Alarmists are just now discovering ‘Dynamic Atolls’

Satellite picture of the Atafu atoll in Tokelau in the Pacific Ocean. Image: Wikipedia

From the “we told you so” department, WUWT Reader Paul Carter says in Tips and Notes:

A new study shows that Pacific Islands are resilient to sea level changes.

“Dynamic atolls give hope that Pacific Islands can defy sea rise”
A study by Paul Kench, Professor, School of Environment at University of Auckland.

“It is widely predicted that low-lying coral reef islands will drown as a result of sea-level rise, leaving their populations as environmental refugees. But new evidence now suggests that these small islands…”

See http://theconversation.com/dynamic-atolls-give-hope-that-pacific-islands-can-defy-sea-rise-25436

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

Yes, we told you all about this right here on WUWT back in 2010 in an essay titled “Floating Islands” by Willis Eschenbach. Willis wrote then:

Regarding atolls and sea level rise, the most important fact was discovered by none other than Charles Darwin. He realized that coral atolls essentially “float” on the surface of the sea. When the sea rises, the atoll rises with it. They are not solid, like a rock island. They are a pile of sand and rubble. There is always material added and material being lost. Atolls exist in a delicate balance between new sand and coral rubble being added from the reef, and atoll sand and rubble being eroded by wind and wave back into the sea or into the lagoon. As sea level rises, the balance tips in favor of sand and rubble being added to the atoll. The result is that the atoll rises with the sea level.

Figure 2. Typical cross section through a coral atoll. The living coral is in the ring between the dotted green line and the beach. The atoll used for the photo in this example is Tepoto Atoll, French Polynesia.

 

Darwin’s discovery also explained why coral atolls occur in rings as in Fig. 2 above. They started as a circular inshore coral reef around a volcanic rock island. As the sea level rose, flooding more and more of the island, the coral grew upwards. Eventually the island was drowned by the rising sea levels, and all that is left is the ring of reef and coral atolls.

Coral atolls have proven over thousands of years that, if left alone, they can go up with the sea level. And if we follow some simple conservation practices, they can continue to do so and to support atoll residents. But they cannot survive an unlimited population increase, or unrestricted overfishing, or overpumping the water lens, or unrestrained coral mining. Those are what is killing the atolls, not the same sea level rise that we’ve had for the last hundred years.

Read it all here: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/01/27/floating-islands/

[UPDATE]

Someone in the comments asked about priority regarding the ideas in my 2010 post.

The person to claim priority for noticing the dynamic nature of atolls is Charles Darwin. Amazingly, he discovered the dynamic nature of coral atolls before he had ever seen one.

However, in terms of priority for my 2010 post, I’d have to cite my 2004 paper in Energy and Environment, the journal that alarmists love to hate on. It was published as a “Viewpoint”, and as such, unlike my other two articles in E&E, this one was not peer-reviewed.

In that study, I traced the origins of the atoll hysteria to a 2003 Sierra Club article. That article is ground zero for the “coral atoll climate refugee we’re all DOOOOMED” meme. What I found was previous research showing that the atoll they said was dying from climate change was actually being eroded because in World War II the protecting outer reef had been cut through.

Finding that previous research showing the actual reason their poster child island was being reshaped was a formative experience for me. That study totally blew the Sierra Club BS out of the water.

Nor is the current study the first recent notice by scientists of the dynamic nature of atolls. See my other post on the subject, “The Irony, It Burns” …

w.

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126 thoughts on “Alarmists are just now discovering ‘Dynamic Atolls’

  1. “Dynamic atolls give hope that Pacific Islands can defy sea rise”

    Another way of putting it –

    “Normal everyday atolls demonstrate that atolls do what atolls have always done before they became the poster child for alarmists.”

  2. Occam’s Razor would ask, what is more likely, that coral islands just coincidentally happen to be at present sea level, or that natural processes maintain them at sea level? Has it really taken them till now to ask that question?

  3. Once again a climate realist ( Willis Eschenbach ) has shown that reality trumps models and adjusted ( actually tortured ) data. Thanks Willis and Anthony!

  4. Just wait. Someone else will soon discover natural Earth-intrinsic short and long term land and oceanic temperature trends caused by large and small scale oscillating teleconnections between oceanic and atmospheric processes.

  5. And Trenbreth will take credit for it because he was the first one, so he will say, who discovered that heat could hide in the oceans.

  6. This is geology 101. Note that it isn’t just that sea level rises but that the island can / will sink as well. It should also be noted that as relative sea level rises (either through an absolute rise in sea level or island subsidence) that the coral that makes up the reef will respond by growing higher, thus providing more material for the island to continue building (vertical height of coral is always limited by mean high tide levels , so if relative sea level rises , the coral will growth vertically to match it).

  7. Of course higher UVB radiation could kill the coral and stop the process.The other question is if the sea level is still rising.

  8. Robertvd says:
    April 23, 2014 at 6:21 am
    “Of course higher UVB radiation could kill the coral and stop the process.”

    Or the coral could die from boredom. Can’t watch your video ATM, what gives you the idea that higher UVB radiation could kill the corals? Didn’t happen in the last 10,000 years, why should it now?

  9. “…But new evidence now suggests that these small islands…”

    “new evidence”?

    Is this an admission by the author that something known for years has just now come to his attention?

  10. I was going to say that anyone that has taken a freshman-level physical geology (geol. 101) course already knows this, but Jeff L beat me to it. :)

    It’s amazing how more and more research just seems to be rediscovering the basics and treating it as “novel.”

  11. I made the first comment at the Conversation
    (it wasn’t even ‘new’ evidence – I quotedthe BBC from 2010)

    http://theconversation.com/dynamic-atolls-give-hope-that-pacific-islands-can-defy-sea-rise-25436

    New evidence….?

    http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/darwin-coral-reefs

    http://darwin-online.org.uk/EditorialIntroductions/Chancellor_CoralReefs.html

    BBC – Low-lying Pacific islands ‘growing not sinking’ – 2010

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10222679

    A new geological study has shown that many low-lying Pacific islands are growing, not sinking.

    The islands of Tuvalu, Kiribati and the Federated States of Micronesia are among those which have grown, because of coral debris and sediment.

    One of the authors of the study, featured in the magazine the New Scientist, predicts that the islands will still be there in 100 years’ time.

    However he says it is not clear whether many of them will be inhabitable.

    Prognosis ‘incorrect’
    In recent times, the inhabitants of many low-lying Pacific islands have come to fear their homelands being wiped off the map because of rising sea levels.

    But this study of 27 islands over the last 60 years suggests that most have remained stable, while some have actually grown.

  12. How can this be?! I was assured decades ago that “the science is settled!” and that we would all drown, bake, immolate…

  13. I studied this in first year geology in 1958, back when people were still actually reading Darwin. Moreover, it was established beyond doubt at Bikini Atoll where drilling was done prior to the atom bomb tests. They drilled down….you guessed it…~120m (the amount of sea level rise from the end of the last glacial maximum) through coralline rubble into basalt volcanic rock).

    It is the same with deltas, which will be the next big Nobel-grade (degraded level since the last century) discovery made by these dark age savants. Drilling down beside the Mississippi where it entered the gulf before the post glacial max development of the delta…yup you guessed it…~120m – you intersect coarse gravels and sands under the muds. As the sea level rose, it invaded upstream causing quiet waters there that resulted in the sediment load being dropped on the bottom. This built up the bottom and as the sea level rose and the rate of sedimentation delivery to the mouth of the river matched and surpassed the sea level rise, the build-up moved downstream until the present configuration with the river delta extending into the gulf. If sea level drops (like the case of the atoll) the wave action cuts away the delta and it shrinks and moves back upstream. Bangladesh, which figures prominently in the disaster of sea level rise among linear alarmists is just the same. The real loss of land to the sea will be if sea level drops, just the opposite of the trillion dollar research results. Please, some sedimentologist, write an authoritative post at WUWT on deltas before the next bozo ‘discovery’ puts these newbies illegits in the limelight.

  14. If one were to think about the issue long enough, logic would have to dictate there is some natural mechanism by which atolls maintain eqlibrium with the surrounding sea level. Even if the mechanism itself wasn’t easy to deduce. One only has to realize that somehow atolls have adapted to natural sea level changes over the last 20,000 years — something on the order of several hundred feet.

  15. I learned about this in my second geology class (earth history) at the university. After all, volcanic seamounts have been sinking into ocean basins around the world for quite a few years now! The rock record left behind is pretty clear.

    Oh yeah, that’s right. I forgot. Things are different now!
    Don’t let the facts get in the way of your popular culture theory.

  16. Geologists have been taught this for years – it is the basis of carbonate geology! Sheesh, where have the Alarmists been educated??

  17. Yes, that excellent 2010 guest post by Willis is a monument to citizen science and deserves to be recognized by all new studies although, in truth, knowledge of dynamic atolls has been around for generations and just didn’t fit in with the scaremongering meme.

  18. From the “we told so so” department — I assume this should be … “I told you so” …

  19. Doug – it’s not so much scaremongering as plain old ignorance. These people don’t have a clue about anything, they take data collected by someone else, (mis-) apply statistical packages created by someone else, and apply the results to some physical processes that they just don’t even know exist.

    This is soft science taken to its (il)logical extreme.

  20. The Monster (@SumErgoMonstro) says:
    April 23, 2014 at 7:16 am
    “So rising sea levels are no threat to atolls, at all. ”

    Sea level rise at a speed of above 25 cm/year should overwhelm the ability of coral to grow vertically. Well you could have looked that one up. Just like Paul Kench and all the alarmists have very likely looked it up long before they went on their “atolls are gonna drown” tour, but the scare was much too good for propaganda to miss, and for Kench, much too good an opportunity to spend some taxpayer money on a pleasure cruise. Well at least Kench has now produced a reminder of something that was known 160 years ago. So maybe we should be thankful for that, as barmy as it is.

  21. Chris De Freitas has managed to get similar articles posted in the NZ Herald over the last few years, he is in the Dept Geology Auckland Uni, perhaps it might help if the Environment Dept took a walk around campus occasionally.

  22. Runoff and pollution probably do more harm to coral than “rising seas!” or UV radiation. Oil, gas, and garbage are very bad for reefs and fish, and it sucks swimming through it

  23. Ho hum. Another imaginary alarmist wolf is dealt with by an increasingly unmoved public. And the alarmist crowd wonders why their increasingly shrill and desperate “message” is not being acted upon…d’uh. If there ever was something significant in the CO2/global warming disaster story, it’s been long buried in the pile of supposed scientific excrement heaped on top.

  24. Once again skeptics, applying well established scientific principals dating back to Darwin, are proven correct.
    Climate alarmists are once again proven wrong.

  25. Back in 2010, when Willis published on this topic, I didn’t have the sense that he was claiming priority. It was a fascinating essay, but it seemed that he was pulling together information from pre-existing sources. In fact, I remember seeing a nature documentary on PBS examining the role of parrot fish in building up coral atolls, within the last couple of years. In any case, admittedly not having read the Kench article, I hope that he fully acknowledges prior discoveries, including Willis’, if appropriate.

  26. The dominant long-term (millions of years) control on the growth of coral atolls is isostatic sinking of ocean volcanic seamounts. Submarine volcanoes that build up to the sea surface and become dormant cannot be maintained at that level due to the thin (10 km) oceanic crust supporting them and, hence, begin to subside. Corals colonizing the edge of the volcanic seamounts can maintain growth to compensate for the subsidence, as evidenced by drill records in the Pacific of many hundreds of meters of coral lying above volcanic basement. These thick piles of coral are not just related to the Holocene sea-level rise of 130 meters.

    During the Holocene, a sea-level rise of 100 meters between 14,000 and 7,000 years ago (1.43 m/century) still was not able to overwhelm the capacity of corals to maintain their growth and survive.

  27. As for every other coast line in the world there is this little process called sedimentation that fills accommodation space. Our current “unprecedented” sea level rise wouldn’t even show up in the geological record as a eustatic rise in sea level, it would be considered aggradational.

  28. In late February, 1961 I went by ship, to ; excuse me, that’s through, the Tuamotu Archipelago; often referred to as the “””…LOW….””” Archipelago, in French Polynesia. I was going from Wellington NZ to Manhattan NY. You get from NZ, to NY, by simply switching the position of the Y and Z keys on your keyboard; and just by co-incidence, the French do that, on their keyboards; nobody knows why.

    The gazillion islands of the LOW Archipelago, lie just to the East of the Society Islands; better known as Tahiti.

    Tokelau Islands are in Kiwi Polynesia, well West of Tahiti.

    No NZ, doesn’t “own” that part of Polynesia, which includes the Cook Islands, and Raratonga; they just provide “support” for a group of peoples, with less than critical mass for the modern world.

    Of course they were quite able to keep their heads above sea level, before Captain Cook discovered them, circa 1769.

    Tahiti, and Moorea are mountainous islands; unlike the Tuamotu. We actually steamed right through the Tuamotu, without seeing anything; they are so low, you wouldn’t know they are there.

    How embarrassing to learn that my alma mater actually has a professor, who doesn’t know how coral atolls work.

    What are the chances that he thinks that coral atolls all lie in the ” Goldilocks zone” between the bottom of the ocean, and the top of Mt Everest. (we don’t own that either; just climb it.).

    So Tokelau, and the Tuamotu, just got lucky and present sea level just happens to lie at their altitude.

    I wonder where the Tuamotu were 50 million years ago, when the south pole was as warm as Florida, and California; were they still at sea level back then ??

    I’ve talked with Dr. Chris de Freitas, and you can bet he knows how Atolls work.

    I didn’t know UofA had a school of Environment; de Freitas used to be in the Geography department.

    Evidently, this dumb editor, is smart enough to know there is NO letter (s) in the Polynesian language(s) , so it red lines it, if you write Tuamotus . Plural(s) are the same as singular.

    Well what an amazing Atollic revelation from New Zealand for Earth Day

  29. Atolls are just like river deltas. They always occur and are maintained at sea level. It’s obvious to normal folk and it’s what I was taught at school.

  30. Here is an issue of concern. Do note the last paragraph of the post just above the link to the 2010/01/27 article. Ancient ways of living on such islands resulted in the upward rise of the society along with the coral. Modern buildings and structures, such as roads, do not elevate in the same dynamic manner. The yearly mm. changes in sea level means this could be a slowly evolving issue for developed atolls. In this context, “resilient to sea level changes” may have to have an expanded meaning.

  31. Well the sea level rise cat’s trophy has quickly been switched to Florida, now that Tokelau crashed and burned.

    My AT&T yoohoo e-mail news just put up a sea level rise omen for Florida. News gets around fast.

  32. I believe I posted here some years ago about a paper I read in the journal Quaternary Research of research done on some atolls in the Pacific and how the coral responds to rising sea levels. These particular atolls are just barely above the surface of the ocean today and are in an area of very stable crust (crust is not rising nor is it subsiding). They were able to determine by studying the coral skeletons that sea levels during the Holocene Optimum were about 2 meters higher than today. I can’t right now put my finger on the paper but there are several similar ones. For example:

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/gea.3340090202/full

    And this one is very interesting as it goes into the impact of the Little Ice Age on the Pacific:

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1931-0846.2007.tb00277.x/abstract

  33. coral atolls are safe for another reason: sea level rise has stopped.

    There has been no sea level rise this century, according to the Galveston sea level data. This data is conclusive, because the Texas coast is characterized by subsidence, as it has been for the whole of the Tertiary as a result of sediment loading (the sediments here are over 30,000 feet on top of the Jurassic basment).
    For those who are puzzled, I shall spell it out: Gradual subsidence is the eternal and unchanging feature of the Texas coast. This is sufficient to give a measured sea level rise over time, although this would be apparent only, not actual.

    Because of the subsidence, it is possible that actual sea level has risen this century. However, I know of no way to factor subsidence, which must be immeasureable.

    The present rate of sea level rise given by such places as the U of Colorado is entirely fabricated, according to this data (posted online by the NOAA)

  34. This is the form that that great unwinding will take I hope. Plenty more “new evidence” which will really be just all the eidence that was previously ignored. Hopefully we can look forward to “New evidence suggests natural cycles dominate earth’s climate” etc. etc.

  35. In the lexicon of alarmism coral atolls are to sea level rise as Polar bears are to sea ice reduction: doomed, doomed, doomed.

  36. Its funny how most people can’t believe that land can sink, as an Example New Orleans, and some parts of Houston.

  37. Good news for the people of The Maldives – but maybe not so good for their politicians…

  38. The Monster (@SumErgoMonstro) says:
    April 23, 2014 at 7:16 am

    So rising sea levels are no threat to atolls, at all. [Yes, I'm an incorrigible punster. Don't incorrige me.]

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

    The Marshall Islands had a Bikini, but after the nuclear blast, there was no Bikini Atoll.

    While we are unloading puns . . . .

  39. Gamecock says (April 23, 2014 at 9:45 am): “The Marshall Islands had a Bikini, but after the nuclear blast, there was no Bikini Atoll.”

  40. I volunteer in the name of science to go to the Maldives for a month or a year, at government expense of course, to observe first-hand how this works. :)

  41. Gary Pearse says (April 23, 2014 at 6:41 am): “It is the same with deltas, which will be the next big Nobel-grade (degraded level since the last century) discovery made by these dark age savants.”

    The New York Times, the not-too-distant future:

    GLOBAL WARMING NO THREAT, IPCC SAYS

    According to IPCC chair Rajendra Pachauri, “newly discovered evidence” proves that earlier fears of human-caused climate change, though prudent, were baseless…When asked if the IPCC would now disband, Mr. Pachauri retorted, “Of course not! We’re now free to investigate the much more serious threat of precipitously dropping human IQ!”…The IPIQC’s first annual Conference on Global Stupidity meets in Tahiti in three weeks.

    When contacted for comment, Nobel Laureate Al Gore would only say, “Whoa! Give that man a Nobel Prize!” Mr. Gore was hurrying to testify before a congressional committee on ocean acidification to urge lawmakers to set up an international exhange for acid offsets.

  42. I don’t CARE if they sink or rise. The few thousands of people can be -moved- for pennies rather than crippling the world economy trying to geoengineer the oceans…

  43. Mpainter has a good point. The Louisiana sea level “rise” is not the actual water rising, but the subsiding of the land.

    Years ago we built levees along the river and the annual floods could not deposit sand, silt and dirt in the delta. There’s also the underground pressure of the water to consider. So one of my relatives saw his slab foundation grow above its original level until the whole thing was exposed. This was in New Orleans, but same thing in other areas nearby.

    The neatest thing is that the marsh plants and critters move to meet the changes in the sea level. So the basic “rules” are still in action, same as the coral reefs. Hmmmm….

  44. This is likely part of the slow retreat that the climate science world is starting to make from their alarmist views as the evidence turns against them. The wacko alarmists won’t change their tune, of course.

  45. When I was smaller, we lived in an area some 900ft above sea-level underlain by massive limestone beds, which us kids discovered contained all sorts of fossils of undersea life. The obvious conclusion then & now was that the Koch brothers paid to have those fossils put there to make a mockery of the alarmists’s arguments.

  46. Dynamic atolls, dynamic response, old hat.

    The dynamic response of reef islands to sea-level rise: Evidence from multi-decadal analysis of island change in the Central Pacific
    Arthur P. Webba et. al.
    Abstract – 2010
    Low-lying atoll islands are widely perceived to erode in response to measured and future sea-level rise. Using historical aerial photography and satellite images this study presents the first quantitative analysis of physical changes in 27 atoll islands in the central Pacific over a 19 to 61 yr period. This period of analysis corresponds with instrumental records that show a rate of sea-level rise of 2.0 mm yr- 1 in the Pacific. Results show that 86% of islands remained stable (43%) or increased in area (43%) over the timeframe of analysis./////

    http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gloplacha.2010.05.003

    Now check out this bit of odd behavior from the Polynesians.

    “……..Half a world away in the tropical Pacific Ocean a similar saga unfolded. During the Greco-Roman climatic optimum, the Polynesians migrated across the Pacific from island to island, with the last outpost of Easter Island being settled around A.D. 400 (35)………”

    http://www.pnas.org/content/97/23/12433.full

  47. New is the new old.

    The Conversation
    It is widely predicted that low-lying coral reef islands will drown as a result of sea-level rise, leaving their populations as environmental refugees. But new evidence now suggests that these small islands will be more resilient to sea-level rise than we thought….

    The new findings suggest that, rather than being passive lumps of rock that will be swamped by rising seas and eroded by storms, the islands are dynamic structures that can move and even grow in response to changing seas…..

    http://theconversation.com/dynamic-atolls-give-hope-that-pacific-islands-can-defy-sea-rise-25436

  48. James Strom says:
    April 23, 2014 at 8:24 am

    Back in 2010, when Willis published on this topic, I didn’t have the sense that he was claiming priority. It was a fascinating essay, but it seemed that he was pulling together information from pre-existing sources. In fact, I remember seeing a nature documentary on PBS examining the role of parrot fish in building up coral atolls, within the last couple of years. In any case, admittedly not having read the Kench article, I hope that he fully acknowledges prior discoveries, including Willis’, if appropriate.

    The person to claim priority in this is Charles Darwin. Amazingly, he discovered the dynamic nature of coral atolls before he had ever seen one.

    However, in terms of priority for my 2010 post, I’d have to cite my 2004 paper in Energy and Environment, the journal that alarmists love to hate on. It was published as a “Viewpoint”, and as such, unlike my other two articles in E&E, this one was not peer-reviewed.

    In that study, I traced the origins of the hysteria to a Sierra Club article. That article is ground zero for the “coral atoll climate refugee we’re all DOOOOMED” meme. What I found was previous research showing that the atoll was actually being eroded because in World War II the protecting outer reef had been cut through.

    Finding that previous research showing the actual reason their poster child island was being reshaped was a formative experience for me. That study totally blew the Sierra Club BS out of the water.

    Nor is the current study the first recent notice by scientists of the dynamic nature. See my succeeding post, “The Irony, It Burns” …

    w.

  49. John F. Hultquist says:
    April 23, 2014 at 8:38 am

    Here is an issue of concern. Do note the last paragraph of the post just above the link to the 2010/01/27 article. Ancient ways of living on such islands resulted in the upward rise of the society along with the coral. Modern buildings and structures, such as roads, do not elevate in the same dynamic manner. The yearly mm. changes in sea level means this could be a slowly evolving issue for developed atolls. In this context, “resilient to sea level changes” may have to have an expanded meaning.

    John, as you point out, some of the atolls are in trouble. The key is that the trouble is man-made. As long as it could be blamed on climate change, people could ignore the real issue—all of the atoll problems are indeed manmade, but none of them have anything to do with CO2.

    The most deleterious actions of humans are killing the parrotfish, mining the coral, and cutting through the reef. However, there are number of less deleterious actions. Even barefoot humans walking on coral atolls are a force of erosion.

    The good news, of course, is that damage that is done can be stopped and in many cases undone. The key to the health of the atolls is the health of the reef. Mostly, folks don’t have to DO anything. They have to STOP doing things.

    If the atoll dwellers simply stopped killing parrotfish, mining the coral, and cutting through the reef, things could be reversed. If the reef is healthy, the atoll will abide.

    However, an atoll’s fresh water is a very limited lens of water with minimal replenishment. As a result, the number of humans we can permanently park on such a tiny heap of sand has a very strict upper limit … a limit which is routinely exceeded by the atoll dwellers with predictable results. Then they drink up all the water in the lens, and then complain that “climate change” is making their wells salty …

    So there’s one other thing they have to STOP doing.

    But the good news is, in general the problems of the atolls are both man-made and man-fixable.

    Best to all,

    w.

  50. Gamecock says:
    April 23, 2014 at 8:50 am

    “Atolls exist in a delicate balance”

    Delicate ?!?!

    Curiously, an atoll is both very robust and very delicate. Tons and tons of coral rubble and sand wash up on it every year, and tons and tons of coral rubble and sand wash off of it every year, removed by the endless action of wind and wave. And yet, despite being just a momentary hesitation in a slow-moving river of coral rubble and sand, year after year, the atoll abides.

    When the pile of rubble and sand gets too high, the wind cuts off the top of it. That’s why there are no high atolls. And when it gets too low, the wind can’t get a good grip, so the incoming rubble and sand tends to stick around and build it up. Robust.

    The atoll exists as the balance of the two flows, gains and losses of coral rubble. And the incoming flow of coral rubble and sand is the production of what in this context is best thought of as a single living organism that built the atoll—the coral reef that the atoll is built on.

    If the incoming flow of coral rubble is reduced because of reduced health of the reef from any cause, the atoll will shrink in size.

    And if the coral reef dies, the atoll dies with it. The atoll will soon be washed away by the unending tropical wind and wave.

    So yes … delicate, even in the natural world. Not every atoll lives forever. Reefs grow and change and die even without man’s interference.

    But the real modern danger is man. Deeply wounding a coral reef is no problem for modern man. Hunt the parrotfish, they sleep at night and are easy prey. Use cyanide and explosives to do your fishing. Mine the coral to build tourist high-rise buildings, as the Maldives have done. Cut through the reef, kill it with chemical runoff, choke it with sediment, reefs are living creatures that can easily be wounded. And when the reef is weakened, when the health of the reef declines, the production of coral rubble and sand slows down, or even in extreme cases stops … and the atoll shrinks in the first case, and in the second case, slips beneath the waves.

    So yes .. delicate, particularly in the modern world.

    w.

  51. mpainter says:
    April 23, 2014 at 9:03 am

    coral atolls are safe for another reason: sea level rise has stopped.

    There has been no sea level rise this century, according to the Galveston sea level data. This data is conclusive, because the Texas coast is characterized by subsidence, as it has been for the whole of the Tertiary as a result of sediment loading (the sediments here are over 30,000 feet on top of the Jurassic basment).
    For those who are puzzled, I shall spell it out: Gradual subsidence is the eternal and unchanging feature of the Texas coast. This is sufficient to give a measured sea level rise over time, although this would be apparent only, not actual.

    Because of the subsidence, it is possible that actual sea level has risen this century. However, I know of no way to factor subsidence, which must be immeasureable.

    I’m still puzzled. You say

    1. “Galveston sea level data” (never identified) conclusively shows that there has been no sea level rise this century.
    2. The Galveston data is affected by some “immeasureable” amount of subsidence.

    Huh? Aren’t those two contradictory?

    In fact, subsidence around Galveston is curious. Some of it is from sediment compaction, but the majority of it is from the pumping of water and oil. And far from being “immeasureable”, it can be and is being measured in a couple of ways, GPS and inSAR. See the USGS publication on Galveston situation here for a full discussion.

    Next, for the last 20 years there has been in effect a program called SEAFRAME, which uses GPS data to provide subsidence-corrected tidal data from points across the Pacific. Guess what … sea level is indeed rising, Galveston or not.

    mpainter, I’m no expert on Galveston. But you and I have the worlds biggest library on our desktop with the world’s smartest librarian. It took me about two minutes to do a quick literature scan regarding subsidence in Galveston. Google is your friend.

    The present rate of sea level rise given by such places as the U of Colorado is entirely fabricated, according to this data (posted online by the NOAA)

    Huh? A link to the NOAA information you reference would have been nice.

    But no, there is no central fabrication plant for fabricating the sea level data. It comes in a host of forms and places, and the data is held in a variety of locations, all of which are compared to each other in a variety of ways by a variety of researchers, including myself. The satellite data definitely has its problems, but that is true of every dataset.

    So no, mpainter, the “Galveston sea level data” does NOT show what you claim. It doesn’t show that there is no sea level rise this century. That is an incorrect interpretation of the Galveston sea level record. Here’s that record, by the way, from the PSMSL.

    Best regards,

    w

  52. Professor Rip Van Winkle, alias Paul Kench, awakes from his long slumber to experience an eureka moment. Coral atolls grow upwards as sea level rises or the atoll base subsides. Who’d of thought? Professor, please go back to sleep and thus contribute to salvaging the reputation of science.

  53. A GUY NAMED WILLIS SHOWED ME THIS LOOONNG AGO! And it didn’t cost me or th’ Taxpayerz a Dime.

    He’s one smart feller.

  54. Kiribati’s latest export is silver ten dollar coins, which cost……ten dollars Australian.
    Yes they are LEGAL TENDER, in Kiribati,note the subtle sell point.
    Just fly there and you can spend your ten dollars.
    Once one scam is shown,destruction by sea level rise, there is always another to turn a buck.

  55. I’m pretty sure I was told about this at school in the 1950s, in biology, or more likely, geography.

    Of course, that was the time that every pupil asked the geography teacher why the continents looked like they fitted together, and was told it was purely coincidental.

  56. I think all this talk about sea level rise (and that underwater fake meeting) is Atoll tale…

    Weren’t there some articles here a while back about crustacean (or other) deposit accumulation building the atolls faster than the sea (supposedly) rose?

  57. Coral Atolls are easily proven to be able to cope with changes in sea level. Every one knows that coral only survives in a depth of water from 0 to 70 meters and then it cannot live. I guess no one noticed that most atolls have a coral base depth somewhat greater than that. Thousands of meters in some case, for example Eniwetok reef is 4610 feet tall. http://www.ibri.org/Tracts/reefstct.htm

    Like the author explains, the reef grew as the local sea level rose ( or the sea bed sank).

    It does not require a great academic brain to figure things out.

    Cheers

    Roger

    http://www.rogerfromnewzealand.wordpress.com

    http://www.thedemiseofchristchurch.com

  58. As a boy, to avoid being suffocated by boredom in classrooms, I used to open the wrong book to the wrong page, and try to figure out where the coastlines lay 12,000 years ago when the seas were roughly 350 feet lower. (I wanted to figure out places Atlantis might have been.)

    It was an interesting thought-experiment to consider what happen to a coral Island’s lagoon, if an ice-age drops the sea level 300+ feet. In some cases I supposed the island would erode and remain at sea level, but in other cases the coral is compacted into a sort of limestone that takes longer to erode. In such cases the lagoon would remain a geological feature, first as a swamp, (at first mangrove, and then fresh water), and then as a flat and fertile feature on an island, 300 feet above sea level. I decided that was where the outposts of Atlantis would grow their crops, and was busy drawing a map of the geology of such an ice-age island, when the teacher tapped my shoulder.

    The pity was that the teacher who taught geology in my boyhood managed to make a fascinating subject so boring and so tedious that listening to her caused your eyeballs to fall out and roll into the room’s corners, (or towards the schoolgirl’s legs.)

  59. I haven’t time to read papers concerning re-inventing the wheel. I guess this hot off the press discovery mustn’t have any bibliography/references cited in the write-up?

  60. Tivula, Roger, didn’t apply for help from the UNCCF, they felt they found the application too complicated. Possibly because there island is not sinking after all the tears at the Copenhagen crap meeting. Atolls do come and go though, because they are subject to storm damage, but Bermuda is one big one, made up of several islands joined by causeways, if you grazed yourself on any rock, you could get infected. Horrible place to live unless you were a millionaire.

  61. I could suggest a number of references detailing atoll development and reef growth, however, Wiki is totally adequate for this discussion. As a matter of fact, I think the “researchers” Googled Wiki atoll….” although there can be little doubt that fluctuating sea level has had considerable influence on atolls and other reefs.” This has happened throughout the some-500 million years of the Phanerozoic.

  62. Maybe someone can answer this, when the sea levels were much lower than today during the last glacial periods, how did this effect atolls? I suspect they just hardened and dried up but didn’t disappear. Then when the seas became deeper they were either submerged or grew out of the water, receiving trees, plants and sand and other wild life.

  63. Sea level is thought to have peaked about 80 mya in the late Cretaceous at nearly 250 meters higher than today. No ice anywhere. About a 20 my lag behind the Kretaceous temperature peak about 100 mya that was about 4.5 degrees hotter than today (the early Triassic temp peak was 5 degrees hotter but sea level was lower than today).

    Scleractinia has lived here continuously since the biosphere stabilized from the KT extinction in the mid Triassic. It has seen ups and downs we pathetic neophytes scarcely comprehend. Corals were groovin’ in the K. Maybe 250 meters is a large adjustment for an atoll, but steric sea level rise for 5 degrees is only three meters. Current ice would not make up the difference.

    Likely the emplacement of the enormous large igneous provinces raised the ocean floor including your “ancient mountain” seamount.

    http://geosciencebigpicture.com/2014/03/25/large-igneous-provinces-temperature-sea-level-and-extinctions/

  64. Not only the deep drilling of Einwetak and Bikini [and Mururoa] for nucelar testing helped show the history of atoll growth, but it all started with the Royal Society’s own hole at Funafuti (Tuvalu) in the mid 1890s to find evidence to prove or dismiss Darwin’s ideas on atoll growth and survival in an ever changing oceanography. At the time all Darwin’s thinking was under strident attack from the then current crop of deniers/scpetics such that Royal Society sallied forth – with a government grant – to obtain hard evidence. Of course that hard evidence was interpretted and reinterpretted by both sides of a very savage debate such that nothing was ever resolved. If my fading memory can parpharse, the Duke of Argyll dismissed, in writing, all of Darwin’s thinking as fit only for the charnel house and bordello. Now that’s pithy langauge in any scientific .conversation.

    Who needs stinking facts in science when one’s mind is made up and there are agendas to be pushed – and government grants to be had?

  65. Other than Tivula and the Maldives, which other islands have applied for funding to compensate for industrialized countries causing their environmental destruction, because of climate change. Or did they spend any money they received on other projects. I would like to know how and where the UNCCF sent their funds too, and why?

  66. “Normal everyday atolls demonstrate that atolls do what atolls have always done before they became the poster child for alarmists.”

    Normal everyday atolls demonstrate that atolls do what atolls have always done before they became the poster child for stupidity?

  67. Pacific Islands.
    sometimes the BBC surprises me,

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10222679

    But this study of 27 islands over the last 60 years suggests that most have remained stable, while some have actually grown.

    Using historical photographs and satellite imaging, the geologists found that 80% of the islands had either remained the same or got larger – in some cases, dramatically so.

  68. The US Navy seems confident that Diego Garcia won’t be inundated. They’ve spent Millions on Runways and submarine docks plus a massive amount of electronic gadgetry. It’s a wonder this atoll’s radars didn’t pick up that missing Malaysian plane

  69. There are a number of activities that can make atolls more vulnerable sea water.

    Abstract – 16 November 2007
    Ian White et. al.
    Challenges in freshwater management in low coral atolls
    …..Storm surges and over-extractions cause seawater intrusion, while human settlements and agriculture can pollute shallow groundwaters. Limited land areas restrict freshwater quantities, particularly in frequent ENSO-related droughts. Demand for freshwater is increasing and availability is extremely limited……
    ————–

    Abstract – 2006
    Three-Dimensional Imaging of Lagoon Aggregate Extraction and Resources: Case Study from Majuro Atoll, Marshall Islands
    Carbonate sediments are the sole indigenous source of aggregate for infrastructure development on many Pacific islands, and their importance has increased markedly since the middle of the last century. Biogenic gravel and sand are extracted in many places by dredging of shallow lagoons and by the mining of beach deposits….
    ————–

    Abstract – 2010
    Impacts of Recreational Divers on Palauan Coral Reefs and Options for Management
    …Guides identified natural impacts (63% of respondents) and divers (34% of respondents) as the primary causes of damage to coral….
    ————–

    Abstract – 7 Jun 2010
    Donovan Storeya et. al.
    Kiribati: an environmental ‘perfect storm’
    ….Pollution of the groundwater, lagoon and near-shore reef areas as well as over-extraction of freshwater from groundwater sources have been consistent problems in water management. Most pollution is …
    [Google search snippet - quote in PDF]
    ————–

    FAO
    Paper 5: Status of Coral Mining in the Maldives: Impacts and Management Options

    …There are many problems associated with the current mining practices. Biological surveys of mined sites indicate mat the coral diversity and abundance have been decreased dramatically. In addition to this, little recovery was seen at sites intensively mined over 16 years ago…

    Coral mining is a questionable activity with respect to maintaining the reefs in equilibrium.

  70. A rough measure of the extent of corals suggested they were around 1% of the total area of land, i.e about 1.5 million square kilometres. The sea seems to be rising at about 3mm/a, if satellite and tidal gauges are to be believed. Corals are therefore likely to be growing at about that rate, which equates to around 4.5 cubic kilometers of new coral per annum. At a bulk density of around 1.2, that is around 5.4 billion tons. Assume it is mainly calcium carbonate, CaCO3, that is around 2.4 billion tons of CO2. Why do I never see anything like that in the carbon balances?

  71. This is interesting.

    “A new study shows that Pacific Islands are resilient to sea level changes.

    “Dynamic atolls give hope that Pacific Islands can defy sea rise”
    A study by Paul Kench, Professor, School of Environment at University of Auckland.”

    In the early 1970’s we were taught that in Geography in high school. The concept certainly isn’t new.

  72. I lived in Bermuda in 1969, my ex was posted there by QANTAS, now that island is only around 150 feet above sea level. We lived on Blue Hole Hill overlooking the ocean and the causeway linking our part with St.George island. They do suffer end parts of hurricanes and years ago evacuated people when a sever hurricane was threatened. Mind you the water is wonderfully warm to swim in, lots of tropical fish etc., and clear. No nasties, as the reefs keep them at bay. Barracuda young ones, we caught a young one off the sea wall attached to Princess Hotel. Just with a shiny hook. If any island/s were to suffer bad storms or rising seas, Bermuda would be effected. So far it hasn’t although when we were there we got the tail end of a Hurricane, and the winds were strong of course, and waves lashing over our cars as most roads are built near the ocean front.

    But one of the little advertising scams was offering off season bundles to Americans, as at the time only the very rich Brits could afford to have holidays there, as they were restricted to bringing only 50 pounds out of England. One night in the Princess was at least 60 pounds for a double room. So being close by air from New York, they offered low cost holidays in January and February to New Yorkers. Well – no one water skied or enjoyed good weather in those months.
    I suffered the coldest weather since I left Australia, 39F, and that is cold or was for me.

  73. willis sez @ April 23, 12:38
    <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Please excuse this tardy response.

    Go see NOAA mean sea level trend at Galveston Pier 21, and perhaps you will change your tune about me being so wrong and you being so right. More later

  74. Willis sez as above
    <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    willis, you are wrong and I am right.

    The referenced chart shows no SL rise this century. Apparently you have not seen this. NOAA is the keeper of the data and the guage. You do not seem to have a proper skepticism for other sources, and you should know better. Study this chart and other Gulf coast stations and see if you can detect any rise this century that is not due to subsidence. One hint: any difference in guaging will be due to different rates of subsidence.

    As far as GPS or other such measurement of subsidence, do you really believe that is reliable?

    I will stand by my statement that there has been no sea level rise this century, according to the NOAA guage at Galveston. Prove me wrong, and I will say oops.

    Let me say that having read Niels-Axil Mornier on this, I am most skeptical about the claims of rise in SL.

  75. mpainter says:
    April 25, 2014 at 8:24 am

    willis sez @ April 23, 12:38
    <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Please excuse this tardy response.

    Go see NOAA mean sea level trend at Galveston Pier 21, and perhaps you will change your tune about me being so wrong and you being so right. More later

    mpainter, unlike you, I don’t just wave my hands in the direction of things. I both discussed and linked to that exact record above here it is again. It shows nothing like what you say. Sorry, but the data doesn’t support your claim.

    w.

  76. mpainter says:
    April 25, 2014 at 9:36 am

    Willis sez as above
    <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    willis, you are wrong and I am right.
    ….
    The referenced chart shows no SL rise this century.
    I will stand by my statement that there has been no sea level rise this century, according to the NOAA guage at Galveston. Prove me wrong, and I will say oops.

    OK … that’s the data for Pier 21 in Galveston … time for you to say “oops” …

    w.

  77. rogerthesurf says
    <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    That is the whole point. The pier is subsiding, but at what rate we do not know. This is what Willis so blithely ignores. The SL trend at galveston appears flat since 1998, as far as I can tell. The reference is the NOAA mean sea level trend pier 21, Galveston. The chart that Willis posted is not the referred chart. To get the chart, simply dial in NOAA sea level trend galveston on the web.

    The NOAA guage at Freeport, Tx, further down the coast, actually guages a decreasing SL trend. This is on a coast that is undergoing subsidence (the reported guage is not corrected for subsidence). This shows that global sea levels are not rising and Willis is wrong when he declares that sea levels are rising. He has swallowed the AGW fabrication whole and accuses me of “waving” my arms when I report this.

    Let willis believe what he wants but I think that the business of sea level rise is fabricated by alarmist types.

  78. Also

    The NOAA mean sea level trends since 1998 are flat at Sabine Pass, Port Isabel, and Port Mansfield, all on the Texas coast. However, Grand Isle, La., shows a definite trend of increasing sea level. This is due to subsidence because of the greater sediment load at that place.

    This is not arm-waving, as Willis claims, but telltale data. but there are those who accept what the alarmists peddle on rising sea levels. Why they would cast aside skeptical inquiry in this matter is puzzling.

    Willis, you are wrong again. Do yourself a favor and go check out NOAA data on mean sea level trends and you will see places on stable coasts which show no sea level rise for decades. If you do not, then who is the arm-waver?

  79. mpainter says:
    April 28, 2014 at 8:32 am

    rogerthesurf says
    <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>
    That is the whole point. The pier is subsiding, but at what rate we do not know. This is what Willis so blithely ignores.

    “Blithely ignores”? You nasty little man, I linked to an entire article on the subsidence in the Galveston area, what causes it, and exactly how it is measured. I went on to discuss subsidence in the SEAFRAME dataset. I didn’t “blithely ignore” a damn thing. Folks interested in how ugly and untrue your accusations are can read my post above.

    The SL trend at galveston appears flat since 1998, as far as I can tell. The reference is the NOAA mean sea level trend pier 21, Galveston. The chart that Willis posted is not the referred chart. To get the chart, simply dial in NOAA sea level trend galveston on the web.

    Y’know, mpainter, I’m reluctant to do that. Last time you started running your mouth, I got the Galveston data from the PSMSL. Now you assure me that I got the wrong data. You’re right. And the reason I got the wrong data because I was so stupid.

    My stupidity consisted in listening to your uncited blather and then looking myself for your data, only to be told it was the wrong data. But I suppose I should give it the old college try … OK, mpainter, here’s what I find when I “simply dial in NOAA sea level trend galveston on the web”:

    SOURCE: NOAA TIDES AND CURRENTS

    See, here’s the problem again. I did what you said, but I don’t find what you claim, so you must be looking at some other dataset … because this one clearly says:

    The mean sea level trend is 6.39 millimeters/year with a 95% confidence interval of +/- 0.28 mm/yr based on monthly mean sea level data from 1908 to 2006 which is equivalent to a change of 2.10 feet in 100 years.

    You go on to say the following:

    The NOAA guage at Freeport, Tx, further down the coast, actually guages a decreasing SL trend. This is on a coast that is undergoing subsidence (the reported guage is not corrected for subsidence). This shows that global sea levels are not rising and Willis is wrong when he declares that sea levels are rising. He has swallowed the AGW fabrication whole and accuses me of “waving” my arms when I report this.

    Let willis believe what he wants but I think that the business of sea level rise is fabricated by alarmist types.

    Over at my post entitled “The Elusive 60-year Sea Level Cycle” I’ve just done an analysis of the longest tide records in the PSMSL, along with analyzing all the tide records in the PSMSL. I get the same result that every other researcher in the field gets, a rise of a couple mm per year. You should do that yourself before you start making foolish claims …

    w.

  80. mpainter says:
    April 28, 2014 at 9:12 am

    Also

    The NOAA mean sea level trends since 1998 are flat at Sabine Pass, Port Isabel, and Port Mansfield, all on the Texas coast. However, Grand Isle, La., shows a definite trend of increasing sea level. This is due to subsidence because of the greater sediment load at that place.

    This is not arm-waving, as Willis claims, but telltale data. but there are those who accept what the alarmists peddle on rising sea levels. Why they would cast aside skeptical inquiry in this matter is puzzling.

    Willis, you are wrong again. Do yourself a favor and go check out NOAA data on mean sea level trends and you will see places on stable coasts which show no sea level rise for decades. If you do not, then who is the arm-waver?

    The sea levels “since 1998 are flat”? Since it takes at least 50 years of data to determine the underlying rate of rise, your claims just highlight the fact that you don’t understand the system you are studying. And NOAA makes it easy for you, they post up the uncertainty that you appear to never have considered.

    With only 16 years of data, the confidence intervals on your claim are ± 3 mm per year. Since such uncertainties in tidal data are typical across the field, that means there are very, very few records that show anything of interest on a 16-year time scale … and it also means that only a newbie would think a 16-year tidal swing means a damn thing.

    w.

    PS—Once again you spew claims without citations. Which are the “places on stable coasts which show no sea level rise for decades”??? You still seem to be under the impression that your uncited claims mean something. To me, as I mentioned, that’s just arm-waving …

  81. Latitude says:
    April 28, 2014 at 10:25 am

    What do you do when another set of PSMSL data…..shows an equal amount of sea levels falling??
    Do they cancel each other out?

    http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2014/04/21/sneaky-sea-level-rise-bypasses-california/

    Latitude, I cannot emphasize enough that you have to stay skeptical. I fear that in this case our friend Steven Goddard is … well, a bit off the reservation. Let me start with an overview:

    Hang on … OK, here’s the data:

    The very high and low values for the rate of sea level rise are almost all from short records. If we restrict it to records longer than 20 years, here’s the result:

    Out of that 820 records, about 20% of them show falling levels. A number of these are in areas of post-glacial rebound.

    Returning to Steven Goddard, let me demonstrate the problem. Here is Steven’s graph from your source:

    And here is his data referenced from his post. The second column shows the relative sea level:

    1974; 6973;N;000
    1975; 6942;N;000
    1976; 6988;N;000
    1977; 6966;N;000
    1978; 7006;N;000
    1979; 6993;N;000
    1980; 7002;N;000
    1981; 6988;N;000
    1982; 7049;N;000
    1983; 7119;N;000
    1984; 7028;N;000
    1985; 6993;N;000
    1986; 7023;N;000
    1987; 7037;N;000
    1988; 6979;N;000
    1989; 6985;N;000
    1990; 7005;N;000
    1991; 7020;N;000
    1992; 7087;N;000
    1993; 7056;N;000
    1994; 7008;N;000
    1995; 7031;N;000
    1996; 7000;Y;000
    1997; 7072;N;000
    1998; 7046;N;000
    1999; 6962;N;000
    2000; 6992;N;000
    2001; 7000;N;000
    2002; 7014;N;000
    2003; 7026;N;000
    2004; 7032;N;000
    2005; 7046;N;000
    2006; 7042;N;000
    2007; 6988;N;000
    2008; 7017;N;000
    2009; 7029;N;000
    2010; 7028;N;000
    2011; 7018;N;000
    2012; 7026;N;000
    2013; 7015;N;000

    I’m sure you can see the problem … it turns out that Steven has truncated the early part of the dataset, and curiously, picked the starting year that gives the greatest negative trend. Bad Steven, no cookies. If we start from the beginning of the dataset, the sea level trend is positive at +0.8 mm per year.

    Finally, even that full-dataset trend of +0.8 mm/yr is statistically meaningless. Everyone interested in sea level should committ the following graph to memory:

    You need a lot of data to determine a statistically significant sea level trend. The graph shows the 95% confidence intervals on measured sea level trends of various lengths. The Monterrey record is forty years long. That means that the 95%CI is ± 1 mm/year … and as a result, neither Steven’s claimed trends nor the trend of the full dataset are statistically different from zero …

    The moral of the story? RUN THE NUMBERS YOURSELF, AND IF NOT, AT LEAST SQUINT AT THE UNDERLYING DATA!

    I shout this because it is so important. Between inadvertent mistakes, logical errors, math screwups, computer bugs, and deliberate misrepresentation, you can’t trust anyone’s claims, INCLUDING MINE. To the best of my ability I do not deliberately misrepresent anything, nor do most scientists, that’s scientific malfeasance … but that certainly doesn’t free me from the inadvertent mistakes, logical errors, math screwups, and computer bugs which continually plague everyone’s work.

    Stay skeptical,

    w.

  82. I did look…and he’s right….for over 30 years sea levels have been falling at Monterey Bay
    You don’t pick the starting year….You start with now…and go back..and you can go back over 30 years and show no sea level rise there
    I do get the statistically different part….

    So what do you do when people are claiming sea level rise….and there’s gauges showing no sea level rise or sea levels falling….for one thing you don’t tune satellites to convenient tide gauges they pass over, that are in the minority showing sea levels rising

  83. Latitude says:
    April 28, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    I did look…and he’s right….for over 30 years sea levels have been falling at Monterey Bay
    You don’t pick the starting year….You start with now…and go back..and you can go back over 30 years and show no sea level rise there
    I do get the statistically different part….

    If you get that part, then no matter where you start, the Monterey tide gauge tells us nothing. However, it is underhanded chartsmanship to show only part of the record without mentioning that fact, particularly when even the entire record is too short to establish significance.

    I note also that he did not qualify his statement, as you have done, by limiting it to thirty years. He said ‘… sea level is not rising in California.”, accompanied by the graphic. Nowhere did he mention the fact that he was only displaying the part of the record most favorable to his claims.

    There’s a term for that kind of misdirection, of using only the favorable part of the data, involving cherries …

    So what do you do when people are claiming sea level rise….and there’s gauges showing no sea level rise or sea levels falling….for one thing you don’t tune satellites to convenient tide gauges they pass over, that are in the minority showing sea levels rising

    My goodness, what makes you think that scientists would be that stupid? The satellites are not tuned to “convenient tide gauges they pass over”, you just made that up. Please provide a citation for such an absurd allegation.

    Do you think scientists don’t know about GPS? You think they are not measuring the height of many of the tide gauges with GPS? I’ve discussed that very thing above. If you claim that they are ignoring the GPS data in calibrating the satellites, you’re … you’re … well, I fear I don’t have a word for that particular kind of disconnection from the modern reality, but I can assure you, scientists are not so dumb as to calibrate a satellite by picking a “convenient tide gauge”.

    Anyhow, it’s been a while since I read the documents, but from memory the main calibration sources for the radar satellites are, curiously, not the various parts of the ocean at all.

    They are lakes … and you thought the scientists were dumb? You didn’t think of that one, did you? At a lake, the water is often perfectly flat, and you can measure its average relative elevation to the nearest mm. Then you use a stationary GPS system to set up a reference absolute benchmark and you’re in business …

    In my experience, scientists are often wrong, but they are infrequently dumb. Does happen, I’ve done it myself, but it’s not a common thing in the world of science.

    Regards,

    w.

  84. Willis bays silt up. Erosion from tidal events does also cause land to decrease levels. But I don’t believe that atolls float. If they did they would be subject to gigantic moves. Corals form from bed rock, then harden up and new ones grow on top. Atolls are usually the remains of volcanic activity, and coral has grown on top. Anyway, I asked for sea level rises around Australia when Tim Flannery said we would be inundated with high sea levels. The BOM replied, sea rises are expected to rise 177mm by 2050. 177 MM not CM or meters. That’s around six inches.Go on another tirade about people not agreeing you, it should tell you one thing, there is no absolute.

  85. By the way Willis, at the Western end of the Mediteranean around Italy, one village has sunk a meter. Some of the Roman villas that Caesar used to visit are under water, they sunk. It is renown for its hot volcanic baths, that are still advertised for good health. Very seismic around there with many volcanic marine vents. Earth moves and water and tides other than spring tides or Ebb tides are predictable. I suppose you don’t see how the moon influences this.

  86. Bays silt up Willis. One such area on the North coast, Valla has a sea entrance and usually tidal leading to a river inland, it silted up. Subsequence was water dropped, and also the place lost a lot of its tidal input and fish coming into the river. They cleared the entrance and sea levels rose again.

  87. Wrong again, willis, and variously. You ignore the effect of subsidence on SL gauge. If the Galveston SL gauge shows no increase for these last 16 years, correcting for subsidence means a decrease in SL. This is what you ignore when you heatedly seek to discredit my science. My point is this: the cited Gulf coast sea level gauges show no SL increase this century. You claim this is unreliable because it takes 50 years of data for a valid conclusion. Others do not agree. rgbatduke commented that SL gauge data offers a “sanity check” for satellite data. I agree.
    And speaking of Satellite data, this seems to be what you base some of your science on. In that case, you are wrong again, because that is rigged.

    My confidence is based on a multitude of stations, and that sort of verity escapes you, so wrong again, Willis.

    You initially cited PSMSL data to refute me. That turned out to be AGW nonsense, did it not? So, wrong once more. Finally you got the right source (NOAA MSL trend, Galveston) but then you ignored it, implying that I was a “newbie” to rely on such data.

    So Willis, my claim that NOAA SL data for the Gulf coast shows no SL rise this century stands unrefuted. For those who wish to verify, see NOAA mean sea level trend for Sabine Pass, Galveston, Port Mansfield, Freeport, Port Isabel. See also Grand Isle, La. for a false SL rise because of acute subsidence in the Miss. Delta area.

    By the way, Willis, can you not be a little less insulting in your responses?

    Cheers, mpainter

  88. bushbunny says:
    April 28, 2014 at 6:54 pm

    Willis bays silt up. Erosion from tidal events does also cause land to decrease levels. But I don’t believe that atolls float. If they did they would be subject to gigantic moves. Corals form from bed rock, then harden up and new ones grow on top. Atolls are usually the remains of volcanic activity, and coral has grown on top. Anyway, I asked for sea level rises around Australia when Tim Flannery said we would be inundated with high sea levels. The BOM replied, sea rises are expected to rise 177mm by 2050. 177 MM not CM or meters. That’s around six inches.Go on another tirade about people not agreeing you, it should tell you one thing, there is no absolute.

    bushbunny says:
    April 28, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    By the way Willis, at the Western end of the Mediteranean around Italy, one village has sunk a meter. Some of the Roman villas that Caesar used to visit are under water, they sunk. It is renown for its hot volcanic baths, that are still advertised for good health. Very seismic around there with many volcanic marine vents. Earth moves and water and tides other than spring tides or Ebb tides are predictable. I suppose you don’t see how the moon influences this.

    bushbunny says:
    April 28, 2014 at 7:25 pm

    Bays silt up Willis. One such area on the North coast, Valla has a sea entrance and usually tidal leading to a river inland, it silted up. Subsequence was water dropped, and also the place lost a lot of its tidal input and fish coming into the river. They cleared the entrance and sea levels rose again.

    First, “Floating atolls” is a metaphor, bushbunny, so you are correct. Your keen intellect has pierced the veil and reveals the true facts of the case—atolls are actually sitting on coral reefs that are sitting on the bottom of the ocean. Who knew?

    Next, as I’ve pointed out to you before, posting lovely anecdotes about something you read somewhere about some village “at the Western end of the Mediterranean” is not what this site is about. It is about science, so if you want to play, you need to provide facts and figures. Which village? Where is it? When did it “sink a meter”? What caused it to sink? Your claim is garbage without the facts and details, that’s what science is about, not about anecdotes.

    Next, if you “suppose [I] don’t see how the moon influences this”, you suppose entirely incorrectly. I see and understand pretty exactly how the moon influences this, I’m a commercial fisherman and a boatbuilder who has studied the topic extensively.

    Finally, yes, bushbunny, bays do silt up as you point out. However, clearing the entrance to a bay does not make sea levels rise … that’s why they call them “sea levels” and not “bay levels”.

    Overall, I don’t have a clue what your point is here, you appear to be randomly firing anecdotes in all directions. What are you trying to say here? Because if your rambling stories have a point … I’m not seeing it.

    All the best,

    w.

  89. mpainter says:
    April 23, 2014 at 9:03 am

    coral atolls are safe for another reason: sea level rise has stopped.

    There has been no sea level rise this century, according to the Galveston sea level data.

    I pointed out this was not true. I pointed out the NOAA tide gauges. OK, let me try again. Here is the Galveston sea level data. You can download it yourself.

    Now, having chased this Galveston Pier 21data down to its lair, with absolutely no help from you, what do I find when I analyze the data?

    NOAA SAYS THAT THE SEA LEVEL IN GALVESTON THIS CENTURY HAS BEEN RISING AT 6.1 MM PER YEAR!!!

    Do your freakin’ homework before uncapping your electronic pen, my friend, it prevents all kinds of embarrassment.

    Now, if you’d actually had the data, and if you had actually linked to the data, and if you had actually analyzed the data, you wouldn’t look stupid for shooting off your mouth with untrue claims, and more importantly, I wouldn’t have had to waste my time falsifying your bogus, uncited fantasies.

    By the way, Willis, can you not be a little less insulting in your responses?

    I probably could, but I’m sick of people wasting my time with uncited bullsh*t and then abusing me for not providing things I provided … what, you don’t remember? I provided and discussed a lovely study showing the nature, amount, and reasons for the subsidence in the Gulf. For that nice piece of research, here’s what I got in return from you:

    mpainter says:
    April 28, 2014 at 8:32 am

    That is the whole point. The pier is subsiding, but at what rate we do not know. This is what Willis so blithely ignores.

    And yes, I bite back when I’m accused of “blithely ignoring” facts, mpainter, as I did in this example, viz:

    “Blithely ignores”? You nasty little man, I linked to an entire article on the subsidence in the Galveston area, what causes it, and exactly how it is measured. I went on to discuss subsidence in the SEAFRAME dataset. I didn’t “blithely ignore” a damn thing. Folks interested in how ugly and untrue your accusations are can read my post above.

    You want to get treated nicer? Start citing your claims so I don’t have to do your work for you, and curb your tongue. I don’t “blithely ignore” anything, including your nasty insults.

    w.

  90. Latitude says:
    April 29, 2014 at 11:33 am

    dunno….NOAA says Galveston pier is subsiding at 6.5 mm year…..because of extraction

    Figure 1 shows the sea level trend for Galveston Pier 21, Texas, which has been rising at a rate of 6.5 mm/yr due to land subsidence from oil, gas, and water extraction

    http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/outreach/pdfs/sea_levels_online.pdf

    dunno…just got curious about it

    Thanks for that interesting citation, Latitude. I read that statement as saying that the rate of sea level rise is among the higher rates on the planet (6.5 mm/yr) because of the addition of the local subsidence to the underlying sea level rise.

    I do not read that statement as saying that the local subsidence is 6.5 mm/yr.

    So I went to look for local GPS data. I find the Galveston 1 GPS data from a few kilometers away from Pier 21.

    It gives the local subsidence from 1998-2003 as being -5.44 mm/year.

    So that means that corrected for the local subsidence over the period, the sea level has been RISING, not level as mpainter claims but rising at a rate of about 1.1 mm/year, a not uncommon rate around the world.

    Finally, I refer you to mpainter’s statement that opened the Galveston topic:

    mpainter says:
    April 23, 2014 at 9:03 am

    Because of the subsidence, it is possible that actual sea level has risen this century. However, I know of no way to factor subsidence, which must be immeasureable.

    Actually, as I’ve been pointing out, subsidence is quite measurable …

    w.

  91. Willis, I’ve visited these places, and it is known fact the silting up of deltas does affect inland tidal flows. In Australia we do remove silt so waters become deeper for boats etc. I suspect you don’t have this problem in Canada.

  92. Willis Eschenbach says:
    April 29, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    Well …. Let’s see. Galveston TX is on the same bays and inlets as Baytown, TX and the battleship Texas. They are about a 30 minute drive apart, depending on which road you are on and what time of day it is…..

    When I was working Baytown in the early 70’s, the tops of battleship walkways, concrete docks and slip sidewalls were underwater after subsidence from underground water and oil pumping (mainly water) from the aquifers after their initial construction in 1950. Baytown lost an entire subdivision to 8 feet of water level rise.

    they stopped pumping fresh water out of the aquifer, let it refill from the natural flow from “higher up” the Texas recharge zones (and some judicious refilling) and both recovered.

    So, where does this modern Galveston data of “inches per year” explain 6 and 8 feet of “sea level rise” only a few miles away over a period of time from 1950 through 1980?

    The Japanese have also managed to flood some of their land from aquifer pumping …. Taiwan, Philippines.

  93. Willis, so glad to have your assistance on this intriguing question of Sea Level trend. Subsidence is measureable to within + or – 1 cm, according to the Harris/Galveston Subsidence District, the agency charged with the monitoring of subsidence there. Yet they have a map at their website that gives subsidence rate contours in mm and it looks like the Galveston might be 1-2 mm per year, although the map is incomplete and is not clear on this.

    But, if the Galveston SL figures are to be corrected for subsidence, you must correct gauge data negatively.

    You, above, added subsidence rate to a flat trend- wrong direction, Willis. You should have subtracted. Hence, the flat SL trend at Galveston becomes -1 mm/yr, when adjusted for subsidence.

    I would point out that the SL trend for the Texas coast gauges from Port Isabel at the southern tip to Sabine Pass at the easternmost border ( six stations, excluding those with data incomplete) all show agreement on a flat trend since the end of the last century. This is some seven hundred miles of coastline. Gulf of Mex. gauges at Florida sites generally agree. The one exception at Grande Isle, La., shows a trend of increasing SL. But in fact, this is actually a measure of subsidence which in this case is caused by the terrific sediment load in the Miss. River delta region.

    This universal agreement of Gulf Coast gauges on a flat SL trend gives me confidence that SL is not rising today, and has not for sixteen years or so. I very skeptical about SL data to be found on the web. Your referred PSMSL confirms me in this, as it shows a fabricated rising SL trend for Galveston while citing NOAA for the source.

    I believe that the SL rise is another contrivance of the global warmers, and their most successful, as they seemed to have duped most everyone. But I believe that I have taken their measure.

    Cheers
    mpainter

  94. bushbunny says:
    April 30, 2014 at 7:37 pm

    Oh dear another Willis run thread. I’m outta here. Just google sunken cities.

    My dear, you vastly overestimate my meager powers. I cannot “run” a thread. I cannot stop you from having your say, nor do I have the slightest desire to do so. I’m not a moderator on the site, I don’t snip anyone. I cannot bully you, where is the threat? I cannot interrupt you when you are speaking. I don’t know any more about you than you’ve chosen to reveal, and I have no way to verify any of it.

    And you are also free to stay or leave, I cannot force you to do either.

    However, saying you are leaving because I’m running the thread? Sorry. Not buying that one. That’s not happening. I have no more power over the direction the thread takes than you do. All I can do is to encourage scientific discussion, by asking people to provide citations, links, quotes, data and other identification and support for their claims.

    Finally, telling folks to google something is generally considered poor etiquette in a scientific discussion. It is not our job to locate the facts to back up your claims about some unidentified Mediterranean village. You need to google them and give us the links.

    Best of luck whether you stay or leave,

    w.

  95. Bushbunny:
    Willis Eschenbach is usually very good about responding to comments. Some commenters/posters never do when they should. He always makes for a good discussion of issues, even if he sometimes gets a little rough.

  96. mpainter, sorry but I find him a bully and boorish. It’s a known fact that erosion, subsidence affect many human settlements, look at your latest mud slide, and it occurs more where there is coast (tidal) erosion or underwater movements. Sea levels go up and down, during silting up of deltas, or river inlets, and rocks are less manipulated than sand and gravel or limestone. Anyway, I am finding Anthony’s blog because of Willis a bit of a pain, I am interested in the politics of this more than graphs that I can’t understand, and I am not meant to understand, and if I make a comment that I know is true, I don’t have to prove it just Google yourself, either sunken cities, or drowned cities. Very much a part of marine archaeology. Cheers I am departing this blog for a while, and I will say Willis has bored me and I found his responses to me, illogical and also arrogant. If you want to debate his ‘scientific’ essays, fair enough, I have better things to do! All it does is boost his flagging ego.

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