Disappeared: Tide gauges showing negative absolute sea level rise removed from data base

Guest essay by Albert Parker

Today I was informed of an alarmist claim about the sea levels of Perth, Western Australia, Australia. It started with this story:

In the next eight years our water level is going to increase by about 25cm, which is much higher than the water level increase for the last 115 years,” Professor Pattiaratchi said.

As I examined the Fremantle tide gauge in a recent peer reviewer work (Parker, 2016), I immediately checked if there was any change in the measured data to motivate such a claim.

I therefore downloaded again the relative sea level data of Fremantle, in Australia, the best tide gauge of the Indian Ocean.

As shown in Figure 1, the PSMSL data downloaded today June 6, 2018 from https://www.psmsl.org/data/obtaining/stations/111.php, suggest about same rate of rise and about same acceleration.



clip_image004 b

Figure 1 – (a) Fremantle relative mean sea level. Linear and parabolic fittings of the PSMSL RLR data, as it is or with gaps filled. (b) PERT (Perth) GPS dome. Image reproduced modified from SONEL.

With date range January 1897 to December 2016, the relative rate of rise is +1.67 mm/yr. and the acceleration is +0.006 mm/yr2 (the usual few micrometers per year squared).

As the completeness of the record is 92%, I decided to fill the gaps interpolating the data of same month in neighboring years. This way I computed a relative rate of rise of +1.70 mm/yr. and an acceleration of +0.005 mm/yr2.

Worth to mention, the rate of rise of the sea level in Fremantle is less than the likely rate of sinking of the instrument, as SONEL computes for the nearby GPS dome of PERT (Perth) a subsidence rate of -2.09±0.38 mm/yr. (analysis in www.sonel.org/spip.php?page=gps&idStation=812),

and in the similarly close-by GPS of HIL1 (Hillarys), where an even larger subsidence rate of -2.78±0.31 mm/yr. is measured (analysis in http://www.sonel.org/spip.php?page=gps&idStation=1918).

The Perth basin is indeed subjected to subsidence (Featherstone, Penna, Filmer, & Williams, 2015; Featherstone, Filmer, Penna, Morgan & Schenk, 2012), and the sea levels are rising here cause the land is sinking.

Therefore, nothing new from the measurements.

Which is therefore the novelty?

In performing todays’ analysis, I visited again the PSMSL and the SONEL web sites, and I discovered how the “adjustocene” progresses within intergovernmental projects.

  • PSMSL does not link any more the Fremantle tide gauge information to the SONEL page of the PERT GPS dome.
  • SONEL, that proposes the computed absolute sea level rises by correcting the relative rate of rise from the tide gauge with the subsidence rate from the GPS monitoring, does not propose any more the absolute rate of rise negative for Fremantle.

If you look at the images of Figure 2, with the same time window for the online graph, with reference to two years ago, the negative absolute sea level rise of Fremantle has disappeared, similarly to the negative absolute sea level rise of a Japanese tide gauge.

clip_image006 a


Figure 2 – Absolute sea level rates of rise (relative sea level rate of rise from tide gauge, absolute vertical land velocity from satellite GPS) in the World Tide gauges with theoretically same data 1900 to 2013 before and after Fremantle was eliminated. Images reproduced modified from SONEL, www.sonel.org. (a) Image downloaded 6 June 2018. (b) Image from Parker (2016). The inconvenient result for Fremantle could not have been accepted by the intergovernmental scientists.

Other changes may be spotted, even if less evident.

In many regimes, dissidents disappear. In the climate change dictatorship, inconvenient data suffer the same treatment.

Within Australian universities, from Murry Shelby to Bob Carter, from Peter Ridd to myself, academics not supporting the narrative are simply forced to leave, in a way or another, or not even start, as Bjorn Lomborg. I do not believe anyone within Australian universities will declare that the sea levels in Fremantle have been rising since 1897 without any significant acceleration component, and in the next 8 years they may rise on average of not even 25 millimetres, but  16 millimetres  …..


Featherstone, W., Filmer, M., Penna, N., Morgan, L. & Schenk, A. (2012). Anthropogenic land subsidence in the Perth Basin: Challenges for its retrospective geodetic detection. Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia, 95(1), pp.53-62.

Featherstone, W.E., Penna, N.T., Filmer, M.S. & Williams, S.D.P. (2015). Nonlinear subsidence at Fremantle, a long‐recording tide gauge in the Southern Hemisphere. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 120(10), pp.7004-7014.

Parker, A., (2016), The Sea Level Rate of Rise and the Subsidence Rate Are Constant in Fremantle, American Journal of Geophysics, Geochemistry and Geosystems, 2(4):43-50.



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It is hilarious that most tide gauges are on the Atlantic which is widening. The Pacific, which is narrowing due to plate tectonics, has few. — John M Reynolds


Yes it is worth noting, from those figures, a slight negative trending station has been removed or changed on the west coast of the USA, reducing further the representation on the Pacific.


How about applying accounting principles to scientific data. All changes are journaled and it’s possible to see why they were done.

I was taught never to erase lab book entries. The correct procedure is to stroke them out so everyone knows they were there. Every scientist should know that.

Changing data, without noting the fact, is malpractice.

“Changing data, without noting the fact, is malpractice.”
There is no evidence that data for Fremantle has been changed. It is here. There is a log of events, last noted is in 2012. The complaint here is that SONEL, which is basically a French database, does not now include it in what they call a demonstrative product (map).

Taylor Pohlman

Nick, I think that’s the point. The article claimed (rightly) that the data was being ignored, perhaps deliberately, in databases used for sea level change analysis (that ‘French’ database, as you referred to it). If HADCRUT simply dropped stations whose temperature record was inconveniently negative, would that concern you? So why wouldn’t you be concerned if a sea level analytical database appears to do the same. Maybe this is just a temporary error, and will be corrected, but surely you can understand a bit of paranoia, give the urgency with which the ‘sea level rise wil drown us all’ meme is being pushed so relentlessly

“If HADCRUT simply dropped stations”
HADCRUT is compiling a global average. This site is not. They have chosen to draw a map with trend arrows of some sites from PSMSL where they can get GST data that allows them to calculate an absolute sea level trend. It is obviously not a globally representative set, and they make no claim that it is.

Percy Jackson

Actually I am not sure what the problem is. I can find the data for Freemantle on their
website at
so the claim that it is not present on the SONEL website would appear to be wrong.

Phil Salmon

Is the data GLP audited?

I don’t know.


Same goes for land surveyors field book entries and other related fields.

Anthony needs to make up some ”Adjustocene” T-shirts, mugs etc. and sell them here at WUWT!

Maybe cartoonist Josh could give a hand in this endeavour! Picture Mike Mann paddling a canoe with a hockey stick. A hole in the canoe has a small geyser gushing water into the air and a balloon over Mike’s head reads “the seal level is rising!”




You need to get with the spirit of the climate of corruption.
“Progressives” do not let a few stinking facts get in the way of a good opportunity to take control.


Aye, commieBob!

Official records require all corrections to be initialed and often dated by the person correcting the record. Serious records, require a supervisor to check and initial the changes.

We used to joke about the requisite three check marks and initials on every correction; the third checkmark and initial was because every supervisor whose job and merit increases depended on accuracy, had a neutral third person following up and verifying all changes.

There are government regulations on maintaining accurate and pristine data records. In our agency, people caught changing, er, adjusting data without explicit detailed and approved rationales for each and every change, got fired and sometimes criminally charged. (One director and his immediate staff doctored production volumes. Since their bonuses were based on production, they got charged with fraud.)

John Endicott

“Changing data, without noting the fact, is malpractice.”

In the CAGW community it’s known as business as usual


” is malpractice.”

There, fixed it for you!

John P Schneider

CommieBob “I was taught never to erase lab book entries. The correct procedure is to stroke them out”. You and I must be from he same generation. Evidence of erasure invalidated the entire data set at my college. Do the whole thing over. True for when I was a chem major, and harshly enforced when I changed to physics.
So I know you understand my shock and dismay when I see the practice of replacing the original readings with “adjusted” data. No explanation – and the original data is lost. To my education, all of the data is now compromised.
My career was at Boeing. I will attest that I never observed or suspected data being tampered with. I saw a program manager (once) flip an axis in an analysis. However, his new results put us in a bad light, and the customer cancelled the contract. Which they wanted to do anyway.

spangled drongo

I’ve been telling people for years in Australia that there is no sea level rise and now the alarmists have come to the same conclusion.

So they have decided to do something about it.

Climategate has become watergate.

Tom Halla

Good line!

Lewis P Buckingham

As a matter of interest, has any tinkering been done to the Port Jackson Tidal Gauge?


If you’re talking about Fort Denison, Sydney – NOAA hasn’t updated it’s records since about 2012 …. wonder why?


P.S. According to NOAA, there has been zero SLR at Fort Denison since about 1950.

P.P.S. ‘Port Jackson’ is better known as Sydney Harbour.

P.P.P.S. Truth be known, there has been FA SLR in Sydney Harbour (Port Jackson) since records started in 1886.

PSMSL data here runs to end 2016.


Like I said Nick ….. F.A.

Oh, BTW, I live about 160k’s north of Sydney, on the coast, on the shores of Australia’s largest coastal lake. Been here for 57 years … my father has been here for 92 years.

Will be a long time before CO2 puts water up to our door step. 😉

Patrick MJD

So Australia has been driven north by as much as 650cm since your father was born.


That’s a rather novel way of looking at it. 🙂

Another point about Sydney, Tim Flannery told us that our dams will never be filled again, so under his advice, the Australian Govt. went and built desal plants in all our capital cities. Unfortunately the rains came not long after Sydney’s plant was built and filled all the dams back up again, to the point of over-flowing ….. the Sydney plant has never been switched on and, ironically, the Brisbane plant has only been used during periods of flooding.


Fort denison tide gauge showed a rise of about 6.5cm in a century (0.65mm per year)



And the GPS showed sinking of -0.33mm +/- 0.25 per year (2005-2013)


From here is the one currently active. Here’s the plot. Looks more like about a 15 cm rise:

comment image


If you go from the first point to the last point the rise is well under 10cm.
The monthly data from that page looks to have a trendline rise of about 6cm


comment image

The monthly trend of the whole period is 1.034 mm/year. Total rise 106mm. (102.4 years)


OK, so if we extrapolate the 0.33mm per year of land sinking to the whole period there was a total rise of 72mm.


Story html link needs editing….


The link
is broken for me.
But when I change the https to http it works –

Bloke down the pub

25cm in eight years? Sounds like someone made an incorrect conversion between mm and inches.


No, we here in the land of the true measurement system don’t believe in all the m, mm, cm stuff. Too many m’s.

Yes. The report is here. He’s actually talking about a tidal effect; the quote continues:
“The mean water level is changing due to what we call the nodal tide, which has an 18.6-year cycle, and at the moment we’re at the lowest part of that cycle.”

But I think the reporter mixed up mm and cm.


In another paper there is reference to a 15 cm 18.6 year tidal cycle: “Analysis of the tidal record from Fremantle indicates that the lunar nodal cycle has a range ~15 cm in the region…”
However, as Nick has noted this is a tidal cycle and it has nothing to do with long term sea level rise. The main point should be that there are other reasons for high sea levels that dwarf any long term sea level rise that may be caused by warming.

Yes. The author in that link is the person quoted, so likely the reporter did get it right. It does seem very high, though.

DC Cowboy


The Expulsive

I see a field where block-chain would work for maintaining records


I always said IBM was brilliant at marketing. They need to get a block chain powered Watson to solve climate change.


Off piste but just sharing the joy-

The Independent newspaper is now removing my comments. Today I posted something which the newspaper wrote a few years back about Tropical Cyclones increasing because of global warming. Their article today is tropical cyclones decreasing because of global warming.


Only fair to give the response and well done to them-

Lauren Briner (The Independent)

Jun 7, 14:35 CEST

Good afternoon sir/madam,

Many thanks for your email.

Unfortunately, we are experiencing some technical difficulties with our commenting system.

Our technical team are busy investigating the issue with a matter of urgency.

I have checked your account, and cannot see any comments pending in moderation. This means they have been approved.

The reason why your comments may not be appearing, may be due to these technical issues we are experiencing.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused by this issue, and hope to provide a resolution as soon as possible.

Please let us know if we can assist further.

Kind regards,
Customer Services

flow in

“technical issues’ = your comment is embarrassing so has been lost


Well my comments are still disappearing- some technical issue!


The quote states an expected rise of 25 CM in the next eight years. I suppose this is a typing error??
So far aparently no one noticed. Even 25 mm is unlikely (although not completely impossible).


Thank you for documenting this. It is strange to watch how the climate of corruption spreads to all areas of the academy, politics and life.


Maybe it’s been redated to 100 or so years ago, as it’s clearly wrong

Juan Slayton

They may rise on average of not even 25 millimetres, but 16 millimetres …..

Should this read “25 centimetres”?


No, the cm-thing is an obvious mistake/ typing error in the original claim (or if it is meant to be true, that professor should stop writing one more word on climate).
Sea level rise is about 2.5 millimeter per year.


Face it – Australia is a silly place, with ridiculously irrelevant strongholds of left wing ideology that they call “universities” but which turn out nothing but fools and activists.

The MSM pays attention to them because they’re a strong bastion of Leftism, but really – does anything that happens in Australia matter to anyone else in the world anymore? They can chase their kangaroos any way they want, for all I care. Nothing that anyone says or thinks or does in Australia will ever matter to me in even the slightest way.


Most universities today in the USA are just as left, some farther left, than those in Australia.


Each time we go to Cape Cod I like to go to Rockport and stand on the stone quay and marvel at the sea level rising. Funny, it has been there since prior to 1700 and it ain’t under water! Imagine that.


Cape Cod? I thought Rockport was north of Boston not south like Cape Cod.


Correct. Rockport is on the tip of Cape Ann, not Cape Cod.


My bad! Meant to say Rock Harbor. Just finished a remodel job in lovely Rockport PA, have typed it so many times in the last month I’m stuck on it. Don’t know why they call it that, being a landlocked hamlet in the middle of, well, trees. Pretty sure sea level, rising or falling, is not going to effect them much at all.


“I therefore downloaded again the relative sea level data of Fremantle, in Australia, the best tide gauge of the Indian Ocean.”

Care to check what they’ve done with the Port Arthur tide gauge in Tasmania that’s only risen an average 0.85mm/year for a century and a half-

a happy little debunker

Yes, but that can be explained by understanding that all the best things in life are to be found in Tasmania


And John Daly on Port Arthur . . .


If the trend of removing inconvenient data is taken to it’s ultimate end… Eventually all the real world data will be removed and replaced with a model. Models proving models is where we are headed if this behavior isn’t stopped and reversed.


The manipulation of data is what turned me from a minor “warmist” to a hard skeptic. I was dealing with government modelers in another field at the time. They thought nothing of changing the data to fit their models. I knew because we had provided them with 75% of the data they were using. They actually finally admitted to doing so in a come to Jesus meeting with senior management. That same day they used another model to defend their first model. A bit latter sitting around one day with friend in the “climate” business I asked could it be happening in the AGW game. He laughed, then got very serious and told me that was why he was retiring early. He told me where to check and how. I did. Then my question became “why if AGW was supposedly so obviously happening did anyone need to change, manipulate, misrepresent, exaggerate the data?” The answer to that question is obvious today.

flow in

That’s already happening. Adjustments are made to force data to fit model. There are a whole bunch of ‘fixes’ that can be pulled out of the bag to force data in one way or another, depending on need.

Pete of Perth

Best buy gumboots then

Albert Parker ==> Can you give the exact url that your Figure 2 images are from? I can not seem to get the same mix of stations.

I found it here. You have to click on options to get the GM background. And on Absolute Trends.

Nick ==> Yeah, I got that far, but a closer look shows that this is not the exact same page somehow. Parkers top image in the set shows only one (1) arrow (a double – up and down) in Australia. The page we can get at the link you and I look at shows three (3) Sea Level Trend arrows in Australia.
Parker’s piece is about “missing arrows” — I can’t duplicate his 6 June SONEL image no matter how I fiddle the settings on what I believe is the correct page (the same one you link to).
It is this difference between his supplied 6 June image and what I could find on 7 June that I am trying to sort.
Some of the proble is that SONEL has shifted to using a different data set — a different “GPS Solution” –they are currently using ULR6b (but claim to show ULR6a at his link: http://www.sonel.org/-Vertical-land-movement-estimate-.html?lang=en )
The GPS Solution set — which do not cover all the TG and GPS pairs — determines which GPS@TG pairs show up on the Absolute Sea Level Trend map.
I think that the automagic code behind the maps is responsible for the disappearing Australian and Japanese arrows Parker points out.
In ULR6b, there are a lot of fairly big differences in VLM, thus differences in calculated Absolute Sea Level Trends.

Did you adjust the time period to start 1900 instead of the default 1960?

Nick ==> That’s the trick….when one does so we see that there are several (maybe many) stations disappear from one version to the next, not just the two downward arrows Parker mentions. A few in Europe, same with east and west coast US.
Personally, early 20th century tide gauge records should be considered approximations and not compared to modern tide gauge data — as I’ve mentioned before.
For Parker’s issue, I think that the issue arises from the data sets behind the maps….looking at relative SL Trends 1900-date produces the same single trend for Australia. Obviously, if there is no relative Trend, an Absolute Trend can not be determined.
The key I think is in the panel below the maps which states:

“Important features to keep in mind (more details in “about”):

>>Only tide gauges with a nearby robust GPS velocity are displayed
(even for relative trends).
>>The trends are available for a period within 1900 and 2011 with at least 70% of valid data, and limited to a minimum time span of 30 years.
>>The tide gauge sea level trends are retrieved and processed in real-time from the PSMSL.”

So, some factor in selection is ruling out the other Aussie sites.

The sad fact is that the GPS at Hillaries (west Australia) is NOT at the tide guage, but it kilometers away downtown Perth, thus probably does not capture vertical movement of the tide gauge itself.
Until they have a wide network of “GPS@TG (same structure)” with a long enough data set, this will all still be unreliable.
As it is, the data changes all over the place with every new GPS Solution — it is unclear to me why the changes are so great.

Yes, I think the reason is probably the distance between Fremantle and the GPS sites. The Perth region is on deep sand, with a mostly fresh aquifer, which has been heavily drawn upon. At ocean edge, the sea keeps it recharged. So local variation in level movement is likely.

Nick ==> If you think anyone really cares, I will write up the whole snaffle in a new post — don’t want to alienate anyone, but crying “foul” without a full investigation of the data requirements is …. let’s just say “Not Right”.

I can’t speak for whether others would care, but I think elucidation would be good. Although ultimately, it’s just that Sonel is the wrong place to look for ‘official’ Fremantle data.

Nick ==> This is good example of why researchers must carefully state their procedures and label their graphic elements.
In addition, unless you’ve clicked on the About Tab, you won’t realize that the Absolute Trend is based on ULR6b — despite the offered link referring to ULR6a.
I believe the definitions of GPS@TG have also moved goal posts — the long range plan is to require “same structure” ContinuousGPS.
To conclude, the stations that have gone missing are gone because of missed requirements for inclusion — nothing nefarious here.


If a theory is correct, it doesn’t need to be supported by lies, data manipulation/omission and censorship of conflicting data. The “warmers” only hurt their already-weak argument with their deceptions.

Doug Proctor

Circular reasoning: negative tide guage readings are onviously land rise products. Positive readings are fro on ONLY oceanic water additions PLUS under valued by positive GIA.

No land substinence or negative GIA.

IPCC level assumptions based on the other assumption of a stable Earth.

flow in

GIA effect is dwarfed by local aquifer level effect, but they never calculate that. weird

Nik Lobachevski

Data disappeared? Winston Smith at work.

We’ve always been at war with East Asia.

Steven Zell

Hide the decline…in sea level on the Australia coast!


Who needs facts when models can given you the results you need !


I wonder if they say ‘water level’ rather than sea level so that when it doesn’t happen they can hide and say they meant groundwater or something else.


As has been pointed out, it’s clearly not correct to claim that the tide gauge has been removed. What has been removed from psmsl is a link to the external Sonel website for the nearby Perth GPS station data. This may be simply because Sonel (an independent organisation) have removed the station for whatever reason.

However, that all appears to be quite irrelevant. It was pointed out to me several years ago by Australian oceanographer Neil White that the Fremantle tide gauge is actually located on bedrock, so shouldn’t be affected by the subsidence around Perth indicated by the GPS station, which is not on bedrock. This means that the GPS data should not be used in analysis of the tide gauge data.

Patrick MJD

Of course alarmists ignore the fact Australia is being driven north at a faster rate than any sea level change. So measuring sea level is completely redundant.

Don Andersen

Albert, it’s Murry Salby, not Shelby.

Albert Parker ==> Are you reading here? If so, email me at my first name at i4 decimal net — we can talk about an update to this post with the reasons why there are differences. — kh


One only has to look at more stable historical landmarks on the Perth coast to realise that there has been zero sea level rise here. Trigg Island is a perfect spot (it’s actually a small rocky peninsula)

Donald Kasper

Time does not make sea level, the two variables are independent, and therefore the trend of sea level for the future and the acceleration don’t exist statistically and the numbers have no meaning. If you cannot understand this, plot the last 5 years of London Spot Silver Futures prices, determine a trend, and tell me the future of silver prices spot for the next 5 years. Correct, the trend is negative and therefore in the near future the price of silver will be below zero. You are saying at that point you can buy silver and get paid for buying it. Does this make sense? This is why commodity traders look for trend breakouts only and those who have no clue how statistical least squares is used become climatologists.