The Statute of Liberty is threatened by 'global warming'…again


It seems this claim comes up about once a year, now we have yet another one making the rounds in the media. Of course when you look at the data, it doesn’t look quite so terrible and or plausible. Here is the story being distributed today: 

Global warming may imperil Statue of Liberty, Tower of London

The source of this? Schnellenhuber and the PIK:


Cultural world heritage threatened by climate change

03/05/2014 – From the Statue of Liberty in New York to the Tower of London or the Sydney Opera House – sea-level rise not only affects settlement areas for large parts of the world population but also numerous sites of the UNESCO World Heritage. This is shown in a new study by Ben Marzeion from the University of Innsbruck and Anders Levermann from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

Cultural world heritage threatened by climate change World heritage sites like Venice are affected by sea-level rise. Photo: Thinkstock

“The physical processes behind the global rise of the oceans are gradual, but they will continue for a very long time,” says climate scientist Ben Marzeion. “This will also impact the cultural world heritage.” The scientists computed the likely sea-level rise for each degree of global warming and identified regions where UNESCO World Heritage will be put at risk throughout the coming centuries. While public interest so far was focused mainly on ecological and agricultural impacts of climate change, Marzeion and Levermann in the journal Environmental Research Letters now put the focus on the cultural heritage of mankind.

136 out of 700 listed cultural monuments will be affected in the long-term

The UNESCO World Heritage List comprises a total of more than 700 cultural monuments. If global average temperature increases by just one degree Celsius, already more than 40 of these sites will directly be threatened by the water during the next 2000 years. With a temperature increase of three degrees, about one fifth of the cultural world heritage will be affected in the long term. “136 sites will be below sea-level in the long-run in that case if no protection measures are taken,” Ben Marzeion specifies. “The fact that tides and storm surges could already affect these cultural sites much earlier has not even been taken into account.” Among the world heritage sites affected are, for instance, the historical city centres of Bruges, Naples, Istanbul and St. Petersburg and a number of sites in India and China.

In order to make reliable statements, the climatologists also consider the regionally different rates of sea-level rise. “If large ice masses are melting and the water is dispersed throughout the oceans, this will also influence the Earth’s gravitational field,“ says Anders Levermann. “Sea-level rise will therefore vary between regions.” The scientists calculated future sea-level rise for all world regions and compared these projections with today’s coastal settlement areas and the sites of the cultural world heritage. “Our analysis shows how serious the long-term impacts for our cultural heritage will be if climate change is not mitigated,” says Anders Levermann. “The global average temperature has already increased by 0.8 degrees compared to pre-industrial levels. If our greenhouse-gas emissions increase as they have done in the past, physical models project a global warming of up to five degrees by the end of this century.”

Currently populated regions become oceans

Apart from historical cultural monuments, regions that are currently populated by millions of people would thus be affected. With a global warming of three degrees, twelve countries around the world could lose more than half of their present land area and about 30 countries could lose one tenth of their area. “Island states in the Pacific and the Caribbean as well as the Maldives and the Seychelles are particularly threatened, but not only these,” says Anders Levermann. “A majority of their population will eventually need to leave their home islands in the long-term, so most of their culture could be entirely lost sooner or later if the warming trend is not stopped,” Ben Marzeion adds. Seven percent of the world’s population today live in regions that, without massive protection, will eventually be below sea-level if temperatures rise to three degrees. “If that sea-level rise occurred today, more than 600 million people would be affected and would  have to find a new home,” Marzeion emphasizes.

In Southeast Asia, where many people are living at the coasts, sea-level rise will impact especially strong. But parts of the United States will be affected as well, as for instance the state of Florida. “These major long-term changes along our coast lines will most probably change cultural structures fundamentally,” says Marzeion. “If we do not limit climate change, the archaeologists of the future will need to search for major parts of our cultural heritage in the oceans.“

Article: Marzeion, B., Levermann, A. (2014): Loss of cultural world heritage and currently inhabited places to sea-level rise. Environmental Research Letters [doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/9/3/034001]

Link to the paper:


Eh, Statute of Liberty underwater. Been there, done that.

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


Assuming that it can actually get there?

Steve Wilent said in a tip:

Have you seen the cover of the September 2013 National Geographic Magazine? Cover story: Rising Seas. Image: The statue of Liberty with water up to about Liberty’s waist — more than 200 feet above sea level.

I wondered if they told readers how long that will take to get to that level, like I did in a previous photo portraying New York underwater here:

According to the Nat Geo article “Rising Seas”, it turns out that they didn’t tell their readers about how long it would take to reach the level depicted on the cover, so I’m going to do the calculation for you. First, specs on the Statue of Liberty. I found this image with measurements:


But neither it or the article using it had the details I was seeking to be able to determine the heights above current mean sea level.

The National Park Service stats page says:

Top of base to torch 151’1″ 46.05m
Ground to tip of torch 305’1″ 92.99m
Heel to top of head 111’1″ 33.86m
Ground to pedestal 154’0″ 46.94m


Since the measurements are to ground level, I also has to determine the height of the island above MSL. A variety of measurements I discovered give different answers. Google Earth says 7 feet, while this National Park Service document says  15-20 feet were the highest elevations during its natural state before becoming a national monument. Looking at photos, etc, and considering those citations, for the sake of simplicity I’m going to call the height of Liberty Island at 10 feet above MSL. That puts the torch at 315 feet above the sea level.

I also had to estimate where the NatGeo waterline was, and based on folds in the robe, I estmated it to be 1/3 of the entire height of the statue from feet to torch, or about 50 feet above the top of the pedestal. That puts the NatGeo waterline at approximately 214 feet, or 65.2 meters above mean sea level.

So I have added these measurements, along with the estimated water line from the NatGeo cover to this image from WikiPedia:


So now that we have an estimated value for the NatGeo waterline depicted on the cover of the magazine, we can do the calculations to determine how long it will take for sea level rise to reach that height.

We will use the rate value from the tide Gauge at “The Battery”, just 1.7 miles away according to Google Earth.



How long will it take to reach the NatGeo waterline in the cover photo?

The mean sea level trend is 2.77 millimeters per year. At that rate we have:

65.2 meters = 65200 millimeters / 2.77 mm/yr = 23537.9 years

That’s right, 23 thousand 500 years!

A new ice age will likely be well underway then, dropping sea levels. The water would never get there. That’s assuming the statue still exists there at all. Ironically, Liberty Island is a remnant of the last ice age:

Liberty Island is a small 12.7-acre island in New York Harbor. As a remnant of last glacial age, it is composed of sand and small stones deposited as the glaciers retreated.

Even if we believe that sea level will accelerate to 2 or 3 times that rate (as some proponents would have us believe), we are still looking at thousands of years into the future. At a 3x rate, we are looking at 7846 years into the future.

Without explaining this basic fact to their readers, National Geographic is doing nothing but scare-mongering with that cover image.  Shame on them.

It is this sort of junk science sensationalism that causes me and many others not to subscribe to National Geographic anymore. Their climate advocacy while abandoning factual geographics such as this is not worthy of a subscription.


In the PIK paper, they say 2000 years.

So assuming (and it is a big assumption) that sea level rise will continue along its historical average rate of 2.77mm/year we have:

2.77mm/yr * 2000yr = 5540 mm or 5.54meters or 18.1759 feet.

Based on the photos above, that might put the waterline at the base of the pedestal.

Of course, one has to assume that:

1. Sea level rise will be constant for 2000 years.

2. The Statue of Liberty itself will survive that long.

3. The United States will survive that long to have people who still care about the Statue of Liberty.

4. We haven’t already started into another ice age, lowering sea level, and giving us far bigger problems to worry about globally.

I just can’t get excited/worried/concerned about this anymore.


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Sad that formerly reputable publications like Nat G have fallen to this abysmally low level. I won’t cancel my lifetime subscription, but have ceased voluntary “donations” to what used to be a first-rate publication.

Mike McMillan


M Courtney

So 3°C will be a problem if it is achieved?
Firstly you need to get to 3°C.
Then it needs to be a problem.
The first is unlikely.
The second is unproven.
But if the best argument the alarmists now have is that [Venice] will be flooded then…
I think they may have found their new canary.

Dodgy Geezer

…Even if we believe that sea level will accelerate to 2 or 3 times that rate (as some proponents would have us believe), we are still looking at thousands of years into the future. At a 3x rate, we are looking at 7846 years into the future….
More importantly, if you save up all the extra heat that is modeled to occur from Global Warming over the entire globe for the next 7846 years, and imagine it all dumped into the copper skin of that statue, it would probably be enough to melt bits of it. Perhaps.
Arrgh!!! We’re all going to FRY!!!!


Straight edge forecasting is another form of assault on science and education.

Ian L. McQueen

As soon as I read “The scientists computed the likely sea-level rise for each degree of global warming [and identified regions where UNESCO World Heritage will be put at risk throughout the coming centuries]” I thought “Here we go again.”
Ian M

Chris B

What would the average depth of ocean water be if the Earth’s land mass were leveled by erosion, and why hasn’t it by now?

Alan Robertson

So, Kevin Costner had it right, all along- here comes Waterworld.

Berényi Péter

I would be more worried about the right to liberty than the statue of it.

Jim Bo

Meh. Nat Geo outlived its usefulness when pre-pubescents found much more reliable sources for visuals of the female breast. Ah, THOSE were the days of Nat Geo glory.

Such stupidity.

John West

”136 out of 700 listed cultural monuments will be affected in the long-term”
So even if their super scary scenario actually happened only about 20% of listed cultural monuments would be affected. Is there no way civilization could survive with 20% less cultural monuments? How did we manage to survive the loss of 85% of the ancient wonders of the world?

Dodgy Geezer

For this to happen, we would also have to have forgotten the skills we had in the 1960s, when we moved the whole Temple at Abu Simbel a couple of hundred feet higher to avoid the flooding of Lake Nasser.
But then, in the 1960s we DID things, rather than agonised about the environmental issues…

michael hart

The most famous Nazi associated with Tower of London was actually Rudolph Hess, in 1941.


Venice is located on a mud island (several, in fact). Pilings were sunk into the mud and they are still there today. It is sinking and has been since before the first brick was laid.
From Wikipedia – that stalwart of hard honest facts:

The city is often threatened by flood tides pushing in from the Adriatic between autumn and early spring. Six hundred years ago, Venetians protected themselves from land-based attacks by diverting all the major rivers flowing into the lagoon and thus preventing sediment from filling the area around the city. This created an ever-deeper lagoon environment.
Further information: Acqua alta

Link to Acqua Alta:
Not much has changed over the years except the folks in charge are now saying the sinking has stopped all on its own. That can only mean the flooding is caused by greedy Americans.


satellites are tuned to the 35% of tide gauges that are showing sea levels rising…
…65% of tide gauges show no sea level rise…or show sea levels falling

Richard Day

The solution is clear: open your chequebooks.

Geologist Down The Pub Sez

2000 years?! Does someone actually think the Sydney Opera House will stand for another 200 years, let alone 2000?
Stephen Hawking opines that our species has less than another 1000 years to survive.
Eristic casuistry, nothing more


This AGW promoter/[believer] compulsion of circling back to repeat untrue statements about the current situation, the future, the evidence, those who [disagree], etc. seems to be borderline pathological.


But, but, what about subsidence as was discussed with hurricane sandy and sea levels in that area?
I can’t even joke about this type of garbage hype anylonger. It is painful to see it regurgitated so regularly. Sigh 🙁


NatGeo is [basing] that image on ALL of the ice in the world melting, including Antarctica and Greenland.

I like the Jay and Silent Bob version of the post-apocalyptic Statue of Liberty the best…

Rob Dawg

“If our greenhouse-gas emissions increase as they have done in the past, physical models project a global warming of up to five degrees by the end of this century.”
Physical models? They have a tiny planet in some university basement built to scale and running at 10x speed to test these theories?

Geologist Down The Pub Sez

Of course all the icecaps are going to melt eventually. They are only temporary, after all, and have not been there for most of the Earth’s history. Sea level is normally about 250 feet higher than it is at present. Just look at the evidence which surrounds us.


The Statue of Liberty: that’s a funny one. Liberty?… Something tells me that there’s a link between those who started the CO2 hoax and the founders of the so-called statue of liberty. Ah, the wh__e of babylon.

Curious George

Prof. Stefan Rahmstorf is famous for his equation of sea level rise. Never mind that it assumes an unlimited supply of water – actually, Prof. Rahmstorf has not bothered with that level of detail. So Anthony’s nitpicking does not count; global warming will submerge everything.

What a lot of these people really comprehend about heritage you could fit in a thimble.
They don’t really like the idea of different nations, seeing it as somehow racist, and don’t much like the idea of different families either. For all their talk of “diversity” they are frightened by individuality, and instead envision utopia involves a sort of McPerson, where people all over the world are exactly the same. The reason they have to preserve “heritage sites” from the past is that the future would hold such a bland sameness that there would be total agreement and conformity and (yawn) an inability to differ, and to create anything fresh and new.
Sorry if I sound a bit bitter. It is a dull, gray day in New Hampshire with light snow and a forecast temperatures will drop to five below tonight (-20 Celsius.) Get back to me on Friday, when temperatures might get up to freezing, and perhaps I’ll be more up-beat.

john robertson

Another National Geographic nail, is this suicide by air-nailler?
How about right for the wrong reasons?
Historic monuments are endangered, endangered by poorly educated, mechanically inept “progressive” bureaucrats and politicians, having control of the specific maintenance budgets and of State & National budgets.
Public wealth has been wasted, looted and lost on pipedreams of the irrational, so there is no money left for maintenance of operational or historic infrastructure.
Then try finding artisans with the necessary skills to maintain and repair, not from our public “education” bureaucracies.
Our civic infrastructure, what we know as govt, are full of the useless and clueless.
Fools and bandits in my eyes, bottom line, persons on the public teat are a parasitic load upon all who pay taxes.
Some are necessary and behave in a symbiotic manner when they conscientiously do their jobs.
Persons of such a nature are rare among our entitled civil servants.
Civilization grinds to a stop when the parasites command the host.
Welcome to North America, those national debts, the if it is Not Permitted, it Must be Forbidden, mentality of our officials,private property belongs to the state, these are all clear signs.
How do you negotiate with a parasite?
Funny how we repeat historic mistakes, all the coins of the realm, here in Canada, can now all be retrieved using a magnet. Process trumps common sense at every level of bureaucracy.
Hysteria and nationalism is rising. Government contracts are worthless.Trust falls.


Excellent breakdown! Excellent takedown!
23,500 years!
ROFLMAO at fears of environmental disaster.

If these idiots don’t back off, the Statue of Liberty, will throw her torch at the alarmists, and then give them, the finger!!! LOL!!! The damned sky is always falling, just ask the Lefties!

Just out of curiosity would it even happen that fast. Once the sea rose above its current land containments and began to flow over the continents wouldn’t the rate slow considerably due to the increase in volume?


And although the paper makes no references to these cities The Guardian does explicitly name them. St Petersburg (built on a reclaimed marsh), Venice (already known to be sinking), London (also sinking after the glaciers retreated).

Toby Nixon

When was the last time sea level was that high? Wasn’t that long before human emissions of CO2 from fossil fuels began? And so why, if it is going to happen again, do we assume that the cause is human emissions of CO2 rather than simply a repeat of what previously caused sea level to be that high?

Jeff Norman

In the “Day After Tomorrow” climate simulation the Statute of Liberty survived being hit by a ~200 ft wave (storm surge) so I have no concerns about its robustness.


Statute of Liberty is much more threatened by demagogic fraudsters who seek to kill freedom and kill Western CIvilization with their sick fascist lies.

Yancey Ward

Just wait, eventually the science mags will be publishing photos of Everest with water lapping its slopes. The hysteria is a sign of desperation.


Maybe if we’re lucky it will cover the U.N building. That would at least be a worthy goal.

Could we start a massive sea-sponge breeding program to soak up all the excess water? Wait, I meant to say, “At a 95% confidence we can safely forecast the mitigation of 40% of the projected sea-level rise by 40my if we model Porifera as absorbing more dihydrogenmonoxide than their displaced volume. Further funding is needed to research this important area of climate-change related disaster preparation & to better understand how to offset the eventual submersion of various important landmarks around the globe.”

By these kinds of researches and the associated PR, their intentionally unscientific exaggerations just makes the public laugh more and more at them.
{And when we scoff and laugh at the characteristically unscientific exaggerations of these scientists, the lawyers smile because they know Scott Mandia will financially support more Mann-like lawsuits.}


The real take away here is that a legitimate study of seal level rise would focus on coast line encroachment in general. Why call out UNESCO heritage sites? I checked the funding source in the paper, and it seems to be grants from Austrian institutions focused on climate change.
If this report is followed by calls from UNESCO for more funding to protect UNESCO heritage sites referencing this report, then I would suggest some follow the money sleuthing. Did UNESCO or some other UN agency grant money to the Austrian institutions to get a report that justifies them getting more money?


As in Macht Schnell?
(Drop that first “n”)

george e. conant

I got it! Lets have the entire working world pay taxes to build huge space tankers and deliver half of the earth’s oceans to Mars and there we can re-establish oceans on Mars and all the global warming worste case senarios will not mean a thing as there will be plenty of room for our remaining oceans! That has got to be worth a CAGW grant!


Watch out …! Now that these things have been declared in danger from the sea level or whatever , next they will have to move or place into museums to protect them. Maybe even virtual museums(per linked article) Who knows ? maybe it will be a big public works project. and then afterwards they can declare “see we told you things were changing.”.
Thanks for the interesting articles, posts, references and highlighting of current events.
and the comments.

Ivor Ward

These heritage centres will suffer a lot more under a mile thick ice sheet. 10,000 years out and counting…

Gail Combs

M Courtney says: @ March 5, 2014 at 7:40 am
So 3°C will be a problem if it is achieved?
Firstly you need to get to 3°C.
Then it needs to be a problem.
Actually the earth (at least the Arctic) has already been ~3°C warmer.

Temperature and precipitation history of the Arctic 2010
Miller et al
Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research and Department of Geological Sciences, University of Colorado, USA et al
…. Solar energy reached a summer maximum (9% higher than at present) ~11 ka ago and has been decreasing since then, primarily in response to the precession of the equinoxes. The extra energy elevated early Holocene summer temperatures throughout the Arctic 1-3°C above 20th century averages, enough to completely melt many small glaciers throughout the Arctic, although the Greenland Ice Sheet was only slightly smaller than at present. Early Holocene summer sea ice limits were substantially smaller than their 20th century average, and the flow of Atlantic water into the Arctic Ocean was substantially greater. As summer solar energy decreased in the second half of the Holocene, glaciers re-established or advanced, sea ice expanded…..

Sort of kills all the hysteria doesn’t it?
Here is the another paper stating glaciers are re-establishing.

A new approach for reconstructing glacier variability based on lake sediments recording input from more than one glacier January 2012
Kristian Vasskoga Øyvind Paaschec, Atle Nesjea, John F. Boyled, H.J.B. Birks
…. A multi-proxy numerical analysis demonstrates that it is possible to distinguish a glacier component in the ~ 8000-yr-long record, based on distinct changes in grain size, geochemistry, and magnetic composition…. This signal is …independently tested through a mineral magnetic provenance analysis of catchment samples. Minimum glacier input is indicated between 6700–5700 cal yr BP, probably reflecting a situation when most glaciers in the catchment had melted away, whereas the highest glacier activity is observed around 600 and 200 cal yr BP. During the local Neoglacial interval (~ 4200 cal yr BP until present), five individual periods of significantly reduced glacier extent are identified at ~ 3400, 3000–2700, 2100–2000, 1700–1500, and ~ 900 cal yr BP….

The authors of BOTH papers are stating that most glaciers likely didn’t exist 6,000 years ago, but the highest period of the glaciation has been in the past 600 years.

Proud Skeptic

It’s just another example of narrow minded and static environmentalist thinking. “What we have now is the way it should always be and anything that changes that is wrong”. We are all a mere nanosecond in the history of the Earth. Our edifices are temporary and will disappear one way or another regardless of the percentage of CO2 in the air. Pompeii was there and suddenly it wasn’t. the same can happen to anything at any time. Seems to me we are a bit full of ourselves.


Proud Skeptic says: “What we have now is the way it should always be and anything that changes that is wrong”
Then why are some trying to change it?
Please excuse my ‘alarmism’ in my earlier comment.

Berényi Péter said above: “I would be more worried about the right to liberty than the statue of it.”
Very well put, Berenyi!
The oceans will likely rise as the current interglacial continues, so what do the purveyors of climate doom really think we can do about it? What we should be doing is preparing for climate change no matter which direction it is heading and stop building gazillion dollar homes on the beach that everyone poor sucker has to chip in to rebuild when they wash away.
According to R. Alan Mounier, in his 2003 book, “Looking Beneath the Surface: The Story of Archaeology in New Jersey” – “About 11,000 years ago the sea stood as much as 262 feet below its present level, and the shoreline lay as much as 100 miles to the east of its current position (Edwards and Emery 1977).” That was before mankind began burning fossil fuels. Again, what would the purveyors of doom suggest that the Paleo and Archaic Indians could have done to prevent the oceans from rising to their present level?

Tim Clark

Regardless of how hot it gets, she isn’t going to sweat. Glisten maybe.