Finally, a sea level rise NOT blamed on global warming

From NOAA News: NOAA Report Explains Sea Level Anomaly this Summer along the U.S. Atlantic Coast

August 31, 2009

NOAA scientists install current measuring systems on a U.S. Coast Guard Navigation Buoy.

NOAA scientists install current measuring systems on a U.S. Coast Guard Navigation Buoy. Credit: NOAA

Persistent winds and a weakened current in the Mid-Atlantic contributed to higher than normal sea levels along the Eastern Seaboard in June and July, according to a new NOAA technical report.

After observing water levels six inches to two feet higher than originally predicted, NOAA scientists began analyzing data from select tide stations and buoys from Maine to Florida and found that a weakening of the Florida Current Transport—an oceanic current that feeds into the Gulf Stream—in addition to steady and persistent Northeast winds, contributed to this anomaly.

“The ocean is dynamic and it’s not uncommon to have anomalies,” said Mike Szabados, director of NOAA’s Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services. “What made this event unique was its breadth, intensity and duration.”

The highest atypical sea levels occurred closer to where the anomaly formed in the Mid-Atlantic, where cities like Baltimore, Md., at times experienced extreme high tides as much as two feet higher than normal. Data from NOAA’s National Water Level Observation Network tide stations, Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, and National Data Buoy Center, are published in the report.

Local flooding at Carolina Beach, NC, due to this summer's elevated sea level anomaly on the East Coast.

Local flooding at Carolina Beach, NC, due to this summer's elevated sea level anomaly on the East Coast. Credit: Island Gazette Newspaper

Impacts of the event were amplified by the occurrence of a perigean-spring tide, the natural timing of the season and month when the moon is closest to the Earth and its gravitational pull heightens the elevation of the water. The combined effects of this tide with the sea level anomaly produced minor flooding on the coast.

“The report is a good first assessment,” said NOAA Oceanographer William Sweet, Ph.D. “However, NOAA, with our academic partners, should continue to investigate the broader causes behind the event. Further analysis is needed to fully understand what is driving the patterns we observed.”

The full report, Elevated East Coast Sea Level Anomaly: June-July 2009, is available online.

NOAA understands and predicts 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.

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35 thoughts on “Finally, a sea level rise NOT blamed on global warming

  1. I don’t get it. Is there a seal on the bouy? Why does the title mention the word seal? — John M Reynolds
    REPLY: errant “l” removed thanks – A

  2. I realise its not scientific and I know its cherry picking but I tend to accept reports at face value that do not attribute changes to “climate change”.
    The question is who is at fault? Is it me for having a blinkered view on events or is it the climate scientists for screaming “wolf” so often?

  3. This sea level rise would be a tricky business, just factoring in the inverse barometer must be a bit o head ach. Obviously low atmospheric pressure during a king tide would mean a higher tide… but id imagine if a large high pressure is following it would push it up more etc… gives me a head ach just thinking about the implications of one factor!

  4. “NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun”
    Interesting claim.

  5. Further analysis is needed to fully understand what is driving the patterns we observed.

    Translation:
    We’ve not quite figured out how to link this to climate change yet, we’ll tell you next week!
    DaveE.

  6. “Paul Vaughan (17:51:16) :
    “NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun”
    Interesting claim.”
    They just punch in an arbitrary Co2 concentration figure into their robust, super accurate, computer models which pit out facts; Co2 causes everything that warms and wear spacial BS filters which blinds us to the fact we haven’t a clue.

  7. “Further analysis is needed to fully understand what is driving the patterns we observed.”
    Give it time… They’ll find a global warming angle.

  8. evanmjones (17:41:04) :
    I liked “seal evel” rise better.
    ————————
    Evel seals?! Run for the hills!!!! We’re all land lubbers now!!! ;P

  9. “NOAA understands and predicts 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.”
    If you say so…

  10. DaveE (18:02:10) :
    ‘Further analysis is needed to fully understand what is driving the patterns we observed.’
    “Translation:
    We’ve not quite figured out how to link this to climate change yet, we’ll tell you next week!”
    Another translation: can we have some more grant money please?

  11. Patrick Davis (18:06:27) “They just punch in an arbitrary Co2 concentration figure into their robust, super accurate, computer models which pit out facts; Co2 causes everything that warms […]”
    Lol – & don’t forget that it also causes cooling, cooling-warming, warming-cooling, &/or any other thing that happens, has happened, &/or will happen.

    What I want is a reliable ENSO forecast that extends years into the future. Let’s call this step 1 towards earning my trust.

  12. It was abnormally cool and wet in New England in June & July this year. The Bermuda high didn’t set up until August. Not so surprising that the tides should respond.

  13. DaveE (18:02:10) “We’ve not quite figured out how to link this to climate change yet, we’ll tell you next week!”
    Jimmy Haigh (18:43:00) “Another translation: can we have some more grant money please?”

    Another one: We await instructions from our political masters.

  14. “Further analysis is needed to fully understand what is driving the patterns we observed.”
    I am inclined to take this at face value and praise them to the skies for saying something that is obvious common sense.
    Indeed, I would go further. That single sentence explains my skepticism about the catastrophic AGW hypothesis/theory. I’m sure I’m not the only one who doesn’t have the technical knowledge to be able to refute the quasi-scientific justifications put forward for that theory, but I am able to say “you cannot possibly know enough to be so certain”. Perhaps I am being circular and unfair in calling it “quasi-scientific” because “quasi” is only supportable if my qualification to their level of knowledge is correct. But there lies the core of so much in this debate. I am yet to read anything from either side of the debate to support the conclusion that anyone knows enough to be able to be certain.
    Be it the effect of clouds, the effect of the sun, the effects of the churning oceans, the effect of aircraft (to touch on a recent post here), the effect of deficiencies in land temperature measurements (the whole foundation of this site) or anything else, the possible influences of these imponderables are so vast that certainty seems to me to be irrational.
    I am inclined against the catastrophic AGW theory in part because I cannot see how it can be supported with certainty in the light of the matters I have mentioned, in part because the evidence supporting some of its central planks seems more than a little rickety and in part because I don’t like its political consequences.
    But I cannot and do not pretend to speak with authority. I speak purely as a moderately intelligent and reasonably well-educated person who tries to approach all issues with as open a mind as my experiences in life will allow. Is that not the key to so much of this? We all approach every issue we face on the basis of our personal experiences and the (often deeply-embedded) opinions that result from those experiences.
    One deeply-embedded opinion I have and cannot divorce is that certainty in anything requires a factual basis that stands up to questioning from all angles.
    “Further analysis is needed to fully understand what is driving the patterns we observed” is, to my mind, applicable to every aspect of the catastrophic AGW theory. That, of itself, means it cannot (yet) be accepted and should not be acted upon.

  15. NOAA understands: Look at http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/ml/ocean/sst/anomaly.html and go through June, July and August: a persistent blue spot builds up in the Atlantic,
    between 40N and 60 N.
    This is the region where the Gulf stream is flowing into. The Gulf stream just takes a little break. Because of that, NOAA says, the tides are higher.
    If that blue spot persists through fall, the winter may be colder in Europe. The last one was not too warm either.
    If the other big gyres also take little breaks, this may be climate change.

  16. “NOAA [] predicts changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun”
    HOTSPUR
    Why, so can I, or so can any man;
    But do they change when you predict them?
    [Henry IV pt 1 (ish)]
    I recently looked up the correction made to sea levels for barometric pressure. It’s amazingly large.
    JF

  17. “NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun”
    You know, I’m leaning towards thinking this was just a typo — and that it should have read:
    NOBODY understands and predicts changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun”

    Re: FatBigot (20:45:17)
    You make an interesting argument.

  18. So here is an odball way that man probably is raising the sea level (we are talking a whopping 3mm afterall). I had a “eurika” moment when I saw the first picture of the post, and almost thought that was where we were going with the post, but alas no.
    Every ship, boat and sub displaces a certain amount of water, now an individual boat might well not make much of a difference, but there are alot of boats, I have to imagine smeared out over the surface of the ocean that the displacement has to account for at least a small portion of the 3mm rise, just a thought.

  19. MattB: Another thought. We now have 6 billion+ people wandering around, all pushing down on the planet. So something has to go up in response.
    I suspect, without doing any math, all of it amounts to a speck of dust on the truck scale. Well below the noise threshold. My question: sea level rise relative to what? If they really saw a two foot change, that should show up on shore. Have to wonder just how they measure some of these things.

  20. NOAA scientists began analyzing data from select tide stations and buoys from Maine to Florida and found that a weakening of the Florida Current Transport—an oceanic current that feeds into the Gulf Stream
    Interesting. A weakened Gulf Stream is accepted by many as the cause or at least a contributing factor of the Little Ice Age, in Europe.
    Note that despite popular belief, the reason Western Europe is temperate for its latitude (from memory England is on the same latitude as Labrador), is the Rocky Mountains which causes low pressure systems to track further northwest than they would otherwise. The Gulf Stream is secondary although still a factor.

  21. “After observing water levels six inches to two feet higher than originally predicted, NOAA scientists began analyzing data from select tide stations and buoys”
    “NOAA understands and predicts 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.”
    How interesting and how in conflict. Better said that NOAA predicts changes in the Earth’s environment which are WRONG on occasion!

  22. “After observing water levels six inches to two feet higher than originally predicted, NOAA scientists began analyzing data from select tide stations and buoys”
    “NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun,
    Where was the fall in water levels, must be a fall somewhere.

  23. Retired Engineer (07:48:08) :
    MattB: Another thought. We now have 6 billion+ people wandering around, all pushing down on the planet. So something has to go up in response.
    I suspect, without doing any math, all of it amounts to a speck of dust on the truck scale. Well below the noise threshold. My question: sea level rise relative to what? If they really saw a two foot change, that should show up on shore. Have to wonder just how they measure some of these things.

    Do note, I said small :), just like the majority of man’s influences on climate (environment is a whole nother issue) Just like those same 6 billion people all contribute in a small way, to a rising temperature due to the fact that they are warm bloded, but also take away a portion of whatever water level rise there is because at any given time they are sequestering a fair amount of water. Lots of little things to look at if you want to try to model the whole shebang, no wonder the models cant get even close (though they may have a better chance if they stated including solar variability into the equation, but that might result in realizing just how little effect we do have on climate though)

  24. Sea level rise in New Zealand
    I hope this is the right place to post:
    I have been quietly accumulating information on sea level rise over the past year, from relevant blog posts and web sources, downloading information whenever possible and trying to make some sense of it all. I have quite a collection, but there are many things I still don’t fully understand. Today, I discovered the IODE site, and noticed a recent international conference (May 2009). I took a look at some of the reports and noticed that reports for two of the major cities in New Zealand, Wellington (capital city) and Auckland (where I live), still could only show results for up to 2000 (Auckland) and 2005 (Wellington).
    I am puzzled. Why is the data reported on nearly 10 years old for Auckland, and four years old for Wellington.
    I have learnt (I hope) not to jump to conclusions, and I intend to dig a little deeper. On the Auckland data it seems that
    “Efforts are being made to obtain permission from the port company to make this data available to the international community.”
    Fair enough. I guess that good data reporting does take time. The Auckland results up until 2000 show a steady rise of 1.29mm +/- 0.20mm pa and Wellington shows a steady rise of 2.41mm +/- 0.35mm pa
    But then I found another source of information, which graphs the available satellite data right through almost to today it appears. Most curious – I input the coordinates for Auckland, and the resulting graph shows that MSL has been essentially flat from 2000 until 2009. How about Wellington ?? Hmmm . . . this also shows a pretty flat-looking graph from 2000 until 2009.
    Do I smell a rat ?? No, I am sure there is a reasonable explanation somewhere, and I do trust our local NZ scientists and administrators – they would never deliberately stall on providing the best most up to date information. I will just have to ask them, and I will.
    But before I do, can anyone else shed some light on this ?? Maybe I am missing something important ?? Sorry – I don’t know how to post links or graphs
    Here are my references:
    (1) http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sltrends/sltrends_global_station.shtml?stnid=690-002 for Auckland, and
    http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sltrends/sltrends_global_station.shtml?stnid=690-011 for Wellington
    (2) http://www.iode.org/index.php option=com_oe&task=viewDocumentRecord&docID=3654
    and download the pdf file at
    http://www.iode.org/index.php%20option=com_oe&task=viewDocumentRecord&docID=3654
    (3) using the University of Colorado interactive wizard
    http://sealevel.colorado.edu/wizard.php
    input coordinates are 74\’45\” and -35\’55\” for Auckland, NZ
    and for Wellington NZ the coordinates are 174\’47\” and -41\’17\”
    or just go straight there:
    Auckland:
    http://sealevel.colorado.edu/wizard.php?dlon=174%2745%22&dlat=-35%2755%22&map=v&fit=n&smooth=n&days=60
    Wellington:
    http://sealevel.colorado.edu/wizard.php?dlon=174%5C%5C%5C%2747%5C%5C%5C%22&dlat=-41%5C%5C%5C%2717%5C%5C%5C%22&map=v&fit=n&smooth=n&days=60
    thanks in advance
    Norm Beazer

  25. re: Norm Beazer (22:12:42) :
    Sea level rise in New Zealand
    the references again . . .
    (1) for Auckland, and http://tinyurl.com/yz7ra27
    for Wellington http://tinyurl.com/yguv5d8
    (2) IODE http://tinyurl.com/ygd4vep
    and download the pdf file at
    http://tinyurl.com/yzdmk4q
    (3) using the University of Colorado interactive wizard
    http://sealevel.colorado.edu/wizard.php
    input coordinates are 74\’45\” and -35\’55\” for Auckland, NZ
    and for Wellington NZ the coordinates are 174\’47\” and -41\’17\”
    or just go straight there:
    Auckland: http://tinyurl.com/yghkmxs
    Wellington: http://tinyurl.com/yg77r68
    thanks again
    Norm Beazer

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