Guest post by Thomas Fuller and Tony Brown
When we separate what scientists have actually said from what messages are carefully prepared and communicated to us through the media, one thing jumps out to the most casual of readers.
Some marketing strategists reduced the information content of the messages given to the public and introduced popular symbols to indicate what they wanted us to believe was threatened by climate change.
For over 5 years we have been bombarded with images of polar bears, hurricanes, flooded cities, icebergs calving, drought-stricken deserts, and the like. Perhaps the most symbolic representation wasn’t even a picture, but a PowerPoint slide of paleoclimatic temperature reconstructions now famous as the Hockey Stick Chart.
Those symbols all have one thing in common. They were mistakenly used. As has been cataloged here and elsewhere, these ‘signature’ issues were either blown out of proportion or presented falsely.
Polar bears, like all large mammals that haven’t had the good fortune to be domesticated, have a shaky status on this planet–but that status does not appear to have very much at all to do with climbing temperatures. They survived higher temperatures in the past, and their population is rising–and would be rising even more quickly if we quit shooting them, that being the major cause of polar bear deaths.
There is no historical trend in either the frequency or intensity of hurricanes, as Roger Pielke Jr. has pointed out in academic publications. And yet global warming has been blamed for specific storms, such as Hurricane Katrina, in a manner that is frankly antithetical to the principles of science.
And so it is with icebergs calving (a completely normal and mechanical reaction to ice accumulation that happens whether temperatures are rising or falling), droughts (which were worse in the past) and all the other symbolic climate porn photography inflicted upon us.
Yesterday I wrote about sea level rise, and attempts to measure ice loss in Antarctica via satellite. And again, it is very clear that the results of scientific work are being hijacked in an attempt to push a scary message at us. The analysis of gravimeter measurements start with guesses and inferences, and the result is presented with a huge margin of error, and amounts to less than 1% of the annual ice loss Antarctica experiences every year.
Commenter TonyB went to the trouble of cataloging the difficulties inherent in sea level measurements. By rights it should be posted here as an article. I’ll paste it in at the bottom of this piece–and I will wager most readers will think it is more informative than my words above it.
But before I turn the stage over to TonyB, I want to make a couple of points:
First, it should be obvious that the manipulation of the messages isn’t coming from scientists. It is too professional, too slick and ultimately too wrong. This is a professional, coordinated media strategy using calendars with press schedules and release dates, a well-stocked photo library and a rapid response team that shoves new releases out the door in response to news events or skeptical messages that seem to be gaining traction.
Second, and really most important, all of the messages have very serious flaws in the narratives that accompany the pictures they ship out. And it is the exposure of these flaws that has crippled the climate change political movement, far more than criticism or political opposition.
If climate change or global warming is now a declining motivation for political and economic action, and it may well be, the reason is not Monckton or Morano. It is not even more measured criticism coming from McIntyre and Watts. Nor is it corrective science administered by both Pielkes.
It is their own butchery of the facts behind the images they decided we needed to see that hamstrung their movement. If they have been defeated in the first series of battles (in what I predict will be a 30-year war), they done it to themselves.
Here’s Tony–read on!
No problem. I was going to work this up into an article on sea levels one of these days although someone must have already posted an article here on this fragile part of a fragile science.
“We are being bamboozled by science which likes to have a nice graph to explain everything, unfortunately the real world is more complicated than that. Global sea levels are -like global temperatures-a nonsensical artifact dreamt up in a computer laboratory where satellite records are tacked on to manufactured and highly incomplete historic records from selected tide gauges.. Modern Sea level rises- where happening- are not being seen in context as another of those regular cycles that stretch back much further than the satellite records or tide gauges into the depths of recorded time.
This is the latest IPCC assessment which confirms sea level calculations from 1993 are by satellite.(page 5 onwards)
The sea level calculations rely on an enormous number of variable factors including pressure, location, tides, warmth of oceans, structures, storms, wave heights, surges, stasis, location of the gauge/sensor, slope of the underlying strata etc. The accuracy of measurements is said to be 3cm (10 times the level of the alleged annual rise) but in reality is often vaguer than that because of the inherent difficulties of measuring. Observed real world sea levels generally simply do not show the rate of increase suggested by the IPCC (although this varies enormously from place to place for reasons cited above)
Link 2 The document below was written by many of our old friends including Phil Jones and Mike Hulme-page 19 gives the sea level data
The information for historic sea levels was ‘extended’ from a paper by one of the scientists at Proudman
Link 4 This is reconstruction of sea level data from 1700 of three extremely incomplete Northern Hemisphere records from which IPCC extrapolate their figures, take them to be a global figure and splice them on to the satellite records
Link 5 .
These three are taken to represent global figures since 1700-much data missing and subsequently interpolated.
Amsterdam from 1700 (Van Veen 1945)
Liverpool since 1768 (Woodworth 1999)
Stockholm since 1774 (Ekman 1988)
It says there are differences even in the same ocean basin between tide gauges of up to plus or minus 6cm rendering their use for a global record to be irrelevant
pdf from 1700 link
6cm margin of error from tide gauges in same ocean basin
Both the following sites give a good description of the satellite process-which is being constantly refined but doesn’t get more extremely accurate as the inherent flaws in measuring capabilities can’t be fully resolved no matter how many satellite passes are made.
The following sites deals with problems of satellite accuracy and data;
This with reliability
The UK Environment Agency -where possible like to use physical tide gauges as well when developing flood defence schemes, which are both visually observed or can send data electronically. Best of all is gathering information from local people such as the Harbour master or those who work the fishing boats and who know what is really happening.
The following link leads to a graph produced by the Dutch Govt sea level organisation- and confirm sea levels are stable and are somewhat lower than during the MWP. (This won’t stop them reacting to the IPCC by raising sea defences)
We have much observational evidence of historic sea levels (p162 on-including a map in the following link)
Ancient Greek explorer Pytheas traveled to Iceland and not only discovered the frozen seas lying one days journey beyond, but was the first to quantify the moons action as being responsible for tides, and took physical measurements of heights. Sea level heights are generally said to be lower today than back in the Roman warm period and Mwp.
Sea castles in the UK built in the 11th century are now above the sea level entrances which ships used to re-supply them.
This links leads to a 1913 book on Harlech castle-one such building which is now high and dry-nothing to do with stasis or deposition, but that sea levels are lower now than when it was built 1000 years ago. Suggest readers select the b/w pdf
“In 1409 an attack was made upon Harlech, led by Gilbert and John Talbot for
the King; the besiegers comprised one thousand well armed soldiers and a big siege train. The besieged were in the advantageous situation of being able to receive their necessary supplies from the sea, for the waves of
Cardigan Bay at that time washed the base of the rock upon which the castle stands. Greater vigilance on the part of the attacking force stopped this and the castle was surrendered in the spring of the year.
A remarkable feature of the castle is a covered staircase cut out of the rock, defended on the seaward side by a looped parapet, and closed above and below by small gatehouses. This was the water-gate of the fortress,
and opened upon a small quay below.”
Link 15 The following pictures show the current location of the sea.
Sea in far distance from Harlech castle
very good item about Harlech
Sea levels AND temperatures were higher in the MWP and the Roman warm periods and presumably other extended warm periods (the period 1700 to 1740 is looking increasingly comparable to today).
The worlds leading sea level expert Professor Morner has called the IPCC figures ‘a lie.’ Google ‘The greatest lie ever told’
Morner says: “The mean eustatic rise in sea level for the period 1850-1930 was in the order of 1.0-1.1 mm/year,” but that “after 1930-40, this rise seems to have stopped (Pirazzoli et al., 1989; Morner, 1973,2000).” This stasis, in his words, “lasted, at least, up to the mid-60s.” Thereafter, “the record can be divided into three parts: (1) 1993-1996 with a clear trend of stability, (2) 1997-1998 with a high-amplitude rise and fall recording the ENSO event of these years and (3) 1998-2000 with an irregular record of no clear tendency.” Most important of all, in his words, “There is a total absence of any recent ‘acceleration in sea level rise’ as often claimed by IPCC and related groups.”
He concludes: “When we consider past records, recorded variability, causational processes involved and the last century’s data, our best estimate of possible future sea-level changes is +10 +/- 10cm in a century, or, maybe, even +5 +/- 15cm.” See also Morner (1995); INQUA (2000).”
I am inclined to agree with Professor Morner that sea level is not really doing very much generally (with exceptions either way in some places)
The above link dissects the data and states that a rise by 2100 of 5cm is possible…. plus or minus 15cm!
Morner stresses (as I do) that observational data contradicts the theoretical interpolated and massaged data that is used by the IPCC.
John Daly also had a good handle on all this.
The sea level is not rising at the rate suggested-it has stumbled in recent years according to many local gauges (what is global sea level supposed to mean with a million kilometres of coastline?)
To reach a 1 metre increase by 2100 means an average of nearly 11mm a year (only 90 years remaining). There is simply no evidence to show this is happening.
We must stop looking at just a few years of data as ‘proof’ of rising levels , and instead view things in a historic context, whilst retaining a great deal of scepticism at the notion you can create a highly accurate global figure in the first place, or that tacking dubious satellite data on to even more dubious tide gauge data is any way to create a worthwhile measurement .
I had intended to cover historic sea levels as a companion to my ‘arctic ice variation through the ages’ series.
Thomas Fuller http://www.redbubble.com/people/hfuller