# Observed sea level rise still is (just) within the 'natural range'

From the University of Southampton

What the past tells us about modern sea-level rise

Researchers from the University of Southampton and the Australian National University report that sea-level rise since the industrial revolution has been fast by natural standards and – at current rates – may reach 80cm above the modern level by 2100 and 2.5 metres by 2200.

The team used geological evidence of the past few million years to derive a background pattern of natural sea-level rise. This was compared with historical tide-gauge and satellite observations of sea-level change for the ‘global warming’ period, since the industrial revolution. The study, which was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (iGlass consortium) and Australian Research Council (Laureate Fellowship), is published in the journal Scientific Reports

Lead author Professor Eelco Rohling, from the Australian National University and formerly of the University of Southampton, says: “Our natural background pattern from geological evidence should not be confused with a model-based prediction. It instead uses data to illustrate how fast sea level might change if only normal, natural processes were at work. There is no speculation about any new mechanisms that might develop due to man-made global warming. Put simply, we consider purely what nature has done before, and therefore could do again.”

Co-author Dr Gavin Foster, a Reader in Ocean and Earth Science at the University of Southampton, who is based at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (NOCS), explains: “Geological data showed that sea level would likely rise by nine metres or more as the climate system adjusts to today’s greenhouse effect. But the timescale for this was unclear. So we studied past rates and timescales of sea-level rise, and used these to determine the natural background pattern.”

Co-author Dr Ivan Haigh, lecturer in coastal oceanography at the University of Southampton and also based at NOCS, adds: “Historical observations show a rising sea level from about 1800 as sea water warmed up and melt water from glaciers and ice fields flowed into the oceans. Around 2000, sea level was rising by about three mm per year. That may sound slow, but it produces a significant change over time.”

The natural background pattern allowed the team to see whether recent sea-level changes are exceptional or within the normal range, and whether they are faster, equal, or slower than natural changes.

Professor Rohling concludes: “For the first time, we can see that the modern sea-level rise is quite fast by natural standards. Based on our natural background pattern, only about half the observed sea-level rise would be expected.

“Although fast, the observed rise still is (just) within the ‘natural range’. While we are within this range, our current understanding of ice-mass loss is adequate. Continued monitoring of future sea-level rise will show if and when it goes outside the natural range. If that happens, then this means that our current understanding falls short, potentially with severe consequences.”

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## 88 thoughts on “Observed sea level rise still is (just) within the 'natural range'”

1. BS, it makes the GRASS GROW GREEN, BS (basic science), it makes the grass grow tall.
3mm per year… And the satellite accuracy is????
The above introduction is sung to Srgt. Musgrave’s dance (the Bridge on the River Kwai theme.)
After my Father taught me that, in certain “social circumstances” we could walk away from someone who had told us something, and he’d just whistle the tune.

2. Marcos says:

are they removing the GIA ‘adjustment’ from the modern sea level rise?

3. Richard says:

Hmm, let’s take a look at state of the art equipment put on pacific islands around 18 years ago to measure sea level rise,
South Pacific sea levels Best records show little or no rise?! « JoNova
joannenova.com.au/2010/08/south-pacific-sea-levels-no-rise-since-1993/
18 Aug 2010 – The Seaframe stations are state of the art, and regularly checked to compensate for all these changes. The Seaframe equipment used to measure sea levels is carefully … yet at least in the South Pacific, it’s not clear that sea levels have risen. …. as an exceptionally low year for seal level on all these islands.

4. Around 2000, sea level was rising by about three mm per year. That may sound slow, but it produces a significant change over time.
Of course it does, but who says that this pace will stay that way over the next 300 years? Perhaps sea level rise also goes in 60 year cycles so a linear extrapolation may not be warranted.

5. Bloke down the pub says:

Around the UK there are many settlements that in medieval times were on the coast, but are now many miles inland due to sea level reduction. This is not due to isostacy as in the South the land is sinking. Everything that goes around, comes around, and one day the sea will come to collect the debt owed.

6. ShrNfr says:

And sea level in the Pacific apparently fell during the Little Ice Age. As we swing from a high level of solar magnetic activity to a low level of solar magnetic activity, extrapolating broken AGW models for 200 years leaves me unimpressed.

7. Tom G(ologist) says:

This is a curious conclusion, considering that Conrad (2013, Solid Earth Influences on Tides, GSA Bulletin) found that:
“On the shortest time scales (1–10 yr), elastic deformation [of the crust] causes the ground surface to uplift instantaneously near deglaciating areas while the sea surface depresses due to diminished gravitational attraction. This produces spatial variations in rates of relative sea-level change (measured relative to the ground surface), with amplitudes of several millimeters per year. These sea-level “fingerprints” are characteristic of (and may help identify) the deglaciation source, and they can have significant societal importance because they will control rates of coastal inundation in the coming century.”
In other words, crustal deformation exerts sea level controls on multiple, overlapping time scales ranging from years to billions of years. But, if you put on blinders, the ONLY causes of mm/yr variations in sea level just HAVE to be glacial meltwater and sea water expansion both caused solely by AGW.

8. rgbatduke says:

Of course it does, but who says that this pace will stay that way over the next 300 years? Perhaps sea level rise also goes in 60 year cycles so a linear extrapolation may not be warranted.
Yes indeed. In fact one could look at the historical tide gauge data to see that this is precisely the case, and that SLR was as even more rapid than it is today during the first half of the 20th century in good alignment with the thermometric record of post-LIA warming. Gravitation-corrected SLR is currently lower than what the satellites appear to be reporting IIRC, at around 2mm/year, which is almost exactly the long term post-LIA average rate. There is no sign of “acceleration” due to supposed anthropogenic CO_2 effects.
What amuses me about all of these predictions is that they are all — without exception — predicated on some sort of ill-defined mean increase in GASTA predicted by the various GCMs and on a whole raft of assumptions about things like how rapidly Antarctica and the Greenland ice pack are supposed to melt. It’s sort of like “If GASTA increases by 5 C by 2100, and if that increase suffices to cause the melting of a kilometer or so of Antarctic ice pack, and if the ocean expands by thus and such amount due to the warming, then we’ll see X meters of SLR by 2100”. Frequently the claims are literally absurd — melting Antarctica on a timescale of decades shows some sort of serious problem understanding latent heat of fusion (which is huge), high albedo, six months of night and low high-tilt summertime insolation, and surface to volume ratios.
They also seem absolutely impervious to empirical data. “Boiling seas” Hansen was publicly making his wildly speculative 5 meter SLR by 2100 guess well over a decade ago (which is as irresponsible for a scientist to do as showing “fire” in a crowded theater because you have linearly extrapolated the temperature increase inside due to being recently filled with warm bodies to the ignition point of paper in 100 years). Here it is, 2013, one eight of the way through the interval from 2000 to 2100 and the total SLR of the last decade is (drum roll please) at MOST an inch. More likely 3/4 of an inch — a couple of lousy centimeters.
So we have Yet Another Paper — one that lacks even an effort to pretend to analyze the physics of icepack melting on high-latitude plateaus but instead equates things like melt rates in mid-interglacial transition to melting rates today — calling for as much as 80 cm by 2100 and lord knows what by 2200. Hey, I should be glad — at least it’s down from the meter previously being called for in papers of this type as people are beginning to twig to the fact that if we’re going to see SLR of this magnitude it has to start sometime and gee, it hasn’t started yet. Nor is it likely to be starting, as the planet has experienced no significant warming since the burst associated with the 1997/1998 Super ENSO even, and may even be quietly cooling a bit in spite of recent attempts to rewrite the temperature record yet again, this time at the very tail end of inconvenient stasis, so that one can compare infilled kumquats to multiply-adjusted modern era oranges to sparsely sampled, non-infilled thermometric apples in the more distant past (all to get an ANOMALY as we can’t for the life of us actually compute the global average surface temperature TODAY to within a degree K).
Some arithmetic: 80 cm by 2100 is roughly 0.9 cm a year or an inch every 2-3 years. It is over three times the greatest rate observed (on several occasions, not just in the recent past) in the entire reliable historic record (tide gauge data). Every year with only 2-3 mm of rise tacks on an extra 6-7 mm that have to be made up in the following years. Measuring SLR is actually enormously complex — simply determining the current “sea level” is highly nontrivial because it has to be extracted from sparse measurements on a fluid surface with both systematic (but imprecisely predictable) time variation and with an enormous amount of multiple-timescale fractal noise and then corrected for the motion of the Earth’s crust and slow variability in the near-surface gravitational field (both magnitude and direction). The sea level could be rising even if there is no contribution from melting icepack, or it could be rising far more slowly than one would expect from melting icepack because land uplift or subsidence could be cancelling the effect. We barely have the tools to start seriously examining the issue of SLR, and have a pitifully short data secant based on those tools, which are still in the process of showing mutual (e.g. gravitometric) inconsistencies in the whole system.
Why do referees permit the publication of doubly conditional speculation like this? At the moment, the GCMs are busy failing, although there is a widespread effort to pretend that this isn’t the case. Basing physics-free multiply-conditional papers asserting that we are going to have all sorts of SLR that is going to start any decade now because the GCMs say so is a waste of time unless and until the GCMs start exhibiting any predictive skill at all!
So far, they have no predictive skill at all. That doesn’t mean that they won’t in the future, but in the meantime, the paper above is like publishing a paper that says “If superluminal neutrinos are observed, maybe we can build time machines” without even including a single actual equation to explain why, but relying on the fact that in medieval times clocks often ran fast or slow by as much as an hour a day.
Sure, and if pigs had wings, then they could fly, and I’ve got a predictive model for evolution that states that if we continue to throw pigs out of helicopters and breed only the survivors, pigs will have wings in less than 100 years. Maybe I should go ahead and found a pig-hunting club that only shoots pigs on the wing. Yeah. Why not?
rgb
Sigh.

9. @Bloke: An excellent point, Sir! The land around the Solent has dropped about 20 feet since the pre-Roman settlement was occupied, but in the days of King John, the Wash was a tidal zone.

10. Mike Jonas says:

A link to the paper itself is needed.
The paper appears to be Rohling, E.J, Haigh, I.D., Foster, G.L., Roberts, A.P., and Grant, K.M., A geological perspective on potential future sea-level rise. Scientific Reports (12 December 2013 in press), see http://www.highstand.org/erohling/ejrhome.htm
Scientific Reports appears to be part of Nature Publishing Group.

From the same author, E J Rohling:
Gavin Foster & Eelco Rohling
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 22 January 2013, Pages 1209-1214
Abstract:
On 103- to 106-year timescales, global sea level is determined largely by the volume of ice stored on land, which in turn largely reflects the thermal state of the Earth system. Here we use observations from five well-studied time slices covering the last 40 My to identify a well-defined and clearly sigmoidal relationship between atmospheric CO2 and sea level on geological (near-equilibrium) timescales. This strongly supports the dominant role of CO2 in determining Earth’s climate on these timescales and suggests that other variables that influence long-term global climate (e.g., topography, ocean circulation) play a secondary role. The relationship between CO2 and sea level we describe portrays the “likely” (68% probability) long-term sea-level response after Earth system adjustment over many centuries. Because it appears largely independent of other boundary condition changes, it also may provide useful long-range predictions of future sea level. For instance, with CO2 stabilized at 400-450 ppm (as required for the frequently quoted “acceptable warming” of 2 °C), or even at AD 2011 levels of 392 ppm, we infer a likely (68% confidence) long-term sea-level rise of more than 9 m above the present. Therefore, our results imply that to avoid significantly elevated sea level in the long term, atmospheric CO2 should be reduced to levels similar to those of preindustrial times. []
My comment : It looks like Eelco Rohling makes the simple error of coming into this subject with an unverified assumption, namely that the observed sea level rises were caused by CO2. We know that in fact a warming ocean releases CO2, so Rohling’s observed relationship between CO2 and sea level is likely to be caused by temperature. For Rohling’s observations to support the “ dominant role of CO2, the alternative explanation – that temperature is the driver – needs to be eliminated.
This latest paper places sea level rise “(just) within the ‘natural range’“. I wonder whether another simple error has been made, namely comparing high-resolution modern data with low-resolution geological data. Without a link to the paper I can’t tell.

11. AleaJactaEst says:

rgbatduke says:
December 12, 2013 at 12:08 pm
“flying pigs….”
can I help out there during the flying pig season?? I don’t seem to be having too much luck with the pheasants here in Scotland at the moment, flying pigs sound more in my league.

12. Brian R says:

Just more of the “sea level rise is accelerating” nonsense. If you look at the the record, sea level rise has a long term average of 3-4mm per year. So for the level to increase another 80cm by 2100 the average rate of increase would have to double or triple over the next 84 years. Then it would have to triple again to hit their 2.5 meter increase by 2200.
Complete and utter nonsense!

13. There is no such thing as “normal times.”

14. JJ says:

“The team used geological evidence of the past few million years to derive a background pattern of natural sea-level rise. This was compared with historical tide-gauge and satellite observations of sea-level change for the ‘global warming’ period, since the industrial revolution.”
Yet another example of someone tacking a modern instrumental record onto the end of a proxy dataset and pretending the result is meaningful.

15. NemoFinder says:

Wow…you can smell the bias in his words. Sea level rise is within the natural range…but he had to insert a “just” in there to make it sound less “natural”. This directly contradicts his “quite fast by natural standards” statement too. Which is it? If the rise is within the natural range, it cannot also be “quite fast by natural standards”. He really really wants to say sea level is rising “too fast”, doesn’t he?

16. boondoggle9945 says:

How the heck do you define normal and natural? Is it before, during or after the various ice ages we have had over the last million years ? How has the rate varied during those various periods ? Based on this summary, this does not make any sense at all.

17. davidmhoffer says:

rgbatduke;
so that one can compare infilled kumquats to multiply-adjusted modern era oranges to sparsely sampled, non-infilled thermometric apples in the more distant past (all to get an ANOMALY as we can’t for the life of us actually compute the global average surface temperature TODAY to within a degree K).
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
I have to learn to keep my coffee cup out of reach when reading your comments. The cost in coffee and ruined key boards is starting to mount. In this case, I had just done cleaning up from that quip when I encountered the flying pigs quip and had to start all over again.

18. Auto says:

Hat tip to RGB!
Magisterial.
=====
“Continued monitoring of future sea-level rise will show if and when it goes outside the natural range. If that happens, then this means that our current understanding falls short, potentially with severe consequences.”
The last two sentences from the abstract appear to translate as ‘Send more money’.

19. SMC says:

If you want flying pigs, head to Cincinnati, Oh. They’re all over the place in good’ol porkopolis.

rgbatduke says:
December 12, 2013 at 12:08 pm

21. Jimbo says:

Researchers from the University of Southampton and the Australian National University report that sea-level rise since the industrial revolution has been fast by natural standards and – at current rates – may reach 80cm above the modern level by 2100 and 2.5 metres by 2200.

That’s one take on things. Here are some other take on things.

American Meteorological Society – Volume 26, Issue 13 (July 2013)
Abstract
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.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00319.1
Abstract – 2011
It is essential that investigations continue to address why this worldwide-temperature increase has not produced acceleration of global sea level over the past 100 years, and indeed why global sea level has possibly decelerated for at least the last 80 years.
http://www.jcronline.org/doi/abs/10.2112/JCOASTRES-D-10-00157.1

So what are we to conclude?

22. Pamela Gray says:

Yep. Another example of magnified significance. Take a small but fine tuned segment of data and scale it so all the wriggles show up than wave hands wildly at the obvious significance of the dangerous rise (or fall, or whatever you imagine the dangerous wriggles are telling you). I echo others here. Stop comparing find grained data with historical WAG data.

23. Pamela Gray says:

oops…fine grain. Not find grain.

24. Jimbo says:

They keep trying on willing the rate of sea level rise to accelerate. They keep trying on willing Antarctica to go into thermal, spiral meltdown. Here is their latest effort in Antarctica.

Esa’s Cryosat mission detects continued West Antarctic ice loss
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-25328508

Yet Antarctica denies them to the East while extent stays stubbornly near record highs. Now here is a finding that has bearing on East Antarctica and sea levels for 2100.

Abstract – 7 June 2013
Recent snowfall anomalies in Dronning Maud Land, East Antarctica, in a historical and future climate perspective
Enhanced snowfall on the East Antarctic ice sheet is projected to significantly mitigate 21st century global sea level rise. In recent years (2009 and 2011), regionally extreme snowfall anomalies in Dronning Maud Land, in the Atlantic sector of East Antarctica, have been observed. It has been unclear, however, whether these anomalies can be ascribed to natural decadal variability, or whether they could signal the beginning of a long-term increase of snowfall. Here we use output of a regional atmospheric climate model, evaluated with available firn core records and gravimetry observations, and show that such episodes had not been seen previously in the satellite climate data era (1979). Comparisons with historical data that originate from firn cores, one with records extending back to the 18th century, confirm that accumulation anomalies of this scale have not occurred in the past ~60 years, although comparable anomalies are found further back in time. We examined several regional climate model projections, describing various warming scenarios into the 21st century. Anomalies with magnitudes similar to the recently observed ones were not present in the model output for the current climate, but were found increasingly probable toward the end of the 21st century.

Remember, the IPCC projects more snow for Antarctica towards the end of 2100.

25. Proud Denier says:

OK…Who else has had it with being told that you can look at a bunch of rocks and measure isotopes and calculate that sea level or temperature or whatever changed 0.000003 between the years of 1,004, 209 BCE and 1,004, 003 BCE? It’s bad enough that people sell these rotten apples, let alone proceeding to authoritatively compare them to the oranges of actual measurements taken over the last 30 years.

26. Christopher Hanley says:

The use of the phrase “since the industrial revolution”, presumably another term for the neologism ‘Anthropocene’, exposes the circular reasoning that inevitably bedevils climate change™ research.

27. kwinterkorn says:

Given the dramatic changes in sea level moment to moment (waves), hour to hour tides, and month to month (seasons, currents, winds, eg ENSO) measurement thought to be accurate to the mm seem dubious at best. I would think every statement on this subject should include error bars referring to the uncertainties of measurement and of the arithmetic chosen to average out the ongoing changing position of any point of the sea surface.
And reference also must be made to the reference point, given that the land rises and falls as well.
Perhaps satellites can be as accurate as claimed, but maybe there are problems with their measuring systems that limit mm-level resolution as well.
Any experts out there on this?

28. I believe the explanation for not seeing it now but seeing it later in other skeers was that it was inappropriate to assume a linear SLR because the rise would be exponential. Therefore you wouldn’t notice it now but you would be treading water by 2100 if you live on the coast. I don’t recall how they handled melting a kilometer or so depth of ice in places where the sun shine is limited and temperatures are usually below freezing other than handwaving at black soot and increasing global temperatures.
This seems to be one in a continuing series SLR scare stories.

29. Schrodinger's Cat says:

This is a suggestion/appeal to Anthony that I think fits with (some of) the subject of this post.
I met with a group of old colleagues for a few beers last night. All are retired scientists from industry and some I hadn’t seen for 20 years. When I mentioned I was sceptical about climate change, they regarded me with incredulity and amusement. I obviously didn’t realise that the Arctic ice was melting, sea temperatures were rising, sea levels were rising. The gulf stream had changed course – one of the others corrected this to the jet stream. Global warming was happening…
Reducing fossil fuel usage was obviously good, so was reducing the carbon footprint, … They had an understandable and sensible view of climate change as portrayed by the media.
I had lots to say, about the Antarctic and the pause, and though I tried to explain all the sceptical points, the conversation had moved on. I felt that I had missed an opportunity to communicate the sceptical case.
Realising that setting the record straight is at the heart of this site, I wonder if this could be the subject of a future post. A sort of question and answer format that addresses commonly contested issues would be good. I realise that this is not new, but it always needs updating and I’m sure even regulars at this site will benefit from some up to date advice.
I must admit that I have been living in a sceptical bubble involving the best sceptical sites and was a bit shocked when I realised that all my old friends were totally convinced by popular propaganda from the BBC and MSM. WUWT would be doing a great service if it provides a “service pack for sceptics to convince believers in a window of opportunity of 15 minutes”.
Now there is a challenge.
(I wouldn’t put this to a sceptical site that wasn’t scrupulously fair with the data.)
[Reply: this request should be posted in Tips & Notes. ~mod]

30. Jimbo says:

Even IF they showed that sea level rise is accelerating (which they have so far failed to do) who says it has anything to do with global warming? More people in the world means a greater demand for fresh water. And how do some people get at that water? Do farmers irrigate their fields? Do bears sh###\$\$ in the woods?
Groundwater abstraction is about “one fourth of the current rate of sea level rise of 3.3 mm per year.”
Here is the paper’s abstract

31. Neville says:

Just to back up the SLR problems for the alarmists here are the ALL MODELS graphs AGAIN as used by the IPCC. This is from the Royal Society.
This accounts for about 99% of the planet’s ice, 89% in Antarctica and 10% in Greenland. Antarctica is negative until 2300 and Greenland is positive.
So where is all this future SLR to come from? Yes perhaps some thermal expansion and the 1% from melting mountain glaciers.
But the problem is the much bigger Antarctica ( 89%) will be storing more ice for centuries to come and act as a decelerator for future SLR.

32. R Babcock says:

When the water gets over my dock on the Chesapeake, I’ll start to worry.

33. rgbatduke says:

I have to learn to keep my coffee cup out of reach when reading your comments. The cost in coffee and ruined key boards is starting to mount. In this case, I had just done cleaning up from that quip when I encountered the flying pigs quip and had to start all over again.
Your keyboard has my apologies. I have to ask, though, why you are drinking coffee while working at a keyboard. It is well known that beer cleans off of keyboards much better, and is less likely to cause permanent damage to its internal circuitry. It also makes it a lot easier to read badly written science fiction, which is an essential skill if one is following WUWT (in both directions;-).
Just more of the “sea level rise is accelerating” nonsense. If you look at the the record, sea level rise has a long term average of 3-4mm per year. So for the level to increase another 80cm by 2100 the average rate of increase would have to double or triple over the next 84 years. Then it would have to triple again to hit their 2.5 meter increase by 2200.
Sorry, could you give any sort of backing to this statement? I mean, I sort-of-agree (and said much the same thing) but when I visit my favorite readily-available SLR link:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Current_sea_level_rise
and
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Trends_in_global_average_absolute_sea_level,_1870-2008_%28US_EPA%29.png
To be specific, total SLR from 1870 to the present is just under 9 inches (inches, Jeeze, why not use barleycorns instead?) Following a tedious conversion to metric and division, that is an average of 1.6 mm/year. The peak rate in this entire graph (unsurprisingly) came in the late 1930s following the dust bowl — the 1930’s by strange chance was the decade when almost exactly 1/2 of the state high temperature records were set and, I suspect, the actual Global Average Surface Temperature (if we were ever able to accurately and retroactively measure it) was actually higher than it is at the present, regardless of what the heavily adjusted “anomaly” from the unknown absolute average temperature might be.
There is at least some evidence to support this, BTW. Arctic ice reportedly disappeared over roughly this same time frame, much as it did over the last decade. The clustering of state high temperature records. The great dust bowl itself, which was indeed a catastrophic climate event although not one that anyone can tie to CO_2. This is all the more surprising since high temperature records don’t correct for the UHI effect which alone should cause more high temperature records in the present and since we sample so many more locations at the present (making it even likelier still that the 30’s temperature records should have been broken long ago if the current temperature was in fact higher).
But either way, you’re off by over a factor of 2 in your assertions of SLR rates. They are 1-3 mm/year over most of the tide-gauge record, average of 1.6, and they show a strong correlation to the 50-60 year cycle visible in GASTA as well (possibly linked to the PDO). You can’t quite fit a linear trend and single sine wave to it though, probably because the SLR rate lagged the initial temperature rise at the end of the LIA by 30-40 years.
rgb
rgb

34. rgbatduke said @ December 12, 2013 at 12:08 pm

Basing physics-free multiply-conditional papers asserting that we are going to have all sorts of SLR that is going to start any decade now because the GCMs say so is a waste of time unless and until the GCMs start exhibiting any predictive skill at all!

Not to mention also a waste of money that could have been used for some useful purpose!

35. Went up the Maine coast last week end. We walked down to the Atlantic & marvelled at the ocean (& stepped in, & boy was it cold!). The next day we walked down & there was a good 40ft (12192mm) of shingle beach exposed that hadn’t been the day before. The water was obviously 5 or 6ft (1524 to 1828.8mm) lower than it had been the day before. According to my calculations you should be able to drive a 1968 Holden from Providence, RI to Scunthorpe, N. Lincolnshire (though you’re going to have to jog way north to Greenland to stay out of the water, I’d guess) by sometime mid-June 2014, if the current sea-level fall continues, right?

36. Richard says:

Bloke down the pub,
City of Troy, when it was actually a thriving city the sea was pretty much at the city walls, now the sea is a couple of kilometres away.

37. Richard says:

Though to be fair to alarmism the Thames barrier was built to stop the increase flooding.

38. Jimbo says:

Schrodinger’s Cat says:
December 12, 2013 at 1:00 pm
This is a suggestion/appeal to Anthony that I think fits with (some of) the subject of this post.

While at the Guardian some time back I was astonished at the number of people who said that co2 was the most important greenhouse gas. I referenced them to the IPCC which said water vapour. Many keep saying that sea levels are rising, I suspect they think sea level has been stable during the Holocene and only started rising in the last 30 odd years. Many believe in runaway warming even though the IPCC says this is not supported in the literature and so on. I second your suggestion: it’s time for the LOW DOWN PAGE.

39. 80 cm by 2100 is ~9.3mm a year. last few decades is 3.3 mm a year or is it 3.1mm a year? No matter. The rate would have to be about 3X what is observed to meet that forecast. Perhaps they used a model. Heidi Klum would be my choice. For now.

40. 1sky1 says:

rgb:
Indeed, the most credible empirical estimates of the long-term rate of SLR are below 2mm/yr and what we have here is physics-free projections inexplicably predicated upon future rates several times higher. Your suspicion that GAST in the 1930s was actually higher than today, however, is likewise lacking in solid observational basis. As best as can be determined from available non-urban station records world-wide (which I’ve been gathering, vetting and updating scrupulously since the 1970s) GAST actually peaked somewhat earlier in the 20th century at a level ~0.2K below that experienced during the 1997-98 El Nino. It’s In the contiguous USA that the average peaked in 1934 at a level effectively indistinguishable from that seen in 2012.

rgbatduke says (December 12, 2013 at 12:08 pm): [snip]
RGB, the Babe Ruth of WUWT!

42. Rhoda R says:

This was compared with historical tide-gauge and satellite observations of sea-level change for the ‘global warming’ period, since the industrial revolution.”
Last time I checked, the Industrial Revolution began in the late 1700s to early 1800s; ie. early Little Ice Age. Talk about moving goal posts.

43. rgbatduke says:

Indeed, the most credible empirical estimates of the long-term rate of SLR are below 2mm/yr and what we have here is physics-free projections inexplicably predicated upon future rates several times higher. Your suspicion that GAST in the 1930s was actually higher than today, however, is likewise lacking in solid observational basis. As best as can be determined from available non-urban station records world-wide (which I’ve been gathering, vetting and updating scrupulously since the 1970s) GAST actually peaked somewhat earlier in the 20th century at a level ~0.2K below that experienced during the 1997-98 El Nino. It’s In the contiguous USA that the average peaked in 1934 at a level effectively indistinguishable from that seen in 2012.
That is very interesting. Do you have this published?
rgb

44. ROM says:

It seems the satellite guys might have a different view on the rate of sea level rise compared to the sea level experts;
From NASA’s GRASP mission conference 2011 [ Geodetic Reference Antenna in Space ]
From Frame 4 of this presentation;
[quote]
Impact of TRF on GMSL Record from Tide Gauges: competing approaches for TRF
realization yield estimates for sea-level rise ranging from 1.2 to 1.6 mm/yr.
[ TRF= Terrestrial Frame of Reference ]
[ GMSL = Global Mean Sea Level ]
Also a paper win which a table of sea level data points are included;
Global sea-level rise and its relation to the terrestrial reference frame
http://sas2.elte.hu/tg/msc_gravi/collilieux_sealeverise.pdf
For those who would like to have a look at the global tide gauge data for locations around the Earth;
PMSL / Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level
http://www.psmsl.org/data/obtaining/
To find the sea level tide gauge data for a location in the tables just click through the “ID” numbers.
The locations of the tide gauges are grouped into their national groupings which then run meridionally from a start in Iceland and Europe, eastward into the Pacific and America’s.

45. rgbatduke says:

Last time I checked, the Industrial Revolution began in the late 1700s to early 1800s; ie. early Little Ice Age. Talk about moving goal posts.
Especially when there was no significant CO_2 increase until the middle of the 20th century, especially not on a log scale. Of course there still hasn’t been a significant increase on a scale of decibels, which is likely the relevant one — around 1 dB over the entire industrial era.
rgb

46. Clinton says:

Is land reclamation factored into sea level rises?
There are many projects around the world reclaiming land/forming new land

47. Seems odd to be fussing about an ill-understood event or trend which started in the late 1700s and seemed to slow after the 1860s. Here in Australia you can get for free any amount of alarm over sea level rise, but you couldn’t buy an actual, discernible sea level rise. I’m sure somebody can find a shack on a sand spit between swamps which has sunk, but otherwise…
Maybe it’s cheaper to blame erosion on CO2 than to pay more attention to tedious coastal maintenance and regulation. No doubt the clever New Yorkers who dumped all that rubble into the Hudson mouth to make more low lying real estate in a notorious hurricane belt would love to change the subject from local responsibilities to coal mines in Queensland or factories in Poland.

48. Steve Keohane says:

rgbatduke says:December 12, 2013 at 12:08 pm
Thanks for your post. The prognostication’s ever increasing lag and the need for and evermore unlikely steeper slope to meet climate goals seems to be the greatest failing of models. Yuor reference to flying pigs was great, ‘pigs on the wing’ even better. I made my children a mobile of flying pigs for their crib.

49. Bill Illis says:

For those looking at individual tide gauges, don’t forget the local subsidence/rebound rates, which are starting to get really nailed down now since many GPS stations have been around long enough now to have a solid number.
A map below of the subsidence/rebound rates which have been confirmed ranging from +12.0 mms/year to -8.0 mms/year.
http://www.sonel.org/IMG/png/ulr5_vvf-2.png
Table of 326 locations: V_GPS is the vertical motion up and down.
http://www.sonel.org/IMG/txt/ulr5_vertical_velocities.txt
Might have to search around the site a little to match up the locations and the 4 letter symbol. Close-by tide gauge data also available. But it takes some sleuthing and going back and forth to match up the locations.
http://www.sonel.org/?lang=en

50. jorgekafkazar says:

rgbatduke says (among other more important things):
“…Sure, and if pigs had wings, then they could fly, and I’ve got a predictive model for evolution that states that if we continue to throw pigs out of helicopters and breed only the survivors, pigs will have wings in less than 100 years. Maybe I should go ahead and found a pig-hunting club that only shoots pigs on the wing. Yeah. Why not?”
Alas, PETA will surely get pig marksmanship banned. Perhaps if we can have clay pigeons, we can also have clay pigs. That would leave windfarms as the only real threat to porcine aerobatics. (“O, the hamanity!”) Now if we could just do something about the porkoisie…
In other news, the RGBatDUKE model is now available:
http://www.inpace.com/waterproof_flexible_keyboards.html

51. rogerknights says:

Clinton says:
December 12, 2013 at 3:49 pm
Is land reclamation factored into sea level rises?

Doubtful. Also doubtful is silting from river-borne deposits.

52. SAMURAI says:

With no statistically significant global warming trends for the past 17 years and slightly falling temperature trends from 2001, CAGW zealots are relegated to hyping preposterous SLRs and ocean acidification fantasies to keep the naive masses of leftist ideologues in a state of fear and loathing to keep the CAGW money train running.
I’m sure this paper’s money quote of “9 METERS!!!!” of SLR will get plenty of play by the political and MSM propaganda machine to help keep the CAGW charade going for as they can flog this dead horse.
When any institution’s goal is to scare rather than enlighten, you know that either that institution or the society where that institution exists, is doomed for failure.
And so it goes…..until freedom and reason are restored…

53. Strange how climate scientists never refer to the single most accurate record of sea levels around the globe. The British Admiralty Nautical Charts.
To a precision of 1 foot these charts show the sea levels around the globe, as they were 2-3 hundred years ago. You will recognize the names on these charts. Cook, Vancouver, Bligh, Flinders.
Now for something no one tells you. Almost every chart in modern use was drawn from the BA charts. Almost nowhere on earth has been resurveyed. Yet these charts, 2-3 hundred years old, still are accurate today and in widespread use.
And something else no one tells you. These charts do have small errors in longitude, because they were draw before chronometers were available. These charts were drawn back in the age when an hourglass was the most precise timing instrument available, and to calculate longitude you need accurate timing.
And yet, these charts were drawn to a level of accuracy hard to duplicate even with modern chronometers and high precision sextants. Only the invention of GPS has resulted in greater precision.
And what do we see on the BA charts? There is a chart datum, showing us the correction for GPS. Typically given as WGS84. But nowhere is there a correction for global sea level rise.
These very charts on which so many lives and businesses depend every day. These charts that are corrected for inaccuracy in fine detail, nowhere do they show a correction for global sea level rise.
And yet climate scientists continue to claim there is significant seal level rise happening. Apparently they never learned to read a nautical chart.

54. geran says:
December 12, 2013 at 4:16 pm

Sad news for sea level “pushers”, but my back yard is about 900 ft above sea level, and I can find sea shell fossils….
http://northtexasfossils.com/walnut.htm

Yup, had a little limestone outcrop in Kansas City we used to find sea-shell fossils in when I was a kid. It’s right around 860′ above sea level now. (or 30-40 mm less than that now, I guess)

55. High Treason says:

Anyone else notice that insurance companies just LOVE the hype about sea level rise? They can plunder millions in extra premiums based on the hype when the actual risk increase is hardly anything. I wonder if they will give refunds when it is found that cAGW is total rubbish? Also, don’t you just love the misplaced decimal points on the sea level rises by 2100 predictions. 3mm per year for the next 90 years is 270mm (just under 1 foot), but we hear BS of 2.5 metres, even 90 metres(there is not this much water on planet earth) which shows clearly it is scaremongering purely there to scare us. One could argue that the credibility of the people making such claims is proportional to the accuracy of their claims. A score of less than 50% indicates a fail. Tim Flannery has a score of 0 thus far. Robyn Williams(the 90 metre man) has a credibility value of .3%. Epic fails.Any prediction of 9 metres is thus a 97% IN credibility score. Warmies will call this as a 97% credibility score, bit like the 95% certainty of man-made CO2 causing global warming when the correlation is diverging. AR6 WILL claim 97% certainty- the magic number.
Theme song for a mythical insurance company, cannot remember the tune’s name, but well known:- the one that goes I,I,I ,I in Spanish I think. Not interested in sports and entertainment stuff, but like writing corny, politically (Australian) charged songs to well known tunes-pity I suck at singing most of them. Not too bad on this one when sung in my finest deep booming Caruso voice.At least the songs sound good in my head – the imagination can make my voice (in my head) sound from falsetto(Lion sleeps tonight), through Jim Morrison, Jim Croce, Kamahl, Beatles.
Sea level rise,
screw you insurance
we don’t charge no extra for global warming…..
screw……
screw you insurance.
What is that tune? Need a karaoke machine for Christmas to practice my songs. As long as I do not get that pathetic HIV infected Greenpeace “Santa” that was plugging arctic melting baloney. If I cop that “Santa”, I will not even get a lump of coal(releases greenhouse gasses etc.)

56. Arno Arrak says:

They are wrong. A century’s worth of sea level rise will be 24.6 centimeters, just under ten inches. That is because for the last 80 years sea level rise has been linear at 2.46 millimeters per year. This is corrected for water held in storage by all dams built since 1900. Something that has been linear this long is not about to change anytime soon. Read Chao, Yu, and Li in Science.

57. Eric Gisin says:

I don’t know why warmists always claim AGW started 150 years ago with the industrial revolution. 19th century CO2 emissions were insignificant. It’s just coincidence that 150 years ago that: the industrial revolution began, temp records began, and the LIA ended. I speculate sea levels fell between the MWP and LIA.

58. climateace says:

ferd berple
‘Strange how climate scientists never refer to the single most accurate record of sea levels around the globe. The British Admiralty Nautical Charts.
To a precision of 1 foot these charts show the sea levels around the globe, as they were 2-3 hundred years ago. You will recognize the names on these charts. Cook, Vancouver, Bligh, Flinders.
Now for something no one tells you. Almost every chart in modern use was drawn from the BA charts. Almost nowhere on earth has been resurveyed. Yet these charts, 2-3 hundred years old, still are accurate today and in widespread use.
And something else no one tells you. These charts do have small errors in longitude, because they were draw before chronometers were available. These charts were drawn back in the age when an hourglass was the most precise timing instrument available, and to calculate longitude you need accurate timing.’
[snip. Read the site Policy re: forbidden labels. ~mod]

59. climateace says:

Fair enough, mod. The rules are the rules.
I have copped terms such as ‘shameless troll’ and ‘greenie ideologist’ in the past week. I also see regular references to CAGW on the strings in WUWT so thought that labels were OK.
I take this opportunity to re-write the elements of the snipped bit as follows:
The reason that ‘no one ever tells you’ that Vancouver, Cook, Bligh and Flinders ‘did not have chronometers’ was because they all had chronometers.

60. rgbatduke says:

These very charts on which so many lives and businesses depend every day. These charts that are corrected for inaccuracy in fine detail, nowhere do they show a correction for global sea level rise.
That’s because the total rise over the last 143 years has been less than 9 inches, even according to climate scientists (neglecting the uncertainty, which is around an inch either way, mostly from the beginning part of the record). And before that, the rate of SLR was very likely negligible or even negative; if one goes back to the eighteenth century or earlier, one really IS in the LIA and ocean levels actually diminished in the LIA.
The problem is that ocean levels are not even approximately constant, especially not over geological time:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Post-Glacial_Sea_Level.png
For once, a figure with error bars (hooray!). Or, over only the Holocene, this:
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Holocene_Sea_Level.png
One can ignore the black curve in this — it is nearly meaningless — the data speaks for itself (and note as well that the data speaking contains substantial errors and putative corrections for isostatic rebound and other things that we find difficult to measure today with sensitive instruments). In other words, one should take the curve and data alike with a grain of salt. One can see this because otherwise we have numerous absurdities in the data given the error bars. Indeed, nearly the entire figure is an absurdity given the error bars. It seems a bit unlikely that sea level was between 1 and 2 meters higher and lower but only at certain points even after correction for land rise, yet there are data points that state this with enormous confidence (and the figure alleges that they already left out any real “outliers” — I wonder what a number had to be to be considered an outlier!).
The immediate difficulty is that sea level has probably fluctuated on a scale of order meters over the Holocene, and plateaued roughly 2000 years ago (where I would argue that we cannot tell from the data presented if it has been higher or lower in the 2000 year past than it is today, because the answer very likely depends on where you look and things we cannot possibly measure accurately 2000 years after the fact, making answers highly uncertain).
Columbus sailed the ocean blue — 1/3 of the way — only 511 years ago. We have absolutely no human records of any value for more than a tiny fraction of the globe from earlier than this. Trying to determine the absolute radius of surface points on the Earth 1000 years ago (needed in order to correct such biological or physical traces as survive) is an exercise in imagination, not science. All we are left with is that is most unlikely that sea level is static, or would have been static if it weren’t for human activity, plus the reliable observations of tide gauge sea level for well over 100 years revealing a rate of growth over that interval of around 1/6 of a meter/century.
To get an idea of how uncertain things are, here is a nearly pristine graph of tide gauge data from only 23 sites picked for geological stability:
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Recent_Sea_Level_Rise.png
This data is even flatter than the previous figure I linked covering the same general time scale. It shows even less SL rise — around 20 cm — from 1880 to the present (ignoring the apples-to-oranges satellite record at the very end as not yet being particularly comparable, to say the least). Interestingly, this figure does not continue the tide gauge data to the present (or any of the curves past 2003), although surely it is available, perhaps because it appears to flatten (pause) as of around 1997. Hmm. But 20 cm over the 120 years plus observed over tectonically stable sites is, hmm, less than 8 whole inches, and this curve doesn’t show the slightest hint of any acceleration after around 1910.
And look at the spread! We have tectonically stable actual tide gauges showing multiyear peaks and troughs of 10-15 cm — apparent SLR fluctuations of as much as 6 inches over a few years seem to be the rule rather than the exception. I frankly find this difficult to believe or understand — multiyear persistent high/low pressure centers? Space alien gravitational death rays? Systematic error in the gauges themselves? Dark matter induced gravitational fluctuations caused by the Earth passing through invisible bands of the stuff as the Sun proceeds through Galactic space? A fifth force? This isn’t inferred stuff from coral reefs or algae accretions, this is readings from a physical instrument on a solid object directly attached to geologically stable ground. One has to conclude that the ocean itself has substantial multiinch multiyear fluctuations in SLR, making even very recent observational data highly uncertain and making data from the distant past even more so.
At this point I think it is safe enough to conclude that the sea’s level is rising, very slowly, at a reasonably averaged rate of less than 8 inches per century. There is absolutely no reason looking at the data itself to think that there is any anthropogenic influence on this rate whatsoever. If you showed it to a disinterested observer from outer space (the aliens using the gravitational rays, perhaps) and said “Look at this tide gauge data! Should we be worried about SLR of a meter over the next century?” they’d look at you as if you didn’t have six heads.
COULD it happen? Sure! Could it not happen? Sure! That’s the funny thing about the future — we don’t really know what will happen until it does. All we can say at this point is that there is very little good reason based on the actual data to fear anything like 80 cm of SLR by 2100. To come up with a number like 80 cm, you need predictive models. To have predictive models, you need models that actually have predictive skill.
And that is currently what we lack.
rgb

61. rgbatduke says:
December 12, 2013 at 1:56 pm

To be specific, total SLR from 1870 to the present is just under 9 inches (inches, Jeeze, why not use barleycorns instead?)

IIRC, that would be 27 barleycorns. Yep:
\$ units
2526 units, 72 prefixes, 56 nonlinear units
You have: 9 inches
You want: barleycorns
* 27.000047
/ 0.037036973
What’s GASTA?

62. Col A says:

Retired German meteorologist Klaus-Eckart Puls has written an analysis at the European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE) website. He comments: Old and new measurement data show that sea level rise has decelerated.”
Puls concludes:
The constant stream of alarm reports of supposedly dramatic sea level rise at present and in the future cannot be confirmed by observations. Rather, the data as a whole contradict it. Worldwide neither tide gauges nor satellite data indicate an acceleration in sea level rise. Rather they show a weakening. There is a glaring contradiction between earlier and current statements from a number of institutes, climate models and the IPCC. Moreover there are strong indications that the satellite data showing higher values were “over-corrected”.

63. Mike Jonas says:

Brian R says: “ If you look at the the record, sea level rise has a long term average of 3-4mm per year“. Over a century or so, maybe, but over 21,000 years the annual average is 5.7mm (IPCC AR4 FAQ 5.1 : “Global sea level rose by about 120 m during the several millennia that followed the end of the last ice age (approximately 21,000 years ago)“).
Bob Tisdale – thanks for the link. Busy time of year but I’ll try to make time for it …

64. MattS says:

Max Hugoson,
“3mm per year… And the satellite accuracy is????”
Let’s see, they are measuring the surface of a fluid in motion that can vary greatly in the vertical axis over short horizontal distances. Personally, I have a hard time believing it can be measured more accurately than +/- 1m.

As an Englishman and a scientist can I apologise to the world for the shite this country now peddles under the label of science. The NERC the UK environment ‘research’ funding body has only funded work with “effects of global.warming on……..’ in the title since the early 1990s. Like eating a fistful of chillies the effects of this distortion of principle was predictable, and the results of it very smelly. From a nation once in the forefront of research to this in only a few decades.
I only say this because I wonder what happened to the 90 odd meters of rise since the last big freeze, was that natural?
Mickey mouse science for mickey mouse funders to amaze mickey mouse politicians and to scare a public via the disgrace of the publicly funded BBC an organisation that cannot employ a science graduate on its environment team. I also feel I have to apologise to the world for them too.

66. Steve C says:

When I hear that Nils-Axel Mörner is panicking over sea level rise, I’ll worry. Until then, not.

67. johnmarshall says:

What is the ”natural range”?
Sea levels dropped 130+mts during the last ice age and then rose to 8mt above present levels so Southampton have a big choice.

68. Richard M says:

Ric … “What’s GASTA?”
IIRC, it is global average surface temperature anomaly.

69. Kaboom says:

How long until harbors build by the romans that are far inland now can be put to use again?

70. William McClenney says:

I call this sort of thing deja-poo. Professor Rohling, in particular, seems to have forgotten previous work on the most recent and best constrained interglacial MIS-5e:
“High rates of sea-level rise during the last interglacial period”, E. J. ROHLING, K. GRANT, CH. HEMLEBEN, M. SIDDALL, B. A. A. HOOGAKKER, M. BOLSHAW AND M. KUCERA, nature geoscience VOL 1 JANUARY 2008. http://www.personal.soton.ac.uk/ejr/Rohling-papers/2007-Rohling%20et%20al%20MIS5e%20sea%20level%20rates%20NatGeosc.pdf
From the abstract:
“The last interglacial period, Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 5e, was
characterized by global mean surface temperatures that were
at least 2C warmer than present. Mean sea level stood 4–6m
higher than modern sea level, with an important contribution
from a reduction of the Greenland ice sheet. Although some
fossil reef data indicate sea-level fluctuations of up to 10m
around the mean, so far it has not been possible to constrain
the duration and rates of change of these shorter-termvariations.
Here, we use a combination of a continuous high-resolution sealevel
record, based on the stable oxygen isotopes of planktonic
foraminifera from the central Red Sea, and age constraints
from coral data to estimate rates of sea-level change during
MIS-5e. We find average rates of sea-level rise of 1.6mper century.
As global mean temperatures during MIS-5e were comparable
to projections for future climate change under the influence
of anthropogenic greenhouse-gas emissions, these observed
rates of sea-level change inform the ongoing debate about high
versus low rates of sea-level rise in the coming century.”
Did anyone notice the major glaring omission here? Are we talking about sea level rises during an interglacial? Or are we talking about sea level fluctuations at a half-precession old interglacial that might be winding-up to wind-down, like MIS-5e surely did?
ftp://ftp.soest.hawaii.edu/coastal/Coastal%20Geology%20Class%20GG420/Blanchon%205e%20reef%202009.pdf
“Previous rapid sea-level rise may show ‘tipping point’ for accelerated ice shelf melt
Stephanie Paige Ogburn, E&E reporter
Published: Monday, July 29, 2013
“A few hundred thousand years ago, scientists know that global temperatures were similar to today’s — maybe a bit warmer.
“While researchers understand a fair amount about global temperatures and carbon dioxide during that period, called the last interglacial period, they understand less about the higher sea levels that were present during that time.
“New research published yesterday in the journal Nature Geoscience shows sea levels during the last interglacial period — which were significantly higher than today’s — didn’t increase gradually.
“Rather, they took a rapid jump, suggesting there may be a “tipping point” at which the huge Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets melt rapidly, leading to a corresponding spike in sea levels.
“According to the research, led by Michael O’Leary, a marine geoscientist at Curtin University in Australia, sea levels in the last interglacial period rose in two quick jumps, with a long period of stability in between.
“We found evidence of an abrupt jump in sea levels from 3 to 4 meters up to more than 8.5 meters, suggesting a major ice sheet collapse event occurred,” O’Leary said.
One such jump took place about 127,000 years ago, when the ocean rose about 12 feet in about 500 years. Then about 120,000 years ago, there was another jump of 18 feet over the course of 1,000 years.”
We don’t even have to go back to MIS-5e for evidence of rapid and massive sea level changes:
“Independently of chronologies, the exhaustive compilation of MIS 3 sea-level reconstructions by Siddall et al. (2008) shows two common patterns of variability: (1) the mean sea level during the first half of MIS 3 was approximately 20m higher than in the second half, and (2) four 20–30 m-amplitude millennial-scale sea-level fluctuations occurred during this period (Fig. 5e).” http://archimer.ifremer.fr/doc/00088/19944/17599.pdf
Deja-Poo is now available from every major climate propaganda outlet. Get your supply today!!!!!

71. UK Marcus says:

Yet another example of extrapolation science: The only science known to mickey mouse scientists.
The lame stream media operates on the simple premise, ‘if it bleeds, it leads’, which is why we hear about extrapolation scientists so often.

72. rgbatduke says:

IIRC, that would be 27 barleycorns. Yep:
\$ units
2526 units, 72 prefixes, 56 nonlinear units
You have: 9 inches
You want: barleycorns
* 27.000047
/ 0.037036973
What’s GASTA?

Barleycorns were, of course, the basis for the English system of weights and measures dating back to Anglo-Saxon times. Three barleycorns to an inch. Since I brew beer, and since beer is clearly one of the most important technological achievements of mankind (probably responsible for saving more lives than penicillin, over the millennia) the barleycorn (especially when malted, coarsely ground, mashed, and fermented) is dear to my heart. Note well, a pound is 7000 grains, and what grain would that be? Barleycorn! From “the middle of an ear” no less (none of these short-changing end grains, no sir).
So why bother with these tedious metric and non-metric aggregations! Let’s measure mass and length in terms of barleycorns! If only we had some way of turning it into a standard for the time and electrical charge, as well…
GAST(A) = Global Average Surface Temperature (Anomaly). Also called SAT (Surface Air Temperature).
rgb

73. Weather Dave says:

How many of us have ever seen a tidal gauge? I have and I defy anyone to discern millimetres of change on the algae, barnacle encrusted, fanworm skeletons etc etc covering the ‘gauge’. Secondly, just when during the tidal cycle are these measurements taken? I spent some time with the chief operational meteorologist in Vanuatu and discovered that ‘hit or miss’ takes on even new meaning. Anyone who wishes to learn more about sea level rise in Vanuatu should contact the Met Service there and ask for the records. You will find that historic records don’t exist. Oh, they did once, but they became ‘lost’. I can’t say anymore because I promised not to.

74. Rob says:

These idiots are so pathetic there are literally thousands upon thousands of locations around the globe that have little to no variation of sea side levels. Nederland (Holland) is not flooding. Every one knows Venice sinking (not being flooded) Mediterranean and European coasts all have structures thousands of years old that have not been swamped. Yet these people can say straight faced that we have all drowned by now. The scientists that said the arctic ice would have disappeared by last September should be dropped in a boat with a three week supply of food and fuel and told to boat home. Its insane and criminal that these people are allowed to make these statements. They should be heckled every time.

75. Rob says:

Research the Pharos of Alexandria ( Alexandria Light house ) and harbor.
There is more land there now than before.

76. Chris R. says:

To rgbatduke:
Of course, it’s cheating, but there is an urban legend that
pigs were made to fly in the 1950s. At least one pig had
a JATO unit attached and the enormous thrust resulted in
the pig going airborne briefly.
One would imagine that the resulting splat would have
featured pre-cooked bacon (from the rocket unit
exhaust cooking the pig while in flight).

77. george e. smith says:

Well why “just” within the natural range. Any number within the natural range is a just number; as good as any other in the range. Whether near the “extreme limits” of the natural range or not, says nothing whatsoever about the frequency of occupation of those extreme values. They could occur more often, than some “Extreme” value buried deep in the middle of the normal range; after all, most numbers will be either larger or smaller than one in the middle.

78. Theo Goodwin says:

Tom G(ologist) says:
December 12, 2013 at 12:05 pm
So much for their claim to have a scientific understanding of natural variation is sea level change.

79. 1sky1 says:

rgb:
I’m preparing a summary of my findings (based on a geographically sparse, but demonstrably representative sampling of UHI-uncorrupted stations) for publication. It will be perhaps the first to show world-wide yearly estimates based entirely upon century-long, fixed-location records–without importing neighboring “anomalies” or “kriging” from afar and without any ad hoc “adjustments.” In other words, relying exclusively on actual measurements.

80. rgbatduke says:

I’m preparing a summary of my findings (based on a geographically sparse, but demonstrably representative sampling of UHI-uncorrupted stations) for publication. It will be perhaps the first to show world-wide yearly estimates based entirely upon century-long, fixed-location records–without importing neighboring “anomalies” or “kriging” from afar and without any ad hoc “adjustments.” In other words, relying exclusively on actual measurements.
I’m not sure about being “the first” — for example:
http://www.appinsys.com/GlobalWarming/GW_Part3_UrbanHeat.htm
and I recall the issue and supporting data appearing on WUWT sometime in the last four or five years. I also vague remember seeing something on the subject perhaps on John Daly’s site long ago.
I don’t really have any problem with kriging, personally, as long as it is done in such a way that it doesn’t materially affect the direct average. You cannot create information with a krige, you can only use the information that’s already there in the data, and it is very difficult indeed to argue that a straight (e.g. area weighted) average isn’t information-theoretically optimal in that regard.
I do have a bone to pick with granularity, though. I may even try to write it up as an article over Christmas as I think I can manage a renormalization computation that shows that any sort of coarse grained estimate of cooling rates strictly underestimates them because $^4 \le$. The problem is that the inequality persists all the way down to fine grained length scales. (Equality only holds for a constant uniform temperature.) What this means is that radiative cooling terms in GCMs should have an additional cooling term proportional to the fourth cumulant of the surface temperature, basically the variance squared. Since surface temperatures are spatially inhomogeneous all the way down to meters or even less, one almost certainly underestimates the radiative cooling of any large patch with a single measured temperature assigned to the whole patch.
rgb

81. rgbatduke says:

I have no idea why that didn’t work. It’s supposed to say ^4 (T average to the fourth) is strictly less than (T to the fourth average). The same principle is used to show that the GHE observed from the greybody temperature is a LOWER BOUND because if one accounts for the Earth’s rotation and makes the Earth ‘s temperature distribution inhomogeneous it loses heat faster and COOLs the Earth.
rgb

82. Rick says:

>Though to be fair to alarmism the Thames barrier was built to stop the increase flooding.
So apparently it’s working. Thank you, London!

83. 1sky1 says:

rgb:
Nowhere do I claim being the first to recognize UHI effects or to value intact long-term records. My “perhaps first” remark applies to the specific method I use to construct necessarily coarse-grained, but geographically representative, century-long estimates of average temperature for all continents save Antarctica. Based on experience, I do have a problem with kriging over long distances across climate zones. And granularity in GCM calculations is quite a different matter than spatial granularity of time-series, whose cross-spectral relationships are easily established.
Thank you for your interest, nevertheless.