JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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Sydney Sea levels rising at just 6.5cm per century. Peak-panic is behind us.

In The Australian Bob Carter compares the long term tide gauge record in Sydney with projections, and exposes the exorbitant cost of insurance for alarmist sea level forecasts. The good news is that it appears councils are waking up, and  “peak-sea-level-panic” is behind us.

Sea-level alarmism has passed high tide and is at last declining. With luck, empirical sanity will soon prevail over modelling.

After years of research it turns out that talking about “global”  sea level rise is nearly meaningless to real people who live in one place. The ocean rise varies locally from beach to beach from as little as 5cm per century to as much as 16cm per century. The variations are mostly due to different rates of land subsiding or rising.

More importantly, the rate of rise was either the same or was even faster before World War II when CO2 levels were “safe”.

Figure 5: Comparison of decadal rates of change over historical record. Analysis based on relative 20-y moving average water level time series. | Watson 2011

Fort Denison in Sydney has one of the longest running continuous records, starting in 1886, and finally local councils are realizing that they need [...]

“Modern seas unprecedented”: An insult to geology and sea level research

Is the latest sea-level rise unusual? Kurt Lambeck said it was, based on his version of the Holocene seas, calculated with modeled crustal movements (to try to guess the rises and falls of the beaches where the sea levels were changing). Obedient science reporters broadcast his message to the world without asking a single hard question. But when the error bars are 2 meters wide and the dating estimates range over hundreds of years, I thought it beyond silly to think we could estimate 100-year average sea level rises in the time of Moses. Nils-Axel Mörner agrees, and shows data below from 50 years of research which demonstrates that sea levels are always oscillating, and that in Europe, the US, the Indian Ocean past changes are larger than the current ones. Nils has published nearly 600 papers on observations of sea-levels around the world. He calls the Lambeck paper an “insult” to geologists and sea-level researchers.  — Jo

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An insult to geology and sea level research

by Nils-Axel Mörner

Paleogeophysics & Geodynamics, Stockholm, Sweden, (morner AT pog.nu)

In the 60s, there was a vigorous debate [...]

Sea level rise “unprecedented” when modeling the ancient past

Kurt Lambeck at ANU scored a Climate Bingo moment in the modern media last week with declarations that the 20cm rise in sea levels last century was “unprecedented” in the last 6,000 years! But sea level is fiendishly difficult to measure thanks to rising and falling bits of land. Present day scientists argue over sea level changes in the last 10 years, yet Lambeck seems to have figured out the sea levels in 4000BC. Tricky, what.

When Nils Axel-Morner tried to figure out which modern spot in Denmark is tectonically stable he looked at 60 years of detailed data, from 40 beaches around Denmark. Lambeck has a model that kinda does all that and more. It works out the mass of the icesheets circa Tutankhamen and calculates the mantle conditions. He sorts out the geoidal bulge with assumptions about mantle viscosity to look at tectonic displacement. Hmm. Could be some uncertainty there?

This is Fig 1 from Lambeck et al 2014. Note the scales. Really. Figure how large the 15-20cm rise of the last century would look on the y axis here which doesn’t just cover 150cm, it covers 150 meters. Who would be brave enough to declare that sea [...]

Missing heat not in deep oceans but “found” in missing data in upper ocean instead

Two papers on ocean heat released together today. The first says the missing heat is not in the deep ocean abyss below 2000m. The second finds the missing heat in missing data in the Southern Hemisphere instead. Toss out one excuse, move to another.

The first paper by Llovel and Willis et al, looked at the total sea-level rise as measured by adjusted satellites*, then removed the part of that rise due to expanding warming oceans above 2,000 m and the part due to ice melting off glaciers and ice-sheets.** The upshot is that the bottom half of the ocean is apparently not warming — there was nothing much left for the deep oceans to do. This result comes from Argo buoy data which went into full operation in 2005. (Before Argo the uncertainties in ocean temperature measurements massively outweigh the expected temperature changes, so the “data” is pretty useless.)

Figure 2 | Global mean steric sea-level change contributions from different layers of the ocean. 0–2,000m (red), 0–700m (green), 700–2,000m (blue). The dashed black curve shows an estimate for the remainder of the ocean below 2,000m computed by removing the 0–2,000m estimate from the GRACE-corrected observed mean sea-level time series. [...]

Global sea level rise a bit more than 1mm a year for last 50 years, no acceleration

Here’s a novel approach. Beenstock et al  wondered if tide gauges were placed in any old spot around the world or were biased toward area where sea-level did more rising. They compared the location of tide gauges in the year 2000 to sea level rises and falls as measured by satellite altimetry. It turns out the placement seems to be independent (meaning anywhere). This is pretty important because the infernally tough thing about measuring sea levels is whether the land is subsiding or rising at the same time, and how to correct for that. If tide gauges are spread evenly (or quasi-randomly), it means we could average the lot instead of trying to correct and reconstruct each one individually. So that’s what they did – average (they did not reconstruct).

The consensus estimate is that sea-levels are rising by 2mm a year (and 3mm lately, with adjusted satellite data). Beenstock et al used 1,000 tide gauges and found global sea level rise was  more like 1mm a year (very similar to the rise Nils Axel Morner found on that stable spot in Denmark). The conclusion is that sea level is rising slowly at 1mm a year, and that it hasn’t [...]

Sea level rise less than 1mm for last 125 years in Kattegatt, Europe — Nils-Axel Morner

Nils‐Axel Mörner has a new paper out (his 589th). For 60 years he has been tracking the coastlines close to him, and carefully isolated the exact part which appears to be the most stable. From that he shows that the real sea-level rise in Northern Europe is less than 1 millimeter a year since 1890. This is less that the 1.6mm trend in 182 NOAA tide gauges, and far below the estimates of the IPCC reports.

There is also no sign of acceleration in sea-levels for the last 50 years. (How much should Europeans spend to stop a 1mm annual rise that was already going in 1890 and has not changed much since then?) If anything, Nils work shows how difficult it is to measure true sea-level rise on land that shifts.

In this graph below, he compares the rise of most tide gauges with the Kattegatt region, and the IPCC results. This is only one result from one place, but it is based on thousands of readings from sites all around Kattegatt. His painstaking attention to extreme detail and empirical data stands in stark contrast to the IPCC where the trend depends heavily on adjustments. (Those adjustments appear to [...]

Mass carbon emissions, yet Australian sea levels rise at similar speed as 1920 – 1950

Australia is one of the most stable land masses on the planet, and has more gauges than anywhere else in the southern hemisphere, so it’s very useful for sea-level measurements. It also had a couple of rare continuous long records “… the two longest sea-level records in the southern hemisphere, Sydney Fort Denison from 1886 and Fremantle from 1897″ .

A new paper by White et al, concludes that Australian sea level rises are similar to global measurements (so not a bad proxy for the world), and that during times when CO2 levels were much lower — like before World War II, sea levels were rising at the same speed (or possibly faster) than they are today.

A generalized additive model of Australia’s two longest records (Fremantle and Sydney) reveals the presence of both linear and non-linear long-term sea-level trends, with both records showing larger rates of rise between 1920 and 1950, relatively stable mean sea levels between 1960 and 1990 and an increased rate of rise from the early 1990s.

Does a “larger rate of rise” mean larger than today, or larger than average — I think, given the error margins, that we could only be sure it [...]

David Kear, former Director-General of NZ Scientific Research, says global warming is a non-existent threat

 

Dr David Kear

Climate Depot reports on a New Zealand geoscientist who has worked at the highest levels and has just released a detailed statement about why the threat of rising sea-levels has been blown out of all proportions, and “An ‘innocent gas, CO2, has been demonized and criminalized’”.

“The widespread obsession with Global-Warming-Climate-Change, in opposition to all factual evidence, is quite incredible.”

 Kear laments the ‘Astronomical Cost of Major Measures to Combat a Non-Existent Threat’.

His scientific caliber: “Dr David Kear has a background in geology and engineering, becoming the Director General of the DSIR (Department of Scientific and Industrial Research) in 1980. He is a Fellow and Past Vice-President of the Royal Society of New Zealand, and Past President of the New Zealand Geological Society [which promises to catalogue his work here]. Dr Kear has over 100 publications on New Zealand and Pacific geology, vulcanology and mineral resources.” Apparently a foraminifera shell was named after him in 1962.

He has been in this for a very long time.

h/t to Ian for the link to Steven Goddard.

Six Grave Scientific Errors and the history of an absurd idea

Kear talks about the [...]

Sea level rise has slowed. (It must be time to correct that data!)

Filed under the Semi-Satirical Press.

The Universe is surely conspiring against ecologicist scientists*. Their task is to convince the world that things are dire, and yet just as humans pump out more carbon dioxide pollution than ever before, many natural markers start behaving as if CO2 was having barely any effect at all. It’s all potentially so misleading.

A new paper by Cazenave et al 2014 digs deep to uncover the reasons for yet another unfortunate un-catastrophic trend change.

First, global surface temperatures stopped rising in the late 1990′s. Now, it’s become irrefutable that, for the last ten years, the rate of sea-level rise slowed by thirty percent. Seas were rising at 3.5mm a year up til 2003, then the rate fell to 2.2mm per year for the next eight years. This is exactly what ninety-eight percent of expert Global Climate Models did not predict. The slowing sea level rise is extra problematic because it forms the backbone of the excuse for the long pause in surface warming that wasn’t supposed to happen either.  The fact that it coincided with the global pause in surface temperatures was no comfort at all. The missing heat, after all, must be [...]

What the CSIRO State of the Climate report forgot to tell you

The CSIRO decided to leave out some information about the state of our climate in their  State of the Climate Report CSIRO.

CSIRO published these “Fast Facts” in bold. I’m publishing the things they didn’t say, but could have, in points in between.

Fast Facts from the CSIRO and BOM “Australia’s climate has warmed by 0.9°C since 1910, and the frequency of extreme weather has changed, with more extreme heat and fewer cool extremes.” The CSIRO-BOM team could have said: Scientifically, extreme weather measures are lousy indicators. They’re noisy and not very meaningful. They are however useful for getting newspaper headlines. It depends on what your aim is… Australia’s had extreme hot days for as long as we’ve been measuring the temperature. Charles Sturt recorded 53C in 1828 which seems fairly extreme. Thomas Mitchell did it too in 1845 and are many others (see the map below, check Trove, ask the BOM — no don’t ask the BOM). The records prior to 1910 seem to have gone down the memory hole, but if the BOM and CSIRO were trying to give Australians a true sense of the state of our climate perhaps Australians might like to know that [...]