# Sea Level Rise: Climate Change and an Ocean of Natural Variability

CSIRO’s sea level rise projection by 2100 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Guest essay Steve Goreham

Originally published in The Washington Times

Sea level rise is the greatest disaster predicted by Climatism, the belief in catastrophic climate change. Today, leading scientific organizations support the idea that the ocean level is rising due to man-made emissions. Further, they claim to be able to measure ocean level to a high degree of accuracy. But a look at natural ocean variation shows that official sea level measurements are nonsense.

The theory of man-made climate change warns that human emissions of greenhouse gases will raise global temperatures and melt Earth’s icecaps, causing rising oceans and flooding coastal cities. Former Vice President Al Gore’s best-selling book, An Inconvenient Truth, showed simulated pictures of flooding in South Florida, the Netherlands, Bangladesh, and other world locations. Dr. James Hansen predicted an ocean rise of 75 feet during the next 100 years.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated in 2007, “Global average sea level rose at an average rate of 1.8 mm per year over 1961 to 2003. The rate was faster over 1993 to 2003: about 3.1 mm per year.” This translates to a 100-year rise of only 7 inches and 12 inches, far below the dire predictions of the climate alarmists.

But three millimeters is about the thickness of two dimes. Can scientists really measure a change in sea level over the course of a year, averaged across the world, which is two dimes thick?

Today, sea level is measured with satellite radar altimeters. Satellites bounce radar waves off the surface of the ocean to measure the distance. Scientific organizations, such as the Sea Level Research Group at the University of Colorado (CU), use the satellite data to estimate ocean rise. The CU team estimates current ocean rise at 3.2 millimeters per year.

The organizations AVISO (Archiving, Validation, and Interpretation of Satellite Oceanographic Data) of France, CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization) of Australia, and NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) of the United States agree with the University of Colorado that seas are rising three millimeters per year. Given the huge natural variation in global sea level, the three millimeter number is incredible. The fact that four different organizations have arrived at the same number is suspect.

As Dr. Willie Soon of Harvard shows, ocean level variation is large and affected by many factors. If temperatures rise, water expands, adding to sea level rise. If icecaps melt, levels rise, but if icecaps grow due to increased snowfall, levels fall. If ocean saltiness changes, the water volume will also change.

The land itself moves continuously. Some shorelines are rising and some are subsiding. The land around Hudson Bay in Canada is rising, freed of ice from the last ice age. In contrast, the area around New Orleans is sinking. Long-term movement of Earth’s tectonic plates also changes sea level.

Tides are a major source of ocean variation, primarily caused by the gravitational pull of the moon, the sun, and the rotation of the Earth. Ocean water “sloshes” from shore to shore, with tides changing as much as 38 feet per day at the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia. The global average tide range is about one meter, but this daily change is still 300 times the three-millimeter change that scientists claim to be able to measure over an entire year.

Storms and weather are major factors affecting satellite measurements. Wave heights change by meters each day, dwarfing the annual rise in ocean level. Winds also change the height of the sea. The easterly wind of a strong La Niña pushes seas at Singapore to a meter higher than in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

Satellites themselves have error bias. Satellite specifications claim a measurement accuracy of about one or two centimeters. How can scientists then measure an annual change of three millimeters, which is almost ten times smaller than the error in daily measurements? Measuring tools typically must have accuracy ten times better than the quantity to be measured, not ten times worse. Dr. Carl Wunsch of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology commented on the satellite data in 2007, “It remains possible that the database is insufficient to compute mean sea level trends with the accuracy necessary to discuss the impact of global warming—as disappointing as this conclusion may be.”

Scientists add many “fudge factors” to the raw data. The same measurement taken by each of the three satellites, TOPEX, JASON-1, and JASON-2, differs by 75 millimeters and must be corrected. As a natural adjustment, researchers add 0.3 millimeters to the measured data, because ocean basins appear to be getting larger, able to hold more water, and reducing apparent ocean levels.

Tide gauges are also used to “calibrate” the satellite data. But gauge measurements are subject to errors of one or two centimeters, again many times more than the sea level rise to be measured.

Clearly, the official three millimeter sea level rise number is a product of scientific “group think.” Not only is this number far below what can be accurately measured, but all leading organizations support this nonsense number. Could it be that our leading scientists must endorse sea-level rise to support the ideology of man-made global warming?

Steve Goreham is Executive Director of the Climate Science Coalition of America and author of the book The Mad, Mad, Mad World of Climatism: Mankind and Climate Change Mania.

## 160 thoughts on “Sea Level Rise: Climate Change and an Ocean of Natural Variability”

1. Kev-in-Uk says:

Good piece – especially putting the context into everyday ‘scale’ – i.e. two dimes! (thisnis mindblowing that they can measure to this accuracy on a moving surface! LOL!)
As far as I am concerned, all the measurement claims are bulldust, especially on the short timescales too – I am currently being supplied data from surveyors monitoring a landslip/slope failure – and their inaccuracy is +/- a few mm – and that is from ‘fixed’ points measured over 100metres or less! The SLR claims are false, or at least barely demonstrable – and yes, I know that the GPS measured data is supposed to be smoothed over time to reduce errors – but I still think it is bulldust!

2. but… but… if you want to increase the numerical accuracy of your measurement, don’t you just have to add zeros on the far side of the decimal point? That’s all it takes, right?

Just look – if you multiply, say. 0.3 by 0.3, your answer is 0.09, so you have just increased the accuracy of your measurement by a whole order of magnitude, just using a simple mathematical operation! Right? RIght???

WELL THAT’S WHAT JAMES HANSEN TOLD ME!!!

3. Kev-in-Uk says:

BTW – as far as I can recall, the GRACE satellite gravity results only showed around 1.0mm annual SLR ?

4. DD More says:

As a natural adjustment, researchers add 0.3 millimeters to the measured data, because ocean basins appear to be getting larger, able to hold more water, and reducing apparent ocean levels.

If all the ocean basins are getting bigger, either the land is raising or the diameter of the earth is getting larger. Which one do these guys say it is?

5. Jimbo says:

One thing missing from the article as presented here.which has absolutely nothing to do with climate – water abstraction.

Global groundwater depletion leads to sea level rise
Large-scale abstraction of groundwater for irrigation of crops leads to a sea level rise of 0.8 mm per year, which is about one fourth of the current rate of sea level rise of 3.3 mm per year.
http://www.un-igrac.org/publications/422

Here is the study.

Global depletion of groundwater resources
26 OCT 2010
[1] In regions with frequent water stress and large aquifer systems groundwater is often used as an additional water source. If groundwater abstraction exceeds the natural groundwater recharge for extensive areas and long times, overexploitation or persistent groundwater depletion occurs. Here we provide a global overview of groundwater depletion (here defined as abstraction in excess of recharge) by assessing groundwater recharge with a global hydrological model and subtracting estimates of groundwater abstraction. Restricting our analysis to sub-humid to arid areas we estimate the total global groundwater depletion to have increased from 126 (±32) km3 a−1 in 1960 to 283 (±40) km3 a−1 in 2000. The latter equals 39 (±10)% of the global yearly groundwater abstraction, 2 (±0.6)% of the global yearly groundwater recharge, 0.8 (±0.1)% of the global yearly continental runoff and 0.4 (±0.06)% of the global yearly evaporation, contributing a considerable amount of 0.8 (±0.1) mm a−1 to current sea-level rise.
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2010GL044571/abstract

We must act now! Let’s stop the poor people’s of the world from borehole drilling. Let them die of thirst for the sake of the planet (actually for us Greenies and our iPad lifestyles.)

6. Mark Bofill says:

Regarding the satellites, is this the whole story? For example, with the energy budget satellite measurements, I understand that it is easier to detect changes than it is to detect the actual value. Does some similar caveat apply here?
Honestly asking; I’d thought satellite measurements of sea level were more accurate than this, although I realize now that I have no particular evidence to support this notion.

7. Retired Engineer says:

Kev-in-UK: could not agree more. GPS is a good example. Long term altitude measurements have about a 10 meter standard deviation. Not gonna get 3 mm from that. Radio waves travel at about 0.3 meters per nanosecond, so 3 mm would need 10 picosecond resolution (well, 20 if you include round trip) and knowing the satellite position to within … 3 mm. (putting the burden on the earth based measurement) Averaging helps a little, but covers a whole lot of surface as the satellite is moving right along. At something over 28,000 meters per second.

Ain’t gonna get there.

8. The story of satellite sea level measurements is a strory of constant adjustments, always leading in the direction of higher values. To follow these adjustments, values before 2011 can be assessed via WayBackMachine.

Conclusion, Even though the sea level rise rate has decreased over the years, the rate of sea level rise was kept more ore less constant at above 3 mm/year by applying various “adjustments”. This year it seems, the data is being made fit for the next IPCC assessment report.

Recently we have seen an increase in the slope from 2012_4 to 2013_1. It seems to be due to two reasons. First, we seem to have a real increase in sea level after the decrease seen in 2010. Secondly, data processing of Jason-2 data has been changed from GDR Version C to D.

2013 Release 1 (2013-01-21):
Switched to Jason-2 GDR-D release for all Jason-2 cycles. Updated through cycle 160.

This change is documented on the Aviso Homepage. We learn that version D has several data adjustments such as

Absolute bias correction
Datation bias correction
Use of GOT 4.8 global tide model instead of GOT00.2
Polar tide anomaly correction
Long period non equilibrium tide anomaly correction

and some more. More interesting is the result of these corrections. Which is, as some might have guessed, an increase in sea level rise.

I have calculated the slope of 2012_4 vs. 2013_1 in OpenOffice Calc. The results are shown in this graph. The data correction has led to an increase in the slope of 0.05 mm/year in 2012 (compared 2012_4 to 2013_1), leading to an total plus of 0,25 mm from 2008 (compared 2012_4 to 2013_1).

Strange thing that. Whatever correction is being made to climate data, it always seems to lead in only one direction.

9. Jimbo says:

I’m a bit sceptical of this great claim by Singer, but you decide.

American Spectator – June 6, 2013
Could Global Warming Slow Sea Level Rise?By professor S. Fred Singer
……………….
A climate warming could slow down SLR not accelerate it. To understand this counterintuitive result, one must first get rid of false leads — just as in a detective story.
………..
During the strong warming of 1920-1940 there was no SLR — indicating a rough balance between the opposing effects….

It seems that sea level has been rising for the past centuries at about the same rate as seen by tidal gauges in the last 100 years. In other words, sea level was rising even during the colder Little Ice age, from about 1400 to 1850 AD. This provides further support for the hypothesis that the observed global SLR since 1900 is reasonably independent of the observed temperature rise.
http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/06/could_global_warming_slow_sea_level_rise.html

10. The story of satellite sea level measurements is a strory of constant adjustments, always leading in the direction of higher values. To follow these adjustments, values before 2011 can be assessed via WayBackMachine.

Conclusion: Even though the sea level rise rate has decreased over the years, the rate of sea level rise was kept more ore less constant at above 3 mm/year by applying various “adjustments”. This year it seems, the data is being made fit for the next IPCC assessment report.

An example: Recently, we have seen an increase in the slope from 2012_4 to 2013_1. It seems to be due to two reasons. First, we seem to have a real increase in sea level after the decrease seen in 2010. Secondly, data processing of Jason-2 data has been changed from GDR Version C to D.

2013 Release 1 (2013-01-21):
Switched to Jason-2 GDR-D release for all Jason-2 cycles. Updated through cycle 160.

This change is documented on the Aviso Homepage. We learn that version D has several data adjustments such as

Absolute bias correction
Datation bias correction
Use of GOT 4.8 global tide model instead of GOT00.2
Polar tide anomaly correction
Long period non equilibrium tide anomaly correction

and some more. More interesting is the result of these corrections. Which is, as some might have guessed, an increase in sea level rise.

I have calculated the slope of 2012_4 vs. 2013_1 in OpenOffice Calc. The results are shown in this graph. The data correction has led to an increase in the slope of 0.05 mm/year in 2012 (compared 2012_4 to 2013_1), leading to an total plus of 0,25 mm from 2008 (compared 2012_4 to 2013_1).

Strange thing that. Whatever correction is being made to climate data, it always seems to lead in only one direction.

11. Jimbo says:

There has to be an acceleration in the rate of sea level rise. For over 15 years I have been told that the WAIS is melting faster, the glaciers are receding faster, the oceans are warming faster, the hottest decade on the record etc. If there is no acceleration in the rate then am I going mad? Or can someone please give me an explanation?

12. Leo G says:

Tide gauges are also used to “calibrate” the satellite data.

An interesting point is that each time the satellite altimetry measurements are recalibrated, the result is that the data are a better linear fit to a line with the same slope. It appears that the basis for the ‘recalibration’ is a long term average annual rate of sea level rise for a cherry-picked set of tide gauge stations.

13. Kev-in-Uk says:

Retired Engineer says:
September 20, 2013 at 3:24 pm
agreed. and another thing where I perhaps am missing something:
Tom and Jerry (grace satellites) are supposed to be able to detect the distance to each other by 10 microns over 130 miles – and they use the fact that the earths ‘local’ gravity ‘tug’ causes changes in this distance to map the gravity change (at least, that is my understanding of it). That’s ok except for one tiny little fact – what if they are both being ‘tugged’ at different amounts? How do they reconcile that? At any given time, how do they know which one is being ‘tugged’ by which amount????

14. Satellites themselves have error bias.

You are confusing error and bias. Error is the inaccuracy in a single measurement. Bias is the cumulative error over a number of measurements, such as from satellite drift.

Measurement error wouldn’t affect a trend, but bias would.

15. Yacko says:

Did you know that it is possible to get the average annual rate of SLR by taking measurements over a decade and dividing by 10?

SLR to date is largely thermal expansion, some glacier melt. Not only are the rates of these likely to rise, but at critical points new mechanisms – such as ice shelf collapse – will add their impact.

But you will keep fiddling while the planet burns, won’t you?

16. KNR says:

‘Satellites themselves have error bias. Satellite specifications claim a measurement accuracy of about one or two centimeters. How can scientists then measure an annual change of three millimeters, which is almost ten times smaller than the error in daily measurements’

The ‘special magic ‘ of climate science means that their able to make measurements more accurate they the instruments they use it measures the event with , of course should these instruments show a decrease they would instantly become worthless and models would be used instead.

17. Latitude says:

TIDE GAUGE LOCATION AND THE MEASUREMENT OF GLOBAL SEA LEVEL RISE

http://pluto.mscc.huji.ac.il/~msdfels/wpapers/Tide%20gauge%20location.pdf

Sea level rise is regional rather than global and is concentrated in the southern Baltic, the Ring of Fire, and the Atlantic coast of the US. By contrast the north-west Pacific coast and north-east coast of India are characterized by sea level fall. In the minority of locations where sea levels are rising

…..In the “””minority””” of locations where sea levels are rising

=====
or a much more fun way to look at it…..

http://suyts.wordpress.com/2013/09/20/vindication-for-suyts-new-tidal-gauge-sea-level-paper-out-reports-1mmyr-sea-level-rise/#comment-97149

18. Latitude says:

and slap this chart along with it…and you have a slam dunk

19. Pamela Gray says:

So apparently what we have here is an attempt to measure the significant…nay, CATASTROPHIC change in the size of a gnat’s ass that is sitting on a meandering elephant and the gnat’s ass results should make us….send money to the government? Okay.

Thanks for a great post. I have only one thing to say to the guvmnt when they ask for money.

Nuts.

20. chris y says:

Kev-in-Uk says:
September 20, 2013 at 3:18 pm

BTW – as far as I can recall, the GRACE satellite gravity results only showed around 1.0mm annual SLR ?

Actually a recent NOAA report provided the first closure of the sea level rise budget by reconciling data from Jason, Grace and Argo. They concluded that SLR from 2005 to 2012 was either 1.2 mm/yr or 1.6 mm/yr. The steric portion (melting glaciers) was 0.2 mm/yr, smaller than the measurement error.

The 3 mm/yr number is extremely suspect, especially when Envisat was giving much smaller trends of around 1 mm/yr until it ‘malfunctioned’, and its data was ad-hoc adjusted to comply with the collective.

21. Richard G says:

I often wonder what the sediment load of the 100 largest rivers amounts to.

22. Go Home says:

The effects of sea level around the globe are largely effected by the changes in gravity from the different points around the earth. Since the earth gravity is not distributed equally around the globe/ellipsoid, the effects are dramatic (IMO) on the comparative height of the sea level, which can be as much as 200 meters between two points on the earth.

23. chris y says:

I posted this over at Dot Earth to address concerns over coastal cities like Miami or NYC or Boston being unable to adapt to sea level rise:

In 1630, Boston area = 783 acres
Landfill additions- Back bay, west cove, mill pond, great cove, south cove
Total as of 1910 (assumed the same today)= 1904 acres
Land area gain per year = (1904 – 783)/(2013 – 1630) = 3 acres per year
Sea level rise 1630 – 2013 = 650 mm, or 1.7 mm/year

So, with SLR of 1.7 mm/yr, Boston was able to *add* 3 acres/year using shovels and horses. Now we are worried about Boston drowning, with local SLR at 2.6 mm/year. What vapid stupidity.

What I find surprising is that almost 60% of Boston is built on catastrophic anthropogenic landfill.

24. Mac the Knife says:

Satellites themselves have error bias. Satellite specifications claim a measurement accuracy of about one or two centimeters. How can scientists then measure an annual change of three millimeters, which is almost ten times smaller than the error in daily measurements? Measuring tools typically must have accuracy ten times better than the quantity to be measured, not ten times worse. Dr. Carl Wunsch of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology commented on the satellite data in 2007, “It remains possible that the database is insufficient to compute mean sea level trends with the accuracy necessary to discuss the impact of global warming—as disappointing as this conclusion may be.”

This is the 30 second fact-based rebuttal that each of us needs to use, when challenged about claimed AGW induced sea level rise.
Mtk

25. Bruce Cobb says:

Yacko says:
September 20, 2013 at 3:58 pm
SLR to date is largely thermal expansion, some glacier melt. Not only are the rates of these likely to rise, but at critical points new mechanisms – such as ice shelf collapse – will add their impact.

But you will keep fiddling while the planet burns, won’t you?

Alarmist drivel, based on Beliefs, not facts, such as the fact that an ice shelf floats on water, displacing it. Now, when it melts it does add slightly more volume than it displaces, due to it being primarily fresh water, and less dense, but it is hardly worth bothering about.
The planet is just fine; it’s you planet bedwetters that are messed up. And what have you got against fiddling, anyway? It’s a fine art.

26. Steve I says:

To Pamela Grey :That’s the best description ( and funniest) I’ve ever seen! Thank You!

27. tom0mason says:

Yacko says:
September 20, 2013 at 3:58 pm
SLR to date is largely thermal expansion, some glacier melt. Not only are the rates of these likely to rise, but at critical points new mechanisms – such as ice shelf collapse – will add their impact.

But you will keep fiddling while the planet burns, won’t you?

Please understand that on this 4.5 billion year old planet much, much, more extremes of CO2 levels, sea levels, and temperatures have been experienced. Indeed humans were around during the last bunch of fluctuations (Ice ages, medieval warm period, etc) and survived. That is because humans have a remarkable capacity to adapt, and we can build tools to enable us in adapting.
The idea that there is a ‘tipping point’ that the planet can not recover from is an obscene double think idea that supposes such fragility on the earth as to be illogical. ‘Tipping points’ are for the poor unfortunates who have difficulty in not spilling their beer.

28. James Brown says:

Yacko

“SLR to date is largely thermal expansion, some glacier melt. Not only are the rates of these likely to rise, but at critical points new mechanisms – such as ice shelf collapse – will add their impact.”

Sure? (hint, Google Archimedes)

This is a scientific blog, some rudimentary science education would help you achieve more benefit from it.

29. Michael Jankowski says:

DD More – as the sea level rises, the surface area will expand. It won’t rise straight-up unless it’s against a sea wall or a vertical cliff. Think of a beach. The deeper the water gets, the more of the beach it covers. Hence, the wet basin has expanded. I think that’s what they’re referring to.

But as Richard G points-out, some of the volume of oceans is filled with sediment from rivers. So some sea level rise is due to this. So…

30. Michael Jankowski says:

Hi Jacko,

Did you know that SLR has been going on for over 20,000 years?

That’s lots of fiddling.

31. rabbit says:
September 20, 2013 at 3:49 pm

According to this recent paper from the NOAA
the total sea level rise over the last seven years has been 1.6 mm / year, with an uncertainty of .8 mm / year.
————–
That must be due to the fact that there has been a slight cooling trend since 2006/07.

32. TomRude says:

Notwithstanding the suicide of Envisat… even if there was a legit problem in the last 2 years, the first years were contradicting the Jason manufacturing…

33. RoHa says:

Look, stop fussing about the details.
We’re doomed, right?
Either we’ll be toasted, or frozen to death, or crushed by migrating trees, or drowned by rising seas, or torn apart by tornadoes. Doesn’t matter.
We’re doomed. OK?

DOOMED!

Got it?

34. Bill Illis says:

Church and White 2011 is usually cited these days as the model for what the tide gauges are showing for sea level.

But they only used a subset of the total gauges which are available (you can probably guess why). For example, in the 2008 year, they only used 49 tide gauges while there are 343 tide gauges in the PMSL database for 2008.

I downloaded the whole database. This is what all of the tide gauges show.

You can’t measure sea level by satellite from 1332 km high orbits. The satellite measurements are just garbage algorithm generators. And no one is going to pay $500 million to put up another one of these satellites if they are just showing that there is no problem. They have to show a rising trend or we would just start using the 350 tide gauges (and hundreds of GPS stations now out there) which are already burning up resources. Why spend another$500 million and $20 million/year operating just to show what people on the ground are already measuring. 35. Anna Keppa says: Can someone explain this chart for me? Table 1. Trends and Seasonal Fit for Components of Sea Level Rise and Total Sea Level as Measured by Altimeter Trend (mm/year) Steric (Argo) 0.2 ± 0.8 Mass (GRACE, Paulson GIA) 1.0 ± 0.2 Steric + mass (Paulson GIA) 1.2 ± 0.9 Total sea level (Jason-1 and Jason-2) 1.6 ± 0.8 Determined with a least squares fit of a sine, cosine, trend, and constant over January 2005 to December 2011. The error bounds represent the 95% confidence interval obtained from the least squares fit. ***** Can someone tell me why a 0.2 +/- 0.8 represents a “measurement”? Don’t those results say that Steric could equal plus 1.0 mm, or minus 0.6 mm, at a 95% confidence level? What kind of “data” is that? Is it legitimate to simply sum the Steric and Mass trends, as appears to have been done here? 36. Go Home says: Speaking of oceans… The ACE for the N Atlantic as of 9/21/13 (assumes no change to ACE over the next 24 hours) will be 23.055. This ACE level will be the 3rd lowest for that day since 1950. The 10 lowest ACE levels on 9/21/xx include the following: DATE 9/21/2013 1962 9.2925 1994 11.25 2002 24.3425 1970 24.4825 1982 26.815 1986 31.9925 1954 43.1125 1978 54.435 1974 56.12 1990 65.0175 All in time for AR5 release. That and with the low tornado record ready to be smashed (assuming average tornado’s for the rest of the year), record rise in low Arctic ice extent, plus others, it is almost as if Al Gore is set to personally releasing AR5 to the world. 37. Goldie says: Ok, so I don’t normally do this. The claim is that sea levels rose 3cm over a decade, which averages out at 0.3cm per annum. Maybe 0.3 cm is beyond measurement credibility, but a 3 cm change isn’t so much. I think this piece is a case of reduction ad absurdum. Happy to hear why I am wrong. 38. Sun Spot says: How do planetary wide ocean level measurements compensate for Earths varying gravitational areas as mapped by GOCE. I would assume due to Earths molten core and the moons gravitation effecting Earths core, this gravitational shape is dynamic. Accuracy to 3 mm per year NOT likely. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBzBikb5fso <– GOCE satellite video 39. The factor in sea level rise that the UNIPCC alarmists are ignoring is pumping ground water. This water comes out of the ground and finds its way into the ocean. They keep this quiet because there is a worldwide shortage of potable water and a halt to using groundwater would impact poor nations and require additional energy use. 40. Gunga Din says: The thickness of two dimes. Isn’t that about the same as a plug-nickle? 41. Rising sea levels? Recent San Francisco Chronicle articles featured a full “Chicken Little”, predicting sea level rise of over three feet by 2100. However, if an intrepid Chronicle reporter strolled near the Golden Gate Bridge, they could read the longest tide record in the Western Hemisphere (or go to http://tinyurl.com/pa957yv). There they would find that from June 30, 1854 to the present, the annual mean sea level has risen from 6950mm to 7080mm, or five inches (3.22”/century), and that the rate of rise has slowed since 1990. At the average rate, it will take over 1,100 years to increase three feet. 42. Leo G says: How do planetary wide ocean level measurements compensate for Earths varying gravitational areas as mapped by GOCE. I doubt that the measurements even correct for variations of the Chandler nutation. 43. dbstealey says: Yacko says: “But you will keep fiddling while the planet burns, won’t you?” I nominate that for the stupidest comment of this thread. In a world of climate imbeciles, there is immense competition. But Yacko is still in the running. 44. gopal panicker says: i was under the impression that sea levels fell by 7 mm due to recent heavy rains in Australia 45. TalentKeyHole Mole says: A good report. Some facts. ‘Global mean sea level’ in NOT an observable! It IS derived, an estimate, through least squares after variations of tides (atmosphere, ocean and solid body), winds, precipitation/deposition, ablation/evaporation (variations on the theme of Dynamic Topography), ocean water salinity and effects from bottom bathymetry with Earth Rotation Variation and Glacial Isostatic Adjustment are removed. In concept, a simple implementation of reductionist reasoning. In practice, … very messy. And that is for many reasons from all of the above. So what do we make of this? Well, for me, and I am the only one who can answer to me, … I have no worries regarding this topic at all. And that is my statement to ‘Policy Makers': do not worry at all, … about this! QED 46. Graeme M says: Richard G raises an interesting point. At what rate does the deposition of silt, various detritus such as airborne dust etc and animal/plant remains add to the floor of the ocean? That it does is clear from the various sedimentary layers that geologists use to ascertain what went on in the past in ancient ocean basins. Another interesting consideration of SLR is that as the level rises, the opportunity for the ocean to infill previously dry areas such as valleys or shallow depressions rises. Over time this would offset any absolute rate of rise, but is it significant at decadal or even centennial scales? I’ve seen no commentary on either scenario in my admittedly shallow readings. 47. Neil Jordan says: Re Pamela Gray says: September 20, 2013 at 4:29 pm Re Steve I says: September 20, 2013 at 5:05 pm There might be another elephant in the room. See “Sea Level Change” (1990) at http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=1345 http://www.ebay.com/ctg/Sea-Level-Change-National-Research-Council-Staff-1990-Hardcover-/90456 The overall summary on Page 4, Overview and Recommendations is, “One hundred years from now [i.e.2090], it is likely that sea level will be 0.5 to 1 m higher than it is at present.” presuming change in CO2 precedes, or causes, change in temperature. Next, the elephant. This reference brought up a technicality that I have not noticed being addressed in other forecasts / predictions / projections of future sea level. On Page 12, Overview and Recommendations: [begin quote] “The total volume of pore space in the top 100 m of the continental sediments – – 2.5 x 10^6 km^3 – – is equivalent to a rise or fall of sea level by 7 m. Hay and Leslie assume that rates of filling or discharge in these coarse sediments would be less than 13.5 x 10^3 km^3/yr. Thus more than 185 yr would be required to fill or empty an aquifer 100 m thick, corresponding to a rate of sea-level change of less than 4 mm/yr. Where only a slight imbalance exists between infiltration and discharge the times required for filling or emptying an aquifer 100 m thick could be tens to hundreds of thousands of years. For example, Meier (1984) estimates that global depletion of groundwater during this century has been between 1600 and 2400 km^3/yr, or 20 to 30 km^3/yr. At this rate, filling or emptying a 100-m-thick global aquifer would take 85,000 to 130,000 yr and the corresponding rate of rise or fall of sea level would be less than 0.1 mm/year.” [end quote] Table 2 on Page 12 provides sea-level equivalent of the pore space in various locations. For example, the pore space in coastal plains and shelves could soak up 1.7 meters of sea level rise. Chapter 9 covers this material in detail. Also when measuring sea level, it is important to average over at least one tidal datum epoch (cycle) of about 19 years. This is the Metonic Cycle. This requirement would preclude using short records. “Understanding Sea Level Change” (2008) from the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping describes the process: http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/publications/Understanding_Sea_Level_Change.pdf 48. I’m living in an island, and the beach has changed so much over the last 40 years, no way to tell from the beach about any sea level change. And my sea-side building has had about the same level of extreme high tides flooding all along. I do show the Global Mean Sea Level Time Series (seasonal signals removed) (Sea Level Research Group, University of Colorado, 2013-09-04) graphic in my climate pages, but I follow it with “The Great Sealevel Humbug: There Is No Alarming Sea Level Rise!” (by Nils-Axel Mörner, 21st Century Science & Technology, Winter 2010/2011, Science and Public Policy Institute Reprint, 27 May 2011) http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/reprint/the_great_sealevel_humbug.html He says 1.0 (± 1.0) mm/year, from tide gauges. How can a satellite with no ground references achieve precision radar altimeter measurements? 49. Henry Clark says: Sea level rise was slower in the second half of the 20th century than the first half (Holgate 2007; reference within in the subsequent link). What dominates sea level rise is easy to see, once avoiding the misleading graphing style done by near 100% of plots (including the examples in this article) and rather plotting the derivative as well: http://img176.imagevenue.com/img.php?image=81829_expanded_overview_122_424lo.jpg The organizations AVISO (Archiving, Validation, and Interpretation of Satellite Oceanographic Data) of France, CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization) of Australia, and NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) of the United States agree with the University of Colorado that seas are rising three millimeters per year. All of shared ideological-political environment. None trustworthy. There’s not that much difference between CAGW-movement type environmentalists in France, Australia, or the U.S. Those who think Hansen getting away with his ‘adjustments’ was great are those who tend to want to join NOAA climate departments now. Russia has a different circumstance of how their historical far left, Russian communism, despite its faults in other ways, was not anti-industry. They don’t have the same ideological-political pole as much, which leads to more often honesty in climate research. I’d look more for data from Russian sources. 50. philincalifornia says: dbstealey says: September 20, 2013 at 8:16 pm Yacko says: “But you will keep fiddling while the planet burns, won’t you?” I nominate that for the stupidest comment of this thread. ———————————————————- I’ll second that, although there’s still time for Margaret or Jai or the long-term idiots who should know better to post a late entry. As someone posted a few days ago, it’s no wonder that the planet is burning if the oceans warm the atmosphere and the atmosphere warms the oceans. I need to see if PG&E have found a way to tap into this perpetual motion machine and reduce my energy bill, as I had to turn on my heaters tonight in the SF Bay Area. 51. JaneHM says: The same huge mismatch between the scale of claimed change and the accuracy of individual measurements also applies to the time series from surface temperature thermometers. 52. Paul80 says: A few more uncertainties: 1. Satellites travel at speeds requiring relativistic adjustment of their on-board clocks. How accurate is this adjustment? Adjustments made GPS satellites (with higher orbits) are in microseconds per day (~38), when better than nanoseconds accuracy is needed. 2. One may ask as to stable is the earth’s crust? With continental plates constantly on the move, 12 – 18 earthquakes per day greater than 4.0, floating on a molten liquid mantle, what are the satellites actually measuring? Some information found suggested that one place rising about 5 mm/yr and five years later sinking by the same amount! 3. Also noted that the Envisat raw data had oscillations, but no trend, then following its failure, adjusted to 3 m/yr. We question, but never an explanation! 53. Mike Bromley the Kurd says: “Burntcoat Head in the Minas Basin, Nova Scotia, has the greatest mean spring range with 14.5 metres (47.5 feet) and an extreme range of 16.3 metres (53.5 feet).” A tad greater than 38 feet, but there you go. Try teasing 3mm out of THAT. I recently got in a babble with some thermogeddanists over the effect of sea level rise on New Orleans vs the natural subsidence of the delta. It didn’t take long to launch into a storm of ad hominem for even daring to mention that that subsidence was orders of magnitude faster than the sea level rise. It didn’t matter, because Katrina was caused by climate change anyway. What was I thinking….! 54. Mike Bromley the Kurd says: Yacko, were you one of those people attempting some rhetoric terrorism in the argument about NOLA? Yes? Damn! I knew I detected a tone there. 55. Policy Guy says: So lets do a “sniff” test of these results (not the analyses. thats a different question) just to see if it makes sense. Lets take a step beck to the warming of the last glacial period of from say 10,000 years ago till bout 7000 years ago. And lets assume for simplicity that sea level rose between 350 and 400 feet during that period again for simplicity purposes although there are plenty of good studies that support this conclusion. Why might we want to choose such a timeframe? If one were to go to the Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkerley, California, with a singularly beautiful view of the Bay and Ocean, and go to the lower floor one would find a stand alone computer counsel that demonstrates from different viewpoints the location of the shoreline with the Pacific over 1000 year increments. Should one go to the computer stand and check out the view of 10,000 years ago, one would see that there was no SF Bay. The shore line was 20 miles away out by the Farralon Islands, The current Bay bottom land itself was a giant meadow. There was obviously no need for bridges. Hard to imagine. But accurate and supported by great volumes of research on this point. Why pick 7000 years as an upper data point? One only has to look at the geologic history of the development of urbanic civilizations located on the coast of any major world influenced water body. We (the world) don’t know of any one of which that is more than 7000 years old that settled on the coast. It would, and in some cases, probably was to not mess with Mother Nature and at the time believe that the sea level rise had stopped. But about 7000 years ago sea level did stabilize (that too is supported by research). The great 1000 to 1500 foot high ice sheets over the entire northern hemisphere extending all across the Northern US Continent across Europe had finally largely melted. OK number guys lets take these simplified numbers and run them out. Again, I’m trying to be simple: 360 ft of sea rise relates to rise of about 109728 mm. That relates to about 36.6 mm per year over that 3000 year period. The current consensus (above article) believes the current rise is 3mm per year. That forces the rest of us thinking public to accept that sea level rise today, after 7000 years of sea level stabilization and the thriving nature of all of our current and ancient port cities, that sea level rise could possibly be as much as 10% what it was during the tree thousand years when our towering glaciers in the northern hemisphere actually melted and rose sea level by 360 feet? I’d say these conclusions based upon the current technological interpretation is likely overstated (to be kind) by a factor of 10 – at least. Antarctica isn’t melting, Greenland is already refreezing from last year, Mountain glaciers are so few around the world that compared to that 3000 year period of super melt that they would be a drop in a bucket – not to mention that not all of them are in recession – some are growing. Sea ice doesn’t equate in this discussion because it is already displacing the sea water it is floating on and Antarctic sea ice continues to grow. Common sense. When you go to a carnival, do you really expect to have an even chance of knocking down all of the bottles and bringing home any prize? It appears that that is the scenario that we are watching and what they (the people who have bought in) expect us to buy into. In that scenario, its the people who buy in the most who apparently believe that they have the right to be allowed to walk away with the largest prizes. So far it appears to be working. Make any sense? 56. eco-geek says: “As a natural adjustment, researchers add 0.3 millimeters to the measured data, because ocean basins appear to be getting larger, able to hold more water, and reducing apparent ocean levels.” This needs some explanation. For whatever reason the basins are getting larger, Sea level is sea level. It isn’t something that is deemed to increase because its container has changed shape. In any case how do they measure ocean basin size changes down with resolutions of the order of 100 microns? 57. Mike Bromley the Kurd says: Eco-geek: If Columbus sailed today instead of 1492 he’d have to sail twenty feet further. But for every spreading ocean somewhere, another is subducting. Sometime with a sea-level component attached…well, sort of. But Grist would have us believe that climate change caused the Great Tsunami. Well, sort of. As for thermal expansion, how much would come from a tiny fraction of a statistical degree, only Trenberth knows for sure. Says I, it ain’t much. 58. tobias says: I do not know if any one has touched on this . But aren’t the ESA, NASA the Russians spending Billions and Billions (Oh did I heard that some where else? ) in trying to keep these things up there in the first place? And every time the sun has a “hiccup” our atmosphere expands and alters orbits of ALL, I mean ALL satellites? including the ISS? Hey I am not any kind of expert, but , looking at the whole thing I guess it is better to be a “pert” than an ex-pert, (thanks Pam grey you gave me a good laugh :-). 59. tobias says: Sorry Pam , Pam Grey of course. Me bad. (OK my fingers) :-) 60. Grey Lensman says: To put this to bed, the catastrophic part, we need a simple investigation, a clear demonstration, just how bad, this sea level rise is. I suggest compare Holland in 1500 with Holland today. Sea level then and sea level now. Now compare gross land area, population, agricultural yields, life spam, etc. I think that will show clearly how dangerous Sea Level rise is. 61. dalyplanet says: Henry Clark Thank You for your post and a most excellent link !!! 62. sadbutmadlad says: I put the blame for the sea level rise down to meteorites and comets. All those tons of water hitting the earth every years. It must make a difference … of .03mm/decade. That’s enough to be measured? Isn’t it? 63. Peter Miller says: I had never thought before about the effect of extreme tides and satellite measurements on sea levels. In some parts of eastern Canada and northern Canada, this can be over 10 metres during the spring tide phase. I do not have a clue how the satellite data can be adjusted/manipulated to compensate for this to measure annual changes. Anyhow, the original article and comments here indicate the actual sea level rise is probably a great deal less than the much quoted 3.3mms/year figure and probably closer to 1.6mms, less the groundwater extraction factor of 0.6mms/year. In any event, post adjustment/manipulation satellite figures on sea level rises should be treated with a sack of salt. 64. Peter Miller says: All satellite orbits decay. In other words, they continually edge close to the Earth, which in turn means it appears as though sea levels are rising. I assume some bright spark has found a way to compensate for this. I assume such a fundamentally stupid mistake could not have been made. But this is ‘climate science’, so anything is possible. 65. I suggest compare Holland in 1500 with Holland today. Sea level then and sea level now. Now compare gross land area, population, agricultural yields, life spam, etc. And Singapore from before the late 20th century warming. It is 21% larger than it was in the 1960s, and is projected to increase in size by about 1% per year for the next 20 years. Increasing its land area by close to 50% in a single lifetime.. Which is why ‘climate refugees’ from rising sea levels is ludicrous. A problem that can be solved with a few shiploads of concrete blocks and sand. But not much money in that. 66. You can squeeze a tennis ball with your hand Earth must be the same .How do they know that the sea level going up and down is not just caused by the Continental Tectonic plates moving about.Earth Quakes and Volcanos on the ground Earth Quakes and Volcanoes under the sea.Continental land masses must be also moving up and down. The Alarmist always mention the ancient Roman fishing capture penns on the coast in Italy being under water.So how do they know that was not caused by seismic activity. 67. Greg Goodman says: “Measuring tools typically must have accuracy ten times better than the quantity to be measured, not ten times worse.” The point you seem to be missing in this article is that the 3.2mm is not one measurement, subject to the uncertainties you discuss but the slope of a linear regression fitted to the whole period. This is similar (but not identical) to the mean average slope. The uncertainty of that average rate of change is usually estimated to be the uncertainty of an individual measurement divided by the square root of the number of data points. That is how they claim “+/- 0.4mm/y”. What needs to be examined is whether all the uncertainties are counted. As per usual in climate science they are not. Judith Curry’s uncertainty monster rears its head again. One of the major problems is that the reflection comes primarily from the trough of the waves, so in order the estimate the mean sea level you need to know the height of the waves.. and you don’t. Then there’s the gross “bias corrections” that were made to JASON results which were far larger than any declared measurement uncertainty and completely changes the record. How the results form successive platforms are stitched together is crucial in determining the long term fitted slope. That is where the fiddle factors largely determine the end result. The quote from Dr. Carl Wunsch of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology seems the most pertinent bit : It remains possible that the database is insufficient to compute mean sea level trends with the accuracy necessary to discuss the impact of global warming—as disappointing as this conclusion may be.” 68. Keith says: Rudolf Kipp provided a link to his very interesting article. It would make the basis of a very interesting guest post for WUWT. 69. Hot under the collar says: Yes, this is ‘climate change’ science, you have to make the data fit your religion (and funding). Although I think the alarmists will have to alter the propaganda rhetoric from “act now for our children’s sake before we reach the tipping point” to “act now for the sake of our great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great grand children! 70. Michel says: This is the new big scare! As warming is getting less convincing, something else needs to be taken to terrorize the crowds. See the October edition of National Geographic and a large article in the current issue of Nature dedicated to “Outlook for Earth” http://www.nature.com/news/climate-science-rising-tide-1.13749 Sea level is an excellent case: – averages don’t mean anything; – accuracies, precisions, biases can be argued about at length. Sceptics and deniers will be announced soon; – causation can be attributed to anything, including anthropogenic misconduct; – time scale are much larger than any electoral period. Thus there is no risk in pretending to “act responsibly” while it will be either futile or counter-productive to fight against potential non-events. The only disadvantage is that it does not concern people living away from ocean shores, but if you get New York scared, then you can be sure that the entire World should take action (but don’t concentrate on Bangladesh, nobody would care too much). 71. Somebody says: “If temperatures rise, water expands” – it’s not even that simple. After all, there is a reason ice floats. I would look at the temperatures water on Earth is, and see if, depending on the particular temperature, it expands or contracts. I think some might be amazed of the amount of water on Earth which contracts if heated. Anyway, if measurements show discrepancies bigger than the ‘measurement’, and if the ‘noise’ is orders of magnitude higher than the ‘signal’, it means something is very, very wrong. 72. Steve Case says: Rudolf Kipp said: September 20, 2013 at 3:26 pm The story of satellite sea level measurements is a strory of constant adjustments, always leading in the direction of higher values. To follow these adjustments, values before 2011 can be assessed via WayBackMachine. Strange thing that. Whatever correction is being made to climate data, it always seems to lead in only one direction. Yes indeed, I’ve looked at those WayBack Machine pages, and I find similar adjustments. The oldest page of data I have found WayBack Machine CU Release 2004 1.2 Mean Sea Level Time Series dates from 2004 and the slope calculates out to 2.6 mm/yr. Today that same time series of 1992 – 2003 as it appears in the current data is 3.5 mm/yr. Somehow over the last ten years the rate of sea level rise for the period 1992 – 2003 has been bumped up 0.9 mm/yr. 73. tango says: the CSIRO is on notice sackings will be in near future . it cannot come quick enough 74. geran says: Yacko says: September 20, 2013 at 3:58 pm Here’s some science only Yacko will understand: The sea level rise is largely due to whales. Back when whaling was the norm, there was no sea level rise. After whaling was largely banned, the whale population began to grow. It has been said that whale cows (those are the whale females, yacko) can reproduce up to 20 newborns every month. That birth rate has been happening for hundreds of years now due to anthropogenic reasons (banning whaling). The seas are stuffed with huge whales, displacing mega-giga-exa gallons of seawater. So you see Yacko, the Earth will not burn, we will all drown. BAN the ban on whaling NOW! 75. KNR says: What we are seeing hear with these patterns of adjustments, is similar to what we saw in the ‘production figures’ form the Soviet Union , they could only ever go up if the managers wanted to keep themselves of the gulags, So were it was tractor production has gone up another 1000% ‘ we now see its ‘after adjustments its worse than we thought ‘ at least in the first case the people had good reason to lie , in the latter its all about keeping the money flowing in and keeping their cushy jobs . While history has sympathy for those factors managers , its unlikely to show the same for the such ‘climate data manipulates’ who will be hopping their retired before their brought to book . 76. Grey Lensman says: Jim of London said Quote The Alarmist always mention the ancient Roman fishing capture penns on the coast in Italy being under water.So how do they know that was not caused by seismic activity. Unquote Its a villa in the bay of Naples, the fish farm underneath it was for breeding and rearing of Lampreys. Contrary to your post, it is still operational. What that means, I dont know except that relative sea level there has not changed at all. 77. johnmarshall says: Removing water from an aquifer does not increase sea levels, unless you believe it will never rain again. 78. johnmarshall says: The bay of Naples is notorious for volcanic caused land movement. A few years ago the western side of the bay rose by 2m in less than a year. It was thought that the dormant volcano below was becoming active. Luckily this land subsided to its normal level. Panic over for now and all this was within 10 miles of the heart of Naples. 79. markx says: We also tend to ignore the fact that these satellite measurements, with all their problems, also require another major adjustment: Atmospheric pressure changes constantly. Adjustments are based on models, of course: Inverse Barometer Adjustment The Inverse Barometer (IB) is the correction for variations in sea surface height due to atmospheric pressure variations (atmospheric loading). It can reach about ±15 cm and it is calculated from meteorological models. 80. John Finn says: KNR says: September 20, 2013 at 4:21 pm ‘Satellites themselves have error bias. Satellite specifications claim a measurement accuracy of about one or two centimeters. How can scientists then measure an annual change of three millimeters, which is almost ten times smaller than the error in daily measurements’ The ‘special magic ‘ of climate science means that their able to make measurements more accurate they the instruments they use it measures No – the ‘special magic’ is just the use of basic statistics. For example, using a measuring stick with just 2 measurements at 5’6” and 6’ it would be possible to provide an accurate estimate of the mean height of US (or UK) males. Take a random sample of 1000 UK (or US) males, then use the stick to ‘measure’ their heights. For anyone Below 5’6” record the height as 5’3” (63”) For anyone Between 5’6” and 6’ record the height as 5’9” (69”) For anyone Above 6’ record the height as 6’3” (75”) If the sample is truly random then the number in each height category will be close to the following: 63” 91 69” 657 75” 252 Now calculate the average height Average = (63*91 + 69*657 + 75*252)/1000 = 69.97” The average height of US males is 70”. It’s all about sample size and knowledge of the data distribution. 81. wws says: September 20, 2013 at 3:12 pm but… but… if you want to increase the numerical accuracy of your measurement, don’t you just have to add zeros on the far side of the decimal point? That’s all it takes, right? Just look – if you multiply, say. 0.3 by 0.3, your answer is 0.09, so you have just increased the accuracy of your measurement by a whole order of magnitude, just using a simple mathematical operation! Right? RIght??? WELL THAT’S WHAT JAMES HANSEN TOLD ME!!! ——————————————————————————————————————– Any other place you might be stuck with one significant figure. Doesn’t seem that way in climate science. 82. Greg Goodman says: markx says: “Inverse Barometer Adjustment The Inverse Barometer (IB) is the correction for variations in sea surface height due to atmospheric pressure variations (atmospheric loading). It can reach about ±15 cm and it is calculated from meteorological models.” That’s another sore point in the constant data manipulation games. GMSL data used to be available with and without spicy IB sauce. Now there’s no choice. Everyone gets mayo and ketchup ! I have a lot of difficulty seeing how a barometer adjustment can affect the _global_ sea level. If it raises MSL in one area due to lower pressure the MUST be a corresponding drop somewhere else. Water is incompressible. If their global MSL data is not the same with and without IB that shows a bias in the processing. Let me guess which way that bias plays and which version of the data they no longer make publicly available. 83. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says: From John Finn on September 21, 2013 at 3:39 am: If the sample is truly random then the number in each height category will be close to the following: 63” 91 69” 657 75” 252 Now calculate the average height Average = (63*91 + 69*657 + 75*252)/1000 = 69.97” The average height of US males is 70”. It’s all about sample size and knowledge of the data distribution. For the purposes of your “demonstration” you apparently generated 1000 “random measurements”. For “knowledge of the data distribution” a standard bell curve is normally assumed. It would have been embarrassing for you to use something truly random and end up with, say, 4ft 2in. So the “random measurements” need to have been generated around a certain number, as in the one for which you were demonstrating convergence. Thus to get the results you were demonstrating, you would have started with the number you wanted, with the distribution you knew should be there, used those to generate 1000 “random measurements”, then separated the generated “random measurements” into some bins, and SURPRISE you got the number you started with. Thus your demonstration is really a simulation showing the getting of the number you started with. Plus the average height of a US adult male is 69.3″, which does not round off to the 70″ you stated. Quick Ref: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/bodymeas.htm Source Ref: Anthropometric Reference Data for Children and Adults: United States, 2007-2010, tables 4, 6, 10, 12, 19, 20, Table 12 on pdf page 22, document page 16. 84. Inverse Barometer Adjustment The Inverse Barometer (IB) is the correction for variations in sea surface height due to atmospheric pressure variations (atmospheric loading). It can reach about ±15 cm and it is calculated from meteorological models. The mass of the atmosphere doesn’t change. Therefore, differences in atmospheric pressure on sea level, average out to zero. Making an barometer adjustment is just another opportunity for data fiddling adjustments. When I looked at this a couple of years back the adjustments were substantially upward of course. Alternatively, it’s an admission the SL measurements aren’t representative of actual average sea level.. 85. Gail Combs says: Jimbo says: @ September 20, 2013 at 3:33 pm There has to be an acceleration in the rate of sea level rise. For over 15 years I have been told that the WAIS is melting faster, the glaciers are receding faster, the oceans are warming faster, the hottest decade on the record etc. If there is no acceleration in the rate then am I going mad? …. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> No they LIED! Norway Experiencing Greatest Glacial Activity in the past 1,000 year …I am always looking at new data as it becomes available and recently there was a nice study in Quaternary Research that did a study on glacial activity in Norway for the past ~8,000 years. This is the kind of study I love to find because it covers a long period of time that includes the current period. It is surprising how few studies cover a range like this…. The study went after a variety of sediments in the lake bed to determine the sediment that was depositing in the lake. By determining the different compositions in the sediment they could find how much glacial activity was taking place over the past 8,000 years…. The authors of the study simply state their findings in their abstract. ABSTRACT: We explore the possibility of building a continuous glacier reconstruction by analyzing the integrated sedimentary response of a large (440 km2) glacierized catchment in western Norway, as recorded in the downstream lake Nerfloen (N61°56′, E6°52′)….. This signal is interpreted to reflect glacier activity in the upstream catchment, an interpretation that is independently tested through a mineral magnetic provenance analysis of catchment samples. Minimum glacier input is indicated between 6700-5700 cal yr BP, probably reflecting a situation when most glaciers in the catchment had melted away, whereas the highest glacier activity is observed around 600 and 200 cal yr BP. During the local Neoglacial interval (~4200 cal yr BP until present), five individual periods of significantly reduced glacier extent are identified at ~3400, 3000-2700, 2100-2000, 1700-1500, and ~900 cal yr BP. The authors simply state that most glaciers likely didn’t exist 6,000 years ago, but the highest period of the glacial activity has been in the past 600 years. Seems pretty straightforward to me. Actual sea level rise Graph. The graph makes sense because of this Graph. 86. I should have said, The mass of the atmosphere doesn’t change. Therefore, differences in atmospheric pressure on sea level, average out to zero, excepting land/ocean differences on an annual basis or less. Differences on a greater than annual basis would indicate some significant climate changes, but I am not aware of any data that indicates this is happening. 87. I thought the measurements were better than reported here. If they can’t resolve better than a centimeter, then only decadal measurements are worth anything. Sort of like the quantitation limit in chemical analyses, if the ql is 1, anything supposedly less than 1 is expressed as <1. Same with detection limits. It seems that in climate science if your ql or dl is 1 you can very happily report 0.01 or 0.001. Maybe that's why the projections for SLR are all over the place in height and time. These guys have lousy measurements. All SLR hysteria assumes that everything is static but SLR and that humans lose the ability to adapt. 88. Jim berry says: I don’t disagree with the conclusion. But it seems to me that saying the rise was 3.1mm per year over the 10 year period of 1993to 2003 (31mm) is not implying that the annual measurement has an accuracy of 3.1mm. 89. Mike Bromly: When I lived in New Orleans in the late ’70’s. Everyone knew that a hurricane tracking like Katrina could dump water from Lake Ponchartrain into New Orleans East and the city. Everyone also knew that you had to maintain the pumps to keep flooding down. Most folks knew you didn’t need to be there if the situation warranted. They remembered Betsy in ’68. They also remembered Camille. Seems to me they didn’t remember much of that in 2005. If “global warming” means lousy government preparation, prevention (pumps and levee’s) and response by local and state, then it was global warming, if not then the pols were looking for a way to shift the blame. 90. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says: From Philip Bradley on September 21, 2013 at 4:33 am: The mass of the atmosphere doesn’t change. Therefore, differences in atmospheric pressure on sea level, average out to zero. Making an barometer adjustment is just another opportunity for data fiddling adjustments. When I looked at this a couple of years back the adjustments were substantially upward of course. But the concept of an inverse barometer adjustment makes sense. Take a bowl or a baking pan filled with water and tightly cover with plastic film, no air pockets. Same atmospheric pressure. Then press down on a spot. Boom, you’ve made an area of higher atmospheric pressure. The water moves to the lower atmospheric pressure areas, the level drops at the area of higher pressure. Likewise the reverse is true. Use your vacuum cleaner, intake (hose end) just above the film. Area of lower pressure, water level goes up as the higher atmospheric pressure elsewhere pushes the level down there. The concept makes sense. The argument is in the amount of adjustment and its correct implementation. And instead of plastic film and water, it’s much more fun to demonstrate this with Jello. Lime is good. 91. Greg Goodman says: Land is irrelevant. It does not move. Even if there are more highs over land more lows over oceans it still can not raise _global_ MSL. Also the mass of the atmosphere DOES change depending upon the quantity of water content. For example warmer periods like late 20th c. will have more total global atmospheric water content then cooler periods. However, you comment suggested what may be going on. They must have developed a model for the estimated sea level change as a fn of barometric pressure. If that model over-estimates the effect, then the distribution of highs and lows across land/sea could introduce an error in the global MSL. The most rudimentary sanity check on such a model would be to compare the GMSL with and without the IB ‘correction’. They are aware of this difference since they used to provide both datasets. That means they are deliberately obscuring a known error in thier processing by only supplying IB now. Indeed if they only wish to provide on version it clearly should be non-IB since it is necessarily the other which is in error for the global average. However, the CU team in charge of this data unashamedly involved in presenting the data as climate porn rather than objective science. What they present as “sea level” is not above the water and increasingly so every year. It is a sea level based global warming index NOT a record of sea level as the name pretends. I have a few no_IB files from last year when both were still available. I’ll have to compare with what is still there. I think there was another incompatability last time I did that because of the huge changes made to JASON data. 92. Greg Goodman says: KDK : “But the concept of an inverse barometer adjustment makes sense.” Sure but it HAS to average out to zero globally. Having an IB adjusted GMSL is nonsense. 93. Greg Goodman says: Here is plot of rate of change of sea level compared to atm temperature (UAH TLT). http://climategrog.wordpress.com/?attachment_id=524 These were pulled at the dates indicated so there maybe other “corrections” applied in the meantime as well as one being no_IB and the later one IB_adjusted. In any case we can the _massive_ changes being made to the dataset. which have to make it totally unreliable as a long term measure of anything. I stopped looking at GMSL as a result of the blatantly non scientific manipulations going on . 94. Steve Keohane says: Philip Bradley says:September 21, 2013 at 4:33 am Inverse Barometer Adjustment The Inverse Barometer (IB) is the correction for variations in sea surface height due to atmospheric pressure variations (atmospheric loading). It can reach about ±15 cm and it is calculated from meteorological models. The mass of the atmosphere doesn’t change. Therefore, differences in atmospheric pressure on sea level, average out to zero. Excellent point, thank you. 95. Leonard Weinstein says: Philip Bradley says: “The mass of the atmosphere doesn’t change” Where in the Earth did you get tht nonsense from? It has been quoted that humans are adding CO2 and Methane, and also water vapor increases with increasing temperature. Also continual mass is added or removed by solar wind and othe actions. The changes are small but not zero. 96. Steve in SC says: It would seem that the apparent rise in the sea level is proportional to the volume of money flushed on the various alarmist climate ventures. That is as good as any other theory out there. 97. John Finn says: kadaka (KD Knoebel) says: September 21, 2013 at 4:31 am I think you may be missing the point in my demonstration. Incidentally, I used a mean of 70″ and SD of 3″ to calculate the distribution. Had I selected a true random sample then the numbers in each ‘bin’ would, with a high probability, have been close to the numbers in the example. That is the whole point of using an appropriately large enough sample size. The fact that my measuring technique is crude is not a major issue. Ok – I realise my sample is unlikely to replicate the true distribution exactly – but it will be close and I can provide an estimate of the errors. 98. Steve Case says: Steve Goreham wrote that “Dr. James Hansen predicted an ocean rise of 75 feet during the next 100 years.” I followed the link, and I didn’t see that prediction. However, Dr. Hansen has said that five meters is possible (See Page 18) in this paper . Using his scenario of a doubling every ten years it calculates out to a rise of a millimeter per day by December 2099 which is nuts of course. 99. Steve Case says: Page 14 – I hate it when that happens. 100. Steve Goreham, another aspect of huge increase of sea level is the rate of rise in the last few years leading up to 2100. For a 2 meter rise by 2100 requires a growth (acceleration) in the rate of rise of 3.4% per year. That means in the final year, 2099, sea level would have to increase some 7 cm, in one year!! Funny how the alarmists fail to mention that. 101. markx says: There are major problems calibrating satellite instruments to our un-cooperative planet, and the proposed GRASP project will resolve that giving us an accuracy to 1 mm (ie, we don’t have that now): The baselines between RF/Optical phase centers of all sensors on the proposed supremely-calibrated GRASP spacecraft will be known to 1 mm accuracy and stable to 0.1 mm/year,…. “ …. Beckley et al. [2007] reprocessed all the TOPEX/Poseidon and Jason-1 SLR & DORIS data within the ITRF2005 reference frame, and found that the differences in the older CSR95 and ITRF2000 realizations and ITRF2005 caused differences of up to 1.5 mm/yr in regional rates of mean sea level rise….” QUOTE: “….Thus, we assess that current state of the art reference frame errors are at roughly the mm/yr level, making observation of global signals of this size very difficult to detect and interpret. This level of error contaminates climatological data records, such as measurements of sea level height from altimetry missions, and was appropriately recognized as a limiting error source by the NRC Decadal Report and by GGOS….” 102. Marcos says: The University of CO used to make separate charts showing sea level both with and without GIA. It seems that now they only make a chart with GIA. This is disingenuous IMO because what matters with sea level is where the water is in relation to the land. If you add 0.3mm to ‘adjust’ for the land rising, then you are no longer talking about sea level, you are talking about sea volume 103. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says: From Greg Goodman on September 21, 2013 at 5:21 am: Sure but it HAS to average out to zero globally. Having an IB adjusted GMSL is nonsense. Available here is a 1°x1° gridded sea level anomaly database, and a map where you can get data for a single coordinate. As expected, first they calculate for each point, which includes the inverted barometer adjustment. You can agree it’s needed for individual points, yes? Then they crunch it all together for the global number. Since they used IB-adj data, the result is labeled IB-adj. Is it really nonsense to have global MSL be IB-adjusted? Remember the global is made from the little bits. For similar sea surface area amounts with similar pressure drops, is the sea level change near a coast on a shelf more or less than the change over a deep mid-ocean trench? If it is either, then IB adjustment of global MSL is justified. Only if there would be no difference can leaving the adjustment out of the global be justified. 104. lemiere jacques says: well a stupid guy like me needs something at the beginning..how do you define sea level? I can esaily figure out what se volume is ??but sea level… I am not that stupid..but i jsut agree with the point..it is anything but simple..i mean it is hard to know the whole thing for an average guy. 105. mhx says: The fact that ‘ocean level variation is large and affected by many factors’ does not mean that sea level rise cannot be measered. The present essay suggests that it may be very difficult but there is not a single argument in it that shows that it is impossible. Scientists do many things that look impossible to the uninitiated. You cannot invalidate the claim of the alarmists without looking into how they actually perform the measurements. 106. Steve Case says: rabbit says: September 20, 2013 at 3:49 pm According to this recent paper from the NOAA the total sea level rise over the last seven years has been 1.6 mm / year, with an uncertainty of .8 mm / year. This is about half of other estimates of sea level rise, even those made by NOAA. Have I misinterpreted the above paper? Interesting, if you go to Colorado University’s Sea Level Data Page today and run the numbers from January 2005 to December 2011 it comes out to 1.95 mm/yr a bump up of over 0.3 mm/yr since that paper was written. 107. Mike Bromley the Kurd says: Bob Greene says: September 21, 2013 at 4:53 am Absent from all of these ’causes’ is a myopic view of history and a blatant abuse of the word ‘unprecedented”. 108. Martin 457 says: There’s quite a bit here that looks like “mathematical fallacy”. I’m liking the seismic shift and plate tectonics changing the sea floor over thermal heat expansion or Ice expansion explanations. Idakno 109. mbur says: Relating to my earlier comment; With thermal expansion doesn’t water expand into the atmosphere?And doesn’t ice displace water?Displaced water on the sea with ice ,displaced water on land with rain and snow(and ice),displaced water in the atmosphere in vapor.With just those variables it would be hard to calculate SSL or total volume for that dynamic system. ‘…and if it gets cold and the sea level is rising ,i might start to worry.’ Thanks and everyone have a nice day. 110. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says: Question: Who’s lying? As it currently says on the U of Colorado sea level page: GMSL Rates CU: 3.2 ± 0.4 mm/yr AVISO: 3.2 ± 0.6 mm/yr CSIRO: 3.2 ± 0.4 mm/yr NOAA: 3.2 ± 0.4 mm/yr (w/ GIA) I clicked on the NOAA link. The sea level graph that pops up says the trend is 2.9 +/- 0.4 mm/yr. So Colorado is adding the usual 0.3mm/yr glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA) to NOAA’s amount. Looks acceptable. Except NOAA apparently disagrees: The estimates of sea level rise do not include glacial isostatic adjustment effects on the geoid, which are modeled to be +0.2 to +0.5 mm/year when globally averaged. NOAA admits the globally averaged GIA can be from 0.2 to 0.5 mm/yr. Colorado has taken NOAA’s value with a +/- 0.4mm/yr error range, added on a value that’s supposedly between 0.2 and 0.5 mm/yr, and then report NOAA’s value as still +/- 0.4 mm/yr, no change in error range. They can’t do that. You can’t reduce uncertainty by declaration, adding in another uncertainty as if it was an absolute certainty. NOAA’s range was 2.5 to 3.3 mm/yr. The GIA range is 0.2 to 0.5 mm/yr. The range of NOAA + GIA is thus 2.7 to 3.8 mm/yr. The range Colorado specified for NOAA w/ GIA is 2.8 to 3.6 mm/yr. They don’t match. Colorado is not honestly relaying what NOAA is saying. 111. Walter Horsting says: Logic says the sea levels will start falling with sun cycle 25 112. Lars P says: Rudolf Kipp says: September 20, 2013 at 3:26 pm The story of satellite sea level measurements is a strory of constant adjustments, always leading in the direction of higher values. To follow these adjustments, values before 2011 can be assessed via WayBackMachine. I made an analysis of the results of the adjustments of the ESA and Colorado Sea Level data over the years some time ago (Google translation). Very true Rudolf and many thanks for the analysis. One of the issue with satellite sea level measurement is that the error rate is so large, the imprecision of the measurement so big in relation to the measured rise that it allows for a lot of play room for the data manipulators. We have seen each and every satellite data being adjusted and corrected. Incidentally all corrections result in “more”. If it is temperature, if it is sea level rise. When I see a historical diagram where the history changes, the relative values of the historical data change I know… I know it is a climate diagram. I am not aware of any other field where historical data do change like in what is called “climate science”. 113. steveta_uk says: The fact that four different organizations have arrived at the same number is suspect. Not sure this proves much – they could get the same answer because it is the correct answer. Just saying… 114. Pachygrapsus says: They just lopped about 80 FEET off the measurement of Mt. McKinley. Forgive me if I remain skeptical of anyone’s ability to reliably state how much sea levels have changed over the past 100 years or whether any detected change is attributable to natural or human influences. 115. Steve T says: More proof that this has nothing to do with science. Adjusting sea level for a larger basin? Where is the adjustment for all the volcanic activity which is mostly pushing upwards, creating small hills/mountains under the sea. If the bottom of the Pacific caved in and the water poured into the void, would this be reported as a sea level rise (after the necessary adjustment? Sea level is sea level (profound eh?) At all the places I revisit after some fifty-odd years, the sea looks as though it’s exactly where I left it. After all is said and done we’re only really interested to know whether waterside interests are in any danger of inundation – ie sea level. Adding in modeled changes in basin volume is irrelevant – and it’s only models not science. Rant over. SteveT 116. Rud Istvan says: The argument is essentially correct, and the technical postings about uncertainty, upward biased adjustments, and a probable actual 1mm per year seem to be correct also when fact checked. But suppose 3mm per year since 1960 is correct. That rate corresponds to the warming we have actually seen. Now ignore the pause and natual variability. Recall the effect of CO2 is logarithmic, as Guy Callendar showed in the 1930’s. Recall that even flawed gCMs have most feedbacks save ice albedo happening within a decade or two, so the asserted 3mm/yr incorporates them. Then 100 years from now sea level will be about 300mm higher. That is 30 cm, about a foot. Which is what AR 4 said. There is no where on earth that anything meaningful to man built on dry land exists within a foot of mean high tide. Visit the Florida Keys, Hong Kong harbor, the Durch polters to see for yourselves. Hurricane Sandy’s storm surge of 13 feet was also exactly at high tide with a full moon. And all natural shore features ( barrier islands, reefs, estuaries) are ‘living’ things that have plenty of time to adapt. So the only theoretical cause for SLR alarm is sudden collapse of WAIS. Which why alarmists keep trying to prove it did during the Eemian when it didn’t. See my recent posting at Climate Etc. Since SLR isnt alarming, I think the CAGW ocean focus is turning to acidification, a much murkier, less easily falsified proposition involving multiple ecosystems and marine biology. “The evil twin of climate change” Save the coral reefs. Save the oysters being two prominent examples urrently being completely misrepresented as crises. That is where the next alarmist CAGW effort is starting to occur. Just check out NOAA websites to see US tax dollars being put to work on ocean acidification alarmism. 117. Les Johnson says: Jimbo: On ground water…some sources show 600 to 700 km3 per year withdrawal, which effectively make ground water extraction account for 50%, or more, of observed sea level rises. I had one source that put ground water use at 1000 to 1500 km3 per year, but that link is now dead. http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Climate_scientists_say_they_have_solved_riddle_of_rising_sea_999.html The above study puts ground water contributing 42%. http://www.globalchange.umich.edu/globalchange2/current/lectures/freshwater_supply/freshwater.html The above post is based on work by Gleick and Erhlich. The anthro increase in sea level also does not count the creation of water by burning hydrogen. This would add another several hundred km3 to the hydrological cycle. 118. Latitude says: “Scientists add many “fudge factors” to the raw data” …of course, otherwise we wouldn’t know sea levels were rising…/snark 119. Latitude says: “Tide gauges are also used to “calibrate” the satellite data”… even though it’s a minority of tide gauges that show any sea level rise at all…. http://pluto.mscc.huji.ac.il/~msdfels/wpapers/Tide%20gauge%20location.pdf Sea level rise is regional rather than global and is concentrated in the southern Baltic, the Ring of Fire, and the Atlantic coast of the US. By contrast the north-west Pacific coast and north-east coast of India are characterized by sea level fall. In the minority of locations where sea levels are rising….. …..In the “””minority””” of locations where sea levels are rising…. 120. Gordon Furd says: [Snip ~mod.] 121. Eugene WR Gallun says: John Finn Sept. 23 3:39am I am a poet and not a math guy but i got some questions for you. In the example you give about measuring people — the people are all static in height. Therefore it seems reasonable that a certain sample size using an inaccurate ruler could determine an average height with a reasonable degree of error. But the surface of the sea is not a glassy plain of unvarying height. If somehow the heights of people was in flux (they grew in height or shortened randomly — no one stayed the same size for long) you would need a much larger sample to determine an “average height” with a reasonable degree of error. And if the speed at which individuals changed height was not the same for all — you would need an even larger sample. The situation with the oceans is a hundred times more complex in the ways its height varies from place to place and in each place over time. I feel that the sample size you would need to figure out its average height would be MUCH MUCH MUCH larger than the sample size scientists currently have. Therefore their claims of accuracy are false. So can you show that the sample size that is available is large to give an accurate estimate of the ocean’s height? As you said, “its all just basic statistics”. Eugene WR Gallun PS — Suggest you post your thoughts on Climate Audit. The result would be — interesting. 122. Mike Bromley the Kurd says: September 21, 2013 at 7:35 am Bob Greene says: September 21, 2013 at 4:53 am Absent from all of these ’causes’ is a myopic view of history and a blatant abuse of the word ‘unprecedented”. _________________________________________________________________ Much better said than I could! 123. Auto says: Fascinating debate. All I know is that the sea level needs to be far enough above the bottom – so deep enough – for my ships to float. Anyone got any reference for the new LNG berth at Manzanillo, Mexico, to be shown on a proper navigational chart? It’s been there for over a year, yet charts still just show beach. About 19 N 114-15 W. Auto 124. Philip Mulholland says: I have never forgotten a hydrology lecture given as part of my Environmental Science course in the 1970s when the method of calculating the total amount of water in the planetary hydrosphere was explained to us. The lecturer stood at the board and compiled a list of water bodies in descending order of importance by volume. First onto the list went the estimated hundreds of millions of cubic kilometres for the total volume of water in the world’s oceans; The Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Arctic and Southern. Next onto the list the estimated tens of millions of cubic kilometres of water in the shallower seas and gulfs not included in the above; The Caribbean, the North Sea, the Red Sea, the Mediterranean, the Baltic, the Black, the Caspian etc. Having dealt with the salt water bodies he then started to list estimates for the tens of millions of cubic kilometres of fresh water in the world. First the global ice caps of Antarctica, Greenland, Iceland, and then mountain glaciers of all the world’s mountain ranges. Having included all the frozen water he start to estimate the volume of the surface liquid water bodies; the Great Lakes, the Rift valley lakes of Africa and Lake Baikal in Asia etc. Next on to the list went the volume of the rivers of the world; the Amazon, the Nile, The Congo, the Missouri / Mississippi, the Yangtze Chiang, the Volga etc. Having included all the surface water bodies he then added to the list the millions of cubic kilometres of sub-surface ground water bodies, shallow fresh in the gravels and alluvial sands and deep sub-surface brines in the clays, sandstones and limestones of the world’s sedimentary basins. Having exhausted the list of surface and sub-surface water he then listed the estimated tens of cubic kilometres for the volume of water carried in the atmosphere; the humid air masses and separately the condensed water in the clouds of the Troposphere. It was a tour de force of understanding of the types of water body present below, on and above the Earth’s surface. The oceans with hundreds of millions holding the most water, the atmosphere with cubic kilometres, the least. Then he did something which no one challenged or queried, he added all the numbers on his list together and when he finally added to his sum the number of cubic kilometres of atmospheric water vapour, announced that the total mass of water in the world had been determined to the nearest cubic kilometre. Great arithmetic, shame about the mathematics. 125. Ian L. McQueen says: Re “measurement” of the average height of males using only two measuring sticks, I thought that such measurements were applicable only for the SAME item. I remember that quite an accurate weight of a (dial-type) telephone could be obtained by combining 1000 guesses. But my limited knowledge of statistics leads me to question the ability of that averaging method to be able to calculate the average of different things. Ian M 126. Gail Combs says: Mike Bromley the Kurd says: @ September 20, 2013 at 9:43 pm ….New Orleans…. It didn’t matter, because Katrina was caused by climate change anyway. What was I thinking….! >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Isn’t it funny how everyone forgets the damage to New Orleans (Like NYC) was caused by Politicians NOT doing the jobs they were supposed to. In the case of New Orleans the levees were allowed to fall into disrepair. Instead of spending TRILLIONS on ‘Climate Change Research’ bankrupting renewable corporations (AKA take the money and run scams) and propaganda we should spend the money where it really counts, upgrading our infrastructures. However then there would not be disasters to point to and scream ‘Climate Change’ … The federal government began working with state and local officials in the late 1960s on hurricane and flood relief efforts. When flooding from a rainstorm in May 1995 killed six people, Congress authorized the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project, or SELA. Over the next 10 years, the Army Corps of Engineers spent$430-million on shoring up levees and building pumping stations, with $50-million in local aid. But at least$250-million in crucial projects remained, …. the flow of federal dollars toward SELA evaporated because of the spending pressures of the war in Iraq, as well as homeland security and federal tax cuts.
http://www.sptimes.com/2005/09/03/Worldandnation/Katrina_QA.shtml

Note the blame placed on a war that happened decades AFTER the original completion date. Both the Mayor of New Orleans and the Gov. were Democrats so why weren’t they on top of the problem?

Why the heck was the disrepair allowed in the first place? After the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, the Congress mandated the Corps of Engineers as the federal agency responsible for design and construction of flood protection projects, to include those in Greater New Orleans. Heavy flooding from Hurricane Betsy (1965) highlighted concerns regarding flooding from hurricanes. That year the Flood Control Act of 1965 (FCA 1965) was enacted and Congress authorized the Pontchartrain Hurricane Protection Project. FCA 1965 required local participation in the federally funded projects. The local interests’ role was maintenance once the work was complete.The project was initially estimated to take 13 years, but when Katrina struck in 2005, almost 40 years later, the project was only 60–90% complete with a revised projected completion date of 2015. from WIKI

In other words there was zero excuse except incompetent politicians and bureaucrats.. See The Government on Trial: Guilty, as Charged… This may be the closest we will ever come to a jury placing guilt for Katrina deaths in the lap of government officials — or at least having to answer directly to a jury. Gov. Kathleen Blanco herself was forced to testify….

A less bias account that shows how worthless the government has been to the city of New Orleans.

…It has been almost two months since I visited New Orleans with my students. Two months to try and make sense of what I saw, two months to try and understand how after two years New Orleaneans, school children, church groups, and other individuals have done so much to help rebuild…yet it appears that the government has forgotten to keep its promises. To provide citizens the means and support to rebuild, to grant citizens of this country their right to a home, security and a sense that they are not second class citizens, that they are not forgotten.

Often as a teacher of history, I am told to keep my political opinions to myself; in this instance, however, I cannot. The state of disrepair in New Orleans is the fault of the government, Republicans and Democrats alike, while the state of repair is largely due to the work of private individuals. When I planned the trip to New Orleans with my students it was because I wanted them to be good citizens—not to watch from the sidelines while their fellow citizens needed help. What lesson then do I teach my students about government organizations that after two years have left the “blue roofs” on so many houses? How do I explain to teenagers why the government waited so long to call for an evacuation? What do I tell my students when they ask about markings on houses that say “NE”- No Entry, but list the body count as zero? How do I explain to my students that officials knew the levees were flawed and did nothing?

I keep going back to the fact that as a whole the local, state and federal governments could have prevented this–that they could be doing more now. There are more questions to my students’ questions than answers. They must ask these questions of our government and to some extent of themselves. At a very basic level it boils down to “we treat others as we want to be treated.”….
http://www.teachingthelevees.org/index.php?s=aftermath&paged=3

127. Gail Combs says:

Peter Miller says: @ September 21, 2013 at 12:13 am

Anyhow, the original article and comments here indicate the actual sea level rise is probably a great deal less than the much quoted 3.3mms/year figure…. In any event, post adjustment/manipulation satellite figures on sea level rises should be treated with a sack of salt.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
AHHhhh, So THAT is why the seas are so salty…

128. Robert of Ottawa says:

Aah, natural variability!

The IPCC has been preparing the last couple of months to excuse the stable temperatures with the argument:

“Were it not for a natural cooling cycle, the temperature rises would have been much worse”.

All, get ready with the response:

“How do you know your purported rise in temperature since the ‘1970s were not also a natural cycle?”

When it gets hot, it’s man-made; when it cools, it’s natural. They cannot win this argument; even the stupidest can see through it.

Get ready, also, to point the frigged temperature record.

129. Bob Layson says:

If the volume of the sea is increasing due to loss of ice at the poles then more mass has moved towards the equator. In which case the spin of the Earth must have slowed. Has it? And in a way otherwise inexplicable?

130. tobias says:

I am not any kind of scientist but I am dutch, are there not massive amounts of water released each spring and locked up in the winter does that not have an an effect? (seeing that the Northern Hemisphere has a much larger “winter” land mass than the Southern?)
I am now at the end of the comment list at this point in time ,
Why has nobody entered the tiny little companion of earth , you know the moon and it’s eccentric orbit, yes there is talk of tides and spring and fall tides that are easily followed but what about the times in between?

131. rogerknights says:

The spin has slowed (I don’t know the cause), because there have been 24 leap seconds added to the year over recent decades. Apple’s iPhones are up to date on this, but some non-updated Android devices show times that are 15 seconds too fast.

132. Pamela Gray says:

tobias, back at ya. Yes, it is better to be a pert (IE spert) than an ex- “spert”. Since I am quite short, I would definitely be a spurt. And since I speak from an armchair, I would most clearly not be a climate expert.

133. Brian H says:

accuracy ten times better than the quantity to be measured

Not quite sensical. 10X better than the total range? The expected variations? The differences between samples?

134. rogerknights says:

Let’s say the ocean basins were shrinking. Would he have reduced the rate of sea level rise to compensate? To ask the question is to know the answer.

Sea level will rise due to thermal expansion, ice sheet melt and river sedimentation. All river sediment ends up eventually on the sea floor displacing water.

Say, does the U. of Colo. deduct this sedimentation increase from its GIA? If not, why not?

ColdinOz says:
August 13, 2011 at 3:15 pm

Just another comment on sea level. Apparently the rate of sea level rise is increasing even though sea level is, or has been falling. Reason given is adjustments neccessary because of the La Nina cooling. Does anyone have a recollection of University of Colorado doing downward adjustments to compensate for the 1998 and 2010 El Nino’s.

Why am I expecting an answer in the negative?

[Fudging revealed—good quotes]

The U of Colo. says, on its FAQ page:

Prior to release 2011_rel1, we did not account for GIA in estimates of the global mean sea level rate, but this correction is now scientifically well-understood and is applied to GMSL estimates by nearly all research groups around the world. Including the GIA correction has the effect of increasing previous estimates of the global mean sea level rate by 0.3 mm/yr.

Is this really true? If so, the scandal in climatology isn’t what’s done that’s unacceptable, it’s what’s done that’s acceptable (to tweak an adage).

135. Also the mass of the atmosphere DOES change depending upon the quantity of water content. For example warmer periods like late 20th c. will have more total global atmospheric water content then cooler periods.

Water vapour is only 0.25% of the atmospheric mass and varies by a few %age points, for most places averaged over a year. Annual average atmospheric mass variation due to WV is well under 0.1% for most locations. Small enough to ignore IMO when we are talking about changes in global average SL over years to decades..

It’s not clear whether atmospheric WV is increasing or not. I agree it should if the atmosphere is warming as claimed. But then I think the observed surface warming doesn’t result, in the main, from atmospheric warming. So i’d expect no measurable increase in atmospheric WV.

As for CO2 and CH4 emissions. Again we are talking about less than 0.1% of atmospheric mass.

Not sure I get your point about ‘land doesn’t move’.

136. Henry Clark says:

dalyplanet says:
September 20, 2013 at 11:20 pm
“Thank You for your post and a most excellent link !!!”

You’re welcome. :)

137. The situation with the oceans is a hundred times more complex in the ways its height varies from place to place and in each place over time. I feel that the sample size you would need to figure out its average height would be MUCH MUCH MUCH larger than the sample size scientists currently have.

The causes of any change are irrelevant to sample size, assuming random sampling. All that matters is the size of the change you are trying to detect. The smaller the change the larger the sample size needed to reliably detect it.

However, if you are not sampling randomly, then bias rears its ugly head. But AFAIAK satellite measurements are for practical purposes random. What is decidedly non-random is using some tide gauges and not others.

138. tobiasa says:

Thanks, great sense of humor but as as I am not tall either and also sitting in my chair, maybe we should both become “primate” experts and use all 4 appendages to get around?

139. tobias says:

to Pam Grey sorry momentary lapse.

140. tobias says:

I seem to have now lost it, that is an earlier message,@Pam Grey @ 10 40 pm, thanks you have a great sense of humor . And seeing that I am shortish as well (and getting shorter at each Dr’s visit and spend time in my chair as well here goes . Maybe we should become “Primate” ” Spurts”, you know using all four appendages? I think those guy are secretly laughing at us , no credit cards or Quantative Easing?

141. Radar telemetry of the ocean’s surface is specious, very akin to the idea that climate computer models are accurate.

Water in the oceans are under constant movement; tidal, wind, currents are big drivers, but don’t underestimate low and high pressure fronts.
What does the satellite actually measure? The trough or peak of a wave; or perhaps psychically determines the average for that precise moment?

Radar returns from hard objects are sharp defined lines and outside of atmospheric effects (atmosphere turbulence & density affects radar & laser), can be reliably measured to the accuracy level of the instrument.

What I didn’t get from the article above, (no offense intended, Steve Gorham), is whether the satellite measurement error includes all the supposed variables and whether the measurement error is a guess or hard observation data. I suspect the guess, possibly statistically derived but still a guess until verified. And no, satellite measurement of hard surfaces does not translate to satellite measurement of the ocean’s surface.

Radar returns from the oceans surface is mushy, lacking a defined absolute surface. Add water level adjustment to other factors and as Steve and other commenters have shown achieving accuracy ten times better than the measuring device is delusionary.

For a number of years, I rode a train into work; right up the west side of the Potomac estuary to Washington DC. On days when winds blew from the northwest, water is literally blown out of the entire Chesapeake bay system. One day of hard wind would empty small bays, two days and large sections of the estuary would be exposed, three days and the effect is startling. Winds from the opposite quadrant push water well up the streams and smaller rivers emptying into the bay.

And someone insists they can measure sea level rise within millimeters? Don’t rebut, belly laugh long and hard.

142. “Jimbo says: September 20, 2013 at 3:21 pm

One thing missing from the article as presented here. which has absolutely nothing to do with climate – water abstraction.

Global groundwater depletion leads to sea level rise
Large-scale abstraction of groundwater for irrigation of crops leads to a sea level rise of 0.8 mm per year, which is about one fourth of the current rate of sea level rise of 3.3 mm per year.
http://www.un-igrac.org/publications/422…”

Um, I wouldn’t worry about such claims Jimbo. Every river that I’ve seen throughout America has greater problems every year making it to the sea. Especially in America’s west.

Just because water is extracted from an aquifer or drainage system does not mean it ever makes it back into the drainage system, at least until it falls as rain elsewhere.

143. Grey Lensman says:

despite all the potential variations, water seeks a gravitational flat surface. Add one inch global and it will show plus one inch due to effects, globally. I.e. If monsoon rains raise surce two feet, it will become two feet one inch

Thus all that is needed, is to select say five well dispersed points, not subject to either land rise/sink and not subject to transient high or low pressure atmospheric events. Select sight with a long record, history.

Then see what comes out.

144. Volker Doormann says:

„But a look at natural ocean variation shows that official sea level measurements are nonsense.”

Not at all. A look at the ‘natural ocean variations’ shows a significant main frequency of 6.30 periods per year. To understand the whole plot the precise value of the frequency suggests that it is more fruitful to analyse the ‘natural ocean varitations’ instead of a stupid doubtful sea level. The main sea level oscillation of 6.30 periods per year can be shown by removing the linear increase of 3.24 mm per year. The amplitude seems to be between 5 mm peak to peak until 10 mm peak to peak. But the amplitude not the point. There is an interesting relation between the frequency of 6.30 periods per year and the phase of a solar tide function from the planetary couple of Mercury and Earth. Both planets have big densities and because Mercury has an elliptic path around the Sun, the resulting solar tide function is complex. However, the astonishing point is that ‘spring tides’ from this function on he surface of the Sun are in phase with the positive peaks of the terrestrial sea level oscillation frequency of 6.30 periods per year and vice versa, negative peaks of the sea level oscillation frequency are in phase with solar ‘nip tides’ from this couple.
From astronomy books we can take the periods of Mercury with 4.15207 per year and period of the Earth with 0.9998 per year. The synodic period of this couple is the difference of both periods (4.15207 – 0.99998 = 3.15209 periods per year. Because a (solar) tide function is twice the synodic function, because springtides occur as well on conjunctions and also on oppositions, the solar tide frequency of Mercury/Earth is twice the synodic period (2 x 3.15209 = 6.30418 periods per year). To have an impression of this plot one can draw the relevant functions superimposed in a graph for the last four years. The sea level data from UC removed by the linear increase of 3.24 mm per year is drawn in thick light blue. The weighted solar tide function of Mercury/Earth because of the extreme ellipticity of mercury is drawn in thin black; the unweighted function is drawn in thin light gray. Because of the delay of the ocean impedances, the ENSO index (MEI) take place about 0.436 years later (thick dark blue). It can be seen, that as well the global temperature measured by UAH (thick red curve) and the sea level curve is impressed by this delayed MEI.

All these facts suggest an immediate heat effect on the oceans from the sun, and maybe the sea level oscillations amplitude is a result of the property of water which volume grows with temperature over 4° Cel. It is clear that other possible couples create also solar tides, with lower tide strength than the couple of Mercury/Earth, but this out of this comment. I think from the view of science it is wasted time working on amplitudes of global temperatures or sea level trends as climatism has done; frequency analysis of spectra instead can produce significant temperature frequencies, which can be identified as part of the climate ages and decades. No one is helped if the conclusion of a hard work is ‘nonsense’.

V,

145. How can scientists then measure an annual change of three millimeters, which is almost ten times smaller than the error in daily measurements? Measuring tools typically must have accuracy ten times better than the quantity to be measured, not ten times worse.

This is only true for a single measurement. If you have many measurements the uncertainty error is given by the formula for the Standard Error of the Mean (SEM):
SEM = SE / $\sqrt {N}$
SE = Standard error of one single measurement
N = Number of unbiased measurements
That means that if you have many unbiased measurements the final measurement error becomes very small.
Example: say that the error for one single measurement is 30 cm
100 unbiased measurements then give a SEM of 3 cm
10000 unbiased measurements give a SEM of 3 mm.

146. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

From Jan Kjetil Andersen September 22, 2013 at 10:58 am:

This is only true for a single measurement. If you have many measurements the uncertainty error is given by the formula for the Standard Error of the Mean (SEM):

You have succumbed to a common fallacy. You are not taking multiple measurements of the same thing at the same time, you are taking single measurements at different times.

I measure the length of a rod to +/-0.5mm, then I measure it every hour until I have 100 measurements. When can I claim an uncertainty of only +/-0.05mm? The length varies greatly, now it is 952.5mm, an hour later it could be 1127.0mm, or 852.5mm. What uncertainty can I claim?

Sea level is single measurements at different times. Your assumption is flawed.

147. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:
September 22, 2013 at 1:39 pm

I measure the length of a rod to +/-0.5mm, then I measure it every hour until I have 100 measurements. When can I claim an uncertainty of only +/-0.05mm? The length varies greatly, now it is 952.5mm, an hour later it could be 1127.0mm, or 852.5mm. What uncertainty can I claim?
Sea level is single measurements at different times. Your assumption is flawed.

Kadaka, The analogy with measuring a rod is not is not a very good one.

Sea levels are not measurements of the same thing, it is measurements different places with many different uncertainties each place and at each time. There are tidal waves and surges due to air pressure just to mention two of them.
And there are plenty of other measurements from tide gauges which can be used to calibrate the satellite measurements.

This means that it is correct to use Standard Error of the Mean for these different measurements.

Dou you really think that all these scientific reports on sea level rise make this error on some simple math?

148. SteveP says:

” John Finn says:
September 21, 2013 at 3:39 am

No – the ‘special magic’ is just the use of basic statistics. For example, using a measuring stick with just 2 measurements at 5’6” and 6’ it would be possible to provide an accurate estimate of the mean height of US (or UK) males. Take a random sample of 1000 UK (or US) males, then use the stick to ‘measure’ their heights. ”

Your example perfectly demonstrates the problem that the author raised. You have used a ‘measuring stick’ which can accurately measure to at least 1″ for males with an average height of 70″ or so. Thus, in a random sample you can find the mean of the sample. Now try to measure grains of sand using the same ruler. Not so easy, is it?

Error generally has 2 components, systematic and random. While statistics can be used to reduce random error uncertainty it cannot be used to remove systematic error. Only calibration with better equipment can do this. if I used a ruler with 3″ broken off the end to measure all males I would conclude that average male height was 67″.

There is also nothing to suggest that the systematic error itself will not vary over time. Aging is a well known effect in the world of precision electronics. Essentially the ruler might grow longer (or get shorter) over time and no-one would even know unless they calibrate it against another, more accurate, ruler.

149. Steve Keohane says:

To:
Greg Goodman says:September 21, 2013 at 6:30 am
Leonard Weinstein says:September 21, 2013 at 6:39 am

I’ve been traveling for a couple of days.
In reference to my post:
Steve Keohane says:September 21, 2013 at 6:07 am

Philip Bradley says:September 21, 2013 at 4:33 am

The Inverse Barometer (IB) is the correction for variations in sea surface height due to atmospheric pressure variations (atmospheric loading). It can reach about ±15 cm and it is calculated from meteorological models.

The mass of the atmosphere doesn’t change. Therefore, differences in atmospheric pressure on sea level, average out to zero.
Excellent point, thank you.

I did not give an explicit context for my remark. What occurred to me was that at any given instant, a pressure adjustment would not be needed as the only differences in that instant are local pressures. Even over a day or whatever interval the measurements are taken, the change in mass has to be insignificant.

150. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

From Jan Kjetil Andersen on September 22, 2013 at 10:21 pm:

Kadaka, The analogy with measuring a rod is not is not a very good one.

That shows how much you know. If measuring the depth of a river or lake, you could very well be measuring with a rod or stick, length from bottom to surface.

Likewise with sea level gauges, could be firmly mounted in the water and you’re taking a length measurement. Maybe it’s a sliding rod mounted in a holder, bottom of rod has a float that rests on the water, and you’re taking a length measurement.

Likewise the satellite is taking a length measurement.

In every case, for the same spot, you are taking a length measurement. Some time later, you take another length measurement at the same spot. What did I say?

Sea level is single measurements at different times.

This is true for every single spot where you are monitoring the sea level.

Again, your reasoning is flawed.

151. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:
September 23, 2013 at 8:38 pm

Sea level is single measurements at different times.

Kadaka, the important point is to distinguish between random errors and systematic errors. You can reduce the random errors by taking many measurements, but you cannot reduce the systematic errors that way.

The systematic errors with your rod example would be that the rod was inaccurate, and the random error would be the accuracy of reading the rod and the accuracy of the placement of the rod.

The latter errors can be reduced by repeating measurements. If you doubt this, try to measure the length of your house several times with a short yardstick. The results will usually vary by a few millimeters, but after a few times you will be quite sure that the correct answer is near the average value of your different results. The more times you try, the surer you will be.

On the other hand, the systematic error could be reduced by comparing the rod measurements with other measurements of the same length. If we for instance measure the same length with both a laser and a rod we can use the laser result to calibrate the rod and therefore reduce the systematic error.

This is similar to how the results from the gauges are used to calibrate the satellite measurements.
The random errors in satellites, which consist of for example electronic noise, can be reduced by repeating measurements. The systematic errors can be reduced by calibrating the instruments with other measurements.

A description of the various corrections used in satellite measurements are found at: http://www.cmar.csiro.au/sealevel/sl_meas_sat_alt.html

152. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

@ Jan Kjetil Andersen on September 24, 2013 at 8:05 am:

Why are you claiming to disprove what I said by using examples of something else?

The latter errors can be reduced by repeating measurements. If you doubt this, try to measure the length of your house several times with a short yardstick. The results will usually vary by a few millimeters, but after a few times you will be quite sure that the correct answer is near the average value of your different results. The more times you try, the surer you will be.

The length of the house is not expected to vary, it should remain the same for decades. Thus your example is many measurements of the same amount reducing the error.

Sea level is still single measurements at different times. The sea level varies. It varies enough to justify the inverted barometer adjustment. It varies by lunar cycle. You take a single measurement at a single spot, repeat at that spot at different times.

Reducing error as you had stated requires multiple measurements of the same thing, namely the same sea level at the same spot at the same time. The length of my house is time independent, sea level is very much not time independent. If you had, say, five calibrated instruments all taking the same measurement at the same instant, then you can combine and reduce uncertainty as stated.

153. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

September 25, 2013 at 2:58 pm

@ Jan Kjetil Andersen on September 24, 2013 at 8:05 am:

Why are you claiming to disprove what I said by using examples of something else?

The fact that the se levels varies complicates the measurements, and it also complicates the example, and that is why I chose a non-varying example above.

However, the logic still applies. The variance of the sea level is known, and it is unbiased for all measurements, i.e. you would have just as many measurements with high tide as with low tide, just as many with low air pressure as with low air pressure. The tides and air pressures or any other known variables will not pose any bias towards higher or lower sea level. This means that the method of reducing random errors by many measurements still apply since we are only interested in the average value.

Consider this: You make 10000 measurements of sea levels and get a standard deviation of +/- 1 meter. You know that some of this deviation is due to the actual deviation of the sea level and some is due to random errors in the measurement equipment. You can then still use the rule of the least squares to spot the average value of the sea level with great accuracy (1 meter divided by the square root of 10000).