February 9, 2007

Shocking Facts about Sea Level Rise

Filed under: Sea Level Rise

One of the pillars of the global warming scare is that sea level is rising, the rise is accelerating due to ever higher global temperatures, and in the absence of some immediate policy to curb emissions of greenhouse gases, the sea level rise will inundate islands and coastlines throughout the world. Who could ever forget seeing the World Trade Center Memorial under water in Gore’s blockbuster movie? In addition, no fewer than 1.4 million websites are found if you search “Global Warming and Sea Level Rise.” Many would be shocked to find anyone daring to question accelerated sea level rise, and yet, as covered many times before in World Climate Report, the scientific literature is full of surprises when it comes to global warming and sea level rise. How many would believe that global sea level actually dropped for a period in the mid-to-late 1990s?

Well, it is true, and an article in the recent issue of Geophysical Research Letters provides some shocking news for those who never question the accelerated sea level rise axiom.


December 5, 2006

Sea Level Rise? - Not From Antarctic Melting

Filed under: Antarctic, Polar, Sea Level Rise

Earth’s polar regions have been loudly touted as evidencing the greatest response to global warming during the last two decades of the 20th century. Likewise, global climate models forecast that the high latitudes will experience the greatest change in temperature should greenhouse gas emissions increase through the 21st century. The warming supposedly has and will cause large-scale glacial melt and an input of fresh water that will produce global sea level rise and a breakdown of the fundamental worldwide oceanic circulation. These aspects of potential climate change serve as great talking points for alarmists, as they portray inundated coastal areas and a Europe subject to Arctic-like winters as in the movie Day After Tomorrow.


December 4, 2006

Decelerating the Sea Level Rise Scare

One of the basic, and often never challenged claims of the global warming advocates is that sea level is rising, and thanks to global warming, the rise in sea level is accelerating at an alarming pace. Many popular presentations of the global warming issue (e.g., Gore’s film) show images of low-lying nations that are seeing their islands erode away thanks to the rising seas. Throw in a few locals dressed in native clothing who looked distraught over the situation, blame the industrialized nations (and obviously the United States), and another pillar of the global warming story is reinforced.

If one simply took the time to examine the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2001 report, they may be absolutely stunned to read “No significant acceleration in the rate of sea level rise during the 20th century has been detected.” Although since the publication of the IPCC 2001 report, a few studies have been published which report to have found evidence of sea level rise acceleration. However, the jury is still way out on this issue.


September 5, 2006

California Retro

For nearly 100 years, Californians have claimed to be the innovators that the rest of the United States and the world ultimately follow. Not so on global warming. Instead, the California Legislature and Governor Schwarzenegger have just passed and signed global warming legislation that is an awful lot like a watered-down version of the failed Kyoto Protocol. That’s sooo 1990s.

That Protocol was supposed to reduce our emissions of Carbon Dioxide, the main human-generated global warming gas, to 7% below 1990 levels by 2008-2012. Nationally, emissions are up about 18% since then. Recognizing this failure, the California law merely cuts back California emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, a 25% cut.

Why on earth did they do this, and what will it accomplish?


August 24, 2006

A Sea Change in Global Warming?

For years now, we have been deluged with the news that the earth’s oceans are heating up as a result of changes in atmospheric composition resulting from the combustion of fossil fuels.

Typical of these was a 2005 story titled “Where’s The Heat? Think Deep Blue,” from United Press International, describing a recent paper in Science by NASA climate modeler James Hansen. UPI wrote that “Over the past ten years, the heat content of the ocean has grown dramatically.” This study covered more than just the ocean surface temperature, which can fluctuate considerably from year to year. Rather, by considering a much deeper layer (the top 2,500 feet), Hansen could actually calculate the increasing amount of heat that is being stored. According to UPI’s story, this provided “a match” with computer model projections of global warming.

The ocean is a huge flywheel that integrates and stores long-term climate changes. Consequently, when computer models are driven with ever-increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide, the deep oceans warm, warm, and warm. But it takes time to start up, just like a big pot of water heated by a small match. Once the process starts, though, nothing should be able to stop it.

That’s the current wisdom of our climate models, but like current wisdom on so many other aspects of life, nature has behaved differently.

Within weeks, a paper is going to appear in the refereed journal Geophysical Research Letters, by John Lyman of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, showing that, globally, the top 2500 feet of the ocean lost a tremendous amount of heat between from 2003 through 2005—about 20% of all the heat gained in the last half-century.


March 24, 2006

No News is Bad News

There is not much new in a collection of articles about global warming and sea level rise in the latest issue of Science. As such, it is mostly recycled and repackaged information that the head of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Donald Kennedy, can take down from New York Avenue in DC to Capitol Hill, to scare politicians into doing what it wants, which is an immediate cap on U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide.

Never mind that even a 25% reduction will have an undetectable effect on the rate of global temperature rise in the foreseeable future, and that it will cost a lot. Science crammed its March 24th issue with five articles (including commentary and editorials) devoted to melting ice and sea level rise—including one (Overpeck et al., 2006) which proclaims “[I]t is highly likely that the ice sheet changes described in this paper [leading to an—egad—global sea level a rise of 12-18 feet] could be avoided if humans were to significantly reduce emissions early in the current century” is hardly surprising.


March 3, 2006

Antarctic Ice: The Cold Truth

Filed under: Antarctic, Polar, Sea Level Rise

This week Science Magazine’s on-line SciencExpress reports that Antarctica has been losing large amounts of ice mass over the past three years, contributing to sea level rise at a rate of 0.4 ± 0.2 mm/year. This comes on the heels of a paper published by Science two weeks ago that reported that Greenland was also losing big chunks of ice and contributing to sea level rise at a rate of 0.57 mm/yr.

If this sounds like one of those repeating news stories — Coup in Haiti, Osama Sends a Tape, etc. — it is. And so is the response. Natural variability is sufficiently large on yearly and multidecadal time scales that it is simply impossible to conclude that anything other than natural variability is at play in either of these two stories.

(Read more at Tech Central Station)

February 17, 2006

Ice Storm

The latest issue of Science contains a paper by Eric Rignot and Pannir Kanagaratnam claiming that glaciers along the periphery of Greenland are melting at a rapidly increasing rate. Another paper on this subject was published by Science just last year. Ola Johannessen did not consider direct ice lost by glaciers into the ocean but instead only focused on elevations changes. Johannssen showed that increasing snowfall in Greenland was leading to greater ice accumulations than had previously been measured and this was acting to slow Greenland’s contribution to sea level rise. It was conspicuously ignored in this new report.

(Read more at Tech Central Station)

January 18, 2006

Not As Bad As We Thought!

A couple of weeks ago we wrote a cute little piece titled “Proving Science Bias” that looked into the deluge of news stories on global warming and its impacts that were released on a single day last December when both the COP-11 meeting was going on in Montreal and the fall meeting of American Geophysical Union (AGU) was taking place in San Francisco. Of the 15 different findings that were released and covered by the press on December 7, 2005 about global warming, 14 of them were reporting that things were “worse than we thought” and only one of them concluded that things weren’t going to be as bad as originally forecast. Given an unbiased prediction, there should be a 50-50 chance that things turned out either worse or better than expected. Under such a scenario, there is only a 1-in-2,000 chance that 14 things out of 15 would be worse. But that’s what happened. So, either the original forecasts were not unbiased, a rare event did indeed occur, or, more likely, the interpretation and reporting went a bit over the top—that is, the press (and to some degree the researchers themselves) only like to hype the more extreme results.

November 4, 2005

How Much Ice in the Global Cocktail?

Filed under: Sea Level Rise

One of the great fears generated by global warming is that the ocean is about to rise and swallow our coasts. These concerns have been heightened by the substantial uptick in Atlantic hurricane activity that began in 1995. The frequency of really strong storms striking the U.S now resembles what it was in the 1940s and 50s, which few people (aging climatologists excepted) remember.

Those arguing that global warming is an overblown issue have been claiming for years that “consensus” forecasts of sea-level are equally overwrought. The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts a global average rise of from 3.5 to 34 inches by 2100, with a central estimate of 19 inches. Depending upon how you slice or dice the data, the last century saw maybe six inches.

Critics have long argued that these changes require a substantial net melting of some combination of the world’s two largest masses of land-based ice, Antarctica and Greenland. In addition, they note that observed global warming is right near the low end of the U.N.’s projections, which means that realized sea level rise should be similarly modest.

(Read more at Tech Central Station)

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