Guest essay by Larry Hamlin
The Orange County Register has published in the last month 3 climate alarmist hyped articles (the latest article is shown below) which grossly exaggerate claims by California “experts” that the state’s future coastal sea level rise by 2050 might be 3.5 feet or maybe 6 feet or maybe 7 feet by 2100 or maybe 10 feet by 2100.
The rate of California’s coastal sea level rise is not a mystery but is in fact clearly documented by NOAA measured tide gauge data going back more than century.
This ridiculous coastal sea level rise guessing game by the state’s “experts” is based solely upon using flawed and failed UN IPCC computer climate model scenarios while deceptively and dishonestly ignoring more than 100 years of actual NOAA coastal sea level rise tide gauge recorded measurements at numerous California locations that demonstrate the rate of coastal sea level rise remains consistent with past periods and is not increasing despite decades of failed climate alarmist assertions otherwise.
This absurd political guessing game of the states future coastal sea level rise is illustrated below from the 3 successive Register articles starting with the most recent as noted above.
“The Ocean Protection Council, which provides sea-level rise projections for other agencies to plan by, has set benchmark targets to prepare for 6 feet of rise by 2050 and 7 feet by 2100.” (Register E-Edition article as published September 25, 2021)
“The Ocean Protection Council, which provides sea-level rise projections for other agencies to plan by, has set benchmark targets to prepare for 3.5 feet of rise by 2050.” (Register website article version of the same September 25,2021 article noted above)
“The state’s Ocean Protective Council, whose predictions about sea-level rise are used by the commission, last year updated its recommendations, calling for state to get ready for 3.5 feet of sea-level rise by 2050. A number of cities had been using — and some continue to use — a benchmark of 6 feet to 7 feet of rise by 2100, although that standard has been criticized for being too extreme because it has been given only 1 in 200 chance of occurring by the council.”
“The new Coastal Commission proposal, however, uses the even more extreme planning benchmark of 10 feet of rise by 2100, an “extreme high risk” projection that’s considered such a long-shot that Ocean Protective Council doesn’t offer odds of it happening.” (Register article of August 27, 2021)
All the state’s games with coastal sea level rise numbers are supposedly supported by “probability distribution” assessments which attempt to convey some degree of scientific certainty with these guesses.
The real picture however is that these “probability distributions” are nothing but subjective assessments as determined by the “experts” paid by the state that are doing the analysis using their “expert elicitation” as noted in the reference contained in the state’s reports.
“Expert elicitation” is defined as being “The elicitation of scientific and technical judgments from experts, in the form of subjective probability distributions, can be a valuable addition to other forms of evidence in support of public policy decision making.”
The various state reports that supposedly address the state’s sea level rise issues are completely devoid of assessments of actual long time period NOAA tide gauge data measurements which clearly demonstrate that at numerous locations the rate of California’s coastal sea level rise is consistent with and not increasing over the last century and that the measured rates of increase are far below the alarmist politically driven guesswork schemes presented in the state’s reports.
For example the NOAA data for the 97 year long coastal sea level rise trend at Los Angeles of about 4 inches per century (not 3.5 feet in less than 30 years) is shown below.
The state’s “lower estimate” of 3.5 feet of sea level rise by year 2050 is 26 times greater than the average rate of California’s coastal sea level rise documented by the longest time period actual NOAA coastal tide gauge measured data.
This ludicrous rate of coastal sea level rise is 26 times greater than the average rate of coastal sea level rise that has been measured by NOAA tide gauge data at numerous coastal locations including 7 locations (San Diego, La Jolla, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Port San Luis, Alameda and San Francisco) with between 75 to 123 years of continuous NOAA tide gauge coastal sea level rise data which shows these locations will average only 1.6 inches of coastal sea level rise in the next 30 years – not 3.5 feet!!
The state’s “higher estimate” of 6 feet of sea level rise by year 2050 is 54 times greater than measured NOAA tide gauge data measurements.
NOAA tide gauge data updated through year 2020 (more than three decades after the Democrats infamous climate alarmist 1988 Senate hearings where Democrats claimed coastal sea level rise could increase by 4 feet in the next 40 years) estimates that the global absolute rate of sea level rise is about 0.7 inches per decade (between 1.7 to 1.8 mm/yr. amounting to 2.8 inches over 40 years versus the flawed 4 feet hyped by Democrats in the 1988 climate alarmist hearings) far below the absurd coastal sea level rise claims being made by California’s climate alarmist hyped process.
Many of the higher California estimates of future coastal sea level rise are based upon the UN IPCC high emission RCP 8.5 climate model scenario.
The UN IPCC high carbon emission scenario RCP 8.5 has been challenged numerous times including by former chief scientist for Obama’s Energy Department Steven Koonin for positing completely ridiculous and implausible assumptions of increases in coal use a century from now which is just one of dozens of assumptions thrown into these scenarios.
All UN IPCC climate scenarios utilized by the state in assessing coastal sea level rise have no probabilities associated with their scenarios and should be considered as being only “plausible and illustrative.”
These speculative climate model driven scenarios are inappropriate for establishing California’s government policy that commit trillions of dollars in mandated coastal sea level rise actions based upon nothing but politically driven climate alarmist guesswork that deliberately and systematically ignores NOAA measured California coastal sea level rise data.