The rubbish is coming! One if by land, two if by sea

the_north_churchThis post on sea level reality came up in comments, posted by the author of the Climate Sanity website, Tom Moriarty.

Tom did an excellent job of visually illustrating the history of Boston Harbor and man’s plight in dealing with it, so I thought it would be worth sharing here for WUWT readers. In fact I’m so impressed, I’ve added Tom to the WUWT blogroll.

Of all the talk about sea level rise, it is interesting to point out that at least in Boston, man has easily outraced the sea. The worry about sea level is real, but the ability of man to adapt is clearly illustrated in the comparative maps. Just a note, I’ve modified the original blink comparator animation to make it a bit easier to watch. – Anthony


From Climate Sanity:

Boston, you have been warned. Sea levels are rising , and if one of the IPCC’s five scenarios is correct, the world’s oceans will rise somewhere between 18 and 59 cm (7 to 23 inches) by 2100. If that isn’t terrifying enough for the people living on the New England coast, the Boston Globe now tells us that the ocean near Boston will rise 8 inches more than the world average. How will the hapless rubes of Boston cope with this onslaught of Atlantic water?

I wouldn’t lose to much sleep worrying about the folks in Boston when it comes to pushing back against the ocean. Excerpts from the following maps were used to make an animation of the changing coastline in Boston:

  • A 1775 map showing the Boston area with the rebel military works. Note especially the isthmus, known as Boston Neck< that connects the town of Boston to the mainland.
  • An 1838 George W. Boynton engraving of Boston area from a Thomas G. Bradford atlas.
  • USGS map of Boston area.
  • A 2009 satellite image from Google Earth

The top of the animation shows the maps after photoshopping to make the land and water more obvious. The bottom of the animation shows the unaltered excerpts of the maps or images.

boston_sea_level_animation

The panic prone will argue that our Bostonian ancestors dealt with a static ocean, not a rising ocean. Not so fast. Check out the NOAA graph below (click inside graph to see it in context at NOAA site). It shows a sea level rise rate of 2.63 mm/yr for the last 100 years in Boston. At that rate it will rise 23.9 cm (9.4 inches) by 2100.

NOAA_boston_sea_level_graph

Boston sea level rise data from NOAA. Click in image for view in context.

Anyone who panics over the IPCCs 100 year projections of rising sea levels does not understand the perseverance and ingenuity of free people. Then there are others, like James Hansen, who enjoy the feeling of panic so much that that they exagerate the probable sea level rise for this century to get their thrills. But that is a story for another day…

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149 thoughts on “The rubbish is coming! One if by land, two if by sea

  1. Heartfelt thanks AW.
    Fascinating! My home town has survived 100 years of catastrophic climate change! Not only that, Boston has risen *above* the rising ocean! Indeed, all along the waterfronts of Cape Cod one can see active resistance of home-owners against rising, weather-driven seas. They build breakwaters. They build sea walls. When erosion wins the battle, they move to higher ground and build again.
    One can imagine ol’ Paul Revere now: “If the seas shall rise, so too shall we. One if by land, two if by sea!”
    And then, from high Earth orbit:
    “Golly Zandoor, these humans are more resourceful than we thought!”
    REPLY: It’s all just a matter of time and dirt. – Anthony

  2. ” does not understand the perseverance and ingenuity of free people”
    who used to have lots of money. Tell me how much money it cost Boston to reclaim that much land and what the total cost is for the affected coastal regions of the world. Dubai seems to be good at it, but not all countries are as rich as them. In fact they probably will be cutting back soon given real estate prices their soon.
    The piece above seems to be be saying “Let them eat cake” in the best traditions of hiding from anything possibly unpleasant.
    Regards
    Andy

  3. Of course, the environmental [opposition] will oppose any attempts, such as jettys, bulkheads, landfill, dredging, levies and dikes to abate coastal changes. Thus making the prophecy self-fulfilling.

  4. Can you imagine what these … these … critters [I had a couple other choice words, but settled on a tame one] would be saying if an Ice Age was beginning and sea levels were falling?! They’d be calling for dredging operations to commence immediately so ports would not be left high and dry — in a hundred years.
    BTW, glad you picked up on this piece. Saw it in the comments as well and was quite impressed with the illustration of how well mankind can cope. A point for Hansen and his kind to ponder – unlike them, most of mankind isn’t sitting around bemoaning their helplessness and how the cruel fates conspire against them or imagined disasters that might come long after they’re dead and buried. Solve today’s problem today and we’ll deal with tomorrow’s problem when tomorrow gets here – if it’s still a problem. And as for a century from now – my great-great-grandkids can deal with it.

  5. “Never increase, beyond what is necessary, the number of entities required to explain anything.”
    ~ William of Ockham [1285-1349]

    Known as Occam’s Razor. In other words, the simplest explanation is almost always the correct explanation. Unnecessarily adding new reasons to explain a natural occurrence is going down the wrong road. The sea level argument is directly connected with the CO2=AGW claim, as are all the other alarmist arguments [coral bleaching, polar temperatures, ice extent, glaciers, etc., etc.] And one by one, all the alarmist claims have been debunked.
    Global warming alarmists add a minor trace gas, CO2, to the theory of natural climate variability, in which temperatures fluctuate around a moderately rising trend line going back to the LIA. There is no real world evidence that CO2 has a measurable effect. Adding CO2 to the theory of natural climate variability only muddies the waters.
    Alarmists began employing the Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy [shooting a hole in the side of a barn, then drawing a bulls-eye around the hole] in earnest when temperatures spiked in the late ’90’s. They could have just as legitimately claimed that the decline in the number of pirates causes global warming. Adding additional, unnecessary variables is bad science.
    Any effect from CO2 is so minor that it can be disregarded. As we’ve seen over most of the past decade, any effect from CO2 is swamped by other effects; as CO2 rises, the planet’s temperature has been falling.
    The simplest explanation is the most likely to be the right explanation: the climate cycles naturally around a slowly rising trend line. And CO2 has little, if anything, to do with it.

  6. So, you’re arguing that all we need to do is use fill to stop the ocean? That works for a small area like Boston — do you have any idea how much shoreline the Mississippi River has? We can’t hold it back now. The Iriwaddy? The Mekong? The Indus? The Thames?
    This guy’s drunk too much of the “dirty water” in the River Charles.
    REPLY: Thanks for the kind words and the inspiration Ed. At least you didn’t say I drank the dirty water out of Millard Filmore’s Bathtub. 😉 Cheers, Anthony

  7. “REPLY: It’s all just a matter of time and dirt. – Anthony”
    The trucks are busy, busy, busy filling in those shallows to make more city.
    Heck, they even made new islands somewhere in Saudi Arabia just because they had the money to do it. Landfill is big business. Just don’t plan on getting your Earthquake insurance settlement when your building gets sucked into liquified goo when the big one hits.

  8. AndyW (10:56:13) :

    ” does not understand the perseverance and ingenuity of free people”
    who used to have lots of money. Tell me how much money it cost Boston to reclaim that much land and what the total cost is for the affected coastal regions of the world. Dubai seems to be good at it, but not all countries are as rich as them. In fact they probably will be cutting back soon given real estate prices their soon.

    I live in a Third World country. No, unlike Dubai, we don’t have a lot of money, but we also have reclamation projects over here. It’s all a matter of priorities.

  9. Ed Wrote – “So, you’re arguing that all we need to do is use fill to stop the ocean? That works for a small area like Boston — do you have any idea how much shoreline the Mississippi River has? We can’t hold it back now. The Iriwaddy? The Mekong? The Indus? The Thames?”
    Britain built flood gates on the Thames to hold back the ocean. This is not a problem that can’t be fixed by simple ingenuity and sweat.

  10. Thank you for that blink comparator, its a real eye-opener. In the war of the worldviews, the worldview that has mankind as both ignorant perpetrator and helpless victim needs reality checks like that once in a while.
    It demonstrates the opposite worldview: our industriousness allowed us to employ natural resources to lift mankind out of poverty and into the modern age, and that same industriousness enables us to easily adapt to changes in our environment, manmade or otherwise.

  11. “Never increase, beyond what is necessary, the number of entities required to explain anything.”
    ~ William of Ockham [1285-1349]
    Smokey (11:12:24) : Known as Occam’s Razor. In other words, the simplest explanation is almost always the correct explanation”
    I can not longer let this misconception pass. Occam’s Razor does not mean what you state here. It means that the simplest CORRECT explanation is always the BEST explanation. It does not guarantee that the simplest theory will be correct.

  12. Anyone who panics over the IPCCs 100 year projections of rising sea levels does not understand the perseverance and ingenuity of free people.

    I would add that anyone who thinks the lands and oceans are, or ever have been static need to take off their rose-colored glasses. No place on Earth is “safe” to live. Eventually something “bad” will happen regardless of what humans do, or the amount of trace gases in the atmosphere.

  13. I don’t remember where I read that rising of sea levels affect coral reefs. Perhaps it was somewhere from Science magazine pages. It’s a blatant lie because corals grow upwards as sea level rises. They feed on phytoplankton, which growth is determined by the inward photon stream from the Sun, and zooplankton, which depends on the abundance of phytoplankton, so the growth of corals follows the upper layer of the euphotic environment, where phytoplankton and zooplankton grow and develop better. A rising of ~0.007 mm/day is rather adequate for the corals adaptation, which grow upwards ~0.034 mm/day. A real problem for corals would be if the sea level went more than 1 mm/day down.
    If corals easily adapt, lacking of science and technology, wouldn’t humans do it?

  14. Britain built flood gates on the Thames to hold back the ocean. This is not a problem that can’t be fixed by simple ingenuity and sweat.

    I could swear there was a fair amount of money involved, too.
    Now, why didn’t London just fill like Boston did? Could it be that Boston’s filling of the Back Bay (for instance) was to create new land for new development, and that this technique isn’t particularly useful for protecting *existing* development? While Britain’s gating of the Thames was to protect existing development?
    No one claims that we can’t protect infrastructure or move cities inland as sea levels rise. The claim is that it will be *expensive*, and the example of the Thames flood gates doesn’t seem to support any claim that it’s *cheap*.

  15. I understand Boston has created an huge underground reservoir to store the overflow should it come to that…

  16. I was in Wellington, NZ a few months ago. Walking along a busy street hundreds of metres from the waterfront there were tiles in the footpath marking where the waterfront used to be. The tiles had a year marked on them but I forget the year. I think it was in the 1800’s. I suspect a lot of cities have pushed back the sea.

  17. AndyW
    I would doubt that the cost was more than the economic activity that was made possible by the filling because I suspect that it wasn’t a rising ocean that engendered the work but, rather, the opportunity. Capitalism.

  18. On human ingenuity, not to forget the Dutch.
    The low lying regions that are on river deltas have little danger from such small increases. Deltas generate land, at worst populations would have to move, but there will be land there to move into.
    There will be a problem with coral islands, but it would be cheaper to send them boatloads of dirt than spend trillions trying to control hot air.

  19. It seems inexhaustible by WUWT to find examples of crazy things. This is just another.
    For years, scientists have talked about rising sea levels due to global warming – both from warm water expanding and the melt of ice sheets in Greenland and West Antarctica. Predictions for the average worldwide sea rise keep changing along with the rate of ice melt. Recently, more scientists are saying the situation has worsened so that a 3-foot rise in sea level by 2100 is becoming a common theme. Boston Globe
    Wouldn´t it be that all this nonsense is backed by the UN this would be just an example of yellow press trying to sell more papers.
    These kind of posts must be classified as FUN STUFF….remember that nuts don´t have any humor sense.

  20. Ed Darrell,
    Dr. Nils Morner notes the satellite record shows little/no consistent pattern of sea rise when considering the entire globe. No more than 1.1mm/yr. Some shorelines are subsiding, some uplifting.
    http://www.larouchepub.com/eiw/public/2007/2007_20-29/2007-25/pdf/33-37_725.pdf
    Don’t we need some continental ice to melt or seas to rise before we run for the lifeboats?
    IF the moon had a RAPIDLY decaying orbit, it WOULD eventually collide with earth. I’m just guessing, but I’m pretty sure this would be bad. But when we measure this, and see it is drifting away, why would we spend trillions to plan for an impending collision?
    http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/moon_mechanics_0303018.html

  21. Ed Darrell (11:37:33) :
    So, you’re arguing that all we need to do is use fill to stop the ocean? That works for a small area like Boston — do you have any idea how much shoreline the Mississippi River has? We can’t hold it back now.

    The shoreline of the Mississippi is 100% above sea level, and will continue to be. But where is your concern for areas already below sea level – Death Valley, the Dead Sea, Holland. If the sea level rises, they’ll all go under, won’t they? (/sarc)
    Global Warming Art put up a map of Florida depicting the areas endangered by sea level rise. Their color choices are what we’ve come to suspect expect from the AGW crowd, but I’ve highlighted the actual areas that would go under after a millennium of rise at the current rate. Their data, real rate.
    http://i41.tinypic.com/qx8hmw.jpg

  22. There are several places in Kent and Sussex that used to be on the coast 1000 years ago and ain’t now.
    In the area of the east coast of England called Holderness (about from Bridlington down to the River Humber) coastal erosion is regularly toppling people’s holiday cottages over the cliff edge. Eventually the coast will erode as far as Beverley or thereabouts where (if it’s lucky) it’ll find some rock to stop it!
    Neither have much to do with global warming or sea rising or falling; everything to do with wind and wave and the geological structure of the area.
    Not easy to extrapolate when places barely 200 miles apart are behaving in precisely opposite fashion, wouldn’t you say?

  23. Sung to the tune of “Let’s fall in love”:
    Mesopotamians did it, Romans did it, even ignorant Anasasi did it. Let’s do it, let’s move some dirt..
    Moving dirt is easy, and easily understood, and cheap especially when it’s done to keep commerce flowing. It is part of the cost of doing business. Just ask the Caterpillar Company.

  24. Just wait till the 1938 hurricane the hit NYC repeats.
    According to the United States Landfalling Hurricane Probability Project:
    16% probability that NY City/Long Island will be hit with a tropical storm or hurricane in 2009. Normal value is 15%.
    10% probability that NY City/Long Island will be hit with a hurricane in 2009. Normal value is 9%.
    5% probability that NY City/Long Island will be hit with a major hurricane (category 3 or more) in 2009. Normal value is 4%.
    >99.9% probability that NY City/Long Island will be hit with a tropical storm or hurricane in the next 50 years.
    99.4% probability that NY City/Long Island will be hit with a hurricane in the next 50 years.
    90% probability that NY City/Long Island will be hit with a major hurricane (category 3 or more) in the next 50 years.

    http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/mandias/38hurricane/hurricane_future.html

  25. ” rbateman (11:41:26) :
    The trucks are busy, busy, busy filling in those shallows to make more city.
    Heck, they even made new islands somewhere in Saudi Arabia just because they had the money to do it. Landfill is big business. Just don’t plan on getting your Earthquake insurance settlement when your building gets sucked into liquified goo when the big one hits.”
    The big what? Boston is not on or near any fault lines or volcanic subduction zones. Sorry, those of us outside the left coast do not make a habit of investing billions in buildings in tidal zones over tectonic faults. Boston has been around for over 350 years.
    Most of the land in Boston was created prior to the 20th century, when fill (Beacon Hill was once very tall, its now rather flat today, most of it is in the back bay) and labor were cheap and there was a notable lack of environmental impact statements or tree-huggers. If Massachusetts politics back then was like it is now, there would be huge bumper to bumper traffic jams on the Boston Neck and the Kennedys of their time would be filing lawsuits to prevent the city from devaluing the waterfront properties along the back bay.

  26. “Anyone who panics over the IPCCs 100 year projections of rising sea levels does not understand the perseverance and ingenuity of free people.”
    At what cost? And where will the money come from? After how many inches of rise does it become too costly to defend the entire coastline? Is it actually possible that people will be less free because of something like rising sea levels?
    I used to live 10 meters below sea level in the Netherlands, in a place that had been several meters under water 200 years earlier. It’s impressive what the Dutch have accomplished in claiming land from the North Sea. But claiming land and resisting a reclaiming ocean are quite different. Did one of you ever try to defend your sand castle with a rising tide? Costs a lot of energy.

  27. Ed Darrell (11:37:33) :
    So what is your point?
    the point is that sea level isn’t constant and modern humans have adapted to considerable sea level rise in the past. Why should that change?
    How can we stop it? And don’t tell me it has anything to do with CO2.
    MikeEE

  28. Ed Darrell (11:37:33) :
    So, you’re arguing that all we need to do is use fill to stop the ocean?
    Reading comprehension 101: First, read the article. (Hint: it’s about adaptation, using Boston as an illustration).
    Man has always managed to adapt to climate change before, and has a myriad of ways of doing so now. Crying, screaming and wailing about it don’t work.
    Building in flood-prone areas, the opposite of adaptation is just plain dumb, as is blaming “carbon”.

  29. Is the U.S. Surface Temperature Record Reliable?
    by Anthony Watts
    SurfaceStations.org
    http://static.cbslocal.com/station/wbz/wbz/2009/may/SurfaceStations.pdf
    We observed that changes in the technology of temperature stations over time also has caused them to report a false warming trend. We found major gaps in the data record that were filled in with data from nearby sites, a practice
    that propagates and compounds errors. We found that adjustments to the data by both NOAA and another government agency, NASA, cause recent temperatures to look even higher. The conclusion is inescapable: The U.S. temperature record is unreliable.

  30. The cost of building sea walls will be minor compared to the never ending cost of a world wide tax on CO2, a gas harmless to the environment, necessary for life and vilified by the looney greenies. BTW, I wonder what the percentage of CO2 exhaled by humans is compared to industry’s contribution?

  31. Neven (13:21:02) :
    “Anyone who panics over the IPCCs 100 year projections of rising sea levels does not understand the perseverance and ingenuity of free people.”
    Neven, let me help you with some answers to your questions:
    Q: At what cost? And where will the money come from?
    Your taxes, of course! You can help ratify an new coastal sea rise tax – payable when you visit a beach anywhere in your country. Make sure rich people pay a lot!
    Q: After how many inches of rise does it become too costly to defend the entire coastline?
    Exactly 15.781 inches. Unfortunately, none of us will be here to see if this is true or not, given the paltry rate at which the sea is currently rising…
    Q: Is it actually possible that people will be less free because of something like rising sea levels?
    No. People will be less free when their governments impose draconian laws and taxes to manage every aspect of their behavior, from where they can live to what they can eat and how many children they can have, in response to a fictional problem (AGW)…

  32. Well, yes, the “panic” is totally misplaced. That is, if the predictions are even reliable.
    On the other hand, the animation, though fascinating, is a bit misleading. It’s a different business to respond to sea level changes in an 18th and 19th century city while it’s growing than to retro-fit a built out 20th century city with all of its infrastructure to new sea conditions. In addition, though retreat and rebuilding on higher ground is often the simplest, and not-to-hard solution, politically it’s a killer. This often leads to less than optimal solutions, e.g. sea walls, that can make the problems worse!
    Analogies to Holland are also not relevant. Holland has little land, lots of people, and no where to go except to the sea. If the dikes break, the nation disappears. Hardly the same here in the USA. They have reasons to worry deeply about any sea level rise, and still, they seem to do okay.
    And if you live in NYC and are worried about another hurricane like the one in 1938…http://www.halcrow.com/html/documents/pdf/noam/NY_NJ%20Outer_Harbor_Gateway.pdf

  33. I love the it’s too expensive to defend against sea level rise posts, even though Boston for example did not institute a nationwide tax on energy to fill the harbour, but instead through commercial activity and time simply expanded the city and the harbour to protect itself.
    Is that not part of the argument against carbon taxes? Cost versus results. Did filling Boston Harbour Cost 3% of World GDP for the next 200 years for Example? (based on 2005 GDP not todays)

  34. Mike McMillan:

    The shoreline of the Mississippi is 100% above sea level, and will continue to be.

    Oh, that’s right — I’d forgotten the Bush administration’s effort to fill in New Orleans and elevate it 20 feet, like the Galveston Islanders did after the 1900 hurricane. /sarc off
    All shoreline is above sea level, Mike. When sea level rises, so does the shoreline. It’s the land that gets covered by water we worry about.
    My point is that much of the shoreline of the Mississippi and its current delta are threatened by rising ocean levels. Unless one has had to deal with communications, or oil and gas pipelines, or bird conservation, or hunting, or fishing, or keeping one’s house dry, or unless one reads the newspapers, I suppose one wouldn’t know.

  35. From the “feeling of panic” link in the article:
    “In 1988, Hansen launched global warming as a public policy issue in his testimony before a congressional committee. Theon admitted that he actually couldn’t have fired Hansen, who had powerful political protectors, most notably then-Senator and later Vice President Al Gore. So had Theon tried to do it, it’s much more likely that he himself would have been out on the street rather than Hansen.”
    Interesting point he makes… So AlGore was part of the process that gave us the first panic… and was a protector of Hansen from the start… Hmmm.
    And NASA management was well aware of the political landscape and making politically driven rather than science driven decisions out of a sense of self preservation (hey, I can relate… I’ve worked in politically dominated organizations before; it would have been organizational suicide not to “go along to get along”. The base fault is to let the organization become politically dominated in the first place. Above Theons’ pay grade…
    Theon told the audience that while he remained silent on the issue of global warming when he retired from NASA, he now felt he needed to speak out. “This whole thing is a fraud,” said Theon. “We need to educate the public about what we’re going to get into unless we stop this nonsense.” The nonsense being the deleterious effect that carbon rationing would have on economic growth and jobs.”
    Love that quote… “fraud”… at least someone has clue.
    BTW, Anthony, if after the BRACKEThttp=QUOTElinktextQUOTE part of the link, you put QUOTEtarget=QUOTE UNDERSCOREblankQUOTE then the link will open in a new window rather than leaving WUWT. For folks, like me, on slow links; it lets us open the window and leave it loading while we swap back to the WUWT page to keep reading your article… A nice feature (even if it does take a bit more time to type the target=”_blank” part…
    Also, here on the Loony Left Coast, we have the same problem in San Francisco bay where we are simultaneously told that the bay is going to rise and flood every one AND that the bay is going away due to silt accumulation and landfill… The “port of Alviso” built and launched small warcraft for WWII… Today it’s a marsh on the way to becoming a meadow. The government put in nice sail boat docks about 1980? or so (and you could rent sailboat space). Now, with no dredging, they are locked up and abandoned as a large reed patch becoming land…
    It would make an interesting “photo essay” on “sea level rise” 😉

  36. Ed Darrell (11:37:33) :

    So, you’re arguing that all we need to do is use fill to stop the ocean? That works for a small area like Boston — do you have any idea how much shoreline the Mississippi River has? We can’t hold it back now. The Iriwaddy? The Mekong? The Indus? The Thames?

    Alluvial plains. Continuously growing and changing. In regards to the Mississippi Delta one of the greatest impacts is from flood control up river and dredging which removed sediment from the river. Dredging prevents sediments from finding their way down to the delta which would naturally reinforce and expand the alluvial plain. It also tends to help keep the river following its current course.
    Historically the Mississippi has been a freely roaming river. Each time it changed courses the cutting of new channels / routes increased the amount of material carried down to the delta. This map illustrates part of its history…
    http://geoscience.wes.army.mil/LMValleyGeologyMap.JPG
    Hence, a good part of the problem with the delta, the alluvial plain, are not so much from what the oceans are doing as much as from what man is doing to the river itself. Call it just one example regarding the consequences of man’s intervention with nature. Sometimes we need to for our own convenience, other times we don’t.
    When it comes to alluvial plains man is occupying land which, in geological terms, is not very old nor very stable. It is still a work in progress and changes to it both in gains and loses should be expected. Such is the path of nature.
    As humans we tend to think of the world in terms of a generation or two due to the fact that our live span is relatively short. It is essential that man learns to adapt to nature and climate changes. With some level of admitted uncertainty I don’t personally feel that man will be experiencing any significant increases in sea levels. However, with a great deal of certainty I will say that at some time in the geological near future our present day harbors and ports will be inland locations. Sea levels will drop more than 400 feet. Galveston Bay (7 -15 feet deep), and other locations, will quickly become dry land. At those times, man being man, will build upon, live upon, and develop them. When nature once again reclaims those lands and places them within the seas (about 60-80,000 years later) hopefully there will not be an Al Gore type around attempting to blame man for it.

  37. Tom in Florida is worried about a misstatement of Ockam’s Razor –
    “I can not longer let this misconception pass. Occam’s Razor does not mean what you state here. It means that the simplest CORRECT explanation is always the BEST explanation. It does not guarantee that the simplest theory will be correct.”
    I am not sure that this distinction is necessary. I have always taken it to mean that, given two explanations, either of which might be correct, the explanation requiring the least number of assumptions/causal factors/ etc etc, was likely to be the most efficacious.
    This formulation basically takes both explanations as at least possibly ‘correct’ and draws a pragmatic conclusion as to which to accept.
    Note that if you require that it is only the ‘simplest correct’ explanation that should be taken, then Occam’s Razor loses much of it’s power since it is itself being postulated as a means of sorting the correct from the incorrect.
    If you require the proposition to be correct before you apply Occam’s Razor to determine whether or not it is correct….. well you can see the possible circularity.
    Having said all that, nevertheless Tom is right …. the application of Occam’s Razor does not guarantee that any particular proposition is in fact correct. As I mentioned, it is really a ‘rule of thumb’ which can guide the pragmatist in considering competing explanatory propositions.

  38. AndyW (10:56:13) : Tell me how much money it cost Boston to reclaim that much land and what the total cost is for the affected coastal regions of the world.
    It was most certainly profitable for them. Landfill is one of the cheapest ways to get land with the most value that one can imagine. There is always someone digging a basement garage somewhere and you can often even get “tipping fees” for the dirt “disposal”. There IS always someone tearing down a concrete structure somewhere and you absolutely can get tipping fees from them.
    In San Francisco bay, there are strict laws prohibiting it under most circumstances; since if left to a cost driven market, the bay would become a few hundred foot wide river in no time flat. (Not hyperbole, we were well on our way to that point, which is why the laws were passed to prevent or drastically reduce more bay fill…)
    It is almost irrelevant cost. Moving an acre of dirt 10 feet deep is nothing compared to the $100,000 or so minimum per 1/8 acre parcel. (Most of the bay is less than 10 feet deep. The “shipping channel” in the middle is kept dredged to about 30 – 40 feet deep, but that’s just a big river in about 1/2 the middle.)

  39. A few comments from above:
    “No one claims that we can’t protect infrastructure or move cities inland as sea levels rise. The claim is that it will be *expensive*, and the example of the Thames flood gates doesn’t seem to support any claim that it’s *cheap*.” If you think these type of projects are expensive, just wait til you see the bill for cap and trade which will have zero effect on sea levels.
    “At what cost? ”
    Much much less than taxing the air we breathe and turning us back to the 1820s.
    “And where will the money come from?”
    Well, there won’t be any money at all unless we get back to capitalism.
    “After how many inches of rise does it become too costly to defend the entire coastline?”
    It will always be cheaper to attack the real problem than to attack a phantom.
    “Is it actually possible that people will be less free because of something like rising sea levels?”
    Nope. People will be less free with out-of-control governments than they will be with a changing climate.

  40. I know it’s not Boston, but I know more about SF… and it’s still a decent example. From:
    http://www.bay.org/about_the_bay.htm
    “San Francisco Bay covers 400 square miles with an average depth of 14 feet with depths plunging to 360 feet at the Golden Gate. The Bay has shrunk by a third in the last 150 years, and only about 25 percent of its original wetland, riparian, and tidal mudflat habitat remains. ”
    So much for “sea level rise” as an issue.
    For the terminally technical, you can get bathymetry data here:
    http://sfbay.wr.usgs.gov/sediment/sfbay/index.html
    From the wiki (at least, what it says today… who knows how soon the PC Police will “fix it”…):
    San Francisco Bay’s profile changed dramatically in the late nineteenth century and again with the initiation of dredging by the US Army Corps of Engineers in the twentieth century. Before about 1860, most bay shores (exception: rocky shores such as those in Carquinez Strait, along Marin shoreline, Point Richmond, Golden Gate area) contained extensive wetlands that graded nearly invisibly from freshwater wetlands to salt marsh and then tidal mudflat. A deep channel ran through the center of the bay, following the ancient drowned river valley.
    In the 1860s and continuing into the early twentieth century, miners dumped staggering quantities of mud and gravel from hydraulic mining operations into the upper Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers. GK Gilbert’s estimates of debris total more than eight times the amount of rock and dirt moved during construction of the Panama Canal. This material flowed down the rivers, progressively eroding into finer and finer sediment, until it reached the bay system. Here some of it settled, eventually filling in Suisun Bay, San Pablo Bay, and San Francisco Bay, in decreasing order of severity.
    By the end of the nineteenth century, these “slickens” had filled in much of the shallow bay flats, raising the entire bay profile. New marshes were created in some areas.
    […]
    In the last years of the nineteenth and first decades of the twentieth century, at the behest of local political officials and following Congressional orders, the US Army Corps began dredging the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers and the deep channels of San Francisco Bay. This work has continued without interruption ever since, an enormous federal subsidy of San Francisco Bay shipping. Some of the dredge spoils were initially dumped in the bay shallows (including helping to create “Treasure Island” on the former shoals to the north of Yerba Buena Island) and used to raise an island in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The net effect of dredging has been to maintain a narrow deep channel – deeper perhaps than the original bay channel – through a much shallower bay. At the same time, most of the marsh areas have been filled or blocked off from the bay by dikes.
    In other words: It is profitable to make land by “fill” due to the need to dredge for shipping (since if you don’t do it, erosion eventually fills in bays…)
    The notion that oceans will rise and drown our ports and bays is just seriously broken. The reality is that even with historic sea level rise, our bays fill in with silt and become dry land if we don’t work at it, very hard, to keep them as bays. Geology works that way…

  41. Boston is an example of what the wealth of free enterprise and a free society can do. Where will we be 10 years from now when all of our industries are left holding worthless carbon credits that they spent hundreds of billions of dollars to puchase? Unlike the dot.com bust there will be no gems like google or yahoo. Unlike the sub-prime mortgage meltdown there will be no real property, while less valuable, that still has value. All carbon credits will be equally worthless. Our economy will collapse and there will be no wealth left to deal with anything that nature throws at us.

  42. 200 million people live within 1m of sea level. I wonder how those 200 million feel about your posts.
    BTW seems you are back into the habit of filtering posts (guess the near record warm April just reported by NOAA and the fact that we are probably headed for a top 3 warm year was was unhelpful).

  43. So, you’re arguing that all we need to do is use fill to stop the ocean? That works for a small area like Boston — do you have any idea how much shoreline the Mississippi River has? We can’t hold it back now. The Iriwaddy? The Mekong? The Indus? The Thames?
    These rivers are all deltas. Do you have any idea why deltas form? Evidently not so I’ll explain it to you. They form because they can’t carry their sediment load with the low water velocity as the fan spreads out when it meets a body of water. So the sediment piles up and blocks river flow, until the velocity increases to match the sediment load. This balance determines the slope of the delta and explains river braiding, meanders, etc. Heavy loads (rock, gravel) high slope, light stuff (organic, silt) low slope, as in the lower Mississippi. As the oceans rise, the deltas rise too, where left in a natural state. If you decide to alter the natural state (limit the ability of water to spread out by channeling the rivers and building), the velocity stays high and sediment is carried out until it meets the water, and gets deposited there, where a new delta will form.
    Choosing to build on a delta is obviously a convenient place (since all of the large ones you mention are taken), but you take a risk by altering the natural state. With sea level rising as it has since the last ice age at a slow rate, chances are you built on high enough ground to start with, or you adapt, or you move, or you just live with flooding (most of these will experience flooding on a regular basis). Adapting to 2mm/yr is obviously no big deal though building on a delta generally means it is going to sink without the additional sediment that would otherwise be there, an effect of changing the delta, not sea level rise. Sea level rise will not affect a natural delta unless it rises faster than the sedimentation rate, which seems unlikely given a steady sea level rise rate, and the existence of the deltas you mention, which obviously means in their natural state, sedimentation is faster than rise. In an unnatural case, like New Orleans, light silt and organic deposits mean the sink rate is much higher than sea level rise, so you build dikes. In their case, despite repeated warnings they didn’t plan ahead and keep up with the sink / erosion rate. One small dike failure and you’ve had it. Blame it on the French for failing to account for geology 300 years hence (actually, they built on high enough ground in the French Quarter). Or blame it on climate change, whatever you prefer.
    There is no evidence sea level rise rate is anything out of the ordinary. So what’s your beef? That humans chose to build on a delta and altered it so now it can’t rise to meet the ocean while it is sinking? Are we supposed to feel sorry about this?

  44. It is odd to see comments about how much adaptation costs because land reclamation usually makes money as you can either sell the land or find a good use for it. The biggest reclamation project was in the Landes area of France which has made a packet of money:
    http://www2.ctic.purdue.edu/Core4/CT/conquest/France.html
    Probably couldn’t be done today; there’d be too many claiming that the advancing dunes or the malarial marshes were home to species that must be protected.
    In the coastal and delta areas many houses have been built where they should never have been built in the first place. That’s why people face displacement. And it’s getting worse as folk move to the coast in hordes. To protect them, and the environment at the same time, will need Napoleonic thinking. Relying on CO2 mitigation to do anything at all helpful for coastal communities is absurdly simplistic.
    Yet it’s cute how people like Dhogaza and a few others here can talk about the cost of coastal protection which will most certainly help both man and the environment, yet ignore the higher costs of CO2 mitigation which demonstrably won’t help the coastline dwellers or the coastal environment. We need to prefer the options that can either make money or prevent money loss.

  45. Ed Darrell (11:37:33) : So, you’re arguing that all we need to do is use fill to stop the ocean? That works for a small area like Boston — do you have any idea how much shoreline the Mississippi River has?
    Um
    http://www.lacoast.gov/landchange/basins/mr/
    we have:
    Suspended sediment concentrations in the river decreased markedly between 1950 and 1966. Since that time the observed decrease in the suspended sediment load has been minimal. Long-term suspended sediment loads in the river average 436,000 tons per day; they have ranged from an average of 1,576,000 tons per day in 1951 to a still considerable average of 219,000 tons per day in 1988.
    So we changed the amount of dirt washing into the river (probably all those levees and lining the bottom with concrete in some areas) but it still delivers 436 KILOTONS PER DAY of sediment… So it’s not so much about the need for more dirt. What could it be…
    The entire area is the product of sediment deposition following the latest rise in sea level about 5,000 years ago. Each Mississippi River deltaic cycle was initiated by a gradual capture of the Mississippi River by a distributary which offered a shorter route to the Gulf of Mexico. After abandonment of an older delta lobe, which would cut off the primary supply of fresh water and sediment, an area would undergo compaction, subsidence, and erosion. The old delta lobe would begin to retreat as the gulf advanced, forming lakes, bays, and sounds. Concurrently, a new delta lobe would begin its advance gulfward. This deltaic process has, over the past 5,000 years, caused the coastline of south Louisiana to advance gulfward from 15 to 50 miles, forming the present-day coastal plain.
    Oh… so it’s a natural active process of land formation that has areas deposited, then compacted and eroded…
    This delta is located on the edge of the continental shelf of the Gulf of Mexico. Its bird’s foot configuration is characteristic of alluvial deposition in deep water. In this configuration large volumes of sediment are required to create land area; consequently, land is being lost in this delta more rapidly than it is being created.
    OH. so the reduction in sedimentation is probably why it isn’t holding up so well… Guess we need to rip out all the levies… and let nature return… Yeah, that worked well with Katrina…
    The real problem is building a city on a dynamic deep water delta with subsidence and dynamic “birds foot” channels. Not some kind of sea level thing, since it’s a product of the sea level rise 5000 years ago…
    The primary wetlands loss problem facing the Mississippi River Delta Basin is that of subsidence and compaction. Unlike other areas of coastal Louisiana, the Mississippi River delta is blessed with a relative abundance of inflowing fresh water and sediments. Despite the availability of these resources, the overall growth of emergent delta has been truncated in recent history. In its present position the Mississippi River deposits sediments into much deeper water than has been the case historically. This is evidenced by the thick stratum of Holocene deltaic sediments found in the active river delta. These unconsolidated sediments are highly susceptible to compaction, reducing the life span of emergent wetlands. While the rapid emergence of wetlands can occur over large areas in the delta, these areas deteriorate in an equally rapid manner.
    Human activities have aggravated land loss rates in the Plaquemines-Balize delta. The stabilization of the Mississippi River’s channel has cut off seasonal sediment-laden overbank flow that once nourished adjacent wetland areas. The Mississippi River levees to the north, and associated erosion control and channel stabilization measures extending to its mouth, also preclude the possibility of a naturally occurring crevasse or change in the river’s course.

    Yup. It’s the levies moving all the sediments way out to the end instead of letting them build up the subsiding delta area… In other words, it’s not sea level rise, that MADE the delta. It’s our mucking up the natural deposition of ungodly quantities of sediments and the natural tendency of “new land” from sediments to compact over time.
    So the only problem I see is that we need to manage the sediments a bit better… and maybe not build on dynamic alluvial flood plains below / at sea level…

  46. Nasif Nahle (12:06:47) :
    I don’t remember where I read that rising of sea levels affect coral reefs. Perhaps it was somewhere from Science magazine pages. It’s a blatant lie because corals grow upwards as sea level rises. They feed on phytoplankton, which growth is determined by the inward photon stream from the Sun, and zooplankton, which depends on the abundance of phytoplankton, so the growth of corals follows the upper layer of the euphotic environment, where phytoplankton and zooplankton grow and develop better. A rising of ~0.007 mm/day is rather adequate for the corals adaptation, which grow upwards ~0.034 mm/day. A real problem for corals would be if the sea level went more than 1 mm/day down.
    If corals easily adapt, lacking of science and technology, wouldn’t humans do it?”
    Nasif, you are right, we have always adapted and there is nothing to worry about.
    Ian Plimer had a nice story about Tuvalu in his climate presentation.
    He stated that Tuvalu is sinking because it is on top of an old undersea volcano.
    The reason it is still above sealevel is because of the corals that grow on top of the volcano. They make a layer which now is more than 4 km thick.
    Darwin already new about what was going on at Tuvalu and published about it in his great book.
    All the scare mongering is based on cherry picking, manipulating and bending history and scientific facts.
    I am absolutely not worried about our weather nor our climate.

  47. ‘Of course, the environmental [opposition] will oppose any attempts, such as jettys, bulkheads, landfill, dredging, levies and dikes to abate coastal changes. Thus making the prophecy self-fulfilling.’
    And you will resist, because you’d rather have a mudflat than a beach.
    It’s more complex than you guys suppose.

  48. Tom in Florida (12:04:39) & K B Piersen (14:16:12),
    Thanks for adding to the discussion about Occam’s Razor. Tom, maybe I should have tried to be more emphatic when I wrote: “…the simplest explanation is almost always the correct explanation.” [my emphasis here]
    You’re right, of course, sometimes explanations are too simple. I was only trying to point out that adding another variable like CO2 to the equation is unnecessary, since the theory of natural variability already explains the current climate without taking CO2 — or pirates — into account.
    I hate to use Wiki for anything, but according to them: The principle states that the explanation of any phenomenon should make as few assumptions as possible, eliminating those that make no difference in the observable predictions of the explanatory hypothesis or theory. [my emphasis again]
    Correct me if I’m wrong, but CO2 makes no observable predictions. The current climate is fully explained as natural climate fluctuations, which are well within historical parameters. I accept that CO2 probably has some minimal effect at current concentrations, but without observable predictions [a rise in CO2 causes the global temperature to rise], then Occam’s Razor says the unnecessary variable should be discarded.
    [The climate alarmists also fall back on the argumentum ad ignorantiam: the fallacy of assuming something is true [eg, that CO2 causes runaway global warming], simply because it has not been proven false. I only mention this because I like the ignorantium part.]

  49. Nasif Nahle (13:05:08) :
    No, no… it was not from Science magazine, but from Springer LinK:

    Fortunately history NEVER remembers that kind of “scientists”. If we revise science history all breakthroughs have been made by gifted individuals, Those “clerk-scientists ” paid by governments everywhere are doomed to oblivion.

  50. Neven (13:21:02) : After how many inches of rise does it become too costly to defend the entire coastline?
    According to my wife, 6 inches …

  51. “Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it.”
    Andre Gide

  52. lichanos (14:00:32) : It’s a different business to respond to sea level changes in an 18th and 19th century city while it’s growing than to retro-fit a built out 20th century city with all of its infrastructure to new sea conditions.
    You mean like 20th century Galveston already has done?
    http://www.galveston.com/seawallphotos/

  53. Regarding the land reclamation project in the Landes area (the Napoleonic venture that continues to make heaps of money while protecting the environment, rebuilding the forests and and protecting the inhabitants) I was curious as to what causes the dunes to impinge on the land and i found this:
    http://hol.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/12/2/231
    “Sand invasion is driven by an increase in frequency of severe storms in the North Atlantic associated with the cooler periods of the ‘Little Ice Age’ and early ‘Mediaeval Warm Period’. The dunes emplaced 900-1300 years ago were naturally fixed by a mixed deciduous and maritime pine forest during the latter part of the ‘Mediaeval Warm Period’.”
    ie the storminess caused by the cool period caused land loss which was reversed by the later warmer, less stormy period. Adding that finding to the Sahara shrinking, the natural land reclamation in Bangladesh and the overall greening of the planet in our recent warm period, warming very often seems to have the opposite effect from the doomsayers predictions. Nature is a lot more complex than some people like to believe and it just loves warmth.

  54. Speaking of Occam’s Razor:
    The “CO2” explanation seems to me the most simple… and yet it’s definitely not correct.
    Imagine how much cheaper it is to push dirt into the ocean than the alternatives being proposed. Sea level has been rising my entire lifetime, and all of modern history. Building cities at sea level made sense when shipping only involved ships, but has slightly less importance today. Building cities on major rivers used to make sense too, other than a water supply we don’t need to do that anymore.
    We are humans. We change the environment to suit ourselves… this is why we have furnaces and air conditioning in our homes and businesses. Most places outside of the equatorial zone would be uninhabited by humans if we didn’t. I have a hard time believing that dealing with small regular sea level rises has to be any different. (disclaimer: I live at 3500 feet and am a 12 hour drive from the nearest ocean… sea level rise will never have a direct effect on me)

  55. Well, we may be able to control our greenhouse gases – to some extent at least – but it is unlikely that we will ever be able to affect the earth’s geodynamics. I like Professor Dietmar Müller’s big picture from the School of Geosciences at the University of Sydney that in 80 million years time there will be an unstoppable 70 metre net FALL in sea levels. Might be digging all that Boston fill out by then to get to the docks:
    http://www.usyd.edu.au/news/84.html?newsstoryid=2187

  56. In Australia Robyn Williams a scientist and science reporter with Radio National – a public radio station funded by government like the BBC – also like the BBC at the forefront of AGW alarmism. Williams – designated a national living treasure, has reported that runaway AGW will cause sea levels to rise by 100m. He is now parodied as Robyn 100m Williams but still maintains a strong line on global warming along with self appointed climate guru Tim Flannery. My hope is that we soon have a reality check on this nonsense.

  57. REPLY: It’s all just a matter of time and dirt. – Anthony

    Quite interesting that the CAGW crowd always, in the UK, point to East Coast erosion as evidence of the coming apocalypse but always neglect the West Coast where new land forms at an alarming rate. Time and Dirt indeed.

    Smokey (11:12:24) :
    Alarmists began employing the Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy [shooting a hole in the side of a barn, then drawing a bulls-eye around the hole]

    Excellent description – except that they seem to have been reduced to attacking the barn with an aircraft mounted M60/1 type weapon and spraying the paint through a high pressure hose. Eventually some of it looks like a bulls-eye if you squint and angle your head the right way. Modern Art.

  58. The deposition of sediment in the delta is also acclerated by the ocean salinity that destroys the clay colloidal suspension in the river water. For this reason most of the clay particles settles close to the sea/ river interfce rather than farther out in the sea. If global warming will results to more storms, flooding and erratic weather patterns, it will accelerate the weathering of rocks and increase the erosion rates to the deltas. As far as the big river deltas mentioned, human deforestation and land use change up stream of the deltas is increasing erosion and sediment loads. However, the building of dams and river dredging upstream to control flooding is reducing the sediment load. It is a complex mechanism to be simply blamed on global warming.
    However, global warming has become a good and easy reason for most bureaucrats who are too lazy to do anything or are just simply ignorant. I was horrified once watching a TV in a developing country where an outbreak of dengue fever was staking place. Control of the mosquitoes vectors has been a proven and effective method to control but the health minister just replied “I am sorry there is not much we could do. It because of gobal warming”

  59. U.K. readers here will know of the Archeological TV show – Time Team.
    A group of archeologists in concert with a film team do a three day dig on sites of interest.
    Time and time again the team have shown altered coast lines, altered river directions and flows rising and falling landscapes etc etc. They use ancient maps and drawings to illustrate their findings.
    What it does prove is that over the millenniums, coast lines and escarpment are constantly changing and evolving and that the humans just adapt to this.
    I have posted before the fact that due to tectonic effect the Australian continent is moving towards the Pacific in a lateral North east direction at 7cms per year. This is 7 meters in a century. This doesn’t take in account the rises and falls of the land mass. Who knows what effect any sea level rise will have in concert with this movement. The Great barrier reef is moving with the continent. It has been there for many thousands of years – and will be for many thousands of years to come.

  60. Very enlightening! Thanks.
    Putting him on your blog roll might be a worthless exercise, though. It appears he hasn’t posted since April 18, 2009. He posts as slow as the sea levels rise.

  61. Les Francis (17:24:45),
    Mrs. Smokey and I just returned from the U.S. Geological Survey located in Menlo Park, California [about 20 miles south of San Francisco]. The USGS is having its annual open house this weekend. The amount of information they provide is astonishing. Check them out at: http://www.usgs.gov Their maps are fantastic and inexpensive, courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer.
    One of the displays showed that the average movement of fault lines is 22 mm a year [some less, some much more]. That is a lot more than the sea level rise, which is ±3 mm/year.
    Some of the tectonic plate movement is toward the ocean, some is away, some is subduction, etc. With so much geological shifting, it’s likely that the changes affect the measurement of the sea level. We still have a lot to learn about land/sea interaction.

  62. Les Francis (17:24:45) :
    U.K. readers here will know of the Archeological TV show – Time Team.
    A group of archeologists in concert with a film team do a three day dig on sites of interest.
    Time and time again the team have shown altered coast lines, altered river
    directions and flows rising and falling landscapes etc etc.

    One of the more interesting settlements in the UK is Skara Brae (Orkney’s). Dated to about 3000 BC or so and really well preserved. It seems to be generally accepted that the settlement was abandoned after a couple of thousand years once the locals realised that the climate would never change and they were just hopelessly trapped on a “Hockey Stick” with no sign of relief.
    Either that or the climate turned really cold up there and food became scarce – never sure which as I get my news from the BBC.

  63. Smokey (15:56:38) : “Tom in Florida (12:04:39) & K B Piersen (14:16:12),
    Thanks for adding to the discussion about Occam’s Razor.”
    Sorry if I came across too strong. It is just that I have heard the Occam’s Razor quote far too often as “proof” that simple always wins.
    As CodeTech (16:14:30) said: ” Speaking of Occam’s Razor:
    The “CO2″ explanation seems to me the most simple… and yet it’s definitely not correct.”
    I started down the road to learning about AGW precisely because someone used Occam’s Razor to argue that CO2 was the cause of global warming. It seemed too simple to me at the time and then I learned that Al Gore was involved and well, that made me a skeptic right away. So here I am, much more informed on a whole lot of stuff with a revived interest in looking things up, all due to visiting this blog.
    Can we say “thanks and great job” to Anthony et al too often? I think not.

  64. ” . . . Theon admitted that he actually couldn’t have fired Hansen, who had powerful political protectors, most notably then-Senator and later Vice President Al Gore. So had Theon tried to do it, it’s much more likely that he himself would have been out on the street rather than Hansen.”

    So, rather than do his job as he swore an oath to do, rather than correct the science as the law required him to do, despite his having Civil Service protection for his job status to prevent his being fired for doing his job, he stayed quiet.
    He lied then when he had to violate the law to do so — and we’re supposed to trust him now?
    And, isn’t this the same guy who confessed that he didn’t really have firing authority over Hansen?

  65. The Sydney Opera house is on “reclaimed” land. The Napier Range in the Kimberley was once a coral reef. Tasmania was once joined to the Australian mainland. Sea levels and the land itself can both go up and down. Sometimes you gain land, sometimes you lose it. Sometimes shifting dirt works, sometimes it doesn’t.
    In the US the average life span of a building is said to be 22 years. In China, they say 30 years. If a city has to move further inland over a few hundred years. or move its port further out as the sea recedes, it’s no big deal. Cities have even been abandoned in the past, and the world just carries on.
    E.M.Smith (14:09:09) : to open a link in a new window (tab), hold CTRL while clicking the link. If your browser doesn’t support this, update it or try Firefox or Google Chrome (both free).

  66. lichanos (14:00:32) : It’s a different business to respond to sea level changes in an 18th and 19th century city while it’s growing than to retro-fit a built out 20th century city with all of its infrastructure to new sea conditions.

    E. M Smith said:

    You mean like 20th century Galveston already has done?
    http://www.galveston.com/seawallphotos/

    Oh, yeah, that’s possible in Boston. All we’d have to do is bulldoze the city, as the 1900 hurricane destroyed all but a small handful of buildings on Galveston. then we’d need to spend 20 years hauling in soil, jacking buildings up 20 feet to do it.
    And, I suppose news from Texas doesn’t get much outside the state, but we learned last year that it didn’t work. Another hurricane scoured a good chunk of the island again. It took down a massive, weather-hardened chunk of the University of Texas hospital on the island, crippling health care and the medical school on the site. Rebuilding is going fast, but it’s a long ways from being done. Insurance rates across the state are rising.
    Yeah, we can jack up some of the buildings in small towns like Galveston. But it won’t work against rising seas and more violent storms.
    Thanks for the reminder: People who scoff at nature should go check out Galveston today.

  67. DJ you are always reminding us of this warm temperature or that one without ever saying anything about the source, driver, or cause. If you need it, I can supply you with links to sites that provide these explanations. They are rather technical so you may need to book up. You say that April was warm. Okay. Why? You say that we are likely headed for record warm. Once again. Why? What parameters have been and are getting into place that would explain this weather pattern variation?

  68. Ed Darrell (11:37:33) :
    So, you’re arguing that all we need to do is use fill to stop the ocean? That works for a small area like Boston — do you have any idea how much shoreline the Mississippi River has? We can’t hold it back now. The Iriwaddy? The Mekong? The Indus? The Thames?

    I don’t get it Ed.. You are talking about rivers. What does that have to do with ocean’s exactly?
    But to your point, I am certain that the cost of keeping your feet dry would be far less (world wide) than the cost of Cap’N Trade. If the ocean’s rise even an inch per year (way above current rate), do you think you won’t be able to out run it?
    Personally, I am getting sick and tired of hearing this doomsday sea level rise BS (bad science). It’s all bunk!

  69. TomT (11:43:51) :

    Britain built flood gates on the Thames to hold back the ocean. This is not a problem that can’t be fixed by simple ingenuity and sweat.

    And a whole lot cheaper and more effective than Cap’N Trade I might add…

  70. dhogaza (12:15:06) :

    No one claims that we can’t protect infrastructure or move cities inland as sea levels rise. The claim is that it will be *expensive*, and the example of the Thames flood gates doesn’t seem to support any claim that it’s *cheap*.

    Moving cities and people is a whole lot cheaper than Cap’N Trade schemes. People have been moving since the beginning of time. Likewise, if this is such a problem, then why do people (like Al Gore) continue to buy and build on waterfront property? If they are so concerned about sea level rise, that seems rather stupid to me. If sea level is going to rise so much, why bother rebuilding and protecting New Orleans? That also seems quite stupid to me.
    I think too many people have been watching too many movies like “The Day After” .. thinking that some huge tidal wave is going to rip through their land in the middle of the night. “Stupid is as stupid does” .. “Your wealth of ignorance is astounding”

  71. Ed Darrell (14:08:27) :
    Oh, that’s right — I’d forgotten the Bush administration’s effort to fill in New Orleans and elevate it 20 feet, like the Galveston Islanders did after the 1900 hurricane. /sarc off
    All shoreline is above sea level, Mike. When sea level rises, so does the shoreline. It’s the land that gets covered by water we worry about.

    Well, you caught me. I should have placed my “/sarc” closer to that statement of the obvious.
    My point is that much of the shoreline of the Mississippi and its current delta are threatened by rising ocean levels. Unless one has had to deal with communications, or oil and gas pipelines, or bird conservation, or hunting, or fishing, or keeping one’s house dry, or unless one reads the newspapers, I suppose one wouldn’t know.
    You raise a good point in your mention of New Orleans. Yes, it isn’t threatened by rising sea levels, as the Mississippi runs at plus 14 ft at N.O., but rather by poor maintenance of the levees holding back the river and Lake Pontchartrain. This ties in to the Boston, New York, Galveston, and Holland situations in that those efforts against the sea level were made by people and governments that took responsibility for their own fate.
    New Orleans’ levees were built by such people, but decades and generations of dependence on others (the Corps, the Feds) led to an indolence that tolerated slacker local and state officials who ignored their own responsibility to maintain the levees.
    Had the mayor or governor ever insisted, the Corps would have let contracts for maintenance, but allocated monies went to “other” priorities, other pockets. That’s usually the case in single party states. When the hurricane breached the levees, how quickly the finger pointed to Washington in order to divert blame. The Clinton admin did nothing to insist the the levees be maintained, nor did either Bush one, nor did Reagan nor Carter. It wasn’t their job.
    Louisiana has a reform governor now, and the levee problems will have priority.
    Unless one has had to deal with communications, or oil and gas pipelines, or bird conservation, or hunting, or fishing, or keeping one’s house dry, or unless one reads the newspapers, I suppose one wouldn’t know.
    The oil and gas interests are fully capable and willing to deal with a sea that’s been rising since the ice age. In that, they are quite like the people of Boston, as are the others you mention.
    The pace of rise runs about a foot per century. Those unwilling to fight the level change will simple have to move to the next lot inland over their lifetime.
    As to reading newspapers, if I were that incurious a person I’d be over on Real Climate instead of WUWT.

  72. Ed may be referring to river delta shorelines, which are indeed expansive along the Mississippi and rise along with sea level.

  73. So the only problem I see is that we need to manage the sediments a bit better… and maybe not build on dynamic alluvial flood plains below / at sea level…

    Fantastic advice! You’re only about 4,000 years late.

  74. Tom in Florida,
    It’s not a problem, I do the same thing too. And I am in 100% agreement with your statement: “Can we say ‘thanks and great job’ to Anthony et al too often? I think not.”
    Anthony does a most excellent job by providing a site where we can all express our opinions. That’s how we sift out the truth — the same way that detectives arrive at the truth in solving crimes; not just through evidence, but through repeated conversation.
    I used to think that CO2 was causing global warming, too. But then I got educated by posters at WUWT.

  75. “Squidly (18:57:11) :
    And a whole lot cheaper and more effective than Cap’N Trade I might add…”
    Since we will be crushed under the weight of this new tax, perhaps we should call it Cap’n Crunch…

  76. Ed Darrell (19:22:32) :
    So the only problem I see is that we need to manage the sediments a bit better… and maybe not build on dynamic alluvial flood plains below / at sea level…
    “Fantastic advice! You’re only about 4,000 years late.”
    So since we are so late we must obviously bankrupt the world in order to have no effect whatsoever on a beneficial trace gas. Now you’re thinking!!!

  77. No one is arguing to bankrupt the world. That you appear to have such a weak grasp of the issues and the economics only reinforces my perception that denialists will say or do anything, no matter how irrational, to avoid looking at the evidence.
    Sure, we can prevent future construction where the waves will get it — but I’ll wager not one out of every 25 AGW ~snip~ favors Coastal Zone Management. After all, it’s promoted by the same people who warn us of the dangers of climate change. Al Gore was a chief proponent. I don’t really expect AGW ~snip~ to go back on their principles at this point and argue for less development in dangerous areas. That would bankrupt some developers (it is claimed)! It’s unfair to underdeveloped nations like Bengla Desh, who could have beachfront hotels in a few years (it is claimed)!
    Sure, humans adapt. One of the things Anthony Watts failed to mention is that one of the great fill-ins shown in the animation was done in one day, by the New England hurricane of 1938.
    It’s foolish to think we can beat Mother Nature, at least, not without a lot more understanding. That understanding will require study, study ~snip~ don’t want to happen, ~snip~ the denialists ~snip~.

  78. ” Mike Bryant (19:31:09) :
    Since we will be crushed under the weight of this new tax, perhaps we should call it Cap’n Crunch…”
    Try Cap’n Crack, since the money wont be spent on carbon sequestration, but on funding the democrats patronage networks via welfare programs.

  79. To bring the discussion back to Boston. I like to go wade fishing in Boston harbor for striped bass. This requires a certain amount of care and planning since the daily tides average 9.5 feet, with spring tides (that means the sun and moon are aligned, not the season) up to 13 feet. People with property along the water front also have to take into account the Northeasters that hit fairly regularly and bring storm surges of five to ten feet, especially nasty if they come at high tide. (For those of you who have never experienced one, it’s essentially a tropical cyclone parked out in the North Atlantic with wind speeds of 60 to 70 mph.) Weather and tidal sea level fluctuations are far bigger and more dangerous than a slow rise of one foot per century.

  80. E.M.Smith (14:09:09) :
    BTW, Anthony, if after the BRACKEThttp=QUOTElinktextQUOTE part of the link, you put QUOTEtarget=QUOTE UNDERSCOREblankQUOTE then the link will open in a new window rather than leaving WUWT. For folks, like me, on slow links; it lets us open the window and leave it loading while we swap back to the WUWT page to keep reading your article… A nice feature (even if it does take a bit more time to type the target=”_blank” part…
    Well, if you right click on any link there is the option of opening a new tab, or a new window, so you never lose the current one.

  81. New Orleans’ levees were built by such people, but decades and generations of dependence on others (the Corps, the Feds) led to an indolence that tolerated slacker local and state officials who ignored their own responsibility to maintain the levees.

    That and the devastating floods of 1927 which left most states along the Mississippi fiscally incapable of rebuilding. Have you ever heard of Boston’s Big Dig?
    As disasters get bigger, we need bigger governmental groups to deal with them.
    But then, nothing in Boston was done to avoid disaster, and in fact much of the filling in tended to promote environmental disaster (for which all of America pays these days). If you want to make a case that humans can stay ahead of environmental disaster, it seems to me you shouldn’t use landfills, part of which caused environmental disaster, and part of which were caused by weather catastrophe (Deer Island to Deer Peninsula), to make the point. How about talking about an example where humans actually worked to stave off environmental disaster instead?

  82. Look who is talking !!
    Ed Darrell (20:58:36) :
    It’s foolish to think we can beat Mother Nature, at least, not without a lot more understanding. That understanding will require study, study denialists don’t want to happen, study the denialists deny.
    Here the world is being stampeded into economic suicide by the supporters of AGW who believe that the tiny contribution of anthropogenic CO2 is beating Mother Nature to heat death, with no need of studies that warmist do not want to happen>
    Jumping Jupiter, as they used to say sometime.

  83. Shawn Whelan (13:09:43) :
    Just wait till the 1938 hurricane the hit NYC repeats.
    Shawn, I’m not sure of the point of your post. The USLHPP boosts its near-term projection by 1 percentage point. Its 50 year projection is above 90% and seems to be based in the logic that “if we didn’t get one this year, then the odds of next year are improved”. That’s the same logic that is making the Pequots and Mohicans wealthy. If New York or New England gets hit by a hurricane this year, are we supposed to repent of our heretical, denialist ways? If we don’t get hit, will Gavin Schmidt and James Hansen come over to the dark side? Do you really think that the 2009 North Atlantic Hurricane Season will be the defining proof/disproof for AGW theory? You might want to consider this post from an ignorant nobody named Ryan Maue:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/03/12/global-hurricane-activity-has-decreased-to-the-lowest-level-in-30-years/
    It just ain’t that simple.
    DJ (15:29:30) :
    200 million people live within 1m of sea level. I wonder how those 200 million feel about your posts.
    DJ, cool statistic. Please be kind enough to cite it. I’m constantly on the look-out for reliable sources of information like that. As to how they would feel about these posts….. I wonder how they would feel about being depicted as cringing, helpless victims? By the way, citations for your “near record warm April” and “top 3 warm year” would be helpful. If 2009 is NOT among the “top 3 warm year” will YOU be willing to repent of your troll ways and join the dark side? Didn’t think so. Projections trump observations every time.

  84. “Ed Darrell (20:58:36) :
    No one is arguing to bankrupt the world.”
    You are correct, they’re not arguing about it, they are simply doing it.

  85. Ed Darrell (21:31:31) :
    . . .That and the devastating floods of 1927 which left most states along the Mississippi fiscally incapable of rebuilding.

    Bit before my time. Anything in this millennium?
    Have you ever heard of Boston’s Big Dig?
    Big government project, isn’t it? How’s that working out?
    As disasters get bigger, we need bigger governmental groups to deal with them.
    I don’t know what environmental disaster was caused by making a causeway out to that island in Boston harbor. Nor do I know of many instances where government is efficient at doing anything, wars and the fire department excepted.
    Government does have a propensity to screw things up environmentally, though. DDT bans spreading malaria, water saving toilets that take two flushes, mercury filled cfl light bulbs from China, pregnancy insurance for moi (and at my age!), etc.
    This current regime’s insane spending binge will cause many disasters. And won’t do a thing to fix Social Security and Medicare going broke. If government would butt out, both society and the environment would do just fine. The sea level will continue to creep up at 3.2 mm/yr and we’ll just have to fight or get out of its way.
    When the sea Quits rising and starts down, then we’ll have the real disaster.

  86. Ed Darrell:
    “As disasters get bigger, we need bigger governmental groups to deal with them.”
    What a foolish statement.
    Galveston, Texas was destroyed by a hurricane in 1901. They didn’t go sniveling to big government like New Orleans did after Katrina, and they quickly rebuilt on their own.
    Anyone who believes in big government has the makings of a serf. How does it feel to be a serf, Ed?

  87. Folks, did you know that the sea level of Osaka bay, Japan, has risen by as much as 2.6 m (a bit over 100 inches) in the past 100 years?
    http://cais.gsi.go.jp/cmdc/center/graph/kaiiki5.html
    Sorry for the caption in Japanese. The graph No. 2415, reached by one or two scrolls, is for Osaka, with a current population of 2.6 million.
    Of course the tremendous “sea level rise” has nothing to do with AGW, but almost totally reflects the course of urbanization. Before WW II the ciry was rapidly urbanized and increase in the number of heavy concrete buildings caused ground subsidence. Several years after WW II we were unable to continue that, but thereafter, during the post-war industrialization up to the 1970s, the ground sank again to reach a near plateau, corresponding to the end of substantial urbanization.
    Despite such a significant “sea level rise”, nobody worries about some impending disasters, because the important coastlines in Japan, frequently struck by typhoons, have been consolidated with a height margin of about 4 m.
    Compared to this, the 9.4 inches as expected (?) by the AGW camp in coming 100 years for Boston would be nothing!

  88. I’m Dutch, I live in the Netherlands, and I don’t know anybody at all that is worried about sealevel rise. Living with the sea is something we’ve always done, we pay a separate tax for the ‘waterschappen’ which is the regional organization that is keeping us dry. These organizations are centuries old, and do a pretty good job.
    If the sea level should rise, we’ll just increase the height of the dikes. That costs money, we’ll pay it, it’s necessary. Similarly with river flooding. We’re setting aside some polders for overflow situations, so that no property loss occurs when there’s too much water coming out of the Alps.
    All in all, water is something that’s quite manageable, and the New Orleans disaster has provoked many Dutch water management engineers to talk about amateur sea defenses (See the article in Scientific American a few years ago). If you really want to see what it takes to keep a sea at bay, have a look at this http://images.google.nl/images?q=afsluitdijk

  89. How much sea rise is actually down to thermal expansion? And, with the cooling trend kicking in, will we be seeing a slowing or even a drop in level some time in the not too distant future? Sorry if this is a retarded post but I’m not a scientist.

  90. @ Bart van Deenen
    ‘If the sea level should rise, we’ll just increase the height of the dikes. That costs money, we’ll pay it, it’s necessary.’
    Really, and how will that money be paid? Through a tax? Will you stand for this? Will you allow the government to restrict your freedom to spend YOUR money the way YOU see fit? Come on, freedom-loving Americans, tell this weak-kneed European how wrong he is.
    Anyway, I hope you’re not living on the Maasvlakte. 😉

  91. Bart, as a fellow Dutchman I was about to post a similar comment but there is no need now after what you said.

  92. Bart van Deenen (02:52:11) :
    I’m Dutch, I live in the Netherlands, and I don’t know anybody at all that is worried about sealevel rise. Living with the sea is something we’ve always done, we pay a separate tax for the ‘waterschappen’ which is the regional organization that is keeping us dry. These organizations are centuries old, and do a pretty good job.
    A curtsy to those organizations.
    If the sea level should rise, we’ll just increase the height of the dikes. That costs money, we’ll pay it, it’s necessary. Similarly with river flooding. We’re setting aside some polders for overflow situations, so that no property loss occurs when there’s too much water coming out of the Alps.
    All in all, water is something that’s quite manageable, and the New Orleans disaster has provoked many Dutch water management engineers to talk about amateur sea defenses (See the article in Scientific American a few years ago). If you really want to see what it takes to keep a sea at bay, have a look at this http://images.google.nl/images?q=afsluitdijk

    I first became aware of AGW when I read about the 6 meter inundations predicted by Al Gore a few years ago. At the time I had read nothing on the science and had no reason not to believe the claims of something so official as the IPCC. These 6 meters would be bad for modern Greece since we have thousands of kilometers coastline ( displaying the fractal nature of coasts very nicely, thank you) and I started thinking of measures. Then I thought one could “gate” Gibraltar and keep the Mediterranean at whatever level is desired; with the EU and the Dutch know how within it, no problem :). It was some time later that the hockey stick led me to complete disillusionment with IPCC projections etc.

  93. Bruce Cobb (13:29:21) :
    “Building in flood-prone areas, the opposite of adaptation is just plain dumb, as is blaming “carbon”.
    so the millions of people in third world countries that produce a lot of the worlds food by farming flood plains should commute 100s of miles each day in their non existent cars?

  94. Bart van Deenen,
    Now you guys are just being silly. You must immediately start sending all those waterwhatever taxes to Raj over at the UN. Why build dikes and other things when you can just stop using electricity, gasoline and diesel? It seems to me that the Dutch are being very selfish. (Joking)
    Seriously, the Dutch are another of the many examples of the things that free people can accomplish. Thanks for reminding us that sea level rise is a small problem for the free. Freedom brings wealth and the wealth of the people brings the means to adapt.
    Mike

  95. Just watched 60 Minutes here in Australia. Apparently, the Maldives are “sinking” thanks to AGW and rising sea levels (Approx 1m apparently). Trouble is, we would see similar levels of sea encroachment in other low lying areas, but we don’t. The coral reefs are “bleeching” due to the warming too.

  96. Ed Darrell (18:49:39) :
    lichanos (14:00:32) : It’s a different business to respond to sea level changes in an 18th and 19th century city while it’s growing than to retro-fit a built out 20th century city with all of its infrastructure to new sea conditions.

    Ed, please notice that I was responding to the idea that a “20th century with all of its infrastructure” could not respond. Since apparently you didn’t bother to read the link I posted, I’ll quote some of here for your edification. Notice, for example, that the project was still getting some work in the 1960s. I think you will find that Galveston was not a “rubble pile” in 1960…
    Oh, yeah, that’s possible in Boston. All we’d have to do is bulldoze the city, as the 1900 hurricane destroyed all but a small handful of buildings on Galveston.
    Try 1/3 destroyed. That leaves 2/3 to be lifted. You posting seems long on hyperbole and short on facts. (See quote below for the 1/3 source.)
    then we’d need to spend 20 years hauling in soil, jacking buildings up 20 feet to do it.
    The rate is entirely discretionary. You could take 20 years, or 50. Geologic ocean hight changes are very slow things. 20 feet? Galveston did that to deal with the exceptional storm surge they naturally get so I would expect Boston to only choose to raise things by whatever degree they felt was a real risk. While I personally think that’s about zero, some folks estimate it at a couple of feet. Catastrophists like Gore and Hansen think 10 feet+ (per their speeches) but ought not to be taken seriously since they have been entirely wrong to date.
    BTW, jacking up buildings is a very well established and fairly easy thing to do for modest sized buildings. (Bigger ones it’s easier to put a barrier around them). But somehow I doubt that ALL of Boston is built at 2 feet of elevation… And since for Boston, unlike Galveston, we’re not talking about a sandbar in front of a hurricane; I’d expect the “problem” to be restricted to the (20 feet?) of setback from the shore that IS at a couple of feet elevation.
    Now I don’t know about where you live, but every major city I’ve ever been in does not build major skyscrapers next to the ocean at 2 feet elevation. They have a “setback” (for visual reasons if nothing else) and while the basements are often sunk a ways down (and usually built as a waterproof bathtub due to ground water) the land is graded up to the foundation so that rainwater runs away. (Heck, my suburban home has about a 2 foot drop of grade from front porch to street for the same reason…) So my best guess is that we’re talking wharfs and warehouses, mostly, as things built at / near sea level. (Fond memories of the best chowder I’ve ever eaten — at the “No Name” restaurant in Boston. Front door had no sign and you were certain you were entering a random warehouse on the pier… hope it’s still there.)
    So my advice to you is: “DON’T PANIC!” At most it would take a bit of a sea wall (2 feet? 5 feet?) and jacking up a few building around the edges of the city where it approaches water. At best, which I think is most likely, it will take nothing as coastal cities tend to already be built to deal with waves, tides, and storms and frankly, a few inches higher ocean aint nothing compared to a giant storm. It’s lost in the error band of the storm surge.
    And, I suppose news from Texas doesn’t get much outside the state, but we learned last year that it didn’t work. Another hurricane scoured a good chunk of the island again.
    It didn’t work? Galveston is GONE? And I missed it?! (Or at least, I failed to notice 😉
    Oh deary me. What has our news system come to when we can lose Galveston (at least, more than 1/3 of it since “it didn’t work” must mean that damage at least as bad as the original event happened…) and no body notices. Guess we got used to it with New Orleans.
    Yeah, we can jack up some of the buildings in small towns like Galveston. But it won’t work against rising seas and more violent storms.
    280,000 population is a “small town”? Well, it IS Texas …
    And which “more violent storms” would those be? The ones like the Labor Day storm in the Keys in 1935, or the N.Y. killer storm or 1938, or… no, wait, we haven’t had any storms worse than that in 70 years…
    Thanks for the reminder: People who scoff at nature should go check out Galveston today.

    Here is some information from my prior link to help that “checking out”:
    Incorporated in 1839, Galveston quickly became the most active port west of New Orleans and the largest city in the state.
    On September 8, 1900, Galveston was battered by what stands as the most deadly natural disaster to strike this country, still called the Great Storm more than 100 years later. More than 6,000 people were killed of the town’s 37,000, almost one in six. One-third of the city’s buildings were completely destroyed. Many survivors fled the city without even packing their belongings. The 1900 Storm looms large in the island’s collective memory as Galveston families pass down stories of survival – and loss. For the complete dramatic story, the film The Great Storm (shown daily at Pier 21 Theatre in The Strand district) is well worth seeing.

    Gee, “most deadly natural disaster” … guess we ARE still waiting for “stronger storms”… and will be for quite a while…
    In the aftermath of the hurricane, city leaders decided that if the city was to be rebuilt, it needed strong protection from the sea. To that end, the city built a seawall seven miles long and 17 feet high and began a tremendous project to raise the grade of the entire town. The project was completed in 1962, and the total cost of the seawall was $14,497,399. Today, the seawall stretches for more than 54,790 feet and protects one-third of Galveston’s ocean-front.
    Hmmm… completed in 1962. I guess it is possible to do with a 20th century city. 7 mile sea wall, $14 million. Or about what we pay per mile for a major freeway. Not too bad.
    During the grade raising, homes were jacked up, and dredges poured four to six feet of sand beneath them. Structures that could not be raised, such as 1859 Ashton Villa at 23rd Street and Broadway, had fill poured around their foundations. Residents used elevated wooden sidewalks to walk through town during the eight years it took to complete the raising of the 500 city blocks.
    Gee, at least 500 city blocks were raised, and life kept on keeping on during the process. “homes were jacked up” … I can only presume they were not so silly as to be jacking up rubble, and that the homes were intact survivors.
    Building the seawall saved the city from both the devastation of future hurricanes and from being a memory of Texas history. Galveston quickly gained notoriety across the country for the efficiency and determination it displayed while building the seawall. The engineering feat was noted as an example of how a city should respond after a disaster such as the 1900 hurricane.
    (Interesting note: The engineer responsible for this remarkable feat was Henry Martyn Robert, who also developed Robert’s Rules of Order.)
    The grade raising was so successful that when another hurricane as ferocious as the 1900 storm swept down on Galveston in 1915, the city was safe and only eight people were killed.

    Gee… it did work … who knew… But you said it didn’t and now Galveston has been scoured from the sandbar and is no more, RIP. I’ll have to drive over and see if I can get some of that nice scrubbed clean beach to put up a fishing shack… /sarc>.

  97. UK Sceptic (03:18:28) : “How much sea rise is actually down to thermal expansion? And, with the cooling trend kicking in, will we be seeing a slowing or even a drop in level some time in the not too distant future?
    http://climatesci.org/2009/01/07/sea-level-budget-over-2003%E2%80%932008-a-reevaluation-from-grace-space-gravimetry-satellite-altimetry-and-argo-by-cazenave-et-al-2008/
    “The steric sea level [the thermal expansion component of sea level] estimated from the difference between altimetric (total) sea level and ocean mass displays increase over 2003-2006 and decrease since 2006. On average over the 5 year period (2003-2008), the steric contribution has been small (on the order of 0.3+/-0.15 mm/yr), confirming recent Argo results (this study and Willis et al., 2008).””

  98. Anyone, like Ed, who brings up the obvious dangers of living in a river delta should realize that is a very different issue from slow gradual sea level rise. In Bangladesh they have to cope with metres of flooding in a few days, followed by mudslides. All that happens without any sea level rise. Would a sea level rise make things worse? Maybe by about 0.001%. But then since it is a fact that Bangladesh is gaining territory the feet are taken from that slim argument too. One thing that is certain is that cutting down trees for firewood, overpopulation on the coast and deliberate destruction of the protective mangroves makes things a lot worse. Global warming is a distracting non-issue for Bangladesh. Their real problems are here and now, not in 100 years time, and they have nothing whatsoever to do with global warming.

  99. JamesG (16:08:43) : ie the storminess caused by the cool period caused land loss which was reversed by the later warmer, less stormy period. Adding that finding to the Sahara shrinking, the natural land reclamation in Bangladesh and the overall greening of the planet in our recent warm period, warming very often seems to have the opposite effect from the doomsayers predictions. Nature is a lot more complex than some people like to believe and it just loves warmth.
    James, you have it exactly right. The Climate Catastrophists forget that major storms are a kind of heat engine, and they depend on the temperature differential between hot and cold places to drive them. It’s not just warming that matters, it’s the warm / cold differential.
    When the planet is warmer in general, it’s generally more warm in the colder places (i.e. there is less temperature differential) and when the planet gets cold, as we are doing now, we tend to get very cold at the poles first while the tropics stay warm.
    That is, the “heat engine” has more temperature differential to work with between the tropics and the very cold poles.
    So I would assert that with the PDO flip and the poles headed for colder, and with the residual thermal energy stored in the tropics, we will be seeing some strong storms in the next few years. Probably not as strong as in the past (we have a lot of cooling off to do before we can reach that point) but stronger than we’ve had in the last 30 years.
    I would also expect that the Climate Catastrophists will point their fingers at the storms and shout “Global Warming!” despite the dropping temperatures. Much as they now shout “Arctic Melting!” despite record polar ice totals and the fact that the Arctic doesn’t melt, it breaks up and floats away due to wind and currents.
    This is also part of why I think the idea of a Global Average Temperature is broken. “Averages hide more than they reveal. -emsmith” and in this case they are hiding the quantity of temperature differential that storms have to work with. Far more useful would be a comparison of the tropical average highs to the polar average highs (lows to lows ought to work too; and it could be interesting to look at tropical high vs polar low as the extreme case to see if it has more or less information in it.)
    This fact has been demonstrated to me this year. When we are under the polar side of the air mass (jet steam has cold air on top of us) we are very cold compared to the ‘average’. We also have a blustery kind of wind pattern that is not typical. More turbulent. When we are on the warm side (as today – At LAST, a couple of warm days! Tomatoes have flowers and may actually get some fruit set… a month late, but better late than never!) we get a calm still air mass with lots of pleasant warmth and a calm nature. Maybe still a degree or two above ‘average’, but that will drop over a few years as the tropics cool down.
    The net result will be spending more time under the cold side of the jet stream with ever colder and ever stronger storms / wind; and less time under the warm side with ever lower peak temperatures. It will take 20 or 30 years, but that’s what I’m expecting to happen. For the next few years, the hot side will still be “hotter than average” since the average is 30 years and we’ve only been cooling for 10. The Climate Catastrophists will howl and holler “LOOK a HIGH Temperature! Global Warming!!” and dismiss the cold side of the jet stream as just weather.
    But as the -30 to -20 part of the moving average drops off, and as we add another 10 years of tropical cooling, the effect will be very clear and hard to deny. In 5 years, that 30 year average will be dominated by the 20 years centered on 1998 and there will be ever more reports of “below average” temperatures.
    The tendency of catastrophists to be “exactly wrong” is startling, and I don’t know if it’s due to a tendency to not think deeply enough (not working through all the steps), not able to handle the perverse inversions that happen in complex systems (such as Jevons Paradox), or just a tendency to let their fear run away with their minds (folks love a good scare – Hitchcock made a fortune out of that human trait…) but the fact is, they are “exactly wrong”. Oh well.
    In stock trading, an exactly wrong indicator is just as good as an exactly right one, you just change your response to it. (For example, when everyone “knows” the market is the place to be, you sell. When the paper has a giant headline “Market CRASH! RUN AWAY!!!” you step in and buy.) The bulk evaluation of the market state is typically “exactly wrong” and thus a useful indicator. So I just look at the Climate Catastorphist claims and ask “Which of these can I invert and make money from them?”
    If I had the cash, I’d be buying out those shallow islands in the Pacific that everyone seems to think are going to flood… A bit of sea wall (decorative, of course) and a nice bamboo theme bar with beach chair rentals and … Ah, the mind wanders…

  100. Mike Jonas
    Thanks for the link. If I understand the information correctly we still have a slight annual rise but the rate has been slowing since 2006. That makes sense of my personal observations and experience.
    According to Hansen and the IPCC I should have converted my garage into a boathouse by now and raised my house on stilts I only live a few hundred yards from the beach you see but I’ve yet to register a significant rise in sea level. Heysham nuclear power station, several miles across the bay from me, hasn’t floated out to sea yet either. The fact that a third reactor, to replace the aging Heysham 1, is being planned also gives lie to New Labour’s apparent belief in rising sea levels. Either that or they are completely round the bend. I can’t rule out the latter. 😀

  101. “The rubbish is coming.”
    I would ask, “Is it still there?” As a tourist in ’76, I was driving out into Boston’s lower harbor on a little used road…looking for a place to launch a canoe. I noticed that the island was actually a tall landfill. Where wave action had cut into the edge, amidst the motley; I could see automobile tires, circa 1920.
    Will this island also be protected?
    Pragmatic(10:49:48): “They build breakwaters. They build sea walls. When erosion wins the battle, they move to higher ground and build again.”
    Here’s the rub. Do you build the sea walls around the harbor and up the rivers for the 2100 sea level rise? Or, do you move out now, because you can’t afford the sea walls that you’d need for the even higher levels in the future?
    Apart from the concrete, how do you protect the system from terrorists?
    1. if by land; or 2. if by sea.

  102. CodeTech (16:14:30) : Building cities at sea level made sense when shipping only involved ships, but has slightly less importance today. Building cities on major rivers used to make sense too, other than a water supply we don’t need to do that anymore.
    Quite so. A lot of the ‘homes near the wharf at sea level’ came about from folks walking to work in the 1800s. No longer important. One of my major complaints about New Orleans reconstruction is the idea that they want to rebuild the same 1800’s way. At / below sea level near the water. They could raise the land (as Galveston did). They could simply relocate the residential district inland and uphill a bit and put in a great freeway / commuter rail system to the city core. Lots of solutions. So what are they doing? Rebuilding the same broken design in the same place.
    “Intelligence is limited, but stupidity knows no bounds. – emsmith”
    A fundamental part of economics says that cities form where two or more transportation systems meet. Traditionally, one of these was shipping (sailing ships, barges), the other land (wagons). That is why we have so many cities located at ports and where rivers meet seas.
    Today; rail, freeways, and airports are major important drivers in the same process (and we can easily commute to a port facility for the folks who need to work in it). So the simple answer to New Orleans (and anywhere else similarly afflicted) would be to put the freeway, rail, and airport a bit more inland and higher up (and let the city grow around those, there) with a rail spur to the port (that must deal with sea and storms, but does not need to have 100,000 folks living near it at sea level nor does it need hospitals built in the path of hurricanes…)
    We are humans. We change the environment to suit ourselves… […] I have a hard time believing that dealing with small regular sea level rises has to be any different. (disclaimer: I live at 3500 feet and am a 12 hour drive from the nearest ocean… sea level rise will never have a direct effect on me)
    And in fact we have regularly moved cities around. They change even faster than the geologic time scale changes. Look at Manhattan. How much of it is unchanged from 100 years ago? Even 50 years? So what makes folks think it will be the same in 100 years from now?
    My “home town” is at 32 FEET elevation. I live MAYBE 10 miles from the waterline. IFF there is “sea level rise” it will effect me. So I put a fair amount of effort into making sure I’ve got it right. So far, over the 40 years of so I’ve lived around here, the “sea” (SF Bay) has consistently receded. 30 years ago I was looking for a place to berth my live aboard sail boat and checked out Alviso Marina (it had boats in it then and a fair number of illegal live aboards in the near by slough). 20 years ago it was closed to boats and marshy, but at least I could cast a line in and fish. 10 years ago it became a mud flat / grassy area that occasionally flooded (no point in fishing). Now? Haven’t looked lately, but the picture who’s link I posted shows the “gate” to one of the “docks” with what sure looks like grassland / reeds as far as the camera “eye” can see.
    Land “accumulates”. It’s a geology thing… FWIW, my “parkway” also accumulates land. Don’t know if it’s dust, or roots, or what. Hauled out a pickup load or two to “level it” about 25 years ago (it was about 6 inches above the sidewalk). Now it’s back to ‘above the walk’ again… And the part around the street tree (that was not leveled 25 years ago) is now 12 inches up… To account for a mm scale sea level rise but not account for an inches scale “dirt rise” is simply false accounting. (I use a ‘mulching mower’ so the clippings stay and add to the soil. I don’t ship cubic feet of stuff away with each lawn mowing as many folks do…)
    Ed Darrell (18:26:25) : So, rather than do his job as he swore an oath to do, rather than correct the science as the law required him to do, despite his having Civil Service protection for his job status to prevent his being fired for doing his job, he stayed quiet.
    Please provide some evidence to support your wild claims. Note that you make a self contradictory claim that he could fire Hansen yet he was protected via Civil Service from firing. Pick one. Civil Service protects both, or neither.
    Exactly what law specifies that science must be correct? I’d like to shove it down Hansens’ GIStemp…
    He lied then when he had to violate the law to do so — and we’re supposed to trust him now?
    As near as I can tell, from personal observation of NASA and experience as a manager, you are simply making this up and blowing smoke. What “lie”? There is none. He had a marginal employee and couldn’t find a practical way to dump him. EVERY manager faces that. It’s what layoffs are used for (AND why governments grow without bound accumulating incompetence – you never have a ‘lay off’ so you can’t weed out the ‘marginally incompetent but not consistently so’). Yeah, you lose some good folks in layoffs too, but it is Gods Gift to the manager with That Marginal Guy who screws up a lot, but manages to clean up his act just enough to not be fireable for cause.
    If you want to terminate someone, there is a very long and painful process to go through. You must “show cause” and it must be uncorrected. If, at any time, the cause is “corrected”, no matter how briefly, you get to start over again and need to get the 3 steps done again starting over at step one. (warn with corrections required, warn of failure to correct and re-explain, final warning with HR present / involved to document completeness of process; then, and only then, if STILL uncorrected, you can proceed to firing. Yes, there are exceptions such as physical violence, but they don’t apply here).
    So we had an administrator with a PITA employee who had friends in high places with a marginal case for corrective action against him. You want to make that a criminal act? Really?
    And, isn’t this the same guy who confessed that he didn’t really have firing authority over Hansen?
    I think you are confusing things here, perhaps deliberately. IIRC he was the managers manager. Did not have
    direct authority, only indirect. And as a manager of managers, you learn that you must let your folks take their own lead a fair amount (or else you are micromanaging with all its failures). Bypassing a direct report to fire someone below him is very hard to do (usually done, again, in layoffs – where you “suggest” who do dump…)
    So you want this guy to start a cat fight with a major political figure, piss off his direct report, violate chain of command, start a difficult to marginal termination for cause case with HR, and what all else again? In a Civil Service context? Now, decades later, he sees where (what at the time looked like a minor nuttiness) has lead the country. Now he has reasonable regrets. Now he knows that the cost / benefit ratio that looked like it wasn’t worth it (then) now shows maybe he ought to have taken on that grief. For that you want to beat the guy up?
    Yes, we ought to trust him. He is clearly a well balance manager who knows a lot more of the truth than the rest of the world does…
    Ed Darrell (19:22:32) :
    “So the only problem I see is that we need to manage the sediments a bit better… and maybe not build on dynamic alluvial flood plains below / at sea level…”
    Fantastic advice! You’re only about 4,000 years late.

    Well, since were presently building in New Orleans, it looks timely to me. And since every city gets ‘renewed’ on a regular basis, it looks timely to me. And since sediments are arriving every single minute of every single day, it looks timely to me. You seem to think that nothing ever changes other than the climate.
    You are wrong.
    Oh, and what major city in North America was built 4000 years ago? And what 4000 year old buildings are we still using in Asia and Europe? I seem to have missed that in my history books…
    (If you are going to Troll, can you at least have some grounding in facts and truth? Hyperbole is vaguely entertaining, but poor technique.)

  103. JamesG (07:13:37):
    One thing that is certain is that cutting down trees for firewood, overpopulation on the coast and deliberate destruction of the protective mangroves makes things a lot worse.
    Unbelievably, I agree with your assertion, except on overpopulation of coasts.
    I’ve witnessed how the land expansion for harvesting, cattle raising (herding) and construction of urban areas has modified the local climatic conditions. Those practices have worsened the erosive effects of rainfalls and winds and increased the heat island effect. Through an investigation on “red winds” in Mexico, I found that they were due to around 90 m/s Southwest winds which dragged the fertile layer of ground from very extensive lands which had been stripped off of wild plants for using them for maize and beans cropping.
    Nevertheless, I attribute the problem to ignorance and to the poor attention of governments on those activities. In brief, the problem is not the human activities because they are essential for our subsistence, but a wrong planning of those human activities.
    Of course, climate changes due to deforestation are not global, but local and/or regional. I’m sure on one thing: It’s not the CO2 what causes warming of the atmosphere or global climate changes. I perfectly know what I’m saying.

  104. Lets try this again, with the proper close to the bold and italics… (Maybe I need to use my reading glasses in the morning so I can see those little tiny slash characters better 😉 “Proof Reading” a blurry image has it’s issues…
    CodeTech (16:14:30) : Building cities at sea level made sense when shipping only involved ships, but has slightly less importance today. Building cities on major rivers used to make sense too, other than a water supply we don’t need to do that anymore.
    Quite so. A lot of the ‘homes near the wharf at sea level’ came about from folks walking to work in the 1800s. No longer important. One of my major complaints about New Orleans reconstruction is the idea that they want to rebuild the same 1800’s way. At / below sea level near the water. They could raise the land (as Galveston did). They could simply relocate the residential district inland and uphill a bit and put in a great freeway / commuter rail system to the city core. Lots of solutions. So what are they doing? Rebuilding the same broken design in the same place.
    “Intelligence is limited, but stupidity knows no bounds. – emsmith”
    A fundamental part of economics says that cities form where two or more transportation systems meet. Traditionally, one of these was shipping (sailing ships, barges), the other land (wagons). That is why we have so many cities located at ports and where rivers meet seas.
    Today; rail, freeways, and airports are major important drivers in the same process (and we can easily commute to a port facility for the folks who need to work in it). So the simple answer to New Orleans (and anywhere else similarly afflicted) would be to put the freeway, rail, and airport a bit more inland and higher up (and let the city grow around those, there) with a rail spur to the port (that must deal with sea and storms, but does not need to have 100,000 folks living near it at sea level nor does it need hospitals built in the path of hurricanes…)
    We are humans. We change the environment to suit ourselves… […] I have a hard time believing that dealing with small regular sea level rises has to be any different. (disclaimer: I live at 3500 feet and am a 12 hour drive from the nearest ocean… sea level rise will never have a direct effect on me)
    And in fact we have regularly moved cities around. They change even faster than the geologic time scale changes. Look at Manhattan. How much of it is unchanged from 100 years ago? Even 50 years? So what makes folks think it will be the same in 100 years from now?
    My “home town” is at 32 FEET elevation. I live MAYBE 10 miles from the waterline. IFF there is “sea level rise” it will effect me. So I put a fair amount of effort into making sure I’ve got it right. So far, over the 40 years of so I’ve lived around here, the “sea” (SF Bay) has consistently receded. 30 years ago I was looking for a place to berth my live aboard sail boat and checked out Alviso Marina (it had boats in it then and a fair number of illegal live aboards in the near by slough). 20 years ago it was closed to boats and marshy, but at least I could cast a line in and fish. 10 years ago it became a mud flat / grassy area that occasionally flooded (no point in fishing). Now? Haven’t looked lately, but the picture who’s link I posted shows the “gate” to one of the “docks” with what sure looks like grassland / reeds as far as the camera “eye” can see.
    Land “accumulates”. It’s a geology thing… FWIW, my “parkway” also accumulates land. Don’t know if it’s dust, or roots, or what. Hauled out a pickup load or two to “level it” about 25 years ago (it was about 6 inches above the sidewalk). Now it’s back to ‘above the walk’ again… And the part around the street tree (that was not leveled 25 years ago) is now 12 inches up… To account for a mm scale sea level rise but not account for an inches scale “dirt rise” is simply false accounting. (I use a ‘mulching mower’ so the clippings stay and add to the soil. I don’t ship cubic feet of stuff away with each lawn mowing as many folks do…)
    Ed Darrell (18:26:25) : So, rather than do his job as he swore an oath to do, rather than correct the science as the law required him to do, despite his having Civil Service protection for his job status to prevent his being fired for doing his job, he stayed quiet.
    Please provide some evidence to support your wild claims. Note that you make a self contradictory claim that he could fire Hansen yet he was protected via Civil Service from firing. Pick one. Civil Service protects both, or neither.
    Exactly what law specifies that science must be correct? I’d like to shove it down Hansens’ GIStemp…
    He lied then when he had to violate the law to do so — and we’re supposed to trust him now?
    As near as I can tell, from personal observation of NASA and experience as a manager, you are simply making this up and blowing smoke. What “lie”? There is none. He had a marginal employee and couldn’t find a practical way to dump him. EVERY manager faces that. It’s what layoffs are used for (AND why governments grow without bound accumulating incompetence – you never have a ‘lay off’ so you can’t weed out the ‘marginally incompetent but not consistently so’). Yeah, you lose some good folks in layoffs too, but it is Gods Gift to the manager with That Marginal Guy who screws up a lot, but manages to clean up his act just enough to not be fireable for cause.
    If you want to terminate someone, there is a very long and painful process to go through. You must “show cause” and it must be uncorrected. If, at any time, the cause is “corrected”, no matter how briefly, you get to start over again and need to get the 3 steps done again starting over at step one. (warn with corrections required, warn of failure to correct and re-explain, final warning with HR present / involved to document completeness of process; then, and only then, if STILL uncorrected, you can proceed to firing. Yes, there are exceptions such as physical violence, but they don’t apply here).
    So we had an administrator with a PITA employee who had friends in high places with a marginal case for corrective action against him. You want to make that a criminal act? Really?
    And, isn’t this the same guy who confessed that he didn’t really have firing authority over Hansen?
    I think you are confusing things here, perhaps deliberately. IIRC he was the managers manager. Did not have direct authority, only indirect. And as a manager of managers, you learn that you must let your folks take their own lead a fair amount (or else you are micromanaging with all its failures). Bypassing a direct report to fire someone below him is very hard to do (usually done, again, in layoffs – where you “suggest” who do dump…)
    So you want this guy to start a cat fight with a major political figure, piss off his direct report, violate chain of command, start a difficult to marginal termination for cause case with HR, and what all else again? In a Civil Service context? Now, decades later, he sees where (what at the time looked like a minor nuttiness) has lead the country. Now he has reasonable regrets. Now he knows that the cost / benefit ratio that looked like it wasn’t worth it (then) now shows maybe he ought to have taken on that grief. For that you want to beat the guy up?
    Yes, we ought to trust him. He is clearly a well balance manager who knows a lot more of the truth than the rest of the world does…
    Ed Darrell (19:22:32) :
    “So the only problem I see is that we need to manage the sediments a bit better… and maybe not build on dynamic alluvial flood plains below / at sea level…”
    Fantastic advice! You’re only about 4,000 years late.

    Well, since were presently building in New Orleans, it looks timely to me. And since every city gets ‘renewed’ on a regular basis, it looks timely to me. And since sediments are arriving every single minute of every single day, it looks timely to me. You seem to think that nothing ever changes other than the climate.
    You are wrong.
    Oh, and what major city in North America was built 4000 years ago? And what 4000 year old buildings are we still using in Asia and Europe? I seem to have missed that in my history books…
    (If you are going to Troll, can you at least have some grounding in facts and truth? Hyperbole is vaguely entertaining, but poor technique.)

  105. Mike McMillan (19:09:53) : The pace of rise runs about a foot per century. Those unwilling to fight the level change will simply have to move to the next lot inland over their lifetime.
    Mike, don’t you mean that their heirs will have to move one lot inland? Or are you envisioning a lot more folks over 100 years old in the future 😉

  106. DJ (15:29:30) : 200 million people live within 1m of sea level.
    (2 x 10 ^ 6 ) / ( 6 x 10 ^ 8 ) = 1/3 x 10 ^ -2
    or about .33 of ONE PERCENT. So this is a problem for 1/3 % OR LESS of the world population. I think we can cope.
    Frankly, as someone who was a “live aboard” once and would like to be one again, I wonder what fraction of those folks are currently living on their boats? Given the few thousand such boats – some legal, some not – in the S.F. Bay alone despite the laws against it; I’d guess a fair fraction…
    Let’s speculate: 1000 cities at / near sea level with harbors. 1000 boats each. that’s 1 million right there. Now if we have 2 folks per boat, that’s 2 million. Oh, but wait, we have cultural areas where living over / at the water is the norm, like along the Amazon, the Marsh Arabs of Iraq, and in Asia… I’m sure those folks would just hate to have more places of the sort where they choose to live… So i’d guess that we’re looking at less than 1/4 of a percent and maybe even less than 1/8 of a percent where it would be “an issue” rather than “a feature”.
    Heck, if Alviso became a harbor again I might even get a new boat and live on it again. (Though I’d get a big Cat this time – still good in the shallows but a lot faster 😎 Expensive to rent dock space, though, since they take an end slot because of the width and those are rare… Too bad shallows become land rather than becoming deeper water; I’d like to buy a chunk of “marsh becoming bay”… if only it existed anywhere.

  107. E.M.Smith (10:14:39) : Your comment is awaiting moderation
    DJ (15:29:30) : 200 million people live within 1m of sea level.
    (2 x 10 ^ 6 ) / ( 6 x 10 ^ 8 ) = 1/3 x 10 ^ -2
    or about .33 of ONE PERCENT. So this is a problem for 1/3 % OR LESS of the world population. I think we can cope.

    Oh Dear! MY BAD
    That ought to be / ( 6 x 10 ^ 9 ) to be 6 Billion people… so it/s 1/10th of 1/3 of ONE PERCENT or .0333 % of population… Now I’m sure we can cope.

  108. Posts like this one make me wonder what those who came before us would say in response to today’s climate alarmism. I wonder if it would be: “Maybe we shouldn’t have bothered”.

  109. Oddly enough older cities tend to retain their street layouts.
    The basic street plan of the Roman City of London, c. 100 AD, remains to this day even though the City was largely razed by the Great Fire of 1666. There were grand ideas about how to rebuild, Wren and all that, but the need for speed, the land ownership and land rights, and perhaps an innate conservatism defeated them. So when you scurry along some alley or another such as Birchin lane your feet are following the same path as those of a thousand or even two thousand years ago.
    And the ultimate in one upmanship, the Olde Cheshire Cheese, a pub or inn which has been there for over six hundred years and was burned down in the Great Fire. It proudly displays a plaque saying ‘Rebuilt 1667’. It used to be my local thirty years ago and very good too: Marston’s pedigree and a splendid steak and kidney pudding in the upstairs dining room. I don’t know what it is like today, probably ruined by some Pubco.
    Kindest Regards

  110. sukiho (04:56:03) : so the millions of people in third world countries that produce a lot of the worlds food by farming flood plains should commute 100s of miles each day in their non existent cars?
    No, I would expect them to live in floating homes (i.e. live aboard boats) or in light hand built homes on raised platforms over the flood area (as they often do). The problem isn’t 3rd worlders living traditionally, the “problem” is modern western capital intensive urban metroplexes like New Orleans built in such a place. That’s the “just dumb” part. A thatch and pole hut is easy to move or rebuild as needed and putting one of them near / over the rice paddy makes excellent sense. (Though I’d personally choose a live aboard catamaran … but they may not be near enough to navigable water.)
    Frankly, even a modern urban metroplex, if done in the Dutch style, makes sense. Those folks have brains and are willing to use them!
    Saw a wonderful home design from Holland. The “basement” is a sealed hull. In a dyke failure, the whole home floats up (retained in place via a couple of big poles that it has big rings around). All the utilities connect with flex connectors. Very well thought out. Easily done in New Orleans… so of course we are not doing it.
    It’s not so much about the “where” you build that makes it “dumb”, it’s the “how” you build that makes it “dumb”. Build a traditional U.S. suburban tract home or a traditional US urban high rise at or below sea level with poor dikes that are known to be less capable than the expected storms will deliver (Cat 3 in a Cat 5 zone) – Now that’s what I call dumb. Rebuilding the same way after a Cat almost 3 causes flooding?… Priceless.
    Hey Holland! Why don’t you buy New Orleans (real estate prices are low right now) and turn it into a New Little Holland … at least then it would be done right and bright.

  111. Francis (09:13:01) :
    “Here’s the rub. Do you build the sea walls around the harbor and up the rivers for the 2100 sea level rise?”
    Which sea level rise is that Francis? If it tracks along with AGW predictions of temp rise, drought, hurricane increase, polar ice melt, tropical disease vectors, polar bear extinctions, food riots, refugee migration, and market collapse – we can retire the defcon 4 alerts. What the Hansen and Gore exercise in hysteria has nicely demonstrated is how natural variability rules the roost. See E.M. Smith’s comment about SF Bay retreat for example.
    If however the need to build sea walls arises, why would such infrastructure not fall under the Obama Administration’s New-WPA funding Program?
    “Apart from the concrete, how do you protect the system from terrorists?”
    1.8 million civilian Federal employees, and 1.4 million active military men and women – to start with.

  112. Oh, and what major city in North America was built 4000 years ago? And what 4000 year old buildings are we still using in Asia and Europe? I seem to have missed that in my history books…

    You didn’t miss anything in your history books except, perhaps, that we have so few cities 4,000 years old because we managed to mismanage the land well enough to make the cities unlivable. Babylon has gone back to desert. The cedars of Lebanon are long gone, leaving rapidly eroding, relatively unproductive desert mountains in their place. Jericho is still occupied, but that’s largely because it was in a quite inhospitable desert to begin with, and the ocean needs to rise over the mountains before Jericho gets hurt from sea damage. Come to think of it, maybe we should study Jericho more closely. A 2,000 foot high levee (I’m guessing at the height) might be of use to some modern cities.

  113. Ed Darrell (19:22:32) :
    “So the only problem I see is that we need to manage the sediments a bit better…”
    Fantastic advice! You’re only about 4,000 years late.

    Oh, BTW, the Bangladesh link:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/20/world/asia/20bangla.html?_r=1
    has such evidence that “manaaging the silt a bit better” works as:
    Instead of allowing the silt to settle where it wants, Bangladesh has begun to channel it to where it is needed — to fill in shallow soup bowls of land prone to flooding, or to create new land off its long, exposed coast.
    The efforts have been limited to small experimental patches, not uniformly promising, and there is still ample concern that a swelling sea could one day soon swallow parts of Bangladesh. But the emerging evidence suggests that a nation that many see as indefensible to the ravages of human-induced climate change could literally raise itself up and save its people — and do so cheaply and simply, using what the mountains and tides bring.

    and
    When the chief engineer of the local water board, Sheikh Nurul Ala, came to measure it, he saw that in four years, Beel Bhaina had risen by as much as three feet or more near the river bank, and almost as much farther inland. Today, it is a quilt of green and gray square patches of paddy, cut by square ponds to cultivate fish and shrimp.

  114. Ed Darrell,
    Give it up. E. M. Smith pwned you. You are only making it last longer. Why not raise the white flag and wait for the next battle?
    Mike

  115. Ed Darrell,
    are you jumping the shark??
    a 2000 ft levee?? You are trouncing Hansen and Gore with that one!!
    By the way, none of the areas you mention were in existence 4000 years ago.
    Of course, the Great Pyramid COULD have been!!! Why not talk about it?? PLANNED so that it is on some of the most tectonically stable land in the world and just a wee bit above sea level!!
    The surrounding structures are being excavated from the sand. Please tell us your catastrophic story of how mankind CAUSED this desertification that has buried so much of ancient Egypt!!
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
    I guess the Anasazi, Mayans, Aztecs, and other unnamed natives of the Americas CAUSED the climate change that wiped them out also??
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
    You warmers are such a HOOT!!! The more you talk the more we realise how ~snip you are!!!

  116. Ed Darrell posts on his own blog:
    “Of course, that sort of hardening of sites is exactly what the wetlands protection under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act aimed to slow or stop, and it is part of the cause of trouble in the Mississippi Delta and other places unhardened, where the effects of hardening ports are pushed.”
    I can just imagine the headlines:
    Obama, along with the UN urges the Netherlands and Bangladesh to let “Nature Run Her Course”
    The Netherlands along with Bangladesh have been taking extreme measures to prevent sea level rise. Not only is this contrary to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, but it is also contrary to the letter AND the spirit of the IPCC’s efforts to mitigate Global Warming through carbon investments. Rajendra Pachauri said, “These monies that are being thrown away by the Netherlands, Bangladesh and any other country that tries to adapt to rather than mitigate sea level rise, would be more properly be spent by the UN to curtail the use of carbon and related GHG pollutants. How many brackish water and sea water species must be lost because of the selfish actions of a few maverick countries that believe their rights supersede the rights of the global community? These very very bad countries demonstrate the failings of localism and are reason enough for the UN to take drastic measures against them and any others who would destroy our beloved Earth.
    The president said, “Don’t they realize that they are adversely impacting wetlands?” He also announced that all monies set aside for the hardening of the levies in and around New Orleans will be forwarded to the UN and that the United States of America is now firmly on the side of any species that may be inconvenienced by humans. “Why put a bandage on the problem when we can eliminate it completely by getting rid of CO2?”, he asked.

  117. E.M.Smith (15:59:32) :
    Neven (13:21:02) : After how many inches of rise does it become too costly to defend the entire coastline?
    According to my wife, 6 inches …

    Bad man!

  118. Ed Darrell sounds like the U.S. version of George Monbiot. At his site he’d be at a loss for words if he couldn’t use “denialist.”
    From Ed’s [rarely visited] blog header: “Striving for accuracy in history, economics, geography, education, and a little science.” [Emphasis on “little” science. Very little.]
    Ed refers to another site as “sleepy.” That’s a hoot, since Ed’s site has all of seven (7) comments — and five of those are a conversation between Anthony and Ed. Now that’s a sleepy site!
    And Ed isn’t afraid to post his conclusions, right or wrong: “Climate warming is real. The effects of warming are real and quite problematic already.” [Ed’s emphasis]
    So, Ed, got a question for you: What color is the sky on your planet? Because here on planet Earth, the climate is cooling.

  119. E.M.Smith (15:14:27)
    This is another memory, from a ’60’s drive from SF to Sacramento. Of looking over the Sacramento River levee, and seeing a (seagoing?) freighter…that was above me. This levee was mentioned in Katrina’s aftermath as the probable next to go. And the conclusion was that the resulting lake would become permanent. It wouldn’t be feasible to pump it out.
    For me, the problem of sea level rise concerns what to do with the existing buildings. You can use a lot of that fill to build wide and reassuring levees. But what are the risks or consequences…underground tunnels…unknown tunnels…will the storm drains have to be pumped out…emergency preparations. I suppose these are questions for someone from New Orleans.

  120. sukiho (04:56:03) :
    so the millions of people in third world countries that produce a lot of the worlds food by farming flood plains should commute 100s of miles each day in their non existent cars?
    True enough, those in third world countries have a different set of problems than we do. What should they do? The same as people everywhere throughout our history have always done – adapt however they can. Why, what would you suggest?
    I can tell you one thing, scapegoating “carbon” will do no more good than it did to blame witchcraft for the cooling climate of the Little Ice Age, and actually a great deal of harm to third world countries.

  121. I read with great surprise and pleasure that ClimateSanity has been added to the blogroll at WattsUpWithThat. Anthony, thank you, it is an honor!
    Just to stir the pot a little, check out this simple back of the envelope calculation that may serve as a response to some of the comments here at WUWT.
    Best Regards,
    Tom

  122. Ed Darrell
    You are only off by a couple orders of magnitude on Jericho’s wall height.
    Keep up the good work.

  123. Ron de Haan (15:45:36) :
    All the scare mongering is based on cherry picking, manipulating and bending history and scientific facts.
    Totally agree.
    I am absolutely not worried about our weather nor our climate.
    I’m not worried either. I’m now embarrassed on having taught AGW rubbish in my chairs of ecology and biophysics some years ago. AGW is a very persistent eyes bandage. 🙂

  124. You are only off by a couple orders of magnitude on Jericho’s wall height.
    Keep up the good work.

    Seriously?
    Hmmm. The Dead Sea is about 800 feet below sea level. The mountains that form the barrier between Jericho and the Mediterranean I assumed to be about 2,000 feet high — but they may be lower. I might be off by 1,000 feet, but a 1,000 foot high sea wall is pretty effective, and that’s in the same order of magnitude even if in error. I know the mountains are at least 200 meters high from maps I can quickly pull up — 200 meters is about 600 feet, so that would put them at least 1,400 feet above the level of the Dead Sea.
    Clearly you didn’t understand what I was talking about, or you’re completely unfamiliar with geography and geology around Jericho.

  125. Francis (15:04:05) : This is another memory, from a ’60’s drive from SF to Sacramento. Of looking over the Sacramento River levee, and seeing a (seagoing?) freighter…that was above me. This levee was mentioned in Katrina’s aftermath as the probable next to go. And the conclusion was that the resulting lake would become permanent. It wouldn’t be feasible to pump it out.
    Ah, yes, the “deep water shipping channels” (One named Stockton, the other named Sacramento for the cities to which they connect) … Spooky, isn’t it? Especially from a bit of a distance when all you see is a giant ship ‘sailing’ through the grassland… The freighter is above you partly because the land you are on is often below sea level, partly because the channel surface is significantly above sea level… At one time much of the land of the delta was, well, delta bottom, and that is what you are driving on! Over a very long time folks built levies and “drained the swamp” to make “new land” to farm.
    There have been several levy breaks in my lifetime. (Several of the ‘islands’ of the delta are private farm land surrounded by a levy and when it breaks, the ‘island’ floods… then the farmer fixes the break and pumps it out… ) The notion that these levies have just suddenly become fragile and the delta is ready to be reclaimed by the sea is just silly. The whole delta is crisscrossed with channels and levys. A levy break typically just floods the adjacent cell. The notion that, if flooded, it could never be pumped out is ludicrous. Really. We can’t do what was done 50 to 80 years ago? Really? Just nonsense. That it would cost a lot of money, yeah, that’s true… that the farm owners would like someone else to pay for it, yeah, that’s true too.
    The major levys are really big compared to the more minor ones (2 lane highway on top – I think it’s hwy 160 runs on top of one past Rio Vista). It’s the minor ones that have sporadic failures. Substantially every levy has a road on top. Major ones are paved public highways. Minor ones are often private roads owned by the farmer who owns the “island”. I’ve driven over hundreds of miles of the levy system (as do thousands of folks every weekend… it’s how you go fishing out there…) over about half a century. (Well, I was a passenger in the earliest of those years, being a kid…) The major levies are NOT going to give out.
    And even if they did, the place is almost entirely farm land with a very few sporadic farm houses (that have often been flooded before a time or two). It’s not like N.O. with a lot of “city” at risk. Heck, I don’t even remember there being very many cows… The older bits have the house on a raised patch of dirt. Mostly its just dirt and a barn to hold the equipment.
    My guess is that the story is just a ploy to try and get money from someone else to pay for the maintenance. The farmers who own the private levies around their private land have political pull (being rich from owning all that land…) and the government is always looking for more money. So N.O. makes levies an awareness issue and VIOLA! We have an imminent levy “issue” needing public money from the rest of the nation. Right…
    FWIW, the “catastrophe scenario” is a major earthquake taking down many of the levies at the same time. One Small Problem… The earthquake faults are about 60 to 80 miles away. If it’s that big a quake, well, there is not going to be much left of the entire S.F. Bay area from Silicon Valley up to San Francisco… since they are sitting directly on top of the faults. Some flooded farm land will the be least of anyones issues.
    Don’t get me wrong, the levy system does need consistent maintenance (Trapping muskrats so they don’t tunnel into them. Assuring any surface erosion is repaired. Fixing up the roads on top. Mowing the weeds.) but I just don’t see where that is the responsibility of anyone but the farmers that get the benefit of having “reclaimed” that land… Personally, I’d be just fine with the levies failing and the delta becoming water again. It would even be nicely divided into ponds with banks for better fishing 😉
    But that won’t happen. Politicians just don’t P.O. their major contributors… they hand out pork instead. So you in the rest of the country will eventually pay for a rich farmer to continue having his land to farm since the State has run out of money and the farmer doesn’t want to cut his profits and knows he can leverage his money if it goes to politicians instead of levy maintenance.
    (Why the attitude on my part? Having driven past way too many signs saying, basically, “now entering Foo Island, private property, fishing and hunting prohibited” as you drop down from a bridge over some tributary to the back side of a public levy into the private land that benefits from the levy, but is afraid you might steal one of ‘their’ catfish from ‘their’ levy paid for by public money next to a public road …)
    For me, the problem of sea level rise concerns what to do with the existing buildings.
    I’m sure some nutter will start building subdivisions below sea level in the delta, but for now it’s pretty much empty (at least, the last time I really looked, about a decade ago. Though I’ve heard that Bouldin Island might be building some houses; but haven’t checked it.) So: Almost no buildings, no worries.
    You can use a lot of that fill to build wide and reassuring levees. But what are the risks or consequences…underground tunnels…unknown tunnels…will the storm drains have to be pumped out…emergency preparations. I suppose these are questions for someone from New Orleans.
    But not for the Sacramento River Delta levies. There are no underground tunnels. No storm drains. Just flat dirt with a low “hill” around it – the levy; and sporadically a farm house (stand alone well, septic tank, etc.) and sometimes a bait shop / bar on high ground near a bridge…

  126. Please provide some evidence to support your wild claims. Note that you make a self contradictory claim that he could fire Hansen yet he was protected via Civil Service from firing. Pick one. Civil Service protects both, or neither.

    If Hansen had been making up the science as this fellow alleges, that’s cause. In fact, that’s contrary to federal regulations, and contrary to the laws governing NSF grants, among others. So there would have been no reason to hesitate to fire, if the guy had the goods.
    But he feared his own job would be in jeopardy from politicians? He hasn’t read the Civil Service Code. Carrying out the law in firing an employee for cause could not in any case be used as a justification for removal, and the politician would have to make the case with this guy’s boss.
    I think this fellow misremembers his work with James Hansen, on several points.

  127. Juneau Alaska rising (local sea level falling) due to global warming (glacial retreat) Of course it is bad! So, sea level rising due to AGW is bad and sea level falling due to AGW is also bad. I give up:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/18/science/earth/18juneau.html?_r=1

    Um, yeah, those areas where the glaciers melt will rise. So, in order to protect Alaska, Greenland and Antarctica, all we need to do is melt the glaciers, and global warming is already doing that! Problem solved, this guy thinks?
    Alas for Boston, its glacier has been gone for a long time. Melting the glaciers won’t raise it much.
    /parody
    Oy.

  128. The combined average global land and ocean surface temperatures for April 2009 ranked fifth warmest since worldwide records began in 1880, according to an analysis by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C.
    The analyses in NCDC’s global reports are based on preliminary data, which are subject to revision. Additional quality control is applied to the data when late reports are received several weeks after the end of the month and as increased scientific methods improve NCDC’s processing algorithms.
    Temperature Highlights
    • April’s combined global land and ocean surface temperature was 1.06 degree F above the 20th century average of 56.7degrees F. The most significant warmth occurred in northern and northeastern Asia, Europe, and much of the planet’s southern oceans.
    • The global combined land and ocean surface temperature of 55.8 degrees F is tied with 2003 for the sixth-warmest January-through-April period on record. This value is 0.97 degree F above the 20th century average.
    • The global land surface temperature for April was 1.80 degrees F degrees above the 20th century average of 46.5 degrees F degrees.
    Global Highlights
    • Arctic sea ice coverage of 5.6 million square miles was the tenth-lowest April extent since satellite records began in 1979, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. This value is 2.8 percent below the 1979-2000 average. In contrast, the April Southern Hemisphere sea ice extent of 3.2 million square miles was 13.5 percent above the 1979-2000 average. April is early in the melt season for Arctic sea ice, and early in the growth season for Antarctic sea ice.
    • Based on NOAA satellite observations, April snow cover extent was below the 1967-2009 average for the Northern Hemisphere. This marked the hemisphere’s sixth consecutive April with below-average snow cover extent. Warmer-than-normal conditions over Eurasia contributed to that region’s fourth-smallest April snow cover extent during the period. North American snow cover extent was slightly above average during the month.
    NOAA understands and predicts (LOL, this is funny) changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources.

  129. They admit that Actic and antarctic is losing in one area and gaining more in another funny I think.

  130. Although, other sources say that 2009 has been the coldest average since the early to mid 1900’s in the USA.

  131. Ha, ha, don’t worry for sea is rising. There is a buillding waterproofing company in Australia. They are going to save the world. I think that the problem of rising sea is not going to be solved locally. “Locally” is the point where we all need to start, but “globally” is the problem solving solution.

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