Professor Nils-Axel Mörner, 1938-2020

By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley

Professor Nils-Axel Mörner, who died on Friday October 16 aged 83 after a short illness, knew more about sea level than did Poseidon himself. He wrote more than 650 papers on the subject in his long and distinguished career. He became even more well-known after his retirement than before it, because he decided to take the risk of publicly opposing the false notion, profitably peddled by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change et hoc genus omne, that global warming would cause many meters of sea-level rise.

Silent upon a peak in Darien

I first came across Niklas Mörner when he and I met at St. Andrews University in Scotland, where we had been invited to debate the climate question with true-believers at the University Union, one of the oldest debating societies in the world.

At the beginning of the evening, the President asked us whether we minded taking part in a debate in which 97% of the students were against our viewpoint. Niklas replied cheerfully that he had faced worse odds than that.

During the debate, Professor Mörner’s speech won us the day. Within seconds, he had the undergraduates eating out of his hand. His manner was calculatedly eccentric, and yet all through his speech one could see how passionate he was about seeking scientific truth objectively by measurement, observation and the application of previous theory to the results so as to confirm and develop or to overthrow that theory. Either way, said Niklas, science advances by little and little towards the truth, and nothing but the truth matters.

The scientific method applied to sea-level change: a slide by Niklas Mörner

The undergraduates were visibly fascinated. After 40 years of lecturing, he knew that keeping them entertained was the best way to hold their attention, and that making visible his personal dedication to the hunt for objective truth in scientific enquiry would lead the students to emulate him. He was rapturously received throughout his speech, and was accorded a thunderous round of applause at the end.

When the vote was taken, the skeptics had won by a margin of 3 votes. It was the first time that any student audience in Britain had voted to oppose the climate-Communist Party line.

Thereafter, Niklas and I kept in regular touch until just a couple of months ago, when he wrote asking me to contribute two papers to a new scientific journal that he was setting up. He wanted one paper on What is science and what is not? and another on our team’s demonstration that concern about global warming sprang from an elementary but significant error of physics.

Mörner’s fork

At the Copenhagen climate conference in 2009, Niklas gave a speech on sea-level rise to a press briefing organized by the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow. The meeting was well attended, and Niklas – who needed a pointer for his slides but could not find one – seized a passing wooden salad fork and used that instead, to the delight of the journalists.

He also established the influential International Committee on Geoethics, with the aim of removing partisan politics and reintroducing open debate on scientific questions at universities. The Committee held its inaugural conference in Prague, where the presentations were given in the Spanish Ballroom of the Hradcany Palace at the invitation of then-President Vaclav Klaus, who also spoke.

Geoethics in style: the Spanish Ballroom at the Hradcany Palace, Prague

Professor Mörner was a hands-on scientist. He did not enjoy squatting in his ivory tower. He liked to travel the world investigating sea level by the novel method of actually going to the coastline and having a look.

On one occasion, when the climate Communists were reporting that Bangladesh was subsiding beneath the rising waves, he went on a fact-finding trip to Bangladesh with a group of fellow sea-level specialists. All the others were true-believers, so they just drifted along with the Party Line and took few measurements.

Only the Professor not only used his altimeter but walked 100 meters uphill, in his late 70s, and back down again so that the instrument would be correctly calibrated. Only the Professor subsequently reported that, as a result of those measurements, sea level off Bangladesh was actually falling. Only the Professor reported that in the few beaches where the sea had encroached, it had done so not because of global warming and consequent sea-level rise but because local prawn farmers had grubbed up the mangroves whose roots had previously kept the coastline stable.

The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil

On another occasion Professor Mörner was visiting the Maldives when he noticed a small tree, 40 years old, right on the beach, in leaf but lying on its side. The fact that the tree was still there, feet from the ocean and inches above sea level, after 40 years told him that there had been no sea-level rise since the tree had first begun to grow, or it would have been drowned.

He enquired locally about whether there had been an exceptional spring tide caused by global warming and sea-level rise that had overthrown the tree. He discovered, however, that a group of Australian environmental extremists had visited the beach shortly before him. They had realized that the presence of the tree showed that the official sea-level record showing a sharp rise over the past half-century must be incorrect, and had uprooted the tree. Professor Mörner stood it back up again and photographed it.

He was plainly very distressed by incidents such as this, for he was a highly moral man with a strong regard for the truth. He took each of the numerous lies and frauds perpetrated by climate Communism as a personal affront, and was saddened at the widespread decline in scientific standards, particularly in the universities.

Mörner ‘sacrificing’ a fellow-scientist on a South American tectonics field trip in 2012

He was hated and feared by the climate extremists. The online fake-news outfall Wokipedia, one of whose founders has now publicly admitted that it is wholly in the hands of Communists, has the usual hatchet-job biography for the Professor, devoting more sniffily disapproving prominence to his interest in dowsing for water with hazel twigs than to his formidable record of investigation and publication in the field of sea-level rise.

Wokipedia’s hate-filled scribblers did not – could not – comprehend that Niklas Mörner’s interest in dowsing was motivated chiefly by scientific curiosity. I once told him that my late father had been commissioned some years back by the Maltese Government to find three Punic tombs at the foot of the limestone escarpment on which stands the lofty village perché that is the ancient walled city of Mdina. Local archaeologists had records showing that the tombs existed, but they had never been found.

My father, armed with two angled steel rods, marched up and down the stony fields below the ramparts for half a day, putting sticks in the ground at various points. The sticks formed three separate crosses. Where each of the crosses intersected, my father told the workmen to dig. In each place, a fine Punic tomb was found – though there had been absolutely no sign of any such thing on the surface. From one of the tombs a fine half-size marble bust of a Roman was removed. I sketched it (there were no cellphones, let alone cellphone cameras, in those days) and sent the sketch to the Museum of Classical Archaeology at Cambridge, where it was identified as a good example of a first-century head of Seneca.

Niklas was greatly excited by this story, and asked me how I thought dowsing might work. I said I had no idea. All three of my brothers had the gift, but I – for some reason – did not. But I had seen my father dowsing for – and finding – a major Roman iron-working and Samian-ware pottery-firing settlement on his farm in Kent.

I also told Niklas that when I had invited my father to Cambridge to have his dowsing ability tested under laboratory conditions he had firmly declined, though he told me that he had won a lot of money while at Cambridge when in the pub by leaving the room and inviting his fellow-undergraduates to hide a signet ring under one of them.

He said the only time he had lost the bet was when someone turned on a tap at the wrong moment and water passed through a pipe under the floorboards where the three caps lay.

I had the honor to co-author a paper with Niklas for a climate-change conference at Downing College, Cambridge. The paper was uncompromisingly titled Sea Level Is Not Rising. The organizer, who had made his fortune selling pills and potions and had hoped for a quiet conference, refused to allow the paper to be distributed, though he had previously consented. The papers were gathered up and taken away.

However, I mounted a raid on the store where they were hidden and made sure that a copy was on every seat. The climate Communists present were furious, but the students who attended were intrigued, particularly when they began to read arguments, facts and data that had been denied to them by their professors throughout their time at Cambridge. Niklas was delighted at what he called my SAS raid.

It is honorable men like Niklas Mörner whose legacy to the world is as much of merriment as of the relentless pursuit of truth. Like St. Thomas More, I can confidently write that my old friend is now as “merry in Heaven” as he was merry, and gave merriment to all whom he touched, here below.

A couple of weeks before Niklas died, I wrote to cheer him up. I ended the letter with a poem that described Niklas perfectly. It is St. Thomas Campion’s free but beautiful translation of the Horatian ode Integer vitae scelerisque purus:

The man of life upright,
Whose cheerful mind is free
From weight of impious deedes
And yoke of vanity,

The man whose silent days
In harmless joys are spent:
Whom hopes cannot delude,
Nor sorrows discontent,

That man needs neyther towers,
Nor armour for defence:
Nor vaults his guilt to shroud
From thunder’s violence;

He only can behold
With unaffrighted eyes
The horrors of the deep,
And terrors of the skies.

Thus, scorning all the cares
That fate or fortune brings,
His Book the Heavens he makes,
His wisdom heavenly things.

Good thoughts his surest friends,
His wealth a well-spent age,
The Earth his sober inn,
And quiet pilgrimage.

Nils-Axel Mörner, 1938-2020. May he rest in peace.

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October 19, 2020 6:25 am

Oh, I’m sorry to hear the news. I’m comforted that, like Bob Carter, he had a long and productive life.

I met Nils at a couple climate conferences, the first in Chicago, whatever year that was. Easy to find at the Heartland site. From reading various papers, and seeing his photo in the bios, I expected he would be old, crotched, and bitter about his work being unfairly trashed.

I attended his talk there, he started out with something like “When I heard I had 45 minutes, I didn’t realize I have to share it with two other people. So we have a lot of area to cover, scientifically and geographically, so hang on to your seats.

Twenty minutes later I realized that bio photos in papers don’t count and that he probably had better things to do with his life than get a good photo to send to journals. There was no way to remember to “hang onto your seats” as we jumped from site to site. I think he got all 45 minutes in and touched on all the Pacific (and others he studied). And yeah, he was still pissed about that tree and the people who knocked it down.

One of the greats. He’ll be hard to replace.

Reply to  Ric Werme
October 19, 2020 7:09 am

That talk in Chicago was in 2010 and is at (got everything in 15 minutes).

He also talked about the limits and the most likely sea level change by 2100 in Las Vegas, see—iccc9-july-9-2014 His conclusion – sea level change is +5 ± 15 cm.

Robert Austin
Reply to  Ric Werme
October 19, 2020 7:53 am

Speaking of Bob Carter, I still use Lord Monckton’s Bob Carter Peel as the ringtone for my cell phone. It is a lovely little piece, a moving tribute to Bob Carter and a recurring reminder of those scientists who bravely taken the hard road of challenging climate dogma. No pressure but any chance of a Morner peel, Christopher?

Reply to  Robert Austin
October 19, 2020 11:54 am

I am delighted that Robert Austin likes Bob Carter’s Peal. His kind suggestion that I should dedicate a piece of music to the memory of Niklas Moerner is an excellent one. Not so long ago, I composed a carillon, the Laughing Angels’ Lullaby, which I propose to dedicate to Niklas: you can hear the bells ringing merrily and energetically all the way through, just like Niklas himself. I shall arrange for the recording to be posted at WattsUpWithThat soon.

John Tillman
Reply to  Ric Werme
October 19, 2020 2:59 pm

The Wokesters of Oz tried to make a tropical Upsidedown Yamal to go with Tiljander.

October 19, 2020 6:34 am

What a nice and well written obituary. Prof Morner was a great man who stood up to the frantic claims of those with less talent than him or with less desire to find the truth.

We are losing these great and principled men due to age. Let us hope others are in the wings to take their place and seek truth, no matter the brickbats that may be directed at them


Greg Goodman
Reply to  Tonyb
October 19, 2020 10:52 am

Yes, very well written and a nice tribute to a great scientist.

I’m sure he was satisfied looking back on his long life of solid truth seeking and integrity. I’m sure he will rest peacefully. He will be missed.

Robert Heath
October 19, 2020 6:34 am

I met Nils a few times.

There is no one on the alamist side who has even 1% of Nils’ integrity.

Carl Friis-Hansen
October 19, 2020 6:47 am

Since eons Nils-Axel Mörner has been my greatest hero and reference. In the past I have had a few personal email conversations with bot Nils-Axel Mörner and Fred Goldberg, both being amazingly dedicated, honest and objective scientists.

We will miss you, remember your great personality and your science.

October 19, 2020 6:56 am

May he always be remembered. At Porto 2018

Alastair Brickell
Reply to  Michelle Stirling
October 19, 2020 12:38 pm

Michelle Stirling
October 19, 2020 at 6:56 am

Yes, Michelle, he was a great force and inspiration to us at that conference. His energy was amazing and I certainly have learnt a lot about global sea levels from his writings.


October 19, 2020 6:58 am

A genius on sea level.
A fine man.

October 19, 2020 7:08 am

Nothing mankind has ever achieved has been accomplished without a sense of curiosity, optimism, risk and adventure.

Nils-Axel Mörner seemed to exemplify that spirit, although I never had the privilege of meeting him.

Is the future of our children to be one of grinding pessimism, risk aversion and fear?

Reply to  HotScot
October 20, 2020 5:40 am

if the present very vocal and very venal wokesters and warmists get their way…the answer to your question is

its a sad fact that elders passing enables their successors to rewrite without fear of being corrected by those who knew what happened by personal experience

I lost a wise and gifted friend a year ago, not a day goes by I dont regret not being able to ask question of his wide knowledge about plants soils and other matters of import directly from a few generations of living IN the area

October 19, 2020 7:24 am

Real science is so much different than wild guess, scary, always wrong (for 50 years so far) predictions of the future climate — but the climate junk science is what gets almist all the headlines.

Morner is one of very few authors whose work is a must read for me. Richard Lindzen is another.

Being hated by climate extremists is like being a four star general in the world of real climate science — the underpopulated world that Nils Morner lived in for his entire life.

Ron Long
October 19, 2020 7:29 am

This was a person of great contribution to the understanding of sea level changes. These changes are important because the physical state of H2O shows the movement of climate on a world-wide basis, expressed as sea level. Many geologists utilize sea level history as a marker for what is the normal climate variations for our planet. Good job to the Professor.

On the other hand dowsing is occult nonsense. Skeptic magazine put a million dollars in escrow to be awarded to anyone who could dowse water, and, guess what? It is unclaimed.

Ross Windsor
October 19, 2020 7:39 am

A man of integrity, a seeker of truth.
A life well lived.
A legacy we can all envy.

October 19, 2020 7:40 am

A great man and scientist, of whom sadly I did not know much. Our condolences to his family, friends and colleagues. RIP Professor Mörner.

Reply to  Vuk
October 19, 2020 7:56 am

If the photo ‘Silent upon a peak in Darien’ was from the Professor Mörner’s personal collection, it appears that Professor was a man of some humour too. I have looked carefully, enlarged, sharpened and employed few other ‘tricks’ and could not workout what is the exact symbiosis with a conifer tree apparently growing out from his feet.

Reply to  Vuk
October 19, 2020 8:35 am

The conifer is growing behind his feet, and my belief there is no special idea behind.

October 19, 2020 7:47 am

Nice words.
He was a brave man-Dowsing at the university is brave.
Sea levels are more easy to comprehend and he did it as a geologist.

He will bee missed.

October 19, 2020 7:52 am

The real tragedy is that the great skeptic scientists that die of old age, like Morner, are not being replaced by young skeptic scientists because they know their career would meet a quick end. No scientific theory should be allowed such level of dominance if we truly seek the truth and not the dogma.

Gerry, England
Reply to  Javier
October 19, 2020 9:12 am

Richard Lindzen made the comment that the brightest minds will not go into climate related science while everything is ‘settled’ as that tells them there is nothing exciting to discover. So only the journeymen enter those fields just for a job and would have no intention of biting the hand that feeds them. The remainder will be communist zealots.

October 19, 2020 7:54 am

Another of the pillars that have kept us grounded in truth have fallen. May those he inspired take and push forward his heart for truth

October 19, 2020 7:57 am

An other great searcher of truth left us, that makes me sad.
He showed us to work with eyes and measure, not with models.

Alasdair Fairbairn
October 19, 2020 8:04 am

A sad loss to sanity in the scientific community. I wonder how many of his 650 papers ever saw the light of day on the Mainstream Media.
The eco communists will be dancing on his grave.

October 19, 2020 8:14 am

At the going down of the tide and in the morning we will remember him. Lest they forget.

Nicholas J Harding
October 19, 2020 8:16 am

Is there a link to: Sea level is not rising?

Reply to  Nicholas J Harding
October 19, 2020 8:41 am

From Googling |nils “sea level is not rising” cambridge| I found

It may not be the version that was passed out in Cambridge, but it’s certainly the version you want.

Walter Sobchak
October 19, 2020 8:21 am

“the Spanish Ballroom of the Hradcany Palace”

Hradcany is not the name of the Palace. It is the name of the district in which the palace is located. The structure is part of a group called, in Czech, Pražský hrad, (Prague Castle in English). The palace is the New Royal Palace of Prague Castle, which today serves as the Presidential palace.

The Defenestration of Prague (actually the third of four) occurred in the Bohemian Chancellery of the Old Royal Palace of Prague Castle in 1618, and is generally taken to be the beginning of the 30 Years War.

Reply to  Walter Sobchak
October 19, 2020 11:21 am

The Story of Prague, published in London in 1902 by Count Francis Lützow in a series published by J.M. Dent & Co. on the great mediaeval cities of Europe, refers to the palace complex on Castle Hill (Hradcany) as the “Hradcany Palace” throughout. It is still usually thus named in British diplomatic circles. President Klaus, when I visited him in his office there, high above the city, told me that it was the largest palace complex in Europe.

Jonathan Stigant
October 19, 2020 8:21 am

Clearly a ‘sea=level’ headed man…..

Steven Mosher
October 19, 2020 8:24 am

another one bites the dust.

Robert Austin
Reply to  Steven Mosher
October 19, 2020 10:19 am

Terse and cryptic as usual.

Harry Passfield
Reply to  Robert Austin
October 19, 2020 12:39 pm

Nothing cryptic – just heartless.

David A
Reply to  Harry Passfield
October 20, 2020 8:13 pm

sad SM, very pathetic comment.

Reply to  Steven Mosher
October 19, 2020 11:06 am

Unfortunately true believers are like cockroaches and it would take a nuclear blast to get them, wouldn’t it Steven

Reply to  Steven Mosher
October 19, 2020 11:14 am

Mr Mosher’s repellent comment, in the depth of bad taste, exemplifies the politics of hatred that underpins and will doom the climate Communist movement. He is lucky he does not live in Scotland, where hate speech of this sort, here calculated to wound the grieving family of a great man, is an imprisonable offence. Mr Mosher should be thoroughly ashamed of himself. It would be better if he refrained from commenting here in future. He and his vicious brand of poisonous hatred are not welcome.

John F Hultquist
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
October 19, 2020 1:13 pm

Agree about Steven Mosher.
I attributed it to the fact that he is on the losing side in this climate controversy, knows it, and is bitter.

Reply to  John F Hultquist
October 19, 2020 10:40 pm

“Mr Mosher should be thoroughly ashamed of himself.”

Mosh will never be ashamed of himself.

Its not in his nature.

Sold out any integrity and credibility he might have once , ages ago…

He has become a bitter and twisted little man

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  Steven Mosher
October 19, 2020 11:54 am

You can expect a similar epitaph here when you finally shuffle off this mortal coil, you wretched excuse for a (barely) human being.

Andy Pattullo
Reply to  Steven Mosher
October 19, 2020 12:22 pm

Are you referring to you last-but-one functioning neuron. My condolences.

Harry Passfield
Reply to  Steven Mosher
October 19, 2020 12:42 pm

Should even you be remembered thus – for shame. Have you no humanity – or is even that modelled?

Reply to  Steven Mosher
October 19, 2020 3:41 pm

You really are a class act Mosher. If you had a modicum of decency, you’ll retract that.

Reply to  Mack
October 20, 2020 12:32 am

He won’t retract it he has form. I remember him attacking a guy who had a community university science degree the irony of a guy with an English Lit degree pretending to be a climate scientist lost on him because he really is that stupid.

Reply to  Steven Mosher
October 19, 2020 7:24 pm

Your disgusting slur on a great scientist is both gratuitous and lamentable.
You delight in being a curmudgeonly enigmatic expert on climate science prepared to incense both alarmists and sceptics to draw a reaction.
Which brings me to your book with Tom Fuller, “Climategate: the Crutape Letters” to ascertain what you as the “man in the middle” actually believe.
(I assume I am addressing the same Steven Mosher).
You conclude the work with a chapter, “Global Warming and the Wolf”,
“Being in the middle doesn’t automatically make us right but it may make it worthwhile when we call for both sides to pay attention to one thing.So both skeptics and supporters of AGW , we ask you to pay attention here.
The boy who cried wolf.Old fairy tale, in current vogue- you know the story.Aesop wrote of a bored shepherd boy who amused himself by yelling ‘wolf’ to draw the villagers to his unneeded rescue.Wolf really does show up, villagers don’t, boy (and flock) get eaten.
So believers: recently released was the umpteenth story about how global warming is getting worse….
The IPCC forecasts temperature rises even under business as usual( no efforts to control emissions) up until 2100, after which they anticipate a decline, in line with falling world population and improved decarbonisation.But temperatures would have to rise until the year 3000 to melt the ice in Greenland because most of the ice sits in a basin like ice cream in a bowl.
So yes, if the ice in Greenland melts, sea levels will rise six meters. But nobody, including the people who wrote the story, believes that’s going to happen.
They are writing things they know to be false with the express purpose of scaring you.
We could cite numerous other examples, and we’re sure many will. But when believers wonder why support is declining for global warming policies this is one of the reason.
Your leaders have cried wolf once too often.
Part of this whole email scandal revolves around a Team of scientists finding more and more clever ways to keep crying wolf, changing the temperature numbers to make earlier temperatures look lower and recent temperatures look higher, so the change would look more dramatic.Wolf!
They acted in a way that harmed public policy and worst of all, the trust we place in science.
( So far, this could have been written by Viscount Monckton!)
OK, sceptics your turn!
The wolf ate the boy and the flock of sheep he was protecting. Get it?
The Wolf …..ate the boy… and the flock of sheep he was protecting.There was a wolf.”
Well, there was a wolf but this is not what Aesop wrote in the Greek before its translation to Latin and its revival in medieval and later times.
Here is the Library of Congress version of Aesop’s The Shepherd Boy and the Wolf at
“ …..Then one evening as the sun was setting behind the forest and the shadows were creeping out over the pasture, a Wolf really did spring from the underbrush and fall upon the Sheep.
In terror the Boy ran toward the village shouting “Wolf! Wolf!” But though the villagers heard the cry, they did not run to help him as they had before.”He cannot fool us again, they said”.
The Wolf killed a great many of the Boy’s sheep and slipped away into the forest.”
So perhaps Aesop could have informed us in a postscript to his fable that the Shepherd Boy mended his ways, apologised to the citizens, recompensed them for the lost sheep and went on to tender the herd into ripe old age.
Which rather deflates your analogy.
And the moral, Steven, “Beware of placing too much credence in old fables”.

Reply to  Steven Mosher
October 19, 2020 10:41 pm

When Mosh goes..

people with just as.. SO WHAT !

Chris Wright
Reply to  Steven Mosher
October 20, 2020 3:20 am

Your comment is utterly revolting. You should be ashamed.

I’m very sorry to hear the sad news of Nils-Axel Mörner’s passing. He was a great man of science.
Unlike some others I could name.

Reply to  Steven Mosher
October 20, 2020 1:55 pm

Wouldn’t be your turn ?

Reply to  Steven Mosher
October 20, 2020 4:16 pm

Biting the dust beats drinking the Kool-Aid.

October 19, 2020 8:47 am

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? … 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans Chapter 8)

Whatever your faith or lack thereof, we sojourners here on this earthly pilgrimage need not fear the powers of this life. From Christopher Monckton of Brenchley‘s touching epitaph of Dr. Morner, it is clear that he boldly lived and died in this spirit.

October 19, 2020 8:50 am

Let the man and his work not be forgotten. In future history books he will be called one of the founding fathers in the war against science.

Andy Pattullo
October 19, 2020 9:03 am

Thank you Lord Monckton for such a well deserved and well written obituary to a hero of science and integrity. The passing of such a soul is sad in the event but a celebration in the inventory of all the good he left behind.

Troels Junge
October 19, 2020 9:06 am

Was there any mention in the swedish mass media or was all columns occupied by Greta?
He was the expert the politicians should consult not a confused and multi challenged school child with handlers who have doubtful intentions.
Long live his work.

October 19, 2020 9:32 am

Thank you for a brilliantly written obituary!!! But Niklas was supposed to live forever & continue his forays on the side of Sea-Level realism!!!

Last year I was honored to co-author a paper with Niklas. I could not conceive of a greater privilege!!! Now I understand his choosing to send Christmas greetings to me a few weeks ago!

Each year we lose some of our best, but Niklas Mörner, Bob Carter, Hal Doiron et al, Have firmly imprinted Their knowledge and Wisdom so that we can carry on and raise the flag of sanity to new heights!!!

To have known the best of the best is a unique privilege that has been. Bestowed upon me and most of Anthony’s colleagues!!! Rise well to the challenge Niklas hal put before you; & remain relentless, relentless, relentless, as those who preceded us have been!!

Blair Macdonald
October 19, 2020 9:34 am

I live in Stockholm, he was one person who showed interest in my work and offered me, people, to talk to. A very nice man, very passionate. I remember saying to him on the phone (laughing): ‘I think I am the most dangerous person in the world to ‘climate’ with what I have uncovered’ and he quickly replied, “no, that’s me “.

October 19, 2020 10:01 am

Hey Charles,

Do you actually feel the pull when your brothers or father were holding the welding rods? Or did you just watch & (maybe) believe?

Nick Graves
Reply to  DonM
October 19, 2020 11:23 am

It was Christopher Monckton writing.

My father was highly scientifically-minded and had a play with metal dowsing rods back in the ’70s. It seemed to work for him.

I was hit n miss – but there is no pull on the rods. You just subconsciously angle them.

Lovely obituary, btw!

Reply to  DonM
October 19, 2020 11:27 am

I did not feel the pull of the divining rods, even with my father standing behind me holding both my hands. Insensitivity on my part, I suppose. As to belief, I saw my father find the three Punic tombs that the archaeologists could not find, and I saw him find the important Roman settlement on his farm. He spent the closing years of his life excavating it and producing a trove of fine Samian ware and iron slag from the smelter.

However, like anyone who has the first essential characteristic of the scientist, which is curiosity, I should very much like to know what the mechanism of operation is. Is it sensitivity to magnetism, or to electrical microcurrents generated by underground streams, or to local gravitational anomalies caused by holes in the ground? That is why I wanted my father to be tested in the lab at Cambridge. But he was most reluctant.

Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
October 19, 2020 2:31 pm

Is it sensitivity to magnetism, or to electrical microcurrents generated by underground streams, or to local gravitational anomalies caused by holes in the ground?

Sir, as an engineer I would say none of the above that you mentioned.
Possibly an involuntary spontaneous psychological ‘turn’, where ‘autogenic sensing’ is amplified by motorneuron’s biofeedback resulting in hands’ muscles twitch or tremble.
I am certain that the metal rods, twigs, pendulums or other implements are irrelevant to the process of detection, they are just means of a visual confirmation.

Old Woman of the North
October 19, 2020 11:20 am

I am very embarrassed about that tree being uprooted by Australian non-scientists.

Vale Nils Morner

Reply to  Old Woman of the North
October 19, 2020 1:14 pm

We’re they ever identified?


Reply to  Tonyb
October 19, 2020 1:59 pm

In response to Tobyb, Professor Moerner found out from local people that Australian environmentalists had uprooted the tree so that no one would know that it had stood there for the best part of half a century, just inches above sea level, and had never been drowned or washed away.

Pamela Matlack-Klein
October 19, 2020 11:22 am

Niklas was a friend and colleague and I am devastated by his death. In the field he was a force of nature and I had trouble keeping up with him despite being a decade younger. He will be missed by all of us.

October 19, 2020 12:08 pm

Lord Monckton
Water dowsing may be a psychological ‘turn’ rather than a physical process.
Here is a short description of an event I witnessed.

October 19, 2020 12:56 pm

The world has lost a great man, a great scientist, and a great Truth Teller. I fear an irreplaceable loss.

Go with God, Nils-Alex.

Gary Pearse
October 19, 2020 1:03 pm

Gee Steven, I didn’t think you were really in this deep.

Bruce Cobb
October 19, 2020 1:20 pm

Is it science that dismisses dowsing with a petulant hand-wave, or is it mere hubris? There is much that science can not yet explain, and may never be able to.

October 19, 2020 2:29 pm

In response to Tobyb, Professor Moerner found out from local people that Australian environmentalists had uprooted the tree so that no one would know that it had stood there for the best part of half a century, just inches above sea level, and had never been drowned or washed away.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
October 19, 2020 5:38 pm

I think Tonyb’s question was, were the thugs who uprooted the tree identified individually or by particular group affiliation?

October 19, 2020 2:51 pm

Huge respect to the late great Nils Morner.
Never in recent history has such a large percentage of knowledge in one scientific field vanished with the death of one scholar.

Rabbe Sjöberg
Reply to  Phil Salmon
October 20, 2020 2:31 am

So true!

Carl Friis-Hansen
October 19, 2020 3:16 pm

In response to the dowsing issue.

In the nineties I lived in “Silicon Glenn” on a farm I rented near Armadale in Scotland. When I consulted the landlord McKenzie about the underground water pipes, he came with two metal rods and found the active concrete water pipe. He was spot on and spent half a day teaching me the dowsing.
The following five years I practiced occasionally, but I never reached anything like McKenzie’s yield.
I suppose there are a few people born with very sensitive senses, whatever these senses are.
Although science cannot explain dowsing, we should not dismiss it, we just still have a lot to discover and learn, and fully appreciate Mörner’s interest in this ancient art.

DD More
October 19, 2020 3:38 pm

Still have saved one of Niles-Axel’s replies for all the data adjusters and used it often.

“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  DD More
October 19, 2020 5:37 pm

That was in reference to adjustments in the satellite based sea level altimetry record. IIRC, its measurement resolution is 4 cm, and the finer detail comes from averaging many measurments, and adding this “correction.” I tried a couple times to find corroborating reports or methodology description in the altimetry papers but haven’t been successful.

Reply to  Ric Werme
October 20, 2020 5:04 am

Here’s a quote from what is, perhaps, the most famous sea-level paper of all, Church & White 2006:

“An additional spatially uniform field is included in the reconstruction to represent changes in GMSL. Omitting this field results in a much smaller rate of GMSL rise…”

(“GMSL” stands for “Global Mean Sea Level”)

That sounds like a “fudge factor,” to me!

But I also wondered about the adjective, “spatially.” What other sort of variation in their fudge factor could there be, besides spatial variation?

So I wrote to Drs. Church & White, and asked them why they used the adjective “spatially.” Surely, I assumed, since they were reporting acceleration trends, the “additional field” must at least have been temporally uniform, right?

Wrong! I never learned what that “field” was, but Dr. Church told me, in his reply, that it was NOT temporally uniform.

Consider that fact in the context of the title of their paper, “A 20th century acceleration in global sea-level rise.” How could they make any valid determination of “acceleration” if they had added a fudge factor to their data which was not at least temporally uniform??

What’s more, when I reanalyzed their data, I found it showed a slight deceleration after 1925. It turns out that ALL of the “20th century acceleration” in sea-level rise that they had detected had occurred before the first Model A rolled off Henry Ford’s assembly line.

That paper was in 2006. In 2009 they posted on their web site a new set of averaged sea-level data, from a different set of tide gauges. But they published no paper about it, and I wondered why not. So I duplicated their 2006 paper’s analysis on their new data, and not only did it, too, show slight deceleration after 1925, all the 20th century acceleration had gone away, too. Even for the full 20th century their data showed a slight deceleration.

My guess is that the reason they wrote no paper about it was that the title would have had to have been something like, “Neeeeever mind: no 20th century acceleration in global sea-level rise, after all.”

Finally, in 2011, they posted another new dataset, and this one finally showed acceleration for sea-level even after 1930, though it was very slight, and statistically insignificant.

It is plain why Dr. Mörner ran out of patience with such “science.”

Unlike most climate-related data, which is of low quality, or short duration, or both, we have high-quality, continuous or near-continuous, sea-level measurement records going back more than a century from many locations, and two centuries from some. The great majority of the best long, high-quality sea-level measurement records show no evidence of significant acceleration in sea-level trends since the 1920s (or before). That means manmade climate change has not significantly affected sea-level, and attempts to blame sea-level rise on “climate change” are scientifically indefensible.

Without Dr. Mörner to make that case, it falls upon the rest of us to stand in the gap, and take a stand for real science.

Sea-level is rising in some places, and falling in others. It is rising in more places than it is falling, so the “global” rate (really, the average) is rising.

But the great majority of high-quality long sea-level measurement records show that sea-level trends have not significantly changed since the 1920s (and, in many cases, even before that). So you can’t realistically blame sea-level rise on mankind (though that didn’t stop CSIRO activists).

In places where sea-level was rising, it is still rising, at about the same rate that it has been rising since the 1920s or before. For example, here’s the the best-quality, long, continuous measurement record from the mid-Pacific, juxtaposed with atmospheric CO2 level, which hasn’t affected it at all:
comment image
Here’s an interactive version of that graph:
Here’s NOAA’s version of that graph:

In places where sea-level was falling, it is still falling. For example, here’s Greta Thunberg’s hometown:
comment image

If sea-level rise increased, it would help with Stockholm’s dredging expense. Unfortunately for Greta Thunberg’s hometown, as you can see from the graphs, there’s been no significant reduction in the rate of sea-level decline there.

Sea-level is falling in places like Stockholm because the “global” sea-level trend is so slight that in many places it is dwarfed by local processes, like vertical land motion, erosion, and sedimentation.

Reply to  Dave Burton
October 20, 2020 11:12 am

Wow, great work, I’m going to have to get back to this and review all the links and spend more time at your

The snippet you quoted seems crafted to make it hard for people to understand or to find on search engines. It’s not an easy search under the best circumstances

One thing that caught my eye was a reference

This level is consistent with estimates from bench marks carved in rock in Tasmania in 1840 [Hunter et al., 2003]

The abstract is at and clearly refers to the “Isle of the Dead” sea level mark that John Daly wrote so extensively about, at . Hunter’s conclusion:

When combined with estimates of land uplift, this yields an estimate of average sea level rise due to an increase in the volume of the oceans of 1.0 ± 0.3 mm/year, over the same period. These results are at the lower end of the recent estimate by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of global average rise for the 20th century.

Daly’s conclusion:

The only proper basis for comparison is the average of the whole Australian coast, not selected locations, and that Australia-wide average, excluding sinking Adelaide, is +0.16 mm/yr, or 1.6 cm for the century. This is closely in line with what we see between Shortt’s measurement of 1888 and the sea level at Port Arthur today.

Nils’ ICCC talk forecast was +5 ± 15 cm over 86 years – some 0.6 ± 1.7 mm/yr.

Settled science? I’ve heard of it.

Reply to  Ric Werme
October 20, 2020 11:45 am

Thanks, Ric.

Because the “global” sea-level trend is so very slow, and so often dwarfed by local effects, coming up with a good, unbiased estimate of the globally-averaged trend is not easy. My effort a few years ago resulted an an estimate of just under 1½ mm/year, or six inches per century. (Terrifying, eh?)

October 19, 2020 3:40 pm

“The day you close your ears, you are gone”

Reply to  Rog Tallbloke
October 19, 2020 5:33 pm

Nils refers to the Sun’s influence on climate. I have my doubts, though it’s clear interesting things afoot.

This may or may not reflect what Nils was referring to:

Reply to  Ric Werme
October 20, 2020 4:43 am

“… and planetary beat upon the sun”
not everyone’s cup of tea in this chat-room.
Thanks for the link, I found my comment there was not supportive about new LIA, I hope he was wrong about it to descend upon us in two or three decades, (in the links replace “” with “”)
Refreshing to read some of the comments from Dr. Leif Svalgaard

October 19, 2020 6:31 pm

Dowsing signals is a response to “structural” change in the earth ie digging, faults etc. Hence the tomb finds. Water has a habit of inhabiting structural change areas. Dowsing success in finding water is therefore more a by-product of this and not a cause.

October 19, 2020 11:26 pm

The passing of great scientists is a tragedy, given that real science has been stifled for so long. It makes me most uncomfortable, this feeling that there are frauds of science waiting for the greats to die.

I visit this site and I understand that many of the people who comment have retired from particular fields of science. People of science and great knowledge. The level of frustration must be overwhelming at times when you see, that the science you know to be wrong, is accepted as fact by people in power, decision makers.

It is evident that there are younger people of science here too, unable to formally refute ‘the science’ that has stood for decades now. It has only stood unchanged for all this time because it was ‘bought out’ by politicians. It’s not so much science now as an agenda that aligns with politics. ‘The science’ is reinforced in schools and universities. That the science debate has been shut down is what must be dealt with, a return to transparency in science is essential.

It’s a travesty that this fraud has gone on so long. Simply the fact that none of their cataclysmic predictions have come about, even after decades of passed timeframes, should be enough to alert the general public to this fraud. These frauds of science hold ‘proof’ of their theories, and even after all this time that’s what they are, theories, very close to their chests. Rather than openly debating with other scientists, they are simply lying to support an idea that is unproven. They have attained positions of power and they are certainly not using this privilege for any good. They make statements as though their utterances are factual, and that this is enough. They don’t even refute the work of other scientists, and in their arrogance, choose to ignore them. The reality is of course is that they fear that they will be exposed.

The polar bears are not dying out, the Great Barrier Reef is is not half dead, islands are not being claimed by rising seas, the high temperatures are not unprecedented. How is it OK to change records to suit a warming agenda? Storms are not increasing…what have I left out?

Yet, the unproven ‘problem’ of AGW, and the lies outlined in the previous paragraph that supposedly support this theory, are being published daily in almost all mainstream media. And what’s worse, it’s been going on for decades. “C’mon man”. Sorry it’s stuck in in my head. I guess as with the person who comes to mind with those words, there is so much that’s wrong with hearing the same statements over and over as if just saying it makes it true.

That’s the ‘ruse’, the whole anthropogenic CO2 is warming the planet story. And all the bad things that are going to happen because have been burning fossil fuels.

Perpetuating the ruse for so long is bad enough, but it’s the ‘cure’, all forms of renewables, batteries and EV’s, that are causing serious environmental and economic damage around the globe. What is already happening with the rollout of this technology is causing real damage, now, and they’re only getting started.

The ruse must be exposed, and the lie that renewables are in any way a good thing too.

I have seen vales to at least four scientists on this site in the past year. The level of respect and admiration for these people, these scientists, is evident. That they will be sorely missed.

The RIP brings home the end of this scientists time here on earth.

I fear that RIP will apply to science itself if it becomes nothing more than perpetuated propaganda.

Reply to  Megs
October 20, 2020 4:58 am

It is clear what Dr. Mörner represents – fearlessness.
This the “establishment” fears more than anything, fearless voters.
As FDR put it – the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

October 20, 2020 4:42 am

Right now the Corona Angel of Death is snatching many of the late Dr. Mörner’s age group.
comment image

It sure takes a fearless scientist to look at dowsing!

Even more so when one looks at water
Luc Montagnier, HIV Nobel Prize winner, had a look at the electromagnetic properties of water and living systems, is quite outspoken on Corona and a new wave form of medicine, to cost much less than Pharma.

Interestingly enough, “dowsing” involves water, we are after all living 90% water-organisms. See Montagnier’s experiments on VLF EM radiation, around the Schumann Resonance frequency harmonics, 7hz…
This Schumann resonance is vitally important to us and the biosphere, has proven effects on osteoblasts, i.e., astronaut bone degradation. We may have to organize a Schumann resonance environment for long term space missions.

The Rockefeller crowd went to extraordinary lengths to discredit any bio-optic experiments, even using professional magicians to “debunk”. Montagnier clearly threatens the entire Big Pharma “life is chemical only” lobby’s massive profits.

This is not settled, but I strongly suspect Dr. Mörner saw the limits of the establishment consensus.

So :

Would it be possible to test a known dowser (I knew of one who found 72 water wells) in a mu-metal shield, that blocks all EM at very low frequencies, as Dr. Montagnier demonstrated with Viral RNA? Not to imply mere passive “reception”, but living systems also radiate such spectra. Montagnier has developed VLF equipment and used it. Some diseases not normally associated with infection, show trademark VLF spectra meaning there just could be an undetected infectious agent. Much research remains to be done.

October 20, 2020 5:20 am

Nice piece about dear Niklas. You are welcome to the use of my photo of Niklas lying on his back in the Ӂkers Bergslag, but you could have told me that you needed a picture and I could have sent you a bunch.
Best regards

Kurt in Switzerland
October 20, 2020 2:46 pm

RIP Niklas!

Strength to his survivors in this time of reflection.
A good and honest man, dedicated to the scientific truth. I had the pleasure of corresponding with him regarding his expertise a few years back. He was both gracious and open. A true gentleman.

May more learn from his example!

October 20, 2020 3:37 pm

So sorry to hear that this confused world has lost Niklas, a voice of reason on sea level alarmism and many other things.
Niklas and his side-kick Pamela were always very helpful to me. Niklas was adept at reading the stories written in coastal rocks (even the stories that revealed tampering with the evidence).
Thanks also to Christopher for this eloquent tribute.
I was pleased to learn that both Niklas and Christopher had seen benefits in dowsing (as I have also).

Reply to  Viv Forbes
October 20, 2020 4:12 pm

Viv, our town water was cut off recently as the unscrupulous developer put in an illegal water supply to get more money for his lots. Eight people with small acreages, between 12 to 23 acres, were affected, animals had to be sold. Property values have been reduced and neighbors have had to purchase large water tanks.

I was talking to a local just yesterday and he suggested that bore water might be a worthwhile solution. I told him the risk of not finding water at $10,000 for drilling was beyond the finances of some as there was no guarantee of a successful drill. He told us he had the name of a water dowser, said his success rate was extremely high and that he was the ‘go to’ person if you were thinking of drilling a bore.

Some people are gifted in ways that are difficult to explain, it seems, from the tributes to him, that Niklas was one of them.

Reply to  Megs
October 20, 2020 8:07 pm

I trained as a geologist and the profession are dowser-skeptics. But my brother (a house mover) caused me to change my mind when he locatd burid pipes for me on a new property. So I then read every book I could find on the subject and practiced a lot on our farm, locating buried pipes and looking for water. Located several supplies of water, in a difficult area. And recently had the need to locate a buried telephone line. Fascinating phenomenon.

Richard S Courtney
October 21, 2020 1:01 am


Thank you for your fine tribute to the wonderful Nils-Axel ‘Niklas’ Morner whose demise is a great loss to humanity.

Your tribute mentions the debate of the St Andrews University Debating Society held on Wednesday 4 March 2009 where you, Niklas and I defeated the motion “This House Believes Global Warming is a Global Crisis”. My account of that debate can be read at .

That account states the nature and importance of the superlative performance by Niklas where it says,

“Morner then gave a witty, entertaining and informative lecture on sea level change. The major potential threat from AGW is severe sea-level change. He interacted with the audience and selected one individual to jape with (his skill at this selection was later demonstrated when that individual stood and gave a speech that won the prize – of a Society neck-tie – for best speech from the floor). Morner presented data that showed sea level is not rising as a result of AGW at a detectable rate anywhere.

Norminton then spoke to conclude the case for the proponents of the motion. Like Finnie he seemed to be extremely nervous: both were shaking during their presentations. Norminton’s hand was shaking so much he put it into his pocket. (I know others interpret this to be nervousness, but I think it was extreme anger: Norminton had not expected any opposition to the motion, and the assertion of clear evidence that AGW does not exist was – to him – an outrage too hard to accept.) Also, like Finnie, he did not address the motion. He said he was not a scientist so he had to accept the word of scientists about global warming and scientists agree that global warming is real and man-made. He said, the speakers on the opposition side were “not scientists”. Lord Monckton interjected that “Courtney and Morner are”. And Norminton replied, “So was Mengele.” Monckton raised a Point of Order demanding withdrawal of the remark. Norminton lacked the wit to withdraw and move on, so he refused to withdraw. Monckton persisted pressing the Point of Order and Norminton continued to refuse to withdraw. Only moments before Morner had made himself the lecturer the students would most like to have, and support for Norminton drained away as he insisted that Morner was akin to a murderer operating in a Nazi concentration camp. Norminton continued by saying the threat of global warming was real, and it was killing polar bears, but it is not clear that anybody was listening to him.”

We have lost one of the greats. Rest In Peace, Niklas.


Richard S Courtney
October 21, 2020 3:16 am


My message was listed as “Awaiting Moderation” but has now vanished. Please be so kind as to attempt to find it.

Thanking you in anticipation,


Richard S Courtney
Reply to  Richard S Courtney
October 21, 2020 6:14 am

Thanks, Mods. Good Job.


October 21, 2020 10:01 am


Condolences to his family

October 21, 2020 6:40 pm

The quantity and quality of the work that Professor Mörner produced in an active professional life spanning 50 years is remarkable.
His page on Wikipedia is mean spirited and in no way does him justice.
His work on Paleoseismic events effectively established a new branch of geoscience.
In addition he was a fearless champion of ethics in science.
Here are his thoughts on Plutonium? or Carbon dioxide?
We will miss him.

Tege Tornvall, nätverket Klimatsans
October 22, 2020 2:17 am

Not being a scientist myself, I had the joy and pleasure of getting Niklas as a late and inspiring friend in our common fight for facts and sense in climate politics – because politics it is, not science. May Niklas and other sadly lost warriors be our leading lights in our continued opposition against today’s climate darkness.

October 22, 2020 2:18 am

Not being a scientist myself, I had the joy and pleasure of getting Niklas as a late and inspiring friend in our common fight for facts and sense in climate politics – because politics it is, not science. May Niklas and other sadly lost warriors be our leading lights in our continued opposition against today’s climate darkness.

Captain Climate
October 22, 2020 5:53 pm

What a wonderful tribute.

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