A New Kind of Denialism

Opinion by Kip Hansen – 1 June 2021

If you thought we were over the “You’re a Climate Denier” thing, you would be wrong.  Now, one of America’s leading ‘small town rags with delusions of grandeur’, the Albany-based Times Union [TU], has labelled all Republicans in the New York State legislature as being a new kind of denialist.

Why would the Times Union Editorial Board be making such an accusation

It is because the Republican legislators are “now looking to slow down New York’s fledgling effort to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions” by having the audacity to demand that the State should require a “full cost-benefit analysis of the technical and economic aspects of any future actions”.

The Editorial Board goes on to say:

“Don’t get us wrong, the public has a right to know what the cost of a government program or mandate will be, and what it will accomplish. But that’s not what Republicans are seeking.”

And, as all newspaper Editorial Boards are well-known to be mind-readers and posses the dark art of divining the “true motives” of their political opponents:

“The goal is transparent: Stop the process in its tracks by demanding a “full cost-benefit analysis of the technical and economic aspects of any future actions”.

But this essay is not about the never-ending battle between the two political parties in the United States. 

[Note: This essay is 3K words with some “pictures” – estimated reading time 10-15 minutes – if you are in a hurry (or reading while you should be working) – bookmark it and come back later when you have a bit more free time. )

The Times Union’s Editorial Board, in this particular editorial, bases its panicked devotion to the idea of a Climate Emergency on a recently published paper that appeared in nature communications written by  “an independent science and journalism organization”.  The title is:  “Economic damages from Hurricane Sandy attributable to sea level rise caused by anthropogenic climate change“  [Open Access ]

Laughably, the paper was really written by Climate Central which claims to “report the facts of climate change however they fall” and to be “scrupulously non-advocacy and non-partisan.”  In reality they are part of a large, well-organized group of inter-connected news organizations and climate emergency advocacy groups engaged in an open and widely successful propaganda campaign to promote a sense of alarm and fear by insisting that there is an existential Climate Crisis or Climate Emergency.  Climate Central is an acknowledged  member of the climate alarm propaganda group Covering Climate Now, and also uses its own resources “to generate thousands of local storylines and compelling visuals that make climate change personal and show what can be done about it. We address climate science, sea level rise, extreme weather, energy, and related topics. We collaborate widely with TV meteorologists, journalists, and other respected voices to reach audiences across diverse geographies and beliefs. “ [ source ]

The TU editorial makes this statement about the conclusions of that paper:

“Researchers. . . . concluded that because the seas had risen almost 4 inches in recent decades because of glacial melting and water expansion from higher temperatures, the storm surge went further inland and caused $8.1 billion more damage than it otherwise would have. The higher seas allowed the surge to flood 36,000 more homes in and around New York City, they calculated.”

Well, if what they claim were true, even I would be alarmed.  Now read that carefully,  Climate Central does not  claim that anthropogenic climate  change made Hurricane Sandy stronger but only that the relative sea level in New York was 4 inches higher  in 2012 when Sandy hit than it would have been without human-caused warming.

So, now we have to take a look at the paper itself and see if it says any such thing. 

Here’s what Climate Central claims their paper found:

“They found that human-caused warming had raised New York-area sea levels roughly four inches over the century preceding the storm—enough to extend coastal flooding further inland and deepen flood waters everywhere, increasing damage to submerged structures. The heightened water levels allowed Hurricane Sandy’s storm surge to reach 36,000 more homes and affect 71,000 more people, according to the study.” [ source ]

Oddly enough (maybe not to readers here) what the paper itself really says is:

“…8.9 cm (5.2–13.1 cm) [ 3.5 inches ] of New York-area rise are attributable to human causes mediated by climate change.”

Note:  As is very common, agreed-upon definitions are hard to come by, but in this paper they use “ASLR” to mean “…climate-related anthropogenic sea level rise (ASLR)..”  as in the above paraphrased  “rise …attributable to human causes mediated by climate change.”  You may have seen other papers or references that use ASLR for Absolute Sea Level Rise as in “…absolute sea level change refers to [change in] the height of the ocean surface above the center of the earth, without regard to whether nearby land is rising or falling.”

Some game of “Chinese whispers” or “the telephone game” seems to be going on here.  Neither the TU or Climate Central itself seems to realize that the study is not about sea level rise “in recent decades” (TU) or even “over the century preceding the storm” (Climate Central).  The study as published examines the time period of 1900 through 2012 – 112 years.  Both the TU and Climate Central get the attributed-to-anthropogenic-climate-change magnitude wrong – it found 3.5 inches, not 4 inches (with a rather wide confidence interval of 60% either way—from a negligible 2 inches up to 5.1 inches).

Now I know we can all chatter on about “How much difference would an additional 4 inches make to a storm surge that is greater than 13 feet?” But, let’s move on from that to this:

As is norm for the course, storm surge during Hurricane Sandy was actually 9 feet above Mean Higher High Water – a tidal datum that the average sailor would consider high tide.  Not the 13 to 14 feet we normally see in the press.  There is no trickery here though, storm surges are measured and reported by NOAA as “water above MLLW” [Mean Lower Low Water – the mean of the lowest of the two daily low tides].  Still, nine feet is a lot of extra water if your home is built on a tidal flat just a foot or three above the high tide mark.  A lot of homes and business were flooded.  New building codes for flood-prone zones in many localities now require that the living quarters of a home be a designated number of feet above mean sea level.  These are known as “Base Flood Elevation (BFE) requirements. The Base Flood Elevation indicates how high a structure must be elevated above Mean Sea Level (MSL).” 

Let’s get back to the claim made in the Climate Central paper:

“…8.9 cm (5.2–13.1 cm) [ 3.5 inches ] of New York-area rise are attributable to human causes mediated by climate change.”

That amount has been calculated in the paper from “sea level rise budgets” – models of ice melt, expansion of sea water due to temperature increase and all those factors.  Oddly, this paper states:

“By a recent estimate, the global mean sea level (GMSL) increased 17.9 ± 4.5 cm (1σ) [ 7.04 inches ] over 1900–2012 and this rise is continuing to accelerate “

The more usual estimate in the literature is 7 to 12 inches per century, although NOAA currently uses “1.7 +/- 0.3 millimeters/year during the 20th century” which comes to 7 inches. 

Now, the folks at Climate Central did a great deal of modelling and calculation to try to separate out the naturally driven rise of the sea surface at New York City from the amount of sea surface rise caused by human activity.    Let’s see how this plays out in the real world for New York City according to Climate Central:

[click here for a larger image in a new tab/window ]

Over the study period of 112 years, we see that the tide gauge at The Battery, NYC has recorded  33.8cm or 13.3 inches of rise in the sea surface height as measured at the gauge (mean sea level).  Over on the right-hand side, we see that Climate Central correctly notes that 14.7 cm or 5.78 inches of that observed rise is actually down to subsidence – Manhattan Island has sunk almost six inches over these 112 years.  Thus, we can’t actually count those 5.78 inches as rising water.  It is Relative Sea Level Rise but not Absolute Sea Level Rise.

Our striving researchers, through a massive amount of figuring and calculating and all, have decided that 8.9 cm or 3.5 inches of the 112 years of change have been caused by “human causes mediated by climate change” or, in their other description,  “…climate-related anthropogenic sea level rise (ASLR)..”.

Well, that’s their finding – all and good.  Except that, pragmatically, such a finding is nonsensical.

Their finding, as can be seen in the illustration above, leaves only 10.2 cm or 4 inches of the 112 years’ worth of Relative Sea Level Rise accountable to natural causes – causes not attributable to humans

We can see that from 1860 to 1960, 100 years believed by the IPCC to not yet show any effects of anthropogenic global warming, there was about 31 cm or 12.2 inches of relative sea level rise at The Battery.  The IPCC does not make any claim for anthropogenic causes during this period. Human activity certainly did not cause that 12 inches (31 cm ) of Sea Level Rise at The Battery.  In that same 100 years, it is probable that The Battery (and all the land around NY City) subsided at least 13.1 cm or 5.15 inches.  I say “at least” because much of the waterfront property on Manhattan Island and Long Island is really filled marsh or bay – which is known to have additional subsidence.  Taking subsidence into account, that leaves just over 17.9 cm  or  7 inches of actual sea surface height rise over the 100 years prior to when signs of anthropogenic influence on sea level or temperature appeared  (which equates roughly to “the mid-20th century” – IPCC on AGW in AR5).  

Referencing the IPCC:

“It is very likely that the global mean rate [of sea level rise] was 1.7 [1.5 to 1.9] mm yr–1 between 1901 and 2010 for a total sea level rise of 0.19 [0.17 to 0.21] m. Between 1993 and 2010, the rate was very likely higher at 3.2 [2.8 to 3.6] mm yr–1; similarly high rates likely occurred between 1920 and 1950.  [ source – WG1AR5 Chapter 13 .pdf ]

Note:  The difference in rate of rise, which may or may not be real in the physical world, results mainly from shifting from the tide gauge record to the satellite record.  The jury is still out on which is more physically correct.  For this analysis, it doesn’t matter.  – kh

Now, I know I have been throwing around a lot of numbers and it can be confusing, but I’ll supply some graphics to clear it up a bit later.   For those who find reading text that has a lot of similar numbers embedded in it difficult or confusing, and I sympathize, I really do, you can skip on down to the illustrations later on without losing too much meaning — you’ll miss only the finer details.

The IPCC says the sea surface height rose 7.5 inches globally from 1901 to 2010 (110 years).  That agrees very well with the calculation above of 7 inches of sea surface height rise from 1860 to 1960 at The Battery.    We could just call it “evens”.  

We can ignore the contested increase in rate after 1993, as it is included in the IPCC’s total calculation of the “between 1901 and 2010 for a total sea level rise of 0.19 [0.17 to 0.21] m.” (that’s 1.74 mm/yr very close to “1.7 [1.5 to 1.9] mm yr–1”)

We see that it doesn’t much matter which 100 years at The Battery we consider, the actual sea surface height there has risen about 17.9 cm or 7 inches over any recent 100 year period.  We can write that figure on our white board and circle it – at The Battery, the seas surface has risen about 7 inches every 100 years  — any recent 100 year period before or after any human influence could have affected it.  The same 7 inches.  Before or after any human influence.

Just let me repeat this:

At The Battery, the sea’s surface has risen about 7 inches in 100 years  — any recent 100 year period before or after any human influence could have affected it.  The same 7 inches.  Before or after any human influence.

The following graphic, which I reuse from a previous essay (corrected for use here, btw), covers only the fifty ears prior to Hurricane Sandy, but the issues, if not the numbers, are the same:

[ click here for larger image in a new window/tab ]

From our expectations derived from past SLR at The Battery, the left-most panel, we thought we would see “apparent rise” caused by the known subsidence, plus the rise from the long-term rate, plus the “extra” SLR from AGW.  But when we got to 2013 (the year after Hurricane Sandy), the actual sea surface height at The Battery was about what would have been expected by the long-term rate of rise alone. There was no extra SLR from AGW in evidence at all.  The chart on the right gives all the references for the numbers.

So, on both a 100-year basis and on a 50-year basis, the rise in the actual sea surface height (the water actually rising) at The Battery can be accounted for by a simple continuation of the long-term trend – all the way back to the beginning of the tide gauge record in 1860.  There is no “extra” sea level rise that can be added to the accounting under the heading “sea level rise due to human-caused warming”.

Now that we have established that, how can we even begin to accept Climate Central’s claim that:  “….human-caused warming had raised New York-area sea levels roughly four inches over the century preceding the storm”.  [ Climate Central at  source ]

If we had seen the scenario below, long-term sea level rise, with an additional 4 inches showing up by 2012 (shown in orange) then, with enough carefully calculated evidence, we might be able to accept that this increase was not just an increase in the rate due to the long-term natural processes that caused the previous SLR, but rather was “human-caused”.    

However, we did not see such any additional, extra SLR, only the long-term trend. 

Pragmatically, to accept Climate Central’s claim, one would have to ignore the long-term sea level rise statements from the IPCC – and somehow mentally disappear over half of the long-term natural sea level rise and substitute in its place the same amount of  ”human-caused” sea level rise. 

Well, one could do that, but then where did the expected 4 inches of natural sea level rise go when we discarded it?  What happened to the natural rise?  What type dynamic global system, like the interaction between the Oceans, the Atmosphere, and the Sun,  that has been chugging along for at least 200 years (I say 300 years) could suddenly ignore 200 years of inertia and change dramatically? …. not change in rate or effect, those remained the same, but magically change its underlying CAUSE?

The very idea is both logically and scientifically absurd. 

Bottom Line:

The Climate Central study, on which the Times Union editorial is partially based, despite what must have been hundreds of hours of careful calculations and computer modelling time, arrives at a conclusion which is not only physically impossible and illogical, but is absurd on its face.  

Thus the claim that, due to human-caused warming, Hurricane Sandy had   “caused $8.1 billion more damage than it otherwise would have. The higher seas allowed the surge to flood 36,000 more homes” must be thrown out with the SLR finding.

# # # # #

Author’s Comment:

First, to be fair, the Albany, NY Times Union newspaper is the leading daily newspaper of Albany, which is the capitol city of New York state.  It has a great deal of influence on the politics of New York state, its legislature, and the way-too-many New York state employees.  It is, however, almost entirely unknown outside of Albany county and massively overshadowed by the New York Times, and even the New York Post, both of which are based in New York City. 

I am at somewhat of a loss to try to explain how the well-trained scientists associated with Climate Central could have accepted their own result, or how peer reviewers could have approved this paper for publication. 

My only explanation is a very common fault in the Science of Today.

My explanation is The Fallacy of Reification. 

“Reification (also known as concretism, hypostatization, or the fallacy of misplaced concreteness) is a fallacy of ambiguity, when an abstraction (abstract belief or hypothetical construct) is treated as if it were a concrete real event or physical entity. In other words, it is the error of treating something that is not concrete, such as an idea, as a concrete thing. A common case of reification is the confusion of a model with reality: “the map is not the territory”.” [ source ]

Whenever I have mentioned this in a public forum such as this web site, there has been backlash heaped on backlash.  When I say reification, I mean specifically that some scientist, some even writing here, do computerized computation based on  ideas, concepts, creating massive data bases full of numbers about something – and then say their results are reality. But the results of those calculations are not the physical world – the results are only valid  within their computerized models. 

Next, those conceptual measurements are claimed, in many cases actually believed, to exist in the physical world and to trump actual in-situ measurements of the physical world itself. 

That is what appears to have happened in this case.  The modeled and calculated “anthropogenic contributions to sea level” have been reified – “treated as concrete” as if they were real world water added to the oceans causing the sea surface to rise – despite the absence of any evidence of that rise in the tide gauge record at The Battery.   

This is the true new face of A New Kind of Denialism – a denial of reality:

Reified model data and calculated concepts have been used to trump physical reality.

It is my opinion that science must treat Reality with more regard.  Get out and touch and measure the thing you are studying – unplug your computer until you have gotten your hands way-too-dirty at the seashore and sitting in a dinghy tied to a seawall if you want to know about sea level rise. 

Address your comment to “Kip . . .“ if speaking to me.

Thanks for reading.

# # # # #

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Tom Halla
May 29, 2021 2:15 pm

So Climate Central claims that the cause of a linear increase for the past 150 odd years suddenly changed causes? Natural when it fits the narrative, and anthropogenic when they can claim AGW?

Reply to  Kip Hansen
May 29, 2021 4:30 pm

And the cause of the linear decrease in the tide gauge at Stockholm, Sweden presumably has also similarly changed???
comment image

Which means, following the same logic and argument: that without the current anthropogenic warming, the Baltic Sea would be emptying and it would have been possible to walk from Stockholm to Denmark in the near future.

Now that would be an article worth reading: Climate Change forestalls the return of Europe’s lost country: Doggerland!!!


Watching these guys go from corner to corner, trying to fit a carpet too small for the room they are in, is really amusing.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
May 30, 2021 9:02 am

Yes, but as there is no change of slope. So, using the same logic as the Albany folks, that would imply that the rebound rate has adjusted itself (land moving more rapidly upward) to compensate for the climate change induced sea level rise, thus keeping the whole thing miraculously linear.

So, if you wish to push that envelop (I do not, but just for the sake of continuing the silliness) you could speculate that the return on Doggerland is being impeded by climate change. And thus the EU is being deprived of a new member state, which it could well need (for budgetary purposes) after the departure of the UK.

Sorry if that was unclear, but I am not used to thinking like this, having failed climate change indoctrination 101. 🙂

Reply to  Anon
May 29, 2021 7:15 pm

Seems pretty clear that all that water from the Baltic has flooded NY Harbor…

Reply to  Tom Halla
May 29, 2021 4:12 pm

What we’re seeing is the modus operandi of natural variability deniers everywhere.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
May 29, 2021 8:47 pm

Kip, I don’t know if you are old enough to remember this show but if you are, that’s the $64,000.00 question, isn’t it?

Alan the Brit
Reply to  KcTaz
May 30, 2021 12:08 am

My late parents used to regularly mention that phrase, “Ah, that’s the $64,000 question!”, & when asked they told me about this quiz show from the USA, (as in, the good old!!!) & that back then, that was one heck of a lot of money to win full stop!!!! Sadly, I still use the expression today, & yes my children look very quzickal at me & I can see it in their eyes, “Oh dear, the old man has finally lost it!”.

Reply to  Alan the Brit
May 30, 2021 5:41 am

You need to adjust for inflation, I believe that would now be a
$624,000 question.

Russ R.
Reply to  yirgach
May 31, 2021 11:27 am

The answer to the $624,000 question is the sea level rise is a natural variation that has been dimishing since the end of the last Ice Age. It is trivial on human time scales. The cause of our problems is our desire to live “right next to the ocean” instead of at a safe altitude above it.
This is another case of “projection”, where the editorial board assigns nefarious motives to blocking legislation that is introduced with nefarious motives. You want to spend public money and restrict public freedoms, you need to detail the cost and the benefit. Casting doubt on the need for that is hiding the fact that your policies will fail the scrutiny of public examination.

Rud Istvan
May 29, 2021 2:53 pm

Kip, I envy both your energy and your wit here. Ridicule is the best response to such Climate Central SLR nonsense (opinion explained by a recent Koonin inspired post). See also my long ago technical post here, ‘SLR, Acceleration, and Closure’. Your method of debunking is much more effective than mine was until my Koonin epiphany.

But I do not envy that you are ‘retired’ in upstate NY, where your Albany paper republishes manufactured nonsense, while I am for sure retired literally on the beach in Fort Lauderdale, in the free red state of Florida thanks to Governor Ron DeSantis, having cancelled the local Sun Sentinel paper years ago because it only echoed Chicago Tribune (owner) nonsense.
Highest regards

Reply to  Kip Hansen
May 29, 2021 8:59 pm

Kip, you pay to read the NY Times? No offense intended, but why? If it is better than the Albany Times Union, that must be one horrible paper! I have family in Rochester, NY. The weather is brutal. You must really love your family!
Just kidding. I get why but, still, to trade Florida for Albany… wow!

Dave Fair
Reply to  Kip Hansen
May 29, 2021 9:17 pm

Which explains the full-press, all-on MSM blitz of negative ‘reportage.’

Martin C
Reply to  Rud Istvan
May 29, 2021 3:47 pm

So, I think it is high time we all should start contacting these sources and ‘challenge’ them on it.

The Times Union editorial page editor is Jay Jochnowitz, his email address is: jjochnowitz@timesunion.com. Below is the email i sent to him ( . .will it do any good . .? i don’t know, but i am going to start doing this more often. I wonder what would happen if they received hundred or thousands of these types of replies . . 🙂 ).

“I am writing to you to alert you of ‘analysis’ of the noted ‘seal level rise’ by researcher from Climate Central, and how WRONG it is.  Please see the below link that discusses Climate Central’s ‘analysis’ .  


Why am i doing this?  Because i am getting fed up with all the ‘Climate change’ crap being spewed today. I don’t necessary blame you for it, but i do believe that newspapers need to be more ‘diligent’ in what they print, and look into it more, rather than simply take the word of whatever ‘analysis’ they like. 

And I am starting to send emails to outlets that don’t critically take a look at the ‘climate change crap’ they refer to. I have been following the ‘global warming/climate change’ movement ever since 2007, when the 4th IPPC report came out, and i questioned their ‘conclusions’. 

I would appreciate you to look at the link i included, and give me your honest assessment of it”

It will be interesting to see if i get a reply, and if they WILL look at the link . . .

Martin C
Reply to  Kip Hansen
May 29, 2021 6:10 pm

Will do Kip. And quite honestly, i think your ‘quip’ was right on, BECAUSE they published their crap without evaluating it . . ! 🙂

Martin C
Reply to  Martin C
June 7, 2021 10:02 pm

Kip, just letting you that i initially did not receive any reply, until i followed up to say i hadn’t received a reply, and at the very least, thought it would be nice if they would reply, even if it was nothing more than a ‘we agree to disagree. Then i DID receive a reply. Below is the text of Jay’s letter:

“Dear Martin,

I received your email. I read global warming/climate change denialism arguments for many years to be fair to people who questioned the science. I found it to be an extraordinary waste of time. In the broad sense, the science is settled, so, no I am not going to spend time reading the link you sent. This is not about agreeing to disagree. That would put denialism on a par with rigorous science.


. .so i replied back . . but i won’t go into that . . . 🙂

Reply to  Kip Hansen
May 29, 2021 9:04 pm

Kip, if they do, you could always tell them the stuff they are publishing is as bad and as false as what the NY Times publishes. Maybe that will make them feel better? 🙂

Reply to  Kip Hansen
May 30, 2021 8:50 am

“small town rag with delusions of grandeur”
“small town rag with delusions of adequacy” perhaps
Fixed it for you?


Michael S. Kelly
Reply to  Kip Hansen
June 1, 2021 3:19 am

Yes, I probably would have written “delusions of adequacy.”

Rainer Bensch
Reply to  Martin C
May 30, 2021 5:43 am

It seems they don’t just read something and parrot it but are ordered to do so.

Michael in Dublin
Reply to  Rud Istvan
May 29, 2021 4:28 pm

Ridicule is the best response . . .

Rud, you have touched on an important strategy to discredit alarmists: get people to laugh at their ridiculous ideas. Most people do not follow a careful, well reasoned argument – which we must not neglect – but because of the dumbing down in schools and universities over the past fifty and more years it is probably useful to start with something screamingly funny and then use this as a springboard into the real science. I think far more people can grasp issues when cartoons are used than technical papers with tables and graphs.

Reply to  Michael in Dublin
May 29, 2021 9:16 pm

Michael, I hope you are correct but the current and not so current college grads have been taught to stick their fingers in their ears, or over their eyes and won’t even read past the first few words of anything if they think it challenges their beliefs.
I don’t know where our nest generation of scientists are coming from but already knowing it all to the point of not even considering an opposing point of view does not bode well for scientific progress in the USA.

May 29, 2021 2:58 pm

“The goal is transparent: Stop the process in its tracks by demanding a “full cost-benefit analysis of the technical and economic aspects of any future actions”.

Yes indeed. Quite easy really.

At current levels, atmospheric carbon dioxide has never been shown to have an effect that is indistinguishable from zero on any global climate parameter. That’s one half-doubling. So a whole doubling multiplied by two is errrmmmm zero X 2. What’s that come out to climate crackpots?


Reply to  philincalifornia
May 29, 2021 3:39 pm

Wife: “Honey, I’m buying this expensive new car.”
Husband: “Well, can we talk about how we plan to finance it?”

Reply to  leowaj
May 29, 2021 6:55 pm

Tell her you’re all-in. A stick shift, Jeep Wrangler. Yes.

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  philincalifornia
May 30, 2021 5:18 am

Don’t you live in or somewhere near San Francisco? You want a stick shift? I live in a hilly area and was glad to replace my Wrangler with a stick shift when I got one with an automatic. Sports cars are different, but now with the 8, 9 and 10 speed transmissions an automatic is almost necessary.

Reply to  Trying to Play Nice
May 30, 2021 7:44 am

I like stick shifts. Wives not so much. Oooops that came out a bit wrong.

What I meant was ….. oh nevermind

Steve Case
May 29, 2021 3:19 pm

Kip, if you figure out the acceleration of sea level rise at the the New York (the Battery) tide gauge, it comes to about 0.01 mm/yr² IF that continues we would see about a one millimeter
increase in sea level rise by then or about 3.9 mm/yr by 2120. That’s a big IF


John in Oz
Reply to  Kip Hansen
May 29, 2021 5:33 pm

but….but…but… we used our new super-duper computer with 3 x the processing power of any previous computer so our average of squillions of simulations can be refined to many more decimal places.

Trust us, we are scientists (but need more money for further research)

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  John in Oz
May 30, 2021 5:20 am

Just ask Nick Stokes.

Bubba Cow
May 29, 2021 3:24 pm

Kip –
You were looking into following the money, which is arduous and often camouflaged. Here’s a great resource and his other pieces on substack are equally excellent:


Reply to  Bubba Cow
May 30, 2021 7:41 am

I recognized Moe in the middle. Who are Larry and Curly?

Abolition Man
May 29, 2021 3:39 pm

Perhaps the study authors decided that land subsidence was human caused, and therefore safe to include under a nom de guerre! The only other possibility seems to be that both the TU and the authors forgot to include sarcasm tags!
Keep fighting the good fight! This post brings to mind a double-shotted broadside into their stern!

Abolition Man
Reply to  Kip Hansen
May 29, 2021 6:22 pm

You’re assuming that there are logic cogs to slip! I’m not sure that gear is even available, and if it is I think the synchros are shot!
Keep writing the good write; laughing as we go into battle scares the p!$$ out of them!

Chris Hanley
May 29, 2021 3:45 pm

… the sea surface at New York City from the amount of sea surface rise caused by human activity …

The sea level linear trend from 1860 at The Battery shows no correlation with the trend in global CO2 emissions except for the common upwards trend:
comment image

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
May 29, 2021 4:01 pm


typo alert:

… it has a great deal of influence on the politics of New York state, its legislature, and the way-to-many New York state employees.

should be “way-too-many”.

I was forced to loop that sentence several times in my mind — I kept thinking “way to where?”

Holocene Max
Reply to  Kip Hansen
May 31, 2021 12:38 pm

Kip & Alan, This ex-subsciber says “way too many” readers.

The same Hearst rag that farmed out their anti-fracking politics to ProPublica.

I’ve written letters in response to TU nonsense, but they won’t run an opposing opinion, unless it’s blather.

Great discussion and analysis,

May 29, 2021 4:04 pm


Brilliant analysis. Thank you.

I think one typo – Manhattan Island has sunk almost six inches over these 12 years. 
Should be 112 years?

May 29, 2021 4:33 pm

Sandy wasn’t ever a hurricane when it made landfall, that’s why most call it Superstorm Sandy. In any case, Sandy was by no means unique. Many actual hurricanes have hit the Northeast coast. Planning along the eastern seaboard should have always accounted for the possibility of an actual hurricane and its associated storm surge.
In 1635 the “Great Colonial” Hurricane hit New York and New England, the “Dreadful” Hurricane of 1667 destroyed over 10,000 houses in Virginia, and the “Great Storm of 1693” devastated Long Island. There were other hurricanes that made landfall in the Tri-State area – 1788 (left the Battery in ruins), 1821, 1893 (the second hurricane that year, different from the one that hit Halifax, Nova Scotia), 1944 (“Great Atlantic” hurricane), 1954 (Carol), and 1991 (Bob). The 1938 “Long Island Express” made landfall in Long Island as a Category 3 hurricane with sustained winds of 125 mph and wind gusts up to 150 mph bringing waves surging to 35 feet. The Long Island Express makes Superstorm Sandy look like a breezy day in the park.
Hurricanes have also pummeled Canada’s Maritime Provinces many times before; in 1775, the “Independence Hurricane” killed at least 4,000 people in Newfoundland and an 1873 hurricane left 223 dead, destroyed 1200 boats, and flattened 900 buildings in Nova Scotia. Other hurricanes hit the Canadian Maritimes in 1866, 1886, 1893 (1st of two hurricanes that hit the Northeastern coast that year), 1959 (Escuminac), 1963 (Ginny), and 2003 (Juan).  

Rory Forbes
Reply to  meab
May 29, 2021 4:55 pm

One could make a wild guess and suggest that the natural warming since the LIA, to the present, has reduced temperature differentials around the world enough to moderate weather extremes of all sorts. The outcome of this has reduced natural disaster damage and mortality by as much as 90% over the past ~100 years.

Reply to  meab
May 29, 2021 10:16 pm

According to an analysis I read somewhere, Sandy was different than most storms of that sort in that it stalled for a time way out at sea, where it sucked up ocean water at a good clip, while there was a low pressure trough from Sandy all the way to where that sucked up water came down: the US east coast, over land.

Reply to  meab
May 30, 2021 9:56 am

Meab…In looking at the ACY sounding from the morning of Sandy’s approach, she was warm core all the way up with a closed circulation. She was a hurricane…

Peter W
May 29, 2021 4:52 pm

This merely reminds me again of what I believe I posted some time previously.

In 2006 my wife and I visited glacier Bay in Alaska, when we were being told the glaciers are melting and it is all our fault! We were given maps of the bay, which I still have, showing the melting of the 65 mile long Glacier Bay glacier, documented by early seafarers as they made and updated their charts. The charts showed that in 1750 and 1800 65 mile long Glacier Bay was completely occupied by a massive glacier which started melting a little between those two dates.

By 1840 a significant part of the bay was clear. By about 1900 most of the main part of the bay was clear of ice, prior to the invention of the airplane and the mass-production of the automobile, and with the estimated population of the earth a fraction of what it is today. I am still waiting for a logical explanation of how we are going to stop this “terrible global warming!”

John in Oz
Reply to  Peter W
May 29, 2021 5:39 pm

I had the same experience on the Athabasca Glacier in Canada several years ago.
The tourist handout showed melting and the receding of the glacier over more than a hundred years, well before AGW could be claimed to be the cause.

Never let the facts get in the way of a bad idea.

May 29, 2021 5:02 pm

Kip: didn’t somebody opine that models are more useful than reality? Now, I understand that models ARE more USEFUL as we have only one reality but we can play out scenarios with models. However, this “truth” leads to models being preferred over reality because reality is confusing and ambiguous.

How is a global sea rise measured when coastlines go up and down, in ad out? A model with simple calculations gives you the 1.7 or 3.2 mm/year. I doubt that any representative, statistically valid measurement of global coastlines has ever been done. Maybe, but I doubt it.

So GSL is all models. But the nontechnical sensitivities conflate measurements with calculations. Like the use of proxies vs measurements. Same goes for global temperatures: measurements are USED in models for calculations to determine a value SAID to represent the average temperature of the globe or a country etc. Satellites do not measure temperatures either, but the public doesn’t understand the difference between a measured quantity and a calculated quantity based on a model – the results MAY be the same number, but they aren’t the same beast.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Kip Hansen
May 29, 2021 9:26 pm

Since models are not sentient, they only reflect the desires of their makers.

Reply to  Dave Fair
May 30, 2021 11:03 am

Having built many models over a long career I can tell you that sometimes models do not give you the result that you expect. The trouble begins when you ‘fix’ the model to get the result you expect. This happens waaayyy too often. A model that gives you a result that you don’t expect is trying to tell you something. A model that tells you exactly what you expect needs to be looked at with the hairy eyeball. (I would add that if you know the answer why are you building a model?)

Dave Fair
Reply to  Detengineer
May 30, 2021 12:05 pm

Then you are building the model for propaganda purposes.

Reply to  Doug Proctor
May 30, 2021 7:46 am

People underestimate the power of models. Observational evidence is not very useful” – attributed to John Mitchell, UK MET  

This must have been taken out of context as no one should be that stupid.

Kevin kilty
May 29, 2021 5:15 pm

Kip, this was a very sound thumping — not that the culprits are likely to notice their bruises. We have small newspapers around here which could make names for themselves by doing real journalism, but groupthink is more satisfying, or something.

I am becoming involved in something locally I had hoped to avoid, and that is a proposed utility scale renewable energy system. I got a reply from one of the elected officials who have to vote their approval on this that said that his decision may depend on the “realities of climate change.” Now I was pretty floored by that statement. There are no realities to climate change at present and it may be another 100 years before there are any. What we have at present is modeling, conjecture, theories, partisanship, activism and hysteria, which in various doses produce future climate realities that are sort of a bell curve of expectations.

A related issue is why do building codes refer to the mean sea level, when any competent person should make requirements with reference to the mean higher high water, as do statements of clearance under bridges? Using a datum that is exceeded 50% of the time is just asking for property losses and emergencies from circumstances not all that uncommon unless the regulated height above that datum is very large.

Kevin kilty
Reply to  Kip Hansen
May 30, 2021 7:35 am

As your discussion implies the big factor is what occurs with storm surge at high tides. Wind direction, speed, speed of storm approach, combine to produce very surprising surges. For example Hurricane Hugo, I seem to recall, produced a surge that caught everyone in the Florida panhandle by surprise. I suspected the storm, which was also unusually slow, simply approached the shore close to the speed of long waves. On top of this varibility, the interaction of solar and lunar tides with slope and shape of shorelines, bays and estuaries adds further complexity. On top of this people will misunderstand what the various measures of sea height mean, and will disregard the other complexity entirely. Do building inspectors or insurance companies verify that a structure is placed properly with respect to MSL or any other measure?

I would like to see an empirical distribution of high readings at a tidal gauge like Battery Park to get an idea of the recurrence interval (the probability of exceeding certain heights per unit time) of extreme events, and what the tail of the distribution is like. It’s a challenging problem in stochastic behavior. Maybe in my retirement here I will look into this.

Joel O'Bryan
May 29, 2021 5:15 pm

The COVID lockdown over-reactions and the useless mask mandates supported by the media has irreparably damaged their reputation for truth telling/truth seeking on climate change as well. That loss of credibility will only deepen in the Biden Era with lies on top of lies. Lies that go un-checked by the Leftist media, because they will get eventually be checked by someone, then like the Wuhan virus leak theory suppression by the media, the reputation damage will be done.

May 29, 2021 5:51 pm

I deny being a denialist, I’ve never denied anything in my life (;-))

Reply to  saveenergy
May 29, 2021 7:58 pm

Evaluate the following statement: Everything I say is a lie.

Clyde Spencer
May 29, 2021 6:04 pm

I’m fond of this illustration that shows in long-term context that the rise in sea level has been almost linear for about the last 7,000 years.

comment image

Reply to  Kip Hansen
May 29, 2021 8:01 pm

I keep reading that Sea Level Rise will Kill Us All!!! (well, the amount of shrieking that accompanies pronouncements about sea level rise seems to indicate it’s that serious!) And then I read the article and find the number: 1.7 mm/year! I know how small a millimetre is, even at my age and after a foot surgery, I still think I can walk faster than that!

Geoff Sherrington
Reply to  Kip Hansen
May 30, 2021 4:04 am

But how to make use of this observation?
If the oceans can be regarded as thermometers, with water expanding in a case of rocks as opposed to mercury expanding in a case of glass, then we can conclude that there has been no temperature change due to CO2 since 1950 at Battery Point (likewise at Sydney Harbour). If global warming had raised sea temperatures more since 1950 (or whatever date you choose) then there has to be an explanation.
The parsimonious explanation is that there has been no global warming.
Do you ever see this explained in the popular press? Geoff S

Hoyt Clagwell
May 29, 2021 6:06 pm

Then I feel entitled to demand that before we engage in any “green” programs, that the public be provided with a “full cost-benefit analysis of the technical and economic aspects” of all untintended consequences of any future CO2 limiting actions.

Mark E Shulgasser
May 29, 2021 6:26 pm

Acute analysis of the science, the fallacy of reification and so forth are of course important, but graphs and charts are only one type of ‘reality’. It’s also worth considering that the Democratic Party in New York (i. e. Cuomo and ‘Albany’) might live off the tax ‘breaks’ extended to renewable energy plays. Outlandish claims first floated out in the Albany Times will soon be found in the New York Times as well.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
May 29, 2021 10:33 pm

2 parties or 60, group think is the death of rationality.

May 29, 2021 7:02 pm

virtually every major city has its own unique conditions that impact tidal levels.
Here in Melbourne Australia two rivers meet at the city.
Each river has a different time of concentration, so peak flows arrive at different times.
When a storm hits, the peak sea level ( storm surge) occurs by adding the storm’s wind effect, the storm’s pushing effect,and the two river flows to the astronomical tide levels.
in Melbourne these non astronomical components Play a greater role than tides in determining the actual sea level.

The alarmists claim that Melbourne will have less rain.
Thus CO 2 will both increase and decreases the sea level in Melbourne.????

For New York, I suspect the changes to the flows and river bed of the Hudson River will not have an insignificant impact on the MSL at Battery Park.

Kevin kilty
Reply to  Kip Hansen
May 30, 2021 7:39 am

Kip, beware the ides…

May 29, 2021 7:13 pm

If a homeowner on the barrier islands asked me, “what would be the impact of climate change on my two storey house?”
MY answer would be something like “Previously, if a major storm hit, the flood waters would reach the ninth step on your stairs. Now with AGW Sea level rise, flood waters would reach the tenth step on the stairs.”

Jeff Alberts
May 29, 2021 8:00 pm

Now, the folks at Climate Central did a great deal of modelling and calculation to try to separate out the naturally driven rise of the sea surface at New York City from the amount of sea surface rise caused by human activity.   Let’s see how this plays out in the real world for New York City according to Climate Central:”

Absolutely no one knows how much warming or sea level rise, is due to human activity. They can make educated guesses, but they simply can’t separate any kind of signal from education guesses.

May 29, 2021 8:43 pm

Sir, you deserve a medal for reading anything in the Guardian. Thank you for subjecting yourself to their “journalism” for WUWT readers edification. I used to read them some because, back then, they actually could do some excellent work once in awhile, or at least, enough to give them a read just in case it was one of their hits.
I gave up a awhile ago, though, as I couldn’t find anything that was what one would call reporting. It was all opinion based on fake data no matter the topic.
This coincided with my sending them an email about their reporting on a Jewish/Islamic issue that was verifiably false and I submitted several links to prove it was false. I told them that the false information they were reporting could and was getting Jews killed and Muslims killed while Israel was stopping them from killing Jews. They did answer. The answer was, in a nutshell, that they didn’t care and were sticking to their fake story.
After that, I decided there was no point in reading their rag. If a “journalism” outfit doesn’t care that people are dying because of their fake story, well, you know that whatever was left of journalism in their paper was gone.

Abolition Man
Reply to  KcTaz
May 29, 2021 11:09 pm

In the current era it seems that purveyors of propaganda, or, as I like to call them, urinalists; are intent on causing casualties!! Whether it’s lying about the ChiCom virus, or destroying race relations by spotlighting any black man killed in interactions with police while ignoring the ninety nine others who were killed by other young black men; urinalists seem to delight in using psychological warfare techniques to frighten and depress the population at large!
It’s getting to the point where I feel like I can count the number of honest journalists on my digits and not have to take off my shoes! Seeing clips of talking heads lying about CAGW, the plandemic or any other topic that might get people killed, I have to ask myself now; “Are they keeping score?”

May 29, 2021 11:51 pm


Surely you know natural sea-level rise stopped in 1960?

Since then, all sea-level rise has been man-made.

May 30, 2021 12:37 am

sat in my dingy at the see wall ALL day yesteday, put mark on the side
and watched
and wiated
no sea level rise !

Andrew Lale
May 30, 2021 2:54 am

‘We collaborate widely with TV meteorologists, journalists, and other previously respected voices to reach audiences across diverse geographies and beliefs.’ Fixed it for you.

Peta of Newark
May 30, 2021 3:00 am

Nails it for me:
Quote:”It is my opinion that science must treat Reality with more regard. Get out and touch and measure the thing you are studying – unplug your computer until you have gotten your hands way-too-dirty at the seashore and sitting in a dinghy tied to a seawall if you want to know about sea level rise”
(Maybe not the dinghy bit for me personally)
Go out and get:

  • A pair of (temperature) dataloggers (look for Elitech, better resolution, half the price and much longer battery life than the Lascars) maybe £50 tops
  • Splash (haha) out on a CO2 meter – get a good one, easily £150 for a good one. Do Not leave it working 24/7/365
  • A pH meter. As used by aquarium people for their fish water: £5 tops
  • A solar power meter, measure your own Downwellings & Albedo: Maybe £70
  • Sandies or Crocs – footwear you can easily get dirty & clean but esp, kick off and Go Walkabouts. Measure the UHI with your own feet – you WILL be in for some surprises
  • A mini RV and a shed load of diesel

In that vein, here’s where today finds me: Beccles in Suffolk. In brilliant sunshine since sun-up 6 hours ago yet the air temp is only 13 Celsius. Doncha just luuuuurrrrrrvvvve the GHGE?

No matter, see the attached photo – also here at Dropbox

You should be seeing some military types ice skating on Beccles Fen
Now, go look for Beccles Fen – see if you can find any area of water the size of what’s in that photo.
While you’re about it, go look for Whittlesey – what WAS an inland sea (sey), extending to over 1,800 acres and belonging someone name-of ‘Whittle’
Wasn’t that a strange co-incidence?
Is it beyond belief that what you do or don’t find find has anything to do with Sea Level Rise

While you’re out and about, go to places with ‘ley’ or ‘lee’ in their place names.
See if you can find a ‘wood’ or mini-forest.

Likewise ‘carr’. Go there and look for some swampy ground with a few shrubs (usually willow or Alder) growing out of it

Take some sticky plaster, lots of it, to repair your constantly repeatedly broken heart

Beccles Fen 1947.jpg
Joseph Zorzin
May 30, 2021 3:08 am

“It is, however, almost entirely unknown outside of Albany county and massively overshadowed by the New York Times, and even the New York Post, both of which are based in New York City.”

However, Albany is the home of AMC, the NPR station led by extreme leftist Alan Chartock. This station broadcasts to a huge area as it has several broadcast towers- and it can be heard across much of NY state and most of western VT, MA and CT. I get it in central MA. I listen to it when driving because- despite being far leftist- it’s better than the other local channels playing horrible music. During the Trump administration AMC spent almost every minute of the day dumping on Trump- and it still dumps on Trump, though not quite as much. I emailed Chartock one day after listening to one of his extremist rants. Instead of discussing what I said- he just said I should apologize to him. I bet AMC is the most politically correct radio station in North America.

My point being that you can be sure that AMC will be aware of the Times Union article and it’ll push along the same ideas.

May 30, 2021 4:05 am

Excellent work!! Exposing the alarmists’ nonsense must be exhausting sometimes.Thanks for all your efforts.

May 30, 2021 5:50 am

Valid conclusion and supporting analysis.

For the benefit of readers:

1) Anthropogenic CO2 had little or NO effect on temperature or sea level rise prior to 1925-1950. Why NOT? Fossil fuel use was negligible prior to 1900-1925 (We KNOW this from coal and crude oil production data). Also, fossil fuel combustion influences temperature after a lag of many years. Furthermore, temperature influences sea level after a lag of many years.

2) Thus, the author’s finding that measured sea level at The Battery (2013) can be explained by subsidence + continuation of the pre 1960 trend DEVASTATES the Climate Central concept that AGW increased sea level and worsened the damage caused by Sandy.

Bill Everett
Reply to  D M
May 30, 2021 7:03 am

I calculated the human contribution of CO2 into the atmosphere during the period 1980 through 2020 using 338ppm as the 1980 CO2 level, 417 ppm as the 2020 level and five percent as the human contribution. The result was a human CO2 contribution of one tenth of one ppm per year average over the forty year period. It is illogical to think that a contribution that small has any noticeable effect upon sea level change or global temperature change.

Tom Abbott
May 30, 2021 6:53 am

From the article: “The IPCC does not make any claim for anthropogenic causes during this period.”

So the alarmists are actually ignoring/distorting “the science”. The IPCC scientists say no human causes to the climate detected. The Alarmists say they *do* detect human causes. “The Science” does not back up the alarmist claims.

This is true for all aspects of official Climate Science. The scientists don’t claim they have evidence of human causes, but the alarmist community says just the opposite, without any substantiation. The alarmists are spreading climate change propaganda without any evidence to back up their claims.

Same old story. And the Duped World is planning on spending $Trillions on this nonsense, trying to fix a CO2 problem that has not shown itself to be a problem.


Tom Abbott
May 30, 2021 6:55 am

You ought to read “Breaking the News”, Kip, if you haven’t already done so. The book illustrates how the Left buys the Media and uses it to its purposes.

Steve Jobs widow appears to be a major, hidden political player. The George Soros of the United States.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Kip Hansen
May 31, 2021 4:25 am

I know, that’s why I mentioned the book to you. 🙂

And it is probably one of the most important themes to focus on. Our society cannot function without proper, truthful information, especially if the information we are getting is deliberately distorted for political reasons. In a case like this, we get Joe Biden as a president.

The Distorters must be exposed. No more Joe Bidens!

Sam L.
May 30, 2021 9:46 am

So, I take it, that there’s no increase in the volume of water in our oceans?

May 30, 2021 12:35 pm

“It is my opinion that science must treat Reality with more regard.” Kip H.

Kip, you are expecting far too much from the people who WANT Doom and Disaster and Deadly Events to occur!!!! You are pouring cold water on their Coals of Fire!!

Since it’s now clear to me that Those People have the mental acuity of a sack of potatoes, it is obvious that they will never, EVER accept your results. (No insult meant to potatoes.) Or maybe they have less MA than a sack of potatoes. Hard to say.

As you know, when large bodies of water (large lakes, oceans, etc.) produce ice and hang onto it, when that ice does not melt, then non-frozen water (don’t start!) levels will likely be lower. Or maybe not. If ice layers not only to not melt but pile on top of each other, that also reduces the amount of loose water available to make more ice, thereby dropping water levels.

These notions do not occur to Those People because it conflicts with their notions of reality.

This is one of several reasons I cannot justify referring to them as loons. Real loons are considerably smarter about reality.

(Please note: /sarc)

Reply to  Sara
May 30, 2021 7:10 pm

This occurred in that winter about 10 years ago, in Boston: a record level of 9.1 inches of snow fell unceasingly, burying houses and yards and streets under the white fluff. Boston Harbor became the dumping ground for snow, if I recall correctly. That was, in fact, the same storm that blew 4’6″ of snow against my storm door and I had to wait for my neighbor to dig me out. 🙂

But when Spring finally arrived and the snows melted, it so happened that far to the north, Lake Superior still had ice on its surface in July. I would have to dig up photos from back then, but people were concerned that a new ice age was forming, when Superior simply didn’t warm up enough to melt all the ice until about 6 weeks later – just in time for fall and winter storms. That was at the back of my memory bank – the lack of warm water to stir the pot and melt the ice. And it can happen again.

Not crazy about the possibility that the Great Lakes might freeze up and not thaw at all. Remember a few years ago,, when one of the Navy’s newest ships got stuck in the ice at Montreal and the entire crew was subjected to the menus to be found in French restaurants? Quel horreur!!! 🙂

Andrew Wilkins
May 31, 2021 10:28 am

The change over the last century and a half has been linear. hence there is no way an anthropogenic influence over the last 70 years can be found. End of.

Here in my home town of London we have a phrase for what the idiots at Climate Central are doing: they are “chatting sh*t”

Mark - Helsinki
June 2, 2021 3:55 am

What? Never tried the GISS G Cake bake method?

Make cake mix
Put in oven at 22c degrees
Adjust oven temp data to 220c
wait 35 minutes

As we can see, the resulting cake is a puddle of useless goo, much the same as GISS anomalies

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