NASA's Hansen thinks sea level rise will be accelerating – I think not, offering a new paper and updated story on Hansen to show why

Dr. James Hansen, NASA scientist, advocate, and protestor with a rap sheet released a new paper (non peer reviewed) on his website recently. A video report follows. The paper is titled:

Earth’s Energy Imbalance and Implications (click for PDF)

Here’s a portion of the abstract:

Improving observations of ocean temperature confirm that Earth is absorbing more energy from the sun than it is radiating to space as heat, even during the recent solar minimum. This energy imbalance provides fundamental verification of the dominant role of the human-made greenhouse effect in driving global climate change. Observed surface temperature change and ocean heat gain constrain the net climate forcing and ocean mixing rates. We conclude that most climate models mix heat too efficiently into the deep ocean and as a result underestimate the negative forcing by human-made aerosols. Aerosol climate forcing today is inferred to be ‒1.6 ± 0.3 W/m2, implying substantial aerosol indirect climate forcing via cloud changes. Continued failure to quantify the specific origins of this large forcing is untenable, as knowledge of changing aerosol effects is needed to understand future climate change. A recent decrease in ocean heat uptake was caused by a delayed rebound effect from Mount Pinatubo aerosols and a deep prolonged solar minimum. Observed sea level rise during the Argo float era can readily be accounted for by thermal expansion of the ocean and ice melt, but the ascendency of ice melt leads us to anticipate a near-term acceleration in the rate of sea level rise.

This line is rather odd:

A recent decrease in ocean heat uptake was caused by a delayed rebound effect from Mount Pinatubo aerosols…

Well I don’t know what he’s talking about, but the Pinatubo eruption happened in June 1991, and I doubt much aerosol remained after about 3 years. Maybe in his mind 15-20 years ago was “recent”? In 1999 the USGS report on Pinatubo said:

The aerosol cloud spread rapidly around the globe in about 3 weeks and attained global coverage 1 year after the eruption. The SO2 release was sufficient to generate over 25 Mt of sulfate aerosol, and peak local and regional midvisible optical depths of up to 0.4 were recorded. Global values after widespread dispersal and sedimentation of aerosol were about 0.1 to 0.15, with a residence time of over 2 years. This large aerosol cloud caused dramatic decreases in the amount of net radiation reaching the Earth’s surface.

So what’s Hansen thinking when he says “A recent decrease in ocean heat uptake was caused by a delayed rebound effect from Mount Pinatubo aerosols…” ?

But I digress. The good doctor is also talking again about sea level rise, saying that:

…we conclude that the rate of sea level rise is likely to accelerate during the next several years.

And then goes on to talk about Pinatubo aerosols again:

Reasons for that conclusion are as follows.

First, the contribution of thermal expansion to sea level is likely to increase above recent rates. The nearly constant rate of sea level rise since 1993 masks the fact that thermal expansion must have been less in the Argo era than in the prior decade, when ice melt was less but sea level rose 3 mm/year. Solar minimum and a diminishing Pinatubo rebound effect both contributed to a declining rate of thermal expansion during the past several years. But the Pinatubo effect is now essentially spent and solar irradiance change should now work in the opposite sense.

Well…not so sure about that. A recent analysis of tide gauge data published in the Journal of Coastal Research suggests that there’s been no hint of acceleration at all in the past 100 years:

Bombshell conclusion – new peer reviewed analysis: “worldwide-temperature increase has not produced acceleration of global sea level over the past 100 years”

The paper is currently in press at the Journal of Coastal Research and is provided with open access to the full publication. The results are stunning for their contradiction to AGW theories which suggest global warming would accelerate sea level rise during the last century. In fact, the data distribution seems to be slightly towards the deceleration side:

This seem like a perfect time to revisit this story that I did over a year ago that talked about a prediction posted in a salon.com interview where Dr. Hansen said that the “West Side Highway would be underwater in 20 years”. Well Hansen got upset with that report and called up the reporter and told him his memory was wrong, saying that it was actually 40 years.

Willis Eschenbach told me about the disagreement, and I updated the original story about three weeks ago to deal with the shift from 20 years to 40 years. See the corrected title:

A little known 20 40 year old climate change prediction by Dr. James Hansen – that failed will likely fail badly

The surprise? Even adding 20 years, Hansen’s prediction still doesn’t look promising. Here’s the new additions to that story from October 2009:

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UPDATE: Thanks to a tip from Willis Eschenbach, there’s some developing news in that story from Dr. James Hansen. The Salon interviewee and book author, Rob Reiss that I quoted, now admits he somehow conflated 40 years with 20 years, and concedes that Dr. Hansen actually said 40 years for his prediction. However, as the newest analysis shows, it doesn’t make any difference, and we still aren’t seeing the magnitude of sea level rise predicted, now 23 years into it.

See the relevant excerpt below:

Michaels also has the facts wrong about a 1988 interview of me by Bob Reiss, in which Reiss asked me to speculate on changes that might happen in New York City in 40 years assuming CO2 doubled in amount. Michaels has it as 20 years, not 40 years, with no mention of doubled CO2. Reiss verified this fact to me, but he later sent the message:

I went back to my book and re-read the interview I had with you. I am embarrassed to say that although the book text is correct, in remembering our original conversation, during a casual phone interview with a Salon magazine reporter in 2001 I was off in years. What I asked you originally at your office window was for a prediction of what Broadway would look like in 40 years, not 20. But when I spoke to the Salon reporter 10 years later probably because I’d been watching the predictions come true, I remembered it as a 20 year question.

Source: this update on Dr. Hansen’s personal web page at Columbia University.

In my [original] story, below, I quoted from Reiss here in the Salon interview.

So I’m happy to make the correction for Dr. Hansen in my original article, since Mr. Reiss reports on his original error in conflating 40 years with 20 years. But let’s look at how this changes the situation with forty years versus twenty.

Per Dr. Hansen’s prediction in 1988, now in 2011, 23 years later, we’re a bit over halfway there … so the sea level rise should be about halfway up the side of Manhattan Island by now.

How’s that going? Are the predictions coming true? Let’s find out. Let’s look at the tide gauge in New York and see what it says.

Here’s the PSMSL page http://www.psmsl.org/data/obtaining/stations/12.php

You can see the terrifying surge of acceleration in the sea level due to increasing GHGs in the 20th century. Willis downloaded and plotted the data to see what the slope looked like, and then plotted a linear average line.

Here it is overlaid with the Colorado satellite data. Note the rate of rise is unchanged:

And add to that, the recent peer reviewed paper from the Journal of Coastal Research that said: “worldwide-temperature increase has not produced acceleration of global sea level over the past 100 years”

As of this update in March 2011, we’re 23 years into his prediction of the West Side Highway being underwater. From what I can measure in Google Earth, Dr. Hansen would need at least a ten foot rise in forty years to make his prediction work. See this image below from Google Earth where I placed the pointer over the West Side Highway, near the famous landmark and museum, the USS Intrepid:

According to Google Earth, the West Side Highway is 10 feet above sea level here – click to enlarge

The lat/lon should you wish to check yourself is: 40.764572° -73.998498°

Here’s a ground level view (via a tourist photo) so you can see the vertical distance from the roadway to the sea level on that day and tide condition. Sure looks like at least 10 feet to me.

Image from Panoramio

According to the actual data, after 23 years, we’ve seen about a 2.5 inch rise. There’ s still a very long way to go to ten feet to cover the West Side Highway there.

To reach the goal he predicted in 1988, Dr. Hansen needs to motivate the sea to do his bidding, he’s gonna have to kick it in gear and use a higher octane driver if he’s going to get there.

Thanks to Willis for the two graphs above.

Read the full story here:  A little known 20 40 year old climate change prediction by Dr. James Hansen – that failed will likely fail badly

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This story I did is also instructive:

Freaking out about NYC sea level rise is easy to do when you don’t pay attention to history

But while Dr. Hansen is looking for acceleration, the ensemble current plot of satellite measured sea level data seems to have a small hiccup in the last year:

click to enlarge – graph by Roman M – more here

And finally, to be fair, I want to show this video. Dr. Hansen produced a video where he briefed colleagues on his new paper, I present it here in full:

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Ian H

To put things into perspective, it looks like all you need to do to save the West Side Highway from drowning is to not chip off the old tarmac whenever you repair the road.

Steve Keohane

No acceleration of sea level rise rate, sea level down 2 meters from 4,000BC, no need to read Jimmy’s blathering. Thanks for letting me know he is still wasting air.

Mike Bromley

Can anyone tell me how Hansen manages to remain employed, given his propensity for hubris and wrong predictions? It seems that all he DOES is tell fairy tales.

2hotel9

[snip over the top – Anthony]
But hey! Keep up the good work. I love taking your posts and smackin’ leftards in their thick heads with them. That hollow sound it makes is so cool.

Geoff Sherrington

From the paper, “GHGs are also an amplifying feedback on millennial time scales, as warming ocean and soils drive more CO2, CH4 and N2O into the air.”
Question: What stops some GHG from complete depletion from the soil, after millennia of heating? Is it not the case that these GHG are taken from the air into the soil and back again, by vegetative mechanisms? (There are other mechanisms, like methane leaks from coal seams, but they ought not be temperature sensitive, though they would be land use sensitive). Seems this author Hansen has a confusion of statics and dynamics that we see so often in climate work, and a disinclination to model processes from cradle to grave.

2hotel9

Oh, and as for sea level rise, I pointed out to a Parks Ranger and my rather enviro-indoctrinated nieces a few years ago, while standing on a stone pier on Cape Cod, that said pier, which the Ranger had just told us had been in continuous use since the early 1700s, would be under 6 feet of water at low tide if sea level was actually rising as much as they claimed. I then compounded my blasphemy by pointing out that Cape Cod does not a have a rising sea level problem, it has a tidal erosion problem. You would have thought I had just urinated on their burning Qur’an. I thought for a few moments I would have to do CPR on the Ranger.
Leftards will believe anything, as long as that anything is humans are evil and destroying Mother Gaia.

Waffle

“We’re all going to die!”
“Protect the queen!”
“Who’s the queen?”
“I’m the queen.”
“No you’re not. I’m the queen!”

Mike McMillan

Some of us would not be displeased at all should NYC get a 10 ft sea level rise, especially down by the Intrepid museum. The sooner the better.
Mike in Houston

ROM

I gather that Hansen is egotistical and self centred enough to keep track of all his own predictions and and the outcome of his personal interviews.
So why the correction from a 20 year prediction to a 40 years prediction only after some 20 years have lapsed from that original widely reported interview and prediction, that in 20 years, New York’s West Side highway would be under water from sea level rise due to global warming.
Why didn’t he correct that statement implying a 20 year time span to a 40 year time span immediately when the interview was first published.
And a correction that finally appears at a time when everybody can finally see that his original reported predictions of 20 years ago are increasingly seen as an overwrought imagination of someone full of his own self important BS and with a near fanatical AGW ideology that he intends to try and impose on the world’s peoples.
Everywhere the AGW/ACCo’s are all showing the same sickening symptoms of trying to rewrite history when they suddenly realise just how stupid their predictions of just a few years ago of an immediate climate armageddon are starting to look.

Mike Bromley says:
April 21, 2011 at 4:38 am
Can anyone tell me how Hansen manages to remain employed, given his propensity for hubris and wrong predictions? It seems that all he DOES is tell fairy tales.

Because his fairy tales are what the people who give out the money want to hear. And when someone threatens his income, such as George Bush, he plays the victim and says that person is trying to silence him.

Midwest Mark

Slightly off topic, but there’s an article in The New Republic today focusing on the mysterious reasons why the United States hasn’t completely embraced the environmentalist agenda (http://www.tnr.com/article/politics/87140/environmental-green-movement-al-gore-nesbit).
Did some people just not get the message? Did the diabolical oil companies do a bang-up job of controlling information? Did the midterm elections weaken the power of the environmentalists? Why aren’t people rioting in the streets to stop global warming??
Well, despite all of the dire warnings of the catastrophes caused by runaway global warming, it appears that things simply aren’t turning out to be as bad as advertised. Apparently the models were wrong. Can it be any more simple than that?

Tom in Florida

Regarding the Mt Pinatubo references, perhaps Jimbo just recycled an old paper making adjustments to make it appear current but obviously missing that part.

old construction worker

I’m telling you the “Heat in the Ocean” has a thing for the “Hot spot” They ran off together and can’t be found.

anonymous

Anything to do with this man should not be on this site. He is being given far too much attention.

James Sexton

Anthony, not to quibble, it is after all, Hansen’s statement, and we know how he believes historical information can be dynamic and ehem fluid , but I believe the story now adds the caveat of a doubling of CO2 also. I just wanted to give you a heads up so you can prepare for the backlash of criticizing one of the high priests of CAGW.
REPLY: Thanks. I saw that and there’s lots more, I just needed to limit this one blog post as it was getting large. I’ll have more later. – Anthony

Given that “it’s worse than we thought”, I see no reason to cut The Messiah and his acolyte 20 years of slack.

Beesaman

Watched the video and some interesting points emerged.
First, SHOCK HORROR! Dr Hansen states that that, “total greenhouse gas forcing decreased significantly, then declined and levelled out in the last decade.” On video at 41:50.
Interestingly he also points out at 24:57 that Antarctic (Polar) temperatrures are not a good indication of global temperatures. Well horray for basic physics!
Also at 36:50 that the atmosphere has very little heat capacity, which I just found odd as he is deeply, deeply obsessed by CO2. Pity he seems to find negative forcings too complicated to include in his meanderings.
If he was one of my students I’d be sending him back to fill in some of the gaping holes in his theory before I’d let him send that paper forward.

kim

You know if it were warming, all this sophistry would still be concealing the truth. How did we get so lucky as to have nature cool us off?
There is no way on Earth that Mother Gaia would know that this film of humanity would need relief from fevered political rhetoric in order to survive. She couldn’t, could she, Dr. Lovelock?
============

sHx

James Hansen ought to be dismissed from his job as someone losing his grasp on reality. I made a prediction sometime ago that he’d retire this year for personal reasons. I mean he is 69 year old after all. It is time to appoint a young, no-nonsense, honest-to-method scientist to head GISS. Otherwise the funding for Hansen’s tribe should be cut all together.
What a monumental mistake it turned out to be appointing a young Venus specialist to study the Earth’s climate 30 years ago. What a ‘Planet B’ that turned out to be for humanity.

kim

ocw, don’t tell anyone, but their ‘love shack’ is in their own Private Idaho. The Emperor of Wyoming is jealous.
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Eric Barnes

“Geoff Sherrington says:
April 21, 2011 at 4:44 am
From the paper, “GHGs are also an amplifying feedback on millennial time scales, as warming ocean and soils drive more CO2, CH4 and N2O into the air.”
Question: What stops some GHG from complete depletion from the soil, after millennia of heating? Is it not the case that these GHG are taken from the air into the soil and back again, by vegetative mechanisms?”
No,

Warm

New article from Church & White:
http://www.springerlink.com/content/h2575k28311g5146/fulltext.pdf
“There is considerable variability in the rate of rise during the twentieth century but there has been a statistically significant acceleration since 1880 and 1900 of 0.009 ± 0.003 mm year-2 and 0.009 ± 0.004 mm year-2, respectively.”
data:
http://www.cmar.csiro.au/sealevel/sl_data_cmar.html
figure 1970-2009(dec), with quadratic trend (blue) and 1 sigma (red)
http://img857.imageshack.us/img857/3056/churchs.jpg

Eric Barnes

“Geoff Sherrington says:
April 21, 2011 at 4:44 am
From the paper, “GHGs are also an amplifying feedback on millennial time scales, as warming ocean and soils drive more CO2, CH4 and N2O into the air.”
Question: What stops some GHG from complete depletion from the soil, after millennia of heating? Is it not the case that these GHG are taken from the air into the soil and back again, by vegetative mechanisms?”
No, the evil man created CO2 is indisgestible by plants and therefore is immediately expelled by gaia’s plants.

dmartin

I don’t believe for a minute that he actually said 40 years and was misquoted, only to notice after the “misquoted” 20 years had passed. I call BS.

David A. Evans.

But when I spoke to the Salon reporter 10 years later probably because I’d been watching the predictions come true, I remembered it as a 20 year question.

Er. What predictions coming true?
DaveE.

Frank K.

The word which summarizes Hansen’s latest “paper” is hubris
Hubris, also hybris, means extreme haughtiness, pride or arrogance. Hubris often indicates a loss of contact with reality and an overestimation of one’s own competence or capabilities, especially when the person exhibiting it is in a position of power.
However, what this paper is REALLY all about is a cry for help after the $500 million Glory satellite disaster:
“The Glory mission (Mishchenko et al., 2007a), which was expected to begin operations this year, would have measured the aerosol direct forcing, as it carried an instrument capable of measuring polarization to an accuracy about 0.1 percent. However, a launch failure caused destruction of the satellite, which failed to achieve orbit.”
“Results of our present study are relevant to plans for replacing the Glory mission…”
So let’s see…we’ve given the clowns at NASA-GISS and NASA-GSFC well over $500 million for the Glory boondoggle, and now, as we try to cut the federal budget to deal with our looming debt crisis, Hansen is coming to us with his hand outstretched asking for at least $100 million (though he says – from the private sector!):
“Such a mission concept has been well-defined (Hansen et al., 1992) and if carried out by the private sector without a requirement for undue government review panels it could be achieved within a cost of about $100M.”
I frankly think that his idea to fund CAGW research with private sector funds is an excellent one! So please, Dr. Hansen, resign from NASA, taken your most ardent supporters with you, and establish your own privately funded research group. You could get Greenpeace, WWF, Friends of the Earth, George Soros, etc. to chip in for that new satellite you want!

Joe Lalonde

Anthony,
We have only the water volume that is available from oceans and Ice. In order to increase atmospheric precipitation, the ocean levels would have to drop. When the planet dries and melts the caps, they rise.
Simple common sense that climate scientists have yet to grasp.
Simple calculation, in order for ocean water to rise 10′, they also would take the empty space on land at an average of 10′ besides all the ocean distance of square miles. Close to every drop of ice has to melt for that to happen.

chris y

This paper is a shocker.
Hansen has conceded that the error bars around forcings due to volcanic aerosols (both their magnitude and their persistence), and the error bars around the sequestering of heat into the deep oceans, are at least as large as the forcing due to all anthro CO2 emissions. Yet only a few years ago Gavin S. published a short letter in Physics Today bragging about how well the models were able to replicate the behavior of global temperature during and after the Pinatubo eruption, and that this was settled science. Oops.
Hansen has also invoked reduced solar activity to help explain the last decade of flat temperatures, which implies that short-term solar forcings are similar in magnitude with anthro CO2 forcings. This is being invoked at a time when CO2 forcings are purportedly their largest in millenia. This is completely antithetical to the IPCC reports, which poo-poo solar as a minor player on the forcing bench compared with the CO2 star.
In other words, after nearly a half-century of computer climate models (Manabe assembled one of the first back in the early 1960’s), they are still curve-fitting exercises with no predictive skill on any temporal or spatial scale.

PJB

We’ll have to ask Gavin et al about the value of non peer-reviewed literature. Seems that they only respect the peer-reviewed kind although they might make an exception for their boss. (The boss is not always right but he is always the boss!)
Ask someone for a time in the future and they will say 10, 20, 50 or 100 years.
40 is such a strange number….strange ways for strange days I guess.

Hector Pascal

‘there has been a statistically significant acceleration since 1880 and 1900 of 0.009 ± 0.003 mm year-2 and 0.009 ± 0.004 mm year-2, respectively.”
Really? Wow! 1/100th of a mm per year. Run for the hills everyone, and don’t forget the waterwings in your panic.

Pamela Gray

Hansen is apparently blind to weather. Is it just me or is he contributing all variability to his notion of climate sensitivity to such things as volcanoes, CO2, solar cycles, butterflies, etc?

Beesaman

Just read his paper and realised at the end where he goes begging for 100 Million dollars that it’s a not a scientific paper after all, just another project proposal. So much for science.

Harold Ambler

Notice the genuflection on the part of the reporter — and lack of contact with reality re the predictions. Where are the predicted heat-related crime spikes in NYC? Shouldn’t the West Side Highway be halfway toward being submerged by now?

It’s very telling when Hansen at 7:00 into the video says “We were involved with the IPCC and had to DECIDE what aerosol forcing we where using.” Earlier he stated that they (scientists) DO NOT KNOW the amount of aerosol “forcing” in reality. This means that they are making it up as they go along rather than actually doing some measurements and finding out with empirical evidence based and experiment based science observations.
When you do not know and pick a number out of your hat it’s at best a guess and at worst soothsaying towards your doomsday bias.
At least have the guts to be honest and use a FULL RANGE of values for the alleged aerosol “forcing”. That way you are not putting in unsupportable assumptions that have no foundation in the objective reality of Nature.

richcar that 1225
Holbrook

How come he get’s anything published with his track record.
REPLY: He didn’t, he simply posted this to his personal website. He’s apparently evolved beyond the need for process. – Anthony

Hansen does science by having his grand kids pick the amount of aerosol forcing out of thin air. Doesn’t bode well for the rest of his science.

Ray

Is this the new norm? When you can’t have a paper accepted in a peer-reviewed paper publish it on a blog and it is as good? Yellow science?

DJ

Hansen says: “….as knowledge of changing aerosol effects is needed to understand future climate change.”
He can make predictions based on something we don’t, by his admission, have enough knowledge of to understand future climate change?
What happened to Global Warming? What happened to CO2? Last time we were worried about aerosols, weren’t we worried about an ice age?

Jimbo

Hansen
“…we conclude that the rate of sea level rise is likely to accelerate during the next several years.”

This gives us until at most until 2015 to see if we can the prediction. Note it in your calendars.
Definition of several: Being of a number more than two or three but not many.
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/several
Is Hansen now saying that the IPCC has got it wrong as to where sea levels will be when his 40 years are up? This is indeed what he is saying.

At 18:30 Hansen admits the fact that the graphs show that the temperature changes BEFORE the CO2 and Ice Sheets change! He does some hand waving (literally) and magically the “slow feedbacks” have the effect happening (rise in temperature) before the cause (CO2 going up).
I didn’t know that slow feedbacks where so slow that they went backwards in time.
Now maybe he’s saying that the feedback are so slow that they were left over from the previous time but that’s way too long for “heat” to be “stored” and released over long periods of time. It would offend the Laws of Thermodynamics, would it not?
Now if someone could explain to me how slow feedbacks can travel backwards in time I’d love to know that so that I can send a few messages back to my younger self about certain things before they happen.

TimTheToolMan

“A recent decrease in ocean heat uptake was caused by a delayed rebound effect from Mount Pinatubo aerosols and a deep prolonged solar minimum.”
Ah. They’re gearing up to alter the aerosol data and ocean responses to aerosols to get the models back on target.

Robert M

Unbelievable, he let the prediction stand for years, got a lot of hype, got his name in the papers. Then when someone calls him on it he has a tantrum and changes the prediction after 23 years. The funny part is 200 years instead of twenty would be been a much better number for him to claim. I wish someone would ask him how he expects the seas to rise 10ft in 20 years, or is he hoping for a hurricane or tidal wave to claim victory?

It’s called “grasping at straws” – a normal reaction when the walls of denial start crashing down.

Has anyone found a link to his presentation charts and slides?

Douglas DC

“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!”
“Get that little Dog out of here!”
Humbug.
Pamela G. got snow? been spitting rain and snow in the GR valley all
morning. I have to go face my lefty cohort this Am who will say:”The Coldwarm is
active today! bless be the profit!”…

At the end of the presentation section of the video Hansen just jumps to a conclusion about reducing CO2 to 345 to 360 ppm based upon what he had said, but he didn’t actually say how he gets those numbers aka he didn’t show his work on that.

Cassandra King

I dont think he knows what he is saying and I really dont think he cares, he is untouchable and beyond the reach of accountability(for now). Here is a man who believes and his beliefs are set in concrete, no reason or rational dialogue will help in case like this.
He believes himself to be right regardless of reality or facts or reason or sense, here we have what you may call a cultist but he is a connected cultist, he is untouchable or so he thinks and perhaps he is for the present.

Latitude

Mike Bromley says:
April 21, 2011 at 4:38 am
Can anyone tell me how Hansen manages to remain employed, given his propensity for hubris and wrong predictions?
===================================================
Mike, because no one really believes weathermen can get it right….
…and there’s no penalty for being wrong

John Blake

Rather than address Hansen’s manifest “No Pressure” theses at unwonted length and detail, why not simply note that GISS/NASA’s pumps are failing as the S.S. Seascape lists ever more heavily to port?
From Ehrlich and Holdren to Hansen and latterly Keith Farnish, the AGW mindset is manifestly Thanatist, a Luddite sociopathology that “loves death more than life” as certain fixated canons have it. What better prescription for Hansen’s hated industrial-technological civilization’s Decline and Fall?