Latest excuse: 'Pinatubo eruption masked sea level acceleration in satellite record'

From the NATIONAL CENTER FOR ATMOSPHERIC RESEARCH/UNIVERSITY CORPORATION FOR ATMOSPHERIC RESEARCH, and the department of “let’s not show a graph of sea level rise in the press release” comes this real PR spin job.

Climate change already accelerating sea level rise, study finds

Pinatubo eruption masked acceleration in satellite record

The caldera of Mount Pinatubo on June 22, 1991. CREDIT Courtesy of USGS.

The caldera of Mount Pinatubo on June 22, 1991. CREDIT
Courtesy of USGS.

BOULDER, Colo. — Greenhouse gases are already having an accelerating effect on sea level rise, but the impact has so far been masked by the cataclysmic 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines, according to a new study led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).

Satellite observations, which began in 1993, indicate that the rate of sea level rise has held fairly steady at about 3 millimeters per year. But the expected acceleration due to climate change is likely hidden in the satellite record because of a happenstance of timing: The record began soon after the Pinatubo eruption, which temporarily cooled the planet, causing sea levels to drop.

The new study finds that the lower starting point effectively distorts the calculation of sea level rise acceleration for the last couple of decades.

The study lends support to climate model projections, which show the rate of sea level rise escalating over time as the climate warms. The findings were published today in the open-access Nature journal Scientific Reports.

“When we used climate model runs designed to remove the effect of the Pinatubo eruption, we saw the rate of sea level rise accelerating in our simulations,” said NCAR scientist John Fasullo, who led the study. “Now that the impacts of Pinatubo have faded, this acceleration should become evident in the satellite measurements in the coming decade, barring another major volcanic eruption.”

Study co-author Steve Nerem, from the University of Colorado Boulder, added: “This study shows that large volcanic eruptions can significantly impact the satellite record of global average sea level change. So we must be careful to consider these effects when we look for the effects of climate change in the satellite-based sea level record.”

The findings have implications for the extent of sea level rise this century and may be useful to coastal communities planning for the future. In recent years, decision makers have debated whether these communities should make plans based on the steady rate of sea level rise measured in recent decades or based on the accelerated rate expected in the future by climate scientists.

The study was funded by NASA, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the National Science Foundation, which is NCAR’s sponsor.

Reconstructing a pre-Pinatubo world

Climate change triggers sea level rise in a couple of ways: by warming the ocean, which causes the water to expand, and by melting glaciers and ice sheets, which drain into the ocean and increase its volume. In recent decades, the pace of warming and melting has accelerated, and scientists have expected to see a corresponding increase in the rate of sea level rise. But analysis of the relatively short satellite record has not borne that out.

To investigate, Fasullo, Nerem, and Benjamin Hamlington of Old Dominion University worked to pin down how quickly sea levels were rising in the decades before the satellite record began.

Prior to the launch of the international TOPEX/Poseidon satellite mission in late 1992, sea level was mainly measured using tide gauges. While records from some gauges stretch back to the 18th century, variations in measurement technique and location mean that the pre-satellite record is best used to get a ballpark estimate of global mean sea level.

To complement the historic record, the research team used a dataset produced by running the NCAR-based Community Earth System Model 40 times with slightly different–but historically plausible–starting conditions. The resulting simulations characterize the range of natural variability in the factors that affect sea levels. The model was run on the Yellowstone system at the NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center.

A separate set of model runs that omitted volcanic aerosols — particles spewed into the atmosphere by an eruption — was also assessed. By comparing the two sets of runs, the scientists were able to pick out a signal (in this case, the impact of Mount Pinatubo’s eruption) from the noise (natural variations in ocean temperature and other factors that affect sea level).

“You can’t do it with one or two model runs–or even three or four,” Fasullo said. “There’s just too much accompanying climate noise to understand precisely what the effect of Pinatubo was. We could not have done it without large numbers of runs.”

Using models to understand observations

Analyzing the simulations, the research team found that Pinatubo’s eruption caused the oceans to cool and sea levels to drop by about 6 millimeters immediately before TOPEX/Poseidon began recording observations.

As the sunlight-blocking aerosols from Mount Pinatubo dissipated in the simulations, sea levels began to slowly rebound to pre-eruption levels. This rebound swamped the acceleration caused by the warming climate and made the rate of sea level rise higher in the mid- to late 1990s than it would otherwise have been.

This higher-than-normal rate of sea level rise in the early part of the satellite record makes it appear that the rate of sea level rise has not accelerated over time and may actually have decreased somewhat. In fact, according to the study, if the Pinatubo eruption had not occurred–leaving sea level at a higher starting point in the early 1990s–the satellite record would have shown a clear acceleration.

“The satellite record is unable to account for everything that happened before the first satellite was launched, ” Fasullo said. “This study is a great example of how computer models can give us the historical context that’s needed to understand some of what we’re seeing in the satellite record.”

Understanding whether the rate of sea level rise is accelerating or remaining constant is important because it drastically changes what sea levels might look like in 20, 50, or 100 years.

“These scientists have disentangled the major role played by the 1991 volcanic eruption of Mt. Pinatubo on trends in global mean sea level,” said Anjuli Bamzai, program director in the National Science Foundation’s Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences, which funded the research. “This research is vital as society prepares for the potential effects of climate change.”

Because the study’s findings suggest that acceleration due to climate change is already under way, the acceleration should become evident in the satellite record in the coming decade, Fasullo said.

Since the original TOPEX/Poseidon mission, other satellites have been launched–Jason-1 in 2001 and Jason-2 in 2008–to continue tracking sea levels. The most recent satellite, Jason-3, launched on Jan. 17 of this year.

“Sea level rise is potentially one of the most damaging impacts of climate change, so it’s critical that we understand how quickly it will rise in the future,” Fasullo said. “Measurements from Jason-3 will help us evaluate what we’ve learned in this study and help us better plan for the future.”


Compare the title of the press release to the title of the paper:

Is the detection of accelerated sea level rise imminent?


Global mean sea level rise estimated from satellite altimetry provides a strong constraint on climate variability and change and is expected to accelerate as the rates of both ocean warming and cryospheric mass loss increase over time. In stark contrast to this expectation however, current altimeter products show the rate of sea level rise to have decreased from the first to second decades of the altimeter era. Here, a combined analysis of altimeter data and specially designed climate model simulations shows the 1991 eruption of Mt Pinatubo to likely have masked the acceleration that would have otherwise occurred. This masking arose largely from a recovery in ocean heat content through the mid to late 1990 s subsequent to major heat content reductions in the years following the eruption. A consequence of this finding is that barring another major volcanic eruption, a detectable acceleration is likely to emerge from the noise of internal climate variability in the coming decade.

Access to open source article:

We have had some very good essays about the hoped for acceleration in sea level rise. Most recently this one in March of 2016:

An answer to: Is the rise in sea levels accelerating? by Jan Kjetil Andersen where he determines:


Above: IPCC AR5 page 289 their Figure 3.14

According to the figure, there has been no accelerating since 1920. We see that both Church & White and Ray & Douglas observe approximately the same annual rise of around 2.5 mm/year between 1920 and 1940, and then there is a fall 1 mm/year before the rate rebounds to 2.5 mm in the late 1980-ies.

The Jevrejeva et. Al observes a maximum rate of 4 mm/year in the 1940-es but the series stop before the increase in recent decades. Satellite altimeters shows a steady rise with a relative small variation between 2.9 and 3.9 mm/year.

The satellite measurements has a very short series in the figure because the series only goes from 1992 to 2012. That means that only two years can be calculated with an 18-years trend.

I think a very important piece of information comes out of this figure. We see here that in reality IPCC find no evidence for accelerating sea level rise after 1920. The rise before 1920 was real, but can hardly have been caused by the small amounts of greenhouse gases emitted at that time. The CO2 level in 1920 was according to Nasa 303 ppm, or just 10% above the pre-industrial level and the warming that could have caused the sea level rise has to come before that. (

And of course, Willis did an analysis back in 2011, Putting the Brakes on Acceleration, that is still germane today.  This is the graph that NCAR won’t show you in their press release:

Figure 1. Satellite-measured sea level rise. Errors shown are 95% confidence intervals.Data Source.

128 thoughts on “Latest excuse: 'Pinatubo eruption masked sea level acceleration in satellite record'

  1. Got to admire the message discipline of the climate activists. Their story changes are handled as they were in Orwell’s 1984 — the past goes down the memory hole, replaced by a new truth.
    Years of declarations that the rise in sea levels are accelerating — gone! Not a peep from activists about their confidently hysterical warnings about this.
    That’s how society is changed: long-term lavishly financed efforts by well-organized professionals. Like a river eroding away bedrock, a grain at a time.

    • The science is settled, but flexible. New explanations can be added as needed, but the truth stays always the same: In year 2100, temperature will be up by 4 degrees, and the sea level will be up by 2 meters. Don’t doubt our models! They have always contained all explanations. Should you doubt anyway, RICO on you!

      • Funny how this report talks about the Pinatubo eruption in 1991 causing a “Decline” in sea level which is conveniently just before the Satellite Record begins.
        Every Sea Level reconstruction I can find, like this one from SkepticalScience here
        shows that the actual fall in sea level happened in 1986 or 87 and was in fact recovering before during and after the eruption.
        (gotta like their sidebar widget showing the accumulated Hiroshima bomb heat since 1998 considering that is when Global Warming stopped.)
        And this one from the EPA here also shows the sea level falling around 1986 and then rising with just the slightest of blips around 1992

      • Also Jevrejeva’s latest paper states that the was no acceleration in the 20th. century. ( And she is no climate sceptic ).
        The other problem they have with this spin is that volcanoes are all part of the natural variability. There has been an unusually long period since 1991 with no major eruptions. So one could equally argue that the recent level of sea level rise is “only” because of the lack of volcanic activity. The limited amount of data they have has a trend which is biased high due to the lack of volcanoes,

      • Duzzat mean that there was sea level acceleration but you couldn’t see it through the clouds of volcanic ash; or was there just no sea level acceleration to see anyway.
        Just what precisely does the sea level do when it accelerates anyhow.
        I’ve seen the sea level looking just like a sheet of glass, out in the Florida Keys West of Key West. It was a place called “The Jewelry Store” where at one time Stu Apte caught his world record 154 # tarpon (on fly).
        It actually has a different name but I wouldn’t want to give away his secret fishing hole.
        But at the time I fished there it was neither accelerating nor changing its rate of acceleration.
        In fact it was behaving like the function: y = exp (-1/ x^2).
        At the time, I dunno what volcanos were going off , if any. Certainly none in the Florida Keys.

      • Perhaps the lowering in 1986 was measured by tide gauges around the Philippines and could have been caused by uplift prior to the Pinatubo eruption that had settled afterward creating the appearance of increasing sea level rise

      • From the figures it is clear that prior to 1980 appears to be somewhat on lower side with few measurements. The wells built along Italian coast present no change in sea level. Also in recent years several factors affected the coast line — tidal waves – coastal erosion – land sinking – etc.
        Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

    • Now that the pause has been erased, they can’t use that for sea-level rise slowing so they need to do some more GI-GO calculations. Aerosols are one of the least poorly understood things in all of climate science. The idea that you can take one GCM, run it 40 times in order to get a “result” and then believe that this actually tells you something about the real world is idiotic. And, it’s in a Nature journal as well. At best, this is merely a hypothetical scenario that could suggest that SLR might have been affected. Or SLR really has slowed slightly. Amazing how much work they will go to (the computers do most of the work) to rescue their favorite version of events and show that the data are “wrong”.

      • Hey Bryan, you don’t read those lying loony tunes at SKS do you?

        Satellite observations, which began in 1993, indicate that the rate of sea level rise has held fairly steady at about 3 millimeters per year. But the expected acceleration due to climate change is likely hidden in the satellite record because of a happenstance of timing: The record began soon after the Pinatubo eruption, which temporarily cooled the planet, causing sea levels to drop.
        So, if we accept their claim the steady rate of rise of 3mm/y is misleading since it is partly a result of starting at the bottom of a natural dip caused by Pinatubo.
        In any case, there has been such wholesale adjusting, fiddling and correcting been done to the various bits of the satellite record in order to tack it together into a supposedly continuous record, that it has no long term validity.
        This individual satellite records are totally inconsistent with each other until they are massaged and beaten into submission to agree with each other.
        It’s nothing but fudge, tuned to provide the expected results.

      • Greg,
        Not generally, I was just looking for Their data on Sea Level Rise displayed in graph format by them to see if there was a dramatic drop in 1991/2 from the eruption. Their graphs indicate the opposite, an increase in sea level rise just after the eruption.

    • If the eruption mosque the sea level accelerating rise then what is the impact of 60-year natural cycle in global average temperature sine curve peaks in 2016?
      Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

    • They are effectively claiming that a single volcanic eruption has a 25-year impact. Right. Let’s go back and see how other eruptions impacted climate. None of them had such a long-ranged impact.

    • Love this comment. Of course they conveniently don’t mention that the IPCC and computer models do not include any volcano eruptions. The argument is they can’t predict when they might happen but It is pretty obvious they believe these events reduce temperature. One might assume they would just assume an average century but no because obviously that would lower their projections of catastrophic horrific devastating climate change

      • Pinatubo was the first volcanic erruption in history that could affect climate.
        Did they just admit that Pinatubo artificially steepened the trend since that event?
        Damm the tangled web.

        • I think you mean in the recent history. Eruptions have affected climate greatly forever. We don’t understand exactly how but there are models being worked on. I think this has a reasonable chance of eventually being something we can estimate. In any case not including it in IPCC clearly is evidence of a problem with the estimation process.
          More importantly we now know that eruptions are occurring in the deep ocean. This is an area we knew nothing about 20 years ago when the IPCC started. Today we know these fissures in the ocean floor vary in output depending on gravitational forces on the Earth. We don’t know what contribution they make. The IPCC assumed it was neutral and not changing. Another bad assumption by the IPCC. we need to study this more.

    • This is especially nonsense as we have many records dating back over a century and a number for far longer. How are some scientists so confident that they can tell us the temperature a millineum ago to a fraction of a degree from a few tree rings, but others are trying to say the actual measurements of sea level cannot be trusted before 1993. This is madness.

    • I was thinking the same thing. Lower starting point means Pinatubo is masking an even greater deceleration

    • Overestimated at the beginning (early 1990’s) so that the more recent data showing a slowdown in SLR can be discredited and that SLR really would have been measured higher more recently has the volcano never
      happened. Interesting that the GCM is that powerful and works so well that it can model the effects of a major volcano on the climate of the planet. That is some wonderful GCM that can do all that and with such accuracy. See the comment with the data NCAR won’t show in press release to see the recent “slowdown”.

    • True, the rates would be overestimated, but even the overestimates are not scary so they need an acceleration which they can extrapolate out 100 years and manufacture something scary.

    • Yes, the T trend post Pintatubo is artificially raised. (self goal by the CAGW crowd)
      SL rates, not even cogent which are steady at about .2 mm per year per global ride guages confirmed stationary be satelites.

  2. The new study finds that the lower starting point effectively distorts the calculation of sea level rise acceleration for the last couple of decades.
    you mean like picking the period when the Arctic had the most ice as a start

    • Latitude says: August 10, 2016 at 9:05 am
      … you mean like picking the period when the Arctic had the most ice as a start

      Floating ice in the Arctic doesn’t count. I’ve been trying to do a physics experiment to prove that.
      Pour a nice drink. Throw in a couple of ice cubes. Use a grease pencil to mark the liquid level on the side of the glass. Wait for the ice cubes to melt and check to see if the liquid level changed.
      Somehow the experiment never gets to run to completion. Oh well, try try try again.
      [The mods caution you to be careful how you manage the meniscus. .mod]

      • Well we already know the outcome of that experiment.
        The liquid level n the glass goes down.
        It does that because the heat to melt the ice comes out of the liquid so it lowers the temperature of the water in the glass, and since the Temperature coefficient of expansion of water is positive above 4 deg. C the water will shrink.
        If you don’t believe the heat to melt the ice comes out of the water, find a fresh water lake, with floating ice on it. Then strip off all your clothes and then go and jump in the lake.
        Come back and tell us your results.

  3. There is a sense of urgency out there in scare land to make the big play for a permanent (all purpose) Waxman carbon tax before cyclical cooling sets in. You don’t have to be a genius to see the factual evidence of long cycle cooling coming back around in ARGO data sets for oceans and atmospheric cooling at least in the northern hemisphere with solar minimum and spotless sun coming up. That happens to be the same region where the money comes from if anyone is bean counting. Short term cooling from ENSO does not help either in the political calculus of courtroom win-the-day spin tactics.

    • Resourceguy, help me out here, with Waxman gone who is carrying the torch for the nonsense he was spewing? I need to know where to send my contributions for their opponents.
      Thanks, Mark

      • I’ll let you know right after the Nov. election when the grand mandate claims are declared. Most likely it will be the west coast party contingent in mass and other party leadership team members. You don’t need a Waxman individually at this point, with a party plank laid. It’s a team push forward from here after all the ground prep work from the media, misdirected federal and international agencies, and many thousands of advocacy groups. Think ACA push as the model and spending priorities as the prize. A permanent carbon tax could grease the way for CBO cost analysis for Medicare expansion, SS benefit expansion, another fake pot hole sales job on infrastructure, and basically a stimulus plan without a recession to justify it. You can think of it as a national sales tax paid by business and indirectly by consumers. That can buy a lot of votes for decades to come in their minds. This would explain the look-the-other-way on evidence and debate-has-ended mentality. It is pure greed and power that drives them.

      • Resourceguy, thanks for your thoughts. I will save my political contributions, and instead will prepare for the revolution.

  4. Rationalization of the lack of acceleration in sea level rise is confirmation that there has been no acceleration.

    • No, it’s there, just Like all the invisible space aliens surrounding us.
      Sophisticated modeling of a large range of all the variables of the Drake equation informs us that advanced life forms around for far longer than mankind must exist, and they must have found us by now. Since we haven’t observed any, it must mean they are invisible, but we will spot them very soon.
      You just gotta take it on faith like a Church of CAGW congregant. Got it?

  5. Message 1) Humans control the climate!
    Message 2) We can detect Message 1 easily
    Untold Message 3) Don’t tell people what we can’t detect
    Message 4) Find natural reasons to detect what could not be detected.
    Message 5) Tell people we detected Message 1
    Untold Message 6) Don’t tell people that nature easily hides Man’s impact
    Worked for temps, so it works for SLR too.

  6. So, once more they wander the land of circular logic. What they really have said is that their models containing [parameter] do not behave the same as models where [parameter] has been changed to a different value. If I recall correctly, WIllis Eschenbach has repeatedly sought evidence of a volcanic signature in weather data, and was not impressed with the results.

    • Is it my screen, or is there actually a slight long-term deceleration in Figure 1 of the OP. The heavy blue line looks convex to me.

  7. Re Willis’s Figure 1 (bottom chart): this data stops in 2011, though the link leads to the latest data (release 3, 2016).
    The polynomial trend line has straightened out a little since 2011, and the rate of rise is up from 30 +/- 4 mm/ century to 34 +/- 4 mm century in the latest data. This is still within Anderson’s stated limits of a linear rise.

    • I think that 30 mm/century is 0.30mm/yr (and 34 mm/century is 0.34 mm/year). Isn’t the correct number closer to 3 mm/year? Ian M

  8. Your house is all screwed up because the tape measure I used was, apparently, out of whack, so you should sue Lufkin or Stanley, or Home Depot, anyone but me.
    These days seems like everyone has an excuse

  9. If the Pinatubo eruption cooled the beginning of the record, then as the dust and aerosols from Pinatubo washed out of the atmosphere over the next couple of years, the rate of sea level rise would have accelerated.
    Pinatubo could only lower the rate of rise if it occurred at the end of the record, not at the beginning.

    • My thoughts exactly, a lower start point with an unchanged end point would equal a greater acceleration.
      “The new study finds that the lower starting point effectively distorts the calculation of sea level rise acceleration for the last couple of decades.”

      • If you have an accelerating graph, and you make a dip to either the beginning or the end, in both cases the acceleration is smaller. In the latter the calculated average speed over the period is made smaller, and the the former the speed is artificially increased.
        So the dip in the beginning will decrease the acceleration, but increase the observed average speed of the rise. Of course you’ll report this as understated acceleratiion, not overstated sea level rise.

      • Mary,
        faith is the answer you are looking for. Faith in the consensus. Faith without questioning.
        Now move along.

  10. It’s a good thing they have these fancy “model” thingys. They sure couldn’t have done this “scientific” work without them. LOTS of them…
    “To complement the historic record, the research team used a dataset produced by running the NCAR-based Community Earth System Model 40 TIMES with slightly different–but HISTORICALLY PLAUSIBLE–starting conditions.
    A separate set of model runs that omitted volcanic aerosols… was also assessed.
    “You can’t do it with one or two model runs–or even three or four,” Fasullo said. We could not have done it without large numbers of runs.”
    So, now they really do “control the past.” It may not be ‘history’ but as long as it’s “historically plausible” it’s close enough for government bureaucrats and 21st Century “science.”
    “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”
    George Orwell, 1984

    • Agreed. Models have become the past, replacing all those pesky holes in data and alternate outcomes we can’t actually observe. The world is a digital simulation.

  11. If I get this correctly, this would be corroborated by ocean heat content measurements that would show a rapid decrease in OHC in 1993-1995 followed by an increase in ocean warming after 1994 or so.
    I am sure this has been done of course.

  12. They are busy rehearsing for when the “Pause” returns. They are planning a really big shoe, with lots of songs and tap-dancing. It will be brilliant.

  13. The real risk to humanity comes not from increases in radiative forcing but from this sort of egregious data forcing, leading to ever more ludicrous mitigation ‘strategies’.

    • John Boles

      I do not understand how you can measure 3mm per year with a satellite.

      No, it is even worse than that: They are claiming that they have discovered the DIFFERENCE between a decades-long average rate of 2.2 mm/year and and their “newly-found” 3.0 mm/year RATE in sea water level rise!

  14. After all that work…….these clowns need to be told that the typical Signal + Noise paradigm doesn’t work in a non-linear chaotic system for extraction of signals, especially in a system that you don’t really understand. We can extract/differentiate between a Baby and a Mother’s heart beats using EKG with non-linear signal extraction methods, but it helps that we know the dynamics of heart beats and know (with a high degree of certainty) what the EKG should look like. Chalk up another useless paper filling the pages (Journal) with misinformation.

  15. Identifying the effects of global warming on real-time weather has become a Pokemon hunt — invisible to all but the chasers: “I see one — do you see it? It’s big!!! Wait… It’s coming after us — IT’S WORSE THAN WE THOUGHargggghhhhT !!!!!”

    • Sorry ossqss, didn’t see your post, just sent same reply to John Boles above.
      This short simple video goes to show how absurd it is for people to claim they can measure Sea Level to the Millimetre. Another big joke is measurments above sea level to the Millimetre.

  16. You just have to love the CAGW crowd.
    With enough time and resources they go and prove the darnedest things with their ‘models’.
    A) They’ve proved and admitted there is a pause.
    B) CAGW temperature increase claims and predictions are false.
    C) All of their meltwater claims just melted away.
    D) They can make their models dance and swing their trunks.

  17. They’ve got it backwards. Pinatubo temporarily cooled Earth, lowering sea level. A lower starting sea level would accelerate rate of sea level rise. Must be wonderful to be a scientist these days. Remember a line from Beatles song “you can get wrong and think it’s alright”! How did this get past peer review? Silly me!

  18. From the abstract:
    A consequence of this finding is that barring another major volcanic eruption, a detectable acceleration is likely to emerge from the noise of internal climate variability in the coming decade.
    They forgot a word, barely detectable. And in order to get to the usual predictions of a meter of sea level rise by 2100 they are going to need an average rate over the next 84 years of well over three times what it is today. Barely detectable acceleration isn’t going to cut it.

  19. There are a quite a few erupting volcanoes on the planet in any given period. Some of them smoke, bloop or blast depending on the day. So I guess what they are truly admitting is that volcanic activity should not be considered a constant in their climate models?

  20. “Satellite observations, which began in 1993, indicate that the rate of sea level rise has held fairly steady at about 3 millimeters per year. But the expected acceleration due to climate change is likely hidden in the satellite record because of a happenstance of timing: The record began soon after the Pinatubo eruption, which temporarily cooled the planet, causing sea levels to drop.
    The new study finds that the lower starting point effectively distorts the calculation of sea level rise acceleration for the last couple of decades.”
    That’s some Gold Medal mental gymnastics right there.

  21. OMG Canal St in NYC is under 20 feet of water. And Florida has vast areas flooded. It’s just terrible. We all believe that, right? It must be true. I saw it in Mad Magazine last year, people were swimming to work right down Canal St. .
    Yea, sure, with all the modern technology they just found this out now!
    You know in Colorado recreational smoking of pot is legal. I suspect that those guys in Boulder are, well, as the song says, ” one toke over the line” . ( I think they are inhaling).

    • Recreational over-indulgence of pot could explain a lot of things in the last 7 yrs of the Obama exective branch.

  22. I think one should read it in another way: It’s the first time that the mainstream admits that there is NO accelearation to measure. They blame it on pinatobu… you can forget about this. Next year there is another reason. The core is: There is no acceleration, admitted!

    • frankclimate,
      “The core is: There is no acceleration, admitted!”
      So too the “Pause”; admitted . . thing is, is is not what it once was . . We’re travelling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind; a journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That’s the signpost up ahead – our next stop, the Cagwit Zone!

      • Evidence~
        August 4, 2016 at 10:23 pm
        “I’m not pretending I think that. I’m saying that the sea level rise from anthropongenic climate change: currently a few centimetres, is problematic.”
        Oh, yeah, the didn’t happen projected warming, that got canceled out by natural variation . . resulting in a few centimeters rise over what would have happened if the natural variation cooling had not been cancelled out by the virtual AGW . . Problematic is good term for that sort of sea level rise, I’ll give you that ; )

  23. I am confused. First if Pinatubo erupted in 1991, cooling the oceans and regenerating ice, by 1993 when measurements started, the oceans would be lower – so wouldn’t the increase actually be more, not less? Secondly my understanding is that the satellites can measure a static ocean to an average of +-2 cm, let alone a wavy moving one. But if that is the case – assuming about 3.5 mm of rise a year we would have an 8 CM difference between 1993 and today, the error in measurement would be +- 4 cm. I am not sure there all this precision comes in. What can once discern from a 4 – 12 cm rise in 23 years? Not much.

  24. “Satellite observations, which began in 1993, indicate that the rate of sea level rise has held fairly steady at about 3 millimeters per year.”
    That’s only about 20 years. Tide gauge readings (raw data) at 22 sites globally that extend 120 years or more have been analyzed. This makes Pinatubo irrelevant.
    The data not only does not support an increasing acceleration, it does not support an overall acceleration in the rate of sea level rise. The data DOES reveal that variations in the sea level, after accounting for a linear trend (~3 mm/year, or one foot per century), show only uncorrelated idiosyncratic variations that do not even have a discernible periodicity – anywhere.

  25. “This study is a great example of how computer models can give us the historical context that’s needed to understand some of what we’re seeing in the satellite record.”
    “This study is a great example of how computer models can give us the *hysterical* context that’s needed to understand some of what we’re seeing in the satellite record.”
    There. Fixed.

  26. “Now that the impacts of Pinatubo have faded, this acceleration should become evident in the satellite measurements in the coming decade, barring another major volcanic eruption.”
    Well we are hardly likely to see such a thing as a major volcanic eruption in the next decade are we?
    It is amazing how they just buy arbitrary chunks of time. Whoops there goes another decade!!!!

  27. In order to compare one sea level measurement against another via satellite wouldnt an accurate reading only be obtained when surface conditions are identical. Influences from high or low pressure systems, orbit and positioning of the moon and sun would need to be identical. Human adjustments wont cut it as they are obviously open to a lot of interpretation.

  28. More NCAR *****.. what’s that word [that] gets me in the mod bin again.. cant remember
    [Yes, but “htat” word also attracts attention. .mod]

  29. “To complement the historic record, the research team used a dataset produced by running the NCAR-based Community Earth System Model 40 times with slightly different–but historically plausible–starting conditions.”
    This is reasonable………to get an ensemble that provides a range of individual solutions as we do with climate/weather models. However, it’s not exactly clear how they managed to isolate the effect of the volcanic eruption 25 years ago in distorting the sea level acceleration that has been taking place, let’s say over the last decade.
    They are saying that the rebound from Pinatubo in the 90’s caused a misleading, higher bounce in sea levels, that appeared to be part of an acceleration but really wasn’t and we should ignore the sea level acceleration in the mid/late 90’s and if we do, then the lack of sea levels accelerating since then does not really mean that sea levels are not accelerating.
    Here’s what makes more sense to me. We had an acceleration in global warming in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Sea levels accelerated higher, as evidenced by the data that they want us to ignore in the mid/late 1990’s.
    When global warming paused after the late 1990’s, the sea levels stopped accelerating higher.
    What they appeared to have done was run a model with 40 variations(created and ensemble) and picked out the variations() that would explain the lack of sea levels accelerating………..for a different reason than the pause. In this case, a volcanic eruption in 1991.
    This is not a heck of a lot different than climate model builders picking the equations to use in their models that represent what “they” think will give them the results. They believe that these are the best equations. Of course they do because those equations yield the right results when you plug in all the numbers.
    You can tweek a model, change and plug in different equations until it has a solution that fits into your belief of how things went/should go. Their model doesn’t actually “know” the volcanic eruption caused this effect……….it was programmed in by the modelers, who played around with the equations until they got the right ones to show it!

  30. “Pinatubo eruption masked sea level acceleration in satellite record”
    That’s at about the same level as saying the horizon masks sea monsters like the Kraken from our consciousness, that infinity masks God/Satan/the Gods from our vision. When I was a kid the back fence masked a bogeyman called Jimmy Whiskers’ from me and all the other neighbourhood kids.
    More from the Truth Room Audit Group at Climate Scientology central.

  31. Satellite data are fudged to match models, see past refs to Soon.
    Actual benchmarks show around 2 mm per year SLR globally, which has not changed since records began.
    Photos of benchmarks from the 1880s show no changes.
    The well documented Tasmanian benchmark located in a seismically stable area shows a few inches of sea level rise since the 1840s. See the Daly page.
    Satellite data show SLR is acutally about 1 mm per year from 2005 to 2012, ref at

  32. Anthony, this post — like so many others — has no conclusion. It just stops for a lunch break. What is your point? I live 1 meter above sea level, so I am interested in this information, not smarmy innuendo.
    Is non-accelerating sea level supported by data from both wet gages and satellites?
    Are there problems with the Pinatubo Eruption study we can discuss?
    Has the search for missing ocean heat turned into the search for mission ocean volume?

  33. The relative fluctuations in the rate of sea level rise appear to be a result of short-term fluctuations of ocean temperatures, particularly in the tropics, causing by thermal expansion and contraction, which is minimal at the shore line, overlaid on a general underlying rise due to a general warming of the overall system since the LIA, about the coldest period during this interglacial.

    • Must have masked the tide guages in my country as well. They are still registering 1.7mm per year exactly as they have always done since recording began.
      Dosn’t worry our local government though. They are trying to create “inundation zones” where every unfortunate property holder will effectively have a warning on his title. 18,000 of them in my city!
      Inundations on 1.77mm a year?
      Nah according to them its 10mm per year minimum,(1 meter by 2020). Our councillors read a lot of fiction it seems. Only trouble is there is no acceleration in sea level actually recorded yet.
      rea my blog
      [,(1 meter by 2020 = what in un-typo’ed units? .mod]

    • Are you saying that the sea level has risen by about 80mm since 1992? Not where I live
      Still 1.77/yr here.

  34. Let me see if I understand this. Reality didn’t do what we want so we are going to build a computer model to behave the way we think reality would have happened if reality didn’t get in the way.
    So look over here at this model that shows sea level rise did what it was supposed to.

  35. CAGW warmunists realize the CAGW hypothesis is already dead.
    They’re just laying the groundwork for creating “the-dog-ate-my-global-warming” excuses to explain why CAGW’s projections have failed so spectacularly, in an effort to buy just a little more time before this CAGW scam is laughed and ridiculed onto the trash heap of failed ideas.
    There are typically 2~3 large volcanic events per century, and given the recent increase in global seismic activity, it’s only a matter of time before a large volcanic event occurs again.
    When the next large volcano blows, CAGW zealots will waste no time blaming the volcanic event for CAGW’s huge disparities between projections vs. reality for virtually EVERYTHING: global warming, sea level rise, severe weather incidence, growing Antarctic land ice, recovering Arctic sea ice, flat ocean temp trends, etc…
    The irony is that large volcanic events’ effects on climate are very short. Once volcanic particulates are removed by gravity/precipitation, the global climate quickly snaps back to pre-eruption levels within 2~3 years, which is further evidence of climate’s lack of sensitivity..

  36. With all these various factors masking the effects of Man Made Global Warming (TM), how do they get the initial data to put into the computers to calculate the rate of Man Made Global Warming (TM)?

  37. I’m still looking through the press release for anything describing an actual scientific study. It must be “hidden” somewhere in the satellite records they keep talking about.

  38. Any paper that is based upon the output of models does not warrant serious consideration. That said:
    How long did the effects of Pinatubo last? Was it 6 months, 1 year, 3 years, 5 years etc?
    If one is concerned that Pinatubo has distorted the record, why not just look at the period say 1995 to date or 1996 to date or 1997 to date, and see what that suggests about sea level rise?
    Has there been any acceleration in sea level rise these past 10 years, or past 15 years or past 20 years?
    If there has been no such rise in acceleration over those periods, it is unlikely that a short term blip in the record, has any significant impact. This can be further put in context be checking against tide guage data that covers more than a century.
    I agree with other commentators that the significant point that comes out of this paper is that they are admitting that there is no acceleration in sea level rise which runs contrary the AGW theory/conjecture, and the authors are seeking to come up with some explanation as to why that has not occurred/cannot be found in the observational data itself.

  39. Nonsense, Pinatubo had no influence on sea level rise. The fact that they had to use computer simulations to extract the signal from noise is sufficient reason to ignore their data. Fact is, we do have excellent non-satellite sea level records covering eighty years that preceded the year 2008. The work was done by B. F. Chao, Y. H. Yu, and Y. S. Li, and was reported in the journal Science on April 11th, 2008. What these authors did was to correct all available sea level records for the effect of water held in storage by all confining reservoirs built since the year 1900. As a result, sea level records that had been irregular before these corrections were applied, became linear for the last 80 years of their project. I note that none of the satellite data take account of the effect of water held in reservoirs upon sea level rise. Chao, Yu and Li found that the slope of their corrected and linear segment of sea level rise could be determined to three significant figures and is 2.46 millimeters per year – just under 10 inches per century. A six millimeter change attributed by climate models to Pinatubo would stand out like a sore thumb in this environment. There was no such thing and there cannot be any aftermath to a non-existent perturbation of global sea level rise.

  40. Interestingly nobody speaking about apparent sea level rise due to silt and dust deposits. Rivers are bringing millions tonnes of dirt to ocean, dust is settling from atmosphere. This is causing seabed rise causing apparent sea level rise. I can easily imagine that total seabed deposits are average of 1.7mm per year as detected stable sea rise.

  41. Love this in the article.
    “Satellite observations, which began in 1993, indicate that the rate of sea level rise has held fairly steady at about 3 millimeters per year. But”
    You can pretty much ignore everything after the “But.”

  42. Can someone please explain why satellite records show 3mm/y, while tidal gage records show about 1/2 that?

  43. the “study” finds… It actually was a creation not a find and a reasonably smart person would see that it was preordained by the biases of the modeller. A cookie cutter makes cookies but that of course is a superior type of model.
    All of science’s findings these days seem to be really just model output from models that haven’t been validated. Mosher argues that gravitation is just a model thereby elevating all models to gravity’s high standard. Landing a rover on Mars and predicting temperatures for 2100 are all in a modeller’s day’s work. Give us a break.

  44. If they are desperate, I can offer them this line of argument, “Sea level rise is real, but the increased sea level is hiding in the deep ocean.”

  45. If volcanos (which are not modeled) and clouds (which are not modeled, but instead are treated parametricly) and several other phenomena, affect the climate, but are not included in the models, then the models are incomplete and are effectively worthless. The argument that they cannot deal with volcanos because they are unpredictable applies to the clouds and the sun. When you have multiple phenomena that can significaly affect the results of the calculation, but you cannot model them, then you cannot effectively model the overall system, either.
    In evaluating engineering safety systems, the biggest uncertainty is often the human factor – you cannot predict what some instrument technician with a tweaker screwdriver is going to do wrong, or what unfortunate combination of valves the mechanic is going to open, or how an operator is going to miscontrue his instrument readings and do something absolutely unbelievable. At least in engineering space you can use these events (which have all happened, and are therefore not unknown) to add margin to a design or defense in depth to be able to catch or slow-down the black-swan scenarios.
    In the case of climate charge, however, they are trying to say that they have calculated the effect of changing one very small input, and the result is catastrophic. There are very few real natural physical phenomena that behave like that. If there were more, then life in this universe would be a lot more uncertain than it actually is.

  46. Measurement of sea-level by satellite altimetry is unreliable. But measurement of coastal sea-level by tide gauges is very reliable, and it shows is that the rate of sea-level rise has been remarkably steady (and slow), for close to a century. E.g.:
    In the Pacific:
    In the Atlantic:
    Even President Obama’s former Undersecretary for Science, Steven Koonin, has written that:
    “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.”

    • Koonin is right. The work of Chao, Yu and Li in my comment extends this linearity to at least 80 years, and judging by daveburton’s tide gauges it just may extend to the entire observable data range.

  47. The bottom line is this: The same models that wildly exaggerate the sensitivity of temperature, and secondarily sea level, to the positive radiative forcings from greenhouse warming also wildly exaggerate the cooling effects of volcanic aerosols. That has always been the principal fudge factor used to reconcile the alarmist models with the benign historical record.

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