yr” trend line, they started with a negative noise spike, to get a bigger slope! Do you see it?

    And look closely at that final “3.2 mm/yr” tread line:

    For that one, they not only started with a negative noise spike, they ended with a positive noise spike! Plus, they stopped short of the end of the data in order to show the greatest possible slope!

    That’s how NASA JPL (Josh Willis’s outfit) demonstrated “acceleration” in sea level rise at a JPL Symposium: by simple graphing fraud, which would earn an 8th grader an “F” from any competent middle school science teacher.

    The truth is that there’s been no detectable acceleration at all in rate of sea level rise over the period during which mankind has been driving up CO2 levels substantially (roughly the last 3/4 century).

  93. tonyb, I know what “GMSL” is. In fact, it’s in the glossary on my web site:

    http://www.sealevel.info/glossary.html#gmsl

    (Feel free to suggest other additions to the glossary, BTW.)

    My “whatever that is” remark referred to C&W’s “additional spatially uniform field.” I’ve corresponded with Dr. Church about it, and I still don’t understand what it is. However, he did tell me that it’s not a “fudge factor,” and that it’s not temporally uniform. (Think about that, in the context of a paper on acceleration, in fact the first paper ever published in which anyone claimed to have detected any acceleration at all in sea level rise in the 20th century.)

  94. KR wrote, “There was certainly a spike in sea level rise – but the inflection point of the rate of acceleration ~1930 just prior to a mid-century flattening is indeed a minima in the acceleration data.”

    No, KR, there wasn’t a “spike in sea level rise” circa 1930, there was an increase in rate of sea level rise, which means a spike in acceleration. That’s a maximum, not a minimum. Rahmstorf apparently doesn’t know the difference between minima and maxima. (He’s not a native English speaker, so I’ll give him a pass on his confusion between plural and singular.) (But who’s “H&D”?)

    Please see http://tinyurl.com/rahmstuff for numerous references to the thorough beating that Rahmstorf’s semi-emperical nonsense has taken. My favorite quote: “It turns out that Rahmstorf has pulled an elaborate practical joke on the Community…” -Steve McIntyre
     

    KR wrote, “Do you realize that the tidal gauge data Tamino used… [is] gauges which are corrected for both atmospheric pressure and glacial isostatic adjustment — meaning that the tide gauge and satellite data are directly comparable?”

    Good heavens, KR! Have you ever looked at any actual sea level data?

    Take a look at my web site, and click on “Data.” Then pick your favorite tidegauge set (or leave it at the default, which is NOAA’s current LTT list), scroll down to the data, and look in the far-right colum. That’s the GIA-corrected long term sea level trend for 259 of the best long term tide gauges in the world.

    Look at the numbers. The “GIA corrected” trends vary from less than -3 mm/year to more than +3 mm/year!

    (Note: atmospheric pressure differences have only short-term effects, they’re negligible w/r/t long term trends.)

    Now do you understand why it is a severe error to mix and match sea level trends from different locations in the same graph?
     

    KR wrote, “I would point out that sea level rates follow temperature – which is a quite separate discussion from temperature following CO2. From Kemp…”

    That’s partially true. The part that is true is that the rate of sea level rise seems to have accelerated as the LIA ended, and we know that sea levels went way up at the last deglaciation, of course. But here’s the rub: if you believe the adjusted temperature datasets, the last two decades have been at least as warm as at any time on record — yet the measured rate of sea level rise hasn’t increased at all. Sea level is rising no faster now than it was 3/4 century ago. All that additional CO2 in the atmosphere hasn’t caused any measurable increase in the rate of sea level rise.

    Which brings us to your 2nd point: the mechanism through which CO2 is predicted to cause drastically accelerated sea level rise is indirect: the CO2 is supposed to cause warming, which, in turn, is supposed to cause sea level rise. Obviously, that hasn’t happened. So why not?

    Logically, there are only two possiblities: either the connection between CO2 and temperature is much weaker than the alarmist models predict, or the connection between temperature and sea level rise is much weaker than the alarmist models predict (or both).

    A lesson you can draw from that failure is one that Richard Lindzen aluded to when he wrote, “Future generations will wonder in bemused amazement that the early twenty-first century’s developed world went into hysterical panic over a globally averaged temperature increase of a few tenths of a degree and, on the basis of gross exaggerations of highly uncertain computer projections combined into implausible chains of inference, proceeded to contemplate a roll back of the industrial age.” A chain of inference is not merely as weak as its weakest link. The weaknesses of each link in the chain multiply. If two links in the chain each have a 50% chance of being right, there’s only a 25% chance that the whole chain of inference leads to a correct conclusion.

    W/r/t Kemp, at least he acknowledges the existance of the MWP, but he implicitly denies the existence of the RWP. If you can pick what data you’re going to believe, of course you can find correlations between two kinds of data. The truth is that we only have good sea level data for the last ~ 200 years, and the temperature data is worse than the sea level data, which makes exercises like Kemp’s questionable at best.

  95. daveburton – Pre-industrial sea level rise of 0.25 mm/year, 2 mm/year over the last 100 years (an order of magnitude increase), and 3.2 mm/year over the last 20 years (http://sealevel.colorado.edu/content/2012rel4-global-mean-sea-level-time-series-seasonal-signals-removed, starting, I’ll point out, at 1993, an intersection with the middle 2 mm/year fit line, not below it)…

    Josh Willis _is_ correct, there has been acceleration of sea level rise over the same period of increasing temperature, and not incidentally increasing levels CO2.

    And again, to repeat my first comment, Pat Michaels is cherry-picking short, statistically insignificant, intervals for his argument.

    I would agree that the particular JPL slide you pointed to is a bad graph, a poor argument. A simple quadratic or power fit to the data would be far more appropriate. Especially since the residuals of a linear fit over that interval are significant, and a higher order fit statistically supported. With acceleration…

    A single bad slide does not, however, invalidate the full body of evidence. I would consider that a “Look, squirrel” distraction.

  96. daveburton – “H&D” was my shorthand for Houston and Dean 2011. My apologies if that was unclear.

    H&D only looked at the quadratic term of a quadratic fit for data since 1930. That’s a poor fit in this case, as 20th century sea level data certainly does _not_ follow a parabola. And if you fit a (inappropriate) quadratic criteria as H&D did, the minima of that criteria appears in 1930.

    In reality, recent sea level rise is greater than (and with statistical significance) it’s average value since 1930, with most of that increase in the last four decades. [ The term for this behavior is "acceleration". ] H&D simply used an inappropriate analysis – sea level data since 1930 is best fit (to statistic significance) with a cubic polynomial that follows the mid-century changes – a quadratic fit fails significance testing. H&D presented a bad argument.

    As to the rest, I’m going to continue to disagree. Semi-empirical models fit the data better than the physical models (likely due to underestimates of cryosphere melt), the full body of data shows acceleration, and if you want to look at global data you need to look at more than local sources – sea rise is not uniform, there are regional differences, hence you have to look at global data to determine the net effect.

  97. daveburton, thanks for exposing the graphic sleight of hand. They use similar tricks like zero baseline temperature charts that make it appear that the natural warming trend is accelerating, when it is not. GISS is notorious for their dishonest charts.

    KR says: I would point out that sea level rates follow temperature – which is a quite separate discussion from temperature following CO2.

    KR doesn’t understand. There is no evidence showing that temperature follows co2. But there is ample evidence like this showing that co2 follows temperature:

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/esrl-co2/isolate:60/mean:12/scale:0.25/plot/hadcrut3vgl/isolate:60/mean:12/from:1958

    Neither KR nor anyone else has ever provided a chart showing that co2 leads temperature. That is because co2 is a function of temperature, not a cause. All available scientific evidence shows that co2 changes are caused by temperature, not the other way round.

    Lacking any supporting evidence, AGW is only a conjecture. It is no different than the false claim of accelerating sea level rise. Empirical evidence shows that SLR is not accelerating. There is no verifiable evidence showing acceleration. That is why they have to create their dishonest charts. Likewise, there is no evidence of AGW. So they make up fake charts to try and prove something for which they have no evidence.

  98. You are all missing what’s going on. This data makes perfect sense. Obama promised that by electing him, the rise of the oceans would begin to slow, and the planet would begin to heal. It’s working!!! I think that Romney promised to increase the rate of sea level rise. (OK, the Romney part I made up).

  99. Good grief! I showed KR that GIA-adjusted, tide-gauge-measured, long term sea level trends vary by more than 6 mm/year(!), and asked KR, Now do you understand why it is a severe error to mix and match sea level trends from different locations in the same graph?”

    Obviously, the answer to that question is “no.” KR replied on September 14, 2012 at 12:08 pm, committing exactly that error, saying “Pre-industrial sea level rise of 0.25 mm/year, 2 mm/year over the last 100 years (an order of magnitude increase), and 3.2 mm/year over the last 20 years… starting… at 1993.”

    1. Prior to tide gauge records, we have no good measurements of sea level rise. The claim to know “pre-industrial seal level rise” to a hundredth of a mm/year is complete poppycock.

    2. The 2 mm/year claimed rate “over the last 100 years” is averaged & adjusted tide gauges (about 2/3 measured plus about 1/3 GIA adjustment), and the 3.2 mm/year for the last 19 years is averaged & adjusted satellite data (inflated by 0.3 mm/year to account for hypothesized sinking of the ocean floor, which means it’s really a measure of depth, not sea-level, since sea-level is the level of the surface of the sea). The two figures, 2 mm/yr and 3.2 mm/yr, result from measuring different quantities, by different methodologies, in different locations. Comparing them is like comparing apples to oranges.

    If you look at tide-gauge data alone (and don’t switch gauges in mid-graph!), you see no acceleration. In fact, most studies find slight decelerations.

    Likewise, if you look at satellite data alone, you see no acceleration. In fact, you see deceleration (though, frankly, the satellite data is such a mess that I don’t think you should trust it).

    Only by conflating the two, which is gross statistical malpractice, is it possible to create the illusion of acceleration in sea-level rise.

    Why is this hard to understand??
     

    KR wrote on September 14, 2012 at 12:28 pm, “H&D only looked at the quadratic term of a quadratic fit for data since 1930. That’s a poor fit…”

    KR, your complaint about Houston & Dean fitting a quadratic as a test of acceleration comes just 20 hours after you cited Church & White 2006 as proof of acceleration… yet that’s the test that they used, except that they chose 1870 as the starting date. It seems clear that your real complaint isn’t with the method, it’s with the result.

    BTW, KR, you know who I am, but who are you?

  100. Mark Patton wrote, “There is no evidence showing that temperature follows co2. But there is ample evidence like this showing that co2 follows temperature”

    What an interesting message, and what an interesting graph!

    I was expecting a paleo-climate graph, showing temperature shifts leading CO2 shifts by a couple-hundred years. But this is something entirely different. It’s a graph of 12-month average minus 60-month average for both CO2 and temperature (using the WoodForTrees “Isolate” parameter, which “Does the same running mean as ‘mean’, but then subtracts this from the raw data to leave the ‘noise'”).

    I’ve never seen this sort of graph before. It clearly shows HADCRUT temperature fluctuations leading CO2 fluctuations by about 1-2 years.

    Is this original work, Mark? Is anyone else writing about it? Is it published anywhere?
     

    Mark continued, “Neither KR nor anyone else has ever provided a chart showing that co2 leads temperature. That is because co2 is a function of temperature, not a cause. All available scientific evidence shows that co2 changes are caused by temperature, not the other way round.”

    I think that’s a bit overstated. Even though temperature clearly drives CO2 (unsurprising, given the way that CO2’s solubility varies with water temperature), that does not preclude the opposite being true, as well. There are good physical reasons to expect a few tenths of a degree warming from today’s high CO2 levels. Calculations by tools like MODTRAN, the NCAR radiation code & RRTM can’t account for little-understood feedbacks, but there’re not total nonsense, either.

  101. daveburton,

    That WFT graph has been posted here on WUWT for a couple of months now. I am not aware of any published paper, so the opportunity is there (hint☺).

    I agree that CO2 is probably the cause of some minor warming. However, the amount of warming due to human emitted CO2 is negligible. It is so small that it is unmeasurable (at least I have never seen anything posted that purports to empirically measure AGW per unit of CO2 emitted).

    I think it works both ways. Oceans outgas and reabsorb CO2 in response to changing temperatures per Henry’s Law, and human emitted CO2 leads to some slight warming. But the only scientific evidence showing a measurable response is the response of CO2 to temperature changes. I am aware of no graphs showing that temperature changes are caused by changes in CO2.

    Any warming due to AGW is too small to measure, and thus any putative AGW can be disregarded for all practical purposes. If AGW cannot be measured, it is only a conjecture, and not a very scientific one.

  102. Mark Patton, daveburton – That graph you linked (http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/esrl-co2/isolate:60/mean:12/scale:0.25/plot/hadcrut3vgl/isolate:60/mean:12/from:1958) has indeed been showing up for a while. Examining it, however, reveals that it isn’t telling us anything about the long term trend in either CO2 or temperature.

    The key to understanding this is in the “Isolate” term used for both time series above. From the WoodForTrees help page (http://www.woodfortrees.org/help):

    Isolate: Does the same running mean as ‘mean’, but then subtracts this from the raw data to leave the ‘noise’

    The “Isolate” function, in other words, removes any long term trend from the data, leaving only short term variations. In this case, a 60 month (five year) filter removes any change longer than five years. What this leaves behind is the effects of ENSO on the carbon cycle, as discussed first in Bacastow 1979 (http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/1979/JC084iC06p03108.shtml) and more completely in Jones et al 2001 (http://www.met.rdg.ac.uk/~mat/hadcm3lc/paper.pdf). The ENSO, or more precisely the effects of ENSO on the biosphere, increase and decrease carbon take-up in the short term. With no effect on the long term trend.

    The plot Mark Patton linked to is simply variation around long term trends – trends which can be seen by the rest of data as in: http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/esrl-co2/mean:60/normalise/plot/hadcrut3vgl/mean:60/from:1958/normalise – simply looking at the “Mean” values that the “Isolate” plot removed.

    This, incidentally, is the same error that Dr. Salby, and more recently Dr. Humlum (http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2012/09/el-ninos-effect-onco2-causes-confusion/) have made in claiming that ocean warming causes recent CO2 increases – a focus on short term noise and variation while ignoring the long term trends.

    Choosing an analysis method that ignores long term trends (differencing, “Isolate”, etc), then making claims about those trends, is just a logical error.

  103. KR:

    At September 16, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    This, incidentally, is the same error that Dr. Salby, and more recently Dr. Humlum (http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2012/09/el-ninos-effect-onco2-causes-confusion/) have made in claiming that ocean warming causes recent CO2 increases – a focus on short term noise and variation while ignoring the long term trends.

    Salby’s conclusion may be right or wrong, but he does not make that “error”.

    And citing RC nonsense as justification for insulting the work of a scientist is not acceptable.

    Richard

  104. KR,

    You are engaging in complete misdirection.

    The WFT chart I posted says nothing whatever about trends. It is not intended to show trends. The purpose of the chart is to show conclusively that ΔT always leads ΔCO2.

    There are charts based on data from months to hundreds of thousands of years. They ALL show that temperature leads CO2. There may be some very minor effect from AGW, but it is too small to measure. And if it cannot be measured, it is not science. It is speculation. Conjecture. Opinion.

    The only ‘confusion’ is that which is intended by your deliberate misdirection. Empirical evidence shows conclusively that the CO2=CAGW conjecture is wrong. Please stop trying to peddle that scare story. You are fooling no one. Except, maybe, yourself.

  105. richardscourtney“Salby’s conclusion may be right or wrong, but he does not make that “error”. And citing RC nonsense as justification for insulting the work of a scientist is not acceptable.”

    I will note that Salby has not (yet) published his paper on the topic, but judging from his presentations on the subject, that is _exactly_ the error he made.

    As to the RC post I linked – it’s not a peer-reviewed paper. They note, however, that the effects Dr. Humlum was discussing have been known for a very long time, as (the example they pointed to) discussed in Keeling and Revelle 1985 – “Effects of El Nino/southern oscillation on the atmospheric content of carbon dioxide” (http://adsabs.harvard.edu/full/1985Metic..20..437K). Humlum (and Salby) at the very least appear not to have read significant portions of the existing literature, and have misinterpreted the observations. In addition to using differencing to discuss long term trends, which is foolish in the extreme.

    Mark Patton – Atmospheric CO2 concentration is increasing right along with our emissions. And since it is a greenhouse gas, it is adding an additional forcing to the climate.

    In the past (prior to our use of fossil fuels) CO2 changes were feedbacks in response to warming/cooling of the oceans, driven by solar variations over the Milankovitch cycle – and CO2 followed temperature. Now there has been a change – we’re burning it. That’s new… and forest fires in the past do not eliminate the possibility of arson in the present.

  106. More misdirection from KR. Where is KR’s putative “forcing”? There is no measurable ‘forcing’ attributable specifically to human emitted CO2. There is only unscientific speculation. Without verifiable measurements, KR is just posting his belief.

    There is no argument that CO2 is not rising, as KR tries to re-frame the debate. Of course CO2 is rising. And more CO2 is beneficial to the biosphere. It is a net positive. There is no evidence showing any global damage or harm from the added CO2, therefore CO2 is harmless.

    KR is still engaging in discredited alarmist scare tactics. But he lacks any actual measurements to support his belief. The only empirical measurements show that changes in CO2 always follow changes in temperature. By trying to re-frame the debate to other issues, KR is admitting that he cannot refute the fact that the only empirical evidence shows that CO2 is a function of temperature, not vice-versa. That fact destroys the CO2=CAGW belief.

    The fact that CO2 is rising, but temperature has only intermittently risen, is entirely coincidental. It is just as coincidental as this:

    That chart shows better temperature corellation with postal rates than with CO2. It is coincidental, to be sure. But so is the CO2/temperature claim, for which there exists no empirical evidence.

    KR is desperately trying to convince people of his version of climate alarmism, without posting any scientific evidence that withstands even the mildest scrutiny. His belief is in climastrology, not in the scientific method. KR’s only arguments consist of misdirection. He has no scientific evidence showing that human emitted CO2 is the cause of rising temperature. That is KR’s belief, nothing more. It has no supporting evidence.

    This is a science site, not a climastrology blog like RC or SS. KR needs to post verifiable scientific evidence showing conclusively that human CO2 emissions directly cause rising global temperatures – if he can. But because he has no such evidence, he misdirects, and obfuscates with his red herring and strawman arguments. He cherry picks. He posts everything except evidence compatible with the scientific method and real world data.

    People are getting wise to the junk science being peddled by the alarmist crowd. They have no convincing scientific evidence, only their belief. That is not good enough. Because skeptics have posted verifiable scientific evidence, and it totally refutes the climate alarmist nonsense.

  107. Mark Patton“KR needs to post verifiable scientific evidence showing conclusively that human CO2 emissions directly cause rising global temperatures…”

    I would suggest reading The Discovery of Global Warming (http://www.aip.org/history/climate/co2.htm), follow the many many references on points of question, and come back and talk about when you have done so. It’s a well organized walk-through of the developing knowledge and theory in this field, far better than I could manage in a blog post.

    If you opine that all of the evidence collected over the last 150 years on physics and causality, as described there, is (for example) a huge distortion, a concerted effort to mislead all of us for some reason (whether $$ for scientists feeding at a trough, one world goverment, machinations of the Illuminati, or the like), I would suggest reading the recent posts at http://www.shapingtomorrowsworld.org/bio.php?u=22. And finding a mirror.

  108. KR,

    You cannot credibly argue with this chart…

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/esrl-co2/isolate:60/mean:12/scale:0.25/plot/hadcrut3vgl/isolate:60/mean:12/from:1958

    …without posting solid evidence showing that human emitted CO2 is what caused global warming since the LIA.

    Post your empirical evidence, per the scientific method – or admit that you have only your belief.

    The only evidence I am aware of (and pal-reviewed papers are not ‘scientific evidence’) shows that changes in CO2 are the result — not the cause — of global warming. But you keep avoiding that obvious fact.

    All you ever show is correlation. That is not good enough, because it does not show causation. I have shown the causation. You have done nothing but try to re-frame the debate around your belief. You are in witch doctor territory.

    The alarmist crowd has such incredibly weak arguments that it is easy to understand why the public is looking at your endless pronouncements of doom with a jaundiced eye.

  109. KR, I know what the WoodForTrees “isolate” function does; in fact, I described it. The purpose is to tease out short-term effects.

    Thanks for the links, though. Jones does, indeed, attribute the CO2-lagging-temperature relationship to the effects of ENSO on the carbon cycle, as you say. The Bacastow full-text is behind a paywall, but abstract indicates that he attributes it to a different cause: “the decrease in CO2 level is due to reduced sea surface temperatures,” i.e., because the solubility of CO2 in water decreases as temperature increases. (If you have a copy of the Bacastow paper, I’d be grateful if you’d email it to me.) Both authors are probably correct, at least to some degree. (Pardon the pun!)

    You are also correct that identifying a short-term relationship between two measurements (temperature & CO2), after removing the long-term trends from the two kinds of data, does not mean that there’s necessarily a similar long-term relationship. (Will you please tell Rahmstorf that, in the context of sea-level?)

    However, you’ve overstated your case when you claim that temperature has “no effect on the long term [CO2] trend.” There is considerable evidence that temperature does drive CO2 levels on longer timescales. For instance, I’m sure you’ve seen the paleoclimate graphs, from isotopic analysis of ice cores, indicating that atmospheric CO2 levels increase and drop as temperatures increase and drop, with a lag of at least a couple hundred years.

    It’s easy to understand why. About 98% of the Earth’s CO2 is dissolved in seawater, and only 2% is in the air, so changes in the solubility of CO2 in seawater can greatly affect atmospheric CO2. Since the solubility of CO2 in seawater drops as temperature increases, it should come as no surprise that warmer climate causes increased atmospheric CO2 levels.

    KR, that physical principle applies over short (under 2 year) and long (200-1000 year) periods, and everything in-between. The short period relationship indicates that modest changes in SST are sufficient to cause measurable changes in atmospheric CO2 levels. The longer delay associated with larger changes in atmospheric CO2 levels corresponds roughly to the time it takes for deep water and surface water to be exchanged in the oceans. It is no “logical error” to expect that an observed short-term relationship suggests a longer-term relationship of the same sort. Rather, it is illogical, in the face of such evidence, to think that temperature does not also drive CO2 levels, at least to some extent, on decadal time scales.
     

    Mark Patton says, “There may be some very minor effect from AGW, but it is too small to measure. And if it cannot be measured, it is not science. It is speculation. Conjecture. Opinion.”

    Mark, I think you mean “from GHGs,” right?

    I think it’s not quite right to say “if it cannot be measured, it is not science.” Better is, “if it cannot make testable predictions, it is not science,” because testable predictions are what are necessary for falsifiability, which is necessary for the exercise of the scientific method. (It is also true that, “if you can’t quantify it, you don’t understand it.”)

    I also think it’s overreach to say that the belief that GHGs have a warming effect is mere speculation. Although teasing out the overall effect on measured temperatures is (perhaps prohibitively) challenging, there are good measured data for the effects of trace gases on the transmission & absorption spectrum of air, and real, quantified calculations that can be made from that, with tools like MODTRAN. From those calculations we can predict a direct warming effect from the ~100 ppm CO2 that is generally thought to be due to human activity, and it amounts to a fraction of a degree.

    The big argument is over feedbacks and effects: Climate Movement activists say that the Earth’s climate system is inherently so unstable that the slight warming from additional CO2 will be multiplied dramatically through positive feedbacks, such as water vapor and albedo changes. Cooler heads see little evidence that is true.
     

    KR wrote, “Mark Patton – Atmospheric CO2 concentration is increasing right along with our emissions. And since it is a greenhouse gas, it is adding an additional forcing to the climate.”

    I agree with that, KR, but:

    1. Even though anthropogenic CO2 emissions are more than enough to account for the measured in crease of atmospheric CO2, that doesn’t mean that none of the increase is the result of warmer temperatures. It is likely that, absent the last couple of decades of generally warm conditions, the oceans would have absorbed more of the anthropogenic CO2, resulting in a smaller rate of increase in measured atmospheric CO2.

    2. Additional CO2 is calculated to have a diminishing effect on temperature. MODTRAN calculates that less than 20 ppm CO2 would produce 50% of the warming which current CO2 levels produce. The NCAR Radiation Code says 40 ppm, but, either way, we’re past the point of diminishing returns w/r/t warming from additional atmospheric CO2.

    So, yes, anthropogenic CO2 is a forcing, but it’s not a huge one. Prof. Lindzen got it right:

    “Future generations will wonder in bemused amazement that the early twenty-first century’s developed world went into hysterical panic over a globally averaged temperature increase of a few tenths of a degree and, on the basis of gross exaggerations of highly uncertain computer projections combined into implausible chains of inference, proceeded to contemplate a roll back of the industrial age.”

  110. daveburton – There are two statements that are being conflated; I think it is important to separate them.

    (1) Temperature versus CO2 concentration: ENSO and the ice ages – Yes, temperature (and ENSO driven biological activity, which appears to account for much of the ENSO related variations) affects CO2 levels. Given the 5-6C difference between interglacial and glacial periods in Earth’s recent (~800K years) history, along with the ~100ppm variation in CO2, that means a CO2 sensitivity (as in delta C02 WRT temperature) of roughly 15ppm per degree of global temperature change. Salby’s hypothesis of ocean warming driving recent CO2 changes of 100ppm would require a CO2 sensitivity of ~150ppm per degree, or an order of magnitude larger. That sensitivity would indicate that a drop of 2C leading into a glacial period would reduce atmospheric CO2 to approximately _zero_, and is therefore absurd.

    Given observed changes in CO2/ocean absorption with temperature, the CO2 feedback possible at equilibrium from warming over the last 150 years is only ~10ppm, small change considering the observed 100ppm change in the last 100 years. And thermal driven CO2 change has (in the past) taken 500-800 years of ocean circulation – over the last 100 years perhaps only 2ppm _total_ (not per year) could be caused by that thermal solubility relationship.

    (2) Recent changes in CO2/anthropogenic influences – 100ppm increase over the last 150 years, with an isotopic signature matching fossil fuels. Each year atmospheric CO2 increases by roughly half our emissions – meaning (as a fraction of available CO2) an amount equal to half our emissions is absorbed by the oceans and plants, half goes into increasing atmospheric CO2. And increasing oceanic CO2 clearly shows that excess CO2 is going _into_ the oceans, not coming out of them.

    The ENSO related variation is on the order of ~0.4ppm over 5-10 years. That’s a small, cyclic change WRT the ~2ppm/year increase in CO2, the 150 year 100ppm increase that has no possible source but our emissions. It’s definitely measurable. But it’s just too small to account for the recent trend.

    In regards to CO2 forcing levels, the logarithmic relationship of CO2 to forcings, and Dr. Lindzen’s repeated (and repeatedly debunked) claims of low sensitivity, those are quite separate discussions. But I think, if you look into it, that _all_ of those points are taken into account in the literature and in the science.

    Mark Patton – You asked for references. I gave them. If you won’t read them, if you then dismiss 150 years of work as “…not ‘scientific evidence’…”, you are not discussing the data (the spectroscopy, the observations, the physics). Please see my previous post.

  111. daveburton,

    This is only a minor quibble, but you wrote: “if it cannot make testable predictions, it is not science,”

    …but you need measurements to make testable predictions, no?

    KR:

    Prof Richard Lindzen’s estimates of low sensitivity have only been “debunked” in your belief-based imagination. In fact, there is plenty of dispute over the climate sensitivity number for 2xCO2. Therefore, nothing can be “debunked” when there is no agreement. At least try to argue rationally.

    Guesstimates of the sensitivity number range from Dr. Miskolczi’s 0.00ºC for 2xCO2 to the UN/IPCC’s outlandish 3+ºC, which is totally unrealistic given the planet’s (non) response to steadily rising (harmless and beneficial) CO2.

    Give it up, KR. CO2 has little if any effect on global temperature. If anything, all the available evidence shows that CO2 is a response to temperature, not vice-versa. And your links are not scientific evidence. Evidence is raw data and empirical observations. Your side has lost the “carbon” argument. Planet Earth herself is falsifying that nonsense.

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