Tales of the Adjustocene: Satellite Sea Level Edition

Guest post by David Middleton

When the observations don’t match the models, adjust the observations…

Satellite snafu masked true sea-level rise for decades

Revised tallies confirm that the rate of sea-level rise is accelerating as the Earth warms and ice sheets thaw.

Jeff Tollefson

17 July 2017

The numbers didn’t add up. Even as Earth grew warmer and glaciers and ice sheets thawed, decades of satellite data seemed to show that the rate of sea-level rise was holding steady — or even declining.

Now, after puzzling over this discrepancy for years, scientists have identified its source: a problem with the calibration of a sensor on the first of several satellites launched to measure the height of the sea surface using radar. Adjusting the data to remove that error suggests that sea levels are indeed rising at faster rates each year.

“The rate of sea-level rise is increasing, and that increase is basically what we expected,” says Steven Nerem, a remote-sensing expert at the University of Colorado Boulder who is leading the reanalysis. He presented the as-yet-unpublished analysis on 13 July in New York City at a conference sponsored by the World Climate Research Programme and the International Oceanographic Commission, among others.

Nerem’s team calculated that the rate of sea-level rise increased from around 1.8 millimetres per year in 1993 to roughly 3.9 millimetres per year today as a result of global warming. In addition to the satellite calibration error, his analysis also takes into account other factors that have influenced sea-level rise in the last several decades, such as the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines in 1991 and the recent El Niño weather pattern.

The view from above

The results align with three recent studies that have raised questions about the earliest observations of sea-surface height, or altimetry, captured by the TOPEX/Poseidon spacecraft, a joint US–French mission that began collecting data in late 1992. Those measurements continued with the launch of three subsequent satellites.

“Whatever the methodology, we all come up with the same conclusions,” says Anny Cazenave, a geophysicist at the Laboratory for Studies in Space Geophysics and Oceanography (LEGOS) in Toulouse, France.


“As records get longer, questions come up,” says Gavin Schmidt, a climate scientist who heads NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City. But the recent spate of studies suggests that scientists have homed in on an answer, he says. “It’s all coming together.”

If sea-level rise continues to accelerate at the current rate, Nerem says, the world’s oceans could rise by about 75 centimetres over the next century. That is in line with projections made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2013.

“All of this gives us much more confidence that we understand what is happening,” Church says, and the message to policymakers is clear enough. Humanity needs to reduce its output of greenhouse-gas emissions, he says — and quickly. ”The decisions we make now will have impacts for hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of years.”




Nature News

So… They accomplished accelerated sea level rise by slowing down the past…

Of course, Bill Cosby invented the word “riiiiight” in a sketch about accelerated sea level rise…

Oddly enough, Dr. Nerem and company predicted that they would soon detect the irascible acceleration in sea level rise.  So, I guess the soon-to-be-detected acceleration will be tacked on the the adjusted acceleration and Bill Cosby will probably not get credit for the inundation of our coastlines when they are submerged under 7.5 meters of adjusted sea levels.

Until then, sea level rise looks just as tame as it ever did…


Featured Image: Cartoons by Josh

Adjustocene Cartoons by Josh

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Tom Halla
July 17, 2017 11:00 am

Sea level rise looks even less scary if one examines tide gauges in places like Honolulu, without radical subsidence. Of course, considering that the chain of seamounts and islands that Hawaii is part of is subsiding almost certainly, that data set overstates “actual” sea level rise.

Reply to  Tom Halla
July 17, 2017 2:05 pm

They should re-apply this to land heights as well. I wonder if the planet is expanding at a rate of a few mm per year …

Ian H
Reply to  co2isnotevil
July 17, 2017 3:20 pm

Ooh – that is just wicked! And also spot on target.

Reply to  co2isnotevil
July 17, 2017 4:04 pm

I thought the planet would be shrinking as part of it’s cooling, and all the earthquakes and changes in topography throughout history were just the skin wrinkling as the planet shrunk.

Geoff Sherrington(@sherro1)
Reply to  co2isnotevil
July 17, 2017 6:46 pm

Ian H
Sorry, I asked Annie Cazenave about earth expansion some years ago. She had found no evidence for it. Geoff

Geoff Sherrington(@sherro1)
Reply to  co2isnotevil
July 18, 2017 1:41 am

The expanding earth hypothesis has been around in various forms for many decades. A strong proponent (of how to test it plus difficulties it could solve), was Prof S Warren Carey, geologist, from Australia. It was a privilege to spend many hours solving the expanding earth puzzles with Sam, who stuck to the ideas to his 2002 death.
Obviously, earth expansion has to be settled before satellite distancing methods can be adopted. Some years ago I emailed Anny Cazenave, who recommended a 2011 paper BT X. Wu et al, who put error bounds around their estimate of the constancy of earth size. Radius change below 0.1 +/- 0.2 mm per year. Paper is at GRL 38 (2011).
It would be interesting to know if this remains the accepted figure.
BTW, those who enjoy scientific examples of challenging the Establishment with thinking outside the comfort zone, Carey’s story is fascinating. Among other acts, he declined membership of the Australian Academy of Science, a serious act from a time when Learned Societies mattered.

Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
July 18, 2017 7:58 am

I was thinking more along the lines that the ‘recalibration’ that increased the ocean height ‘trend’ would have also made the land seem like it was getting higher too. The question I have is why didn’t they notice the Earth diameter was shrinking before they ‘fixed’ the data, or did the ‘fix’ only apply to the oceans.

Reply to  co2isnotevil
July 18, 2017 6:42 am

Very perspicacious of you. There must be data for that, I wonder where it is.

Reply to  co2isnotevil
July 18, 2017 8:14 am

Colerado U. have been manipulating altimetry data for at least a decade. It has no scientific value.
They only now provide it with “inverse barometer” adjustment ( which is meaning less on a global scale ) and with GAIA correction to account for hypothetical deepening of the oceans. This is meaningless is you are supposed to be worried about flooding, which is the scare story they are pushing.
It’s all hype and BS.

Reply to  co2isnotevil
July 18, 2017 8:16 am

They’ve also fiddled the Poisidon data before and then disappeared the previous version to prevent comparison and validation.
This is not science.

Reply to  Tom Halla
July 17, 2017 7:15 pm

Was this before or after the latest ‘adjustments’?

David A
Reply to  Tom Halla
July 18, 2017 6:51 am

Global geostationary tide guages do NOT show any SL acceleration.

Reply to  David A
July 18, 2017 8:19 am

Indeed, apparently we are to believe that it’s all piling up in the middle of the oceans where we can not measure it by other means than their rigged satellite extractions.

Reply to  David A
July 18, 2017 7:00 pm

Last time I checked Hawaii was in the middle of a very large ocean:

DD More
Reply to  Tom Halla
July 18, 2017 11:22 am

Greg -“Colorado U. have been manipulating altimetry data for at least a decade.” 1998 so 20 years and called out in 2005, 12 years ago.
There Is No Alarming Sea Level Rise! by Nils-Axel Mörner
the El Niño/La Niña-Southern Oscillation, a quasi-periodic climate pattern that occurs across the tropical Pacific Ocean every few years.) Therefore, a much more realistic approach is to treat that ENSO-signal as a separate event, superimposed on the long-term trend, as shown in Figure 6 (Mörner 2004). Figure 6 shows a variability (of ±10 mm) around a stable zero level (blue line) and a strong ENSO-event (yellow lines) in 1997. The trend thereafter is less clear (gray lines). This graph provides no indication of any rise over the time-period covered (Mörner 2004, 2007a, 2007c).
When the satellite altimetry group realized that the 1997 rise was an ENSO signal, and they extended the trend up to 2003, they seemed to have faced a problem: There was no sea level
rise visible, and therefore a “reinterpretation” needed to be undertaken.
Originally, it seemed that this extra, unspecified “correction” referred to the global isostatic adjustment (GIA) given as 2.4 mm/year (see, for example, Peltier 1998) or 1.8 mm/year (IPCC 2001). The zero isobase of GIA according to Peltier (1998) passed through Hong Kong, where one tide-gauge gives a relative sea level rise of 2.3 mm/year. This is exactly the value appearing in Figure 7. This tide-gauge record is contradicted by the four other records existing in Hong Kong, and obviously represents a site specific subsidence, a fact well known to local geologists.
Nevertheless, a new calibration factor has been introduced in the Figure 7 graph. At the Moscow global warming meeting in 2005, in answer to my criticisms about this “correction,” one
of the persons in the British IPCC delegation said, “We had to do so, otherwise there would not be any trend.” To this I replied: “Did you hear what you were saying? This is just what I am accusing you of doing.”


Reply to  Tom Halla
July 18, 2017 6:54 pm

“Sea level rise looks even less scary if one examines tide gauges in places like Honolulu, without radical subsidence. Of course, considering that the chain of seamounts and islands that Hawaii is part of is subsiding almost certainly, that data set overstates “actual” sea level rise.”
While looking at Hawaii, also have a look at all of the islands and atolls in the middle of the Pacific ocean.
I have been raising this point about the Pacific islands in every comment thread on the topic of sea level for years…no one seems to notice, and some even disagree that this is the place to look for what the actual ocean is doing away from large land masses.
It does not get any more middle-of-the-oceanish than the Central Pacific.
So, if there is some TOPEX bulge out there, should we not see it here?
No bulge.
Some of those islands show virtually the same sea level since measurements began.
Many are discontinuous, or do not go back as far as ones in the US, so I think they maybe get left out of the analysis.
I know one thing…anyone who is living their life any differently or losing a minute of sleep because they think the ocean is coming to get us, should not.

July 17, 2017 11:01 am

Go ahead and adjust the satellite readings.
Still does not negate the linear (non-accelerating) tide gauges around the world.
[Man(n), you just can’t trust these scientists with data, they keep adjusting and adjusting, and the present is always adjusted hotter, and the past colder.
Another check on SLR is the LOD (length of day).
As ice melts, and redistributes to a bulge around the equator, it should slow the earths rotation.
Does anyone monitor this?

Reply to  J
July 17, 2017 11:51 am

Yes. Astronomers do it every day when they point their telescopes. If the length of day changes the stars won’t be where they are supposed to be. Unfortunately they keep showing up where they are supposed to be. This is known as “Munk’s enigma” and is never mentioned in polite society:

Reply to  tty
July 17, 2017 12:59 pm

tty, Thanks.
Excellent paper. Real science, trying to make sense of measurements with physics and math.
The alarmists will dismiss it as a old paper…but I see the issues he raises as still valid.
Length of day is a good check on these adjustments, until they start adjusting time as well.

son of mulder
Reply to  tty
July 17, 2017 1:08 pm

Any such enigma can be explained by carefully adjusting the cosmological constant. Dark matter and dark energy being non-uniformly distributed will help. /sarc off

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  tty
July 17, 2017 3:16 pm

Thank God for physicists! They are even paying proper attention to the reported significant figures, unlike the run of the mill climatologist.
Something that struck me, while reading the paper, was that isostatic rebound of the land was being taken into consideration in analyzing the relative position of tide gauges with respect to the ocean surface. However, I saw nothing about how the isostatic rebound of the continental shelf that is currently underwater would cause a rise in sea level. That is, at the end of the last major glaciation, there could have been much more than 125 meters of ice loading the northern continental shelf; perhaps as much as 2,000 meters in some of the more northerly locations. With the removal of the ice overburden in excess of 125 m, the crust should rebound. As it does so, it displaces water locally, causing the overall ocean level to rise. Thus, we have two opposing effects. The tide stations on land that are rising make it appear that the sea level is dropping; the continental shelf that is underwater that is rising causes the sea level to actually rise. These two effects need to be untangled, if possible.

M Seward
Reply to  tty
July 17, 2017 3:42 pm

In that case the astronomers are obviously as lazy as it comes when calibrating their clocks and telescopes. Gosh what a shambles all those GPS satellites must be and continental drift has probably been happening at a rate we never even imagined thanks to AGW. This unadjusted reality just cannot be allowed to continue!! Think of the little children. They cannot have their reality not fiddled with!
If the RC church can present itself as truly following the teachings of Jesus Christ and cover up massive, widespread child sexual abuse and ISIS can claim to be an Islamic caliphate and run a sexual slavery market for its inner circle then there is not much hope for ‘scientific’ zealots being expected to behave themselves frankly. Thats the brutal ruth of it all.

Paul Blase
Reply to  tty
July 17, 2017 4:07 pm

Has anyone notice that Figure 1 is a classic under-damped impulse response? Looking at it, we’re on the upswing of the damped oscillation, which should turn back down in another 1000 years or so.

Reply to  tty
July 19, 2017 5:17 am

Clyde, when glaciers/ice sheets melt the mass of the ice moves to another part of the globe and the land rebounds.
When below sea level ice melts, it doesn’t go anywhere, so no rebound.
The big iceberg of note last week is a good example. When it moves on, water of the same mass will take its place, no local rebound.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  tty
July 19, 2017 9:38 am

Please re-read what I wrote. With the sea-level 125 m lower than today, there was several miles of land exposed that is only now under water. Any ice on the margins of that exposed shelf would have extended out some distance before the buoyancy of the ice resulted in it completely floating. That is, there was loading on the shelf, for a long period of time, that was essentially the same as what the interior of the continent experienced, except that the ice was thinner. There may have been a forebulge, complicating the situation, if the ice didn’t make it to the edge of the Continental Shelf.
The Larsen C iceberg was calved from a floating section of ice that reached beyond the grounding line. That was not what I was addressing.

Jeff L
Reply to  J
July 17, 2017 2:24 pm

As well as tidal gauges – how do they tie into this?

July 17, 2017 11:02 am

If the track record of post hoc “adjustments” being busted later was not so clear. And if there was actual physical evidence of slr impacting new areas… And please if one is going to promote slr have the integrity to address subsidence and erosion…..

Cold in Wisconsin
July 17, 2017 11:05 am

Does this mean that the land is rising too, or do the sensors only read the ocean, and the land stays at the same altitude? Does all this crap happen in the back computer room and they think that no one will notice?

Reply to  Cold in Wisconsin
July 17, 2017 12:35 pm

“Does all this crap happen in the back computer room and they think that no one will notice?”
Doesn’t matter, the MSM will cover the newly accelerating rise, and it becomes gospel.

Ian H
Reply to  Paul
July 17, 2017 3:25 pm

Indeed. The scientific journal of choice for most climate activists is the Guardian.

July 17, 2017 11:17 am

And ‘they’ call skeptical beliefs conspiracy theories.

Reply to  markl
July 17, 2017 2:58 pm

If you do not embrace CAGW and 50+ genders you are a “Science denier”.

Reply to  czechlist
July 18, 2017 12:47 pm

But to embrace 50+ genders, you have to deny the science of genetics.

July 17, 2017 11:17 am

Flying from Europe to the south Pacific over water for 20 hours, ( thousands of miles and many miles deep )
the tide goes in and out at different times all round the world,
storms at sea
the moon fazes affect high low tide levels
water temperature . ( expands contracts )
the above are a few
2/3 of our planet is covered by water
Now how the hell do you find 3.9 mm a year increase ???

Reply to  nottoobrite
July 17, 2017 11:38 am


Eustace Cranch
Reply to  nottoobrite
July 17, 2017 11:57 am

Uh… you have to subtract twice the original number you thought of.

Bryan A
Reply to  nottoobrite
July 17, 2017 12:17 pm

Does anyone know if orbital drag has an affect on these satellites?
If it does, and the satelllites are being slowly deorbited by say 1 – 1.5mm per year, is this calibrated into the measurement?
After all, a satellite that has it’s orbit decayed by1 mm per year, will register the ocean being 1 mm closer than it is calibrated to be. This will be interpreted as additional sea level rise and will introduce an extra mm of sea level rise into the laser measurements.

Reply to  nottoobrite
July 17, 2017 1:55 pm

That sea level map shows 5-10mm/year off the coast of NSW Australia..
Yeah…. righttttttt !!!comment image

Reply to  nottoobrite
July 18, 2017 6:40 pm

From Tony Heller’s blog last September:
“In 1982, James Hansen told a completely different story. Hansen showed sea level rise slowing dramatically after 1950”comment image

Reply to  nottoobrite
July 18, 2017 6:41 pm
July 17, 2017 11:20 am

There are 148 PSMSL tide gauges in close proximity to differential GPS for estimating vertical land motion. About 70 of those are sufficiently long records to,provide meaningfull SLR. (you need a minimum of 6 decades.) Those show a rate of ~2.2mm/year per Nils Acel Moerner and no acceleration. That rate also closes with the sum of estimated ice sheet loss and thermosteric rise. The satellite altimetry does not close and is therefore probably too high. Details were provided in a recent guest post here on SLR and closure.
So fiddling with a demonstrably erroneous result does not make it less erroneous.

Reply to  ristvan
July 17, 2017 11:28 am

I suspect the point is not to remove the ‘closing problem’ (“The numbers didn’t add up”) but to make a story that the problem is solved, and solved to show acceleration. So the point is to influence policy rather than to actually fix scientific riddles. And, or course, after the paper has been published, it will be feverishly quoted by activists, installed into Wikipedia, and then believed by all gullible.
It is sad. It is more like the age of communism in Europe. Age when people knew what ‘politically correct’ really means.

Reply to  Hugs
July 17, 2017 11:31 am

By the way, this reiterates a common pattern in climastrology. A problem does not exist (like “there is no hiatus”), until someone ‘solves’ it, after which it can be referred as a solved problem (which existed) by the enlightened.

A C Osborn
Reply to  ristvan
July 17, 2017 11:30 am

No, it makes it even more erroneous.
They are just kidding themselves that we would not see through this exercise “getting the correct answer by torturing the poor data”.
Mind you if we didn’t have real down on the ground Tide gauges it would be difficult to argue with them, so we all know what is coming next, don’t we?
Yes, you got it, make sure we have Archives of Tide data, because it won’t look the same shortly, it will be “Quality Adjusted” to bring it in line with the Satellites as we obviously can’t read the ones on the ground.

Reply to  A C Osborn
July 17, 2017 11:38 am

The unreliable tide gauges have to be retrocalibrated to fix the TOBS bias, plus site changes. The best way is to find the breaking points and remodel the data. I’m sure we can reveal the true sea level rise from the tide gauge data by splitting it into pieces and assigning adjustment coefficients to get the true anomaly development. Can I get a grant?

Reply to  A C Osborn
July 17, 2017 8:31 pm

The tide gage data pages have a very clear note declaring that “seasonal variations have been removed”.
It is not raw data.
It too is suspect, as it does not comport with what was being reported by scientists before the era of politicization of all things related to climate and climate change.

Reply to  A C Osborn
July 17, 2017 8:33 pm

Imagine a temperature time series that was labelled as representing the temperature with all of the seasonal variations removed?

Reply to  A C Osborn
July 18, 2017 4:40 am

You are right about them not being original numbers.
If you present sea level data with subannual resolution, you will have the seasonal changes. It will also quickly show how unalarming the long-term global average relative rise is compared to local monthly or hourly changes. The same as with temperatures.
Sea level is a local, hourly number. The global mean sea level is a theoretical and very slowly increasing number. Theoretical, because it makes a little difference if the absolute sea depth bulges at mid ocean. It is the relative sea level at coast line, and coast line with population which matters.
Our alarmist friends wait for a storm surge and then blame global mean sea level. It is so sad.

Steve Case
Reply to  ristvan
July 17, 2017 12:09 pm

Here’s what that sort of looks like for seven long running tide gauges around the world:
Rates today are approximately the same as they were by 1950.

Reply to  Steve Case
July 17, 2017 12:39 pm

Thank you Steve and David. Was scanning comments to see if anyone referenced the 1910-1945 stretch of GW.

Steve Case
Reply to  Steve Case
July 17, 2017 12:41 pm

See my earlier post: May 16, 2017 at 8:53 am

David A
Reply to  Steve Case
July 18, 2017 7:01 am

But, if you take the RIGHT guages, increase their geographic area read out to 1200 kilometers, you can have a greatly increased rate of rise.

Don K
Reply to  ristvan
July 17, 2017 12:37 pm

Indeed, it doesn’t even matter if we know the local tectonics — as long as the local vertical land motions are constant. Surely, if sea level rise were accelerating, the acceleration would show up identically on every tide gauge on the planet. Since the CAGW caucus isn’t pointing to confirming tidal gauge data, I think we can safely assume that the tidal gauges not only don’t look on casual observation to be confirming the satellite “observations”, the confimation isn’t there when they looked for it using valid and/or creative statistical techniques. The chances that they didn’t look are probably roughly zero.
Let’s see. I can assume that every tide gauge is wrong, or that the satellite processing — which had at least one long term bug might have a few other … ahem … issues.
Think I’ll go with the tidal gauges for the time being.
Also think I’ll go with the tide gauges on this one.

Reply to  Don K
July 17, 2017 5:09 pm

Clearly the sea is rising in the middle of the oceans, not where the tide gauges are.

Reply to  Don K
July 18, 2017 12:26 am

Thinking about tectonics …
As the Atlantic is getting bigger and the Pacific is getting smaller, is the fact that the Pacific is deeper than the Atlantic taken into account? That alone should cause some sea level rise.
Second issue, and this applies to ice volumes as well …
You need to know where the land is underneath. I believe that the error bounds for the height of the land underneath the ice are greater than the error bounds in the ice surface level. Does this also apply to ocean bottom measurements?

Reply to  Don K
July 18, 2017 4:53 am

Surely, if sea level rise were accelerating, the acceleration would show up identically on every tide gauge on the planet.

You mean if there is acceleration, the same acceleration should be detectable in tide gauge data. Not identically, since tide gauges are showing other variation as well.

July 17, 2017 11:20 am

The fact is whether sea rise is actual or imagined an incredibly high number of the world’s population lives near the actual bodies of water that will be affected and there is no changing that.

Reply to  Joe Owens
July 17, 2017 12:02 pm

Dutch engineers have build up centuries of knowledge how to defend their low lying country against stormy seas. Sea level rise is peanuts compared to a strong NW storm at spring tide (+7 meters in 1953)… The lowest point in The Netherlands is 12 meter below mean sea level… The 30 cm/century sea level rise will not make much difference.
At this moment they help Bangladesh to build defenses for in case of hurricanes. Will be a good paid, permanent job until the next glacial period gets in…

Don K
Reply to  Joe Owens
July 17, 2017 12:58 pm

That’s actually a good point Joe. Almost everyone who has looked at sea level rise agrees that it is happening and will probably continue to happen for a long time because much of it is due to the oceans expanding as they warm and as surface warmth woks slowly downward.. The rate of rise probably is not all that high — maybe 25cm per century. Maybe somewhat more. Almost certainly NOT James Hansen’s meters per decade.
That combined with humanity’s habit of building way too much infrastructure way too close to (and sometimes at or even below) highest high water is a problem. Not on a scale with nuclear proliferation, but a problem that often makes itself evident when a powerful storm comes ashore in an inhabited area. It’d be a problem even if sea levels were dropping. SLR just exacerbates the problem a bit..
BTW, the low coral islands likely are not in all that much trouble from sea level rise. Coral grows and storms take care of raising the islands — That’s fairly well settled science -Charles Darwin 1842. Confirmed by cores bored at Eniwetok in the 1950s and other observations. But the coral islands have other problems — lousy soil, limited fresh water, overpopulation.

Reply to  Don K
July 17, 2017 2:38 pm

“as surface warmth woks slowly downward.”
Surface warmth works down to the top of the thermocline and no further, besides, warm water, like warm air, rises. The deep ocean temperatures are a function of the density/temperature/pressure profile of water which varies between about 0C at the bottom and 4C at the bottom of the thermocline and will remain so as long as there’s ice at the poles. The thickness of the thermocline may vary, but only as the temperature difference between the deep ocean cold and warm surface waters varies, where the temperature of the deep ocean cold is fixed.
The deep ocean cold water is well insulated from warm surface waters by the thermocline and as such, surface temperatures have no effect on its temperature, which comprises the bulk of all ocean water. While you may not consider water an insulator, at a sufficient thickness even metals can act as a thermal insulator. Search for the temperature profile of the ocean and it will look like the temperature profile of an insulated wall separating the cold outdoors from a warm interior.

Reply to  Joe Owens
July 17, 2017 1:25 pm

Joe. It seems to me a mistake to subscribe to the stupid-people hypothesis. I don’t for one minute believe that people will stand still in their wing-tips while the surf rises, millimeter-by-millimeter, getting their socks wet. People will not be making fortunes in Miami Beach selling Totes galoshes. We have centuries to protect New York City and other seaside cities. It is a lot cheaper to sandbag a city than it is to pay the ridiculous, and useless toll mandated by the Paris Accords.

Reply to  Joe Owens
July 18, 2017 2:05 pm

True but the ‘shoreline’ has changed throughout history and the people have followed it.

Reply to  Joe Owens
July 18, 2017 5:41 pm

Once again, if sea level is rising at four inches a century, how long will it take for that to actually flood anyplace, even if nothing is done?
Hundreds of years.
In hundreds of years, how many sections of coastline will NOT be hit by an incredibly bad storm?
I think that the statistics on that would be that very few places, in the Eastern half of the US anyway, will not have one single catastrophic storm in those hundreds of years.
Most places will have several.
New Orleans is far below sea level, and sits in one of the most hurricane prone spots in the world.
The city is also sinking more and more every single day, and nothing will stop that.
And yet, knowing that, and with all the predictions about sea level, how much debate was there about perhaps…not rebuilding it in the EXACT SAME PLACE when much of the city was destroyed?
I recall exactly zero…same amount as was had regarding all of the places that flooded in Sandy.
Both of those storms hit places that are well short, over the past several decades, of the historical number of hits from devastating hurricanes and coastal storms.
This is one of those things that no one is prepared to actually do anything about…not even when panic mongers occupy the White House.
The people spending money are ignoring this issue completely and 100%

Reply to  Menicholas
July 18, 2017 6:04 pm

Excuse me, using the 25 cm number…about ten inches per century.

Reply to  Joe Owens
July 18, 2017 5:59 pm

Yet another example of how the actions of the people who shamelessly push global warming fearmongering are very close to being diametrically opposed, to a near mathematical precision, to what they are saying, and should be doing if they actually believed what they are saying.
Living their lives in the most energy profligate manner imaginable, buying and living and investing in hugely expensive oceanside properties, opposing the forms of power generation that are the best at reducing CO2 emissions…
Oh, yeah…and spending as much time as possible in the tropics, even though they are gosh darn certain that a handful of degrees of warming of the air will surely and completely erase humanity from existence.
Reality has evolved to a point that makes the Twilight Zone look like Sunday afternoon in Mayberry.

July 17, 2017 11:33 am

David, here is the Envisat working papers….it’s long, tedious….but hiding in there is the fact they didn’t believe what Envisat was reporting..sea levels not rising…so they tuned it to match the satellites that were failing….that Envisat was to replace…because the satellites Envisat was replacing were reporting fake news……
Fake news is in one section….reporting no sea level rise in another…..adjustments in another….etc etc

Reply to  Latitude
July 17, 2017 11:34 am

BTW….this is standard procedure across the board…

July 17, 2017 11:35 am

They report a sea level rise rate as a constant (3.9 mm/yr) and then refer it as a an acceleration?
If the slope is linear how is this an acceleration. Or should it be 3.9 mm/yr/yr? so next year we should be seeing 7.8 mm next year and 11.7 the following year….
At this accelerating rate the earth will run out of water to raise the sea level.

Reply to  rocketscientist
July 17, 2017 11:44 am

You can get acceleration by pushing mid-point results down. No change in average, but increase in recent numbers. There is a huge pressure to find acceleration, so it is expected that there are desperate, unscientific approaches to do that. In a healthy scientific community, these are shot down. But the current era is not healthy. If you shoot a paper down, you risk a lot. Possibly your whole career. These people attack on individual scientists, the more credible, the more vicious attack. They also tend to claim their opponents attack on individual scientists.

Steve Case
Reply to  Hugs
July 17, 2017 12:51 pm

You can get acceleration by pushing mid-point results down. No change in average, but increase in recent numbers. There is a huge pressure to find acceleration, so it is expected that there are desperate, unscientific approaches to do that. In a healthy scientific community, these are shot down. But the current era is not healthy. If you shoot a paper down, you risk a lot. Possibly your whole career. These people attack on individual scientists, the more credible, the more vicious attack. They also tend to claim their opponents attack on individual scientists.

It’s a matter of fact that the data is revised. It’s also a matter of fact that climate data revisions follow a pattern. Why the data is revised is a matter of opinion.

Curious George(@moudryj)
July 17, 2017 11:38 am

The satellite altimetry measures an average sea level, mostly in the middle of oceans. We don’t really care if a place in Atlantic is 4,000 m deep or 4,000,001 m deep. What concerns us is the sea level at the coasts. The coast itself might be rising, stable, or subsiding, so we are really interested in differences. That’s what tide gauges measure.

Curious George(@moudryj)
Reply to  Curious George
July 17, 2017 11:40 am

Sorry – 4,000.001 m.

Ian H
Reply to  Curious George
July 17, 2017 3:49 pm

Yes but George, the hills on the ocean are really really small so if sea levels rise they will rise everywhere. Since you can measure this anywhere you should choose to do so in the place where you can get the best measurement. Near the coast there is a lot of noise from local tidal and weather related effects. It is much simpler to measure in the middle of the deep blue sea. The fact that we care more about what happens on the coasts is a red herring.

Curious George(@moudryj)
Reply to  Curious George
July 17, 2017 12:56 pm

Not only that. There are also waves up to 29 m high.

Reply to  Curious George
July 17, 2017 4:22 pm

Correct, Forrest. It astounds me that any sensible person would put much credence in measurements made of a constantly moving surface, let alone those made from a constantly moving platform several hundred kilometers away.

July 17, 2017 11:52 am

Didn’t somebody recently post a link to the NOAA story regarding their adjustment to their SST measurements? As I recall (could be wrong since I couldn’t find the link to go back and re-read), NOAA “knew” they had a problem with the ocean being too cool, since the temperature readings didn’t match the SLR. So, they found a problem with all their buoy temp sensors, and recalibrated (or whatever) to match their expectations.
Now we find out that the SLR was also suspect? It was inaccurate? Because it didn’t match the temp rise? Which didn’t show up in their buoy data either?
So now we have both an adjusted SST record AND adjusted SLR record?
So glad my tax dollars are going to fund this effort…

Kaiser Derden
July 17, 2017 11:52 am

can’t wait for the “Rising Sea Levels in the Poles” story … homogenized measurements of course …

Henning Nielsen
Reply to  Kaiser Derden
July 17, 2017 1:00 pm

Imagine the scary headlines: The North Pole is flooded!

Steve Case
July 17, 2017 12:03 pm

There’s all sorts of ways to depict what they’re doing. Here’s one that shows the over-all rate of sea level rise as a function of time:
If there weren’t any changes made to the data the orange plot should have fallen right on top of the plot in blue. So it will be interesting to see what changes are in store for the first CU Sea Level Research Group release for 2017. Will earlier rates be found to be less than had been reported? Will that high point sometime during 2006 be reduced? Stay tuned.
It’s been quite obvious that the CU Group has been a cheer-leader for increased sea level They’ve released several (three that I know of) titles lamenting no acceleration during the altimeter era, a speed bump on the way to higher seas and a question if acceleration of sea level rise is imminent.

Reply to  Steve Case
July 17, 2017 12:23 pm

Steve Case, that is a damning chart. Thanks for posting.

michael hart
Reply to  Steve Case
July 18, 2017 9:11 am

So their putative cause for the change in rate of SLR is the 1998 El Nino weather event, not global warming.

Duane J. Truitt
July 17, 2017 12:05 pm

Sea level rises … sea level falls … it’s always doing one or the other since at least the onset of the Pleistocene.
Where I live in Florida, on a long peninsula, we have at various times in the last 2.3 million years been approximately three times as wide as we are today, and at other times, completely inundated. The entire peninsula is made of limestone with a thin layer of sand proving it was entirely under the sea surface, multiple times. At some distant point in the future, we will be under water again, no matter what mankind does or doesn’t do. That is going to cause some massive social and economic disruption! But take heart, some tens or hundreds of thousands of years later, we’ll be uncovered, and the “new” Florida will end up being 400 miles wide again.

July 17, 2017 12:06 pm

We need a special place to put these folks where their imaginary world will not be in such conflict with the real world. I fear for their mental well being. They need a protected environment where they can have their own reality. They can pretend they are smart, honest, insightful and that every day they are out there saving the world from Armageddon, all while writing nifty little fairy stories about how every breath you take makes the ocean warmer and unicorn farts can power modern society.

South River Independent
Reply to  andrewpattullo
July 17, 2017 12:13 pm

Maybe they are illegal immigrants from one of the other dimensions of the Multiverse (which, of course, exist because some cosmological models predict them).

Gunga Din
Reply to  South River Independent
July 17, 2017 1:20 pm

And in the Multiverse… All possible adjustments are both correct and incorrect.

That sounds about right.

David Chappell
Reply to  andrewpattullo
July 17, 2017 8:54 pm

It’s called Academia

David A
Reply to  andrewpattullo
July 18, 2017 7:38 am

… hiw aboud giving them a holodeck?

South River Independent
July 17, 2017 12:08 pm

And my Mark 1, Mod 0 eyeball (left – my good eye) says the slope increased after 2010.

July 17, 2017 12:20 pm

. . .satellite calibration error

What about the foregone conclusion calibration error (FCCE, for short) ?
Here, I’ll work it all out mathematically for you:
If “satellite calibration error” is SCE,
and if “foregone conclusion calibration error” is FCCE,
then SCE – FCCE = 0, or zero error.
QED (no not the Latin thing, but “Quite an Enlightening Discernment”)
But I’m experiencing some uncertainty in arriving at this with a high degree of confidence, and so I need a grant to help resolve it.

July 17, 2017 12:21 pm

Colors are different satellites. The spec for instrument drift for Jason 2 (green) is plus/minus 1mm/year. Essay PseudoPrecision in ebook Blowing Smoke shredded two hysterically funny papers purporting to explain the changes as physically real.

H. D. Hoese
July 17, 2017 12:27 pm

Speaking of adjustments, wonder what happened here—Freeport, Texas is subsiding, apparently with a little help. In about 1972 there is an “Apparent Datum Shift” up of almost 0.2 meter. I know people pushing 90 who grew up on the seashore who want to know where the rise is. I can’t get the figure but this is the link. Other Texas sites do not show this.
“The mean sea level trend is 4.43 millimeters/year with a 95% confidence
interval of +/- 1.05 mm/yr based on monthly mean sea level data from
1954 to 2008 which is equivalent to a change of 1.45 feet in 100 years.”
Somehow I recall being taught to be suspicious of two significant decimals in such data.

Don K
Reply to  H. D. Hoese
July 17, 2017 1:04 pm

You folks wouldn’t be chance be pumping fluids — petroleum and/or fresh water — out from under your town, would you. That has been a problem elsewhere.

Henning Nielsen
July 17, 2017 12:55 pm

Great to see science at work. They had a problem, potentially a fundamental funding problem, and they solved it. Now all that remains is to adjust the land itself. Can’t have stubborn pieces of the globe in denial of being submerged. Fortunately, there is the perfect tool ready for the necessary adjustments; maps. Soon enough, a seaside city close to you will be showing contours below sea level. If you don’t have wet feet, do something about it!

Reply to  Henning Nielsen
July 17, 2017 1:29 pm

I feel a Google maps re-do in the future, then.

Steve Fraser
July 17, 2017 1:02 pm

I Suppose that they will forget to back out the bogus Isostatic Adjuatment…

July 17, 2017 1:02 pm

Its ‘lucky’ how all the errors they find work in their favor and support ‘the cause ‘ the lesson from this, never play poker with these people . Not because they are good players but because they will cheat like hell , and stack the deck ever chance they get .

July 17, 2017 1:10 pm

Talking of adjustments, I have a twitter troll who thinks devices are calibrated according to/using their own readings. Poor chap!

July 17, 2017 1:25 pm

As I recall the CU satellite project “adds” an additional .3 mm to the measured rate to accommodate a theorized dropping of the ocean floor. On top of that, the accuracy of the satellite is only 2 cm; making measurements over a short span meaningless.

July 17, 2017 1:59 pm

Adjustments to satellite sea level data started between 2000 and 2003.comment image

July 17, 2017 2:08 pm

To my knowledge, they’e adjusted:
Argo temperature data from the ocean
Satellite (RSS)
Land temperature
They changed the way the measure the arctic sea ice area
And now the satellite sea level data.
It would be very informative if WUWT could summarize every single climate metric adjustment made in a short article.

Reply to  kramer
July 17, 2017 8:26 pm

The number of changes to the CAGW story is approaching the scale of an Encyclopedia.

Steve Case
Reply to  kramer
July 17, 2017 11:51 pm

Forrest Gardener July 17, 2017 at 5:42 pm
It would indeed be informative Kramer, but it would not be a short article.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!
First chuckle of the day.

Bill Illis
July 17, 2017 2:12 pm

I can tell you exactly what sea level did in the year 2013, 2012 and 2011 according to the tide gauges.
It actually fell by -0.345 mm in 2013, rose by 4.25 mms in 2012 and rose by 2.79 mms in 2011.
This is from 150 tide gauges that are co-located with GPS stations (that have around long enough so that we have verifiable vertical land movement numbers).
From 1960 to 2013, the 150 tide gauges measured an average absolute sea level rise of 130.026 mms total or 1.944 mms/year. 53 years
From 1960 to 2012, the exact same 150 tide gauges measured absolute sea level rise of 130.371 mms total or 1.988 mms/year. 52 years.
So, 150 GPS-adjusted tide gauges says sea level fell by 0.345 mms in 2013. That is not acceleration people.
In 2013 sea level altimetry said sea level fell by -1.10 mms. GPS adjusted tide gauges -0.345 mms.
In 2012, sea level altimetry said sea level rose by +7.60 mms. GPS adjusted tide gauges +4.25 mms.
In 2011, sea level altimetry said sea level rose by +6.66 mms. GPS adjusted tide gauges +2.79 mms.
The sea level altimetry from 2010 to 2013 +13.5 mms. 150 GPS adjusted tide gauges +7.05 mms.
Take their numbers and divide by two.
The data can be obtained here:

Bill Illis
Reply to  Bill Illis
July 17, 2017 2:55 pm

I realized I can use this methodology for the whole satellite adjustocene period.
1992-2013 Adjusted satellite sea level rise – 67.2 mms – 3.20 mms/year
1992-2013 GPS adjusted tide gauges – 44.7 mms – 2.12 mms/year
Fakenews adjustments – the new GOLD standard everyone should be quoting from now on – 2.12 mms/year from the tide gauges.
1960-1992 GPS adjusted tide gauges – 58.3 mms – 1.82 mms/year
So there might be some slight acceleration but 2.12 mms.year is a long way from 2 feet of sea level rise as in 280 years away.

Reply to  Bill Illis
July 17, 2017 6:49 pm

You’re right. Over-precision.
I’m just stating the mathemtical average of 150 tide gauges which all have numbers quoted to 4 decimal places in mms. The satellite number are always quoted to 2 decimal points on a millimeter baiss which is rather ridiculous considering the satellites have no hope of getting within 50 mms if you ever saw the YouTube video on sea level. The error margin is probably close to 1 metre although it is oftem quoted in papers as within 1 mm.

Reply to  Bill Illis
July 17, 2017 8:19 pm

Just imagine trying to visualize a change in the height of the never still sea by one one-hundredth of a millimeter!
This would be hard to do in lab with a beaker of water.

Reply to  Bill Illis
July 17, 2017 8:24 pm

Considering we have actual physical landmarks in and on the ocean which were photographed in the neighborhood of a hundred years ago, compared to these same landmarks photographed today, show very little if any discernable variation…this has got to be the backstop of any reality check on sea level.
No one will have their home flooded based on what is happening in the mid ocean, let alone the sea floor.
For problems to occur, the ocean will need to be on land in places where it never was in the past.
Let someone show where this is demonstrably occurring or verifiably has occurred.

Robert from oz
Reply to  Menicholas
July 18, 2017 3:34 am

I’m sure I saw a reply from someone that a convict made tide mark in Tasmania still matches current levels and one in Sydney same same .
As for age I thought it was 150 or so years old .

Reply to  Menicholas
July 18, 2017 5:41 am

Maybe this will help. A mean tidal mark carved into the rock face in the early to mid 1800’s in Tasmania. http://morningmail.org/isle-of-the-dead/ It’s a bit too static for most climate scientist to comment on these days though.

July 17, 2017 2:26 pm

The general assumption seems to be that only thermal effects and glacier melt influence eustatic sea level but there other factors at play. The sediment dumped into the oceans by the world’s rivers has a measurable effect, although less than 0.5mm. But totally unknown is the net effect of the ocean floor interchange between the positive effects of water from sea floor vents and the movement of water in and out of subduction zones.

Melbourne Resident
Reply to  Malrob
July 17, 2017 3:28 pm

MR. You are forgetting the contribution of groundwater. Any ideas?

Reply to  Melbourne Resident
July 17, 2017 8:47 pm

MR, I looked into groundwater. In the scale of things, it is de minimus. Most ground water is not declining measured by water well depths. That which is (Ogallalla, Punjab) is de minimus. Simple arithmetic applied to ground water facts.

Tom Harley(@pindanpost)
Reply to  Melbourne Resident
July 18, 2017 12:29 am

The groundwater of the Perth floodplain has been harvested so much that the Fremantle sea levels have shown to be above the levels of other West Australian gauges: https://pindanpost.com/2012/12/15/perth-is-still-sinking/
Other gauges on the West Australian coast show levels falling since 2011 https://pindanpost.com/2017/04/13/falling-sea-levels/

Reply to  Melbourne Resident
July 18, 2017 5:21 pm

Well, whatever is causing the slow and steady rise of the ocean sure is steady, isn’t it?
For over a hundred years and no matter if we are cooling or warming, mountain glaciers advancing or receding, Greenland, Antarctica…Aral Sea…all a wash, apparently.

Reply to  Menicholas
July 18, 2017 5:47 pm

And if you go back more than a century you see shoreline changes in both directions.

Reply to  David Middleton
July 18, 2017 7:10 pm

Subsidence and plate tectonics, don’t count in the equation?

July 17, 2017 3:08 pm

Why no attempt to corroborate their claims with other sea level measurement data,from tidal gauges, etc? As far as I know, satellite measurements are not very accurate compared to the other methods. So I don’t know what they are doing and why they are doing it the way they are.
And, once again, they act as if they have an inkling of what will occur for the distant future. We can be certain that technology guarantees that “things won’t be the same,” and anyone with eyes in his head can see the coming transformation of personal conveyance to electric cars and the obvious advantages of molten salt nuclear reactors for providing power. To the exxtent that carbon effects anything, it won’t be doing so for the long term, regardless of whether these alarmists take any actions or not.

July 17, 2017 3:14 pm

I was just wondering, can children cut themselves on Occam’s razor? If so, then maybe this is what happened to many current climate scientists, as they elevated the idea of choosing the least complicated explanation from a collection of possible explanations to absurd heights. The least complicated explanation, then, is the one you help engineer via adjusting things to fit expectations.
Might I suggest that a course in razor safety is in order, as part of all advanced degree requirements.

Steve in Seattle
July 17, 2017 3:40 pm

How about 0.75 M of supposed “rise” instead of 7.5 M ?

July 17, 2017 3:55 pm

Here’s the relevant paragraph:
“The team eventually identified a minor calibration that had been built into TOPEX/Poseidon’s altimeter to correct any flaws in its data that might be caused by problems with the instrument, such as ageing electronic components. Nerem and his colleagues were not sure that the calibration was necessary — and when they removed it, measurements of sea-level rise in the satellite’s early years aligned more closely with the tide-gauge data. The adjusted satellite data showed an increasing rate of sea-level rise over time.”
This is a textbook example of the “begging the question” fallacy. They note a discrepancy between the tide gauge and satellite date, presume that the tide gauge data is more accurate (the first unproven assumption) then presume that the calibration built into the satellite sensor, to correct for defects that occur over time, aren’t necessary (the second unproven assumption), eliminate that calibration and and conclude that the old data was bad because this changes the trend to get closer to the tide gauge data.

Reg Nelson
July 17, 2017 4:57 pm

Reanalysis = Confirmation Bias = No Clue = Political Corruption = Abandoning Science and the Scientific Method,

July 17, 2017 5:30 pm

“The rate of sea-level rise is increasing, and that increase is basically what we expected,” says Steven Nerem, a remote-sensing expert at the University of Colorado Boulder who is leading the reanalysis.
Since the temperature increase is not at the level they expected, if the sea-level rise IS what they expected, wouldn’t that imply the model of the sea-level rise is incorrect?

Reply to  SocietalNorm
July 17, 2017 8:13 pm

They are all over the map regarding ice as well.
Is Antarctica gaining or losing ice?
What about Greenland?
Mountain glaciers?
Is the ocean warming?
Are we pumping ever more water out of the ground over time?
Are some large inland seas and lakes being drained or not?
We know that the trends in all of these that we have numbers on has varied quite a bit over the past hundred to hundred and fifty years…and yet tide gages show a very steady trend, with any short term variations easily attributable to ocean currents and wind fields and such.
So how is it that sea level rise has been very steady while the factors noted above which are thought to cause the variation in sea level have been either all over the map, showing reversing trends, showing first no trend and then recently a sharp trend on one direction…
In fact before the Adjustocene Epoch began, published graphs of sea level over time did not show a steady trend of rising sea level at a steady rate.
As with most of the fields of inquiry that have been smudged and smeared by the dirty hands of the climate mafia, exactly what the heck is happening with sea level is less certain now than ever.
These people do not illuminate, they obfuscate.
They make it impossible to have much of any idea what is actually happening.

bit chilly
July 17, 2017 5:49 pm

it would appear the manufacturers of all types of sensors used by nasa and various other governmental organisations employ complete and utter idiots. it seems all the sensors involved in measuring climate phenomena like water temps, wind speeds, storm occurrence,air temps etc do not work . when will the government be suing the manufacturers of all this equipment for selling them sensors under false pretences ?
any sensor designers/manufacturers care to shed some light on this apparent lack of ability ?

Paul Blase
Reply to  bit chilly
July 17, 2017 6:17 pm

Remember that these sensors generally do not measure ocean height, water temp, etc directly. They measure such things as average radar returns over a given area with a given transmission frequency and pulse type and IR radiation in specific bands. These can be measured quite precisely. Interpreting them to derive the physical phenomena being studied is quite a different matter and is the scientist’s problem, not the instrument maker’s. If a pixel in an IR sensor gives a value of X, how much of that is due to temperature and how much to reflected light from the Sun? What exactly should be assumed for the emissivity of the surface and how does it deviate from the theoretical blackbody curve?
In the case of measuring ocean height, it is silly to even think of trying to directly measure an average “plane” to submillimeter accuracy when the measurement is affected not only by every wave, storm, and passing boat but the solar wind, Earth’s very non-smooth gravitational field, and the occasional micrometeorite. Needless to say, there’s a lot of averaging being done.

July 17, 2017 6:06 pm

It’s all very difficult. Satellite and launch vehicle technology is difficult, but most of the overruns and delays in a space program are due to instruments. Often these are one-off builds at the edge of technology that no one has ever done before. If it has been done before, the next one is expected to be more precise with greater capabilities.
Remember, in this case, you are trying to measure something on a certain spot on the ground or air or water at a certain time and angle. Since satellites drift, you may not be exactly sure of the point where you are observing from, either. The measurements are often done indirectly, measuring some secondary item which corresponds to what you are wanting to measure. It is expected that there will be difficulties, overruns, and even sometimes failures. It really is amazing that we can do this stuff at all.

Chris Norman
July 17, 2017 6:17 pm

GIGO. Garbage in Gospel out.

Geoff Sherrington(@sherro1)
July 17, 2017 7:05 pm

Again I note the scientific invalidity of sea level change data in the absence of a great deal of required measurement of the deep oceans that are the lower 50% of the global ocean system. E.g. we have inadequate measurement of whether sub ocean crust is moving, of whether the deep ocean temperature is effectively constant (it cannot be totally constant with volcanism), of deep sea density constancy and so on. Would you drink a cup of microwaved soup without first testing for hot pockets near the base of the cup? Although stirring is a remedy, it is not a proper remedy for use in science, nor is spin. Geoff

July 17, 2017 7:59 pm

By admitting that one little adjustment to one sensor on one satellite can change the entire record of what they are measuring, as this satellite-measured sea level rise paper does, they are saying right out in the open how subjective and speculative is the entire process they are engaged in.
I mean seriously…the entire crew of them where all wrong about everything for many years and no one had any idea…until someone noticed something needed to be adjusted just so?
And once that was done…viola!
It does not get any more ludicrous.
Skeptic are hardly required…they completely undermine their own credibility by admitting that everyone in the whole field was clueless for years and years.
If the satellite in space gathering data which is then processed and a result synthesized, does not verify with the actual steel pole anchored into the ground in the actual ocean measuring the actual height, well…
Of course, there is no way, absent some independent verification, to know if they were wrong before, or if they are wrong now, or both.
You do not need to know anything about climate science or sea level or satellites to see what is going on…all you need to do is apply what is known about human nature, from every other aspect of our life experience, to this particular situation.
How often are the people who are constantly changing their story the ones who know what they are talking about. How often are they the ones who are trustworthy? How often are such people being honest and frank?

Steve Case
Reply to  Menicholas
July 18, 2017 12:06 am

And once that was done…viola!
It does not get any more ludicrous.

GBAFB means exactly what?

Reply to  Steve Case
July 18, 2017 5:10 pm

Check the urban dictionary.

Reply to  Steve Case
July 18, 2017 7:05 pm

It means :Give Me A ******* Break.

Don K
July 17, 2017 8:30 pm

It’s been looked at. From memory, I think that the data — especially on ground water extraction and replenishment — is dubious. But I’m pretty “they” concluded that in the modern era increases in sea level from ground water extraction probably have been just about offset by increased surface storage of water in reservoirs.

Reply to  Don K
July 17, 2017 8:39 pm

“…increases in sea level from ground water extraction probably have been just about offset by increased surface storage of water in reservoirs…” Wha? Ground water extraction reduces land height and so does adding a reservoir.

Reply to  markl
July 17, 2017 10:47 pm

“Ground water extraction reduces land height…” The question was how much does extracting ground water raise sea levels (when the used water eventually runs off to the ocean), an effect that is at least partially offset by reservoirs temporarily removing water from the cycle.

July 17, 2017 9:31 pm

David: There is nothing wrong with scientists identifying real problems with their data and re-analyzing that data to adjust for an unambiguous problem. (Take TOB bias in temperature records for a relatively simple example.) The problem with satellite altimetry is that it requires dozens of adjustments made by humans who believe they know what should be happening to SLR and suffer from confirmation bias when making corrections. Every paper ends concludes with a statement saying that the “SLR budget is closed”. Here is the new and old data:
rate: +3.2 ± 0.4 mm/yr (AR5) has now become 2.6 or 2.9 ± 0.4 mm/yr
acceleration: −0.057 ± 0.058 mm/yr2 (unmentioned by AR5) has become +0.041 ± 0.058 mm/yr2
The smaller rate is based on corrections from GPS, the larger of a model for GIA.
Acceleration is still not statistically significant. But what does statistical significance mean, when such large systematic errors continue to be discovered after nearly a quarter-century of development? There have been at least two other corrections of this size.
We should be pointing out that the size of the SYSTEMATIC ERROR being corrected tell us the conclusion is fairly unreliable! This is a massively complicated program requiring dozens of adjustments made by humans with confirmation bias.
In the case of tropospheric temperature, RSS and UAH have independently developed competing methods for analyzing MSU data. However, the five groups reporting SLR rely on a common set of calculations about the orbit of satellites. And those calculations involve some fairly large correction factors, including one for humidity below the satellite from 0 to 40 cm. It doesn’t take much of a bias in this correction to change SLR by 1 mm/yr.

Mike McMillan
Reply to  Frank
July 18, 2017 12:11 am

That GIA adjustment is 0.3 mm/yr, about a 10% increase in the actual rate. Colorado’s explanation: “The correction for glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA) accounts for the fact that the ocean basins are getting slightly larger since the end of the last glacial cycle.”
So what they’re reporting as sea level rise isn’t the level of the sea anymore.

Bill Illis
Reply to  Mike McMillan
July 18, 2017 8:26 am

Just noting that the average vertical uplift of the GPS stations is 0.41 mms/year. This is the simple average of all 500. So, the GIA adjustment is probably about right.
It doesn’t mean that the sea level is rising by this rate however, but that the land is rising by 0.3 or 0.4 mms per year. In effect, it is a “global warming motivated” adjustment only. The oceans are not in fact rising by the 0.3 mms/year but maybe the ocean volume is.

Reply to  Mike McMillan
July 19, 2017 1:33 am

Bill: If I understand correctly, GIA is supposed to correct for the subsidence of the ocean floor that accompanies glacial isostatic rebound under land. Subsidence of the ocean floor can’t be measured by GPS on land. Subsidence would cause sea level to fall if thermal expansion or net melting weren’t occurring. However, the papers at the CU SLR website suggest that many factors (including the changing moment of rotational inertia) other than simple subsidence are included in GIA.
I think both GPS and a model for GIA everywhere on the planet can be used to correct for vertical land motion at sites used to calibrate satellite altitude. IMO, there is no reason to believe a GIA MODEL when you have GPS OBSERVATIONS, but the GIA models is only a 10% reduction in previously reported SLR over 2.5 decades, while GPS says the correction is twice as big.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  David Middleton
July 18, 2017 4:47 am


Reply to  David Middleton
July 19, 2017 2:10 am

David: Climate scientists cite the ability of AOGCMs to reproduce the historic record of warming as evidence that these models can be trusted to forecast future warming. I’m not aware that the ability of models to hindcast current or past SLR has ever been cited as evidence that models can project future SLR rise from melting ice caps under any scenario (RCP 8.5, 6.2 or 4.5).
If so, it doesn’t make any difference if current SLR is 3.2, 2.9, or 2.6 mm/yr (+/- 0.4) or some other smaller value compiled from tide gauges corrected for vertical land motion. GPS corrected tide gauges should have much less potential for systematic error, but are less precise because they take measurements at fewer locations than satellite altimetry. Local weather (winds) affects local sea level, making tide gauge data far noisier than global data.
The problem with satellite altimetry is that a new major systematic error has been uncovered every few years. The corrected rate of SLR for any period can easily fall outside the 95% ci confidence interval previously reported for that period. Five years from now, the current rate of SLR for the period 1993-2016 could be 2.0 or 4.0 mm/yr.
An analogy: When measuring temperature over land, put your thermometer in the sun on the ground. To get the true temperature, you need to correct for the constantly varying intensity of solar radiation, the thermal emissivity of the thermometer, the rate at which horizontal wind from varying directions carries heat away from thermometer, and the rate at which vertical convection cools the hot surface. That is what they do with satellite altimetry; make large corrections for humidity (40 cm worth when converted to distance), and for wave height based on wind speed from re-analysis data.

July 18, 2017 12:06 am

The sea level at Fremantle in Western Australia has risen about 20cm over the last 100 years but, due probably to ground water extraction, the land is currently subsiding at 2 – 4mm/year.
[see discussion by Jo Nova – http://joannenova.com.au/2017/05/sea-level-rise-hysteria-can-be-cured-by-looking-at-tide-gauge-data/%5D.
At Port Hedland in Western Australia the daily tidal range is around 6 to 7 metres but tide measurements suggest no increase in sea level whatsoever since the late 1960s
Perhaps the satellite sensor pointing at Port Hedland isn’t working

July 18, 2017 4:31 am

So the satellites used to agree with the only physical data source, tidal gauges. Now the climate charlatans are going to work to either “back adjust” the tidal gauge record or claim the gauges don’t matter.
We live in a shameful increasingly unhinged age.

Alec Rawls(@alecrawls)
July 18, 2017 7:00 am

“Whatever the methodology, we all come up with the same conclusions.”
And what conclusions are those? They always find what they are looking to find: “The rate of sea-level rise is increasing, and that increase is basically what we expected.”
Surprise surprise.

July 18, 2017 7:27 am

In this short video on ‘Sea Level’ the author claims they can only measure to the nearest Metre not Millimetre. Listen at the end of the Video.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  D.I.
July 19, 2017 12:52 pm

Once again, we are confronted with the unanswered question of the justifiable, stated-precision of a variable whose deviation from a spheroid appears to be about two orders of magnitude (measured in meters) and even with a significant variation from a geoid, with a superposition of ‘rogue’ waves that can be up to 30 meters, and tides that are routinely about one or two metes in amplitude, all modulated by smaller waves that are out of phase. It seems that the unstated assumption is that one can assign any desired precision as long as there are a lot of measurements. And there isn’t even any mention of the Nyquist sampling rate criteria for the periodic waves: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nyquist%E2%80%93Shannon_sampling_theorem

July 18, 2017 7:44 am

OK now there is justification to say….
Sea levels are rising at an increasing rate and all coastal cities will be under water before we know it…
Doesnt matter if they can justify an increase of an extra 0.000001 MM a year, the narrative is alive and can be exploited by the press and turned into we are all going to drown/die.
And of course they are right, we are all going to die sometime in the future.

G. Karst
July 18, 2017 8:41 am

Gavin and his cabal needs to be fired… urgently. Fake scientist make fake news. GK

Mary Brown
July 18, 2017 8:55 am

Sea level acceleration? Doesn’t look like it
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The Adjustocene can only last so long. Already, the adjustments are as big as the signal in many data series

Mary Brown
Reply to  Mary Brown
July 18, 2017 10:55 am
July 18, 2017 9:15 am

What, if any, was the final word on this study? I haven’t read all the comments here; apologies if this has already been addressed…
Earth’s surface water change over the past 30 years: ‘Nature Climate Change’ 8/2016
“Earth’s surface gained 115,000 km2 of water and 173,000 km2 of land over the past 30 years, including 20,135 km2 of water and 33,700 km2 of land in coastal areas…””We expected that the coast would start to retreat due to sea level rise, but the most surprising thing is that the coasts are growing all over the world,” said Dr Baart.””
If correct; does this not ‘debunk’ the meme?

Reasonable Skeptic
July 18, 2017 9:49 am

The best available dataset is the one that can be adjusted to fit the desired narrative. This is why surface data works for temps and satellite data works for SLR and not the other way around.

July 18, 2017 11:09 am

I’m not sure what to think about sea level rise anymore. If rock warms, it expands too, doesn’t it? Thermometers need bulbs to accentuate the expansion of the liquid. I hate to say this but it will take a model to understand exactly what rising sea levels are all about. I’m guessing that when heated seawater expands more than rock, but I’m pretty sure they both expand.

July 18, 2017 11:19 am

Still waiting for those coastal property values to drop.
Still waiting for that rush on “floody” pants and galoshes.
Still waiting.

July 18, 2017 7:43 pm

The team eventually identified a minor calibration that had been built into TOPEX/Poseidon’s altimeter to correct any flaws in its data that might be caused by problems with the instrument, such as ageing electronic components. Nerem and his colleagues were not sure that the calibration was necessary — and when they removed it, measurements of sea-level rise in the satellite’s early years aligned more closely with the tide-gauge data. The adjusted satellite data showed an increasing rate of sea-level rise over time.

This is “science” at its worst. They expect to see something so they look to see what they can change in the underlying data to show it. If the built-in calibration adjustment to the instruments had shown the rate increase in the first place then they’d not have needed to remove it. Nor would they have done so.
This is exactly the kind of “human bias” that make most adjustments cool the past, giving more alarming warming. Statistically, AGW is on poor footing when the adjustments all go one way like that.

July 18, 2017 11:23 pm

CSIRO estimate of global sea level rise-
“We have used a combination of historical tide-gauge data and satellite-altimeter data to estimate global averaged sea level change from 1880 to 2014. During this period, global-averaged sea level rose about 23 cm, with an average rate of rise of about 1.6 mm/yr over the 20th Century.”
although as they state the Port Arthur tide gauge can only demonstrate an average sea level rise of 0.85mm/yr between 1841 and 2000 which leaves plenty of wriggle room for the Noah’s Ark planners to adjust the data to suit their meme.

July 19, 2017 1:05 am

That settles the science. Just look at the facts. Over 150 years ago sea level rise was only 0.85mm a year and nowadays it’s 1.6mm a year so we’re all gunna drown if we don’t tax CO2.

James Schrumpf
July 19, 2017 2:54 am

A bit off-topic, but as long as we’re talking statistics I guess I can throw this in here. I’ve downloaded the NOAA GHCN daily files from the NOAA ftp site, and have been especially looking at the GSN station data from the GHCN data set. NOAA describes GSN as ” a subset of about 1000 stations chosen mainly to give a fairly uniform spatial coverage from places where there is a good length and quality of data record.” But from my look at some of these files, some of them leave a lot to be desired. For example, file IN020081000.dly, has only PRCP (precipitation) data, and the record ends in December 1970. There are four other files that are the same, and several more that have serious gaps in the record.
It’s enough to make me wonder if I’ve downloaded the wrong data, but the NOAA site refers to it as the daily summaries, updated every day. The timestamp on the file is 18 July, so it seems to be the right stuff — but I’m wondering why a file with 47-year-old precipitation data is included in one of the supposedly high-quality GSN stations.

Clyde Spencer
July 19, 2017 12:28 pm

The story has made it to the pages of the penultimate in science authority — Scientific American! /sarc

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