Virginia Sea Level

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

Science Magazine is published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. I’m reading my AAAS Newsletter, and I find the following blurb (emphasis mine):

Virginia Panel Releases Coastal Flooding Report. A subpanel of the Secure Commonwealth Panel of Virginia released a report containing several recommendations for dealing with risks posed by coastal flooding. The report, which is largely based on data from a 2013 report by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, predicts a sea level rise of 1.5 feet within the next 20 to 50 years along the Virginia coast.

tide gauge schematic

My bad number detector started ringing like crazy. Let me convert that to metric and see where we get. A foot and a half is 450 mm. Global sea level rise these days is on the order of two to three mm per year. This is also about the rate of rise that has occurred over the last century. To rise a foot and a half at the historical (and current) rate would take from 150 to 225 years. OK, we’ll need to shorten that for local subsidence, but still … so I go to take a look at the underlying report I linked to above.

I get the report, and I’m reading through it, and I bust out laughing. There’s been a recent thread here on Watts Up With That regarding consensus. I thought that this was a marvelous example of the modern and meaningless use of the term “consensus” (emphasis mine).

The future of sea level change in Virginia is most appropriately forecast by reference to the state-of-the-science synthesis and recommendations prepared for the National Climate Assessment (Parris et al. 2012). The consensus of scientists working on this report is that by 2100 global sea level will be between 8 inches and 6.6 feet above the level in 1992. When modified by local and regional factors this information provides the best available basis for planning. SOURCE

The “consensus” is that sea level rise by 2100 will be between eight inches (20 cm) and seven feet (2.1 m)? Oh, that’s just too good. And how is that floor-to-ceiling estimate the “best available basis for planning”?

In any case, the report allows us to run the numbers. According to the report, they have allowed 2.7 mm/year for local subsidence, viz:

Therefore the future sea level scenarios presented in Figure 16 are the global scenarios modified to include local subsidence (estimated at 2.7 millimeters/year or about 0.1 inch/year).

To get that 450 mm (1.5′) of rise in 50 years would require that the seas rise by no less than nine mm per year. If we allow 2.7 mm/year for subsidence as they did, it would have to rise at 6.3 mm per year, starting now and continuing for fifty years.

And it gets worse. To get that foot and a half of rise in 20 years would require that the seas immediately start rising at 22.5 mm per year, call it 20 mm per year after subsidence. I note in passing that this rate is the maximum rate mentioned in the underlying document … in other words, they’ve taken the absolute worst and most ludicrous estimate, 6.6 feet by the year 2100, and called that the “best available estimate for planning”? … spare me …

And how fast is the sea level rising around Virginia, including subsidence? There’s a curious side story. I google subsidence Virginia tide. First link returned? “Making sense of senseless sea level scares in Norfolk Virginia“, right here at WUWT. Goes to show the global reach of this blog, you don’t get to the top of the Google food chain unless lots of folks link to your post …

In any case, that post shows the trend of sea-level rise at Sewells Point VA is 4.4 mm/yr and 3.8 mm/yr at Portsmouth, Virginia. IF the subsidence is in fact 2.7 mm/year, this puts the Sewells Point sea level rise without subsidence at 4.4 – 2.7 = 1.7 mm/year … and at Portsmouth, 3.8 – 2.7 = 1.1 mm/year rise excluding subsidence.

So it looks like in Virginia, IF we make their assumption of 2.7 mm/yr of subsidence, the sea level itself is historically going up at no more than two mm per year … and they claim it’s going to jump immediately to three to ten times the historical rate? Fuggedaboutit.

Here’s the crazy part. In parallel with the current “hiatus” in warming, we have seen a deceleration in the rate of sea-level rise. I discussed an attempt to explain this “pause” in sea-level rise in my post “Sea Water Level, Fresh Water Tilted“. Anthony also discussed this slowdown here.

Now, the alarmists started this booshwa about an impending and dangerous acceleration in sea-level rise back in the 1980s. James Hansen has repeated this claim of impending acceleration for decades, as have many others. It’s become a recurrent meme for the alarmists, repeated around the world. And for all of that time, there hasn’t been the slightest sign of any increase in the rate of sea-level rise. None at all, and indeed, instead of acceleration, we’ve seen deceleration.

However, when it comes to climate alarmism, facts don’t seem to be important in the slightest … welcome to post-normal science, where actual observations and real-world data are just an insignificant detail.


PS—the usual request. If you disagree with someone, please quote the exact words you disagree with. Otherwise, nobody knows what you are referring to, and misunderstandings multiply.

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September 13, 2014 11:45 pm

Actually the truth is that southern Virginia will see a landsinking due to effects north and northwest where landrise still makes the Northamerican tectonical plate tip in south east.
Many parts of New York Times article are not correct. But this is (more or less): Scientists say the East Coast will be hit harder for many reasons, but among the most important is that even as the seawater rises, the land in this part of the world is sinking. And that goes back to the last ice age, which peaked some 20,000 years ago.
Continue reading the main story
As a massive ice sheet, more than a mile thick, grew over what are now Canada and the northern reaches of the United States, the weight of it depressed the crust of the earth. Areas away from the ice sheet bulged upward in response, as though somebody had stepped on one edge of a balloon, causing the other side to pop up. Now that the ice sheet has melted, the ground that was directly beneath it is rising, and the peripheral bulge is falling
The Flood Next Time, NYT 2014/01/14

Mike Bromley the Kurd
Reply to  norah4you
September 14, 2014 1:43 am

Regardless of peripheral bulge ‘rate’, the implicit attribution of sea-level rise to anthropogenic causes is always present….and always, as Willis puts it, “floor to ceiling” with the attendant ‘who knows’ goal posts.

Reply to  Mike Bromley the Kurd
September 14, 2014 2:07 am

NO NO NO. The landsinking has been the major reason for all this. I found that out while analysing Sea Levels around the world back in 1993 (using 43 essential factors in my computer model). Landsinking AND erosion.

Greg Goodman.
Reply to  Mike Bromley the Kurd
September 14, 2014 4:12 am

The “implicit attribution” is always there, whether or not if can be justified scientifically. That is the problem.
What you are implying is :
1/ that part of sea rise is thermal, fine.
2/ Part of sea rise is due to global land based ice loss, fine.
3/ That 1 and 2 are anthropogenic. , and that is a false assumption.
There has been global warming since LIA which will contribute to both 1 and 2. There is still global ice volume loss that has been occurring since the Earth exited the last glacial maximum, that also contributes the 2.
On top of that there is probably some contribution from GHG effect, thought that has never been demonstrated from observational data, only failed computer models.
That’s the trouble with the use of “implicit attributions”.

Reply to  Mike Bromley the Kurd
September 15, 2014 12:43 pm

Re norah4you.
You may be right.
Ah – but – computer models have got the globe into gallumptious grief.
I’m a bum boatie, but computer models – GIGO is, I believe, still the recurrent meme.

James the Elder
Reply to  Mike Bromley the Kurd
September 15, 2014 10:18 pm

I’ve been going to the Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk and VA Beach area for 50 years. By their numbers, Fort Monroe should be underwater, but it looks the same to me. But, I’m not a scientist, merely an observer.

Reply to  norah4you
September 14, 2014 6:07 am

The Hampton Roads area is sitting on the edge of a crater formed by a meteor strike 35M years ago and is sliding into the hole. That accounts for the subsidence. (Chesapeake Bay bollide)

Reply to  Bob Greene
September 14, 2014 6:21 am

That’s true but while it’s true the erosion effect of wind-, water and temperature changes after the peak of last Ice Age had effects in the area, the landsinking is a major contributor.

Evan Jones
Reply to  Bob Greene
September 14, 2014 6:29 am

On top of that there is probably some contribution from GHG effect, though that has never been demonstrated from observational data, only failed computer models.
We do have the Arrhenius experiments which at least can be replicated in the lab. So there is a solid theoretical basis. But only for raw CO2 effect, not for thrice-muiltiplying feedbacks. Henny put it at 1.1C per doubling (after being beaten down from higher numbers).
So, not much, but not nothing, either.

Eustace Cranch
Reply to  Bob Greene
September 14, 2014 6:43 am

“So there is a solid theoretical basis. But only for raw CO2 effect, not for thrice-muiltiplying feedbacks.”
No negative feedbacks possible? None?

Phil R
Reply to  Bob Greene
September 14, 2014 8:15 am

There is no “hole” to slide into. The crater has been filled and covered by marine sediments over the last 35 MY since it was formed.

Ian W
Reply to  Bob Greene
September 14, 2014 11:09 am

September 14, 2014 at 6:29 am
We do have the Arrhenius experiments which at least can be replicated in the lab. So there is a solid theoretical basis.

Not sure that is the case.
Repeat the Arrhenius experiment but with an insulated non-heat conducting tube with observing IR transparent ports, filled with 75% N2 and 25% O2 bring the (non-radiative) gases in the tube to say 15C with a heated plate (equivalent to sensible/conductive heat from the Earth surface) which is then cooled to 15C. There will be no IR coming from the N2 and O2 in the tube as they are non-radiative at low temperature. Then add 0.04% CO2,
Hypothesis: There will now be IR coming from the gas mixture as CO2 is radiative and has been ‘warmed’ by collisions with the N2 and O2. Thus, CO2 can be shown to cool the atmosphere by radiating IR.

Jim G
Reply to  Bob Greene
September 14, 2014 11:22 am

Don’t forget Willoughby Spit, just off the 64 when you cross from Hampton in to Norfolk.
Story goes that in 1660’s a hurricane created Willoughby Point, which the Willoughby family applied for it to be included in their property.
Subsequently, hurricanes piled up more sand in 1749, and between 1799 and 1807 the spit was formed to approximate what we see today. (Maps have depth soundings between mainland and Willoughby Point as late as 1799.)

Greg Goodman.
Reply to  Bob Greene
September 14, 2014 3:02 pm

Evanmjones: “We do have the Arrhenius experiments ”
No one is questioning the radiative properties of CO2, that is fairly well understood. The question is how the climate system reacts to a change in radiative forcing.
Many of the key processes in that reaction are poorly understood and seem to be in the domain of wild-ass-guessing. Worse, the forcing data are being ‘adjusted’ to fit the models, rather than the models to fit the data:

Reply to  Bob Greene
September 14, 2014 4:52 pm

September 14, 2014 at 6:29 am

We do have the Arrhenius experiments which at least can be replicated in the lab. So there is a solid theoretical basis. But only for raw CO2 effect, not for thrice-muiltiplying feedbacks. Henny put it at 1.1C per doubling (after being beaten down from higher numbers).

A fact isolated in a laboratory and how that fact operates in the real world are very different questions. The “safe” conclusion would be that if the world operated like Arrhenius’ experiment any change in CO2 would result in a concomitant change in temperature in the atmosphere. The world however is a complex of coupled nonlinear systems whose behaviour is not only not understood, but has never been fully measured or described, and for which no complete catalog of interacting systems has ever been made. So, no, we do not have a “solid theoretical basis.” Given the choice between Arrhenius results and a beer, take the beer. The results are more predictable.

Brian H
Reply to  Bob Greene
September 17, 2014 4:45 pm

“the Arrhenius experiments which at least can be replicated in the lab”, except, I gather, that if you replace the glass enclosures with mylar, the effect vanishes. Oops.

Garry Dauron
Reply to  norah4you
September 14, 2014 6:46 am

Thank you for the helpful direction. I had read this anywhere but was aware of LA. Do you have any other resources that you recommend?

Reply to  norah4you
September 14, 2014 9:39 am

They need sea level rise acceleration in the face of deceleration. Their projections are now in the toilet. Nothing to ‘sea’ here, move along folks.

Abstract – 23 February 2011
Sea-level acceleration based on US tide gauges and extensions of previous global-gauge analyses
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.
Abstract – July 2013
Twentieth-Century Global-Mean Sea Level Rise: Is the Whole Greater than the Sum of the Parts?
………..The reconstructions account for the observation that the rate of GMSLR was not much larger during the last 50 years than during the twentieth century as a whole, despite the increasing anthropogenic forcing. Semiempirical methods for projecting GMSLR depend on the existence of a relationship between global climate change and the rate of GMSLR, but the implication of the authors’ closure of the budget is that such a relationship is weak or absent during the twentieth century.
American Meteorological Society – Volume 26, Issue 13
Abstract – January 2014
Global sea level trend during 1993–2012
GMSL started decelerated rising since 2004 with rising rate 1.8 ± 0.9 mm/yr in 2012.
Deceleration is due to slowdown of ocean thermal expansion during last decade.
• Recent ENSO events introduce large uncertainty of long-term trend estimation.]
… It is found that the GMSL rises with the rate of 3.2 ± 0.4 mm/yr during 1993–2003 and started decelerating since 2004 to a rate of 1.8 ± 0.9 mm/yr in 2012. This deceleration is mainly due to the slowdown of ocean thermal expansion in the Pacific during the last decade, as a part of the Pacific decadal-scale variability, while the land-ice melting is accelerating the rise of the global ocean mass-equivalent sea level….

Reply to  Jimbo
September 15, 2014 1:36 am

The abstract of the second paper also smuggles in “…the rate of glacier mass loss was larger than previously estimated and was not smaller in the first half than in the second half of the century…”. In other words, the rate of glacier mass loss has [b]stayed the same[/b] throughout the 20th century.
At some point surely someone has to stop and think about whether this “anthropogenic forcing” really exists? At present they’re all rushing around looking for where the missing heat has hidden itself without stopping to think that there might not be any.

Leo Smith
Reply to  Jimbo
September 15, 2014 2:51 am

This deceleration is mainly due to the slowdown of ocean thermal expansion in the Pacific during the last decade
Can’t be. we KNOW the heat is hiding in there!
Filthy denialist obfuscatory excremet!

Reply to  norah4you
September 17, 2014 10:40 am

Ice sheets did not depress the land and if it did the land is not rising it is the sea that is receding as the earth grows in girth. The earth is getting hotter and expanding and as it does it excretes magma which expands as lava adding girth to the planet on land as well as under the 70% sea cover, We have to abandon Isostacy and see the light. Glacial Rebound is mythology. Darwin mislead us all down the wrong path and Jamaieson and Agassiz both came up with Isostatic Rebbound to justify Darwins mistaken deduction. And so for almost 200 years we have been lumbered with Isostacy which is pure figmentation based on a erroneous observational misinterpretation by Charles Darwin. It is time we debunk the Rebound Theory and realize what is really occuring. Richard Guy

Reply to  Richard Guy
September 17, 2014 12:12 pm

You are so wrong as you can be. Ice Sheet DID depress land. Only fools can belive it didn¨t
The effect of depression due to Ice Age ice sheet followed by landrise when ice had melted in the Baltic Sea you can sea here The Baltic Sea in older ages
same goes for everywhere ice been on land. Please try to understand that Archimedes principle is always valid!

Gerard Flood
September 14, 2014 12:13 am

I seem to remember investigations indicating that rates of SLR were decelerating – “Short term comparison of climate model predictions and satellite altimeter measurements of sea levels
Alberto A. Boretti” eg

Greg Goodman.
Reply to  Gerard Flood
September 14, 2014 1:10 am

That must be the messiest, most unreadable abstract I’ve ever seen. What a silly idea putting URLs of refs in the abstract.
Direct link here:

Reply to  Gerard Flood
September 14, 2014 1:33 am

The collapse of the peri-glacial forebulge is so well-know that every course in Quaternary geology mentions it.
The following report may have been the father of the one discussed in this blog post. Sea Level Rise: Local Fact Sheet for the Middle Peninsula, Virginia, prepared for the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program at the Department of Environmental Quality by William G. Reay, Ph.D., CBNERRVA, Virginia Institute of Marine Science and Sandra Y. Erdle, CBNERRVA, Virginia Institute of Marine Science. September 2011.,
“During the last glacial period (maximum extent approximately 20,000 yr BP), the southern East Coast limit of the Laurentide ice sheet coincided with northern portions of Pennsylvania (Mickelson and Colgan 2003). As a consequence, land subsided under the ice load and, in turn, created a fore-bulge or upward displacement of lands south of the ice load. Upon retreat of the glacier, the land continued to redistribute, rebounding in previously glaciated areas and subsiding in the more southern forebulge region. Land subsidence rates on the order of 0.05-0.06 in/yr (1.2-1.4 mm/yr) are attributed to the postglacial forebulge collapse within the Bay region (Douglas 1991). It can take many thousands of years for impacted regions to reach isostatic equilibrium.”
Groundwater abstraction aggravates the isostatic adjustment of the forebulge, the subject of the next section of the report.
The authors state their best (conservative) estimate of RELATIVE rise in sea level as follows,
“Based on land subsidence and eustatic sea level information, the RSL rise rate would be expected to be on the order of 0.22 in/yr (5.6 mm/yr) at or near West Point, VA. Extrapolating current Gloucester Point and Lewisetta rates, RSL would increase by another 0.7- 0.8 ft (21-25 cm) by 2050 and 1.4-1.7 ft (43-51 cm) by 2100; this represents a conservative and low-end estimate.”
Then having made his conservative estimate, the writer abandoned his own estimate and adopt the alarming figures of Pyke et al..
Pyke, C.R., R.G. Najjar, M.B. Adams, D. Breitburg, M. Kemp, C. Hershner, R. Howarth, M. Mulholland, M. Paolisso, D. Secor, K. Sellner, D. Wardrop, and R. Wood. 2008. Climate change and the Chesapeake Bay: State -of-the-science review and recommendations. A Report from the Chesapeake Bay Program Science and Technical Advisory Committee (STAC), Annapolis, MD. 59 pp.
Interestingly, the report of Pyke et al was not listed in the references of the report that Science commented on. URL:
I stopped my subscription to Science and AAAS about 8 years ago, almost immediately after completing an M.S. in Earth Science. I came to see their current policy on climate as similar to their policy a couple of generations ago on rejection of plate tectonics. Prior to the revolution in the 1960’s, Science actually published a letter that called Wegener’s drift theory, “Teutonic pseudoscience”.

Geologist Down The Pub Sez
Reply to  Fred Colbourne
September 14, 2014 6:54 am

Can you give us the ref. in Science to the Teutonic Pseudoscience? I share your opinion of Science, although I still subscribe (and often think about dropping the subscription due to petty politics in their “news pages.) I am so old that I remember being taught in undergraduate geology classes that the ocean bottoms were old, cold, static, and had not changed since the formation of the Earth 2 billion years ago. It has been an exciting half-century to have been a geologist.
George H. Edwards, CPG

Greg Goodman.
Reply to  Gerard Flood
September 14, 2014 4:24 am

Alberto A. Boretti

Even more interesting is the fact that from 1992 to 2005 there was
an increase each year of the SLR. 2006 was the first year to show a re-
duction in the global SLR. 2010 is the second year to show a decrease
in the SLR. Increases in SLR are much smaller than the 10 mm/year
necessary to produce a rise of 100 cm over a century and also high-
lights the reduction over the last 10 years.
In order for the prediction of a 100 cm increase in sea level by
2100 to be correct, the SLR must be almost 11 mm/year every year
for the next 89 years. Since the SLR is dropping, the predictions
Science-Update-PRINT-CHANGES.pdf, 2011; Rahmstorf, 2007, 2010)
become increasingly unlikely. Not once in the past 20 years has the
SLR of 11 mm/year ever been achieved.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Gerard Flood
September 14, 2014 8:16 am

It is not possible to know.
There are very few tide gauges not affected by isostatic rebound, tectonics, or both. And some of those are guesses based on surrounding land movement.
GPS is not accurate to a millimeter per year.
The newest and best satellite altimetry is Jason-2. The technical specification is 1mm drift per year. And the reproducible precision is 3.5. (waves, atmospherics). So the recent slowdown could just be the inherent instrument error.
And even if SLR did slow below 2.8, there is no agreement among three recent papers trying to reconcile the divergence problem. (‘observed’ icecap loss plus ‘observed’ thermostatic rise is 1/3 less than ‘observed” SLR. Throw in the computed global isostatic adjustment so 2.8 mm/ year becomes 3.1 mm/yr, and the divergence problem is almost 50%.)
An essay on this plus a debunking of the two really bad papers using terrestrial precipitation retention to explain a slowing that is likely just pseudo precision (measurement error) is in the forthcoming book.

Greg Goodman.
September 14, 2014 12:17 am

“sea level rise at Sewells Point VA is 4.4 mm/yr and 3.8 mm/yr at Portsmouth, Virginia. ”
That gives 220mm and 190mm for their longest cited period including whatever subsidence is happening. No need for ‘if’s.
As Willis points out there has been no acceleration is global sea level over the last century and the “alarming” rise in temperatures in the last two decades of the 20th c. turned out to be short lived.
So their lowest estimation of sea level rise in VA is more that twice what the data actually indicate.
Their highest figure is off in Al Gore cuckoo land.

September 14, 2014 12:18 am

I’m not sure why anybody would subscribe to the Science Magazine if they want to find out about science.

Reply to  phillipbratby
September 14, 2014 11:53 am

“Just because a paper appears in Science or Nature doesn’t mean it’s wrong.”

Leo Smith
Reply to  rogerknights
September 15, 2014 2:52 am

No, but add in ‘its about climate’ and you get to a 97% confidence level.

Greg Goodman.
September 14, 2014 12:58 am

” The consensus of scientists working on this report is that by 2100 global sea level will be between 8 inches and 6.6 feet above the level in 1992.”
That is a consensus of agreeing to disagree.
ie there is a consensus view that there is no consensus.
The latin term for that is sanssensus not consensus 😉
This reminds me of someone I used to know that invited me round to eat her vegetarian “chilli concarne”. It contained neither chilli nor “carne”.

Greg Goodman.
Reply to  Greg Goodman.
September 14, 2014 1:03 am

At least they are agreed that sea level is not going to go down. That’s a start is suppose, though it’s of limited use to policy decision makers.

Reply to  Greg Goodman.
September 14, 2014 1:19 am

Who, exactly, comprises the “consensus” that predicts these alarmist sea level rises? Or is that merely another off the cuff claim by the authors?

Greg Goodman.
Reply to  Streetcred
September 14, 2014 4:36 am

The authors state that is a “consensus” of the authors. Although it is clearly a nonsensus given that range of values that they give.
If you ask a builder for an estimation of the cost of a job and he says between $10k and $15k, and you say : hang on that jobs worth no more than $1500-$2000 , that does not mean you have reached a “consensus” that the job is worth between $1500 and $15k. It mean that you _disagree_ about the price the job is worth.
In climate science this gets called consensus.

Reply to  Streetcred
September 14, 2014 9:46 am

There is a consensus that tomorrow’s temperature in London will be between -10C and 45C. Hooray! What garbage.

Reply to  Greg Goodman.
September 14, 2014 8:22 am

How about “nonsensus”, a double entendre.

John F. Hultquist
September 14, 2014 1:01 am

The issue in Virginia is how best to harvest other peoples money (OPM) for the betterment of your democratic friends and voters that will keep your party in power. For the next couple of years there will continue to be buckets of federal money spread around by using cAGW claims. This trough of slop will continue for a long time, even if the next administration wants to empty it. So, yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus – you just have to believe in global warming before he will provide the gifts you want.

Reply to  John F. Hultquist
September 15, 2014 8:36 am

Democrat, not democratic. There is nothing democratic about the Democrat party.

lemiere jacques
September 14, 2014 1:01 am

the good point when you predict catastrophy is any measure you take will save you from ctastrophy to happen.
eat more red beans! so that the flood doesn’t come!

September 14, 2014 1:12 am

The report professes its assumptions and conclusions “reasonable” 8 times. Among them is this:

… it seems reasonable to anticipate that sea level in Virginia will be 1.5 feet higher than it is presently sometime in the next 20 to 50 years …

Crazy is the new reasonable.

Greg Goodman.
Reply to  Colorado Wellington
September 14, 2014 1:16 am

“Reasonable” in science means lack of proof.

Reply to  Greg Goodman.
September 14, 2014 10:24 am


September 14, 2014 1:25 am

‘welcome to post-normal science’
Just a quibble, I don’t think the whole climate shenanigans thing is ‘post-normal’, which refers to a school of thought which reckons that pretty much all of science is made up and relative anyway.
Climate alarmism- where facts are not particularly relevant- might borrow a little from post-normal schools of thought, but I think they are really much more like old fashioned political style propaganda, as well as very much like religion.
I think even most climate scientists don’t have much time for post-normalism style ideas in science. They at least defer to data and facts, before they start meddling around with it.

Joe Public
September 14, 2014 1:32 am

“… a 2013 report by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, predicts a sea level rise of 1.5 feet within the next 20 to 50 years”
That’s well within the working lives of the predictors. Publicise the names of every individual who signed-off that statement, and prepare the ridicule now.

Reply to  Joe Public
September 14, 2014 11:58 am

Ditto for the authors of the NCAR,the Copenhagen Diagnosis, etc. There should be a database of such signatories.

September 14, 2014 1:54 am

Sorry, but I cannot read anymore of the cr*p these people put out, it makes my brain hurt.
In Victoria we have places for them, they are called Sheltered Workshops.

September 14, 2014 2:02 am

‘welcome to post-normal science’
Another quibble “normal” science was defined by Thomas Kuhn. URL:
“Normal science” is not a term to throw around because it is tied up with “consensus science” enforces mainly by university professors. Normal science is the basis for textbooks and examinations. You have to know what scientists hold to be “true” in order to become a scientist, even if you do not accept — as Einstein did not accept — some aspects of normal science.
Caveat: Non-philosophers describe Kuhn as a philosopher, while philosophers regard him as a historian of science with very shaky views about what philosophy is about.
In contrast to “normal science” is a “revolutionary science”, not normally allowed for students sitting an exam or for textbook writers, at least not until the revolutionary scientific theory becomes accepted as the new “normal science” and maybe the theorist has received a Nobel Prize.
The following is an example of “non-normal” science, Cosmic-Ray-Driven Electron-Induced Reactions of Halogenated Molecules Adsorbed on Ice Surfaces: Implications for Atmospheric Ozone Depletion, Qing-Bin Lu, Int. J. Mod. Phys. B, 27, 1350073 (2013) [38 pages] DOI: 10.1142/S0217979213500732
(Note: CRE = Cosmic-Ray-driven Electron)
“Moreover, this review has also shown that CRE-driven polar O3 loss leads to an 11-year cyclic stratospheric cooling over the past 50 years. The observed data demonstrate that the longterm change of polar stratospheric temperature over Antarctica depends solely on the variation of total ozone, indicating that the effect of greenhouse gases plays a negligible role in the stratospheric cooling over the past five decades. Most strikingly, it is also found that global surface temperature change has an excellent linear dependence on the equivalent effective stratospheric chlorine (EESC). And weak but visible 11-year cyclic oscillations in the surface temperatures are also observed to follow the 11-year CR cycles. These observed data point to the possibility that the global warming observed in the late 20th century was dominantly caused by CFCs, modulated by CRE-driven ozone depletion. With the decreasing emission of CFCs into atmosphere, global cooling may have started since 2002. These observations imply that current climate models may underestimate the effects of CFCs and would have to be revised seriously. This is likely a subject deserving to look at closely.” EMPHASIS ADDED.
The physics may be “normal” but the suggestion that CO2 is not the dominant driver of climate warming is anything but “normal” in the context of Thomas Kuhn historical account of how science is done.
How close this is to the non-normal science of Svensmark, only time will tell.

September 14, 2014 2:06 am

I’ve been thinking about sea level rises in general. In particular the conversion of “fossil fuels” to CO2 and H2O. From my research it appears that
1. We’ve used about a trillion barrels of oil in human history
2. About twice as much coal/lignite etc has been consumed.
3 One barrel of oil creates about 1.5 barrels of H2O based on:- 2 C8H18 + 25 O2 –> 16 CO2 + 18 H2O
4 All H2O produced by human activity eventually ends up in the sea. (an assumption by me)
5 Surface area of the sea is 360 Million Km^2
6 There are roughly 160 litres in a barrel.
Using that for a back of an envelope calculation I reckon that sea levels should have risen by about 5mm per year since about 1760. Which is greater than the current measured value.
Does anyone have a link to a “proper” calculation? I’m sure I’m not the first person to be puzzled by this.

John Vonderlin
Reply to  SandyInLimousin
September 14, 2014 10:12 pm

Hi Sandy,
A nice bit of out of the box thinking. I did use an envelope, so I a may be wrong, but it looks like you are off by several factors of ten. Using 3 trillion (3 X 10 to the twelfth) barrels of fossil fuel (your stated equivalency)to generate nearly 5 trillion barrels of water and multiply that by 160 liters per barrel we get 8 x 10 to the 14th power liters of water. One meter of rise in an ocean of 360,000,000 sq. km would be 360,000 cu. kilometers (dividing by 1,000 meters to a km) equivalent to 360 trillion cu. meters ((billion cubic meters (1,000 x 1000 x 1000) in a cubic km)). then multiplying by 1,000 liters per cubic meter you get 360 quadrillion liters(10 to the 15th) or 3.6 x 10 to the 17th liters.. Apparently to obtain a one meter rise in the ocean would require 500 times as much fossil fuel burning as you posited. Stated another way, all the fossil fuels we have consumed have generated enough H2O to raise the oceans 2 millimeters. Thanks for the opportunity to drag out some nearly forgotten number crunching skills. I’d appreciate correction if my envelope has betrayed me. Enjoy.

Reply to  John Vonderlin
September 15, 2014 3:39 am

I didn’t think it was correct, I obviously had a case of Hansenitis! I’ll use a bigger envelope and have another go.
Just another example of how little impact mankind has in nature.

Steve Case
September 14, 2014 2:29 am

It’s even more ridiculous on the west coast where there’s no sea level rise at all. Follow this link:
California Plans Nation’s Most Detailed Sea Level Database
And you will find this quote:
The state’s Ocean Protection Council last year urged other departments and offices to brace for about three feet of sea level rise this century.

Dodgy Geezer
September 14, 2014 2:51 am

“the they” 5 paras down. Oh, and is there no process for questioning this figure? Seems to me that the local opposition politicians would make hay with it…

Dodgy Geezer
September 14, 2014 2:55 am

Goodman. September 14, 2014 at 12:58 am
“…This reminds me of someone I used to know that invited me round to eat her vegetarian “chilli concarne”. It contained neither chilli nor “carne”…”
It must have been a ‘con’, then…!
Ba-Doom! Thank you, folks! I’ll be here all week….

Leo Smith
Reply to  Dodgy Geezer
September 15, 2014 2:56 am

I was thinking about an AGW Con Census.
A poll of all those who think its a con, especially those who at the same time say it isn’t.

September 14, 2014 3:03 am

Willis, what are the errors associated with these measurements? Must be quoted.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  johnmarshall
September 14, 2014 8:19 am

See upthread.

Dodgy Geezer
September 14, 2014 3:06 am

…I note in passing that this rate is the maximum rate mentioned in the underlying document … in other words, they’ve taken the absolute worst and most ludicrous estimate, 6.6 feet by the year 2100, and called that the “best available estimate for planning”? … spare me …..
Er… I suppose, if I were asked to prepare for some kind of problem – say, an increase in immigration, and I was given some estimates; and I knew nothing about the problem – then I, too, would take the worst-case scenario and say we ought to be prepared for that.
Reckless and unjustified ‘climate science’ claims yet another victim…

September 14, 2014 3:07 am

One reason why subsidence is so high around Virginia is that Chesapeake Bay is an old comet impact crater.
Long term tide gauges show the rate of sea level rise was greatest in the first half of the 20thC

Björn from Sweden
September 14, 2014 3:11 am

“I’ve been thinking about sea level rises in general. In particular the conversion of “fossil fuels” to CO2 and H2O. From my research it appears that
1. We’ve used about a trillion barrels of oil in human history
2. About twice as much coal/lignite etc has been consumed.
3 One barrel of oil creates about 1.5 barrels of H2O based on:- 2 C8H18 + 25 O2 –> 16 CO2 + 18 H2O
4 All H2O produced by human activity eventually ends up in the sea. (an assumption by me)
5 Surface area of the sea is 360 Million Km^2
6 There are roughly 160 litres in a barrel.
Using that for a back of an envelope calculation I reckon that sea levels should have risen by about 5mm per year since about 1760. Which is greater than the current measured value.”
Thats a great observation, not that I bothered to check your facts, sorry bout that.
I had a similar idea about rain, that the increased rain I imagine is falling on my property is somehow related to burning (fossil) fue but ive never followed up on the hunchl. Your observation goes a lot further, sea levels never entered my mind, but of course, even if you subtract the volume of the fuel from the oxidised fuel you end up with higher sea levels. This is a great mystery, you made my day. Thanks.

Reply to  Björn from Sweden
September 14, 2014 3:58 am

At least it makes logical sense to someone else. Yes I’d assumed all the water vapour went straight into the atmosphere and comes out as precipitation fairly quickly.

Leo Smith
Reply to  SandyInLimousin
September 15, 2014 2:59 am

Ah, but what abut the subsidence cause by extracting the oil? And all those abandoned flooded mines?
Its never that simple.

George Lawson
September 14, 2014 3:27 am

The authors of the report should be named and shamed.

Reply to  George Lawson
September 14, 2014 12:56 pm

I would suspect that the authors are warmist supporters and therefore have no shame.

September 14, 2014 3:32 am

Measuring ‘Sea Level’ Is more complicated than most people think.

lemiere jacques
Reply to  D.I.
September 14, 2014 5:24 am

and they don’t talk about temperature of the sea, winds or atmosphere, or well people swimming ine the sea…

lemiere jacques
Reply to  lemiere jacques
September 14, 2014 5:25 am


P@ Dolan
Reply to  lemiere jacques
September 14, 2014 3:15 pm

…all those rocks I tossed in it or skipped on it as a kid…

Leo Smith
Reply to  lemiere jacques
September 15, 2014 3:00 am

Or all the ships that sunk
Or all the sewage dumped in. One way we will fill the sea up!

Samuel C Cogar
September 14, 2014 3:39 am

Now there are sufficient numbers of “bad”, miseducated and/or questionable scientists “out n’ about” to give science a “bad name” in the eyes of the public, ….. but, …. worse yet, …. one needs to keep in mind that 90+% of all Directors, Managers and/or Board Members of State Agencies that have “sciencey” sounding names ….. are “political appointees” whose knowledge of actual, factual science was not a prerequisite factor of/for their employment.
I remember when a newly elected Governor of the State of WV appointed a High School Band Teacher to the position of ….. Director of the State Economic Development Authority and thus he was directly responsible for doling out “tens of million$ of dollar$” of taxpayer monies via Grants, low or no-interest Loans, etc.

Harry Passfield
September 14, 2014 4:12 am

What I can’t get my head around is this: [my bold]

Therefore the future sea level scenarios presented in Figure 16 are the global scenarios modified to include local subsidence (estimated at 2.7 millimeters/year or about 0.1 inch/year).

Are we to believe that subsidence stops at the waterline? That the sea bed itself cannot rise and fall? That all sea-level rise is down to the a greater volume of sea water which is exacerbated by a drop in the level of dry land – and only the dry land?
My other palm/face moment was seeing the estimate of the rise is 8″ to 78″: I just wonder what the error bars were!

Reply to  Harry Passfield
September 14, 2014 4:26 pm

Thinking outside the box Harry. What about that- “Are we to believe that subsidence stops at the waterline?” Does it make a difference?

September 14, 2014 4:40 am

, ‘where actual observations and real-world data are just an insignificant detail.’
right in line with the first rule of climate ‘science’ if reality and the model differ in value its reality which is in error . And they wonder why many think this is a joke of an area

September 14, 2014 4:51 am

” The consensus of scientists working on this report is that by 2100 global sea level will be between 8 inches and 6.6 feet above the level in 1992.”
Imagine going to buy a used car, and the Kelly Bluebook had the price of that car in similar condition between $800 and $7,900. How long do you think people would continue to use Kelly Bluebook to evaluate cars.
This is really only of socialogical/cultural interest; how in the world does something get pubished that effectively says nothing.

Mike Ozanne
September 14, 2014 5:18 am

My cynical gene is twitching, by mere happenstance do there happen to be Federal funds available to assist States at risk from “climate change” related flooding?

September 14, 2014 5:22 am

Are they measuring SLR in Imperial mm or in American mm? I think they could be right on the money if they are using the right-size mm. If they are using metric mm, they better go back and recalculate.

Reply to  H.R.
September 14, 2014 5:32 am

Whats an American mm?

Reply to  steverichards1984
September 14, 2014 5:46 am

“Whats an American mm?”
Larger than a metric mm and smaller than an Imperial mm, steverichards1984. The average American will say it’s about -|…..|- that long. (Yes, yes, it also depends on if your browser is set at 100% or 125% as is mine.)
For very large mm, their estimate of SLR is right on the money.

Reply to  steverichards1984
September 14, 2014 7:04 am


Bill Illis
September 14, 2014 5:25 am

There are 4 GPS stations surrounding the southern end of Chesapeake Bay which have been active long enough to get a good signal of the land movement.
Subsidence ranges from -1.95 mms/year to -3.82 mms/year in these stations.
As one moves up the Bay to the Washington region, the subsidence rate falls to -0.81 mms/year.
The settling of the Chesapeake Bay impact crater as a result of the 5 km asteroid strike 35.5 million years ago must be so exceedingly small by now that it can be ignored (although there are some earthquakes in northwest Virgina which is probably too far from the impact crater to be caused by it).

September 14, 2014 5:40 am

Factoring in the acceleration of rise in the sea level, which is not happening, and the acceleration in global warming which is not happening, and then pulling a really scary number right out of the air because we might have read it somewhere, then multiplying the current sea level rise plus subsidence by a factor of ten we get a really scary story that we can use to get funding and advance our political cause.

Pamela Gray
September 14, 2014 5:52 am

Funny story: The rivers in NE Oregon are classed at a 5 when filled with snow melt. During cold, dry snaps those same rivers are reduced to now you see them now you don’t trickles. There used to be a yearly river canoe race on the Grande Ronde River. In the 70’s, when we had lots of cold and very dry air, the river got so low my sister and her pals had to hoist their canoe over their heads and tennis-shoe-run the river course. Most hilarious river race ever!
City folks just don’t know how to read a mother nature joke played on us. Pioneer stock folks who still eek out a living in tucked away farming/logging communities are sitting around their illegal wood burning stoves laughing their asses off, liberally tossing around our favorite word (not to mention a favorite beverage),

September 14, 2014 6:03 am

You obviously have not been to Henley-on-Todd.

Don B
September 14, 2014 6:06 am

The NOAA records for the tidal gauge at The Battery, NY, show that there has been no change in the effective sea level rise in about 160 years. Mankind’s activities did not initiate that rise, and we have not changed the rate of rise.
The reasonable assumption for the Virginia people to make is that the historical trends will continue.

The other Ren
September 14, 2014 6:34 am

I have a house on the water smack in the middle of all this. Quite frankly I would appreciate another 1′ of water under my sailboat at the end of the dock. I can trade in my shoal draft for a standard draft boat giving me a little more speed pinching into the wind as I can carry more sail.
Also since my house actually sits on a 10′ bluff above the water, I’m pretty much protected for at least the next few decades. My neighbor.. not so lucky as the water actually lapped at the corner of his house during Hurricane Isabel.
I did get a notice in the mail from the county about a change in FEMA’s flood maps. I logged on to see how it effected me and the maps were so poor quality and complicated I gave up.

September 14, 2014 6:44 am

The only truth that emerges from this study is that; Sea level has not risen since 1980. The claim that sea level rises 2 mm per year is an insult to our collective intellengence. You cannot determine 2 mm level in a bathtub much less the restless sea. And the most rediculous depiction is the sea level measuring guage. The guage is attached to land and that is the undoing of any logical deduction because the jump in sea level rise is actually a reflection of the land subsidence in the area. So let us just settle for the first truth which is that the sea level has not been rising over the last 34 years but instead is receding. See; “The Mysterious Receding Seas” by Richard Guy on youtube and on Google.

Tom in Florida
September 14, 2014 6:50 am

Detective, ” Based on forensics, we have come to a consensus that the calculated height of the assailant is between 8 inches and 6.6 feet.”
Prosecutor, ” Great, I am sure the judge will allow that”.

chris moffatt
September 14, 2014 6:52 am

Well it is VIMS stating this – not exactly known for their expertise. I live on the middle peninsula, right on the water looking out at the Rappahannock and between the lowest and highest tides nobody can tell if the average sea level is increasing or decreasing. The real issue is that there are concerns about flooding at very high tides in Norfolk. What they don’t say is it’s partly small sea level rise, partly post glacial rebound, largely that downtown Norfolk is built on landfill that is subsiding even faster than the rest of the Chesapeake. They have the same problem of collapsing landfill in Boston, MA BTW.

H. D. Hoese
Reply to  chris moffatt
September 15, 2014 10:46 am

I got a very good education working for VIMS, then VFL, but have been long concerned with their direction. This was back in the days when our physics teacher asked the class how the Mississippi River flows uphill as a simple introduction to these forces. May respond further when I think a little and check a couple of facts..

September 14, 2014 7:20 am

Thank you Chris for your on the spot observation. A sea level guage is absolutely useless as a sea level rise indicator because it is connected to a wharf or jetty usually which is connected to the land. So your knowledge of the area land fill clearly points to subsidence of the fill. Regarding Isostatic or Glacial rebound we can also forget that as an issue for nothing like that is occuring or has ever occured. Post Glacial Rebound is a non event and has mislead us from the real issue for two hundred years which is that our Planet earth is growing. As the Planet grows sea levels recede and that is really what is occuring. Volkmar Muller has derived a formula which shows (he thinks) the rate of Glacial Rebound. It is the same rate at which the earth is growing. So Muller has shown the rate of earth expansion purely by mistake for Isostacy does not exist. See “The Mysterious Receding Seas” on Youtube and Google by Richard Guy. It is full time that we investigate the Darwinian observation and misinterpretation which mislead the likes of Jameison and Agassiz to come up with Glacial Rebound. Also let me draw you attention to recent findings in the Himalayas by John Gosse and David Whippe “Finding Faults in the Himalayas” Dalhousie University News Magazine. These findings negate the “collision with India theory” which has always been suspect in my estimation. So we need to re examine Post Glacial Rebound and by Extension the Ice age??
by Richard Guy

Claude Harvey
September 14, 2014 7:23 am

Lost in all this is that when one is predicting rates if sea level rise, one must take into account “the chubby factor”. Sea critters displace sea water. Fat critters displace more water than skinny critters. To get a handle on all this, I propose a program to study their eating habits. Once a baseline has been established, we’ll be able to detect shifts in those habits to and from “junk sea food”. Those shifts can be used as relatively near-term precursors to acceleration and deceleration of sea level rates of rise. When we’ve expended all the “chubby factor” program funds, I propose a follow-up study of “sea critter flatulence” in order to tighten the inevitable bands of uncertainty that will arise from the “chubby factor” correlation. Whales don’t just “blow” out the tops of their heads, you know.

September 14, 2014 7:32 am

So to accurately predict sea level changes you could use the following formula:
Ice melt + water created from burning fossil + water pumped from aquifers + change in reservoir storage + thermal volume change + other large scale chemical water creating processes + comet “deposition” + volume of sea creatures dying + volume of erosion sediments + volume of undersea volcano growth + volume of meteor sea impacts + volume of sea floor tectonic uplift – volume of water used in oil drilling (most of which gets locked away again) – volume of sea creatures used for food – loss of water vapor to space – large scale chemical processes that consume water – volume of tectonic subsidence – water lost to atmosphere (warmer atmosphere, agw or otherwise, holds more water vapor) = approximate volume of sea change
That’s a lot of change to calculate! Did I miss anything?

Reply to  Daniel
September 14, 2014 11:03 am

Ice accumulation on land. The magnitude of ice accretion from snowfall was illustrated by the team which salvaged Glacier Girl from under 268 feet of accumulated ice, 50 years after she landed on the Greenland ice sheet.
Also, most thermal expansion isn’t significant for coastal planning purposes. When water in the upper layer of the ocean expands or contracts due to temperature change, the change in density of the affected water doesn’t cause lateral water flows, doesn’t affect displacement, and doesn’t affect sea-level elsewhere. Instead, as the water’s density decreases and its volume increases, it rises in place, creating a localized “bump” in the ocean. Here’s an illustration:

Reply to  Daniel
September 14, 2014 10:24 pm

What about water displaced by merchant ship, aircraft carriers, sail boats, sewage, flotsam and jetsam etc
[insignificant -mod]

David A
Reply to  mikey
September 15, 2014 5:22 am

Mikey, if all the boats, ships, submarines, swimmers, and sunken boats, agricultural water and trash were removed from the ocean, how much would SL decline?

September 14, 2014 7:41 am

Norfolk, VA sees the highest rates of local sea level rise in America, at about 4.57 mm/yr, except for Galveston which is sinking because it is built on fill.
There is an appearance of slight acceleration at Norfolk, however, over the last couple of decades. That appearance is deceptive. It is due to a well-documented ~60yr cycle, which affects sea level on the northern half of the U.S. east coast.
Most of the sea level rise at Norfolk is due to local land subsidence, unrelated to climate or global sea level change. Obviously, nobody expects the subsidence component of sea level rise to accelerate.
Global sea level rise hasn’t accelerated in >80 years, either, and shows no sign of doing so in this century. Boosting atmospheric CO2 from 300 ppm to 400 ppm has had no discernible effect on sea level.
Norfolk should see about 6.5″ of sea-level rise by 2050, and 12″ by 2080.
That’s not exactly a catastrophe. I think the Navy can probably manage to raise their seawalls and piers by a foot over the next 67 years.

Dennis Hoy
September 14, 2014 8:02 am

From Recurrent Flooding Study for Tidewater Virginia (pg 7):
“Despite the fact that flooding is an issue for almost all respondent localities, less than 1/3 saw sea level rise as contributing to their flooding issues. However, most of them were interested in
learning more about the impacts of sea level rise in their localities.”
There is no significant indication of acceleration of sea level rise in the Norfolk area. If current trends hold the combined sea level rise and subsidence will be similar to the 1.5 foot rise of the last century. That works out to a rise of 3.5 inches over 20 years. NOAA shows the long term trend (since first recording in the late 1920s) as 4.44mm/yr with the most recent 7 years as averaging 4.49mm/yr at Sewell’s Point.
The entire sea-level-rise-is-going-to-destroy-Norfolk theme is purely a political ploy. The ugly truth is that Norfolk needs to spend billions to control storm caused floods The belief among leaders in the area is that they are more likely to receive outside dollars if they are perceived as being on the vanguard of the fight against sea level rise.

September 14, 2014 8:44 am

Willis: that’s the perfect post for which to dust off the old Mark Twain saw:
‘There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.’

chris moffatt
September 14, 2014 8:52 am

Thankyou Daniel. I had forgotten to mention the pumping of ground water that is yet another factor in local subsidence on the lower southern middle peninsula. There has been so much ground water extraction that saltwater intrusion reaches all the way to the to the Chickahominy bridge at Bottoms Bridge, VA (15 miles east of Richmond) and even further east

September 14, 2014 9:55 am

I cannot cite this tail as I believe that I read the kernel of it in the early 1960’s out of the National
somewhat prior to the American civil war the French got tired of changing their measuring system every time the king died. supposedly it was based on the length of the kings foot and when the king died the new guy had his foot measured and that was the new standard. for some reason or other they got a wild hair and decided to establish a perfect “scientific measurement”. this was to be based on 1-100,000 of the distance between the north pole and the equator and called a METER. so they arrived at a figure based on what we would call marine navigation etc. and decided that their meter would be about that long. (hands in the air as in measuring a fish the day after). ok.
then as advances in navigation occored they had to change the length of the meter……… this happened at roughly the same intervals of the kings prime, ministers, revolutions dying, happenng finally in the late ninteen fifties. there was an expedition to the south pole and one of the things that was important to them was to find the actual center of rotation of the earth (i.e. the south pole). it was supposedly the first use of a satellite (excluding the moon, as I remember it was one of the early shiny balls named after a Russian dog. ) and actually found the spot. they duly planted a flag pole called the boss, he came out and looked at it and probably said “That’s it hunh?” and went back inside out of the cold.
next morning at breakfast the boss says “why don’t you guys go out and check your work.” so they did. possibly a later conversation ensued. “well boss heres the new spot, New Spot where the he!! is the flag you planted yesterday?????? over there. about 70 feet away.” well they ran the calculations every time they turned around for the rest of the local summer. this was a feat of mathematical calculation as this was the day of the old marchant mechanicle calculators (the transistorized shirt pocket versions that we know and love so well cost about $4500 then if you could find one.) and one day one of the brighter of the group pointed out that the larger movements in position more or less conincided with traffic leaving New York New York for labor day holiday fun and games. shortly there after the metrologists held a big convention and decided that an irridum bar with two scratches on it kept in a temperature controlled room was the standard meter and standard of the world. that was in the early sixties.
so the point of this line of bs is, when you use data from centuries ago are you applying corrections for the vairious “adjustments” that various countries, counties, cities, states, bouroughs, dominions, common wealths and not to bright light house keepers applied to the measuring system over the decades and centuries.
you guys scream at each other over a measurement that amounts to less than the thickness of a sheet of paper, are you sure that its what you think it is.

September 14, 2014 9:59 am

And if you listen to the media reports on how Norfolk is more vulnerable to sea level rise than anywhere else, they manage to leave out the effect of subsidence. To the casual reader, it is all due to climate change. I have posted a few questions on why sea level is higher at Norfolk than anywhere else, but get no response.

Reply to  oeman50
September 14, 2014 10:46 am

The Norfolk area has a very unusual geological history:

September 14, 2014 10:00 am

The California coastal commission has a similar report, I submitted a number of comments related to the fact they should include current data and trends, rather than just projections that greatly exceeded current trends. Also that they needed to include the risk that the projection could be wrong.

nutso fasst
September 14, 2014 10:24 am

Having read in this thread that Arrhenius demonstrated the effect of CO2 in a replicable laboratory experiment, I went looking for that experiment. But Arrhenius’s “experiment” seems to be a myth. Arrhenius’s proof is only in his calculations, which were later shown to be flawed.
From NASA’s Earth Observatory:

Using the best data available to him (and making many assumptions and estimates that were necessary),he [Arrhenius] performed a series of calculations on the temperature effects of increasing and decreasing amounts of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere. His calculations showed that the “temperature of the Arctic regions would rise about 8 degrees or 9 degrees Celsius, if the carbonic acid increased 2.5 to 3 times its present value.”

According to Arrhenius’s calculations, temperatures during the last ice age indicate CO2 levels less than 180ppm, which is clearly absurd.
The first laboratory experiment to determine the effect of CO2 (by J. Koch, assistant to Knut Ångström) showed the atmosphere was already saturated in the absorption bands of CO2 and increasing it would have little effect. This was the “settled science” for many decades.
One of arguments that brought Arrhenius’s hypothesis back in favor was that improved instrumentation showed the absorption bands of CO2 did not overlap H2O in the rarefied upper atmosphere.
(I’m not writing from a expert position of understanding here, just synopsizing a bit of what seems to be a good essay on the evolution of the most recent “settled science” of the CO2 greenhouse effect:

Tim Crome
September 14, 2014 10:40 am

Went to a lecture by Niels Aksel Mörner last week in Oslo. He is one of the worlds experts on sea level rise, having worked on it his entire university career, now retired.
The conclusion of his very enthusiastically presented lecuture, all based on actual observations rather than models, was that a few parts of world are experiencing around 1mm/year while most places are not experiencing anything remotely significant.
He certainly doesn’t trust the official satellite numbers as these have been adjusted to suit the desired result (ie 3mm/year).

Reply to  Tim Crome
September 14, 2014 10:48 am

You’re right to not trust the satellite altimetry measurements of sea-level. To understand why, I recommend that you watch this lecture by Dr. Soon. He explains the problems with satellite measurement of sea level better than anyone I’ve seen, starting here:

That segment of his lecture is 24 minutes long, starting at the 17:37 point. The link should take you directly to 17:37. But, actually, I recommend watching the whole 58 minute lecture at least once. I promise, you’ll learn a lot.

Bryan A
September 14, 2014 10:50 am

Isn’t the rule of thumb for planning to prepare for the worst?

Reply to  Bryan A
September 14, 2014 11:11 am

“Isn’t the rule of thumb for planning to prepare for the worst?”
Yup, so what’s worse in my back yard; glaciers or palm trees? I’m ready for global warming. Glaciers? Not so much.

Brock Way
Reply to  Bryan A
September 14, 2014 12:15 pm

I predict a flood of 0 to 50 meters at your house, starting in about 30 minutes. Better grab a few thousand sand bags so that you will be, you know, prepared for the worst.

Reply to  Brock Way
September 14, 2014 3:54 pm

The worst would be a land grab by local/federal authorities saying you’re no longer allowed to live in your house because of expected climate change.

Reply to  Bryan A
September 14, 2014 12:37 pm

At what cost?

September 14, 2014 11:08 am

Sea level rise (minus subsidence) comes from thermal expansion of water AND water added through melting of ice that is at a higher altitude than the sea. Water flows downhill. So all this melt-water moves closer to the center of the Earth. Now think of an ice skater during a spin; when she brings her arm in closer to her center of rotation her rotation speed increases.
Using this logic I will say that SLR from melt-water makes the day shorter.

September 14, 2014 11:37 am

Ah. September in D.C. when the congressional committee mark-up, mod-up and jack-up budgets for the all important start of the next Fiscal Year on year 1 October. This year is a doozy with so many Democrats in the House and Senate scrambling to get deals made and votes cast in order to get out of Dodge to fight their local re-election battles before the November elections. Possible the best solution from Congress is to shut-down, make a hasty pass of a continuing resolution, then leave.
For Virginia no doubt that the locals are feeding their Congressional Reps with honey straight from Heaven in order to get the Pork on 1 October.
Fall in D.C. Ah the leaves all around, diesel fumes in the air and the aroma of Foggy Bottom. Smells like victory.
Ha ha

September 14, 2014 11:44 am

1×10^12 barrels oil x (1.5 barrels H20 / barrel oil) x (158 liters / barrel) x (1000 cm^3 / liter) x (1 m / 100cm)^3 x (1km / 1000 m)^3 x (earth sea surface / 3.6×10^8 km^2) x (10^6 mm/ km) = .66 mm total rise in earth sea surface level for the entire period due to the oil combustion, way less than 5mm / yr over that period.

September 14, 2014 12:24 pm

There are 18 stations in PSMSL with full data for 57 years between 1957 and 2013.

Station Name                 ID    Lat      Lon   Country
SMOGEN                       179  58.354   11.218  SWE
OLANDS NORRA UDDE            69   57.366   17.097  SWE
VISBY                        2105 57.639   18.284  SWE
STOCKHOLM                    78   59.324   18.082  SWE
DELFZIJL                     24   53.326    6.933  NLD
WEST-TERSCHELLING            236  53.363    5.220  NLD
HARLINGEN                    25   53.176    5.409  NLD
DEN HELDER                   23   52.964    4.745  NLD
IJMUIDEN                     32   52.462    4.555  NLD
HOEK VAN HOLLAND             22   51.978    4.120  NLD
MAASSLUIS                    9    51.918    4.250  NLD
VLISSINGEN                   20   51.442    3.596  NLD
HONOLULU                     155  21.307 -157.867  USA
JUNEAU                       405  58.298 -134.412  USA
ASTORIA (TONGUE POINT)       265  46.207 -123.768  USA
KEY WEST                     188  24.555  -81.807  USA
CHARLESTON I                 234  32.782  -79.925  USA
SEWELLS POINT, HAMPTON ROADS 299  36.947  -76.330  USA

Average acceleration of sea level change at these sites for this timespan is zero (0.0015 mm/year²).
Average rate of change itself would be meaningless, of course, because of isostatic rebound, but land movements are pretty linear on this timescale, so acceleration is not tainted.
57 years is three times the Metonic cycle, relative position of the Sun &. Moon recurs almost exactly at any specific site on Earth, therefore tidal effects do not influence acceleration over this period.

George Morrison
September 14, 2014 1:02 pm

Another big WUWT fail. This one starts as soon as Willis incorrectly assumes that sea level rise would be roughly uniform around the world. It would not be.
Most people have a mental model of a bathtub when thinking how sea level would rise. But due to gravity effects and isostatic rebound, the rise would be anything but uniform. In fact, as a thought experiment, if the entire Greenland ice sheet were to suddenly catastrophically collapse, global sea levels on *average* would rise about 8 metres, if I recall correctly. But right at Greenland, sea level would *FALL* by over 100 metres.
And the luck of the draw, once you factor all these effects in from all around the globe – the expected bullseye for maximum sea-level rise turns out to be the U.S. east coast.
You could look it up.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  George Morrison
September 14, 2014 7:37 pm

George, two strong suggestions. First, anything read in Harvard magazine should be taken with salt. ( As a thrice graduate, I have more than sufficient grounds to assert that). Second, you have no clue about the Earth’s gravimetric geodesic, as mapped by GRACE. If you think a bullseye is painted on the US east coast, you must be from Boston or NYC (also a good Harvard inference).
My advice: if you really believe this twaddle, move inland at any cost. Because China and India do not care.

David A
Reply to  Rud Istvan
September 15, 2014 5:31 am

George, I saw no such assumption in the post by Willis. Your assumption that Greenland would pop up out to the ocean like a cork is curious though.

George Morrison
Reply to  Rud Istvan
September 15, 2014 10:38 am

Eisenbach is assuming roughly even SLR globally – that’s evident because he keeps looking at global datasets and comparing to Virginia.
Most of the fall in SLR in Greenland will not be due to istostasy, but due to the relaxed local gravity effects of the ice sheet on surrounding sea – effects which would dominate as far away as Newfoundland and Scotland. This is non-controversial stuff, Newton under the apple tree stuff. Pro tip: check the relevant primary-source literature.

September 14, 2014 1:25 pm

So, without checking, I’m sure all these coastal cities have already upgraded their building codes and are requiring all new construction be built further from the shoreline and well above 10 feet at high tide. Any remodeling of a coastal building should not be closer to the water. That’s the sustainable thing to do. Ya think?

Reply to  mikerestin
September 14, 2014 1:38 pm

Indeed. Also properties that are in imminent peril will lose value. So These “Beach House sell-offs” should be coming anytime now.

Jim looking to buy a cheap timeshare in Miami
September 14, 2014 1:36 pm

Unfortunately you can’t ever get an accurate shore line level datum because the land mass goes up and down with continental drift.Before you even consider the tectonic plates under the oceans.
So forget about ever measuring the sea level accurately.

Chris Edwards
September 14, 2014 1:57 pm

This so called settled science on CO2, reading the details of the lab experiment it seems to me this Arrhenius character has left out convection, as the molecule of CO2 collects the energy and vibrates it will occupy a larger volume and get lighter, while in this non representative tube it won’t matter in our atmosphere the CO2 and any other gas with it will rise and carry the heat away. I did this in school before I was 16, how old are these scammers????

September 14, 2014 2:45 pm

“…In any case, that post shows the trend of sea level rise at Sewells Point VA is 4.4 mm/yr and 3.8 mm/yr at Portsmouth, Virginia. ”
Uhhh…*how* can two locations…about 14km apart, have such different changes in sea level change? The 14km distance is from Sewells Point to the Elizabeth River split at downtown Portsmouth/Norfoik. The Portsmouth measurement could be up to 5km closer to Sewells Point – does anyone know where the Portsmouth, Va. tidal gauge is? Sewells Point, BTW, is at the tip of the Norfolk Naval Station just at the opening to the Chesapeake Bay where the James River & Elizabeth River meet.
Still don’t buy it.

Reply to  JKrob
September 14, 2014 2:46 pm


September 14, 2014 4:43 pm

Thanks, Willis. Good post.
Highly adjusted results should always be contrasted with observations, the best available. Mörmer seems like a good antidote for University of Colorado.

September 14, 2014 7:12 pm

U of A professor Yin addressed this issue for the middle Atlantic states in 2013. He attributed higher measured sea levels to gulf stream and Atlantic ocean dynamics, creating a short-term ‘swell’ from Hatteras to New England.

Samuel C Cogar
September 15, 2014 5:35 am

@ pk: September 14, 2014 at 9:55 am
so the point of this line of bs is, when you use data from centuries ago are you applying corrections for the vairious “adjustments” that various countries, counties, cities, states, bouroughs, dominions, common wealths and not to bright light house keepers applied to the measuring system over the decades and centuries.
HA, me thinks your above comment also applies to all of the thermometer based Surface Temperature Records.

September 15, 2014 8:18 am

Just a few years ago I heard someone in the Chesapeake Bay Foundation bemoaning the prospect that “everything’s going downhill from here.” I can only interpret that to mean that there is a belief that the Virginia Sea Level is already higher than it is in neighboring states. 😉

Mike Singleton
September 15, 2014 10:29 am

It always amazes me that “scientists” and especially “green activists” ignore humankinds ability to adapt. I suppose it’s their inherent need to feel “in control”. Archeology seems to be littered with examples of what were sea ports that are now either high and dry or, the reverse, underwater.

Matthew R Marler
September 15, 2014 11:23 am

Thanks again for a good read.

September 15, 2014 12:49 pm
September 15, 2014 1:26 pm

This paper (September 2014) reconstructs sea level change along North Carolina coast. Estimates current sea level rise along North Carolina as 1.71 mm/yr since 1845 and no acceleration during the last 1000 yrs. Significantly less than the Virginia assessment, even with slightly modeled ‘swell’ as proposed by Yin (see above).

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
September 16, 2014 4:06 am

Sea level is not rising. The land is not rebounding. Glacial Rebound does not and never existed. The Ice age is also suspect. Now where does that leave us? The Earth is growing, Expanding if you will. The Seas are receding, Sea levels are falling no rising. Darwin was wrong and so was Jameison and Agassiz. So why do we keep on after 200 years spouting the same outdated Darwinian doctrine of “Raised Beaches”? It is time we separate the forest from the trees. Until we admit that the seas are not rising and until we debunk Isostacy and Glacial Rebound we are going nowhere. Richar Guy See the Video series “The Mysterious Receding Seas” Youtube and Google.

September 17, 2014 8:58 am

“In any case, that post shows the trend of sea level rise at Sewells Point VA is 4.4 mm/yr and 3.8 mm/yr at Portsmouth, Virginia. IF the subsidence is in fact 2.7 mm/year, this puts the Sewells Point sea level rise without subsidence at 4.4 – 2.7 = 1.7 mm/year … and at Portsmouth, 3.8 – 2.7 = 1.1 mm/year rise excluding subsidence.”
4.4 mm x 50 years = 220 mm == 8.6 inches at Sewells Point VA
All sea level rise is local and relative to the land at that place. (In other words, it doesn’t matter if the sea has come up, the land has gone down, or both — the local relative sea level has thus “risen” as far as the land is concerned.)
The lower level of their prediction, 8 inches, thus seem reasonable, even without any increase in the rate of absolute sea level rise.

September 17, 2014 7:24 pm

For those interested in more information about East Coast sea level rise, it can be found in two of my previous posts:
From the Scientific Urban Legend Department: ‘AGW Sea Level Rise Made Sandy More Destructive’
What to do about The Flood Next Time

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