Inconvenient Stanford study: ‘Sea levels may not rise as high as assumed.’

Study suggests that global sea level is less sensitive to high atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations than previously thought.


Ice sheets may be more resilient than thought, say Stanford scientists

This is a map of the Earth with a 6-meter sea level rise represented in red. A new Stanford study says that the sea level rise associated with a warming world may not be as high as predicted. CREDIT NASA

This is a map of the Earth with a 6-meter sea level rise represented in red. A new Stanford study says that the sea level rise associated with a warming world may not be as high as predicted. CREDIT NASA

Sea level rise poses one of the biggest threats to human systems in a globally warming world, potentially causing trillions of dollars’ worth of damages to flooded cities around the world. As surface temperatures rise, ice sheets are melting at record rates and sea levels are rising.

But there may be some good news amid the worry. Sea levels may not rise as high as assumed.

To predict sea level changes, scientists look to Earth’s distant past, when climate conditions were similar to today, and investigate how the planet’s ice sheets responded then to warmer temperatures brought on by increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

In a recently published study in the journal Geology, PhD students Matthew Winnick and Jeremy Caves at Stanford School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences explored these very old conditions and found that sea level might not have risen as much as previously thought – and thus may not rise as fast as predicted now.

To better understand global sea level rise, Winnick and Caves analyzed the middle Pliocene warm period, the last time in Earth’s history, approximately 3 million years ago, when carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere were close to their present values (350-450 parts per million).

“The Pliocene is an important analogue for today’s planet not only because of the related greenhouse gas concentrations, but because the continents were roughly where they are today, meaning ocean and climate circulation patterns are comparable,” said Winnick.

These similarities are why the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the group responsible for global sea level rise projections, focuses on the mid-Pliocene warm period to inform their computer models.

Previous studies of the mid-Pliocene warm period used oxygen isotope records to determine the volume of Earth’s ice sheets and, by proxy, sea level. Effectively, the oxygen isotope records act as a fingerprint of Earth’s ice sheets. By combining the fingerprint with models of ice sheet meltwater, many previous researchers thought that sea level was likely 82 to 98 feet (25 to 30 meters) higher during the Pliocene.

Such high sea level would require a full deglaciation of the Greenland Ice Sheet and the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, and as much as 30 percent of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet – enough to cover New York City under 50 feet of water. But these estimates arose because the researchers assumed that the Antarctic ice of the Pliocene had the same isotopic composition, that is, the same fingerprint, as it does today – an assumption that Winnick and Caves challenge in their new report.

To understand the isotopic composition of Pliocene ice, Winnick and Caves began in the present day using well-established relationships between temperature and the geochemical fingerprint. By combining this modern relationship with estimates of ancient Pliocene surface temperatures, they were able to better refine the fingerprint of the Antarctic ice millions of years ago. In re-thinking this critical assumption, and by extending their analysis to incorporate ice sheet models, Winnick and Caves recalculated the global sea level of the Pliocene and found that it was 30 to 44 feet (9 to 13.5 meters) higher, significantly lower than the previous estimate.

“Our results are tentatively good news,” Winnick said. “They suggest that global sea level is less sensitive to high atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations than previously thought. In particular, we argue that this is due to the stability of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, which might be more resilient than previous studies have suggested.” However, a rise in global sea level by up to 44 feet (13.5 meters) is still enough to inundate Miami, New Orleans and New York City, and threaten large portions of San Francisco, Winnick cautioned.

While the study helps refine our understanding of Pliocene sea level, both Winnick and Caves point out that it’s not straightforward to apply these results to today’s planet. “Ice sheets typically take centuries to millennia to respond to increased carbon dioxide, so it’s more difficult to say what will happen on shorter time scales, like the next few decades,” Winnick said.

“Add that to the fact that CO2 levels were relatively consistent in the Pliocene, and we’re increasing them much more rapidly today, and it really highlights the importance of understanding how sea level responds to rising temperatures. Estimates of Pliocene sea level might provide a powerful tool for testing the ability of our ice sheet models to predict future changes in sea level.”


201 thoughts on “Inconvenient Stanford study: ‘Sea levels may not rise as high as assumed.’

    • Well, backing down by ten feet. Or even a bit more. That’s not down by much.

      Of course they could also start to question how long it is going to take for the remaining ice sheets to melt. Ten years? A hundred years? A thousand years? Ten thousand years?

      Personally, I’d guestimate between 1000 and 10000 years, assuming a warming of at least 3 to 5 C, or less but disproportionately distributed at the poles. “Forever” assuming warming of 0 to 2 C.

      And of course, climate change can cause enormous SLR. It certainly has in the past:

      Of course this figure shows SLR going up steadily if slowly across the entire Holocene, except maybe for a LIA dip near the end. It’s difficult to tell at the scale of the figure, but it looks like order of meters over the last 9000 years, including the Holocene Optimum. Rates of 1 to 3 meters per century did occur as the Wisconsin ended and the Holocene began. Of course the largest single rise was the freshwater pulse from the melting and draining of Lake Aggazi from the Laurentide sheet, which was kilometers thick ice spread out over pretty much all of Canada and down into the US as far as Pennsylvania. Outside of that, rates appear to have been order of less than one to as much as one and a half meters per century. So 13 meters (around 40 feet) would take at least 1000 years, more likely 2000 or 3000, and that is IF temperatures on the Greenland and Antarctic plateaus, which are both high enough to not warm easily, rise enough to melt at all.


      • The Eemian was at least that much warmer, yet only the Southern Dome of the Greenland Ice Sheet melted by perhaps a quarter, but that interglacial lasted five thousand years longer than the Holocene has.

        Sea level has been quite a bit higher during the Holocene, as in its Climatic Optimum (more than 5 ka BP), the Minoan (3 Ka), Roman (2 Ka) and Medieval (1 Ka) Warm Periods. How much of that MSL rise came from melting ice sheets, I can’t say. Possibly not much.

      • Wasn’t the 3 mya era still when glacial periods occurred at a 40,000-year frequency? With a 20,000 up / down cycle, what was the steady state versus current 20,000 up / 80,000 down?

      • It’s hard to take any of this science serious….when they start out by saying it was just like now…and CO2 is the driver

      • DD More:

        About 2.6 Ma the glacial cycles began. For the first ~1.4 million years or more, their period was ~40,000 years. This switched between 1.2 Ma to 800 Ka to the present roughly 100,000 year cycle.

      • And the cycle is glacials of around 100,000 years, followed and preceded by interglacials of a more variable period, from 10,000 to perhaps 60,000 years, but mostly under 20,000. Every 400,000 years there appears to be an extralong interglacial. The Holocene might prove to be one, like that of 400 Ka and 800 Ka.

      • Once again I’ll go with Nils-Axel Mörner, who has studied SLR DATA for years and years, that 1 mm/year is probably the maximum to expect over the next 100 years. I consider him the SLR expert of note (and so does he by the way…).

      • Most of Antarctica is more than 10C below freezing year round. It’s going to a lot more than just 5C of warming to melt it. And that’s where the vast majority of the ice is.

      • MarkW
        September 4, 2015 at 6:08 am

        Very little melting would be expected from such a small amount of warming over the next century.

    • This is simply the pattern the press follows – alarmist statement goes front page, covered by Mooney, Borenstein and every two-bit twit on or the Huffington Post. Retraction – passing mention, buried with ‘conditional language’ such as ‘not as high as assumed’ with the subtext that ‘it’s still just really, really bad’. Doesn’t really matter what the specific scare study is focusing on, temps, sea levels, ocean acidification, bacteria, polar bears, giant spiders – always based on projections from models without ever questioning the basic premise, and maybe with a salting of anecdotal evidence, like say, a glacier melting in August.

      Rinse, repeat.

  1. Golly gosh – can these people be trusted??

    How about “Sea levels may not rise ……. as assumed.”

      • as PHD students I hope that they are granted their doctorates and not “failed” for not towing the company line. very brave people to choose this topicfor a paper.

      • “Toeing the line”, not “towing the line”.

        (Where do people get the “tow” from? I’ve never seen it written anywhere except on the Internet.)

      • Sure, I prefer ‘toeing the line’, but ‘towing the line’ is a new variant, arisen because of the similarity of meaning and because it is homonymous.

      • I was told a long time ago, probably apocryphally, that “towing the line” is a bastardization of “toeing the line” that came from the poor/working class/common man on docks, where they would use lines for ship activities and conversationally understood it in that context.

        It hasn’t died since “Tow” is pulling something with a line, it’s an easy visualization to make for people when they can say that “candidate X tows the party line” where they are “pulling” the party along the platform. Most people don’t innately understand the “toe” coming from the foot race where you are supposed to start out with the big toe not extending past the end of the line.

      • Sometimes people get tired of “carrying the water,” so they tow it instead, leaving a line in the sand. It just looks like they are “towing the line.”

  2. When will they wake up to the fact that Sea-Levels are INsensitive to CO2!!!

    Since 1880, CO2 has risen about 38%, a stunning increase, no doubt, and much has been made of it. Oceans, on the other hand, in tectonically inert places (neither rising nor subsiding) have NOT increased their rate of rise, and it is minuscule in fact. This is a decidedly outrageous inconvenience for the upcoming Paris Climate Talks. 2 examples: Portland Maine’s Tide Gauge measured (not modeled) Sea-Level is 3mm lower than 10 years ago, and IDENTICAL (to the mm) to what was measured in 1947. The West Coast’s Alameda Naval Air Station’s Tide Gauge has a similar (read zero) trend.

    The Sea-Level Rise paradigm is simply an utter failure, and the Paris talks should follow suit!!!

  3. It is hard to study Pliocene glaciation on Greenland, covered as its surface is today by an ice sheet.

    Before three million years ago, its southern and eastern mountains probably already had ice caps and the northern dome of its present ice sheet might also have existed to some extent.

    The uplift of its western mountains and the Rockies might have led to more snowfall, but the generally fingered culprit for the formation of its Pleistocene ice sheet is the closure of the Inter-American Seaway about three million years ago.

    CO2 drop has of course been touted as well, but without good evidence.

  4. ” By combining the fingerprint with models of ice sheet meltwater, many previous researchers thought that sea level was likely 82 to 98 feet (25 to 30 meters) higher during the Pliocene.

    Such high sea level would require a full deglaciation of the Greenland Ice Sheet and the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, and as much as 30 percent of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet”

    They are not admitting it was warmer are they?

  5. Sea level was as much as 50 metres lower than today and as much as 30 metres higher than today in the Pliocene. CO2 has nothing to do with it. I am completely amazed how climate science can publish papers aboutclimate change-induced sea level changes without at least looking at the already published high resolution sea level reconstructions. Its like the whole science has never looked at another field ever.

    From Miller 2005.

    • I have been noting this myself, Bill…they are all completely oblivious to what is known of Earth history. Completely.

      Publishing in the field of climate related sciences these days requires one to completely ignore any facts or bodies of knowledge which might contradict the CAGW meme, or the notion that unprecedented events are occurring due to human influence.

      Of course, the opposite is true. Nothing unusual has ever been demonstrated to be occurring.

      And yet they build the unsupported house of cards ever higher…even when they backtrack.

      • No they are not oblivious to it, they are acutely aware that it is the elephant in their goldfish bowel. That’s why they completely ignore geological history

    • Higher sea levels do leave evidence in the geologic record–was going to ask what the measured elevations (compared to current “sea level” ) of the pliocene sea level markers are. Thanks for the chart.

    • But Bill,
      The consensus is that Sea Level = C x CO2 concentration providing that the continents are roughly in their present location. At least that is what I gather from these Stanford scientists.

      • you’re joking,

        Robert Austin on September 3, 2015 at 7:58 pm

        with ‘But Bill,
        The consensus is that Sea
        Level = C x CO2 concentration providing that the continents are roughly in their present

        CO2 is

        CO2norm + CO2norm * tA*(temp * K + (sea level * L) + B)

        is a first approach.

        model along. Hans

    • Thank you for the article!
      Very consistent with the last 150 years of data showing less than 10-inches of rise per century. Also, if you curve-fit the sea-level data for the last 25 years (approximately) the rate of rise is actually decreasing, not increasing. That is to say that for the curve fit: x=a+bx+cx^2, the term c is negative, and the regression analysis shows better residuals than a linear fit.

    • Thanks for posting this excellent article. And especially thanks to Dr Nels-Axel Morner for writing it. As the acknowledged expert on the subject, his withering criticism of the IPCC, and its free-loaders, is an exemplary example to others, who may be cowed by the apparent weight of numbers ranged against them.
      Armchair academics with computers – NIL. On-the-ground observers of reality – 1, and counting…

  6. I can’t stand the intro –

    To predict sea level changes, scientists look to Earth’s distant past, when climate conditions were similar to today, and investigate how the planet’s ice sheets responded then to warmer temperatures brought on by increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

    That alone would, in any sane ‘scientific’ treatise (as opposed to ‘Religious’ doctrine), falsify it given that the paleo records show CO2 levels Always lagging behind and only rising long after global temperatures have risen.

    Sitting here in England tonight with the fire blazing because of how unseasonably cold it is – and has been throughout most of August with no signs of it improving – I get ever angrier at the warmists such as our Met Office who will issue fallacious press releases about ‘hottest July on Record’ (by 0.001degC !!) based upon a 2 minute temperature spike of 0.9 degC at Heathrow airport which coincided with a short-lived wind direction change and an airliner turning off the taxiway next to their thermometers … But issue No Press Releases about how very cold August and so far September have been .

    A day of reckoning is long overdue for all the ‘climate change’ charlatans on the gravy train.

  7. Consider these two statements in the above Press Release:

    “They suggest that global sea level is less sensitive to high atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations than previously thought.”

    “Add that to the fact that CO2 levels were relatively consistent in the Pliocene..”

    When an experiment is run, usually the variable of interest is modified to understand how the system reacts to that change. Or you study in paleo records when that variable changed and how the system responded. Yet here they have a relatively constant CO2, and an isotopic measurement system for SLR that surely has large error bars, and they are trying to understand how the system in play 3 Millions ago responded to steady CO2? Then they contend it relates in any way to today? And the fact that the East Antarctic ice sheet is at least 20 million years old and is stable today has been apparent for decades.

    About the only thing you can conclude is that this study says little to nothing about CO2.

    Now, I do not doubt the potential for a SLR of 13.5 meters is currently locked away in Greenland and West Antarctic Ice Sheet. That is simply a matter of the measured ice mass balance entering its liquid phase and returning to the oceans. And if the Holocene were to last long enough, then the odds increase that eventually an anomalous D-O heating event of sufficient duration could finally produce that melt.

    But the link of sea level to atmospheric CO2 levels of the ancient past is purely hypothetical, with too poor a temporal resolution to establish cause-effect.

  8. “Sea level may not rise as high as assumed”.
    The key word being “assumed”
    Assumed by who?
    It was assumed by alarmists who believed their own lies and propaganda, nervous nellies, assorted bedwetters and Chicken Littles, and those who just believe whatever they are told.

    Actual scientists never assumed any such thing.
    Actual science does not work by a process of making broad assumptions about anything…ever!

    So anyone making this statement is admitting they have been unscientific, and jumped to premature and possibly completely erroneous conclusions.

    Just my first thought.

    • Menicholas, I suspect they picked that word assimed very carefully because it is very non-committal. If they used the word predicted then they are making an admission that the climate scientists got it wrong. Can’t have that can we? The ones in this whole climate change debate who use the word assume should be the ones downstream of the climate scientists – the ones who use the predictions of the climate scientists about where the climate is heading. For example the biologists who try to estimate what will happen in the sphere of biology.

    • Yup, ‘assumed’ is a red flag. In a way, it is a merely a nod to prevailing narrative, in another way it can be a subtle dig at it. Very intriguing, let’s have more of it.

  9. Raising CO2 from 300 ppmv to 400 ppmv over the last 70 years hasn’t resulted in any increase at all in the rate of sea-level rise.

    At most coastal tide gauges, measured sea-level is rising at a rate of less than six inches per century. At many locations, measured sea-level is actually falling (because the land is rising), and at the locations with the highest measured rates of sea-level rise most of that rise is due to the land sinking.

    Dr. Steven Koonin was President Obama’s Undersecretary for Science in the Energy Department during Obama’s first term. After he left that position, he finally felt at liberty to tell the inconvenient truth. He said, “Even though the human influence on climate was much smaller in the past, the models do not account for the fact that the rate of global sea-level rise 70 years ago was as large as what we observe today.”

    In fact, “70 years” is an understatement. The rate of sea-level rise hasn’t increased (accelerated) since the 1920s. You can see it yourself in just about all of the best GLOSS-LTT long-term tide gauge records of sea-level. Here they are, sorted by record length, with the longest records at the top. Just click on the station locations to see NOAA’s plots of sea-level for each station:

    Sometimes NOAA’s site goes down. In case that happens when you’re trying to use it, here are few good, long-term records:

    San Diego:

    If you know how to read a graph, it should be obvious to you that there’s been no acceleration in the rate of sea-level rise in response to anthropogenic CO2.

    If you don’t feel like clicking on all those tide station links, you might enjoy viewing them set to music. Yeah, that’s right:
    (Caveat: those graphs are about 3 years old. However, nothing much has changed in those 3 years.)


    • My favorite sea level inanity is a recent one…producing graphs that [splice] satellite altimetry projections of sea level onto tide gauge data for the most recent years…then announcing that the trend is accelerating.
      Brandon Gates posted just such a graph recently, in an attempt t rebut my contention that sea level rise as measured by tide gauges is showing no accelerating trend at all.
      In fact, the monthly and annual variations dwarf the rate of rise, so much so that in places like Miami, there were months and years in the 1940’s that had higher levels than recent years.
      Other places like New York City’s Battery Park, with records going back over 150 years, has sea levels back in the 1800s that were very close to the most recent months of data!

    • I’ve always said there has been no discernable rise in sea level for my area. I looked at the data for the first time and it shows a sea level rise of 2 inches over the last 60 years. For the last 30 years it has dropped 3 inches. After the 97/98 El Nino discharge it dropped 11 inches. The trend for 110 years is a rise of 2 mm/yr.

  10. Climatstrologists assume that man made GW will increase moisture in the air. This should cause the East Antarctic Ice Sheet to grow, since it can’t possibly warm up enough to melt it. Same should apply to the Northern Dome of the Greenland Ice Sheet, which while not as cold as the EAIS, rarely warms enough to melt.

    • I argued this point for a long [time] Gloria…falls on deaf ears for some reason…it is never anywhere near freezing even in the middle of summer down there, anywhere but the coast.
      The interior of the ice sheet even 100 miles in rarely gets over 0.0 F. And is more commonly cold enough to make dry ice even in summer

    • They forgot to mention the part where they develop a conclusion first, then seek out any shreds of vacuum thin “evidence” they can in an attempt to demonstrate that they have a clue.
      They have no clue.
      I cannot remember the last time I read anything from any of these guys that sounded like they looked at evidence, and THEN reached a conclusion.

    • I’ve observed no sea level rise on the Oregon Coast since 1950, nor since my granddad built the Turnaround at Seaside c. 1921.

      A mark I made as a six year old vandal in 1957 on Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach is still visible with the same amount of rock below it at low tide.

      • sturgishooper I’ve often wondered how future geologists are going to account for the separation of rock strata that was caused by teams of boys rolling boulders down hillsides for millennia. The practice I think has pretty much come to an end with urbanization and the great post WWII butt whippin’ for boys that let one bound into town.

      • Wonder what they will make of the artificial reefs which are/were created by dumping stuff offshore? Will it be taken, by future oceanographers, that sea levels were hundreds of feet lower during certain years of the 20th and 21st century, as evidenced by large swaths of artifacts, in deep water, which were obviously on dry land when they were made?

        There are a lot of ways to get something wrong.
        Making seemingly valid assumptions based on logic is one way…but failing to look at all available evidence is a far more efficient way to be incorrect.

      • fossilsage: In 1960 when I was in Jr. High, 7 or 8 of us guys loosened and pushed a boulder about the size of a small VW car down a steep, grassy grade about 500 feet above a little-traveled dirt road. Wouldn’t you know it, a truck came around the bend going the same speed, over the same distance of their soon-to-cross paths. We stood their almost wetting our pants with visions of doing time for reckless endangerment. Fortunately the driver must have seen the boulder coming and sped up, because the boulder crossed the road about 1 meter behind the truck!

      • In 1946 the good-weather king tides [normal BP] used to cover our lawn by about an inch and trickle into the well unless we kept a levy bank around it.

        The lawn and the well are exactly the same so guess where those same king tides come to 7 decades later?

        9 inches lower!

        Good benchmarks come in handy as evidence against these climinals.

      • Fossilsage:

        A friend of a friend was consistently throwing stones uphill when they were walking together. Curious, my friend asked why he did this. (You can imagine how confusing this would be to future geologists.)

        He replied that as someone with a good understanding of physics and entropy, he was doing his bit to stave off the heat death of the universe.

      • Fossilsage, as a great practitioner of that art of rock-rolling, a couple of friends and I gave it it’s own verb. We called it ‘trumbling.’ We rolled some big rocks. Once we did it while accompanying another friend who was operating a surveying instrument along a high ridge. He bitched us out for making the ground shake. BTW, we had a full and clear view of all the downhill topography for several miles, risking the lives only of yucca, prickly pear and insects and small rodents.

        Later in life, I discovered the pleasure of a similar, but much safer activity, which I called trumble-weeding. On a very windy winter day, take a walk along a rural fence line, and pick up it’s captured Russian Thistle skeletons (ie. tumbleweeds) and set them free again, watching them roll across the prairie, to be captured far down range by some other fence line. Make an attack formation, or try to keep a straight line formation. Mesmerizing.

        Oh yeah, and measuring sea level rise is very difficult and fraught with complexity.

  11. “…and investigate how the planet’s ice sheets responded then to warmer temperatures brought on by increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.”

    Excuse me? Either some very poor sentence structure or even worse science right there.

  12. As Bill Illis said above, sea levels in prior interglacials were higher than present. IPCC AR5 acknowledges this in the Executive Summary of Chapter 5, “Information from Paleoclimate Archives.” They say:

    There is very high confidence that the maximum global mean sea level during the last interglacial period (129,000 to 116,000 years ago) was, for several thousand years, at least 5 m higher than present and high confidence that it did not exceed 10 m above present. The best estimate is 6 m higher than present.

    Apparently CO2 during the last interglacial was less than today. It should be obvious that the relationship between sea levels and CO2 is a non-issue. CO2 didn’t cause the higher sea levels 129,000 years ago. Why would they be considered the primary cause today?

    • Based on paleoclimate data, we should be prepared for sea levels at some time in the future to be several meters higher than present, hundreds or thousands of years from now. Sea levels have been steadily rising since the last glacial maximum 26,000 years ago without any help from humans and may continue to do so for some time. At current global rates of 3.3 ± 0.4 mm/yr it will take 1,500 years for sea levels to rise another 5 meters, so cancel your trip to that beach front vacation rental on South Padre Island in 3515. It won’t be there.

    • Maybe the amount of ice sequestered on the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets has been steadily growing for a long time, or even “growing unsteadily? Maybe it snows more in those places during some glacial epochs than others. Or maybe some things have occurred to make them melt away more slowly this time?

      In any case, it is obvious that sea level is highly variable in any time scale more than a hundred years…or at least it can be.
      So why, as the liberals news outlets were proudly proclaiming last week, did we just spend over $150 billion to rebuild a city which is below sea level and sinking more every day, and located in one of the most hurricane prone regions of the entire world?
      Why is the Army Corps of Engineers so dang proud of their decades long efforts to contain and channelize the Mississippi river, and hence starve southern Louisiana of the much needed sediment that keeps that area high and dry, and instead allowing it to be transported ever further offshore and causing a permanent zone of eutrophication in the gulf, which simultaneously wasting the very material that gives rise to the protective wetlands on the coast of that state?

      Some things are known, and settled science…and the process that gives rise to a healthy delta region is one of them.
      My head hurts…

    • Ah, but that was government-sanctioned Science, not childish vandalism!

      I know, sometimes that’s a distinction without a difference.

      • Graphic, but I don’t know what that needle off to the left is in the present day shot. Maybe some art shot comparing another sea stack with Haystack.

      • Gloria, clearly not taken from the same angle, unless you are suggesting that global warming makes rocks rise out of the sand. Also, is the tide in or out in each picture?

      • A recent picture up close.

        Most of us know how to search Google these days so there is little point trying to show sea level rise with old pictures. They don’t show anything. 2 inches or 3 inches of change won’t show any catastrophic evidence.

    • More out than in in both cases. At low tide, you can walk to the rock, no problem. Sometimes it has a bit of a pool around its base.

      Couldn’t find photos from exactly the same angle and position. But lots of Pacific NW people are familiar with the rock and the average level of the sea around it truly has not changed in the lifetimes of anyone now living or their recent ancestors.

    • Here is one from a place which no kid ever touched in hundreds of years, but some very sick and hypocritical group of so-called adults did:

    • Yup. Caught the same thing. Published the ‘official’ 1 meter for the US and then the globe in Gaia’s Limits. Hard to find any red at all.

  13. While we wait for observational evidence of in your face cooling, due to the astonishing abrupt change to sun which is ongoing, and past the time discussing nonsense cult of CAGW papers here is something interesting.

    As the planet has warmed, we all assumed (or at least I did) that the cult of CAGW’s fundamental calculation (done more than 20 years ago by a half dozen specialists led by the founding father of CAGW, Hansen) of how much surface forcing a doubling of atmospheric CO2 will produce without ‘feedbacks’ is reasonable, in the right ball park. We all assumed the problem why the IPCC’s general circulation models (GCMs) predicted warming does not agree with measured warming (satellite which to this point has not been tampered with) is due to incorrect modeled cloud feedback, incorrect assumed water vapor amplification of the forcing, and possibly a delay in forcing response, as opposed to the fundamental no ‘feedbacks’ AGW calculation, itself.

    The infamous without ‘feedbacks’ cult of CAGW’s calculation (this is the calculation that predicted 1.2C to 1.4C surface warming for a doubling of atmospheric CO2) incorrectly/illogical/irrationally/against the laws of physics held the lapse rate constant to determine (fudge) the estimated surface forcing for a doubling of atmospheric CO2. There is no scientific justification for fixing the lapse rate to calculate the no ‘feedback’ forcing of greenhouse gases.

    Convection cooling is a physical fact not a theory and cannot be ignored in the without ‘feedbacks’ calculation. The change in forcing at the surface of the planet is less than the change in forcing higher in the atmosphere due to the increased convection cooling caused by greenhouse gases. We do not need to appeal to crank ‘science’ that there is no greenhouse gas forcing to destroy the cult of CAGW ‘scientific’ argument that there is a global warming crisis problem to solve.

    There is a forcing change due to the increase in atmospheric CO2 however that forcing change is almost completely offset by the increase in convection. Due to the increased lapse rate (3% change) due to convection changes (the 3% change in the lapse rate, reduces the surface forcing by a factor of four, the forcing higher in the atmosphere remains the same) therefore warming at the surface of the planet is only 0.1C to 0.2C for a doubling of atmospheric CO2, while the warming at 5 km above the surface of the planet is 1C. As a warming of 0.1C to 0.2C is insufficient to cause any significant feedback change, the zero feedback change for a doubling of CO2 is ballpark the same as the with feedback response.

    P.S. The cult of CAGW no ‘feedbacks’ 1-dimensional calculation also ignored the overlap of the absorption of water vapor and CO2 which is also a physical fact. As the planet is 70% covered in water there is a great deal of water vapor in the atmosphere at lower levels, particularly in the tropics. Taking the amount of water vapor overlap into account (before warming) in the no ‘feedbacks’ 1 dimension calculation also reduces the surface warming due to a doubling of atmospheric to 0.1C to 0.2C. Double trump.

    Collapse of the Anthropogenic Warming Theory of the IPCC

    4. Conclusions
    In physical reality, the surface climate sensitivity is 0.1~0.2K from the energy budget of the earth and the surface radiative forcing of 1.1W.m2 for 2xCO2. Since there is no positive feedback from water vapor and ice albedo at the surface, the zero feedback climate sensitivity CS (FAH) is also 0.1~0.2K. A 1K warming occurs in responding to the radiative forcing of 3.7W/m2 for 2xCO2 at the effective radiation height of 5km. This gives the slightly reduced lapse rate of 6.3K/km from 6.5K/km as shown in Fig.2.

    The modern anthropogenic global warming (AGW) theory began from the one dimensional radiative convective equilibrium model (1DRCM) studies with the fixed absolute and relative humidity utilizing the fixed lapse rate assumption of 6.5K/km (FLRA) for 1xCO2 and 2xCO2 [Manabe & Strickler, 1964; Manabe & Wetherald, 1967; Hansen et al., 1981]. Table 1 shows the obtained climate sensitivities for 2xCO2 in these studies, in which the climate sensitivity with the fixed absolute humidity CS (FAH) is 1.2~1.3K [Hansen et al., 1984].

    In the 1DRCM studies, the most basic assumption is the fixed lapse rate of 6.5K/km for 1xCO2 and 2xCO2. The lapse rate of 6.5K/km is defined for 1xCO2 in the U.S. Standard Atmosphere (1962) [Ramanathan & Coakley, 1978]. There is no guarantee, however, for the same lapse rate maintained in the perturbed atmosphere with 2xCO2 [Chylek & Kiehl, 1981; Sinha, 1995]. Therefore, the lapse rate for 2xCO2 is a parameter requiring a sensitivity analysis as shown in Fig.1.

    The followings are supporting data (William: In peer reviewed papers, published more than 20 years ago that support the assertion that convection cooling increases when there is an increase in greenhouse gases and support the assertion that a doubling of atmospheric CO2 will cause surface warming of less than 0.3C) for the Kimoto lapse rate theory above.
    (A) Kiehl & Ramanathan (1982) shows the following radiative forcing for 2xCO2.
    Radiative forcing at the tropopause: 3.7W/m2.
    Radiative forcing at the surface: 0.55~1.56W/m2 (averaged 1.1W/m2).
    This denies the FLRA giving the uniform warming throughout the troposphere in
    the 1DRCM and the 3DGCMs studies.
    (B) Newell & Dopplick (1979) obtained a climate sensitivity of 0.24K considering the
    evaporation cooling from the surface of the ocean.
    (C) Ramanathan (1981) shows the surface temperature increase of 0.17K with the
    direct heating of 1.2W/m2 for 2xCO2 at the surface.

    Transcript of a portion of Weart’s interview with Hansen.

    Weart: This was a radiative convective model, so where’s the convective part come in. Again, are you using somebody else’s…
    Hansen: That’s trivial. You just put in…
    Weart: … a lapse rate…
    Hansen: Yes. So it’s a fudge. That’s why you have to have a 3-D model to do it properly. In the 1-D model, it’s just a fudge, and you can choose different lapse rates and you get somewhat different answers (William: Different answers that invalidate CAGW, the 3-D models have more than 100 parameters to play with so any answer is possible. The 1-D model is simple so it possible to see the fudging/shenanigans). So you try to pick something that has some physical justification (William: You pick what is necessary to create CAGW, the scam fails when the planet abruptly cools due to the abrupt solar change). But the best justification is probably trying to put in the fundamental equations into a 3-D model.

    P.S. NOAA for fun has been propping up the sunspot numbers. As it is no longer possible to visually see the sunspots, they have been counting ‘sunspots’ using an enhanced image of the solar surface which can see the very, very weak tiny sunspots by using the Zeeman shifting effect of a magnetic field on the spectrum of iron. The practical problem with that scam is as the magnetic field strength of newly formed sunspots continues to decline the magnetic ropes that rise up to the surface of the sun to form sunspots are now torn apart in convection zone so there is nothing on the surface of the sun to count. The change in sunspots number will therefore appear as an abrupt drop in sunspot number which has never happened before which will also coincide with an abrupt drop in planetary temperature. No surprise what has happened to the sun has happened before and also no surprise there was abrupt cooling, when what is happening to the sun happened before. The interesting twist is explaining why there was a delay in cooling.

    • William, when I brought up this issue of what appear to me to be sun specks, being counted as spots, I was told in no uncertain terms by a prominent person on his blog that I was wrong and the spots are counted the same way today as they have been for over a hundred years. I as specifically told that they use, in some cases, the same telescopes.
      Not having sufficient level of expertise in how spots are counted to begin with, I was unable to respond.
      Are you saying that you have specific knowledge that spots are being counted differently in the past several years than in previous solar cycles?
      I note that the sun spot trend charts are once again well below the projections on the same charts. They (whoever “they” are) have been revising these projections downward, and forward in time, for most if not all of this entire cycle.
      Take a look at area 2410.
      I had to look very closely to see anything, after dusting off my screen! This has been going on for quite some time, on and off:

      • In reply to Menicholas September 3, 2015 at 9:16 pm


        Yes, there is current, silly, comically obvious manipulation of sunspot number where tiny pores that cannot be see with a telescope are count as a sunspot. Sunspot number is just a number. The issue that cannot be explained away will be significant global cooling.

        Proof of that is that measured solar flux is now dropped to a level that only occurs when the sun is spotless.

        As noted above the so called 1 dimension without ‘feedbacks’ calculation of the change in surface forcing (the 3.7 watts/meter^2 that Gore used to support his claim for the millions of tiny light bulb analog) for a doubling of atmospheric CO2 ignored the fact that an increase greenhouse gases causes there to be an increase convection cooling which reduces the surface warming for a doubling of atmospheric CO2 from 1.5C to a very conservative 0.1 to 0.2C due to the water vapor/CO2 overlap fudge.

        Secondly the without ‘feedbacks’ calculation of the surface warming due to a doubling of atmospheric CO2 also ignored the reduction in the CO2 forcing in the lower atmosphere due to the overlap of the CO2 absorption spectrum with water vapor. As the planet is 70% covered with water there is a great deal of water vapor in the lower atmosphere particularly in the tropics. A peer reviewed paper published in 1982 noted the calculation ‘error’ and noted the surface forcing is reduced by a factor of four if the overlap of water and CO2 is included.

        The corollary of what appears to be an astonishing fact – the entire scientific basis for any significant global warming due to an increase in atmospheric CO2 is an obvious white lie, fib, and so on – is that almost all of the warming in the last 150 years was caused by solar cycle changes. How the sun cause changes in planetary cloud cover amount, properties, and lifetimes (low level and cirrus) is more interesting than counting sunspots.

        Observational proof of the assertion that the majority of the warming in the last 150 years was caused by solar cycle changes would be the complete and rapid reversal of the warming that has occurred in the last 150 years, due to the extraordinary change to the sun.

        Radiative Heating Due to Increased CO2: The Role of H2O Continuum Absorption in the 18 mm region
        In the 18 mm region, the CO2 bands (William: CO2 spectral absorption band) are overlapped by the H2O pure rotational band and the H2O continuum band. The 12-18 mm H2O continuum absorption is neglected in most studies concerned with the climate effects of increased CO2.

        Best wishes,

    • Any idea where the August number will go on the trend chart?
      June and July showed not much change, but I was looking almost every day, and they did not look the same to me.
      The 10.7 cm flux chart shows more closely what I, and my admittedly amateur eye, saw.

  14. Looks like the ice is going to melt and we are all going to drown, after all.
    The El-Nino has taken it’s toll on the global climate. Roy Spencer has updated UAH global for Aug. at 0.28 deg.
    By UAH, the Pause has shortened by 2 months to 18 yrs. 4 months

    (click to embiggen)

    • Five years from now, the pause may well be 30 years…or a hundred.
      Monthly play by play may not be very meaningful of an analytical tool.
      Just sayin’.

      • If there was to be a drop of about 0.1C per decade over the coming years the ‘pause’ would extend backwards in time and would therefore lengthen at both ends.

        However, the Super El Nino of 1998 caused temperatures to spike upwards by about 0.25degC (this is a one off and isolated warming event, and is the only warming event, over and above seasonal variation, seen in the satellite data) so to push backwards in time by a large amount will require quite a significant future drop in temperature over the coming decade or so.

        But some suggest (even Julia Slingo of the UK Met Office who is a die hard and committed warmist) that there will be no resumption to warming before 2030. If over the next 20 years, the temperature anomaly does not remain simply steady but drops at a rate of say 0.11 deg C per decade, then it is likely that by 2035, the trend in the satellite data as from 1979 will not be statistically different to zero!

        Of course, no one knows how the future will pan out, but if that were to come to pass, it is inevitably that there would be a plethora of papers over the coming years suggesting ever lower figures for climate sensitivity to CO2, and some suggesting that this may be close to zero (or at any rate not statistically significantly different to zero).

        If there is no resumption to warming (lets assume that 2016/7 will bring a La Nina cancelling out this years El Nino) within the next 5 to 8 years, it is difficult to see how CAGW will survive and be anything other than a recognised political delusion based upon sketchy science bolstered by the demise in the scientific process.

  15. Love the phrase – “the continents were roughly where they are today” So continents can move (sarc)… but CO2 is a problem??? When will they start to blame continental shift on human behaviors?? Once the temps drop and the sea stays put?? I can see the headlines now – Australia heading for the West Coast of the USA!! Moving at an alarming rate of 1mm/century! Government declares a continent tax to prevent further movement!

    • Erosion of a coast is almost invariably now blamed on climate change.
      So, we are nearly there.
      In former years coastal cliffs were eroded steadily over the millennia by a natural on-going process.
      These days, such cliffs are only ever demolished by climate change induced extreme weather and sea-level rise.
      These basic principles should be summarized in a handbook for journalists, just so that nobody ever accidentally ruins their own career by attempting to describe the real (non-alarming) situation.
      (some sarc. here)

    • Generally the continents were indeed in about their present positions, but there was one major difference, far more important than CO2. That was the fact that the global circumtropical ocean circulation was further interrupted by the closure of the Inter-American Seaway by the formation of the Isthmus of Panama, about three million years ago.

      • My understanding was that this took place more than 3 million years ago and so I quickly googled it.

        According to wiki (and we all know that has issues) it suggests that formation began some 12 to 15 million years ago and was complete at least 4.5 million years ago. At what stage it was effective to cut circulation is unclear but it would appear that this was more than 4.5 million years ago,


        “A significant body of water (referred to as the Central American Seaway) once separated the continents of North and South America, allowing the waters of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans to mix freely. Beneath the surface, two plates of the Earth’s crust were slowly colliding, forcing the Cocos Plate to slide under the Caribbean Plate. The pressure and heat caused by this collision led to the formation of underwater volcanoes, some of which grew large enough to form islands as early as 15 million years ago. Meanwhile, movement of the two tectonic plates was also pushing up the sea floor, eventually forcing some areas above sea level.

        Over time, massive amounts of sediment (sand, soil, and mud) from North and South America filled the gaps between the newly forming islands. Over millions of years, the sediment deposits added to the islands until the gaps were completely filled. By no later than 4.5 million years ago, an isthmus had formed between North and South America. However, in April 2015, an article in Science Magazine stated that zircon crystals in middle Miocene bedrock from northern Colombia indicated that by 10 million years ago, it is likely that instead of islands, a full isthmus between the North and South American continents had already likely formed where the Central American Seaway had been previously.[2]”

      • Isthmus of Panama formed as result of plate tectonics

        The study uses geologic, chemical and biologic methods to date rocks and fossils found in sides of the Gaillard Cut of the Panama Canal. The results show that instead of being formed by rising and subsiding ocean levels or existing as a string of islands as scientists previously believed, the Isthmus of Panama was first a peninsula of southern Central America before the underlying tectonic plates merged it with South America 4 million years ago.

      • Steve,

        Connections between the Americas have come and gone.

        The latest connection occurred during the Pliocene, c 3-5 Ma.

        Richard and Verde,

        The fact that the main Inter-American Exchange of organisms didn’t occur until about three million years ago remains a problem for those arguing for a complete closure of the Seaway by 4.5 Ma.

        The latest study (this year) supporting an earlier closure relied on zircons from Panamanian volcanoes found in Columbia. This doesn’t rule out the possibility of a volcanic arc connected on one end to South America but still open on the Central American isthmus side, or a chain of islands.

        The jury is still out on the timing of full closure. There is also some evidence that it reopened shallowly in the early Pleistocene.

        However, even full land connection before 4 Ma doesn’t mean that closing the seaway didn’t contribute to Pleistocene glaciations, as part of a complex of events leading over around two million years to deep global cooling.

      • But Gloria,

        Over geological times spans, and they are very, very slow, just “when” do you have “enough” land mass closure to “close” the Panama Isthmus to the massive west-east ocean circulation required to affect the world’s climate?

        It’s a very, very tough question, because the mere fact that a “mountain” and “plate
        geologist says “The Istumus closed 3.768547 MYA” means, well, really nothing. See, “climate” requires some 1.23456789 billion/trillion/quadrillion gals/cubic meters/cubic kilometers of salt water per second/day/week/month/year to be affected by the waters from the east Pacific flowing into the west Atlantic, then up towards the north Atlantic, right?

        So, at what point in the long rise of the present Panama mountains (pre-Canal dig) did they rise far enough to reduce that water flow low enough to “close” the west-east water flow off and begin the Gulf Stream flow we know right now? Did that flow cut off in Year_0.001, and the Gulf Stream begin Year_0.0011? Or one hundred years after the “marshes and swamps” began? Or 112 years? Or 12,101.101 years later? Can we really tell when it began? Can we actually even define when the Panama Isthmus was “closed”?

        Now, making that analysis more difficult is the nature of the water flow itself, and of the rising land mass’s ability to resist erosion. The only reason for water to flow from ocean to ocean is a change in height (potential energy) or a change in density and wind pressure. Thus, the Gulf Stream flows because of a change in density and salinity between its source (the warm gulf-Caribbean waters) and the colder north sea, added by the world’s centrifugal/centripetal/Hadley cell rotations. But how much pressure is actually present between the east Pacific and west Caribbean ocean? (They are not now at the same elevation, even today!) How strongly will the newly risen land (if not an abrupt single volcanic event – which IS a possibility in the final few years after tectonic forces have gone on long enough! So, the Gilbralter Straits might “close” one year, but water flows again 1000 years later when a stream cuts through, then stops again. The Everglades are a low, flat frfesh water river that is incredibly shallow but very wide? Is it a swamp, or a river, or what? Certainly, even as a 2-4 foot (one meter) deep “river” it is enough to affect the Gulf Stream’s flow past Cuba – a very well-defined rocky mass.

        To compare: The Mediterranean Sea is evaporating, and is fed by the European and Asia and African rivers. But without continuous flow from the Atlantic, it will empty and be much, much lower than the Atlantic Ocean. So, if the Suez Canal were not present, eventually the Med would evaporate into a salt flat fed by the Danube, Nile, and southern French and Spanish rivers if Gibraltar Straits were to rise. But, if the rising sea floor were cut by even one soft spot between the lava flows, that one spot would cut ever deeper as the Med’s water receded, and you’d eventually get a massive canyon, or another strait free-flowing like Cape Horn or the Gulf of Aquaba does. Eventually, the Great Rift Valley will also cut through the rock as the Gulf waters flow through.

        So cutting off ocean flow into a deep gulch is very, very difficult. But the low pressure of a circulating force between the Atlantic and Pacific is much easier to stop. We still just cannot claim “It stopped 3.000000 MYears ago, and thus this began 3.000000001 years ago.”

        or can we?

      • RA,

        Not just ocean currents, temperature and salinity but wind and moisture patterns were affected by the progressive closure of the Seaway during the late Miocene and Pliocene. Even today, related winds are more important in maintaining the equable climate of Europe than is the Gulf Stream itself.

        The Seaway was closed as a deep channel long before it became dry land for its whole length. During its shoal phase ~10 Ma, it was a nursery for the extinct giant shark Carcharocles megalodon.

        Whether its effective closure occurred three or 4.5 Ma is not IMO material to the significance of this tectonic event in the onset of the Pleistocene. Both physical evidence and modeling show the importance of the demise of the Seaway on climatic evolution at the Pliocene-Pleistocene transition, to include the formation or expansion of ice on Greenland, prior to the first vast continental ice sheets.

      • IMO the closure was a necessary but not necessarily sufficient step in the onset of the Pleistocene NH glaciations.

  16. “Ice sheets typically take centuries to millennia to respond to increased carbon dioxide, so it’s more difficult to say what will happen on shorter time scales, like the next few decades,” Winnick said.
    Wow, I never knew that ice and sea levels responded directly to CO2. CO2 must be even more powerful and magical than I thought.

  17. Finally a paper that more or less expresses, “it’s not as bad as we thought.” Perhaps this will be a new trend as some climate scientists try and minimize the “C” in “CAGW.” But politically speaking, this was bad timing for such a paper to come out just a few months prior to the Paris Climate Change conference.

  18. What is also inconvenient to our friends on the left is what the tide gauges say if you do an honest evaluation.

    • I wonder if young future academic scientists see the handwriting on the wall.

      Let’s hope that soon funding previously squandered on man-made global warming garbage will go to real climatological studies, or to reduce the national debt, so alarmingly doubled in just eight years.

  19. I just got this from a charity – you can imagine my reply. Another one to strike off the donation list: just like Oxfam, someone who thinks that climate change awareness puts food in peoples mouths.

    “Did you see the email Kevin sent last week? We’ve just launched the Collective Future Speaking Tour – a series of forums looking at the urgent need to support the people whose livelihoods are most at risk of climate change.

    As climate impacts push vulnerable people deeper into poverty, we’re bringing together activists from across the Asia-Pacific to share stories of how climate change has impacted their communities.

    Register for your ticket today (get in quick before prices rise next week!).

    The timing couldn’t be more urgent. Whether it’s devastating cyclones in Vanuatu, rising tides in Kiribati or crippling droughts in PNG, efforts to overcome poverty are being undermined by accelerating climate impacts.”

  20. I’m an engineer, not a “scientist”. I deal with reality, not conjecture. It only took man a couple of million years to realize the continents FLOAT on a sea of molten rock. Plate tectonics is reality. Now, armed with this non-climate-funding-generating knowledge, WHAT IF the PLATES are also going UP AND DOWN?! We know the islands, like the Malvinas, are going up and down from the underlying volcanic pressure that made the island in the first place. And, we know the plates pull apart and subduct, pushing this plate up by the plate diving under that plate. What LOOKS like a sea level change, especially in mm COULD just be the plates moving up or down the gage is mounted on! Sea level is a RELATIVE depth, not an absolute.

    • The other inconvenient physics I’ve been thinking about in this “floating” tectonic plate nonsense is…..
      What happens to the FLOATING plate if the mass of it changes? If a plate had nothing on it, climate changed (I’ll pander, I can be bought) and the desert island became a jungle island loaded with millions of tons of living and dead vegetation, animal life, etc. or (once again pandering to the human caused religions) man started hauling off millions of tons of valuable minerals, transferring that mass from here on one side of a plate to there on the other side of the same plate, or to another plate, entirely. Will the plate with less mass float UP, like any ship we just unloaded or DOWN like a supertanker we just filled with oil? If not, why not? If nothing else were to change, and I admit everything is changing constantly, wouldn’t this simple, grade school physics of floating bodies on a liquid rock plate move the gage up or down making the perceived sea level move up or down from the RELATIVE vertical position of the plate we’re using as a REFERENCE to measure sea level by? Well? Duhh!

      • At first I didn’t think that human activity could “tip” the tectonic plates, but you convinced me with the ALL CAPS.

      • OK Larry, can you say it plainly?
        Do you think plate tectonics is hooey?
        That the principle of isostasy is bologna?
        It is hard to tell from the typed word if a person serious, delirious, or merely being sarcastic.

      • They do mate and you are essentially correct
        Not from variations in the mass of critters and plants but certainly from ice.
        A lot of the northern northern hemisphere is still rising due to the melting of several kilometres of ice.

        It just doesn’t happen quite as quickly as pushing a rubber duck down in the bath and letting it go

      • Yes Larry. It is a phenomena called isostacy. But for all practical matters the mass of vegetation is entirely trivial. However, the mass of an ice sheet is an entirely different story.

      • The weight of ice does indeed press down on continental plates. Hudson Bay exists because of the mass of the now melted Laurentide Ice Sheet. The plate there is rebounding from being freed from all that weight, while the Atlantic coast is falling.

        Tectonic plates are an observed, scientific fact. Science can measure them moving apart, thanks to seafloor spreading. Science can observe the subduction of thin oceanic plates under continental plates moving over them. Rocks and fossils on different continents show where and when they were conjoined.

        Maybe it’s a fact which for some reason you don’t like, but nonetheless a fact.

    • The Los Angeles tide gauge has been sinking at a quite linear rate of 0.88 mm per year since 1924. Is any of that due to the 25+ tons of tar that’s been seeping out of the coastal sea floor for thousands of years?

      [And the oil pumped out from the LA Basin from 1915 – 2015. La Brea is the “seep” of asphalts that are the surface leakoff of the deeper oil pools. .mod]

      • Before the oil was pumped from the LA Basin, the tar was dug up from Carpinteria.

        At Carpinteria, south of Santa Barbara, liquid asphaltum seeps from the hillside onto the beach. Back in the late 1800s, Carpinteria was the asphalt capital of the world. The asphalt mined there paved roadways throughout the country.

        When the Carpinteria lode was dug up, the mining moved to Goleta. The Alcatraz Asphaltum Mine operated from 1890 to1898 on what’s now the UCSB campus.

        Watch this old Huell Howser program:

        And here’s some Goleta history:

      • I think it may take more than 25 tons, or even 25 million tons, to make the state of CA rise or fall into the crust.
        Also, it takes a very long time for this process to play out, even when sufficient weight is applied or removed to make a whole region sink into the crust or pop back up. It may be that the glaciers that melted in the Sierra are still exerting an effect. Or, more accurately, the crust is reacting to the weight being removed.
        The East Coast is still reacting to the glaciers which disappeared over twelve thousand years ago. Why not CA?
        But separating out the tectonic from the isostatic effects may be a matter of guesswork to some degree.

      • 91 million tons over the last 10,000 years, and that’s just one area of seeps off the Goleta coast! But, yes, it’s doubtful it has much to do with sinking plates or tide gauge readings.

        The heavy stuff stays where it seeps, forming asphalt volcanos. The lighter stuff bubbles to the surface, where the hydrocarbons evaporate. What’s left then sinks. So, basically, it’s just a source of atmospheric methane, oily feet, and food for bacteria.

        If Californians weren’t such ignoramuses, they’d be promoting oil and gas extraction off the coast. Not only would this reduce the amount of tar on the beaches (reduced gas pressure = less seepage), the sea floor would subside, making more room for water and thus reducing sea level. ☺

      • The mod’s comment reminded me of news articles in the 60s about land subsidence in Huntington Beach, where some locations had dropped as much as 6 ft. A search on this topic showed that the greatest surface drop was in the Wilmington oil field around Long Beach, where land at Wilmington subsided more than 29 feet between 1926 and 1953. The subsiding has since been reversed by pumping more volume of sea water into the wells than the oil extracted.

        The Los Angeles tide gauge is located at the edge of the Wilmington oil field. The subsidence is obviously localized, or the gauge would not show a fairly consistent rise of 3.4 in. every 100 years.

    • Yes, engineers have an advantage. Also, people that go to liberal schools are taught what to think not how to think. They must invent their own reality either personally or collectively. Students now have to worry about causing a micro-agression or using the wrong pronoun. Real science is in some deep sh…… Reality has become a relative concept.

    • Larry Butler:

      “I’m an engineer, not a “scientist”. I deal with reality, not conjecture.”

      Your problem is you know too much to be sure of anything.

  21. “Sea levels may not rise as high as assumed.” I love that part. The phrasing is superbly ironic.

    Windmills may not be as green as assumed.

    Hurricanes may not be as severe as assumed.

    Jonesy may not be as smart as assumed.

    Mann may not be as stupid as assumed.

    … wait…Mann IS as stupid as assumed!!!!

    Damn. I hate it when a theory falls apart. It makes me feel just like a climate scientist.

    • Pamela, that was funny! You may be funnier than you thought, or I more easily entertained. Either will do.

  22. I was under the impression that large polar ice sheets are what distinguish the Pleistocene from most of the rest of earth history. I didn’t think there were big ice sheets in the Pliocene, or at any time in the Cenozoic or Mesozoic. Maybe my geology is out of date. In fact it’s more than likely. Somebody tell me where I am wrong, please.

    • In a nutshell, Climate in the Pliocene was heading downhill. Eocene, quite warm > Miocene, getting colder>Pliocene much colder >Pliestocene bouncing and scraping bottom.

      I wonder sometimes if a world vote were held, if people would be willing to trade the coastal cities of the world for the assurance that the Pliestocene glaciation were truely over.

  23. Was Michael Mann part of this study?

    I mean think it through. They used a new way to estimate SLR and came up with a different number than the old way to estimate it. No shock there. If the numbers matched it would have been a shock. Problem is that the numbers got better, not worse. Now we all know that’s just not what those who fund climate science are paying for. Things always have to get worse, or you don’t get anymore funding.

    So… it seems to me that this result has been caused by a simple mistake. A glaringly obvious mistake that reversed their results….

    They got their proxy data upside down…

  24. So much Blood, Sweat, Toil and Tears from the alarmist over 3 millimeters (the average of the TOPEX-Posiedon/Jason/JasonII …. blah blah blah).

    Like in politics, “No one lives at the Federal Level, and no one lives at the “average”!, it is all local!

    And that is what Global Warming, Climate Change and Climate Science are … Politics.

    Have you had your Poli-Ticks vaccinations today?

    Alfred Wants To Know.

    Ha ha

  25. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again…What is the elevation of Mt. Everest, within 3mm? What’s that? You can’t tell me, and it’s not even rolling like the waves of the friggin’ ocean?

    So much uncertainty here. Subsidence, isostatic rebound, WAVES, storms, tides, etc. How confident are we REALLY that we have a reliable means to measure sea level? Other than that small set of tidal gauges in places not subject to near-term tectonic/glacial/subsidence factors?

      • So it would appear that global average sea level is as meaningless a concept as global average temperature.

      • Walt – yes I think that is about right, it is meaningless which makes it a wonderful instrument for people to make it mean what ever they want it to mean.

  26. “… enough to cover New York City under 50 feet of water …”

    Sigh. Why do people feel the need to write such highly suggestive and misleading statements. It evokes images of the tops of skyscrapers 50 feet below the water surface – and that per chance happening maybe overnight? Cue in mental images of Kevin Costner…

    Sure, a threat of a 50 feet rise in sea level would be bad news for New York – not to speak of probably billions(!) of people all over the world living in coastal regions all over the world! But when neglecting to tell audiences that such a rise would only be possible over the course of millennia(!), this is somewhat galling.
    And that no less in a press release meant to set the record straight on those possibly inflated sea level rise numbers being handed around. Oh well.

    I apologize for my sarcastic remark in advance, but I can’t help to think: “Oh no! The sea level is rising by inches per decade! I will have to flee from this monstrous sea level rise! I hope the sea does not outrun me!”

  27. I haven’t read either the article or the thread or anything else to do with this subject but I know, I just “know” it’s junk/voodoo/Koch-funded science.

    I’m glad I got that off my chest….

    • I don’t think Chas. Koch has funded climate research since his charitable foundation was accused of trying to “buy” Muller’s Berkeley Earth with a $150K donation, even though six other identified foundations donated a total of $1.25M, taxpayers donated $188K through Lawrence Berkeley Labs, and an as yet unidentified “Anonymous Foundation” donated $800K. The only donation with (unspecified) conditions attached was $100K from the Energy Foundation, shortly after Tom Steyer gave them $500K.

    • Unfortunately for people like a Obama it is a no-lose situation, when this global warming scare implodes or quietly disappears into the sunset as a footnote to stupid, Obama can say I acted with vigor on the best advice of science to protect our planet. It deflects responsibility, (remember “it’s Bush’s fault”) and shows a lack of character but has been very effective for him politically. Which perhaps says more about the American electorate than Obama.

  28. Is anyone who has read this paper able to give us a quick resume of the methodology?
    What’s puzzling me is that the Oxygen Isotope ratio is a major proxy for the temperature. If the authors are saying that the calculation doesn’t work for the Pliocene, then maybe it doesn’t work for Pliocene temperatures either. Or are they revising the fractionation of O-18 in ice alone, and for the Pliocene alone?
    Some info is missing here.

    Would be nice to know before we take too many lessons from it

  29. This is actually good news for Alarmists. “It’s not as bad as we thought” simply means “there’s still time to fix this”. So, for example, even if the upcoming klimate klownfest doesn’t accomplish much, the message is “don’t despair (yet), because all we have to do is roll up our sleaves and work still harder.”
    There’s a method to their madness.

  30. Every time I read a report on the effects of CO2 that I think of a blind man holding the tail of an elephant and concluding elephants are a type of snake.

    The global eco-system is huge in it’s complexity and constant adaption and variation with many feedbacks and counter feedbacks. Climate scientists act like fortune tellers who claim by looking at a persons palms as babies can then predict their future adulthood. (Apologies to palm-readers out there who probably have better track record of prediction than climate scientists.)

    Scientists have to stop with these half-assed 50 year, 100 year predictions, science is figuring out how stuff works and applying that knowledge where possible. Currently there is gross misunderstanding between cause and effect and fortune telling.

  31. This week’s issue of one of the UK computing mags (Micromart) has a feature about the EarthNow App from NASA. It can be downloaded to a desktop as well as a smartphone and i did so. (I expect most of you are familiar with this – I am trying to catch up).
    There are a number of maps and datasets relating to the earth climate and some near real time images of data from remote sensing satellites , including sea level, global temperatures and various atmospheric gases.
    One of these is CO2 up to July 2015, from , it says, the AIRS satellite launched over 10 years ago.
    I thought that the CO2 sensing satellites were the Japanese IBUKI and US OCO- 2, the last released image /data from which relates to Dec 2014 . But AIRS is giving much later data . Do the 2 NASA/JPL satellites agree?
    If AIRS can give near real time data for water vapour , ozone and CO , what is the problem with CO2?

  32. Reblogged this on gottadobetterthanthis and commented:
    Worthwhile article. The science isn’t settled. Science never is.

    The lead graphic and first sentence are laughably inconsistent. The graphic states that it depicts what earth will look like with 6000 millimeters of increased average sea level. Not scary by itself. Not scary at all when considering that sea level is currently measured to be rising at about 3 millimeters per year. Accordingly, a linear extrapolation gets us out 2000 years hence.

    Looking around the internet for examples of old photos that can show sea level, and current photos of the same location can provide as many examples as you care to review. One cannot tell that significant change is occurring overall. We aren’t talking about flooding cities. Sooner or later coasts change. Some coastal locations will go under water, others will have the ocean shore recede. Sooner or later everywhere changes. England has locations lost to the sea, and landlocked villages that used to be on the seashore. And that is just on that small island.

    Everything changes. Always has. Always will.

    It is also important to note that alarmists spin the rate of sea level rise. They like to claim that the current sea level rise rate of 3 mm per year is three time more than in the recent past. First, they are comparing apples and oranges. Second, that is playing fast and loose with the known facts. It is most practical to say that the sea level rise rate has been between one and three millimeters per year for thousands of years, all of our historical past. There really is no practical way to be afraid of something continuing to happen that has, for practical purposes, always happened.

  33. Here’s something I’ve never heard anyone else bring up……

    It seems to me, that the reason it is so difficult to ‘prove’ that the rise of sea levels is caused by something like polar ice caps melting, is because the sea levels do not fall when the polar ice cap grows- since we cannot ‘prove’ the ice cap theory (other than the observation I just made), isn’t it more logical to assume that sea levels change because of the movement of the Earths crust along with subduction, tectonic plate movement etc.? Because that is what seems to be the case, and that is at least something provable.

    • Timothy,

      Not sure what you mean by polar ice caps, but the Antarctic ice sheets would have to count. I assume you would include the continental ice sheets than form on North America, Greenland, Europe and Asia during glacial phases.

      Sea levels do fall when such “polar ice caps” expand and rise when they melt. During the last glacial maximum, when ice sheets covered much of the northern continents and the Antarctic ice sheets expanded, sea level was about 400 feet lower than now.

      As the northern ice sheets, except for Greenland, melted and the Antarctic ice sheets got smaller, sea level rose 400 feet. In fact more than that, since sea level was higher earlier in the Holocene interglacial than now.

  34. Since the rate of sea level rise has NOT increased since 1900, and since we know that the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets are melting at an increasing rate (because the BBC says so on an almost daily basis), it is hard to fathom how these two trends could occur simultaneously.
    Since, all that water must be going somewhere.
    BUT WAIT, did I not just use the word “fathom”, and is this not a serendipitous clue.
    The only possible explanation can be that the floor of the oceans is sinking.
    Or perhaps some previously gas filled void under the sea floor has opened up, and all the extra meltwater is being displaced by the water that is currently rushing into this giant chasm.
    They laughed at Alfred Wegener when he said that the continents float about and bash into one another like dodgems.
    When this giant seawater swallowing void is finally discovered, I would like it to be named after my WUWT login moniker. The great chasm of Indefatigablefrog.
    Fame awaits me…
    (erm…parts of the above may be slightly sarc. But not the principle thesis, which will stand the test of time!!)

    • Sorry, Froggy, but you may croak before your dream is realized.

      “The correction for glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA) accounts for the fact that the ocean basins are getting slightly larger since the end of the last glacial cycle. GIA is not caused by current glacier melt, but by the rebound of the Earth from the several kilometer thick ice sheets that covered much of North America and Europe around 20,000 years ago. Mantle material is still moving from under the oceans into previously glaciated regions on land. The effect is that currently some land surfaces are rising and some ocean bottoms are falling relative to the center of the Earth (the center of the reference frame of the satellite altimeter). Averaged over the global ocean surface, the mean rate of sea level change due to GIA is independently estimated from models at -0.3 mm/yr…”

      It does make sense. The H2O has moved from the land to the sea, and the sea bed is sagging. But as more water melts into the sea, won’t the sea sag more to accommodate it, pushing the continents ever higher as the mantle is shoved under them?

  35. So…parts of the east coast of Japan sink more than two feet after big 9.0 whatever earthquake. Hmmm….earthquakes kills 100’s of thousands since 2000…sea level rise kills 0. Is there any common sense left? oops sorry, I referred to the “left”… delete the “left”… there…all fixed.

  36. “Add that to the fact that CO2 levels were relatively consistent in the Pliocene, and we’re increasing them much more rapidly today, and it really highlights the importance of understanding how sea level responds to rising temperatures. Estimates of Pliocene sea level might provide a powerful tool for testing the ability of our ice sheet models to predict future changes in sea level.”

    Highlights that CO2 levels during the Pliocene had no influence on sea level and we are not seeing anything out of the ordinary now because much larger volumes of CO2 also has no influence on sea level.

    There is no relationship in history of the planet with CO2 and sea level. Not to forget the any excuse for increasing the sea level with the pathetic excuse that is GIA. This value should never be used because they don’t have a clue and so take off 0.3 mm per year for a true value. It takes the awful assumption that no basalt is increasing in the ocean basins from volcanic activity. Nobody on the planet can measure the difference between these and have any clue whether to increase, decrease or leave as it is. Therefore it should be left as it is and any excuse for raising sea levels by tampering.

    • IMO there is a relationship. When the planet is colder, CO2 is lower and so usually is sea level, but the relationship isn’t causal. Cold water holds more CO2 and cold climate means land ice, which lowers sea level.

      • Over many millions of years there is no relationship I was meant to say, but there is a tenuous link with the example you have described only during the recent ice ages.

      • Would agree with you if by recent you include the Carboniferous/Permian ice age. CO2 level is less well constrained for the Precambrian Snowball Earth glaciations, but I’ve seen estimates of 100 to 130 ppm then, followed possibly by rapid rise to something on the order of 10,000 ppm (ie, 3160 to 31,600) to 100,000 ppm (ie, 31,600 to 316,000, but probably not at the high end of that range, according to the most recent work).

      • “Would agree with you if by recent you include the Carboniferous/Permian ice age.”

        I would have to include this too because it was the only other ice age period very similar to the recent hundreds of thousands of years and the last few million years. With the continents being in such different positions though it was more likely just coincidence. A broken clock is right twice a day, this was right once in just short of billion years.

        Extended to 100 million years.

      • Matt,

        It wasn’t a coincidence. Ice Houses occur with a pretty regular periodicity, which scientists like Nir Shaviv have suggested is ruled by the solar system’s passage through the spiral arms of the galaxy.

        What made the Carboniferous ice age so long-lasting, compared to the Ordovician glaciation, was the position over the South Pole of so much land.

        When earth’s climate is cold, naturally CO2 drops. The drop doesn’t cause the cold. Warmunistas confuse cause and effect.

        The ice age that should have happened during the Mesozoic was still born because the continents weren’t well positioned for an ice age. However, it did get cold and earth did grow ice. Feathers might possibly have evolved in response to this aborted ice house, as insulation.

      • Gloria Swansong September 6, 2015 at 6:10 pm

        Only a coincidence due to CO2 levels been similar levels back then with many different variables and with one super continent covering the tropics and south pole at the same time. Not a coincidence when ever a large continental land mass covers at least one pole, the Earth will always be ripe for ice ages enabling a huge build up of glacier ice and sea level fall.

      • Matt,

        It’s not a coincidence that CO2 is low during ice ages and ice houses. When the planet is cold, CO2 is low. When it’s warm, CO2 is higher. Cold water holds more gas; warm water holds less and releases it to the air. Physics.

      • Matt,

        Actually, science doesn’t know how much CO2 dropped during the Ordovician ice age. It lacks the needed resolution on available data.

        But based upon physics and chemistry, it must have done so.

      • “Actually, science doesn’t know how much CO2 dropped during the Ordovician ice age. It lacks the needed resolution on available data.

        But based upon physics and chemistry, it must have done so.”

        Despite the lack of resolution it was still able to give an error range that gave CO2 levels still many times higher than present levels. A drop in CO2 was was recorded depending what source you believe (data or modeled) either from about ~4500 ppm to ~4100 ppm or falls to 10 times present levels (1990’s) or 18 to 8 times present levels (1990’s).

        “Although Phanerozoic glaciations usually coincided with times of estimated low atmospheric CO2, the Late Ordovician (440 Ma) glaciation is a significant exception. CO2 levels during that time may have been as much as 10 times greater than present.”

        “Under the condition of a 4.5% reduction in solar luminosity, permanent snow cover (taken as a key indicator of potential for glaciation) is dramatically different between five experiments. The range of 18X present atmospheric level CO2 (ice free) to 8X (“runaway” icehouse) lies within the uncertainty of previous geochemical estimates of Late Ordovician atmospheric pCO2.”

        “The analysis of the geologic record has revealed a question concerning how the Late Ordovician glaciation
        could have occurred simultaneously with high CO2 levels (10-18x)”

        “But based upon physics and chemistry, it must have done so.”

        Ice ages always cause the CO2 levels to fall not only based on physics and chemistry, but more importantly biology too.

      • Matt,

        All good.

        Warmunistas try to get around the Ordovician ice age not just by pointing to a slightly less powerful sun, but by assuming that science has missed a big drop in CO2 from low resolution during the fairly brief glaciation. That is, they speculate without any evidence that CO2 might have dropped from c. 5000 ppm to 3000 or lower during the glaciation, then bounced back over 4000.

        IMO however your figures are reasonable, of CO2 over 4000 ppm even during the glaciation.

  37. Of course, during past warming episodes CO2 concentrations lag temperature increases by 600 to 1,000 years – but they assume that previous warmings were caused by CO2.

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