November 5, 2009

A Rational Look at Sea Level Rise

The one thing that is the most certain about climate change, is that no matter what happens, we’ll have to adapt. In fact, even if the climate doesn’t change a lick, adaptations will take place, aimed at improving our overall health and welfare by either better protecting us from, or taking better advantage of, the prevailing climate conditions. Such has always been the case, and such always will be.

This is something that global warming alarmists either fail to understand, or fail to acknowledge.


July 22, 2009

Sea Level Rise: An Update Shows a Slowdown

Filed under: Sea Level Rise

Of all the potential woes bandied about with regards to “global warming,” the only one which really is in uncharted territory is a large and rapid rise in sea level. Otherwise we are rather routinely exposed to all nature of weather extremes as they are a part of the natural climate. Droughts, floods, heat waves, tornadoes, hurricanes, etc. have impacted human societies in the past and they will continue to do so into the future—with or without “global warming.”

The degree to which we are affected by extreme weather depends on a number of factors, especially preparedness.

One of the driving forces motivating us to “be prepared” (aside from our scout leader), is the frequency with which extreme weather occurs. Generally, the more frequent something negative occurs, the more we act to prepare ourselves. So, in this sense, if weather extremes do be more common in the future, we’ll more than likely quickly become better prepared to deal with them—lessening their negative impacts and probably boosting the economy along the way as we build the necessary precautions into our way of life (consider the improved building codes in Florida after Hurricane Andrew, or the response in Chicago (and France) in the aftermath of killer heat waves). In truth, the impact of climate change is very low compared to the impact of climate itself.

However, one exception to this could be sea level rise. As an organized society, we have pretty much experienced the global ocean level being pretty close (within a couple of feet) to where they are now. True, the global sea level has been creeping upwards for the past 10,000 years (after the big jump up at the end of last ice age) and true, we have had to make some adjustments to a few of our particularly vulnerable coastal cities, but by and large the sea level hasn’t been rising at a rate so great as to cause large societal disruptions or reorganizations.


January 19, 2009

Dead On Arrival: EPA/CCSP Sea Level Rise Report Already Outdated

[update 1/20/09: for more on sea level rise see our post over at the new blog]

On Friday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a report on the implications of future sea level rise on the mid-Atlantic coast (from North Carolina to New York). The report was one of the series of 21-reports commissioned by the U.S. Climate Change Research Program (recall our less than favorable reviews of another recent CCSP product). As with most climate change “assessment reports” from large government and intergovernmental efforts, the science in the report is stale and out-of-date by the time the report is finally published (the EPA’s recent documents in support of its “Advanced Notice of Propsed Rulemaking: Regulating Greenhouse Gas Emissions under the Clean Air Act” is a prime example).


November 14, 2008

Slowdown in Greenland

Filed under: Arctic, Polar, Sea Level Rise

No self-respecting global warming presenter would ever miss the chance to warn the audience that higher temperatures could melt ice in places like Greenland, the melting water could lubricate the interface between ice and rock, and watch-out … the ice could increase its velocity, fall or move quickly into the sea, and cause a rapid rise in sea level. If you happen to be Al Gore, you might show us melting ice, water pouring into some moulin (Figure 1), and then cap it off with an image of water drowning out the World Trade Center Memorial. This story in its near infinite varieties appears on literally thousands of websites dealing with the global warming issue. (more…)

May 6, 2008

Slower Sea Level Rise

Filed under: Sea Level Rise

One of the major pillars of the greenhouse scare is that sea level is rising due to global warming, coastlines will be inundated, and disasters will occur in coastal areas throughout the world. Who could ever forget Al Gore’s documentary showing us the World Trade Center Memorial under water due to sea level rise? A year ago, climate change hero James Hansen warned the world that non-linearities in the ocean-atmosphere system could lead to a whopping 5 meter or more sea level rise over this century.

As we have covered many times in the past, sea level is certainly rising – of course, it has been rising for the past 10,000 years. During the last glacial period, sea level dropped 400 feet as water was tied up in ice, and as we have moved out of the cold glacial period, sea level has recovered. The question for climate change experts is not “Is sea level rising” but rather “Is sea level rise accelerating?” In 2001, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) wrote “No significant acceleration in the rate of sea level rise during the 20th century has been detected”, while in 2007, IPCC wrote “Global average sea level rose at an average rate of 1.8 [1.3 to 2.3] mm per year over 1961 to 2003. The rate was faster over 1993 to 2003: about 3.1 [2.4 to 3.8] mm per year. Whether the faster rate for 1993 to 2003 reflects decadal variability or an increase in the longer-term trend is unclear.” To say the least, the IPCC has been very cautious on the issue of accelerated sea level rise.


February 27, 2008

Antarctica Ain’t Cooperating!

Filed under: Antarctic, Polar, Sea Level Rise

We have kidded from time to time about renaming World Climate Report to World Hurricane Report given all the evidence we encounter in the professional literature discrediting the claim of more frequent and intense hurricanes. If we decided to never again report on hurricanes, our next most popular topic would be Antarctica.

Literally thousands of websites on global warming claim that the icecaps are melting at an unprecedented rate due to emissions of greenhouse gases (particularly from the United States), and in case you cannot picture what that looks like, the sites feature an endless number of pictures of blocks of ice floating away from Antarctica (the really effective pictures have a few penguins floating away as well). National Geographic magazine featured a cover story entitled “The Big Thaw,” and based on what you would see in that issue, you would think there is absolutely no debate about rapid and undesirable changes occurring in Antarctica all due to the dreaded global warming phenomenon. As we have shown over and over, nothing could be further from the truth!


January 4, 2008

Lowering Sea Level Rise

Filed under: Sea Level Rise

Have you seen the latest on sea level rise? If not, you will find over one million websites on the topic and according to almost all of them, global sea level is rising ever faster, the acceleration will increase into the future (by some estimates resulting in a rise of several meters by century’s end) and the entire mess is caused by burning fossils fuels and increasing the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases. But is what you find on these sites really the latest on sea level rise? Are sea levels really rising at the pace that they are so often made out to be?

We have written about sea level rise many times in the past, and there is no doubt that the sea is currently rising worldwide. However, the sea level rise has been taking place almost monotonically over the past 8,000 years, with substantial decadal variability embedded in the trend. In 2001, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that “No significant acceleration in the rate of sea level rise during the 20th century has been detected.” In 2007, IPCC notes “Global average sea level rose at an average rate of 1.8 [1.3 to 2.3] mm per year over 1961 to 2003. The rate was faster over 1993 to 2003: about 3.1 [2.4 to 3.8] mm per year. Whether the faster rate for 1993 to 2003 reflects decadal variability or an increase in the longer-term trend is unclear.” A key question is not whether sea level is rising, but rather, has there been any acceleration in the rise – the jury is still very much out on that issue.


September 14, 2007

Sea-Level Slowdown?

We have heard a million times that if we don’t stop emitting greenhouse gases, our inexcusable actions will result in a warmer earth, and the warming of the planet will cause icecaps and mountain glaciers to melt and sea level to rise. Island nations will be drowned, coastlines around the world will go underwater, Florida will cease to exist, and the World Trade Center Memorial could someday be a sight seen only by scuba enthusiasts. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says very clearly in the Summary for Policymakers “Global average sea level rose at an average rate of 1.8 [1.3 to 2.3] mm per year over 1961 to 2003. The rate was faster over 1993 to 2003: about 3.1 [2.4 to 3.8] mm per year. Whether the faster rate for 1993 to 2003 reflects decadal variability or an increase in the longer-term trend is unclear. There is high confidence that the rate of observed sea level rise increased from the 19th to the 20th century.” The IPCC crew reminds us that “Global average sea level in the last interglacial period (about 125,000 years ago) was likely 4 to 6 m higher than during the 20th century, mainly due to the retreat of polar ice.” It seems that sea levels fell and rose many times in the past and long before humans had any chance interfere with the natural order of things. There is no reason whatsoever to expect sea level to remain constant – it never has and it never will.

We have covered this sea-level rise issue many times in the past at World Climate Report and we fully agree that sea level is rising – sea level has been somewhat steadily rising for the past 10,000 years. During the last glacial advance, a large amount of fresh water was tied up in ice, and as the glaciation ended, that water returned to the oceans. Furthermore, as the earth warmed up following the last glacial advance, thermal expansion of the ocean water occurred, and sea level rose even more. There is little doubt that the sea-level rise will continue into the future, but the rate of rise is the focus of an interesting paper published recently in Global and Planetary Change by a team of scientists from France and Spain.


May 14, 2007

Questioning Ocean Warming?

We just did an internet search on “Ocean Warming” and found an incredible 7.2 million sites! We sampled a few and found exactly what we expected – endless stories of how the oceans of the world are heating up at an unprecedented rate; absolutely anything and everything related to the ocean is currently in peril according to these sites. Even if you live thousands of miles from the sea, ocean warming will negatively impact you given how ocean temperatures influence weather and climate any place on the planet. Our survey of “Ocean Warming” internet sites did not reveal anyone questioning whether or not the oceans are actually warming up – “Ocean Warming” is simply assumed to be a fact.

Well, in a recent issue of theJournal of Physical Oceanography, an article appears entitled “Is the World Ocean Warming? Upper-Ocean Temperature Trends: 1950–2000”. Once again, we at World Climate Report are attracted to research that dares to question any of the pillars of the greenhouse scare, and from just the title alone, we knew we would enjoy this article. We were not disappointed.


February 23, 2007

More Ripples in the Sea Level Debate

Filed under: Sea Level Rise

The debate over future sea level rise from melting ice in a changing climate has raged for years. It is widely believed that the expression of climate change is amplified across the polar regions of Earth, and there exists some supportive evidence in historical climate records. However, much of the worry about rapid polar climate change stems from model predictions of inordinate warming in the high latitudes during the 21st century. The chain of events, then, is warming, glacial melt, and sea level rise, which is a logical sequence that makes doomsday scenarios of sea level rise easy to sell. The dogged pounding of this drum by the global warming crusaders is enough to raise suspicion that they are actively purchasing all of the high-elevation real estate on the face of the Earth!

During recent decades - a period during which alarmists claim that Earth’s lower atmosphere warmed more than at any point during the past two millennia - trends in Antarctic temperature are rather ambiguous. Several research efforts have documented rapid warming over the Antarctic Peninsula, while others have shown a cooling trend over the eastern coastline of the continent over the last few decades of the 20th century. In the interior of Antarctica, a significant increase in the surface mass balance has recently occurred despite no significant increase in precipitation. Linking future global sea level rise to Antarctic melt has been hard work, and a recent piece of research has thrown more straws on the back of the crusaders’ Antarctic camel.


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