#AGU14 – NOAA establishes 'tipping points' for sea level rise related flooding

via NOAA Headquarters

Most of US coast may see 30 or more days a year of floods up to 2 feet above high tides

By 2050, a majority of U.S. coastal areas are likely to be threatened by 30 or more days of flooding each year due to dramatically accelerating impacts from sea level rise, according to a new NOAA study, published today in the American Geophysical Union’s online peer-reviewed journal Earth’s Future.

Annapolis, Maryland, pictured here in 2012, is one of three major East Coast urban areas already being faced with nuisance flooding in excess of 30 days per year. Credit: (Credit: With permission from Amy McGovern.)

The findings appear in the paper From the Extreme to the Mean: Acceleration and Tipping Points for Coastal Inundation due to Sea Level Rise, and follows the earlier study, Sea Level Rise and Nuisance Flood Frequency Changes around the United States, by the report’s co-author, William Sweet, Ph.D., oceanographer at NOAA’s Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS). The new analysis was presented at a news conference today at the annual AGU fall meeting in San Francisco.

NOAA scientists Sweet and Joseph Park established a frequency-based benchmark for what they call “tipping points,” when so-called nuisance flooding, defined by NOAA’s National Weather Service as between one to two feet above local high tide, occurs more than 30 or more times a year.

Based on that standard, the NOAA team found that these tipping points will be met or exceeded by 2050 at most of the U.S. coastal areas studied, regardless of sea level rise likely to occur this century. In their study, Sweet and Park used a 1½ to 4 foot set of recent projections for global sea level rise by year 2100 similar to the rise projections of the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change, but also accounting for local factors such as the settlement of land, known as subsidence.

These regional tipping points will be surpassed in the coming decades in areas with more frequent storms, the report said. These tipping points will be also be exceeded in areas where local sea levels rise more than the global projection of one and half to four feet. This also includes coastal areas like Louisiana where subsidence, which is not a result of by climate change, is causing land to sink below sea level.

NOAA tide gauges show the annual rate of daily floods reaching these levels has drastically increased – and are now five to ten times more likely today than they were 50 years ago.

“Coastal communities are beginning to experience sunny-day nuisance or urban flooding, much more so than in decades past,” said Sweet. “This is due to sea level rise. Unfortunately, once impacts are noticed, they will become commonplace rather quickly. We find that in 30 to 40 years, even modest projections of global sea level rise–1½ feet by the year 2100–will increase instances of daily high tide flooding to a point requiring an active, and potentially costly response and by the end of this century, our projections show that there will be near-daily nuisance flooding in most of the locations that we reviewed.”

“As communities across the country become increasingly vulnerable to water inundation and flooding, effective risk management is going to become more heavily reliant on environmental data and analysis,” said Holly Bamford, Ph.D., NOAA acting assistant secretary for conservation and management. “Businesses, coastal managers, federal, state, and local governments, and non-governmental organizations can use research such as this as another tool as they develop plans to reduce vulnerabilities, adapt to change, and ensure they’re resilient against future events.”

Tipping Point for Nuisance Floods by Location and Decade

This chart shows that most major US coastal cities will pass 30-days of nuisance flooding by 2050. Credit: NOAA/Earth’s Future

“The importance of this research is that it draws attention to the largely neglected part of the frequency of these events. This frequency distribution includes a hazard level referred to as ‘nuisance’: occasionally costly to clean up, but never catastrophic or perhaps newsworthy,” said Earth’s Future editor Michael Ellis in accepting the paper for the online journal.

Ellis also observed that “the authors use observational data to drive home the important point that nuisance floods (from inundating seas) will cross a tipping point over the next several decades and significantly earlier than the 2100 date that is generally regarded as a target date for damaging levels of sea-level. The paper also raises the interesting question of what frequency of ‘nuisance’ corresponds to a perception of ‘this is no longer a nuisance but a serious hazard due to its rapidly growing and cumulative impacts’.”

The scientists base the projections on NOAA tidal stations where there is a 50-year or greater continuous record. The study does not include the Miami area, as the NOAA tide stations in the area were destroyed by Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and a continuous 50-year data set for the area does not exist.

Based on that criteria, the NOAA team is projecting that Boston; New York City; Philadelphia; Baltimore; Washington, D.C.; Norfolk, Virginia; and Wilmington, North Carolina; all along the Mid-Atlantic coast, will soon make, or are already being forced to make, decisions on how to mitigate these nuisance floods earlier than planned. In the Gulf, NOAA forecasts earlier than anticipated floods for Galveston Bay and Port Isabel, Texas. Along the Pacific coast the earlier impacts will be most visible in the San Diego/La Jolla and San Francisco Bay areas.

Mitigation decisions could range from retreating further inland to coastal fortification or to a combination of “green” infrastructure using both natural resources such as dunes and wetland, along with “gray” man-made infrastructure such as sea walls and redesigned storm water systems.

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Join us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and our other social media channels.


[UPDATE BY WILLIS] I hate science by press release. The original article is open-access, and is located here.

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December 18, 2014 6:06 pm

LOL, they should tell this to Swiss RE :
World’s Second Largest Reinsurer Swiss Re Sees Huge Drop In Losses From Natural/Manmade Catastrophes In 2014!

Reply to  Streetcred
December 18, 2014 6:09 pm

Those Swiss Insurance companies are such den1ers. 😉

richard verney
Reply to  philjourdan
December 19, 2014 3:05 am

SwissRe and MunichRe were both heavily pushing cAGW, probably because they saw this as a revenue stream. The best insurance revenue stream is to charge large premiums for events that almost never occur, and if they do then claim that they are excluded as caused by act of God, or similar.
See for example: http://www.swissre.com/search/?searchterm=scenarios+for+climate+change&searchterm=scenarios%2Bfor%2Bclimate%2Bchange
“strengthening society’s resilience to climate change
21 May 13 | Global Partnerships LP | English |
Swiss Re reaffirms its long-standing commitment to addressing climate change at Climate Week NYC 2012 and the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting.”
I do not know whether they have in the past year, or so pulled back.

Reply to  philjourdan
December 19, 2014 8:20 am

One of those ah-ha! moments:

george e. smith
Reply to  philjourdan
December 19, 2014 12:07 pm

Well no need to worry. The moon is slowly receding from earth in its orbit, so tides are going down in the future to compensate for the extra water on earth that is raising the sea levels.

Reply to  philjourdan
December 19, 2014 12:18 pm
Reply to  Cam_S
December 23, 2014 5:23 am

To all who responded to my sarcasm. Sorry I did not put the /sarc tag on it. I thought the winky at the end was sufficient.
Insurance companies are a-political. They are pro-profit and any meme that will increase it they will support.

Reply to  Streetcred
December 20, 2014 5:55 am

LOL, they should tell this to Swiss RE :
World’s Second Largest Reinsurer Swiss Re Sees Huge Drop In Losses From Natural/Manmade Catastrophes In 2014!

LOL, they should tell that to Berkshire Hathaway reinsurance and Lloyd’s.
No climate change impact on insurance biz: Buffett 3 March 2014
“It’s been a fairly benign period for major catastrophes,” 25 Sept 2014
They should also tell that to the Journal of Coastal Research.

Abstract – 23 February 2011
Sea-level acceleration based on US tide gauges and extensions of previous global-gauge analyses
Without sea-level acceleration, the 20th-century sea-level trend of 1.7 mm/y would produce a rise of only approximately 0.15 m from 2010 to 2100; therefore, sea-level acceleration is a critical component of projected sea-level rise…….
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.

December 18, 2014 6:08 pm

How much of this is being caused by simple subsidence ?

Reply to  roachstaugustine
December 18, 2014 6:14 pm

Aw c’mon! Everyone knows that sea level rise is caused by carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels. This nonsense of sea level rise beginning at the beginning of the Holocene is just denier propaganda…./ sarc!

Reply to  Dave
December 18, 2014 11:21 pm

The blind see only what suits them

Tom Harley
Reply to  Dave
December 19, 2014 3:55 am

Strange that carbon dioxide is not mentioned once in the post above … is that a tipping point?

Reply to  roachstaugustine
December 18, 2014 6:15 pm

They claim that they take into account subsidence, look at the notes under the chart.

Reply to  Streetcred
December 19, 2014 3:24 am

Well they might but does the research take into account coastal modification, removal of dune systems for housing development etc., which is flood and storm surge protection.

Louis Hooffstetter
Reply to  Streetcred
December 19, 2014 5:12 am

There is no possible way subsidence was taken into account properly. All of the cities in this study are currently at sea level. Sea level cannot possibly rise at a different rate in St. Petersburg, FL than in Key West, FL. Sea level also can’t rise at different rates along the east coast of the US. It’s physically impossible, yet that’s exactly what the authors are claiming,
Subsidence is NOT sea level rise. This is just another fraudulent lie from witch doctors at NOAA.

Reply to  roachstaugustine
December 18, 2014 11:40 pm

And how much is this attributed to the simple fact that coastal cities have and always will be the most densely populated areas in the world? If I was writing bylaws in any of them? ALL residential/ hotel etc. buildings be built 3-5 meters above the high water mark, everything commercial only lower. (well Holland might have a problem with that but then the dikes are built with that in mind). but you get the picture.

Reply to  asybot
December 19, 2014 6:57 am

I would have titled the article from an invader zim episode, a little less alarming, “walk for your lives”. Episode involves a slow motion explosion

December 18, 2014 6:12 pm

I wonder if it is possible to calculate the depth of the well of ignorance based on the rate these climate fantasies are released from academia and governmental agencies (emphasis on mental).

December 18, 2014 6:14 pm

Sea level projections are based on [ … ] 1.9C to 5.4C range in future global warming [ … ]

Remind me why we have no regard for NOAA any longer, please?

Reply to  Streetcred
December 18, 2014 7:26 pm

Gadzooks! They base a chart on a potential upper limit of warming at 5.4C due to GHG in an IPCC Assessment? Seems to be a long stretch.

Reply to  Windsong
December 18, 2014 7:29 pm

In other words, it is all computer fantasyland stuff. Sheesh. What I am seeing is freezing weather with lots of snow.

Santa Baby
Reply to  Streetcred
December 18, 2014 10:51 pm

Actually the projections are based only on the political established UNFCCC?

Don K
Reply to  Streetcred
December 19, 2014 1:59 am

The paper itself, not the poorly written press release, makes a valid point although one has to dig to find it. Willis has provided a link to the paper http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/enhanced/doi/10.1002/2014EF000272 (Thanks Willis).
Anyway, the point is that folks tend to build infrastructure — docks, roads, expensive houses, etc just above the highest water levels with a small margin — say 30cm (a foot). Fine (until a really big storm comes through). But wait a century. If the land is sinking due to sediment compaction or pumping fluids out from under it or simple tectonic forces or if the sea level rises even modestly (which was the case in the 20th century 20cm — 8 inches or so) the margin slowly disappears and eventually on days when the highest tides combine with winds from the wrong direction and other factors the water starts slopping over onto docks, parking lots, streets, basements, etc. Figure 1 in the article shows how that works.
The solution — back away from the ocean and no one gets hurt — seasides are a great place for beaches, wetlands, hotdog stands, parking lots, campgrounds and infrastructure like docks that are waterproof. The are a bad place for homes, roads, businesses, natural gas lines, etc. It would also be a good idea to quit pumping fluids like water or oil out from under infrastructure that is very close to sea level.

Keith Willshaw
Reply to  Don K
December 19, 2014 2:17 am

A lot can be done at relatively low cost to protect homes near the sea from storm flooding. I lived for many years in an old coastguard cottage on the English South coast near Romney Marsh. This is an area that has entire villages BELOW sea level where you have to climb up flight of stairs to get to the beach yet it has been densely inhabited for centuries since being drained in the 16th and 17th century – a process known as inning. This was done with no technology beyond that of hand labour and earthen embankments.

Walt D.
Reply to  Streetcred
December 19, 2014 3:35 am

As Jo Nova would say “If the climate models that have not worked in the past suddenly started to work…”. Give that the current rate of temperature increase is of the order of 0.1C degrees every 20 years, how long will it take for temperatures to rise 1.9C?

December 18, 2014 6:17 pm

I reached my nuisance tipping point for junk climate science™.

michael hart
Reply to  Streetcred
December 18, 2014 7:38 pm

Yeah, I know. It’s the ‘Lama Tupping Point’
They’re taking us all for a ride.

December 18, 2014 6:22 pm

It’s all very well to decry the claims made in the paper. I want to see evidence based information which shows that it is not accurate, not hand-waving.

Reply to  Kohl
December 18, 2014 6:30 pm

No, Kohl- the paper is evidence free itself. I am tired of gullible cliamte obsessed fools with no critical thinking skills. In reality-land one only has to show that a paper is merit-less. One should not have to prove the negative.

Reply to  hunter
December 18, 2014 8:50 pm

Science is falsifiable , this article was peer reviewed so, unlike Monckton’s efforts ,it has merit.
The burden of proof is on you to disprove it with your critical thinking skills.

Reply to  fredcehak
December 18, 2014 9:31 pm

Science is falsifiable , this article was peer reviewed so, unlike Monckton’s efforts ,it has merit.

Who did the peer review? What were their salaries and their research budgets based on and who paid them and their university?

Brandon Gates
Reply to  hunter
December 18, 2014 11:26 pm

Do non-peer reviewed researchers work for free?

Reply to  Brandon Gates
December 19, 2014 7:22 am

Do non-peer reviewed researchers work for free?

EVERY government-paid CAGW catastro-physicist works for his or her government salary, the government grant to his institution, and gets government approval before, during, and after every government-paid research program – before being allowed to even ask for government-approval to submit his or her request for the NEXT government grant for his next government grant application. But, against 90 billion in government money .. “big oil” is evil and is bluntly and regularly accused of funding the denial movement, of contaminating their research.
But, just today, WSU received 1,000,000.00 in grants from the Obama’s over-stretched, budget-cutting, military salary and benefits-cutting military government to “research” the potential for problems from global warming on DOD facilities in the future.
Because Obama’s government and Holdren’s NSA and Obama’s EPA and NOAA wants results saying that a 1 mm per year rise in water levels will harm Navy bases and Army bases and Marine training facilities 85 years from now, and so we must raise taxes 1.3 trillion dollars THIS YEAR; and destroy (even further) our nation’s economy by funding dictators and corrupt governments overseas with 100 billion a year. But you claim government research is not contaminated?

Dire Wolf
Reply to  hunter
December 19, 2014 6:04 am

On first blush, they are actually working with data. Their figure 1 shows a time series from 1930 through 2010 for Battery Park, NY. The increases seem overly large compared to the historic 2.77mm/yr (http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/11/28/freaking-out-about-nyc-sea-level-rise-is-easy-to-do-when-you-dont-pay-attention-to-history/). The question is how are the arriving this increase.
(And yes, they do have the annoying reference to the “scientific consensus”. May have needed that to get published.)

Brandon Gates
Reply to  hunter
December 19, 2014 4:39 pm




Jim S
Reply to  Kohl
December 18, 2014 6:48 pm

The models used to generate the predictions are not evidence, Kohl. So you want evidence to dis-prove non-evidence based predictions?

Louis Hooffstetter
Reply to  Jim S
December 21, 2014 2:54 pm

Exactly! We must continuously hammer home the fact that climate models are neither evidence nor data! At best, ‘models’ that support CAGW are hypothetical conjecture. At worst, they are biased or outright fraudulent, which is why in most cases turn out to be wrong.

Robert B
Reply to  Kohl
December 18, 2014 7:33 pm

Annapolis has had a foot of sea-level rise (or subsidence) since 1928 at a very constant rate. There has been no acceleration since 1950.

Reply to  Robert B
December 19, 2014 6:20 am

This is something for me to wonder. Since CO2 emissions have been growing and the amount of CO2 in air has been growing, and there is supposed to be some latency, shouldn’t the sea rise be accelerating if it is supposed to have something to do with CO2? The same applies to temperatures as well. The most common alarmistic statistics I see are always claiming the acceleration is at the doorstep. But not yet here.
Or, it this some alternate reality game where these statistics (Annapolis) are just used by the consensus scientists, because they have some different stats which do show clear acceleration?

Reply to  Kohl
December 18, 2014 7:36 pm

Global mean sea level rise has been at 3.2 mm/yr for nearly 25 years with no sign of an acceleration. The sea level now is less than 1/2 what the first IPCC forecasted for this period. If the rate of rise speeds up then some of the forecasts may have validity. So far, there is no evidence that it has speeded up. Much like the models for temperature increases- way below estimates.

Reply to  Kohl
December 18, 2014 7:49 pm

Here is a NOAA graph for the Battery at NYC (one of the sites they show) which has a rate of 2.83 mm/yr with the graph going back to the mid 1800s. No acceleration visible.

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  maccassar
December 18, 2014 10:50 pm

i am bemused by all the glowing alarm about the melting ice continental ice. Long may it continue. Greenland will come back into farming condition and vast swathes of Canada and Siberia will become habitable. The alternative, another ice age, would be catastrophic.
With so much of the planet uninhabitable without a huge investment of energy, the continuation of the rise from the last ice age is hardly a disaster.
Coping will be quite easy in terms of moving back or creating Venice-like cities is well within current technology and skills. We cannot stop subsidence nor rising oceans.

Don K
Reply to  maccassar
December 19, 2014 2:35 am

Figure 1 in the article http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/enhanced/doi/10.1002/2014EF000272 does show a slight acceleration at the Battery in the period 1980-2010 that might or might not be visible eyeballing or even doing a conventional fit to the tidal gauge data. I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether that’s real or not. But even if the acceleration specious, there’s not a lot of margin to work with and it’s being eaten up. Manhattan is sinking a bit. Sea levels have been rising a bit and probably will continue to do so. Not much chance of reverting Lower Manhattan to parkland so some hardening seems to be in order. Might have been better to do it before Sandy, but after works also.

Reply to  maccassar
December 21, 2014 9:35 am

Criticism of the Battery sinking should not be made without noting much of that area is artificially created land and thus it’s altitude above sea level is entirely human created. So they do another round of infill and enlarge the Battery, big deal. With the value of Manhattan real estate, the project might just pay for itself.

Reply to  Kohl
December 19, 2014 4:08 am

This short video shows how impossible it is to ‘Predict’ sea levels of the future.

Dire Wolf
Reply to  D.I.
December 19, 2014 6:14 am

While amusing and informative, this is not relevant. The question of sea level at a given point is not influenced by the ambiguities of sea level across the globe. If CAGW were happening it would raise sea level at an individual point above whatever level the gravitational/rotational dynamics had set it at prior to CAGW.

Dire Wolf
Reply to  Kohl
December 19, 2014 6:33 am

Having read further, it appears from figure 10 (and the surrounding text) that they have projected the catastrophic nuisances from models of sea level rise which predict exponential increases in sea level. It is, yes, unfortunately, models all the way down. The real data shown in figure 10 contradicts the modeled catastrophe.

Reply to  Kohl
December 19, 2014 10:10 am

Yup – data.
Please see the U of Colorado Sea Level Center graph for rate of sea level rise. There is no acceleration.

Reply to  JUlmer
December 19, 2014 11:49 am

Yeah, but your problem is that you’re using a ruler. As I posted yesterday, you need to gaze at it through a crystal ball, and all becomes clear, crystal clear even.
Seriously, I didn’t mess with the juxtaposition:

John West
December 18, 2014 6:27 pm

Nuisance Anthropogenic Global Warming

December 18, 2014 6:28 pm

This is pulled straight out of their….imaginations.

December 18, 2014 6:30 pm

good grief dont they ever give up, so in the next 35 years 600mm rise. Are we seriously meant to believe that Annapolis has become a high flood risk over the last 50 years purely because of less than 150mm rise in Sea Level….BS!

Reply to  mwh
December 18, 2014 11:29 pm

Current global sea level rise is a bit above 2mm/year. So in next 35 years, expect 70-90 mm. Or about 3 – 4 inches.

Dire Wolf
Reply to  Robert Sheaffer
December 19, 2014 6:15 am

Yes, that is exactly the issue with the paper. Where did they get the apparent 1/2 meter rise from 1930 to 2010 that appears in figure 1???

Brandon Gates
Reply to  mwh
December 18, 2014 11:44 pm

A shoreline slope of 1/100 is not a terrible assumption along the southern US Atlantic and Gulf coasts, so your paltry 150mm sea rise works out to 15 meters of lost beachfront property. Further one gets up the beach the shallower the slope in general, so storm surges will have more a tendency to run inland. Maryland coastline likely has more steeply sloped shores but for any slope less than 1/1 a similar multiplier will hold true. It’s not BS, it’s geometry.

Reply to  Brandon Gates
December 19, 2014 12:30 am

Why do coastal real estate values continue to rise? Why do insurers continue to insure coastal properties?
Could be these types have not embraced the fashion of wringing hands and peeing puddles. You should teach them, Brandon. You are a master of the technique.

Reply to  Brandon Gates
December 19, 2014 1:02 am

The geometry of the beach is determined by the waves, which create the steep-sloped “swash” zone, where they break. This due to the physics of wave action and this zone is a feature of all beaches that have breaking waves. No need to fear rising sea levels from an imperceptible rise in sea level.

Otter (ClimateOtter on Twitter)
Reply to  Brandon Gates
December 19, 2014 2:20 am

Brandon, you should have been around 100 years ago, to prevent all those people building resort homes and hotels right on the frigging beaches. Or maybe you should have been around 6100 years ago when the Doggerland people were building so close to the shoreline….. imagine all the trouble you could have saved them!

Reply to  Brandon Gates
December 19, 2014 12:05 pm

Brandon – I wouldnt disagree but you are slightly misrepresenting my point. I was being generous with the 150mm any way but that has been the average increase in sea level for quite a long time so would have happened anyhow. That was my point and a 150mm rise is very unlikely to account for the 150mm odd water over the hard paving in the picture. I doubt from the design that it is particularly old and would assume that they did not build it at exactly the maximum height of high tides. That is part of the harbour and probably on a river by the looks of it so I would assume this is either, flooding from inland, a storm surge or an astronomically high tide or both or all 3 to achieve the amount of flooding in relatively calm looking conditions. To use disingenuous photography to represent a point is pure BS and makes reasonable debate difficult

Brandon Gates
Reply to  Brandon Gates
December 19, 2014 4:00 pm


Why do coastal real estate values continue to rise?

At the risk of making unfounded assumptions, I hear rumors some people don’t believe in the global warming scam.
Oh, and some friendly advice, the next time you appeal to popularity re-read this: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/12/19/97-articles-refuting-the-97-consensus-on-global-warming/

Why do insurers continue to insure coastal properties?

It could have something to do with the fact that they’re charging ever higher premiums for it which people are willing to pay. The fun argument here is whether that’s because the insurers themselves buy into the hoax, or cynically know they can get away with doing it. Could be both. Maybe they’ve actually cut themselves in on the conspiracy?

Could be these types have not embraced the fashion of wringing hands and peeing puddles.

Sure, your speculations are just as good as mine above.

You should teach them, Brandon. You are a master of the technique.

Not half as good at you are putting a round in your foot trying to shoot the messenger instead. Protip: keep your finger outside the guard until the business end is pointed downrange.

Brandon Gates
Reply to  Brandon Gates
December 19, 2014 4:11 pm

Otter (ClimateOtter on Twitter),

Brandon, you should have been around 100 years ago, to prevent all those people building resort homes and hotels right on the frigging beaches.

Well hey, it’s always 100 years ago from 100 years in the future. There’s no time like the present as they say.

Brandon Gates
Reply to  Brandon Gates
December 19, 2014 4:25 pm


Brandon – I wouldnt disagree but you are slightly misrepresenting my point. I was being generous with the 150mm any way but that has been the average increase in sea level for quite a long time so would have happened anyhow.

I was being generous with the slope estimates. Typical shoreline is 1/150 in Florida, less in the very low-lying areas.

That was my point and a 150mm rise is very unlikely to account for the 150mm odd water over the hard paving in the picture.

You could be right. To my eyes though it looks like an argument from personal incredulity by way of emphasis of small numbers without other necessary context.

To use disingenuous photography to represent a point is pure BS and makes reasonable debate difficult

There we agree. I get my info from primary literature and reliable (read: considered, deliberate and non-sensationalistic) secondary sources. Even some of those have scary pictures in them, but to argue that the photo necessarily falsifies the literature by its very presence is a logical leap I’m not willing to take.
The truth of the matter is we don’t know a lot about what will happen, where and when. When taking my grains of salt I do tend to err on the side of caution, however. Which I see as different from panicking.

Reply to  Brandon Gates
December 20, 2014 12:21 am

B. Gates, would-be scientist, swallows the “tipping point” line and snarks and sneers at those who do not. He is unable to distinguish between local subsidence and a general SLR of less than 2mm worldwide.

Brandon Gates
Reply to  Brandon Gates
December 20, 2014 2:55 am

mpainter, would-be sophist, mistakes snarky rebuttal of an argument with desperately lashing out at the person making it. The strawman was a nice touch, though I caution that used too much it loses its efficacy.

Reply to  Brandon Gates
December 20, 2014 6:16 am

B Gates empties his bladder, I point to the puddle and he says “straw man”.

Brandon Gates
Reply to  Brandon Gates
December 20, 2014 7:08 am

mpainter, well yes, I was peeing on the strawman. Stands to reason it and the puddle would be in the same vicinity.

Reply to  Brandon Gates
December 20, 2014 11:49 am

B Gates
Look at the top post.
The new satellite carbon image. Where is the man made CO2?
All those puddles for naught, you poor piddle puddler.
All the rest of you junk scientists need to look, also: sockrat, looso, rooter, and all.

Brandon Gates
Reply to  Brandon Gates
December 21, 2014 12:32 am

You talking about this article? http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/12/20/agu14-nasas-orbiting-carbon-observatory-shows-surprising-co2-emissions-in-southern-hemisphere/
You’re not pulling a dbstealey CO2 lags not leads style argument here are you?

Reply to  Brandon Gates
December 22, 2014 1:54 am

Gates says:
You’re not pulling a dbstealey CO2 lags not leads style argument here are you?
Since B Gates has been totally unable to refute my cause and effect argument, he gets snarky. Because snark is all he has left. He certainly has no scientific evidence. And the link he posted says:
Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has no distinguishing features to show what its source was.
It says nothing about the cause of ∆T.
@Gates: if/when you can produce a chart refuting my argument, based on the WoodForTrees’ extensive database, then you will stay on the losing end of the debate.
So how about it, chump, can you find a cause and effect chart showing that ∆CO2 causes ∆T? Or is snark all you have left?

Don K
Reply to  mwh
December 19, 2014 2:59 am

The problem at Annapolis isn’t just that sea level rising as that Chesapeake Bay is sinking at a rate comparable to sea level rise, so the effective rate of sea level rise is doubled. There are better papers than this, but see http://marylandreporter.com/2013/07/28/rising-seas-part-1-sea-level-sinking-land-put-marylands-waterfront-communities-at-risk/ for some details. IIRC, the problem is especially evident at Norfolk at the South End of the bay.

Brandon Gates
Reply to  Don K
December 19, 2014 4:02 pm

Don K, good info, thanks.

December 18, 2014 6:37 pm

Do mine eyes deceive me?
Have they gone from projecting catastrophes to projecting nuisances?

Reply to  davidmhoffer
December 19, 2014 11:51 am

Thread winner!
/Mr Lynn

Reply to  davidmhoffer
December 21, 2014 5:40 am

They have, and the nuisances have “tipping” points. I find that an interesting concept.

Gary Pearse
December 18, 2014 6:50 pm

Don’t they know the Lima show is over and was a bust? Why didn’t they redo this with 7 inches per century rise to at least include their critics’ estimates.

December 18, 2014 7:19 pm

Stop funding these bull dust artists.

December 18, 2014 7:23 pm

Just Googling around for a laugh (and I sure as heck got one), to see the actual data for San Francisco, when I came across this:
“The inability to gaze into a crystal ball and see the future is what gives climate change denlers so much ammunition. ”
(* I put the l in denlers to avoid auto-mod)

Reply to  philincalifornia
December 18, 2014 7:29 pm
Curious George
Reply to  philincalifornia
December 18, 2014 7:47 pm

Climate forecasting used to be considered a wizardry. Even today it attracts adherents of witchcraft .. excuse me, of climate science.

Reply to  philincalifornia
December 18, 2014 9:04 pm

Looks like M.Mann shaved his stubble off. Or is that Gavin ?

Reply to  philincalifornia
December 18, 2014 9:40 pm

E’Gad … methinks that is Dame Slingo from the UK Met Office !

Reply to  philincalifornia
December 18, 2014 11:51 pm

Nope, its Al he saw a hanging chad.

December 18, 2014 7:32 pm

Well, since the only place in the US with a ‘drought’ now is drenched in rain, they have to haul out some sort of goofy thing to fear. Since this is predicated on it getting hotter in an extreme degree, we should congratulate them with the news that thanks to the sun, we will be seeing a lot more ice and snow and growing glaciers so the warmists can go home and freeze their @ssses off with no heat at home, happy that it isn’t warm anymore.

an ex-pio
Reply to  emsnews
December 18, 2014 9:03 pm
Joel O’Bryan
December 18, 2014 7:50 pm

At 3 mm/yr x 85 years = 0.255 meters.
So how in the hell do they think it’s gonna be 0.65 meters by 2050 at Battery Park, NY????
18 mm/yr SLR???
Me thinks the NOAA CO-OPS guys have been spending too much time with the Boulder Boyz and been too much partaking of Colorado’s new legal marijuana law.

Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
December 18, 2014 8:11 pm

Like, dude! We’re going to drown up here in the Rockies, man. Have another toke. (Suuuucking sounds) Yes, we’re doomed. Let’s pack up and go to Burning Man and chill in Death Valley.

Reply to  emsnews
December 19, 2014 12:50 pm

Don’t get lost, toker dude. Burning Man is up in the Black Rock Desert, not Death Valley. And since it can turn into a lake, as it did last summer, theoretically you could drown there. Hmm…60,000 people…flood…tipping point…I think I smell a grant.

Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
December 18, 2014 8:41 pm

Marijuana is possible but I think it is the green flowing from Washington that pushes the exaggerations.

an ex-pio
Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
December 18, 2014 9:04 pm

the rise isn’t expected to be linear (note greenland’s accelerating of ice loss)

Reply to  an ex-pio
December 18, 2014 9:29 pm

an ex-pio
You claim an “accelerating ice loss” from Greenland.
What actual do you base that claim on? The GRACE satellite “data” has not been checked against bore hole data anywhere through the center of Greenland, and only 50 sites on the thin ice rocky mountains around Greenland’s perimeter. Worse, even from those 50 holes, there is no historical data to determine if the mountains and land mass under the central ice pack is rebounding, lowering, or melting or rising in depth.

Pete in Cumbria UK
Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
December 19, 2014 2:25 am

I have come to a realisation, through literature and actual experiment/experience, that Joel may be onto more than we all realise. You may well laugh – if you do I can only recommend you yourself ‘run the experiment’ yourself. You are totally and suitably equipped with all the right test and measuring equipment you need. No special extra are required.
Some background..
Plants have a problem. They can’t physically move around. For most of their processes they’re happy with that, UNTIL, it comes to dispersing their seeds and spreading around in any given environment or moving to a new one. They don’t have legs, wings, fins or flippers.
So, what to do but somehow encourage those ‘things’ that also inhabit the local environment to do the job for them. How else to do it but to make your seeds pretty, attractive, eyecatching and also to somehow reward the critter (the one with legs or wings etc) for doing the task.
Hence we get fruit of all shapes and sizes, fruit loaded with fructose (sugar) and a (quite indigestible) seed hidden away in the midst. How this works of course is that critters possessed of legs/wings etc also have brains and, for whatever reason, brains universally respond to the arrival of a flush of glucose by releasing into themselves Dopamine. This is fantastically powerful stuff, it alleviates feelings of stress and generally makes the brain ‘happy’ It is the original and best feel-good chemical. Hence the consumption of fruit (sugar=glucose) makes the critter feel good so it is likely to want to repeat the process over and over, hence spreading the seeds of the plants. Win win win.
But after a few hours the downside kicks in when the Dopamine released by eating the fruit is metabolised or re-absorbed. The feel-good factor dries up, the critter returns to normal which, compared to the previous happy state is not particularly nice. The critter wants to feel good more often and again and again. That’s what the plant intended.
Hence we get ‘addiction’ When the Dopamine is re-absorbed, the critter becomes depressed relative to the happy (fructose induced) state, wants to go back there and becomes unhappy if it cannot.
In a real and well adjusted world, the supply of fructose (and hence Dopamine) is highly regulated, plants only produce fruit for a short period once a year and the critter adjusts to the low fructose state as normal. i.e not depressed for most of the year and in a happy state when the plants produce their fruit.
Man, being the clever critter that he is though, has worked out how to obtain sugar (fructose, dextrose, glucose etc) on a year-round basis, especially by grinding up starch containing plant material (seeds) and by cooking it. Processing in its most basic form.
See ‘the problem’? Modern man is on a diet containing vast amounts of sugar (cooked starch by any other name). Even worse, he has perfected a processing step based on the fermentation of sugar, producing an even more potent feel-good depressor called alcohol. In its basic action, like all ‘drugs’ of modern time, very good at promoting Dopamine release.
Some things are even more potent, crystal meth being the (present day) ultimate.
Even more worse is that alcohol it robs people of their self-confidence. Sounds totally counter-intuitive but think about. It steals one’s ability to think quickly and clearly even when not apparently drunk. One becomes permanently muddle headed and anxious to ‘pass-the-buck’, in other words, get someone else to make the decision, whatever it is. Whether to buy Pepsi or Coke from the vending machine or whether to bomb Cuba or not – its repetitive use destroys the decision making process.
Does any of this sound like ‘Climate Science’?
Modern western man is chronically depressed by his high carb diet and alcohol habit.
Hahaha you may say.
OK, why does alcohol make you sleepy after a few hours, why does a large (high carb) meal do the same, why is a sweet sugary drink recommended for insomniacs? Why are we supposed to have 3 square meals every day if not to keep the Dopamine levels topped up? Why is the traditional English Breakfast (and a proper Continental breakfast) based entirely around fat and protein if not so that you DO NOT become depressed/sleepy first thing in the morning with the whole day of huntin, shootin and fishin ahead of you? You do not want to be sleepy when there are sabre tooth tigers around and mammoths to be chased, killed, brought home and eaten.
Its big isn’t it. You want proof, of sorts? Just look around at all the fat obese people you see. They are not stupid/lazy/TV watching slobs – they are addicted to sugar in all its manifestations and are self-medicating on an endless loop of high/low/high/low. Depressingly, the human brain becomes less and less sensitive to the Dopamine and demands more and more for the same effect. Their (subsequently overworked leading to diabetes) insulin systems are turning that ingested sugar to body-fat. More proof?
Lets ask that Gruber guy.
It gets even worse because Dopamine covers the effect of the stress hormone Cortisol. Stressed people therefore ‘self-medicate’ with sugar (high carb diet) to help deal with ever increasing stress of modern (western style) life. They may also self-medicate with alcohol. A large and an increasing number do exactly that, especially via binge drinking.
Still not convinced?
Run the experiment. Cut the carbs and (totally) kill the booze in your diet for at least 6 months and see what happens. The big problem is that such an act requires a lot of clear thinking and self-confidence. If you cannot do that, we really do have a problem don’t we?
I genuinely think many WUWT commentators are up to the challenge. You can ‘just tell’, can’t you and not least, that’s another thing carbs and alcohol destroy, empathy.
Is there likely to be a Happy Ending?

Reply to  Pete in Cumbria UK
December 19, 2014 2:53 am

Remember the WHOLE point of the human race is to dig up vegetable waste product – coal – and turn it back into plant food – CO2. Why else was the human race created for Plants’ sake?

Reply to  Pete in Cumbria UK
December 19, 2014 3:39 am

(Continuing OT, sorry)
IMHO, the obesity epidemic comes from snacking, not just excess carbs.
After 20 years in Asia I have seen the Filipinos and now the Indonesians start to develop the western problem.
They both always ate lots of carbs (rice) and lots and lots of sugar… Everything was full of sugar and very sweet.
What has changed is a move from a couple of meals per day to constant snacking, and as you note, high sugar drinks… . (and probably less walking).
The body needs periods of time without circulating glucose to start to mobilize energy reserves.
Try it… Start missing breakfast and lunch for a frw days. Eat as much as you like in the evening, as a meal. Tea and coffee are ok in the day, but cut sugar back as much as possible. After 3 days you no longer feel hungry at lunch time. And you really enjoy that evening meal.
Weight loss: 2.5 kg per week.

Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
December 19, 2014 4:01 am

When anthropogenic CO2 emissions end this nearly two decade long work stoppage protest STRIKE, both Global Warming and catastrophic Sea Level Rise will emerge from the deep ocean where they have been hiding and surpass climate model predictions with a vengeance.

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  Paul in Sweden
December 19, 2014 5:19 am

” both Global Warming and catastrophic Sea Level Rise will emerge from the deep ocean where they have been hiding and surpass climate model predictions with a vengeance.”
Pure science fiction. Like this:

an ex-pio
December 18, 2014 8:07 pm

dude, if your agu coverage is gonna be just cutting & pasting an entire press release, at least have to decency to make that clear by providing the link http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2014/20141218_sealevelrise.html

Reply to  an ex-pio
December 18, 2014 9:42 pm

Yeah ! Duuude !! Paste the link, man!

December 18, 2014 8:23 pm

As a 20+ year resident of La Jolla Ca, there has been ZERO observable change in the sea level at the beaches. The idea that sea level rise by 2021 is going to cause massive flooding in this area is total NONSENSE at current rates of sea level rise.

Don K
Reply to  Alcheson
December 19, 2014 5:24 am

Aside from which, isn’t the entire town up on a mesa 10 or 20 meters or more above the ocean? However I assume Scripps has a tidal gauge down at sea level. Maybe it and whatever it sits on have been taking on a bit of water at times and thus made it into the data base?

Reply to  Alcheson
December 19, 2014 6:58 am

I did laugh at that listing. I was born/bred in San Diego for the past 42 years and the ONLY time I recall La Jolla having any flooding was due to too much rain… The only area that I have seen flood due to extreme high tides is Pacific Beach and that is only once or twice a year…

December 18, 2014 8:47 pm

SLR fear mongering is such overblown idiocy. We sold our old riverside house when we left England. The new owner raised the floor a couple of feet. Cost probably around $5-10,000. Outcome, safety from floods for at least the next 100 years or so.

December 18, 2014 8:50 pm

I am not a Geologist but on a local scale as subsidence occurs, the soils consolidate and the rate of settlement decreases.
A Geologist could tell us if that occurs in Louisiana and other vulnerable locations or if consolidation is not applicable. In some locations like Houston suburbs, sucking water out of the ground contributes to subsidence. Reducing CO emissions will make little difference.

Reply to  Catcracking
December 18, 2014 10:25 pm

notice they dont talk about that. they talk about adaptation

Reply to  Catcracking
December 21, 2014 5:57 am

The Galveston Bay area, on the list of the “doomed” has been undergoing sudsidence for over sixty years due to groundwater withdrawal. About fifty years ago, a whole bay side neighborhood was permanently flooded in what is probably the most remarkable episode of subsidence anywhere.
And S. Louisiana is subsiding quite rapidly, as recorded by the tidal gauge at Grande Isle.
The point? This list of subsiding locales is being presented in typical alarmist fashion by
the NOAA, which should be ashamed, the way they have made the nincompoopz wet their themselves. They owe B Gates an apology.

December 18, 2014 8:53 pm

Isn’t crying “Fire” in a crowded building a crime?

Brandon Gates
Reply to  pochas
December 18, 2014 11:46 pm

Only if it’s not on fire.

M Courtney
Reply to  Brandon Gates
December 19, 2014 1:16 am

According to the IPCC:

Estimates for the 20th century show that global average sea level rose at a rate of about 1.7 mm yr–1.

In other words, the sea level rose about half a foot in the whole 20th Century. And no-one noticed – no call for alarm.
Yet these people now think that three times that rate is modest?

We find that in 30 to 40 years, even modest projections of global sea level rise–1½ feet by the year 2100…

That’s madness. It’s pure science fiction masquerading as real science.
Yes, this is just like calling fire in a crowded room on the evidence of warm flatulence.

Just an engineer
Reply to  Brandon Gates
December 19, 2014 5:59 am

So far you have the equivalent of a You-tube video of a fireplace.

Brandon Gates
Reply to  Brandon Gates
December 19, 2014 4:46 pm

M Courtney,

In other words, the sea level rose about half a foot in the whole 20th Century. And no-one noticed – no call for alarm.

No one except the researchers submitting papers to the IPCC that is. Which may as well be nobody. Oh, but that’s your point.

Yet these people now think that three times that rate is modest?

Are you familiar with the phrase: caught between a rock and a hard place?

That’s madness. It’s pure science fiction masquerading as real science.

One crystal ball is as good as another I suppose.

Yes, this is just like calling fire in a crowded room on the evidence of warm flatulence.

My fondness of occasional puerility approves of this comment.

December 18, 2014 8:55 pm

The jig is up with “San Francisco” in the table.
It is quite obvious that for the vast majority of San Francisco sea level rise must be a non-existent concern.
The corollary observation is that to be on the list a only a very small piece of the city, say greater than 1 sq meter, need be low enough to experience nuisance flooding. Had they mentioned a tiny low-lying neighborhood in San Francisco, such as Marina Green (below 10 feet), it might have saved them.
The conclusion is the authors cannot be taken seriously.
The seas could rise to swallow Galveston, TX and 99% of San Francisco would remain high and dry.

Reply to  Stephen Rasey
December 18, 2014 9:35 pm

Right, I’m looking across the Bay as I type. A couple of years ago, I was following the data showing a fall in sea levels around here. As a 30+ year resident of the Bay Area, that data fit my observations of the vast increase in mudflats at low tide, all over the Bay, but particularly over by Berkeley and Emeryville.
I can’t think where they would find even one square meter. Maybe since they’re in town, they could go take a look for themselves.

Brandon Gates
Reply to  philincalifornia
December 21, 2014 12:40 am

philincalifornia, thing about the mudflats around Berkeley, Emeryville and Albany is that they’re silting in quite rapidly. So your eyes are likely seeing bottom rise, not sea level fall.

James at 48
Reply to  philincalifornia
December 22, 2014 2:41 pm

@Brandon – versus the levees, the Bay does not seem to be rising. Nearly 50 years of observation.

Brandon Gates
Reply to  philincalifornia
December 23, 2014 3:15 pm

James at 48,
Going down to the south sailing basin between Berkeley and Emeryville, I see no visible rise along various seawalls, but do note more and more sailors getting their centerboards stuck in the mud at lower tides. [1] ~20 years of observation. That was my message to philincalifornia; the silting in is happening at a far faster and more noticeable rate than any mean sea level rise, which at low tide would tend to look like sea level drop if one didn’t net all the known factors together.
[1] The windsurfers are undeterred. Of course, nothing fazes them except anything less than a 20 kt. breeze …

December 18, 2014 9:04 pm

What about Guam?
How can they study tipping points without mentioning Guam?

Reply to  davidmhoffer
December 19, 2014 2:08 am


Reply to  davidmhoffer
December 20, 2014 12:06 pm

Can anyone be that dumb?

December 18, 2014 10:20 pm

Sea Level Rise (SLR) has been stuck at around 6″ per CENTURY for the past 200 years, and shows no real signs of a rate increase (Javrejeva et al 2014). Moreover, the SLR rate actually fell 30% over the past decade (Cazenave et al 2014)…. So much for the “missing heat” being buried in the oceans….
As global temp trends continue to remain flat/falling/marginally rising, warmunists will have to shift their propaganda away from Glooooobal Waaaaarming to SLR and ocean “acidification”, which are also failing to hit their doom and gloom projections…
CAGW is becoming sooooo 1990’s,,,

Reply to  SAMURAI
December 18, 2014 10:54 pm

I think that the “ocean acidification” scam-in-progress is already stillborn, not just because it’s actually pH movement towards neutrality, but also because of the “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice shame on me” principle.

Reply to  philincalifornia
December 19, 2014 4:09 am

Do the plastic water bottles at the AGU conference have acidification warning labels?

John F. Hultquist
December 18, 2014 11:01 pm

The problem is that settlement and land-cover begins in the lowlands, frequently on floodplains. Then it moves up hill. Roads, buildings, parking areas, and many more things cover the ground. Water runs off more quickly and the peaks are higher. This is not news.

Reply to  John F. Hultquist
December 19, 2014 1:26 am

We have started a project returning one major creek and its tributaries in our semi desert area we live in, (hugely important main supply of run-off water) from a “irrigation” canal back to its original “wandering” ways. I just wish they’d quit building on the fertile land it had left behind the last thousands of years. I see the waste of agricultural land given to us by nature all over and it sickens me.

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  asybot
December 19, 2014 8:53 pm

One of the earliest stream rejuvenation efforts (“Remember the Brandywine”):

December 18, 2014 11:12 pm

They must have a really impressive model that can predict tipping points!
I am sure they will show it to us soon. I can’t wait.
With a model like that predicting lottery numbers would be a breeze!

December 18, 2014 11:20 pm

The picture shows the road / quayside where boats are moored is a metre or so above the water line – unlike the fancy public art installation which is at the water line and – surprise! – appears vulnerable to water!

December 18, 2014 11:24 pm

“effective risk management is going to become more heavily reliant on environmental data and analysis”!!!
What a crack up! Please keep funding us! You will really need us in the future! Honest!

James Bull
December 18, 2014 11:52 pm

I think I’ve found out how they got their data for this stunning study. And the video is also good for this time of year.

I’m sure they have plenty more “magic stones” (model data) in the box.
James Bull

December 18, 2014 11:57 pm

I’ve not looked at the study, but I’ve located it. It’s open-access, available here.
Initial impressions? The term “tipping point” is nothing but unbridled alarmism. Also, they present no “sea rise as usual” scenario, another sign of an alarmist at work.
So far, so bad …

Don K
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
December 19, 2014 3:23 am

First of all thanks for finding the article and linking to it. The press release is exceptionally awful. As for the “tipping point, look at figure 1. I think the way it works is that in 1800 or 1850 or 1900 town X started building stuff along the waterfront — docks, a warehouse or three, hotels, houses, roads, railroads maybe some factories and trendy restaurants. And they sensibly built them a foot or three above the highest high tides. Except nowadays the sea level is a little higher. And some places are sinking. The margins have been shrinking. So I’m pretty sure what they are saying is that the number of days when high tides and wind from the wrong direction are going to have a bit of water slopping around in the waterfront areas of many cities are probably going to increase rather dramatically. Nuisance Flooding as opposed to flattening whole neighborhoods and leaving the wreckage under water like Camille. I think Norfolk-Hampton Roads which is really flat and is sinking is the poster child for what they are talking about. I’ll have to think about it some more of course, but I think they may have a point.

Reply to  Don K
December 19, 2014 2:00 pm

Don K December 19, 2014 at 3:23 am Edit

First of all thanks for finding the article and linking to it. The press release is exceptionally awful. As for the “tipping point, look at figure 1.

Thanks, Don, but you miss my (tipping) point. The term “tipping point” means a point that when it is exceeded, the whole thing “tips over” and becomes much different.
But in the case of the sea level, there’s no such thing. It’s a gradual process with no “tipping point” of any kind.
There’s an interesting article about the use of the term here. It originally came from sociology, meaning a point in time when a group of people quickly start exhibiting an unusual or previously rare behavior.
But there’s absolutely nothing in the gradual steady increase in sea level which is a “tipping point”, the authors made that up out of the whole cloth.
Which is why I described their use of the term as “unbridled alarmism”.

Don K
Reply to  Don K
December 20, 2014 5:33 am

Hi Willis. I understand your point. But I understand theirs also. They assert that there can be point — well a narrow range anyway — where sea level rise and sinking/subsidence/tectonics combine to eat all the built in margin and formerly rare event becomes much more common. Maybe “tipping point” is a poor phrase, but a better one doesn’t jump immediately to mind. I think they may have canceled it out alarmism-wise with the phrase “nuisance flooding” It’s a nuisance if it just closes a road everyone knows will be closed six or eight days a year. When it starts flooding basements, shorting out electronics, etc, “nuisance” sort of understates the case I think.

Don K
Reply to  Don K
December 20, 2014 5:42 am

Oh yeah. And I should have made it clear that I don’t view the problem if there is one as being primarily a climate change/global warming issue. It seems to be mostly a building vulnerable infrastructure with insufficient freeboard issue.

Reply to  Don K
December 20, 2014 11:25 am

Don K December 20, 2014 at 5:33 am

Hi Willis. I understand your point. But I understand theirs also. They assert that there can be point — well a narrow range anyway — where sea level rise and sinking/subsidence/tectonics combine to eat all the built in margin and formerly rare event becomes much more common.

Thanks, Don, but there’s no such “range”. Let me translate their abstract, which says

For threshold levels below 0.5 m above high tide, the rates of annual exceedances are accelerating along the U.S. East and Gulf Coasts, primarily from evolution of tidal water level distributions to higher elevations impinging on the flood threshold.

In English, this means that as sea level rises, flooding becomes more common. Now, I have to admire the circumlocution of saying “evolution of tidal water level distributions to higher elevations impinging on the flood threshold” to mean “rising sea levels causing more frequent floods”, but that’s all they’ve said.
And no, there is no “tipping point”. Yes, as sea level rises, there will be more and more flooding of previously dry areas. But there’s no magical “narrow range” where a “formerly rare event becomes much more common”. That’s simply not true. The increase is gradual, millimetre by millimetre, about six inches or so per century. And in that millimetre by millimetre rise, there are no “tipping points”.

Dave VanArsdale
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
December 19, 2014 3:52 am

I read the study. They used the term Superstorm Sandy. I guess Tropical Storm was not scarey enough.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
December 19, 2014 5:12 am

Looks like an abuse of the term “tipping point” to me. The phrase used to mean a (hypothetical) point at which feedbacks in the climate system cause abrupt changes to occur. “Threshold” would probably be a better term for what NOAA. Unbridled alarmism, yes.

high treason
December 19, 2014 12:08 am

Could I please wager a bet with them. As they are so sure of themselves they should give me odds of 5 to 1. I will bet them 10 kilos of physical silver again their 50 kg of physical silver. As silver should rise in value soon this should be a nice little earner. 35 years is just in our lifetimes.

Reply to  high treason
December 19, 2014 1:37 am

35 years is just in our lifetimes? I might then be a doddering 98 year old rocking away muttering, ” when I was your age we drove gasoline cars”. OHH come on grand, sorry great grand dad! Gasoline, wow you’re really old. Hey great grand dad, I hope you saved one it could be worth millions. Obama you remember him? That president that like you know, like “crushed” them all you know!

December 19, 2014 12:08 am

Oooooooh! Scary!

December 19, 2014 12:42 am

risky money:
19 Dec: DailyJournalOfCommerce: WSU will study climate change risks
RICHLAND — The U.S. Department of Defense gave Washington State University Tri-Cities a four-year, $994,000 contract to study risks posed by climate change to defense facilities.
Yonas Demissie, a WSUTC assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering and the project’s principal investigator, said the researchers will develop a new modeling and statistical framework that will assess the potential risk of severe storms and resulting floods at DoD installations…

December 19, 2014 12:52 am

for those following UK Dept of Climate Change’s efforts to ensure the lights stay on:
18 Dec: UK Telegraph: Emily Gosden: New gas plants ‘to be shelved after failing to win subsidies’
Government scheme to keep lights on offers lower subsidies than expected, saving consumers money but meaning big new power plants unlikely to be built, experts say
Under a new “capacity market” policy, designed to keep the lights on, ministers are offering retainer-style subsidy contracts to existing or proposed plants to guarantee they will be available when needed from 2018.
At least eight big new gas plant projects were vying for the contracts but are thought to have missed out in favour of existing old plants that are cheaper to keep running…
A “reverse auction” to award the contracts has been taking place this week and is understood to have closed on Thursday night at a price of between £15 and £20 per kilowatt of capacity – far lower than had been expected by the industry, and less than half the £42 assumed by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) in its impact assessment…
The capacity market was originally launched as a way of ensuring that there would be enough reliable fossil fuel plants to act as back-up for intermittent wind and solar power, as old coal plants are shut down by environmental rules…
18 Dec: Guardian: Terry Macalister: Consumers face £750m subsidy scheme bill for generators to keep lights on
But price demanded by energy companies in government’s ongoing ‘capacity market’ auction is substantially lower than feared
Energy consumers look set to pay at least £750m a year extra after a government-run auction finished with some power companies winning subsidies of between £15 and £20 per kilowatt of generating plant. This was significantly lower than the £75-per-kW price level that opened the bidding sessions on Tuesday but could still leave ministers being asked to justify why such “capacity payments” are being made at all…
“This low price is better for consumers but it looks like it is being used just to keep existing coal, nuclear and gas-fired plants running. You have to wonder whether these plants would have remained open anyway and really need these capacity payments,” said one analyst. …
The capacity mechanism is just one of a number of measures being implemented by the government to keep the lights on…

Charles Nelson
December 19, 2014 1:01 am


Reply to  Charles Nelson
December 19, 2014 1:40 am

There goes Holland. Denmark a lot of the Baltic coast line a lot of Britain, France What about China and I guess India and the list goes on we are @ 321m asl, so i am save for a day or two. Time to move to Ireland!

December 19, 2014 2:20 am

the Bloomberg view:
18 Dec: Bloomberg: Heather Perlberg: Front Yards Turn to Wetlands in Virginia as Climate Change Takes Toll
Climate change is beginning to take a toll on real estate in the coastal city, about 80 miles (130 kilometers) southeast of Richmond, as insurance costs soar and residents resort to putting their homes on stilts or opening up space underneath for the water to flow through. While most of the U.S. is in a housing rebound, prices in Norfolk fell 2.2 percent in October, according to the Virginia Beach-based Real Estate Information Network…
Higher sea levels combined with storm surge, in which high winds and low pressure carry sea water inland, will probably increase the average annual cost of coastal storms in the region by as much as $3.5 billion within the next 15 years, according to a June report from the Risky Business Project, an effort to highlight the economic costs of runaway climate change led by former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, hedge-fund manager Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg, the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP.
With potential increases in the number of and intensity of hurricanes, the total annual price tag for coastal storms will increase to about $35 billion, the report showed…
There are 900 Norfolk properties on the “repetitive loss” list, up from 200 in 2002, according to a November Wetlands Watch study. Some people try to rent their homes or walk away from them if they can’t sell, Stiles said, pointing to one of several “for sale” signs in the neighborhood.
“They come up like mushrooms after the storms,” he said…READ ON

December 19, 2014 3:26 am

by 2050 and long after those making these claims will not longer to be around to be asked ‘so why did you get it so wrong ‘
And for those interested I have the lottery numbers for 2035, Tuesday 12/2 , just e-mail your bank details and I will send you them , and if not happy on the day I will return your money 😉

December 19, 2014 3:36 am

Oh how I wish that someone would put an illuminated sign 100yds down the road from the one in the header, which said ‘ DON’T PANIC, IT’S 97% HYPE ‘

December 19, 2014 3:38 am

30 days of flooding in NY by 2050 doesn’t seem to stack up very well with Hansens 365 days in a much shorter timeframe

Malcolm Turner
December 19, 2014 3:57 am

Perhaps alluvial deposits from rivers and undersea geological restructuring could also cause such effects? The focus is still on Canute logic rather than adapting to the change. King Canute pulled his stunt to silence fawning courtiers who were attributing godly powers to him. If only we had more Canutes rather than hedonistic politicians and their ‘missions’. How can you expect a bunch of atheists to contemplate nature’s intent? They do as they do and use their powers to coerce the situation like fleas attempting to influence their host. How feeble are we humans with our interventions and our entrapment in the moment. Most regrettable is the kowtowing of the religious community to the control of their political masters. We have returned to the land of the Pharaoh’s.

December 19, 2014 4:51 am

Is this AGW’s Battle of the Bulge?
So Greenland seems to be affected in ways like the Arctic. What a surprise.
And how did a Viking village and trees get under that melting ice?

December 19, 2014 5:03 am

San Joaquin Valley subsidence caused by ground water pumping .
There is a large amount of ground water pumping in many metropolitan coastal areas.
An extreme example .

Bruce Cobb
December 19, 2014 5:26 am

…includes coastal areas like Louisiana where subsidence, which is not a result of by climate change, is causing land to sink below sea level.

Wait – they actually discovered something NOT caused by “climate change”?
Stop the presses!

Bruce Cobb
December 19, 2014 5:40 am

“NOAA’s mission is to understand mis-state and predict fantasize about changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun,”
There, fixed.

ivor ward
December 19, 2014 5:52 am

Won’t make much difference. We’ll be struggling to stand upright in the unprecedented storms, trying to keep the extreme rainfall out of our collars, feet burnt off by the acid ocean that we are standing in, sweltering in record temperatures, gasping for water in the worst droughts in recorded history, all alone because of the mass extinction events or crowded out by non-extinct polar bears, snails, Emperor penguins, clutching our little green book of AlGorisms, waiting on the next bon mots to be handed down from Vivienne Westwood, Bog Geldof, and Decaprio.
It could be worse than taking the kids to a pantomime starring Bruce Forsyth, and that is bad.

December 19, 2014 5:52 am

This paper seems to be saying that if we assume see level increases 1.5 ft that we will exceed current high tide by between 1 and 2 feet 30 times a year. Duh!
All this means is that there are approximately 3o days a year where the current sea level is within 1.5 ft of high tide. This does not surprise me much. The real question is what is the likely level of sea level rise. If is only 6 inches the number of days will be the number of days that are within 6 inches of current high tide. You do not need to do a major study to work this out.
It is amazing to me that the people who approve these sorts of studies do not have the wit to see through these sorts of proposals

Reply to  ggf
December 19, 2014 6:02 am

Stoppit, that’s bullying. These people are arithmetically-challenged.

December 19, 2014 6:09 am

So, now we are trying to fix tectonic plate movements and the recovery from the last ice age. The eastern seaboard is sinking, the Atlantic ridge is rising, isn’t that to be expected? In Northern Sweden the land is still rising out of the sea at a rate of 90 cm per century. That water has to move somewhere else too.

Tom O
December 19, 2014 6:45 am

Probably quoted at least a dozen times, but here it is again –
“Based on that standard, the NOAA team found that these tipping points will be met or exceeded by 2050 at most of the U.S. coastal areas studied, regardless of sea level rise likely to occur this century. In their study”
So by this statement, I can ONLY take it that this entire problem IS subsidence since it is going to happen REGARDLESS of sea level rise. This certainly suggests that zero sea level rise is still going to cause this same result.

Reply to  Tom O
December 19, 2014 11:16 pm

No, read the article. They are saying no matter what PROJECTED (1.5-4 feet) sea level rise you use the tipping points will be met or exceeded.

Bruce Cobb
December 19, 2014 7:10 am

Their “science” is so laughable that they’ve established “laughing points”. This would be when we become inundated by involuntary “nuisance laughing”, which can cause damage to our keyboards among other things.
Stop laughing. You are only encouraging them.

Bill Illis
December 19, 2014 7:48 am

Are people building structures one foot above current high tide?
I mean there are waves and king tides and such.
I could see seawalls being built or a dock or something beach-related; but whomever is building houses and roads one foot above high tide, get a brain.

December 19, 2014 8:48 am

Here’s a question that I don’t know the answer to, and maybe someone here can answer. Does increasing sea ice in say the Arctic, increase sea level, decrease sea level, or no affect?

Dave VanArsdale
Reply to  PeterinMD
December 19, 2014 7:12 pm

PeterinMD There is no measurable effect on sea level from melting sea ice. Fill a water glass with ice cubes and water to the rim, let it melt. Still at the rim.

Danny Thomas
December 19, 2014 9:04 am

Once I read the first sentence: “Sea level has been rising for well over 10,000 years, although the last 4000 years have been remarkably stable with changes less than a few meters and on the order of half a meter over the last 2000 years [Fleming et al., 1998, Milne et al., 2005, Kemp et al., 2011]. Human population, on the other hand, has experienced exponential growth over the last 2000 years with the establishment of expansive coastal population centers”
I’d have been surprised if “tipping points” (change points?) were not a result. At some point, presuming the sea level continued rising as it has for well over 10,000 years (according to them) would one not expect “nuisance” flooding to increase?

December 19, 2014 9:56 am

Don K December 19, 2014 at 2:35 am

Figure 1 in the article http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/enhanced/doi/10.1002/2014EF000272 does show a slight acceleration at the Battery in the period 1980-2010 that might or might not be visible eyeballing or even doing a conventional fit to the tidal gauge data. I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether that’s real or not. …

It’s not.


December 19, 2014 8:14 pm

It’s interesting to note that during the last interglacial period that began about 131,000 years ago, strong geological evidence indicates that sea level reached about 4 to 6 *meters* above our present level … and with no influence from human activities. So, that is not out of the realm of possibilities. Our best climate reconstructions indicate that all four of the previous interglacial periods likely had global average temperatures well above what we have seen so far in our current interglacial, and thus substantially higher sea levels. From what I have read, geological evidence also indicates that sea levels were quite variable during the last interglacial and over relatively short time periods of hundreds or thousands of years. There are also plenty of places with archeological ruins under ocean water that aren’t even all that old. We better get used to it.
I noticed the photo from Annapolis and interestingly it is not far from the center of a major meteor impact about 35 million years ago that probably had substantial climate impacts for many thousands of years. And from what I recall reading, most of the Chesapeake Bay area is subsiding fairly rapidly, which will only aggravate any rise in sea level that might occur as seen in past interglacials. If we humans don’t find a way to avoid it, sea levels will be much lower again in our next glacial period, not to mention all the populated areas that will be buried in ice, like Chicago, Detroit, Boston, and New York.

December 19, 2014 11:09 pm

Take a look at figure 4 in the article. It sure looks like incremental flooding is increasing exponentially in many locations. If you own property close to the shore in Norfolk, I’d suggest you unload it asap.

Reply to  Luke
December 20, 2014 6:08 am

Don’t be misled. That area is subject to rapid subsidence. This has been the subject of USGS study for several decades. Nothing to do with sea level.

Reply to  mpainter
December 21, 2014 9:52 am

Nothing to do with sea level rise? Can’t both subsidence and sea level rise be happening? Do do acknowledge that the sea level is rising don’t you?

December 19, 2014 11:30 pm

Truth be told, I really don’t care whether NYC battery park or Annapolis or coastal NJ becomes plagued with “nuisance flooding” for 30 days per year later in the century. It’s certainly none of my concern.

Reply to  Steve R
December 21, 2014 9:56 am

Except that all of us will be paying infrastructure and relocation costs. It is estimated that it will cost $400 Billion to relocate the population of Miami alone.

Reply to  Luke
January 15, 2015 6:49 pm

Except that all of us will be paying infrastructure and relocation costs. It is estimated that it will cost $400 Billion to relocate the population of Miami alone.
And why should anyone in Miami have to move in the next 150 years?

Ken L.
December 19, 2014 11:44 pm

When you live too close to the water, whether the ocean, a lake, or river, there is always the chance your feet will get wet eventually, whether from meteorological events, rising sea level, or geological processes. Ask the Venetians and the Dutch.

December 21, 2014 7:54 am

I’m confused. The UN wants people herded persuaded to move to urban areas, but in NY the urban areas are on the coast. The UN building is near the water on the island of Manhattan for crying out loud.
I guess I’ll worry about moving inland when the UN packs up and relocates to upstate NY.

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