Are the 'climate will affect sports stadiums' claims of U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse the dumbest ever?

An examination of the data suggests “quite possibly”.


You can read the press release from the Senator’s office here.

From CNS News video:

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) warns sports stadiums are at risk from the “sea level rise effects of climate change,” and that climate change specifically threatens hockey and skiing.

“We see significant sports facilities, the palaces of – of sport that are at risk from the storm, climate, sea-level rise effects of climate change,” Sen. Whitehouse said today following a closed-door climate discussion with executives from the NFL, NHL and NBA.

Hockey and skiing aside (which we’ll look at later), let’s check some stadiums and sea level, shall we? We’ll start with the largest stadium in Rhode Island, Brown Stadium, located under a mile from the water in the flatlands of East Providence: 


The nearest NOAA tide gauge is not far south of the stadium, about 2.4 miles, and according to NOAA, it was established in 1938. Brown Stadium was built in 1925, so it should give us a good indication of the threat. Note the old piers in the photo:

And here is the sea level trend calculated by NOAA for the Providence tide gauge:


NOAA’s calculated rate is 0.64 feet per 100 years. Brown Stadium is about 110 feet above sea level according to Google Earth, so the calculation becomes:

110 feet / 0.0064 feet per year  =17187.5 years

17,000 years! Hardly a problem for the present and it may not even be a problem for the future, as I sincerely doubt the stadium will last that long. We may be in a new ice age by then.

Let’s look at some others near his sphere of influence. How about the New York Giants stadium in the Meadowlands? Giants Stadium was demolished in 2010 and replaced by MetLife Stadium, located adjacent to its former site. Built in 1976, it only lasted just over 3 decades. It is about 2/3 of a mile from the nearest ocean linked waterway. According to Google Earth, it is about 10 feet above MSL, a fact that apparently didn’t concern the architects, backers, and owners of the new stadium.


The nearest tide gauge is The Battery, in New York City:


With MetLife Stadium being about 10 feet above MSL, the calculation becomes:

10 feet/.0091 feet per year = 1098.90 years

I’m willing to bet a new stadium will be built well before then wouldn’t you?

OK, How about Boston? Fenway Park isn’t far from the water, approximately 1/4 mile from the Charles River Basin and just across from MIT. Like the former Giants Stadium, it is a mere 10 feet above MSL.


The nearest NOAA tide gauge in Boston is located on the right side of the U.S. Coast Guard Building adjacent to Northern Avenue Bridge (now closed), about 2.3 miles from Fenway Park, which opened in 1912.


With Fenway Park at 10 feet AMSL, a rate of 0.86 feet/100 years the calculation becomes:

10 feet/0.0086 feet/year = 1162.79 years

Like Giants stadium, will Fenway park even be around then? Will it be around in 100 years or will it go the way of many older baseball parks, demolished and relocated/rebuilt to handle bigger crowds?

Climate alarmists often say that low lying Florida will be greatly affected by climate change induced sea level rise, and Miami will be underwater soon. So let’s try a sports stadium in Miami.

Sun Life Stadium in Miami (built 1987) hosts the Miami Dolphins, Miami Hurricanes football, annual Orange Bowl, and BCS National Championship Game every fourth year. Losing it to the sea would be a big deal. It is about 7.5 miles from the Atlantic ocean and about 6 feet above MSL according to Google Earth:


The nearest tide gauge is in Miami Beach about 13.5 miles away:


Unfortunately, the station was removed in 1981 after 50 years of service. I suppose sea level rise wasn’t a big concern or they would have kept it. The rate up until then wasn’t much different that the other tide gauges we’ve examined at 0.78 feet per 100 years. The nearest working gauge to Miami Beach is Naples, Fl, showing only 0.66 feet per 100 years.

With the Orange Bowl being 6 feet AMSL, the calculation becomes:

6 feet/ 0.0078 feet/year = 769.23 years.

Will we even have an Orange Bowl Game then? Who knows?

While Senator Whitehouse is from the east coast, maybe we’ve concentrated on the east coast too much. Let’s try the Gulf of Mexico. Surely the Mercedes-Benz Superdome stadium (built in 1975) in low lying New Orleans is threatened soon?

Notable is this entry in Wikipedia:

The Superdome was used as a “shelter of last resort” for those in New Orleans unable to evacuate from Hurricane Katrina when it struck in late August 2005.

Located about 1 mile from the Mississippi River, Google Earth pegs its elevation around 1-3 feet AMSL.


The nearest NOAA tide gauge is south of New Orleans, about 50 miles at Grand Isle, and is directly on the Gulf of Mexico. It has quite an astounding rate of sea level rise of 3.03 feet in 100 years.


With the Superdome being as low as 1 foot above MSL, the calculation becomes:

1 foot/0.0303 feet per year = 33.00 years

Some of us, though probably not Senator Whitehouse, will be around to see that. I have to wonder though why he isn’t calling for an abandonment/evacuation of the city or New Orleans, since many of the wards are below sea level now. Oh wait, that’s right, they’ve adapted to the subsidence that plagues the city, something they’ve know about for quite some time.



Maybe sea level is threatening west coast sports stadiums?

San Francisco is often depicted as being underwater, as evidenced by an alarm raised by The former Governator of California:

The map Schwarzenegger is pointing to comes from BCDC, and is shown below:


San Francisco’s new AT&T Park built in 2000, right on the bay, surely is threatened. It is located in one of the blue zones of the map above, just SW of the Bay Bridge.


The SFO tide gauge is located about 5 miles northwest, near Fort Point and has a long record:


According to Google Earth. AT&T park is about 9-10 feet above MSL.

The calculation becomes:

9 feet/ 0.0066 feet/year = 1363.63 years

It is more likely that San Francisco and the new stadium will devastated by an earthquake before then. And, chances are that A&T park won’t have much more of a lifetime than many of the others we’ve touched on in this article.

Maybe Senator Whitehouse was talking about Seattle. Yeah, that’s the ticket. CenturyLink Field (home to the SeaHawks) and the nearby Safeco Field (home to the Mariners) are right off the wharf, and less than 1/2 mile from Puget Sound.


Google Earth places their elevation at 17 feet above MSL a twofer double threat in the eyes of Senator Whitehouse I’m sure. The nearest NOAA tide gauge at Seattle just 1/2 mile northwest of the stadium at Colman Dock, has a calculated trend of 0.68 feet in 100 years.


The calculation becomes:

17 feet/ 0.0068 feet per year = 2500 years

Drats. Surely there must be a sports stadium somewhere in the USA that is threatened in the near future by sea level rise, so that closed door meetings with sports franchises with  the highly distinguished senator from Rhode Island can make his sales pitch factual?

The facts suggest Senator Whitehouse doesn’t even fit the definition of useful idiot.



List of U.S. stadiums by capacity

NOAA Tides and Currents


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What is dangerous and sleazy is that behind doors, we can assume much talk of trading influence for money was discussed. If it was honorable, it would have been open.
the AGW movement at heart is always about using other people’s money to line the pockets of the climate kooks.

That answer for Brown Stadium should be 17,187.5 years rather than 1,718.75.
REPLY: Yep, incorrect placement of decimal point, fixed thanks – Anthony


For those east coast locations, consider it’s all the same ocean. So with greatly differing values of “sea level” rise, clearly it isn’t just the sea affecting the gauges. In SF, all those lands in blue are fill. So add more fill. And if there is more to the story on the east coast, there is almost certainly more to the story regarding sea level rise on the west coast too.

Louis Hooffstetter

Minor mistake:
110 feet / 0.0064 feet per year = 1718.75 years (this should be 17187.5)
I’m not nit-picking, just trying to help.
[fixed earlier – mod]

Charles Stegiel

It is of interest perhaps that the Science Museum in San Francisco is all about warning of major sea level rise from global warming. To my knowledge the Warriors stadium moving to the waterfront has not been impacted by these concerns.

Re: New Orleans “astounding rate of sea level rise of 3.03 feet in 100 years.
Let’s call it what it is:
It is a normal rate of sea level rise of 0.75 feet in 100 years,
plus a subsidence rate of 2.28 feet per 100 years, which is perfectly normal rate for a delta of a world class river system.
No amount mount of climate change legislation/taxation/regulation/dictation is going to change the subsidence rate. Indeed, if worldwide sea levels dropped, subsidence rate of New Orleans would likely increase, perhaps catastrophically from slumping.

Did you let Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) know of this quantified peril?

Dumbest ever? Hmmmm. That is a high bar indeed. I can’t answer that one because there are so many worthy competitors in climate “science”.
I will say that there are plenty of structures world wide that are close to the sea’s edge and have been there for decades on end. These places show no danger of being covered by the sea. And if a sports stadium were to be lost to this mythical sea rise — so what? Should we destroy the industrial economies of the world to save a few sports stadiums? Give me a break.


I am only eyeballing those two graphs but it looks like there has been a ‘pause’ in sea level rise from around 1980 or so. Anyone care to draw a trend line?

HGW xx/7

This is right here is how we are and will continue to win: facts, facts and more facts. They can wave their hands and shake their overly-tanned faces (Ahhhnold), but that doesn’t change the facts. It still shocks and sickens me how people who are supposed to be so much smarter than us plebes have all this influence to spread their lies. Regardless, we are working in the shadows, making bunny ears behind them in their photoshoots, themselves complete oblivious to it all…much like they are of any shred of reality.


The Amsterdam Arena is already 3m below sea level. It’s worst than we thought!


Remember, the Superbowl will be played in MetLife Stadium this year. It looks to be a colder than normal winter on the east coast and a pattern is developing that might bring nor’easters up the coast this season. The NFL and some green groups are conspiring to spread climate alarm and a few well placed ads coupled with a little help from Mother Nature might make for some interesting messaging about climate change and sports stadiums.


It’s dumber that we thought! Although, nothing really beats that the oceans will smell different from climate change.

David Chorley

You typed subsistence in New Orleans when you meant subsidence
REPLY: Yep, fixed, thanks -A


I liked your New Orleans review …
‘Oh wait, that’s right, they’ve adapted to the subsistence that plagues the city, something they’ve know about for quite some time.’
A searing indictment of Democratic Party local governance if ever I saw one. 🙂

So, we know that the mid Atlantic ridge is rising grom the ocean floor and the whole Eastern seaboard is sinking due to tectonic movements. What has that to do with climate change?

Adam Gallon

Seattle’s going to cop a packet when the Cascadia Fault next shifts anyway,that’s going to be a lot closer than 2,500 years in the future.

tonyb -got the same impression of pause ~1980 from last two graphs also

Whitehouse is one of the worst fear mongers, the master of disasters, leveraging every human tragedy for his political benefit. After the Moore Oklahoma tornado he shamelesly blamed the deniers for the tornados, with ““the damage that your polluters and deniers are doing doesn’t just hit Oklahoma and Alabama and Texas. It hits Rhode Island with floods and storms.”

Richard G

edit note re New Orleans: ” they’ve adapted to the *subsistence* that plagues the city” perhaps intended to read ‘subsidence’?

john robertson

Me thinks one of his staff must have tried to explain the stadium wave theorem of climate to the esteemed gentleman.
But not to fear, has anyone told SW that the stadiums will be destroyed in the tsunamis caused by the impending capsize of Guam?


Given the deal Obama just handed Iran, by comparison, Senator Whitehouse appears to be a cool, calm, rational man making decisions based on the facts at hand.

Maybe I’m odd, but if I were worried about sea levels, probably the very last concern would be the sports stadiums. Of course, team owners are always looking for someone to build them a new stadium. so they won’t laugh out loud at this buffoon.


The lack of concern for rising sea levels in Seattle is evidenced by the current construction of a tunnel to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct (SR 99) along the city’s waterfront. The southern tunnel entrance will be closer to the water than the stadiums. Those concerned about rising sea levels did not make an effort to replace the elevated highway with another one.
Additionally, a major portion of the waterfront seawall is being rebuilt soon. As of now, have not read of any plan to make it higher. Major remodels of the Washington State ferry terminal in downtown Seattle have not altered the elevation of any structures there. Lastly, plans for a brand new arena near the waterfront to attract an NBA and NHL team to Seattle have recently been floated. (Pun intended.)
Why wasn’t Sen. Whitehouse out here alerting us to the danger before we sank billions into these expensive capital projects?

Chuck L

Dumb and Dumber – Whitehouse and Waxman.

Since about 25% of the human produced CO2 in the atmosphere is a result of the US economic activity of the past century, and since the IPCC and US scientists tell us this CO2 will remain in the atmosphere for hundreds of years, when can we expect the US taxpayer to cut a check for 25% of the cost of relocating facilities to higher ground in the rest of the world?
After all, the EPA in the US has declared CO2 a dangerous pollutant. The courts have upheld the EPA’s right to make such a ruling. Thus the precedent has been set. Shouldn’t the US, as the largest source of CO2 pollution for the past 100 year, now pay the rest of the world to clean up the 25% of the mess they created?
Isn’t the polluter responsible to pay the cost of cleanup? BO was required to pay billions of dollars for the hydro-Cabon pollution they caused in the gulf. Shouldn’t the US pay many hundreds of trillions of dollars to cleanup the Carbon pollution they caused in the rest of the world?
Is there any doubt that Senator Sheldon Whitehouse through his comments is helping make this happen? How, it if the US establishes that CO2 is responsible for these damages, and the US has historically been the largest source, how can the US expect that some day there will not be an accounting? A lawsuit to end all lawsuits?

John M

So while these welfare-queens-in-luxery-boxes (owners) were sucking up to this two-bit pol, did any of them actually promise to keep their taxpayer subsidized digs in place for more than 25 years?
What’s the big deal? They’ll just have to make sure the next taxpayer fleecing is used to build a new stadium/arena on higher ground.

R. Shearer

Mile High, baby.


I read this story in my daily Global Warming/Climate Change Google News feed on Friday. Wow. Just Wow.


I sent him a “nice” note yesterday through his website at
About his serious lack of reality. Just sent the link to this article. It should be sent to every newspaper on the east coast if not the entire country.
Let’s see how the residents vote in the next election….

John F. Hultquist

The easy-to-melt ice has already melted. Low elevation and low latitude ice is gone. That explains why the sea level rise slows following a rapid increase after a glacial period. The ice builds from falling snow – a slow process. Melting is much faster as precipitation falls as rain when temperature increases. The only real question is what does Sen. Whitehouse have to gain from this? Follow the money.
How soon will Sports Authority Field at Mile High (gag!) be covered in snow? Then firn? Then ice? Then begin to slide? Only Sen. Whitehouse knows.


This ranks below another Congress person who feared some island may tip over if too many people populate on one side of an island.


Sen. Whitehouse is working on bipartisan legislation with Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) who believes that islands float in the ocean. The two lawmakers are working hard to head off the serious risk that sea-level rise will cause islands to float over land and collide into sports stadiums.


Shorter Whitehouse: Youse guys have been…ahem…team players on other statist agenda items. Continue publicly supporting our causes and we’ll make sure the Fed poofs a few extra zeroes up, just for you.


These stadia will make great marinas when they are finally overwhelmed by the rising sea levels.
How many more first-of-Aprils are we going to get this year?

Mike M

kingdube says: “Did you let Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) know of this quantified peril?”
Him and, unfortunately, many others like him choose to remain either willfully ignorant or spitefully dishonest. With him I’m guessing it’s probably the former…

With respect, calculating the years for MSL to reach a structure’s height above MSL is not the issue.
Flooding occurs long before that time. Flooding occurs at high tide with large waves, and with storm surges. The East coast clearly has high tides and large waves, and the occasional storm surge.
The West coast almost never has a storm surge from a hurricane, but does have high tides with large waves. At Malibu, California near me, the highest tides reach 7 feet above MSL, and large waves of 13 feet are common. Beachfront homes at Playa Vista on Dockweiler Beach, California, are protected each Fall and Winter by an artificial sand dune approximately 20 feet high. The dune blocks the ocean view, but this apparently is an acceptable tradeoff.


I wouldn’t be too hard on the good senator. I’m sure he’s just saying what his handlers have told him to say.

James from Arding

This reminds me of the Roman Empire and their conquest of tribes. As they subdued the populace they subsumed the local religious beliefs into their own practices. Here we have the Climate Priests subsuming the Sport Gods into their panoply of belief, dogma and practice! When do we get to sacrifice the virgins?
Wait…. there are no more virgins :-). /sarc

Gunga Din

When I was a kid I remember finding a scrapbook my Dad had kept. He had cut out an article with a picture of a rowboat over the right field fence. (And, yes, I was at some of the games played there in later years.)
Crosley Field was replaced by Riverfront Stadium which has since been replaced by another.
Buck Rogers was a popular serial in the theaters back in ’37. Now SciFi is presented as SciFact.
(But who knows? Maybe the Miami Dolphins could play well under water.)

In addition to the dread sea level rise, the Seattle area has to worry about earthquakes, tsunamis, and lahars from Mt Rainier. I don’t know if one can get to the stadium, but they have reached Puget Sound and may cause a tsunami that does. The Tacoma area has been reached.

I think living in San Francisco is safer.


It’s not the Senator that’s worrisome. It’s his job to scare the populace so he can “do sumphin’ ’bout it.” It’s the no-information voters that buy in to this carp that scare the bejeezus out of me.


He is a United States senator – it isn’t possible to say anything stupider than what comes out of the US Senate. It is what they do when they do anything at all. It is only a matter of time before he discovers this obvious opportunity and jump on the Ward/Day/McGuire bandwagon:


Did we need an IPCC style organisation to ‘tackle’ sea level rise between 1800 to 1987? Did we make it? Yep. Why are these bastards wasting our time and spending our taxes? Holland anyone? Polders? Concrete? Thames flood barrier? Accretion? Coral Island atolls rise?
It’s time to call the police on this fraud.


I’m pretty sure we’re safe here in Denver – at least for the moment.
Atlanta ought to be OK, heck even Chicago and St Louis are good to go
But Rhode Islanders will have to pay an “Isostasy-impact fee” to move here where it’s safe. Afterall, their added mass will depress the crust and bring us all to “certain Armageddon” – any day now, fershure

William McClenney

Ignorance can be cured, but dumb? That’s forever.
Without the gullible, politics would not exist.
Sea level excursions at the end-Eemian from 12 studies around the world ran from +6M amsl to +45M amsl.
If that is not enough see Lysa et al 2001 for up to +52M amsl.
Hominids had woodfires, maybe even coal fires, but the invention of the toxic methanogenic anthropogenic mixture known as “beans and salsa” had to await the evolution of agriculture during THIS interglacial, the Holocene.
Only Homo antecessor, the ignorant or intellectually challenged could realistically be expected to believe such guff, Senator Whitehouse.
And that’s literally (meaning from the literature) all there actually is to it.
Well almost……….
And this is where you get to impress us Sheldon. Or any WUWT number-crunchers (I am thinking Willis might be interested) up to the task. Please provide the total annual carbon footprint from all sports complexes/events etc. You know, US-football/baseball/races/etc., rest-of-world-football, fuel equivalents for all fans/players/etc., lights, whatever, wherever (include Olympics fractions). Then split-out the ones that would be drowned according to your claim, and compare that to those that would have been drowned out by just +6M and +63M amsl had we been as carbonized at the end-Eemian.
At the end of the Holocene, the question is: what is a significant number?

William McClenney

Typo: +63M was supposed to be +52M (lousy keyboard).


Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) warns sports stadiums are at risk from the “sea level rise effects of climate change,” and that climate change specifically threatens hockey and skiing.

I remember the times when they told us that the Scottish ski industry was doomed. Same too for the alps and the US ski industry. The really funny thing is that no right minded person talks about this anymore except the good Senator. Why? Peak out the window, it’s snowing / icy pellets in southern California and Dallas as I type! As for Scotland some of its ski resorts were closed due to too much snow last year! Sheeesh! – November 24, 2013; 6:45 AM
Snow, Ice Impacting Albuquerque, OKC, Dallas
Unusual cold and a potent storm is combining to bring more snow, icy weather and travel hazards from New Mexico to Texas and Oklahoma this Sunday.
KTLA5 – 23 / 24? Nov 2013
Storm Brings Much-Needed Snow to Mountain Slopes in Southern California
Mountain High reported on its website that it had been blanketed with 12 inches of fresh powder, helping the season get off to an enthusiastic start.

Scottish snow is just a thing of the past. Little Scots kids just don’t know what snow is.


Sorry, the Scottish ski resort of CairnGorm was closed in January 2010 due to too much snow! LOL.
What about this year? It’s doom and gloom I’m afraid. It’s all over, tell the kids what snow was like.

Scotsman – Sunday 24th November 2013
Scotland’s ski season is set to begin at the weekend – just 170 days after the previous one ended – sparking fresh hope of a bumper winter on the slopes.
CairnGorm Mountain, the busiest of Scotland’s five snowsports resorts, has had decent snowfall over the last week and expects to open on Saturday on what will be the earliest start to a season for five years.

Oh Canada. Ye are doomed. Your children will not noweth what snow is.

Whistler ski resort to open 13 days early
The Canadian resort of Whistler will fire up five lifts this weekend thanks to cold weather, snowmaking and heavy snowfall
One half of North America’s largest ski area will open this weekend, thirteen days ahead of schedule.
Whistler Mountain at Whistler Blackcomb, Canada, will now open on Saturday, thanks to cold temperatures, intensive snowmaking and heavy snowfall.
Alpine snowfall records smashed last season
Five lifts will be in operation and guests will have the option of uploading from the Whistler Village or Creekside gondolas, with three lifts running higher up the mountain. Blackcomb Mountain will open as scheduled on 28 November.


But what about our rising seas? Sea levels have been rising since the last de-glaciation. No honest acceleration detected. I recall the blockbuster showing sea level fall around the USA! I must be mistaken. Let me check. In the meantime here is some enjoyment.

American Meteorological Society – Volume 26, Issue 13 (July 2013)
Twentieth-Century Global-Mean Sea Level Rise: Is the Whole Greater than the Sum of the Parts?
………..The reconstructions account for the observation that the rate of GMSLR was not much larger during the last 50 years than during the twentieth century as a whole, despite the increasing anthropogenic forcing. Semiempirical methods for projecting GMSLR depend on the existence of a relationship between global climate change and the rate of GMSLR, but the implication of the authors’ closure of the budget is that such a relationship is weak or absent during the twentieth century.