The clever ruse of rising sea levels

Alarmists try to frighten people, and stampede them into terrible energy decisions

Jay Lehr and Tom Harris

For the past 50 years, scientists have been studying climate change and the possibility of related sea level changes resulting from melting ice and warming oceans. Despite the common belief that increasing levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in our atmosphere could result in catastrophic sea level rise, there is no evidence to support this fear. Tax monies spent trying to solve this non-existent problem are a complete waste.

There is another widely held misconception: that all the oceans of the world are at the same level.  In reality, sea level measurements around the world vary considerably, typically by several inches. Prevailing winds and continental instability are among the variables that make measurements difficult, but the varying results of rising sea levels are extremely accurate.

The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the United States updated its coastal sea level tide gauge data in 2016 at the request of the previous administration. These measurements continue to show no evidence of accelerating sea level rise.

The measurements include tide gauge data at coastal locations along the West Coast, East Coast, Gulf Coast, Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico, as well as seven Pacific Island groups and six Atlantic Island groups, comprising more than 200 measurement stations.

The longest running NOAA tide gauge record of coastal sea level in the U.S. is in New York City at Battery Park. Its 160-year record shows a steady sea level rise of 11 inches per century. A few miles away at Kings Point, New York is a station whose 80-year record shows about the same.

Both locations show a steady, unchanging sea level rise rate whether temperature has been rising or falling (see below figures). Indeed, The Battery measurements showed the same rate of sea level rise well before the existence of coal power plants and SUVs as today.



The 2016 updated NOAA tide gauge record included data for California coastal locations at San Diego, La Jolla, Los Angeles and San Francisco. The measured rates of sea level rise at these locations vary between four inches and nine inches per century. NOAA data provide assessments with a 95% confidence level at all measured locations.

In contrast to these steady but modest real-world rising sea level rates, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) claims that sea levels all over the world will almost immediately begin rising far faster than before. Not only do NOAA records contradict such claims for U.S. and selected island coasts; this pattern of steady but modest sea level rise is being observed all across the world, despite rising CO2 and fluctuating average global temperatures.

The IPCC and its supporters are not able to provide convincing evidence to support their concerns about dangerous warming-driven sea level rise, as rising temperatures have rarely pushed sea level rise beyond one foot per century. Current sea level rise trends have stayed essentially constant over the past 90 years, despite the rise of atmospheric CO2 levels from less than 300 parts per million (ppm) as the Little Ice Age ended and modern industrial era began, to today’s 410 ppm.

Dire predictions made decades ago of dramatically accelerating polar ice loss, and an ice-free Arctic Ocean, have simply not come to pass. Dr. Steven E. Koonin, former Undersecretary for Science in the Obama administration, noted in The Wall Street Journal on September 19, 2014: “Even though the human influence on climate was much smaller in the past, the models do not account for the fact that the rate of global sea-level rise 70 years ago was as large as what we observe today.”

We can test the rising-seas hypothesis with real data collected from ten widely-distributed coastal cities with long and reliable sea level records in addition to those listed above. Those cities are indicated on the map below.



Source:, modified.

Each of these cities has well-documented, long-term sea level rise data, from which linear extrapolations can be made for the next 100 years. Here are three samples of the data available on the NOAA web site:


The Ceuta, Spain data show a nearly flat trend. Most notably, the data show no correlation between CO2 concentration and sea-level rise. If the current trend continues for the next century, the sea level in Ceuta will rise only three inches. This is in sharp contrast to the 10-foot global rise in sea levels recently projected by former NASA scientist James Hansen.


Like some other regions, Hawaii can see significant year-to-year fluctuations in sea level because of global oceanic currents or local plate tectonic movements. However, Honolulu has seen an average sea-level rise of only 5.6 inches since 1900. The sea level around Honolulu is projected to rise a mere 5.6 inches in the next 100 years, once again with no correlation to CO2 levels.


In contrast to these other locations, the sea level trend in Sitka, Alaska has been downward, not upward. If the rate of change continues, sea level will fall nine inches over the next 100 years. Note that Sitka is only about 100 miles from Glacier Bay and 200 miles from the Hubbard Glacier on Disenchantment Bay. If melting glaciers were causing sea levels to rise, one would expect to see it in Alaska.

Of course, the Sitka anomaly could be due to rising land masses, as is the case in other parts of the world. Still other locations – such as the Norfolk, Virginia area – are prone to land subsidence, the result of groundwater withdrawals from subsurface rock formations and/or to isostatic changes in nearby areas that cause some land masses to rise while others fall in elevation.

Here is the forecast sea level rise over the next century for the remaining seven cities on the map:

Atlantic City, New Jersey – 16 inches

Port Isabel, Texas – 15.4 inches

St. Petersburg, Florida – 10.7 inches

Fernandina Beach, Florida – 8.3 inches

Mumbai/Bombay, India – 3.12 inches

Sydney, Australia – 2.7 inches

Slipshavn, Denmark – 3.6 inches.

The observational data and projected sea level trends for these ten coastal cities lead to three obvious conclusions:

1. There has been no dramatic sea level rise in the past century, and evidence-based projections show no significant or dangerous rise is likely to occur in the coming century.

2. There is no evidence to indicate that the rate of sea level rise (or fall) in any of these areas will be substantially different than has been the case over the past decades or even century.

3. There is no correlation between atmospheric CO2 concentrations and sea level rise. The steady but modest rise in sea level pre-dated coal power plants and SUVs, and has continued at the same pace even as atmospheric CO2 concentrations rose from 280 parts per million to 410 parts per million.

Claims about dangerously rising sea levels, and island nations being submerged by them – as a result of human fossil fuel use and manmade global warming – are nothing more than a clever ruse, designed to frighten people into demanding or accepting terrible energy policies.

Those policies would cause nations the world over to give up abundant, reliable, affordable coal, oil and natural gas … and replace these fuels with unreliable, weather-dependant, expensive wind, solar and biofuel energy. The results would be devastating – for economies, jobs, manufacturing, food production, poor families and the environment.

Dr. Jay Lehr is the Science Director of The Heartland Institute which is based in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Tom Harris is Executive Director of the Ottawa, Canada-based International Climate Science Coalition and is also a policy advisor to Heartland.

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Tom Halla
December 6, 2018 2:09 pm

As Australia is nearly tectonically dead, perhaps one should rely on the tide gauge in Sydney to estimate sea level rise?

neil watson
Reply to  Tom Halla
December 6, 2018 2:25 pm

Tom, I recall commenting on the lack of rampant rising, as measured in SydHarb, in an Oz newspaper some years back. There was a riposte from an academic to the effect that there had been an uplift of land in Sydney-NSW to hide the sea level rise. I don’t know if that is true or not and I’d be interested if anyone could enlighten me. Best wishes, NW

spangled drongo
Reply to  neil watson
December 6, 2018 3:08 pm

Neil, if you check the latest GPS figures, Sydney is actually sinking at a near-equivalent rate to its SLR.

IOW, nothing happening with SLR around Sydney.

In Brisbane’s Moreton Bay which is also “nearly tectonically dead”, SLs are lower than they were 70 years ago at all my old bench marks going back as far as 1946.

It will be good when we have enough GPS chips on actual tide gauges so as to do a thorough audit of these claims of accelerating SLR.

Reply to  spangled drongo
December 6, 2018 5:42 pm

The only way to show recent accelerating to cherry pick the bottom of the La Nina…to the top of the El Nino

neil watson
Reply to  Latitude
December 6, 2018 6:22 pm

Tx SpDro and Lat!

Reply to  neil watson
December 6, 2018 7:16 pm

What is interesting is a consideration of “all the Pacific islands” that we are supposedly going to lose to sea level rise, a look at the Aus govt Geodesy site and look through to the ‘Results”. There appears to be a +/- 12mm variance (according to the error bars) although claimed 6mm “uncertainty” in land heights as determined, presumably by satellite and other means.
These islands are bobbing up and down with a degree of uncertainty greater than the sea level rise established elsewhere. When you look at a number of islands,i.e. Betio, Alofi, etc, there is a definite annual signature strongly indicating the effect of groundwater pumping. definitely not CO2.

Reply to  Tom Halla
December 6, 2018 2:36 pm

Hardly tectonically dead, when it is moving NbE at about 70mm a year.

Tom Halla
Reply to  Martin Clark
December 6, 2018 2:47 pm

As in the nearest faults and volcanoes are in New Guinea, which is on the same plate, but not Australia proper. AFAIK, there are no volcanoes or active faults in Oz.

Reply to  Tom Halla
December 6, 2018 3:12 pm

Try googling fault lines australia. It is relatively stable compared to some other places. Changes up here at 19 south 146 east are more likely due to changes in coastal topography due to longshore drift etc. Over 20 years my property recently went up from 3.9 AHD to 4 AHD, probably due to better measurement 🙂

Alan Tomalty
Reply to  Martin Clark
December 7, 2018 12:02 am

For Australian Height Datum (AHD ) the mean sea level reference is ZERO for the years 1966-1968. However subsidence makes adjustments necessary for certain areas. The bottom line is that actual levels cannot be trusted. Only an acceleration is cause for further investigation. Since there hasn’t been an acceleration, sea level rise is a red herring.

Reply to  Martin Clark
December 6, 2018 2:50 pm

Queensland (on the leading edge) has 45 tide gauges at 32 locations. The ones I have looked at (for estimating AHD and HAT for design purposes) show a variety of trends. None are necessarily wrong.

spangled drongo
Reply to  Martin Clark
December 6, 2018 3:28 pm

Martin, there is much old sea front infrastructure built to the old HAT level [AHD 100] where I witnessed fine weather king tides [normal BP] exceed these heights by one or two inches at places I lived as a kid whereas today these same fine weather HATs are constantly lower by often many inches on those same, still existing structures.

I am taking the HAT as the highest king tide of the year and possibly a few years.

Reply to  Martin Clark
December 6, 2018 6:03 pm

Wasn’t there coal mining under Sydney Harbour in the 1930s – do I remember there was an old mine shaft on the edge of the harbour at Balmain? Always good for a bit of subsidence.

Geoff Sherrington
Reply to  DaveR
December 6, 2018 7:53 pm

Probably the number of tonnes removed was so small that even sensitive instruments cannot detect any change from coal mining.
I say ‘probably’ because I have not lately looked at the actual figures, but I have ‘extremely high confidence by subjective expertise’ having spent much of my career in Australian mining and its history. Geoff.

Reply to  Tom Halla
December 6, 2018 2:55 pm

The main tide gauge for Sydney is Fort denison.
The Sonel GPS shows a subsidence over 8 years of -0.33 mm/year.
The tide gauge data give a trendline rise of about 100 mm in 100 years.
Giving about 70mm if you extrapolate the subsidence over 100 years.
Which confirms the 2.7 inches shown above.
Don’t panic !

Reply to  Tom Halla
December 6, 2018 4:16 pm


The Australian plate is the fastest continental plate on the planet, moving northwards and slightly to the east by about 7 centimetres each year, because of this movement GPS satellites do not use the WGS spheroid as their reference frame.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Tom Halla
December 6, 2018 5:44 pm

TH, almost dead is VERY different from dead (to paraphrase The Princess Bride).
See essay By Land or by Sea in ebook Blowing Smoke (or equivalent prior guest post of same name at Judith’s Climate Etc) for a very specifically relevant example of ’almost dead’ true scientific misconduct concerning ‘almost tectonically dead’ Australia and the hypothetical WAIS collapse.

Jon Scott
Reply to  Tom Halla
December 6, 2018 10:23 pm

Anything but tectonically dead. Human and Earth timescales are not the sane. You had a significant EQ somewhere left of central OZ maybe 15 years ago. It was in Archean Terrains if my memory is correct and was compressional in nature as are almost all shallow EQ’s around the world and the Global EQ database should be the first place real climate scientists should look when making a real QC of the sea level data. Also, Isostasy spoears no where in the alarmist process. Such wirk would not pass muster in a high school geography essay , hang on…. today it might sadly.

Alan Tomalty
Reply to  Jon Scott
December 7, 2018 12:35 am

The satellite people say that the satellites account for isostasy and continental drift(plate tectonics).
and subsidence. However even the satellite measurements show little acceleration in sea level rise. The little that they show seems to reflect with other natural changes in other variables like temperature. Until all of the Arctic melts I wont worry. If it all melted the sea level would rise 20mm (less than 1 inch).

Reply to  Tom Halla
December 7, 2018 9:25 am

Australia is not completely “tectonically dead”. The part from Adelaide to about Melbourne plus Tasmania is definitely rising, which is probably connected with the west Victoria volcanic province. And West Australia have both rising and sinking areas.

However the South Coast and much of the East and Northwest does seem to be “dead”.

This is easy to see by comparing the level of the last interglacial coastline.

John V. Wright
December 6, 2018 2:13 pm

Nice article Jay and Tom, thank you. Just to point out that – although it makes no difference to the measurements – although Ceuta is indeed an independent Spanish city it is located on the northern tip of Morocco and not actually in Spain. It is an elongated peninsula configuration and has, no doubt, interesting tidal flows on the western and eastern coasts.

December 6, 2018 2:48 pm

You don’t overlay CO2 and sea level, you graph CO2 and sea level and get rid of the x-axis as time. If you then graph CO2 at Mauna Loa to one archive of sea level anomaly (Willis Eschenbach) you get a trend of y = 1.2748x – 451.18, r^2 is 0.9701. X is CO2, Y is sea level anomaly in mm. This is a tight linear trend, particularly above the 0 anomaly point for the upper half of the trend. So there is an exact CO2 to sea level correlation, which is linear.

Reply to  Donald Kasper
December 6, 2018 3:24 pm

Don, the rate of sea level rise was exactly the same when CO2 went from ~280ppm to 300ppm…in about 100 years
…as it was when CO2 went from 300ppm to 400ppm….in about 50 years

When you overlay CO2, you can see that…the recent rapid increase in CO2 has had no effect on SLR

Reply to  Latitude
December 6, 2018 5:36 pm

Latitude – if you believe the single source of the global CO2 level – a private company using a secret method, analysing air next to an active volcano. What a racket.

Reply to  BoyfromTottenham
December 6, 2018 5:43 pm

…then there’s that

R Shearer
Reply to  BoyfromTottenham
December 6, 2018 6:09 pm

To be fair, there are numerous stations and great care is taken to avoid contaminated samples.

Adam Gallon
Reply to  BoyfromTottenham
December 7, 2018 3:11 am

Multiple sources, all show the same

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  Adam Gallon
December 7, 2018 3:33 pm


I agree. There is an atmospheric observation station at Cape Point measuring CO2 and many other trace gases.

Reply to  Donald Kasper
December 6, 2018 3:41 pm

IF you could overlay Co2 with 160 years of SLR,
which unfortunately cannot be done,
THEN you could see there is ZERO correlation…

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Dave Stephens
December 6, 2018 4:46 pm

“THEN you could see there is ZERO correlation…”
Sort of like CO2 and the last 30 years of global temps, right?

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Donald Kasper
December 6, 2018 4:58 pm

Donald Kasper
How can you rule out a spurious correlation? If the CO2 increase is primarily a result of outgassing from warming water, then the driver is temperature for both SL and CO2. That might better explain the linear trend. If, however, the CO2 were increasing because of human exponential consumption of fossil fuels, then one might expect a curvilinear relationship, especially if the CO2 was not responsible for either temperature increases or SL rise.

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
December 6, 2018 5:44 pm

Clyde that’s my number 1 argument for CO2 having no effect at all…..

Reply to  Donald Kasper
December 6, 2018 6:21 pm

I would be interested to see that chart. Do you have a way to put it online and give us the link?

December 6, 2018 2:51 pm

I love the superimposing trace of CO2 levels on these sea level graphs. They speak a strong message. Little doubt that the intellectual integrity of the IPCC is now well in the negative range.
I fear that I am moving from being a sceptic to being a contemptor. Never was a denier.
Who will rid us of this unethical and arrogant organisation?

December 6, 2018 2:58 pm

The notion of stampeding people into buying into AGW with scary sea level rise seems odd. After all, of the world population, what percentage actually live a literal stone’s throw from an ocean or estuary?

Andrew Dickens
December 6, 2018 3:00 pm

Has anyone got any info on what the Dutch think about rising sea levels? One-third of their country is below sea level, so keeping watch on sea levels is literally a matter of life and death to them.

Reply to  Andrew Dickens
December 6, 2018 3:21 pm

The best evidence is to see how the United Nations react to the bad news – both from their IPCC division as well as the rampart “scientists” with their access to alarmist jounalists and media.

Here is a reaction by the UN to their prediction of sea level rise.


adrian smits
Reply to  Andrew Dickens
December 6, 2018 5:01 pm

The Dutch built a sophisticated sea wall system after the 1953 disaster that killed 5000 people. They can easily handle ten feet of ocean rise.

Reply to  adrian smits
December 7, 2018 10:31 am

1836 dead, to be precise.

adrian smits
Reply to  Andrew Dickens
December 6, 2018 5:06 pm

The dutch built a system of sea walls that can easily handle ten feet of actual ocean rise.

Reply to  Andrew Dickens
December 6, 2018 6:46 pm

Interesting you should mention that. Here’s a link to an excellent Dutch paper on sea level rise especially during the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age.

Everyone should be aware of this paper. Go directly to the section on Klaus Eckart Puls, 2008 and look at Abb. 3: Meeresspiegel an der südlichen Nordseeküste. I think Abb. 3 means Figure 3. You will see that in the last 3000 years the sea level has increased a lot faster than it is presently increasing. The current rate of sea level rise is very comfortably within natural variability. It is completely not alarming!

Any alarmist should be confronted with this paper and asked to explain why there’s any reason to believe that the current sea level rise is in any way connected to rising atmospheric CO2.

I would love to see someone who speaks Dutch and understands sea levels do a WUWT story on this paper.

Reply to  commieBob
December 6, 2018 7:18 pm

The link I provided is a Dutch survey paper titled ‘De stand van de zeespiegel in de Middeleeuwen en de Kleine IJstijd’ or in English ‘The state of the sea level in the Middle Ages and the Little Ice Age’.

Google Translate informs me that ‘Meeresspiegel an der südlichen Nordseeküste’ is German and means ‘Sea level on the southern North Sea coast’. It’s one of the papers surveyed in the linked paper.

Reply to  commieBob
December 6, 2018 7:51 pm

Many parts of the world are still in rebound from melting of the last land ice sheets. Land north of about northern Germany (where massive ice covered) is rising. Land to the south is sinking — because during glaciation the glacial weight tilted the crust about a fulcrum located about northern Germany. Vertical land motion must be considered in tidal data.

Reply to  donb
December 7, 2018 4:29 am

Note that the graph I cited shows both rapid gains and decreases in sea level. You can’t ignore post glacial rebound but, at any location, it will be in one direction or the other. Note also that in the last 300 years, the rate of sea level rise on that coast has decreased a lot.

Post glacial rebound doesn’t come anywhere close to explaining the data in that paper.

Reply to  commieBob
December 7, 2018 12:49 pm


The link you provided reveals a lot of papers, in English, but the Klaus Ekhart paper is in German. So speaking Dutch is not enough. Leider.
And maybe the Dutch did a great job, protecting their coast, but a 3 meter sea level rise, like Adrian Smith suggested above, will be fatal. (Such a rise in the nearby future is unlikely, of course).

December 6, 2018 3:16 pm

You can see tide gauge measurements and trends all over the world in this interactive map.

Sea level actually declines in many places in the upper northern latitudes due to glacial rebound as the weight of the mile-thick glaciers of the previous glacial period pressing down on the land melted away. It’s good to live in an interglacial period.

December 6, 2018 3:54 pm

So, when is Manhattan
going to be underwater?

How can you miss that important date?

I happen to be in a bidding war
with Al “the blimp” Gore for the
new Manhattan Gondola franchise.

The Wall Streeter’s will have to take
gondolas to work, I figure,
to pick up their bonuses.

No more limos or taxis with all that water
over the southern part of Manhattan.

The world is coming to an end,
from global flooding,
and all you can do is to tell everyone
not to worry !

jimH in CA
Reply to  Richard Greene
December 6, 2018 5:16 pm

Manhattan can do what Sacramento did after the epic flood of 1860-1861, and raise the street levels one floor. So the 2nd floor is now at ‘ground level, with the 1sr floor now a basement.
With Sacramento only 10 feet above sea level, it was necessary. [ Sac is an ocean port as is Stockton, but 60+ miles from the coast.]
Gosh, is that adaptation to a river level rise, 150+ years ago.?

E. J. Mohr
December 6, 2018 4:30 pm

I think that it’s interesting that the landing spot of Julius Caesar in Britain is thought to have been found and today its 900 meters from the actual seashore. We can thus speculate that sea levels were higher during the Roman Climate Optimum and it seems we may have actual evidence.

Then, of course, we can turn our minds to the lost European land area of Doggerland that vanished beneath the rising seas during what used to be called the Holocene Climate Optimum. And in Holland, we can think of the great storms that occurred long after the Romans left the area and seem to enter recorded history in the 800’s. After that more great storms and tens of thousands of lives lost in the Netherlands.

Just looking at the list we can see that these huge storms seem to start when the climate cooled at the end of The Medieval Warming and continue with ferocity into the 1800’s. After that things settle down, perhaps because of better engineering, or maybe better weather, or a combination of the two. Here is the list:

December 6, 2018 5:01 pm

The relative sea level rise at The Battery is roughly 3 mm/yr but about half of that, if one is to believe GPS land level data, is because the land is sinking.

Michael Jankowski
Reply to  DRH
December 6, 2018 9:14 pm

Battery Park is man-made, interestingly enough. Plenty of fill in/around Manhattan.

December 6, 2018 5:01 pm

Well if you go to NOAA tides and currents, go to the trend tables, select Global trend tables, you will see a list of 369 trends, download the data (export to csv) use a program to average the trends and you come up with the amazing result of 1.362 mm per year.

Joel O'Bryan
December 6, 2018 5:11 pm

The temperature record and the Pause had its dishonest manipulator Climate Crusader in the name of Tom Karl at NOAA/NCEI.
Mark Serreze at NSIDC is doing everything he can get away with on the polar sea ice data. Fortunately he can’t do much to control the Danes or the Japanese record keepers.

The US Tide gauge record will have its Climate Crusader too. We will hear the name soon on the tide gauge record on some hack paper that re-adjusts the past data to find SLR acceleration that then the Science Mag Editors will no doubt fall all over themselves to publish.

December 6, 2018 5:42 pm

‘There is no correlation between atmospheric CO2 concentrations and sea level rise.’

Nor is there correlation between atmospheric CO2 concentrations and global mean temperature.

The data is in. Man made global warming is falsified.

Steven Mosher
Reply to  Gamecock
December 6, 2018 6:40 pm

I’ m tempted to say it……..

Reply to  Steven Mosher
December 7, 2018 12:50 am

Wrong ?

Reply to  dalyplanet
December 7, 2018 10:54 am

Bollocks. As is this:

‘ If melting glaciers were causing sea levels to rise, one would expect to see it in Alaska.’

One could, but one should be darn wrong.

Reply to  Steven Mosher
December 7, 2018 6:55 am

Say what?

GMT went DOWN from 1940-1980, as CO2 concentration went up.

GMT didn’t change for 18 years, during The Pause, as CO2 concentration went up.

Reply to  Steven Mosher
December 7, 2018 8:30 am

” i agree Steven, he should have said “The data is in. “Mann” made global warming is false.” ! : )

December 6, 2018 5:51 pm

The 21,000 delegates to the COP24 do not worry about their carbon footprint.
Neither does NATO. Plug in your Abrams tank anyone?
And that is really the crux of the problem: B52s, B2s etc… do not fly electric. But for those who want to play world cop, these contraptions have to fly as long as they can see the world.
So let’s cut the crap: the transformation has nothing to do with saving the planet, but has to do to confiscating sources of energy needed for war from populations.
These people are preparing to wage war. Pure and simple.

December 6, 2018 5:58 pm

“Despite the common belief that increasing levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in our atmosphere could result in catastrophic sea level rise, there is no evidence to support this fear”

Yes sir. Also no evidence that reducing fossil fuel emissions will reduce the rate of sea level rise.

December 6, 2018 6:22 pm

In addition to Honolulu, check Hilo, HI (note the SLR difference between Hilo and Hono), Johnson and Kwajalein Atolls, Midway and Wake Islands:

Bottom line: there is no observed acceleration of sea level rise in the central or western Pacific either, since records began during the 1940s (WW-2).

December 6, 2018 6:28 pm

Al Gore promised me that New York would disappear under the sea….. It is one of my greatest disappointments that this didn’t happen….;)

steve case
December 6, 2018 6:32 pm

It doesn’t take long to find a news article with ridiculous sea level claims. My search a minute or so ago turns up this one:

says 8.5 feet by 2100

That comes to 32 mm/yr for the next 81 years. One has to wonder when this acceleration is going to begin to happen.

steve case
December 6, 2018 6:37 pm

“The longest running NOAA tide gauge record of coastal sea level in the U.S. is in New York City at Battery Park.”

I thought it was San Francisco since 1855
New York since 1856
but what do I know

December 6, 2018 6:50 pm

It has been covered before they are all racing to publish accelerating sea level papers because they need the cutoff to be before Jason 3 data. The moment you start using Jason 3 data there is this big problem.

Back in 2017 Anthony did this report
In anthony’s 2017 discussion he had this graph but it looks like he didn’t realize the background to the flattening and he throws up other ideas
comment image

It is much easy to see the exact moment the flat kicks in if you look at this graph from University of Colorado research

Geoff Sherrington
Reply to  LdB
December 6, 2018 8:07 pm

An experienced numbers person looking at that graph from and not even knowing what it represented would be entitled to say that compared to the others, Jason 2 data showed larger errors than the others.
The question might be asked, what were the overall accuracy bounds of each of these satellite instrument packs used for that graph?
For years now I have been critical of the absence of properly estimated and measured error bounds in a lot of climate papers. Many researchers now seem to have no comprehension of the required art of proper error analysis and the world is suffering from this ignorance. Geoff.

Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
December 6, 2018 9:24 pm

Geoff: It is my my impression that satellite altimetry produces far more data points than tide gauges, making their estimate of global SLR appear to be more precise than tide gauges. The problem with satellite altimetry is SYSTEMATIC ERROR in converting time for the radar signal to return into distance. The correction factors for changing atmospheric humidity and wave height (calculated from re-analysis data) and ionization of the thermosphere are huge (meters). So if there is a small changing bias in re-analysis data or any other data used to convert time into distance, it becomes a bias in calculated global rate of SLR. I pointed this out to Judy and she incorporated some of this into her recent report.

We can’t determine the drift in the altitude of satellites used in satellite altimetry to better than 1 cm/year, so the altitude of the satellites is being calibrated using the sea level at a variety of sites on the surface of the ocean. (The first was an abandoned oil drilling platform off Southern California.)

The most important question I can’t answer is how many different groups are INDEPENDENTLY determining SLR from raw data. There are five different groups reporting SLR, but I suspect that they may all be relying on the same data for calculating the altitude of the satellite and converting time into distance. In that case, the only difference is in how the common data set is gridded and converted into a global record.

As best I can tell, everyone failed to convert satellite altimetry data into global SLR for nearly a decade before they understood the drift in satellite altitude and began to calibrate using sites on the surface. AR3 drew no conclusions from satellite altimetry. I believe there have been three major systematic corrections to satellite altimetry results – the last being a greater than 50% reduction in the rate of SLR during the first satellite period. It was this reduction that allowed recent claims of detection of acceleration. It appears possible that the CU website still shows the pre-correction average rate of SLR, but used the corrected data to report detection of acceleration.

Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
December 6, 2018 9:26 pm

Yes there are basically 3 different trends topex/jason1 together, jason2, jason3

An actual scientist might actually try to reconcile the differences before trying to work with them as a whole. However this is Climate Science it doesn’t work like that you just throw data together and if it tells the right story it is okay. There is considerable tension brewing with Jason 3 because it is starting to become a problem and will need adjustment to keep up the narrative.

December 6, 2018 7:29 pm

“The longest running NOAA tide gauge record of coastal sea level in the U.S. is in New York City at Battery Park. Its 160-year record shows a steady sea level rise of 11 inches per century. A few miles away at Kings Point, New York is a station whose 80-year record shows about the same.”

Well in the Sothern Hemisphere there’s a similar length one at Port Arthur in Tasmania-

“One of the oldest tide gauge benchmarks in the world is at Port Arthur in south-east Tasmania. When combined with historical tide gauge data (found in the London and Australian archives) and recent sea level observations, it shows that relative sea level has risen by 13.5 cm from 1841 to 2000.”

and the CSIRO produce a global average estimate-

“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”

Geoff Sherrington
Reply to  observa
December 6, 2018 8:22 pm


This passage is relevant. It comes from Parker,…5276.6210..9837…0.0..0.186.552.0j3……0….1..gws-wiz…….0i71.IZeKlRRSyv8

In summary, the Establishment changed the rise of sea level by claiming that the people who marked the rock made the error of saying it was mean tide level when (in official post-normal reconstruction) it was not. From Parker –

“The Isle of the Dead benchmark
A global key site is the sea level benchmark
etched onto a cliff on the Isle of the Dead, Tasmania,
Australia in 1841 by J.C.Ross (Daly 2003a,
b). The benchmark was the theatre of Daly’s last
great battle with the climate science. Daly’s uncovered
flaws in the claims made by climate scientists
that the Isle of the Dead mark was a proof of rapidly
rising sea levels. The Ross benchmark currently
stands more than 30 cm above present-day
mean sea level. Ross in his account of his visit
to Tasmania in 1841 stated clearly that the mark
was struck at zero point or the mean level of the sea
as he estimated it to be in 1841 (Ross 1847). Shortt
(1889) found the mark to be 34 cm above Mean
Sea Level (MSL). Hamon (1985) determined the
MSL at Port Arthur to be 36 cm below the level
of the benchmark with an error range of ±5 cm.
Not surprisingly, no matter what is written
by Ross (1847), Shortt (1889) and Hamon (1985),
Pugh et al. (2002) were able to publish in the peer
review a paper arbitrarily correcting the benchmark
location as originally set 44.5 cm above the
mean level of the sea in 1841 rather than at the
mean sea level, and omitting to consider not only
the Ross (1847) narration, but also the assessments
by Shortt (1889) and Hamon (1985) and
any other information against their claim to conclude
that the sea level risen 13 cm over 130 years
mostly because the IPCC cannot be wrong. “

December 6, 2018 10:00 pm

Temperature is proportional to the logarith of co2 concentration (see e.g. Lewis & Curry 2018), therefore the graphs are misleading. You also did not adjust for land subsidence or land uplift.

Can you please update the graphs?

December 6, 2018 10:36 pm

If you want to know the truth about SLR, don’t look to the politically-motivated Heartland Institute. (AR5’s central estimate of about 2 feet by 2100 isn’t unreasonable.)

“1. There has been no dramatic sea level rise in the past century, and evidence-based projections show no significant or dangerous rise is likely to occur in the coming century.”

Wrong. Unless perturbed, sea level doesn’t change appreciably. Since rapid SLR stopped about 7000 years ago, sea level has risen on the average of less than 1 m/millennium, much less for the last 4 millennia, and negligibly for the last 2 millennia. Today’s rate of rise (about 1 inch per decade or 2.5 mm/yr) is 2.5 m/millennia – which is unambiguously and dramatically higher than the average observed for the last 7 millennia. SLR is not “normal”. It is caused by warming and takes a long time.

It is possible that there were individual centuries that saw significant natural rise of fall in sea level. Rising SL observed in the late 1800’s (when tide gauges became common) was undoubtably due to the end of the LIA. Warming – whether natural or anthropogenic – causes SLR. We don’t have reliable data about what happened during earlier warm periods like the MWP or RWP.

However we do know what happened when the last ice age ended: It warmed about 6 degC and sea level rose about 120 m. That is roughly 20 m/degC! Anyone who thinks warming doesn’t cause SLR is nuts. As the ice caps retreated towards the poles, there was less land to hold ice, so maybe we only need to worry about 5 to 10 m/degC. During the warmest part of the last interglacial, the IPCC asserts that SLR was about 7 m higher than today and it was about 1 degC warmer (based an Antarctic ice cores). I’m skeptical about these numbers, but the partial melting of the Greenland ice sheet during the last interglacial is well documented. Pollen from trees has been found in Greenland.

As the last ice age ended, SLR rose an average of 10 m/millennium for 10 millennia. We are at 1/4 that rate of rise today! The important question about SLR is: “How Fast?”, not “How Much”. Today’s rate of SLR isn’t a major problem for society. Many meters of SLR can be managed if it doesn’t happen too fast.

“2. There is no evidence to indicate that the rate of sea level rise (or fall) in any of these areas will be substantially different than has been the case over the past decades or even century.”

The LIA ended in the first half of the 1800’s, but SLR continued to rise for another century while there was little significant warming. Since 1975, GMST has risen about 0.9 degC. We certainly haven’t experienced all of the SLR that this 0.9 degC of warming will cause. And the authors don’t expect “substantially different” SLR if the planet warms another 1 degC?

“3. There is no correlation between atmospheric CO2 concentrations and sea level rise. The steady but modest rise in sea level pre-dated coal power plants and SUVs, and has continued at the same pace even as atmospheric CO2 concentrations rose from 280 parts per million to 410 parts per million.”

Bobbing and weaving. Rising CO2 doesn’t directly cause SLR. Warming causes melting of ice caps and SLR. Most knowledgeable people – probably including the authors of this post – recognize that rising CO2 certainly has caused and will continue to cause some warming by reducing radiative cooling to space. So why say there is no evidence of a connection. Melting of ice caps is an extremely slow process that continued for several MILLENNIA after warming reached a plateau (according to Antarctic ice cores) after the end of the last ice age. Sea level rise associated with the end of the LIA lasted at least a century and may still be contributing to SLR today.

Alan Tomalty
Reply to  Frank
December 7, 2018 1:53 am

Let us take your points 1 by 1

1) 2 feet by 2100 which is 82 years away is 7.4mm per year Since the Jason 3 was put into orbit in 2016 not only is it not showing any acceleration, it isnt even close to 7.4 mm per year.
2) Warming doesnt go from atmosphere to oceans. it is the other way around by evaporation. The Argo floats have shown no warming in most of the world’s oceans.
3) The true error bars in sea level height measured by satellite are larger than the rise measured. Greenland started melting 8000 years ago and it took 3000 years to lose 20% of its ice mass. NASA uses isostatic adjustment to adjust the sea level figures. NASA tide gauge data also doesnt agree with historical tide gauge data nor NOAA data.

If the sea level really was increasing due to global warming causing ice to melt we would see loss of ice in East Antarctica. That is not happening. There is more ice in Arctic ocean now than there was 4 years ago. If the sea level rise was caused just by warming water and NOT ice cap melting, then there really would be an increase in the planet radius. That would show up in the Earth day to lengthen as Ken Irwin has shown in a post below. The earth day has not lengthened any more than normal.

Geoff Sherrington
Reply to  Frank
December 7, 2018 6:05 pm

Frank writes – “Anyone who thinks warming doesn’t cause SLR is nuts.”

I think we all agree on that. What is the figure, the conversion factor, relating present-day sea level change to atmospheric temperature?

Ken Irwin
December 6, 2018 11:09 pm

As an engineer I find the argument put forward by Professor Nils-Axel Mӧrner, Ph.D., Emeritus Professor of Paleogeophysics & Geodynamics, Stockholm University, Sweden to be the most compelling.

Measure the speed of the Earth’s rotation via sidereal (astronomical) time.

If the sea level rise is caused by melting ice caps then the motion of relatively low velocity mass from polar regions to the exaggerated high velocity of the oblate spheroid equator must cause the Earth to slow down via the physics of the conservation of momentum.

For the alarmist position of 100mm sea level rise in the last 10 years alone, this should have caused the Earth day to lengthen by 3 milliseconds – or about 50 times greater rate than the Earth slows down naturally via tidal forces.

The argument pretty much ends there.

I’m surprised I don’t see it used more often.

December 7, 2018 2:42 am

Nothing’s happening in the UK either. Just a continuation of the small, long term trend

Andrew Jenkinson
December 7, 2018 3:24 am

Please, please can someone point me to documentation which explains HOW see level rise is measured and how the hell you can get an accurate measure of something which is always varying and affected by multiple factors on a second by second basis?
Surely scientists must have a methodology which has a known accuracy.

Steve O
December 7, 2018 4:35 am

If the rate were to triple, we’d have only 100 years to adjust to 300 years worth of sea rise. Rich people can take care of themselves, but what about all the poor people who have beachfront homes?

spalding craft
December 7, 2018 5:30 am

Read what a climate scientist has to say about the subject.

December 7, 2018 7:46 am

Always look at the trend.
It is hard to fake a 50 Year trend like this:
Or this:

Beautiful and obvious -no CO2 correlation.

Bill Lindqvist
December 7, 2018 8:59 am

Jay and Tom – San Francisco has a continuous tidal record even longer than that of Battery Park – same story though. I take several of these graphs with me to Climate Change meetings in Marin County, California but most of the alarmist politicians and stake holders choose not to take notice or accuse me of cheery picking.

December 7, 2018 5:05 pm

The article states “In reality, sea level measurements around the world vary considerably, typically by several inches.” I remember being taught in junior high (California schools, of all places) that sea level varied by almost 43 kilometers, depending on latitude. That’s a lot more than several inches.
Wiki seems to agree with those teachers from 1967.

December 7, 2018 5:11 pm

Link to original source material found at

With photos of that benchmark

December 8, 2018 8:02 am

The low Denmark projection could be a function of post glacial isostatic adjustment, similar to that in Sitka. Of course, the reverse effect is seen in areas just outside the regions of thick glaciation in our current Ice Age. The low reading in Mumbai, India could be the result of Indian Ocean evaporation rates, which may explain the drop in sea level in the Maldives.

Sea level isn’t as simple as we may have thought in grade school — evaporation, plus geological changes (uplift and depression), as well as glacial melt, and thermal expansion.

Johann Wundersamer
December 11, 2018 1:45 am

My father said I saw the Russian on the other side of the ditch.

He did not kill me.

I did not kill him.

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