Proof positive politicians can’t do simple math.
From the LA Times today:
Brown’s remarks came a day after the release of two studies finding that a slow-motion and irreversible collapse of a massive cluster of glaciers in Antarctica has begun and could cause sea levels to rise worldwide by four feet within 200 years.
“If that happens, the Los Angeles airport’s going to be underwater,” Brown told reporters at a presentation of his revised state budget proposal in Los Angeles. “So is the San Francisco airport.”
Ok let’s do the math, first a look at the sea level rate from the Los Angeles tide gauge operated by NOAA:
Assuming nothing changes in the rate of sea level rise, and the airport would still exist there in the future, here is the math.
LAX airport elevation is 125 feet ( Source: http://www.airnav.com/airport/KLAX )
125 feet = 38100mm
At the rate of 0.83mm/yr sea level rise seen at Los Angeles (from NOAA graph above) it would take 45903.6 years to reach 125 feet, we’d be in a new ice age by then and sea levels would be falling…never gonna happen.
So, at current rates, Brown’s claim is bogus.
But he’s saying it will be due to Antarctic’s western ice sheet melting.
OK, the claims is from news coverage of two papers, “Marine Ice Sheet Collapse Potentially Under Way for the Thwaites Glacier Basin, West Antarctica“. This study is available here:
NASA says of the paper “Sustained increase in ice discharge from the Amundsen Sea Embayment, West Antarctica, from 1973 to 2013“. This study is available here:
Even as Rignot and colleagues suggest that loss of the Amundsen Sea embayment glaciers appears inevitable, it remains extremely difficult to predict exactly how this ice loss will unfold and how long it will take. A conservative estimate is that it could take several centuries.
The region contains enough ice to raise global sea levels by 4 feet (1.2 meters).
4 feet, and LAX airport is 125 feet above sea level. SFO airport, also mentioned by Brown is Elevation: 13 ft. according to Airnav
NASA even calculates for the worst case scenario:
The Amundsen Sea region is only a fraction of the whole West Antarctic Ice Sheet, which if melted completely would raise global sea level by about 16 feet (5 meters).
So even 16 feet wouldn’t affect LAX airport, but might affect SFO …far in the future.
Governor Brown is in a gross error with his claims. You’d think his handlers would check this simple math before they allow him to beclown himself with unsupportable claims of doom that can’t possibly affect either airport enough to cause them to be moved.
Again all this assumes that SFO and LAX will still be there in 200 years. We might be driving antigrav personal flying vehicles by then. (Well, if you believe Popular Science).
Here is where I think Brown went wrong:
He listened to the Guardian’s Susanne Goldenberg, who conflated 4 feet to 4 METERS (13 feet), which would affect SFO airport, but not LAX.
And the error is still in her story, a day later.