Doubling up the sea level scare for Paris using the old 'one-two punch' line

Water temperatures, which influence sea level, are expected to rise sharply in the 21st century along the eastern United States. Redder areas on the map show projected temperatures at the higher end of the scale. CREDIT Little et al., Nature Climate Change, 2015

Water temperatures, which influence sea level, are expected to rise sharply in the 21st century along the eastern United States. Redder areas on the map show projected temperatures at the higher end of the scale. CREDIT Little et al., Nature Climate Change, 2015

From the THE EARTH INSTITUTE AT COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

One-two punch of rising seas, bigger storms may greatly magnify US East coast floods

New study quantifies synergy of 2 climate hazards

Many studies predict that future sea-level rise along the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf coasts will increase flooding. Others suggest that the human-caused warming driving this rise will also boost the intensity and frequency of big coastal storms. Up to now, though, these two hazards have been assessed mostly in isolation from each other. Now, a new study quantifies how they could interact to produce alarming spikes in the combined height and duration of flooding. It projects that coastal flooding could possibly shoot up several hundredfold by 2100, from the Northeast to Texas. The study appears this week in the journal Nature Climate Change.

“When you look at hazards separately, it’s bad enough, but when you consider the joint effects of two hazards together, you can get some surprises,” said Radley Horton, a climate scientist at Columbia University’s Earth Institute and study coauthor. “Sometimes, 1 plus 1 can equal 3.”

Over the past century, the East Coast has seen sea-level rise far above the 8-inch global average–up to a foot in much of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, including New York City. Global rise is being driven mainly by melting of ice and expansion of seawater as the ocean warms. In this region, sinking land and currents that chronically drive water coastward have worsened matters. Most projections call for a further 2- to 4-foot rise by 2100; some go as high as 6 feet.

At the same time, separate studies suggest that the intensity of the biggest storms generated in the North Atlantic may increase, because warmer waters contain more energy. Projections of this phenomenon are somewhat less certain, but scientists are taking them with increasing seriousness.

The new study shows how the two factors may work together. The authors analyzed 15 climate models at five locations: Atlantic City, N.J.; Charleston, S.C.; Key West, Fla.; Pensacola, Fla.; and Galveston, Tex. They not only considered both factors, but the chances that they would be correlated–in other words, the probability that they could act together in time to produce more than the sum of their parts. Five models simulated both high local sea-level rises and increases in the strongest storms.

Based on this, the authors make two projections for the 21st century: one if the world greatly reduces emissions of greenhouse gases, and one if the current trajectory continues. Even the reduced-emissions calculations suggest a 4- to 75-fold increase in the flood index–that is, the combined heights and durations of expected floods–across the five locations. With business as usual, the flood index might go up 35 to 350 times. Furthermore, the study does not account for any sea-level rise caused by melting of glaciers and ice sheets–only water expansion–so that could add to the hazard.

“It’s an aggregate number over a big area–not a specific prediction for any one place,” said lead author Christopher Little of Atmospheric and Environmental Research, a company that performs weather and climate research, and related risk assessments. “But these projections help lay the groundwork for more specific research that will be valuable for adapting to climate change.” The paper adds to the scientific basis for ongoing risk assessments such as those of the New York City Panel on Climate Change, to which both Little and Horton have contributed.

###

The other authors of the study are Robert Kopp of Rutgers University; Michael Oppenheimer of Princeton University; Gabriel Vecchi of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; and Gabriele Villarini of the University of Iowa.

Copies of the paper, “Joint projections of US East Coast sea level and storm surge,” are available from the authors or the Earth Institute press office.

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143 thoughts on “Doubling up the sea level scare for Paris using the old 'one-two punch' line

  1. “At the same time, separate studies suggest that the intensity of the biggest storms generated in the North Atlantic may increase, because warmer waters contain more energy.”
    How long have they been saying that, and what has the storm record been?

    • I think the energy of the warm water is counterbalanced by the increased snowfall and reduction in the frequency +90 degree days. Lookout for when all that energy is released!

    • Hurricanes are heat engines based on the difference in temperature of the ocean and the air. It needs the air to be cool and the oceans warm. Thus, when the planet is cooling, the air cools first and the lagging oceans then create more storms. When the planet is warming, the differential decreases and storms decrease. As the planet is basically stagnant right now or oh so gently cooling, we have very few storms.
      Where is that RICO for these guys?

      • For hurricanes to form and grow in strength, there needs to be a certain set of wind and pressure conditions at all levels of he atmosphere.
        Otherwise, it matters not what the water temp is.
        And dry air entrainment into a storm will also tend to disrupt it.
        Water temp is a base level condition, not a predictor or frequency or intensity.

    • Other studies also indicate that water only warms to a certain point. At which time cloud formation starts to increase dramatically, limiting the amount of further warming possible.

    • Um, “Nature Climate Change” is the source of this article–any questions?
      Meanwhile, everyone I know noticed the LACK of storms this summer–not even a strong thunder shower let alone a hurricane. Not to mention, the water level hasn’t risen. People can use their eyes, they’re not all drinking the apocalyptic Kool-Aid. Maybe what we SHOULD be “studying” is the Western psychological need for End of the World thinking . . . eh?

    • Storms are not generated by warm seas. They are generated by warm seas and a cold airflow rolling over them. Unless you get a cold unstable airmass with a high lapse-rate, you ain’t going to get any vertical motion, let alone storms. So the key to hurricane generation is cold Arctic air descending southwards. You need cold for storms.

      • It rains every single day in the tropics, and everyday in summer here in places like Florida…except when cold dry air moves in.
        And all of the rain is caused by convectional thunderstorms…warm air rising.
        I really hope you are goofing.

  2. ““Sometimes, 1 plus 1 can equal 3.””
    And there you have climate science in one simple statement.

    • Classic propaganda technique–use of “weasel words.” Climate change will soon be anything anyone says it is.

    • I normally disagree with the “political” about all of this. This is MAGNIFIED by the politicos , but it is DRIVEN by the types of scientists who were attracted to climatology in the first place – tree hugging greens who individually had (and still have) an agenda to protect Bambi’s mommy. They started from the position that industry is evil, and everything falls out from that.
      In this world Chicken Little is not a politician but a convinced green.

  3. What a timely post! We are now what, two and a half weeks away from it being ten years since the last major hurricane (category 3 or higher) made landfall on the continental US? Six weeks away from extending the current all time record by at least another 9 months (as this year’s hurricane season ends) if we don’t have a major hurricane in what has so far been an entirely lackluster season with high shear over the Atlantic almost all of the time? How far are we away from doubling the previous record?
    Seems like the perfect time to catastrophize and warn people that major hurricanes are due to global warming. That way, when one sooner or later actually does make landfall in the US again (as one no doubt will) it will be super-easy to blame it on AGW and rising sea level that, sadly, is happening so very, very slowly that it is almost impossible to see at the actual coast, we have to be told that it is happening or nobody would notice it.
    rgb

    • rgb,
      Exactly right, the plan is obvious: they are waiting for the inevitable hurricane.
      The laws of thermodynamics haven’t been repealed, therefore it is only a matter of time before a hurricane hits land.
      Then we will be subjected to: “Climate change!” “We told you so!”
      They won’t ever mention that it has been an unusually long time since the last landfall, which makes toast of their previous predictions of ‘more, and more intense’ hurricanes.

    • Well with rampant global warming going on, major Atlantic cyclones are in danger of becoming extinct.
      g
      That would be a disaster for the Florida Keys, where they need a regular series of severe storms to clean out all the floating garbage like lobster trap floats adrift all over the place, which get in the mangroves and endanger wild life.

    • It is right and proper for SOMEONE to correctly investigate and interpret why the high shear occurs. Wind shearing being the limiting factor de jour, it needs to be understood, and understood WELL. At the present moment this shear seems to be the filter/gauntlet that the tropical depressions have to survive, so nothing else matters until we know what is causing that high shear. (If it is even real, I have to say, because so many conclusions have been jumped to in global warming that this, too, may be one.) The shear isn’t always there, so someone needs to inquire as to what is causing/metering the wind shear.
      Hurricanes might be pictured as discrete packets of heat/moisture/wind which are metered out as conditions build off the coast of west African near-equatorial regions. Wind shear limiting their ability to organize into these packets strong enough to survive the shear, this clearly shows that either the packets are not forming strong enough, or that, even when they do, they are”un-packetized” at times, with a trend that, once the shear occurs the high shear “regime” has some tendency to keep doing so (or not).
      It’s a MECHANISM, and like all mechanisms, it can’t just come out of nowhere. SOMETHING is causing it.

      • It would be unseemly to call attention to it Bash, given the fuss they made about how much worse and more frequent storms would be “from now on” (with the now part being whenever such statements were made). The most dire and cocksure of such warnings were made around the time that storm activity fell off the cliff.

  4. Look, I will agree that higher sea levels when hit by a major storm would be worse (1+1=3?), they first need to show that sea levels are rising faster than natural, and that major storms are increasing. So far I have seen no evidance of either.

    • Bingo. The slow and steady increase of sea level over the last 100+ years has nothing to do with CO2, and therefore cannot be viewed as a “climate hazard”.
      In reality, the biggest “climate hazard” would be if the global sea level -stopped- rising, since that would be a strong early indication that we’re tipping into the next ice age.

    • Yes, but who needs actual sea level evidence when they’ve got models?
      Seriously, there needs to be a 300-level course in how to set up word problems into equations. It would be formalized sufiiciently so that the reviewers could vet the very formulas used/coded, in terms of:
      1. Have they correctly identified the parameters?
      2. Have the VETTED the parameters, to make sure there are not extraneous parameters?
      3. Have they vetted the SCALE of each parameters in terms of constant values and exponents applied?
      4. Have they correctly assembled the parameters into a bullet-proof formula?
      As a (now retired) engineer, I worked with solid science, solid formulae, and if those formulae didn’t pass muster, I would never have used them. Nor would any OTHER engineer. To get solid results you have to be going down the right logical path with the right parameters – and THEN do the math right.
      Climate science uses un-vetted formulae, and everyone in the field seems to accept that the formulaes can be kept secret. In good part, this is what Steve McIntyre was railing about for so long that precipitated Climategate… “WTF math are you using? I and everyone else needs to SEE where your results are coming from – how they are derived.” In the end, he found that Mann’s math was inferior and inadequate and improperly used. It should not GET to that point; the reviewers should understand the parameters and the math to have double-checked the results that fell out of the code – and if they did not DO that, then not only were they wholly irresponsible or too lazy, but they – NOT MANN – were the responsible people for the upward boost Mann’s work engendered.
      IOW, how does bad/weak/wrong science make it onto the pages of journals?

    • The sea level rise over the past hundred years does not even amount to a wavelet on top of the storm surge and storm waves that accompany hurricane landfalls.
      Daily tides vary by far more that such rise, so the timing of landfall has always been a large factor…much larger than any sea level rise.
      Another thing that varies more decadal scale rise is the monthly variations in mean high tide levels.
      Take a careful look at any of the tide gauge charts…on mostly all of them you can find months with mean high tide from several decades ago that are higher than any recent year. In some places, like The Battery in NYC, there are months long periods from the 19th century that were higher than some recent years.
      Ditto in Florida, and just about everywhere else I have looked
      In fact, there have been no multi year periods that do not overlap with levels measured well over 100 years ago.
      The Battery tide chart:
      http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sltrends/sltrends_station.shtml?stnid=8518750
      Key West tide chart:
      http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sltrends/sltrends_station.shtml?stnid=8724580

  5. The biggest number I see given is “350”…is it fair to say, “It projects that coastal flooding could possibly shoot up several hundredfold by 2100” for that?
    Why is it noteworthy to point-out, “The new study shows how the two factors may work together?” Are we supposed to believe they weren’t before in other studies? Baloney.

  6. Except the bare facts show that storms have not been increasing in frequency or intensity and that sea level rise has not accelerated.
    I don’t care what your models say or how beautiful your mathematics are. If they disagree with basic observation, you can’t use them.

  7. I seem to recall from my youth (circa 1960) a National Geographic article replete with photographs how the east coast of the US was subsiding slowly into the Atlantic Ocean. Old summer beach houses being battered by the rising waters caused by land subsidence.

    • That one was actually true. The subsidence was caused by overdrawing of water wells. As a result, we have significant restrictions practically nationwide on how much water you can draw from your wells to combat land subsidence.
      Of course, this heavily tilts pier-based tidal gauges, but that’s another story.

      • Ben – Although inland, in aquifers, such drawing down certainly occurs, I would not bet that this coastal subsidence is occurring, though it may seem like a proper extension. The subsurface water along coasts is CERTAINLY being replenished by the oceans, and the H2O percentages in soils cannot go below certain levels without the imbalance creating an “R-O membrane-like” pressure differential which would push water through the subsurface soils and under the land. Just as sea water rushes into coastal caves, it would have to be pushing its way into cracks and micro-cracks.
        California may be brought up as an argument against this view, but I don’t think California’s situation is caused by coastal waters or their lack; California’s water is almost all derived from Sierra and Rockies snow melt. I would argue that the Salton Sea’s present condition (for example) of being no longer agricultural is not because of coastal waters being removed below the surface but because the ocean water cannot flow uphill to the elevations of the Salton Sea.
        So, my point is that – IMHO – coastal subsidence would be a naturally occurring subsidence process, not an aquifer issue. Even if in some regions have aquifers that extend under the sea, how does one explain the areas that do not have such land-sea aquifers?

      • Steve, freshwater aquifers aren’t replenished by seawater. If they drop low enough that that happens, the water becomes briny. Freshwater aquifers, even along the coast, are replenished by rainwater and river water. The effects you mention do occur, and that’s why wells don’t go completely dry when you have a high withdrawl day. However, when the water is pumped out faster than it is replenished naturally, it just isn’t there anymore, and the land sinks in response.
        Since you are such an expert, perhaps you would like to discuss with the Houston-Galveston Subsidence District and try to convice them that their work is pointless. It would save me a lot of headache.
        Theoretical knowledge is no substitute for good old experience.

      • Along the East coast of the US, post glacial rebound is causing subsidence in certain regions.
        Now, some might wonder how post glacial rebound could cause subsidence, but the reason is fairly straightforward, if counter-intuitive.

      • Subsidence occurs in unconsolidated strata because of the reduction in aquifer pore pressure, whether they are coastal or not is immaterial. Hard rock aquifer materials generally exhibit an elastic response over the ranges of pressures which pumping subjects them to. In contrast, subsidence occurs when the aquifer material exhibits an inelastic response, (clays, silts, and to a more limited degree, sands). They consolidate (ie shrink) when the pore pressure is decreased (ie pumping), but they do not bounce back to the former position when the pore pressure is increased (ie when the pumping stops). So the vertical subsidence is permanent. In engineering terms the stress vs strain curve of the aquifer material would follow different paths depending on whether it is being loaded or unloaded. Such a curve would called hysteresis in the materials science discipline.

  8. Good grief. Don’t these folks know anything about the laws of thermodynamics?
    Heat engines are driven by temperature DIFFERENCES. If global warming mainly warms the coldest places and times, then the first order effect on violent weather should be a decrease.
    As Homer Simpson would say, “D’oh!”

    • Global warming has warmed the Arctic more than anywhere else, and that is one thing the models got right. (Some of the warming from the early 1970s to shortly after 2000 – when the pause actually started according to a consensus of analyses – seems to be from upward swing of multidecadal oscillations, including the upswing of the AMO.) And when AMO is globally-warming, it is north-warming, because the Arctic and near-Arctic have higher surface albedo positive feedback than the same range of the Southern hemisphere.
      Meanwhile, with the Arctic warming more than the tropics, most northern hemisphere storms would have their wind strength reduced. This includes Nor’Easters, most severe thunderstorms, and most tornadoes F2/EF2 and stronger. Tornado records indicate a very slight downward trend of all classes of tornadoes F2/EF2 and stronger since 1950.
      Hurricanes are another matter, since (at least while they are in the tropics) they depend on temperature difference between the ocean and the tropopause. Increase of GHGs has cooled the tropopause level and the tropical oceans are slightly warmer than before. However, a lot of hurricane damage in eastern USA (especially north of 35 degrees) and Canada comes from hurricanes moving fast and/or going weird (becoming partially or mainly extratropical in storm type) as a result of horizontal temperature gradient. Note that a lot of the memorable hurricanes or formerly-hurricanes (or tropical storms) in Mid-Atlantic/Northeast USA and nearby parts of Canada did not hit when things were warmest. A few hit in June, and most of these hit from September 15th to around Halloween, mainly after September 21st. Extratropical-type weather phenomena involving horizontal temperature gradient were part of these storms.

  9. I remember houses floating in Barnegat Bay in NJ during the 50s and 60s. When you build on sand that is not a lot higher than sea level, you lose when a cat 4 or higher comes through. You had better build on piles that are 20 feet up. Low lying areas are and have been at risk over the past 15,000 years. At least the sea level rise is slowing down the past couple of thousand. I bet they won’t mention that fact.

  10. They continue to exaggerate the threat . This will be the main PR plan prior to PARIS ..Politicians are seeing this fact as well
    Here is quote from PBS FRONTLINE ,INTERVIEWS with NEWT GINGRICH
    Look, I think the problem we’ve had is that the people who have been most aggressively emphatic about major environmental problems tend to be people who come from the left and who, a, exaggerate the problem’s immediacy. If you look at the various things in [Al] Gore’s movie [An Inconvenient Truth], they’re just factually wrong — you know, we’re not faced with drowning Florida by Thursday — and so you start with people reacting to the exaggerations.
    Second, they tend to be very cheerfully anti-market and anti-entrepreneurship and anti-technology. When Gore wrote in [his book] Earth in the Balance that the greatest threat of the 20th century was the internal combustion engine, it was an utterly irrational comment. I mean, no serious student of the 20th century could look at Stalin, Mao, Hitler, the Holocaust and then say, “But boy, that automobile, that was really the big threat.”
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/hotpolitics/interviews/gingrich.html

  11. “Over the past century, the East Coast has seen sea-level rise far above the 8-inch global average–up to a foot in much of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, including New York City.”
    Odd, but the satellite-measured global average sea level rise (going back only to ~1993) is reported as just above 3 mm per year, not 8-inches/100 yrs or ~2 mm/yr. There is a NYC tide gauge that records data going back to ~1850 and shows a steady increase of the same as the satellite, about 3 mm/yr over the 165 year period. Where is the “global warming” in these figures? If by Mid-Atlantic the article authors are referring to Norfolk, VA, that city has been sinking for many centuries – a rebound from a meteor strike that formed the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay some millions of years ago. The average of numerous world-wide tide gauges runs at ~1.6 mm/yr, about half of the NYC gauge average and the satellite average, implying that NYC is also sinking.
    Some of the world-wide tide gauges are going up, some down, and many go back to 1900 or earlier. None of the tide measurements, satellite or gauge, show any notable acceleration or deceleration over the length of their records; and some of the tide gauges go back over 100 years. Thus man-made “global warming,” beginning some time after 1970, could not possibly be the cause of observed sea level change, regardless of it absolute value or how it is measured.
    To look at the data and make up your own mind, go to climate4you.com and click on “oceans.”

      • the rate of the increase has been fairly steady however, even going back to decades before AGW could have been a factor

      • Thanks for the graph! Attribution?
        – it’s mine, knocked up for this post, using PSMSL data. Incidentally, the rate of rise along the Eastern seaboard is cyclic – you get a rough idea from the chart.. Sallenger et al’s “Hotspot” paper used data to 2009, just about a peak rate in the cycle. The chart shows a dip down on the right, after the peak.

      • Isn’t that tide-guage sitting on a patch of reclaimed land, and subject to subsidence? Have they checked the tide-guage height, as well as the sea-level height?
        R

      • Sallenger et al. didn’t concern themselves with rates of subsidence – they just assumed the rates were much the same all along the coast, which they’re not. They should have at least got an average figure, and then subtracted that from their “projected rates”. But they didn’t. Their “Hotspot” is only luke-warm.
        Parts of NY are subsiding at different rates, shown by CGPS (continuous GPS) monitoring stations. Pretty much the whole of the E coast from Boston south is subsiding.
        No data for NY Battery Park, but the CG station on Sandy Hook to the S (tide gauge there also) is currently subsiding at 3.5 mm/year. http://www.sonel.org/spip.php?page=gps&idStation=1896.php

      • Thanks for the graph. Very good.
        For me, though, as a general rule, I loathe graphs that give a single straight-line regression for complex data. I’d much rather see several decadal straight lines on the graph – though it looks like an EXCEL graph and to my knowledge EXCEL doesn’t offer that option…
        Nature’s processes don’t vary in straight lines – no matter WHAT the CO2 Hawaiian data shows. (In fact, that is exactly why I am skeptical of that data – it is FAR too regular – and I interpret the graph as meaning that they are pre-processing the raw data.)

      • Sea level has been rising logarithmically since the end of the last ice age. As long as it continues to rise, this is good news, not bad. Why do people fail to see that a warmer world = greater prosperity for our species, a colder world = great hardship.

      • exactly, Mark W., as are other places on the East coast, like the Chesapeake Bay shore .At the risk of pointing out the obvious, New York City alone is not “the East coast”.

    • Here is a better one, going all the way back…with the source and this analysis:
      “The mean sea level trend is 2.84 millimeters/year with a 95% confidence
      interval of +/- 0.09 mm/yr based on monthly mean sea level data from
      1856 to 2014 which is equivalent to a change of 0.93 feet in 100 years”
      http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sltrends/sltrends_station.shtml?stnid=8518750
      At this site you can see trend charts for anyplace you care to have a gander at.
      But remember, NYC is sinking due to post glacial isostacy.

  12. Sea level rise and scare tactics are not altering sea side property prices and rental costs. Thus the scare tactics must not be working. Otherwise we would have bargain hunters finding opportunities and dear leaders would not be scouting sea side compounds to invest in.

  13. A subtle document from Columbia university . The authors are saying that the threats to the coastal cities are so large that a great deal of money will be needed to protect the communities or relocate them .
    That means of course no money can be spared to be handed over to China and India in Dec as Obama intends .
    That makes sense , and a lesson to be learnt by leaders of certain low- lying European nations bordering the North Sea.

    • People are free to stay or move on. There should be no expectation of permanence, and there should be no expectation that rising sea level is a problem for others to bear.

  14. Atlantic City
    http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sltrends/sltrends_station.shtml?stnid=8534720
    Charleston
    http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sltrends/sltrends_station.shtml?stnid=8665530
    Key West
    http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sltrends/sltrends_station.shtml?stnid=8724580
    Pensacola
    http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sltrends/sltrends_station.shtml?stnid=8729840
    Galveston
    http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sltrends/sltrends_station.shtml?stnid=8771450
    I’m looking and even squinting my eyes and try as I might I just can’t find a hockey stick in any of those sea level gauges.
    All I see are steady, linear trends. There is no shift in the trends post-1950 in “the carbon era”.
    These steady, linear trends combine the universal natural rise in sea level that is unrelated to CO2, and the local impact of geological processes. What these charlatans are doing is to disregard the steady, linear increases observed for the past century, extrapolating a growth curve 5-10 times faster based on “models” then declaring certain climatic doom.
    It’s hard to see how any sensible person could take them seriously.

    • KTM, Thanks for the links to the NOAA tides site. After looking at random locations all over the world, it is clear to this casual observer that there’s nothing to see. I couldn’t see any changes between the pre and post “carbon era”. It is very interesting to see where specific locations are subsiding much faster than others. And in several cases, sea levels are dropping at dramatic rates (like Alaska). I’m guessing the Pacific Plate diving under the North American plate is raising Alaska?

    • Exactly. Show me a model and I will show you assumptions and equations that are DESIGNED to RETURN those assumptions.
      When was the last time you saw a model that DISAGREED with the researcher’s assumptions? Never.
      If it disagreed, they would have tweaked the formulas until the results were in agreement with expectations.
      Ergo, why even DO models, if all of them feed back what is expected? As muscle behind the arguments? Probably. It’s a sad state of affairs if I am not wrong…

    • “What these charlatans are doing is to disregard the steady, linear increases observed for the past century, extrapolating a growth curve 5-10 times faster based on “models” then declaring certain climatic doom.”
      From the “scientific method” video with Richard Feynman,

      If it disagrees with experience or experiment, then it is WRONG.

      Seriously, nothing else need be said…

  15. I am so tired of hearing this propaganda. Sea level has been encroaching at 3mm per year for centuries; for reference try all the ancient ports that are now submerged (i.e. Ostia in Italy). Was it the Roman Empire that caused their climate change?

    • Just a note – I had a wonderful visit to Ostia this past spring and didn’t need any scuba gear at all. In fact the nearest Sea was about 2 miles away. Of course Ostia was located at the mouth of the Tiber and basically was silted up and didn’t sink but it certainly isn’t under water today. I highly recommend a visit there – huge site with better than average ruins as far as preservation goes plus less restrictive access for visitors than most sites in/near Rome.

      • That’s a different problem, due to long term erosion caused by poor land management. Due to heavy logging, there wasn’t a mature forest for 500 miles of the eternal city.Even by the late Imperial Period, Ostia had lost it’s use as a port

      • Quite right, Ostia is easily accessible above water. The Tiber has produced silting, but that is all. Similarly, the port of Ephesus is now several miles inland. Baia is underwater because of huge volcanic subsidence. Those Roman Chariots were not petrol powered.

    • Quite the contrary’ Ostia Antica (to distinguish it from the modern city of that name) now lies two miles inland, due to silting by the Tiber.

    • And stone age tools have been dredged from depths of 250 feet from the continental shelf off the coast of Virginia Beach. Yes, there has been a lot of sea level rise since the ice age ended. What we see now is the decreasingly important logarithimic tail of the big rise.

  16. Ah, yes, Michael Oppenheimer. After twenty years or so at the Environmental Defense Fund, Mr. O. is now Prof. of Geosciences and Intl. Affairs at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton’s political school. I wonder what he may filling those young little minds with. Perhaps it is a good thing that Prof. Will Happer’s office is a very short two blocks down the road.

  17. “The authors analyzed 15 climate models at five locations… They not only considered both factors, but the chances that they would be correlated–in other words, the probability that they could act together in time to produce more than the sum of their parts. Five models simulated both high local sea-level rises and increases in the strongest storms. Based on this, the authors make two projections for the 21st century…”
    Wow – talk about cherry picking your models to get the result you desire. Narrow down the set of fudged models to only the ones you like, then start “projecting”.
    “But these projections help lay the groundwork for more specific research that will be valuable for adapting to climate change.”
    And there’s the inevitable punch line / plea for money.

    • Well, obviously they used worst-case scenarios for BOTH, and both were based upon assumptions that are not borne out by the simple real-world measurements.
      My question is:
      How do you make actual REAL, published, raw data into “worst case” anything? Data is what data is. There can BE no worst case about it.

      • As to those worst-case scenarios, in order to get the HUGE numbers they are talking about, they must be thinking that this is a geometric progression instead of an additive one. If they are, they only show how really and monumentally STUPID they are – probably dorks who barely passed the math needed to get their degrees in green science.
        If they multiply one of the bits by the other, assuming that for each increment of ONE of them the other can and will multiply that increment by the OTHER worst-case, then they are stupider than anyone here even realizes. If the two factors are un-correlated mechanically/process-wise, then multiplying the two is entirely incorrect.

    • Oh, and it IS about the money. It can’t NOT be about the funding. And no one gets funding for claims that are boring and average. They have to sex up the paper in order to scare people into coming across with the dinero.
      People who think this is driven by the politicos, I can’t see how they can say that, when papers like this are out there FAR beyond the pale, into claims that are just f-ing STUPID. But do raise alamrs. And who is doing it? The academics.
      Yes, the AVAILABILITY of the money underlies it all, but it is the scientists who are pushing the alarm button. The politicos are only reacting.
      However, if someone argued that it is the ACADEMIC politics – essentially the office politics of academia/universities – I wouldn’t dispute that at all. I just don’t see the official politicos being behind it. Instead it’s driven by un-elected tree huggers who have a seriously overstated agenda.

      • Steve Garcia says:
        …no one gets funding for claims that are boring and average.
        That’s the kernel. More than $1 billion is shoveled out every year to ‘study climate change’ in all its permutations. The only ones who collect the grant money are the ones crying “Wolf!!”
        Scientists who tell the unvarnished truth: that there is nothing either unusual or unprecedented happening, can wait at the end of the line. The money only goes to the ones sounding false alarms — and the scarier the better.

  18. “It’s an aggregate number over a big area–not a specific prediction for any one place,” said lead author Christopher Little. They are very careful not to make predictions, but they are now shy even of “projections”. What a way to make a living! Probably an attractive one; reportedly the Shukla family of “RICO on them!” fame got paid over $750,000 for a part time work. Plague on them!

  19. Global rise is driven mainly by radar altimetry records, and regional rise is driven mainly by land subsidence and coastal currents.
    Storms have been much calmer as the “warming” progresses, not worse.
    One imaginary problem plus another imaginary problem = a third, scarier imaginary problem.

  20. Yikes:

    Up to now, though, these two hazards have been assessed mostly in isolation from each other.

    People have been using sea level rise combined with storms forever as two horsemen of the Apocalypse. Where have they been. What are they doing, looking as what everybody else is doing, and then claim it is their bright, new idea.

    a company that performs weather and climate research, and related risk assessments

    That wold not be scary risk assessments for insurance companies by any chance, would it?

      • The National Flood insurance is not insured by the private insurance companies, but by the Government. The rise in rates is associated with government mandates that it no longer loose money, which occurred by stupidly insuring properties that had a high risk and private companies would never insure. I think private companies get an administrative fee but do not incur any loss risk.
        My shore home in NJ was classified with rate increases even though it never had a claim since built in the late 1980 even survived Sandy w/o water damage. The flood maps were re drawn to fund the government “fund” and risk areas extended. Prior to the re-rating my home met the elevation requirement and after, it was about a foot below.
        BTW as far as housing goes, it is more cost effective to raise a home than to destroy the economy with suicidal CO 2 restrictions.

      • It should be an inducement for more competition in the field according to economic theory. I think a WUWT insurance company could rake in billions with the high pressure, high water, fire and brimstone free daily advertisements put out by CAGW institutions, governments, NGOs…. For example if you were in the storm damage business you would already be a billionaire selling lower cost insurance to those who have not been insured by fearful colleagues in the racket. Don’t underwrite any premiums on snow and ice damage though! I guess I could sell some premiums myself on flooding insurance for coasts not visited by hurricanes. Merely go out and measure how many feet the property is above sea level and give them a 100 year policy at a ‘good’ price. Go around undercutting the Re guys.

      • Catcracking
        September 21, 2015 at 7:25 pm
        “My shore home in NJ was classified with rate increases even though it never had a claim since built in the late 1980 even survived Sandy w/o water damage. The flood maps were re drawn to fund the government “fund” and risk areas extended. Prior to the re-rating my home met the elevation requirement and after, it was about a foot below.”
        If that is true and you had flood insurance prior to the re-rating, you can grandfather your flood rating to the one previous. That same scenario happened to my property after Andrew in 1993. The flood insurance fund was depleted and they were looking for a way to build it back. So they re-mapped a lot of areas in Florida to a higher base elevation. My property elevation is 13 feet and was build when the base was at 11 feet. After Andrew they changed the base to 15 feet and that would have cost me plenty. Luckily I discovered the grandfather clause.

      • You could chain your home to a team of snails and pull it up the beach about a million times faster than sea level is rising.

      • Tom, you may have just saved me a lot of money.
        They rezoned this area I bought a house in, and even though it has never flooded, and is higher than land a few blocks away that is not in the flood zone…mine now is.
        I will look into this.
        How and where does one apply for this exemption/grandfather clause?

    • Actually, National Flood Insurance has now allowed a higher deductible, up to $10,000. So does that mean they expect more coastal flooding or less? The higher deductible would lessen their obligations for small claims but it also cuts their revenues. I took advantage of the highest deductible and it cut my annual premium almost in half. FWIW, I am one mile from the Gulf of Mexico and my elevation is 13 feet above sea level. But due to some “concern” that a storm surge of over 20 feet “could possibly” come up over one mile through the basin drainage system, my property is put into the highest risk zone, AE. That has never happened and they have sea level and coastal flooding evidence going back to the Indian tribes that lived in this area hundreds of years ago. Thieves!

  21. The past 10,000 years have on average been far hotter than anything our CO2 could cause, but their dire flooding scenarios never happened.

  22. Here’s a link to the actual paper at Nature Climate Change. It’s pay-walled, of course ($32). grrrrr
    http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate2801.html
    I’d really enjoy a free copy of this if anyone knows where I can get one (fair use for serious news analysis and or academic study of the autodidact variety). Till then I guess I’ll content myself with alarmist and hyperbolic press releases, or misleading abstracts that don’t clearly outline the hypothesis being tested, but clearly accept a melange of aggregate GCM outputs as gospel truth. From the abstract: “Sea-level rise and PDI [PDI = Power Distribution Index, a computer generated projection of future hurricane strength] are derived from representative concentration pathway simulations of 15 atmosphere–ocean general circulation models.”

  23. Sea level rise has accelerated off the NE coast of USA in recent years. However while trousering this for short term PR effect, the warmistas should be more careful of what it signifies longer term. This SL build up off the NE coast is due to weakening of the North Atlantic drift / Gulf Stream, part of the overturning and downswing of the AMO which means that a period of cooling is on the way.

    • Eliza, I tend to give more weight to Scandinavian ice data, too. These hardy folk have been sailing around in the Arctic for more than a millennium and I think it is a sacred place for them.

  24. Even natural sea level increase of 3,0 mm is not innocuous, it results in a higher crest of the waves and subsequently more energy release during landfall

  25. A “study” (Nature Climate Change) = a “Gravy Train GRANT MONEY application” (publication of crap).

  26. Could someone please clarify for me the 8-12″ claim and what factors are considered?
    How is local land subsidence considered, which is probably more significant where gauges might be in areas where there have been landfills which is common along the shore? I assume the tide gauge readings are raw data which is affected by land subsidence, correct?
    Second, recently NOAA decided to account for the fact that the ocean bottoms also subside under the hydrostatic pressure of the water especially in very deep areas, which lowers actual sea levels by increasing the volume available. They decided to add the subsidence to the “sea level” rise to increase reported sea level although actual level is not increased.
    I have been boating on the Barnegat Bay in NJ for 40 years and know the depths well since it is not a deep bay, no noticeable evidence of water depth increase. Also I have a who has spent circa 60+ years working the bay (clamming, fishing, etc) and he acknowledges that he cannot see any depth increase although he seems to buy into the progressive line that global warming is real.

  27. I quote:
    “…a new study ….. projects that coastal flooding could possibly shoot up several hundredfold by 2100, from the Northeast to Texas…… Most projections call for a further 2- to 4-foot rise by 2100; some go as high as 6 feet.”
    Sure. Al Gore said it would rise 20 feet and was given a Nobel Prize for that. The only thing that this tells us is that the Nobel Prize committee is a bunch of idiots who let Al Gore cheat them out of a prize or else they are illiterate and did not read what he claimed or else they deliberately ignored it which is the worst alternative because it is corruption that ought to be investigated and punished. If you want to know how much sea level has risen or will rise you ought to read scientific literature and ignore those associates of Hansen at Columbia. That is what I did after seeing his movie. In the April 11th 2008 issue of the journal Science there is an article by Chao, Yu, and Li entitled “Impact of Artificial Water Impoundment on Global Sea Level.” What they did was to account for sea level changes produced as a result of water held behind all the dams in the world built since the year 1900. They report that doing so removed apparent irregularities in the rate of sea level rise reported in the literature. Sea level rise curve for the previous eighty years in fact became linear with a slope of 2.47 millimeters per year. If you work that out it becomes just a little under ten inches per century, not twenty feet that Al Gore gets away with. If you have done any quantitative measurements in your field you should know that something that has been linear that long is not about to change anytime soon. I would go with this projection/prediction and advise you to do the same. Ignore these fanciful numbers that they still can’t pin down better than a factor of two or ten (as the case may be) and stay with the three significant figures of Chao, Yu and Li (or maybe two to give them leeway). And stop funding any further non-sensical futurology about sea level change.

  28. Love that the director of the Earth Institute can be found on the Party of European Socialists (PES) giving speeches, that the PES is connected to socialistinternational.org, and that George Soros is some kind of external advisor to the Earth Institute.
    These control freaks are going all out for Paris.

  29. Anytime someone presents an analysis postulating ‘what if’ this happens together with ‘what if’ that happens without CONSIDERABLE data to support that either option is VERY probable we can be sure the resulting report should be studiously ignored. It makes NO difference!

  30. OT: VW.
    A ‘clean diesel’, running with soot filter for standard test / via: allday use / the environmental impact is 40 times higher – and that destroys the world’s climate!
    A SCALE for fantasy specification values set by the EPA: a few hundred thousand
    4cylinder diesels with reduced soot filters will destroy the world climate.
    Or is it just about to strangle the Western automobile production.
    – anyway: baseless scales, that no one can cope with.
    Thought off for political merits – and it’s just about ‘leaving for work / getting home again.’
    Climate Wars – fairy tales.
    Hans

    • won’t hold my breath until beheaded by heavy religious fanatics indiscriminated by jesuits, sharia or EPA’s green belivers. sucks.

    • to complete:
      won’t hold my breath until beheaded by heavy religious fanatics indiscriminated by jesuits,sharia or EPA’s green
      belivers due to some
      RICO act.
      sucks.
      G’Night. Hans

  31. Climate scientists are beginning to sound like those journalists who run around interviewing each other because no-one else is available and nothing is going on. They must be awash in funds to be able to do this.

  32. It looks like they just selected a set of variables that could be used to “prove” their foregone conclusions, assigned some wild guess uncertainties to the variables, ran a Mont Carlo simulation, and reported the P10 and P90 results.
    “but scientists are…”. I strongly support the first amendment, but wouldn’t it be nice if it were possible to ban the word “scientists” followed by some alarming conclusion ;-)?

  33. The bottom line is this- for “climate action” to actually make a meaningful difference, human activity would have to be the dominant cause of climate change. If humans were responsible for say 20% of climate change, the rest being natural, the effort would be almost wasted, We would suffer the pain for almost no gain.
    The so-called “consensus” is very much manipulated. The much touted Cook et al review of 11,944 climate papers showed just 64 papers came to an explicit and quantified conclusion supporting anthropogenic climate change. Implicit opinions with or without quantification(more than likely full of the weasel words-might, may, could) are NOT proof of anthropogenic climate change/ global warming. 9 papers quantitatively rejected anthropogenic global warming. 64 (reanalysis suggests 41) out of the 4,000 odd that expressed an opinion on AGW is NOT a convincing “consensus.” It is a contrived consensus with the intention of deceiving people to believe a conclusion that is different to the data. The quantified opinion that human activity is the dominant cause of global warming/ climate change was only 1% of the opinions expressed.
    CONCLUSION
    This is NOT grounds for radical decarbonisation of civillization.

  34. For Sydney readers, the grand guru of Gaia, the seer of catastrophe, the one and only (drum roll please)Tim Flannery is speaking at Sydney University this Wednesday(tomorrow) 6.30pm. Get those hands up pronto to get your question in (maybe, but we can live in hope.)
    We would all like to know whether climate policy should be influenced more by models or by cold, hard observational data.
    We would all like to know if Professor Flannery knows how many of the Cook et al reviewed papers came to a quantitative conclusion that human activity causes global warming/ climate change.
    We would love to ask him how lucky is it for him and the UN that people are so gullible to believe that a 15% change in the concentration of a minor trace gas that is essential for life could be the chief driver of global warming/climate change/extreme weather/ocean chemistry.
    We would also love to ask him, since the science is so “settled” why he will not debate with sceptics such as Professors Ian Plimer, Bob Carter or perhaps go on to Alan Jones’ or Andrew Bolt’s program and lay the issue to rest before we sign binding committments in Paris.
    See you there.

  35. We pay for this!

    Most projections call for a further 2– to 4-foot rise by 2100; some go as high as 6 feet.
    At the same time, separate studies suggest that the intensity of the biggest storms generated in the North Atlantic may increase, because warmer waters contain more energy. Projections of this phenomenon are somewhat less certain, but scientists are taking them with increasing seriousness.
    The new study shows how the two factors may work together. The authors analyzed 15 climate models at five locations: ……

    and so on goes the drivel……………..

  36. Even the IPCC has acknowledged that sea levels rose from 1920-1950 at about the same as 1990-present. (AR5, WG1, Chapter 3)
    Of course they simply hand-wave around inconvenient facts by citing “natural variability” in the past. They might as well invoke “magic” or “evil water spirits” because what they’re actually saying is that unless they can blame CO2 they’re completely stumped.

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