Saturday, April 24, 2021

Sterling Burnett: No Evidence of a Human-Induced Sea Level Increase

Environmental activists, mainstream media outlets, and many scientists routinely claim governments must take drastic action to transform the world’s economic system, including ending the use of fossil fuels, or island nations will disappear beneath the seas and low-lying coastal cities will be swamped, forcing a great migration of populations inland.

To back up their claims, they cite statements from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) asserting it is "very likely" sea level rise has accelerated since the middle of the twentieth century in response to warming caused by rising greenhouse gas emissions. The IPCC, however, bases its claim on computer model projections instead of measured, real-life data.

Data lend little support to the claim seas are rising at a historically unusual or increasingly rapid rate. Global sea levels have risen by approximately 400 feet since the beginning of the end of the most recent ice age (approximately 20,000 years ago), with the sea level rise slowing and increasing over periods of tens, hundreds, and thousands of years over the past 20,000 years, having nothing whatsoever to do with human activities.

Research shows most of the islands making up nations such as Tuvalu and the Maldives are gaining land and mass, not losing it. A peer-reviewed study that examined 600 coral reef islands in the Pacific and Indian Oceans reported approximately 40 percent of those islands remained stable and 40 percent grew. More evidence they and coastal areas in Florida and Hawaii, for instance, aren’t sinking beneath the waves can be inferred from the fact that the populations on these island nations and the coastal United States are increasing instead of fleeing, and they are putting up new, expensive buildings and associated infrastructure daily.

A 2019 report by Drs. Craig Idso, David Legates, and the late S. Fred Singer confirms sea levels have not been rising at an unusual rate in recent years. After examining long-term data from tidal gauges and other sources, Idso, Legates, and Singer write, "the highest quality coastal tide gauges from around the world show no evidence of acceleration since the 1920s."

The difference between data recorded by the global tidal gauge system and projections made by various purported climate authorities is because "[l]ike ice melting, sea-level rise is a research area that has recently come to be dominated by computer models," the authors write. "Whereas researchers working with datasets built from long-term coastal tide gauges typically report a slow linear rate of sea-level rise, computer modelers assume a significant anthropogenic forcing and tune their models to find or predict an acceleration of the rate of rise."

Human actions, such as the construction of barriers, channeling of rivers, conversion of coastal wetlands into densely populated metropolitan areas, and draining of coastal aquifers for human consumption (which causes land subsidence) have undoubtedly made some coastal regions and populations more vulnerable to rising seas. Nonetheless, there is little evidence increased greenhouse gas emissions are contributing to ocean rise.

In a 2017 Heartland Institute study, geophysicist Dennis Hedke analyzed data from 10 coastal cities with relatively long and reliable sea-level records and found there was no correlation between changes in sea levels at these locations and rising carbon dioxide levels.

For some cities, the rate of sea level rise has remained virtually constant, neither increasing nor declining appreciably from the rates experienced before humans began adding substantial amounts of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Other cities, such as Ceuta, Spain, have experienced very little sea level rise over the past century, exhibiting almost a flat trend line well below the historic rate of global sea level rise of approximately seven inches per century. Other cities, such as Sitka, Alaska, have experienced falling sea levels. Still others, such as Atlantic City, New Jersey, have experienced a large, rapid increase in sea levels.

The point is different areas around the world are having different experiences with sea levels, with differences in the rate of sea level rise being a result of localized conditions, not global climate change.

Some alarmists have recently tried to respond to observation that claims of accelerating rates of sea level rise are based on computer models alone, not hard data, by citing satellite-reported sea-level data collected by University of Colorado researchers. Their dataset indicates seas are rising by approximately 3.3 mm per year, much higher than the annual rise of approximately one to two mm recorded at tidal stations, a rate that has changed little over the century or so for which we have adequate records.

The rate of rise claimed by the University of Colorado researchers is a result of statistical sleight of hand, produced by mixing data from four different satellites: combining data from two earlier satellites and two later satellites that record significantly higher rates of sea-level rise than the earlier two satellites. As meteorologist Anthony Watts points out, the earlier dataset shows a much smaller trend of sea level rise than the latter two satellites:

Neither set of the satellite record shows any accelerating trend. The UC scientists simply combined the two dissimilar data sets, plotted a new trend showing acceleration, and didn’t mention the difference.

This is either incompetent or dishonest, and certainly not up to even the simplest of basic science principles. Virtually any high school or college student who presented such work for a class would get called out on it by their instructor for showing a false trend.

Our knowledge of previous interglacial cycles indicates seas will continue rising unless and until the next ice age comes, notwithstanding any efforts humanity may make to stem the tides.

It makes sense to prepare for rising seas by hardening coastal areas, discouraging ill-advised coastal development, and making people living along coasts aware investments made there could be swallowed by rising water. Ending the use of fossil fuels and giving ever-larger governments increasing power over peoples’ lives will not stop the seas from rising and will only make people poorer and less free.

SOURCES: The Heartland Institute; Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; The Heartland Institute; Climate Realism; Climate Realism

Dr H. Sterling Burnett is a Heartland senior fellow on environmental policy and the managing editor of Environment & Climate News.


DeeM said...

The whole man-made climate change circus has nothing to do with actual data and observation and everything to do with crystal ball modelling. It's more akin to astrology, but just because it ends in "ology", it don't make it science.
Let's be plain. AGW is a front for world-scale political and economic socialist change. There is no climate crisis, emergency or catastrophe. There will, however, be an almighty economic catastrophe if our left-wing elites get their way.

Doug Longmire said...

Regarding "sea level rise" brings up the question - What can New Zealand achieve by attempting to go "carbon free" by 2050 ?

We are being told repeatedly by many politicians, the P.M., and the media that there is a “climate crisis/emergency” and that New Zealand must reduce it’s “carbon emissions” (C02 emissions) to zero by 2050.
So – what are the facts to support this?
Will NZ really have an impact on Global emissions?

Using published data from authoritive official sites - IPCC and NASA, and NOAA, here are the actual facts:-

• Globally, current CO2 levels are 400 ppm (= parts per million,
so 1 ppm = 1 in 1,000,000) (IPCC)

• Globally, the current annual increase is 2.03 ppm each year. (NOAA)

• New Zealand produces 0.11% of global CO2 each year. (IPCC)

• so New Zealand’s contribution to CO2 levels each year is :-

2.03 ppm x 0.11% = 0.002233 ppm,

or approx. one five hundredth ( 1/500th ) of a ppm, each year.

so if NZ stopped emitting CO2 completely, it would take FIVE HUNDRED YEARS to reduce our contribution to global levels by ONE ppm (1/1,000,000).
1/500 ppm each year is completely insignificant and cannot have any effect on anything when compared to what the rest of the globe emits, which is a thousand times higher, each year than new Zealand.

Over this same time (500 years) the rest of the world, emitting 99.89% of global CO2, would be producing 500 x 2.03ppm = 1015 – 1 = 1014 ppm.
Added onto the already 400 ppm = 1414 ppm, with NZ’s reduction only reducing the total by 1 ppm, over this time,
i.e. 1415 down to 1414, over 500 years !!

What a great target; New Zealand’s total zero carbon today will achieve ONE Part per Million reduction by 2521 !!! WELL DONE NZ !!!

NZ reducing CO2 emissions so drastically will have a devastating effect on our society, pushing living costs up drastically, making the low income, elderly and poor suffer most.

DeeM said...

Absolutely Doug. But as we know, this is nothing to do with carbon emissions and all to do with appearing virtuous to the rest of the world and principally the UN.
Jacinda bombards us with her kind and caring act, which I believe is starting to wear thin, but in reality she is sucking up to her left-wing elite mates. She wants to join the Davos club but the price of membership is to turn NZ into a woke, separatist socialist state.
If we can rouse our sleeping opposition and instil some backbone in their leadership then just maybe we can get rid of her. It would be nice to have a PM that doesn't appear on TV every other day and then talks to the nation like she was addressing a primary school assembly.

Doug Longmire said...

Absolutely Dee.
What you have outlined is of course the agenda behind the climate change madness, which is just one of the tools being used to convert our country into a socialist state.
As I keep mentioning - the media seem to have conveniently developed amnesia to the fact that Ardern was recently the president of the world junior socialist (i.e. communist) union. So her declaration that she is "progressive" will clearly lead us to a South Pacific neo Venezuela paradise.

Phil said...

Dee, she literally is at a primary school assembly every other day. These orchestrated photo ops are like something out of the North Korean media.

Hugh said...

I do accept that climate change is a fact; having spent much time in Canada and conversing with locals in the North West Territory they speak of not 1.5 or 2 degrees of change but warming of 10 degrees C plus in winter with significant reductions in ice thickness increasing the risks to "ice-truckers" who supply the mines out of Yellow-knife. I believe that denying the legitimacy of climate change or if it is real whether it is man-made or not, we of the centre (and right) risk the left imposing their solutions which are as much or more about social change rather than climate change. We should instead confront the Greens, Labour and the Climate Change Commission on their solutions and come up with alternative business friendly solutions. Richard Prebble and others have pointed out that the existing Carbon Credit scheme is working. Hugh

NickNicholas said...

Since 1993 when NASA and NOAA introduced satellite based sea level recordings, they have jumped from the historic tidal gauge readings of 1.6mm trend p/yr to 3.3mm per/yr, and more recently,4.5mm p/yr. Tidal gauge trend readings remain unchanged and there has been no official logical explanation for this difference.

NOAA tidals still show Ft.Denison, Sydney Harbour at 0.95mm, and StatsNZ shows Auckland Harbour at 1.67mm p/yr.
Luckily for those folk with deep pockets, I note in all the NZHerald travel adverts that the Maldives which was predicted in 1988 to be underwater by now, still looks pristine and unchanged with several new Chinese built airports under construction for future tourism.

DeeM said...

Hi Hugh
Climate change is absolutely a fact. It's been happening for hundreds of millions of years and is a natural part of the Earth's climate. The last warming episode began about 900AD and lasted for about 400yrs - it's known as the Medieval Warming. Prior to that was the Roman Warming, the Minoan Warming etc, etc, etc.
The Medieval warming was likely about as warm as today's temperatures and the Roman Warming at least another 1C above that.
Now, if you buy into the AGW theory then man-made CO2 is the main driver of global warming so you have to see an increase for it to happen. Trouble is, that back in Medieval and Roman times and Minoan times etc etc the CO2 level was near as dammit the same as it was pre the Industrial Revolution. So what caused those warmings and the countless other warmings before that?
In addition, we can derive past global temperature and CO2 levels going back millions of years. When you graph them together there is NO relationship between them.
The AGW theory doesn't stack up with the actual data. In the world of real science, you come up with a theory, test it against real data and observation, then if it passes that test, move on to validate the theory by experimentation. Even then you never know that you're right because you can't prove it conclusively. The AGW theory falls at the first hurdle.
Which means that the warming we are currently experiencing is most likely another natural warming episode, which was entirely expected.
Climate alarmists don't like real data because it negates their theory. They only deal in computer models which operate under the old adage - shit in, shit out! Their models have consistently been over-estimating actual temperature rise for the last 30 years and yet they continue to use them. That's not science, that's ideology and propaganda!