Australian sea level data highly exaggerated, only 5 inches by 2100

In a new analysis published in Volume 8 Issue 2 of Environmental Science Dr. Nils-Axel Morner suggests global sea levels will rise only about 5 inches by the year 2100.

Axel Morner concludes that Australian government claims of a 1 meter sea level rise by 2100 are greatly exaggerated, finding instead that sea levels are rising around Australia and globally at a rate of only 1.5 mm/year. This would imply a sea level change of only 0.13 meters or 5 inches by 2100. Dr. Morner also finds no evidence of any acceleration in sea level rise around Australia or globally.

Morner’s findings are inline with the longest running sea-level measurements recorded at Amsterdam, in the Netherlands (think of it like the England CET record) beginning in 1700. Since 1850, the rise in Amsterdam has averaged 1.5 mm/year.

Figure and link to full paper follows. 

Present-to-future sea level changes: The Australian case (PDF)

Nils-Axel Morner, Albert Parker


We revisit available tide gauge data along the coasts of Australia, and we are able to demonstrate that the rate may vary between 0.1 and 1.5 mm/year, and that there is an absence of acceleration over the last decades. With a database of 16 stations covering only the last 17 years, the National Tidal Centre claims that sea level is rising at a rate of 5.4mm/year.We here analyse partly longer-term records from the same 16 sites as those used by the Australian Baseline Sea Level Monitoring Project (ABSLMP) and partly 70 other sites; i.e. a database of 86 stations covering a much longer time period. This database gives a mean trend in the order of 1.5 mm/year. Therefore, we challenge both the rate of sea level rise presented by the National Tidal Centre in Australia and the general claim of acceleration over the last decades.


Figure 3 : Comparison among different sea level data sets; (1) the Official Australian claim (AFGCC, 2011; ABSLMP, 2011), (2a) the Australian 39 station record, (2b) the Australian 70 station record, (2c) the Australian 86 station record, (3a) the 2059 station PSMSL (2011) average, (3b) the 159 station NOAA (2011) average, (4) the reconstruction of sea level changes by Church and White (2011), and (5) the Topex/Jason satellite altimetry record (CU, 2011). All the data are shifted for a zero MSL in January 1990. The differences are far too large not to include serious errors in some of the records. The official Australian trend (1) lies far above all the other curves, indicating a strong exaggeration. The Australian (2a-c) as well as global (3a-b) curves vary between 0.1 and 1.5 mm/year. The satellite altimetry records (5) include “calibrations” previously questioned (Morner, 2004, 2011c, 2013). The record (4) of Church and White (2011) lies between the satellite altimetry curve (5) and all the graphs representing global (3a-b) and Australian (2a-c) tide gauge records. The acceleration in curve 4 is strongly  contradicted by all the other records. The same absence of acceleration is found in many other records (further discussed in the text) indicating that the concept of acceleration ought to be revised.


In view of the data presented, we believe that we are justified to draw the following conclusions:

(1) The official Australian claim [2,3] of a present sea level rise in the order of 5.4mm/year is significantly exaggerated (Figure 3).

(2) The mean sea level rise from Australian tide gauges as well as global tide gauge networks is to be found within the sector of rates ranging from 0.1 to 1.5 mm/year (yellow wedge in Figure 3).

(3) The claim of a recent acceleration in the rate of sea level rise [2,3,12] cannot be validated by tide gauge records, either in Australia or globally (Figure 3). Rather, it seems strongly contradicted [19,21,24,39-41]

The practical implication of our conclusions is that there, in fact, is no reason either to fear or to prepare for any disastrous sea level flooding in the near future.


h/t to The Hockey Schtick

Here is a table of sea level measurements from NOAA from around the world, many are negative:



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From the linked site…
“The three scenarios (Modelled – my add) developed by CSIRO for sea level rise between 2030-2100 (relative to 1990) are presented below.”
It’s rubbish if the CSIRO had anything to do with it. Never mind the fact land levels also change and their resolution of a coastline as long as Australia is ridiculous. Added to that the Australasian tectonic plate is subducting under the Pacific plate, its no surprise.

Frank K.

It’s hard these days not to use “highly exaggerated” and “climate science” together in the same sentence…

Frank K. says:
April 26, 2013 at 8:33 am
It’s hard these days not to use “highly exaggerated” and “climate science” together in the same sentence…
More like “laughably exaggerated”

Why is it that we seem to be constantly fighting those in the employ of the state? The only silver lining to the climate debate is the inevitable creation of more Libertarians.

Tom J

Ok, I have to be a little careful here. But, what the heck, here goes.
Anyway, I was in the liquor store (formerly, one of my favorite haunts) with my sister. My older sister. She was buying a couple bottles of wine. The cashier pulled out a fold up, cardboard, bottle carrier in which she put the wine bottles. My older sister, in reference to the bottle carrier, said, “Oh, what a cute little thing.” In a stroke of genius, I looked at the cashier and said, “That’s the same thing she says to her husband.” Needless to say, my sister and the cashier…well, I won’t tell you what their reaction was.
For some inexplicable reason this story I subjected you to got me to thinking about sea level rise (perhaps an appropriate description). And I was wondering if the exaggerated claims for the height of the rise has more to do with fantasies of Eco-virility than with the true, mediocre measurement. Perhaps our Eco-warriors are really only looking at five inches. I know that might be crushing to their egos but they need not fear. It could be a “cute” five inches.


“finding instead that sea levels are rising around Australia and globally at a rate of only 1.5 mm/year.”
“The mean sea level rise from Australian tide gauges as well as global tide gauge networks is to be found within the sector of rates ranging from 0.1 to 1.5 mm/year”
“This database gives a mean trend in the order of 1.5 mm/year.”
uh no…………………..

John Moore

I am not the only one who is suspicious of ‘Rising sea levels’. Having lived on or near the south coast of Devon in the SW Peninsula of England there appears no noticeable change in levels of high tides in my liftetime — I was a child in the 1930s. High tide levels are very much influenced by strong onshore winds coinciding with Spring tides (when the sun and moon are aligned), so when this happens, that is the recorded measurement. I contacted the Ordnance Survey (who provide the basic information for all UK maps) and they confirmed that they understand there has been a 7 inch rise since 1914 but all map spot heights and contours are calculated from the mean tide level at Newlyn Harbour (West Cornwall) recorded between 1915 and 1921. I have also asked about land levels sinking as the British Isles are apparently sinking towards the South East which is why the Thames Barrier was built downstream from London in 1985 but the Warmists say it was because of Global Warming….of course.


re ” Here is a table of sea level measurements from NOAA from around the world, many are negative:”
A straight average the 240 tide guage sites around the world – the MSL column (sea rise/year mm) is: 1.1425 mm/year
Max is at Fort Phrachula Chomklao/Pom Phrachun, Thailand: 20.6 mm/year
Min is at Churchill, Canada: -9.48 mm/year
This tide guage average above may be correct – usually quoted as 1.5 mm/year and I guess that includes (for some reason!) the GIA adjustment of 0.3 mm/year.

Peter Miller

Same old story with ‘climate science’.
If it’s not scary, you don’t get funded.
So, as the only thing which matters in ‘climate science’ is employment considerations, you make it scary.
So, what other organisations, other than the Global Warming Industry, are currently in the business of producing unfounded scary forecasts and prophecies?
1. Religious cults.
2. Weird religious cults.
3. Really weird religious cults, and
4. The official North Korean News Agency.
It must make ‘climate scientists’ glow with pride to know they are in such good company.


A further interesting point is that even if the satellite record above is precisely correct, extrapolating it predicts a rise of around 10 inches, or a bit less, by the end of the century. That is not incommensurate with the tide-gauge plus satellite rise worldwide of nine inches since 1870, even before one gets around to doubting the “adjustments” made recently that (as always) seem to exaggerate warming/rise, never reduce it.
Of course in time it will not matter. The ocean is going to do what it does. Personally, using the dumbest of future predictors (that it will be like the past) it will continue at a few mm/year, a few cm (say, an inch) a decade. People who predicted meters will look pretty damn foolish in a decade as the gap between their predictions and reality become more and more impossible to ignore.
Or, of course, they will turn out to be right. It’s always possible. But so far, the data does not seem to support them, and looking for an “acceleration” in the data is wishful thinking piled on wishful thinking, unless somehow the global SLR is carefully avoiding those parts of the shore with actual tide gauges or structures where the rise would be immediately visible. There are many docks on the NC coast, for example, where I spend the summer that are 30 or 40 years old. The residents of the houses have back yards that look directly out into the Atlantic. I have asked them if they have notice the presumably four inch rise of the ocean relative to their dock or their seawall, and they just laugh. Or one can go look at the barnacle layers — a direct measure — and laugh.
Perhaps it has risen an inch or two — they might not notice that as “noise” relative to the tide. But five inches? Six? That would be hard to miss — their docks would be underwater at high tide all the time, instead barely level with the top once a year at the fullest of spring tides.
SLR is one of the greatest of scandals in all of climate science. Nowhere else have the predictions of Hansen and others been more overblown, and for good reason. Nearly 100% of the “catastrophe” they predict is sea level rise.
How anyone could look at the actual SLR DATA and see a catastrophe in it is beyond me. It just isn’t there. EVEN INCLUDING the supposed “hockey-stick” rise in temperature of the 80s and 90s, EVEN INCLUDING the general rise in temperature post LIA, the actual tide gauge record WORLDWIDE, with satellite stuff spliced onto the end that is (as noted) perhaps debateable, is still nine whole inches post 1870. 140 years, less than ten inches, at a CURRENT rate that — if correct — extrapolates to a whole ten inches more by 2100. This is not catastrophic, it is ignorable, and it wouldn’t be surprising if at least an inch of the modern era “rise” disappears as the gap between tide gauge and satellite observation widens and further adjustments are made in order to avoid losing the credibility of the latter altogether.
We’ve seen the same thing happen with GISS and HADCRUT. Every adjustment made to the datasets has exaggerated the warming, until now they are effectively hoist on the petard of the LTT satellite data. There is already a gap that is difficult to explain away, and that gap cannot be permitted to grow further or EVERYBODY will see that the temperature records have had thumbs on the scales (something for which the p-value is already very suspicious, given the improbability of N adjustments all of which make the final result move in the same direction). We are seeing the same thing happening now. There seems to be a positive flood of recent papers arguing for lower sensitivity because the gap between high sensitivity predictions and reality continues to grow.
In a way, this is good. It means that “science works”, given enough time, even when politics steps in to corrupt it for a while. Perhaps in the end, we as a species will learn something from this mistake, especially of those that made it the most vehemently, loudly, and incorrectly suffer some embarrassment and consequence for their participation.

john robertson

Whats the climatology line?
Credibility is like virginity, you only lose it once.
I guess in Climatology thats a virtue.
All scams have this commonality, if we did not scare them, they would not hand over the money.

Bruce Cobb

Tom J; I bet they about peed their pants from laughter. Situational humor is the best, and you hit that one out of the park. You may be onto something there with regard to eco-warriors. They just need to know that size doesn’t matter.


We have just come out of the ‘hottest decade on the record’, heard about glacial meltdown left, right and centre, the Antarctic Peninsula ‘hotting up’, water abstraction,……………and yet no acceleration in the rate of sea level rise. WTF!

The magnitude of the exagerration is is far beyond anything that can be justified by the data you quote. Either they are using other data or they are deliberately lying to the public. Which was it?


rgbatduke I think you may enjoy this read over at No Frakking Consensus. Everyone have a look

A simple average of the rates of sea-level change at NOAA’s 2010 list of 159 LTT tide gauges yields 0.84 mm/yr. The median is 1.23 mm/yr. The average is skewed by the large number of northern stations heavily affected by postglacial rebound; in fact, about one-fourth of the stations show negative sea-level trends. Adding Peltier’s VM2 GIA adjustment changes the average to 1.62 mm/yr and the median to 1.42 mm/yr. These numbers are from the last two lines of the relevant spreadsheet on my site.
A simple average of the rates of sea-level change at NOAA’s 2012 list of 239 LTT tide gauges yields 1.10 mm/yr. The median is 1.37 mm/yr. With Peltier’s VM2 GIA adjustment, the average is 1.77 mm/yr and the median is 1.51 mm/yr. These numbers are from the last two lines of the relevant spreadsheet on my site.
About a month ago, NOAA released their updated analyses of an expanded list of 285 LTT tide gauges. A simple average of the rates of sea-level change yields 1.27 mm/yr, and the median is 1.41 mm/yr. With Peltier’s VM2 GIA adjustment, the average is 1.94 mm/yr and the median is 1.58 mm/yr. These numbers are from the last two lines of the new spreadsheet on my site.
Another interesting spreadsheet is the 42 NOAA-administered (U.S.) tide stations for which NOAA has data through 2011. NOAA first calculated the linear sea-level trends at those stations using data through 2006, and last year did so again using data through 2011.
The sea-level records for the 42 gauges had an average duration of 87.4 years (through 2011), and NOAA’s calculated trends had an average confidence interval of ±0.515 mm/yr.
When new (through 2011) trends were compared to the old (through 2006) trends, 23 sites showed slight declines in the rate of sea-level rise, and 19 showed slight increases. A simple, unweighted average of the 42 gauges comes to 2.025 mm/yr average rate of SLR through 2006, or 2.026 mm/yr through 2011 (a difference of one one-thousandth of a millimeter/year), or 1.286 mm/yr if you include Peltier’s VM2 GIA adjustments.
The bottom line is that, as measured by the 42 best U.S. long-term trend tide stations, the average rate of sea-level rise over the 5-year period from 2006-2011 is virtually identical to the rate for the full data record (averaging 87.4 years duration) — more proof that there’s been no acceleration in rate of sea-level rise in response to the elevation in CO2 levels which has occurred over the last approx. 2/3 century.


And here you have it. We are serially doomed. It’s all over, head for the hills!

2012 NOAA
“The Budget of Recent Global Sea Level Rise 2005-2012
“The sum of steric sea level rise and the ocean mass component has a trend of 1.1 ± 0.8 mm/a over the period when the Paulson GIA mass correction is applied, well overlapping total sea level rise observed by Jason-1 and Jason-2 (1.3 ± 0.9 mm/a) within a 95% confidence interval.”

Which is less than the 20th century rates of sea level rise.


It always peeves me as a geologist that public accounts of apparent sea level change almost never mention the fact that in many areas land elevation changes faster than sea level. Sea level isn’t falling in Southern Alaska. The land is rising faster than the sea is. To get a meaningful measurement, you have to focus on places that are (a) not tectonically active (b) were not glaciated, or near the edge of the glaciers in the last ice age, and (c) not a river delta where recent sediments are compacting. That leaves out most of western North America, eastern North America from Chesapeake Bay north, and most of the Gulf Coast.


nc says:
April 26, 2013 at 10:01 am
rgbatduke I think you may enjoy this read over at No Frakking Consensus. Everyone have a look

Excellent! I propose this be posted on WUWT with permission. It really does explain the reluctance by climate scientists to look at the possibility that they might (are) be wrong.

ursus augustus

There has been stuff in the press here in Oz recently about the integrity of science at CSIRO having degraded over recent years. They used to have an excellent reputation but have become infested with warmist apparatchiks and other low renters in the ethical sense. Whether it is some weird accumulation of like minded tossers , some strange group think or the corrupting effect of certain funding arrangements ( encouraging junk science that gets a headline etc) I don’t know.

markx wrote on April 26, 2013 at 9:24 am, “‘Here is a table of sea level measurements from NOAA from around the world, many are negative:’
A straight average the 240 tide guage sites around the world – the MSL column (sea rise/year mm) is: 1.1425 mm/year”

That table now excludes the 45 NOAA-administered U.S. LTT tide-stations (which used to be included there). Those 45 stations are listed in the “CO-OPS Data” column here:
They’re also included in the new 285-station spreadsheet on the “Data” page of my site.
Including the 45 NOAA-administered stations increases the average rate of sea-level rise slightly to 1.27 mm/yr (or 1.94 mm/yr with Peltier’s VM2 GIA adjustments).


This reminds me of another paper published in 2011 by PJ Watson on Australian sea levels (and referred to at WUWT). Looking in detail at four tide gauge records his

analysis reveals a consistent trend of weak deceleration at each of these gauge sites throughout Australasia over the period from 1940 to 2000.

Morner’s paper includes a graph one of these four – at Freemantle.
Now await for the criticism. This will consist of
1. Morner is disreputable.
2. The Journal is not a quality one.
3. It can’t be right, as it disagrees with the best science.
4. Like with the Watson paper, Tamino will attempt a hatchet job – and fail miserably.
Attacks aside accounting for the difference between the 12.5inch rate per century of the satellite data and the 5 inches from Australia and Amsterdam should be an exciting project, in which we might learn some novel about the world, or about the measuring techniques. Our total understanding of sea level measurement can only be enhanced.

Doug Proctor

The variance of official records from the ones you can look at yourself or that are gathered here is astonishing. You don’t need to be a tidal expert to understand what you are looking at with the guages is hard data, but you do need to be an expert – i.e. a normal human being – to understand that the official records are adjusted, tweaked and selected for reasons that you will probably find are at least in part self-beneficial.
The US government has just said that they are going to redefine the economy GDP, which will result in additional 500 billion or so being added to the apparent economy. This makes the numbers today bigger than yesterday, and the unwary then feel things have improved. But nothing has changed in the world. The official sea-level records have a GIA added for the same reason. The number is bigger and the unwary are disturbed, but nothing has changed in the world. Al Gore’s house by the sea is still not going to be washed away in his grandchildren’s lifetime.
Just part of anoather NegativeTrenberth Event: something that is supposed to be seen but is not, so we attack the observations. Tidal guages are crap – they have no Apple processors to tweak and twiddle, and strange men and women go OUTSIDE to check their work.
How uncool is that.


Climate science is like the Stock Market . . you can not predict future events based on past performance being projected by the graph line trajectory – – Look at the Western Union Telegraph company in 1850 . . very fast growing business . . . great future ahead . . oh no that damn telephone and my graph reversed and now the business is gone.
Silly humans are suckers for a good presentation of generalized stories.


Its all rather simple actually.
Governments budget for everything. Then they overspend their budgets. So they borrow from the future to prop up the current spending.
That’s all that’s happened here. They’ve budgeted for a certain amount of sea level rise, and by golly, they are going to exceed their budget. As we speak, government administrators are trying to figure out how to borrow SLR from future centuries to add to that of the current century. There is always interest charged when you borrow from the future, and this will make the SLR even bigger.

The paper by Nils-Axel Morner and Albert Parker is also important because it suggests that there exists a discrepancy between the rate of sea level increase calculated during the last 20 years and the secular rate of increase. This discrepancy is also due to the natural oscillations of the climate system that some time accelerate the rise and other times decelerate the rise. Models used to forecast or project sea level rise do not take into account this oscillating pattern as they do for the climate system.
These sea level oscillations and their link with the PDO, AMO and NAO oscillations at multiple scales have been extensively studied in one of my recent articles.
Scafetta, 2013. Multi-scale dynamical analysis (MSDA) of sea level records versus PDO, AMO, and NAO indexes. Climate Dynamics. in press.
Or you can visit my web-site for the file here:
some comment is on Tallbloke web-site:
In this paper I propose a novel methodology that allows to quantify natural oscillations and separate them from a background acceleration in tide gauge records. One of the results is that the real sea level accelerations are quite small, far smaller than what other studies that ignore the natural oscillations of the climate system have claimed. Some of the major papers claiming catastrophic sea level rise for the 21 century (e.g. in New York City), which ignore the effects of the natural oscillations of the climate system such as the quasi 60-year oscillation, are strongly questioned.
Herein I propose a multi-scale dynamical analysis to facilitate the physical interpretation of tide gauge records. The technique uses graphical diagrams. It is applied to six secular-long tide gauge records representative of the world oceans: Sydney, Pacific coast of Australia; Fremantle, Indian Ocean coast of Australia; New York City, Atlantic coast of USA; Honolulu, US state of Hawaii; San Diego, US state of California; and Venice, Mediterranean Sea, Italy. For comparison, an equivalent analysis is applied to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) index and to the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) index. Finally, a global reconstruction of sea level (Jevrejeva et al. in Geophys Res Lett 35:L08715, 2008) and a reconstruction of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) index (Luterbacher et al. in Geophys Res Lett 26:2745–2748, 1999) are analyzed and compared: both sequences cover about three centuries from 1700 to 2000. The proposed methodology quickly highlights oscillations and teleconnections among the records at the decadal and multidecadal scales. At the secular time scales tide gauge records present relatively small (positive or negative) accelerations, as found in other studies (Houston and Dean in J Coast Res 27:409–417, 2011). On the contrary, from the decadal to the secular scales (up to 110-year intervals) the tide gauge accelerations oscillate significantly from positive to negative values mostly following the PDO, AMO and NAO oscillations. In particular, the influence of a large quasi 60–70 year natural oscillation is clearly demonstrated in these records. The multiscale dynamical evolutions of the rate and of the amplitude of the annual seasonal cycle of the chosen six tide gauge records are also studied.

Robert A. Taylor

Since the quote references both “Scafetta 2012” and sea level rise I’ll post this here.
I borrowed a new book from the local library:

Mankind Beyond the Earth – The History, Science, and Future of Human Space Exploration
Copyright 2012 Columbia University Press
by Claude A. Piantadosi MD – professor and director of the F. G. Hall Environmental Laboratory at Duke University

I knew and dreaded the inevitable climate change reference, and I found it in the introduction:

Climate change is altogether a different problem. We have failed to act because we cannot agree on the science, and without science, someone might as well just flip a coin when deciding what to do. Our planet is warming, but Mars is, too. Atmospheric CO2 levels are rising, but CO2 is neither a pollutant nor the only greenhouse gas; methane (CH4) is twenty times more powerful. We know that we contribute to climate change but not how much. The climate models used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are under fire for predicting huge anthropogenic effects on sea level without considering that our climate resonates with or is synchronized to a set of natural frequencies in the Solar System (Scafetta 2012). We know that too much of a rise in the sea level is bad for our coastal infrastructure and commerce, but what about for the planet we live on? The only thing that makes sense here is more research.
pp 5 – 6

Once in a while the surprise is a happy one even if he somewhat equivocates further on.
The book is not an easy read; one must read and think. Dr. Piantoadosi needed a better copyeditor as well. The biomedical sections are, as far as I can tell, completely accurate. I have not finished the book, so cannot comment on its entirety.
I suppose I should add the disclaimer that I have no connection with the author or his book other than reading it. I am also STILL waiting for my cheque from big oil or big coal – even small oil or small coal – in fact I’ve waited so long I’d settle for a tank of gasoline – half a tank.

Henry Galt

Check where the Australian National Meteorological and Oceanographic Centre moved their headquarters recently. OK, it is on the 5th floor, but the building’s foyer is 2 meters above sea level – along with all the rest of the new buildings in

William Astley

It appears there has been and continues to be manipulation of satellite data and cherry picking of the tidal gauge measurements to support the assertion there has been an increase in sea level due to global warming. Nils-Axel Mörner was multiple published papers and observational data the directly contradicts that assertion.
Curious that no one has noted that the thermal expansion of the oceans has minimum affect on shore line sea level which is the principal concern.
It is amazing that the scientific community and the technical astute public allows what appears to be scientific fraud.
“It doesn’t matter what is true, it only matters what people believe is true.” – Paul Watson, Co-founder of Greenpeace”
“Unless we announce disasters no one will listen.” – Sir John Houghton, First chairman of the IPCC
Sea level is not rising by Professor Nils-Axel Mörner
Sea level is not rising by Professor Nils-Axel Mörner
Main points
– At most, global average sea level is rising at a rate equivalent to 2-3 inches per century. It is probably not rising at all.
– Sea level is measured both by tide gauges and, since 1992, by satellite altimetry. One of the keepers of the satellite record told Professor Mörner that the record had been interfered with to show sea level rising, because the raw data from the satellites showed no increase in global sea level at all.
– The raw data from the TOPEX/POSEIDON sea-level satellites, which operated from 1993-2000, shows a slight uptrend in sea level. However, after exclusion of the distorting effects of the Great El Niño Southern Oscillation of 1997/1998, a naturally-occurring event, the sea-level trend is zero.
– The GRACE gravitational-anomaly satellites are able to measure ocean mass, from which sea-level change can be directly calculated. The GRACE data show that sea level fell slightly from 2002-2007.
– These two distinct satellite systems, using very different measurement methods, produced raw data reaching identical conclusions: sea level is barely rising, if at all.
– Sea level is not rising at all in the Maldives, the Laccadives, Tuvalu, India, Bangladesh, French Guyana, Venice, Cuxhaven, Korsør, Saint Paul Island, Qatar, etc.
– In the Maldives, a group of Australian environmental scientists uprooted a 50-year-old tree by the shoreline, aiming to conceal the fact that its location indicated that sea level had not been rising. This is a further indication of political tampering with scientific evidence about sea level.
– Modelling is not a suitable method of determining global sea-level changes, since a proper evaluation depends upon detailed research in multiple locations with widely-differing characteristics. The true facts are to be found in nature itself.
– Since sea level is not rising, the chief ground of concern at the potential effects of anthropogenic “global warming” – that millions of shore-dwellers the world over may be displaced as the oceans expand – is baseless.
-We are facing a very grave, unethical “sea-level-gate”
“The IPCC authors take the liberty to select what they call “representative” records for their reconstruction of the centennial sea level trend. This implies that their personal view—that is, the IPCC story-line prescribed from the beginning of the project—is imposed in the selection and identification of their “representative” records. With this selection methodology, Douglas (1991) chose 25 tide gauges and obtained a rate of sea level rise of 1.8 mm/year; Church et al. (2006) selected 6 tide gauges and obtained a rate of 1.4 mm/ year; and Holgate (2007) selected 9 tide gauges and got a rate of 1.45 mm/year (Fig. 2). The mean of all the 159 NOAA sites is 0.5-0.6 mm/year (Burton 2010). A better approach, however, is to exclude those sites that represent uplifted and subsiding locations (the bottom left and top right zones in Fig. 4). This leaves 68 sites of reasonable stability (still with the possibility of an exaggeration of the rate of change, as discussed above). These sites give a present rate of sea level rise of ~1.0 (± 1.0) mm/year. This is far below the rates given by satellite altimetry.”
The mean of all the 159 NOAA sites gives a rate of 0.5 mm/year to 0.6 mm/year (Burton 2010). A better approach, however, is to exclude those sites that represent uplifted and subsided areas (Figure 4). This leaves 68 sites of reasonable stability (still with the possibility of an exaggeration of the rate of change, as discussed above). These sites give a present rate of sea level rise in the order of 1.0 (± 1.0) mm/year. This is far below the rates given by satellite altimetry, and the smell of a “sea-levelgate” gets stronger.
When the satellite altimetry group realized that the 1997 rise was an ENSO signal, and they extended the trend up to 2003, they seemed to have faced a problem: There was no sea level rise visible, and therefore a “reinterpretation” needed to be undertaken. (This was orally confirmed at the Global Warming meeting held by the Russian Academy of Science in Moscow in 2005, which I attended). Exactly what was done remains unclear, as the satellite altimetry groups do not specify the additional “corrections” they now infer. In 2003, the satellite altimetry record (Aviso 2003) suddenly took a new tilt—away from the quite horizontal record of 1992-2000, seen in Figures 5 and 6—of 2.3 (±0.1) mm/year (Figure 7).
As reported above regarding such adjustments, an IPCC member told me that “We had to do so, otherwise it would not be any trend,” and this seems exactly to be the case. This means that we are facing a very grave, if not to say, unethical, “sea-level-gate.” Therefore, the actual “instrumental record” of satellite altimetry (Figure 10) gives a sea level rise around 0.0 mm/year. This fits the observational facts much better, and we seem to reach a coherent
picture of no, or, at most, a minor (in the order of 0.5 mm/yr), sea level rise over the last 50 years.
Thermosteric expansion of seawater
The water column will expand when heated. Only the upper part of the ocean may be heated, however, owing to the strict stratification of the oceanic water masses. The amount of expansion is in the order of centimetres up to a decimetre per century, hardly more (Mörner, 1996, 2011b). A fact often ignored is that as the water depth becomes shallower towards a coast, there is less and less water to expand. At the shore, the effect is zero.

Pedantic old Fart

to Patrick ” the Australian tectonic plate is subducting under the Pacific plate”. I think that should be the other way round.
However it seems certain the the CSIRO has been subducted under fereral politics.

> Axel Morner concludes that <a href=""Australian government claims of a 1 meter sea level rise by 2100 are greatly exaggerated, …
The paper has several references to “National Tidal Centre claims that sea level is rising at a rate of 5.4mm/year.”
From the table at that link, , the 2100 rises are estimated for three scenarios, and range from 0.5 to 1.1 meter rises between 1990 and 2100. The also have estimates for 2030, that’s closer to Morner’s graph going from 1990 to 2012.
Those estimates are 0.13, 0.15, and 0.2 meters. 1990 – 2030 is 40 years, and those rates of climb work out to 3.2, 3.8, and 5.0 mm/y. Later points include an accelerating rise.
I guess the interesting question is “How is the National Tidal Centre measuring that rise?”

William Astley says:
“A fact often ignored is that as the water depth becomes shallower towards a coast, there is less and less water to expand. At the shore, the effect is zero.”
Are you sure about that? By that reasoning, at the shore there would never be any sea level change due to steric effects.
If water in the middle of the ocean expands, it will raise the sea level everywhere [all else being equal, such as subsidence].
Just my 2¢

Bill Illis

The Land level around Australia is subsiding by between 0.3 mm/yr to 3.0 mm/yr according to GPS (which is turning out to be the only accurate method of determining local subsidence/rebound rates assuming a GPS station has been around long enough for the trend to become apparent out of the noise).
This is due to the continental shelves being flooded again after being dry during the last ice age which is now pushing the coastlines down slightly (and then continental drift is raising the northeast side while the southwest side is tilting down – Australia is riding up onto the Pacific plate).
Dr. Morner has taken this into account. Generally, sea level at Australia is a low number relative to other places around the planet (even with a small local susidence rate) and there is no acceleration in that trend. Some places like Sydney, for example, have had Zero sea level increase in the last 30 years even though there is a small subsidence rate.


Anthony its worth noting that the lake eyre basin in SA is twelve metres below sea level and bone dry almost all the time, it is already salty and is MASSIVE( a small sea) and so is lake torrens ,lake gardener,island lagoon,surely all these will flood long before any populated areas or am i being to simplistic

Graeme M

For anyone with the intestinal fortitude (and lots of time on their hands) this discussion on Deltoid about sea level rise has some great references and some truly bizarre exchanges…

Graeme M
Lil Fella from OZ

What is fascinating is that these organisations do not employ someone more qualified who has an opposing view. In the case of Australian sea level rise, Dr.Bob Carter should have been first pick on the team. Yeah, right, as if that was going to happen. Truth does not matter anymore.


Sorry, but this story is unnacceptable! It does not fit the political agenda.

We have been trying to tell them that sea levels are hardly rising for years. In fact much of the coastal areas around metropolitan areas, such as Fremantle in Western Australia, the land is subsiding due to groundwater pumping over decades.

Pamela Gray

Tom J, you owe me a c0mputer screen, let alone the Friday night beer I just spewed on my puter keyboard! mmmmm…your post reminds me of that guy who was looking for missing heat…

Dodgy Geezer

So! It appears that John Daly is finally being avenged!

Land subsidence can be an issue if you’re close to a tipping point.

William Astley

In reply to:
dbstealey says:
April 26, 2013 at 3:08 pm
William Astley says:
“A fact often ignored is that as the water depth becomes shallower towards a coast, there is less and less water to expand. At the shore, the effect is zero.”
Are you sure about that? By that reasoning, at the shore there would never be any sea level change due to steric effects.
If water in the middle of the ocean expands, it will raise the sea level everywhere [all else being equal, such as subsidence].
That is an interesting question. I believe if I understand the issue the sea level rise will be dependent on the slope of shore. For regions where there is not continental shelf such as an island in the ocean, sea level will be directly dependent on ocean temperature.
Comment: Note the average of the 169 tide guages is 0.5 mm/years and the average of the tidal guages at locations where there is no significant geological elevation change issues is 1.0 mm/year. The IPCC is telling us that the sea level is rising at 3.2 mm/years based on satellites.
A scientist would be interested in the discrepancy as it is a paradox. One of the two measurements must be incorrect. As the satellite raw data shows no increase, one would assume that correction that created a 3.2 mm/year increase is ludicrous, made up, a total fabrication.
For a region along the coast of continent, where there are continental shelves, such as Florida I would expect thermal expansion to have no significant effect.
The assertion that there has been no significant increase in sea level rise due to the 0.7C rise in planetary temperature makes senses, based on the physics and constraints of the problem.
Ice buildup on the Antarctic Ice sheet has stopped as the ice sheet covers the Antarctica mountains. As the elevation of the ice sheet increases it cools at roughly 3C per thousand feet. The ice buildup on Antarctic has stopped as it too cold to snow. The average summer temperature in center of ice sheet is -29C, average winter temperature -66C. When Antarctic warms up the ice sheets increase until there is significant warming. The warming the AGW paradigm pushers have been discussing is an Antarctic peninsula that is warmed by winds carrying heat from the ocean.
If the Antarctic ice sheet warmed there would be an increase in ice build up.

High Treason

Here in Australia, a well known science presenter came out with the truly outrageous claim that sea levels could rise by as much as 100 metres by 2100. There is not that much water on the planet. Tim Flannery is another who beats the sea level rise drum, yet he lives on a waterfront property just 2 feet above sea. obviously cannot seriously believe his own BS. Have a laugh at where he lives. It is a place called Coba Point on the Hawkesbury river.Look at it on Google maps.


HT, I’m hoping they have some massive rains in the Warragamba catchment (remember Flim-Flam said our dams would never fill again) This would mean that the new auxillary spillway would have to the opened, sending a huge amount of water down the Hawksbury, and hopefully raising the level in the lower Hawksbury by say 3-4m. 🙂
The idea really appeals to me.

High Treason

I was thinking the same thing when Warragamba Dam filled last year. It would have been a great laugh if “Mr Weather Maker” found himself flooded by the dam and river system he said would never fill again. Us NSW folk are nonetheless poorer since we built a useless desalination plant on Tim Flannery’s alarmist predictions. He is yet to get anything right. We are paying this incompetent big bucks to scare us and get everything wrong.Given the warmists have NO intention of ever admitting the whole thing is a hoax(and getting lynched) we can look forward to more and more outlandish predictions and calls for urgent action. The frequency of these calls will also increase to near daily.


I know where the extra sea water originates! The Great Lakes have been losing water for decades, several feet in fact. Now, where’s my grant money.

William Astley

The following are additional papers that support Nils-Axel Mörner’s assertion that an analysis of tidal gauges supports a maximum sea level rise of 1 mm/year. The satellite data showed no rise in sea level and then was ‘adjusted’ to produce a 3.2 mm/year rise. There is no explanation as to what is the scientific reason for the ‘adjustment’ of the satellite data.
Mass and volume contributions to twentieth-century global sea level rise
The rate of twentieth-century global sea level rise and its causes are the subjects of intense controversy1–7. Most direct estimates from tide gauges give 1.5–2.0 mm/yr (William: This assertion is not correct. The tidal gauges give 0.5 mm/year based on an average of 169. If the analysis is restricted to those in regions of geological stability the average is 1 mm/year), whereas indirect estimates based on the two processes responsible for global sea level rise, namely mass and volume change, fall far below this range. Estimates of the volume increase due to ocean warming give a rate of about 0.5mmyr21 (ref. 8) and the rate due to mass increase, primarily from the melting of continental ice, is thought to be even smaller. Therefore, either the tide gauge estimates are too high, as has been suggested recently6, or one (or both) of the mass and volume estimates is too low.
Estimating future sea level changes from past records
In the last 5000 years, global mean sea level has been dominated by the redistribution of water masses over the globe. In the last 300 years, sea level has been oscillation close to the present with peak rates in the period 1890–1930. Between 1930 and1950, sea fell. The late 20th century lack any sign of acceleration. Satellite altimetry indicates virtually no changes in the last decade. Therefore, observationally based predictions of future sea level in the year 2100 will give a value of + 10 +/-10 cm (or +5 +/-15 cm), by this discarding model outputs by IPCC as well as global loading models. This implies that there is no fear of any massive future flooding as claimed in most global warming scenarios.
Reanalysis of ancient eclipse, astronomic and geodetic data: A possible route to resolving the enigma of global sea-level rise
Predictions of the Earth’s response to the ice age appear to simultaneously reconcile a set of astronomical, geodetic and ancient eclipse observations related to changes in rotation, thus ruling out ice melting as a major contributor to 20th century sea-level rise. We demonstrate that the reconciliation disappears when an improved theory of rotational stability is applied. Furthermore, our reanalysis of longer satellite records renders previous estimates of the secular change in rotation rate suspect. The updated ice-age predictions and observations permit an anomalous 20th century ice flux of ∼1 mm/yr equivalent sea-level rise. Thus, the full suite of Earth rotation observations are consistent with a connection between climatic warming and recent melting of ice reservoirs. (William: The change in the earth’s rotational speed is consistent with the melting of the ice reservoirs if the melting is limited to 1 mm/year. Note the 1 mm/year is a stretch value that pushed assumptions to the limit. The satellite adjustments were made to achieve a 3.2 mm/year rise.)

Spotted Reptile

I’ve been waiting for beach front property prices in Victoria to plummet in the light of all these scary sea-level predictions, but sadly this has not happened, and shows no sign of happening. What do realtors know about sea levels that climate scientists don’t?


Interesting points on our ability to measure sea level changes, and other causes of sea level change:
Satellite data tells us the sea is rising by 3.1 mm/year, and tidal gauges (land based, with all the complications that involves) tell us the rise is about 1.5 mm per year. (see below re satellite precision).
These figures also include an allowance of 0.3 mm per year made for glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA) which is a gradual enlargement of the ocean basins in response to the retreat of the great glaciers some 12,000 years ago. (I’m not sure how this is measured).
And sea level measurements are also affected by groundwater extraction, not accounted for in earlier IPCC reports:
“…. have found, groundwater depletion is adding about 0.6 millimeters per year …. to the Earth’s sea level….” a team of Dutch scientists led by hydrologist Yoshihide Wada, Utrecht University.
“..We find that, together, unsustainable groundwater use, artificial reservoir water impoundment, climate-driven changes in terrestrial water storage and the loss of water from closed basins have contributed a sea-level rise of about 0.77 mm yr−1 between 1961 and 2003, about 42% of the observed sea-level rise. ….. the unsustainable use of groundwater represents the largest contribution…”
Nature Geoscience | Letter Model estimates of sea-level change due to anthropogenic impacts on terrestrial water storageYadu N. Pokhrel
Sea level Rise (SLR) and satellites; There are major problems calibrating satellite instruments to our un-cooperative planet, and the proposed GRASP project will resolve that giving us an accuracy to 1 mm (ie, we don’t have that now): The baselines between RF/Optical phase centers of all sensors on the supremely-calibrated GRASP spacecraft will be known to 1 mm accuracy and stable to 0.1 mm/year,….
The complexity of this work and the level of detail required to solve problems is awe-inspiring.
“ …. Beckley et al. [2007] reprocessed all the TOPEX/Poseidon and Jason-1 SLR & DORIS data within the ITRF2005 reference frame, and found that the differences in the older CSR95 and ITRF2000 realizations and ITRF2005 caused differences of up to 1.5 mm/yr in regional rates of mean sea level rise….”
“….Thus, we assess that current state of the art reference frame errors are at roughly the mm/yr level, making observation of global signals of this size very difficult to detect and interpret.
This level of error contaminates climatological data records, such as measurements of sea level height from altimetry missions, and was appropriately recognized as a limiting error source by the NRC Decadal Report and by GGOS….” (