Walmart helps verify sea level rise in NYC

From the “more proof Walmart is evil” department, comes this bit of serendipity. While looking for a marine deep cycle battery to serve as storage for a solar powered remote weather station and webcam I’m designing, this turned up in the Walmart product search:

flyingboat_NYC_walmart

Intrigued by the photo, since I had never seen it before, and because it showed a clear view of the sea at Battery Park from the early years of aviation, I set about trying to find the source of it. Usually, photos that are for sale tend to be well protected so that hi-res versions don’t make it onto the net. To my complete surprise, not only did I find the source, but also a high-res version. To my even bigger surprise, it turned out to be in NOAA’s public domain photo collection.

The source:

A flying boat cruising by Battery Park at the south end of Manhattan Island. In: “Flug Und Wolken”, Manfred Curry, Verlag F. Bruckmann, Munchen, 1932.
Image ID: line0987, NOAA’s America’s Coastlines Collection
Location: New York City
Photo Date: 1930 Circa
Credit: Fairchild Aerial Surveys Inc.
Category: Coastline/Mid-Atlantic New York/Historical/

And here is the hi-res version:

flyingboat_NYC_NOAA_line0987

Click to enlarge (BTW, since this is public domain, save and print it yourself if you like it. COSTCO offers print services, as Dr. Mike Mann found out) – Anthony_

Available at: http://www.photolib.noaa.gov/htmls/line0987.htm

(Update: Michael Ozanne writes in comments:
That’s the Dornier Do-X , the biggest plane in the world of its day and one of the worst aeronautical engineering exploits in history. Famous for its mishap ridden marketing flight from Friedrichshafen to New York which ended up taking 9 months. Longer than it would probably take to swim it….. more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dornier_Do_X )

Note in  the background, you can see what looks to be the Empire State Building (or possibly the Chrysler building) nearing completion. Empire state officially opened on May 1st, 1931. The Chrysler building May 20, 1930. That puts the photo above around  1930 to early 1931. (any readers that can help identify for sure, leave a comment please).

Now compare that photo to this one taken 80 years later in 2010 from Wikipedia with a nearly identical vantage point:

Battery_Park

While there have been a lot of changes, most notably the mature trees now in Battery Park, one thing is clear – the city has not been inundated by sea level rise even though the NOAA Battery Park tide gauge indicates a rise of about 0.22 meter ( 8 3/4 inches):

battery_park_SLR_1930-2010

Granted, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference in sea level from 1930 to 2010 just by looking at the two photos, but that’s the point, especially when we see idiotic stories like this one in National Geographic:

natgeo_statue_liberty_sea_level

Story at: National Geographic’s Junk Science: How long will it take for sea level rise to reach midway up the Statue of Liberty?

Or this one of La Guardia airport by Climate Central’s Andrew Freedman, which is the all-time dumbest in my opinion, since I’m pretty sure sea level rise can’t catch airplanes:

What La Guardia Airport could look like with 5 feet of sea level rise, an amount that could occur by 2100, according to some estimates. Click on the image to enlarge. Credit: Nickolay Lamm/StorageFront , for Climate Central, using Climate Central data.

Story at: Quite possibly the dumbest example of ‘Tabloid Climatology’ ever from Climate Central’s Andrew Freedman

As always, I remind our readers:

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

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Greg Goodman

Ya gotta admit the water does kinda look higher 😉

michaelozanne

That’s the Dornier Do-X , the biggest plane in the world of its day and one of the worst aeronautical engineering exploits in history. Famous for its mishap ridden marketing flight from Friedrichshafen to New York which ended up taking 9 months. Longer than it would probably take to swim it…..

Lloyd Martin Hendaye

Book us passage on that magnificent broad-winged Flying Boat…. but we know heresy when we see it. What have actual measurements ever had to do with AGW sea-levels?

Greg Goodman

Out of interest, are marine batteries cheaper than other commerical deep discharge? I would have though that leisure marine market was as much as rip off as camper or solar markets.
If often get asked for advise of setting up off grid systems, any tips like that would be useful.

Jason H

I think the Empire State Building is to the left and way out of frame in both photographs.
REPLY: I went back and forth between ES and Chrysler – maybe readers can help clear it up. I’ve added a note to that effect – Anthony

RACookPE1978

On the other hand, the sea plane ramps (nice sloping inclined planes into the water) at every US, British and Japanese Navy air base worldwide might give a clue for water level increase since the 1920’s …..
For example, http://www.airfields-freeman.com/VA/Airfields_VA_Norfolk.htm

johnmarshall

Comparing those two photographs above it looks like a small sea level fall. There has been some reclamation round Battery Park in the mean time which might confuse the issue but nothing alarming with sea levels.

Greg Goodman

If that was an historic flight maybe it would be possible to find the data and the time it flew over Battery Park, then look up tide charts….

kadaka (KD Knoebel)

New York City is not sustainable.

Rob Dawg

As a follow on to the world class surface stations triumph perhaps you could get people all over the world to compare historic coastal photography to current sea levels.

Jimbo

Relax, Battery Park is landfill; just fill some more or use what they call concrete. No problemo.
Note to Eco-Worriers: Part of the Netherlands is reclaimed from the sea and is BELOW sea level! All hope is lost, head for the hills.
And finally, the Maldives has in recent years been building FIVE underwater airports to cater for flying tourists who churn out so much refuse they have an island name dedicated to it. Now where are those building aggregates.
Maldives: paradise trashed (with nauseating images).

johanna

Thanks for this. That is a wonderful photo. I wonder how it was taken, and by whom?
In this jaded age of billions of images, it is always a treat to be reminded that great photography is a relatively old art form, which was not reliant on modern technology to make it great.

geran

Jason H says:
September 21, 2013 at 8:10 am
I think the Empire State Building is to the left and way out of frame in both photographs.
>>>>>
I agree, but I haven’t been to NYC in over 30 years!
Good catch, AW, I wonder if the wing number D”1929″ has any significance, as to dates?

Matt

One cannot discount the possibility that some of that land was dredged. Either way, we know NY is subsiding, so, BFD.

TonyP

Don’t forget the effect of tidal height changes, Anthony – NYC has a 5 or 6 ft change of height between high & low water – so it depends on what time of day, and day of month is being compared..

Sam The First

Maldives: what tourist would want to visit a place where it’s proposed to flog a 15 year old girl raped by her step-father within an inch of her life, anyway?
[This girl’s sentence for ‘immorality’ has been put on hold due the international outcry, and top level diplomacy, but others are not so lucky]

Darren Potter

“NOAA Battery Park tide gauge indicates a rise of about 0.22 meter”
Sea level isn’t rising, instead tide gauge is sinking do to anthropological expansion / construction. Which resulted in land subsiding under weight of the numerous and massive buildings crammed full of people.
Setting aside the sinking… The air sure looks a whole lot cleaner now than it did back in 1930s. Appears that increasing CO2 ppm, results in less Smog.

Jimbo

As one commenter mentioned on the other Battery Park thread much of Manhattan is reclaimed land. They asked what effect does millions of tonnes of steel, concrete and other human structures have on subsidence? (I paraphrase.)

michaelozanne says September 21, 2013 at 8:06 am
That’s the Dornier Do-X , the biggest plane in the world of its day and one of the worst aeronautical engineering exploits in history.

WOW! Almost as much of a ‘white elephant’ as this Soviet-made cold-war era ground-effects bird:
Lun-class Ekranoplane was used by the Soviet Navy” from 1987 to the late 1990s
http://www.businessinsider.com/take-a-look-inside-the-soviet-unions-gigantic-nuclear-equipped-ekanoplane-2012-1?op=1
.

steveta_uk

I assume that the1932 picture was taken during the peak of a spring tide, and the modern one at the lowest point of a spring tide? I also assume that those trees are underwater for several hours twice a day!
After all, National Geographic wouldn’t lie!

kadaka (KD Knoebel)

While looking for a marine deep cycle battery to serve as storage for a solar powered remote weather station and webcam I’m designing…
Sealed lead acid (SLA), here’s a 12V 12Ah general-type deep cycle AGM, 9 pounds. $33.
http://www.batteryspec.com/cgi-bin/cart.cgi?action=link&product=300G6
Used for wheelchairs and scooters, thus outdoor exposure on a par with a weather station in a ventilated rain-shielded enclosure. Plain male spade terminals.
Go play on Amazon, look for “sla sealed lead acid deep cycle battery 12v 12 volt”, you’ll find them down around 7.5Ah for under $20.

kadaka (KD Knoebel) says September 21, 2013 at 8:19 am
New York City is not sustainable.

With enough taxation, anything is possible (as long as the ‘host’ -er- tax payer survives). What occurs after that today (we know what happened in the past for various ’empires’, and even for such large cities as Detroit even) when QE (Quantitative Easing; literally, ‘the printing of money’) is finally wound-down is anybody’s guess though. The ~recent development in energy extraction (fracturing) will delay the inevitable as abundantly available and reasonably-priced (cheap in a word) energy is the lifeblood of today’s society.
But, your point is well taken.
.

RACookPE1978
Silver Ralph

Yup, those boats look like they are at the same level as before.
😉

R. Shearer

The building with the green roof and spire is the Trump Building (originally the Manhattan Company Building). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/40_Wall_Street

Reblogged this on CACA.

Juice

That building under construction is neither the ESB nor the Chrysler Building. The image shows only lower Manhattan. Those buildings are both in Midtown. I don’t know the name of the building though.

Fernando (in Brazil)

These things are wonderful.
becomes an, WUWT the world’s best.
A single photo from the 30s. Suggests that millions of photographs from the era of satellites, say nothing.
thermometers on board???

OVER on the other coast, there’s been no sea level rise in California for 73 years
http://www.psmsl.org/data/obtaining/stations/437.php
Yet doesn’t stop ARNIE from frightening the masses into a California state of climate guilt so they pay penance http://uk.reuters.com/article/2008/11/15/oukoe-uk-california-sealevel-idUKTRE4AE0YC20081115

Juice

The building is 70 Pine St.

I don’t know your requirements, but golf cart batteries run around $100.
I have always been told Trojan are best – their T 605 weighs 85 pounds, is 6 volts,
will provide 210 amp hours at 20 hour disharge rate, Trojan makes lots and lots of different deep cycle batteries.

Jason H says September 21, 2013 at 8:10 am
I think the Empire State Building is to the left and way out of frame in both photographs.

I would concur; The Empire State Bldg is halfway between the S. tip of Manhattan and Central Park.
http://mappery.com/map-of/Manhattan-New-York-Map
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Pl9ICo8qUws/TVVjJ3SUe0I/AAAAAAAAALs/esl2u8K5riQ/s1600/manhattan-3d-map.jpg
.

Juice

I think that was the building from Ghostbusters. 🙂

David Ball

Could the modern photo have been taken during this insane presidential PR stunt?
http://www.boreme.com/posting.php?id=22421

David Ball says September 21, 2013 at 9:16 am
Could the modern photo have been taken during this insane presidential PR stunt?
http://www.boreme.com/posting.php?id=22421

Was that insane (could have been, just sayin)?
“Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.” And with this administration …
.

David Ball

Good point _Jim. If it was stupidity, it was an extreme example.

R. Shearer

Juice appears to be correct, the building under construction is 70 Pine St. The Chrysler building is not in Lower Manhattan. The 3rd prominent skyscraper in the older photo appears to be 20 Exchange Place.

How much dredging has been done in the harbor since 1930?
Was the harbor and waterways deeper or shallower?

climatereason

RACook
Not sea plane ramps but here are the 1945 D Day ramps in Torquay harbour on the South coast of England
http://south-west-urbex.forums-free.info/t18-torquay-harbour-d-day-ramps-minewatchers-post-september-2010
No, we can’t see any sea level rise either
tonyb

Whilst on the subject of historic structures with their feet in the sea, here is the famous Great Western Railway built by Brunel in the 1840’s in South West England
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Devon_Railway_sea_wall
I walk this sea wall regularly and it is impossible to discern sea level rise over the intervening 170 years since the wall was built. It has ALWAYS been subject to storm damage as can be seen in the wiki write up.
tonyb

It looks like the rate of increase for the 80 years from ca 1856 to 1936 is at least as fast as the 80 years from 1930 to 2010, even if you use 2 separate trend lines. I have only eye-balled it but some one of you might want to do an accurate check. There doesn’t seem to be any acceleration of sea level rise due to recent global warming. Murray

nutso fasst

Good possibility the photo was taken Aug 27, 1931.
“The Do X took off from Friedrichshafen, Germany on Nov 3, 1930 commencing its trans-Atlantic proving flight. The route took the Do X to Lisbon, down the Western African coast, across the Atlantic to South America, and north to the United States finally reaching New York on Aug 27, 1931.”
Video: http://www.flixxy.com/dornier-do-x-1929-jumbo-airplane.htm

Robert Austin

I understand that the New York City area is still settling at about 1 mm / year from isostatic adjustment from the melting of the Laurentide ice sheet.

John M

From clues provided above…

70 Pine Street – formerly known as the American International Building, 60 Wall Tower and originally as the Cities Service Building – is a 66-story, 952-foot (290 m) office building[4] located at the corner of Pearl Street and running to Cedar Street in the Financial District of Manhattan, New York City. It was built in 1931-32 by the Cities Service Company

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/70_Pine_Street

The flight continued north to the United States, finally reaching New York on 27 August 1931,[6] almost nine months after departing Friedrichshafen.[1] The Do X and crew spent the next nine months there as its engines were overhauled, and thousands of sightseers made the trip to Glenn Curtiss Airport (now LaGuardia Airport) to tour the leviathan of the air. The economic effects of the Great Depression dashed Dornier’s marketing plans for the Do X, however, and it departed from New York on May 21, 1932 via Newfoundland and the Azores to Müggelsee, Berlin where it arrived on 24 May and was met by a cheering crowd of 200,000

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dornier_Do-X

John Moore

I find it somewhat mystifying that there is so much confusion about sea level rise. It must be seen by people living near the sea shore — particularly where there are beaches. Allowing for Spring tides and Neap tides — do elderly residents notice any difference in the tide not going out so far as it did in the fifties say and do high tides seem noticeably much higher? I live just too far from the coast in SW England to be able to frequently check but we have fewer coastal town floods than in the say thirties to the fifties because various flood prevention schemes have been built. I have tackled the Met Office about it and they have passed me on to other agencies and there are websites which show some eight inches a century. The Ordnance Survey — who produce very high quality maps of the British Isles tell me that the datum point of Mean Sea Level for all their maps is at Newlyn Harbour in the far West of Cornwall which is the most southerly and westerly point in England. All present maps produced (they tell me) use the mean sea level at that point as it was in 1915 — 1921. So they haven’t decided to make great changes in spite of the fears of Global Warming Catastrophy spread by the Met Office. It also seems very difficult to find out how they tell the difference between sea level rising and the land falling. When the Thames Barrier was built in 1985 (to prevent London flooding) we were told it was because the land in the SE of England was falling — and rising in Scotland. Of course now we are told it is because of CGW!!

TeeWee

Anthony. There are some wonderful old time movies of the flying boat era on YouTube. Some are of San Francisco, others are in New York and other foreign locations. Pick out a landmark and stop action, you might be able to see the sea level then.

nobody asks about the time of observation. interesting to see skepticism in action. selective skepticism
REPLY: Oh, bullshit Mr. Mosher. a. it isn’t relevant, because I’m pointing out you can’t tell from a photo anyway, and b. it was already discussed upthread. – Anthony

Greg Goodman

Mosh says: nobody asks about the time of observation.
Oh yeah?
Greg Goodman says:
September 21, 2013 at 8:17 am
“If that was an historic flight maybe it would be possible to find the data and the time it flew over Battery Park, then look up tide charts….”
Bias confirmation in action there Mosh’

Greg Goodman says: September 21, 2013 at 8:05 am “Ya gotta admit the water does kinda look higher” Them’s TIDES. A glance (Wolfram | Alpha) showed a roughly six-foot tidal range for NY Harbor.
And that is precisely the problem at issue. It’s difficult to pick the sense from then noisy non-sense.

Anthony: I believe the highrise you’re pointing out that’s being topped in that early photo is the Woolworth Building at the 233 Broadway. Its copper top shows up well in the newer photo. The other giveaway is that the building is south of the Brooklyn Bridge. The Empire State and Chrysler Buildings are in midtown, many dozens of blocks north of the Brooklyn Bridge.
The Woolworth Building (55 stories?) was completed in 1913, a couple of decades earlier than the Empire State Building (1931) and Chrysler Building (1930), making your visual comparison better by a few decades.
Time for me to go back to my final proofreading of “Climate Models Fail”.
Regards