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Are sea-levels rising? Nils-Axel Mörner documents a decided lack of rising seas

We’ve all heard the dire prophesies: Rising seas will reshape the world’s coastlines, a one meter rise will inundate 7000 sq mi of dry land, and cost over $100 billion in the United States alone. Worse, we thought things were bad before, but now it’s even rising faster than we predicted. (“We” being the unvalidated computer simulations, and “rising”, as it turns out, being one interpretation of some highly adjusted, carefully selected data, all possibly “corrected” by one outlying tide gauge in Hong Kong).

Nils-Axel Mörner is here to point out that the raw satellite data shows barely any rise, and furthermore, the observations from places all over, like the Maldives, Suriname, Tuvalu, India, Bangladesh, Venice, and Germany show not much either. It’s close enough to zero to call it “nothing”. Oh.

But that’s only spots from The Atlantic, The Pacific and The Indian… there are other oceans. 😉

As we graphed before with Frank Lansner, most of the current “rise” is due to man-made adjustments, not man-made emissions. According to Mörner, it’s not that the sea levels are rising less than expected, it’s more like they aren’t rising much at all, and haven’t been for years . — Jo



Sea level is not rising
Professor Nils-Axel Mörner
Main points

Click to read the full paper at SPPI

Monckton writes:

 I first met Professor Mörner at a debate on the climate at the St. Andrews University Union – the oldest undergraduate debating union in Britain – in the spring of 2009. The Professor’s witty, eclectic and relentlessly charming speech captivated the House. It was not difficult to see why the citation for the award to him of the Gold Chondrite of Merit the previous year at an international sea-level conference at the University of the Algarve had spoken not only of his “contribution to understanding of sea level” but also of his “irreverence”. The undergraduates loved it.

When a true-believer in the New Religion of “global warming” got up and sneeringly advised the
Professor to see if he could get his ideas about sea level published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, his answer won us the debate: “Madame President, I do apologize that in a 40-year career I have only published 530 papers [now 547] in the peer-reviewed literature, most of them about sea level, but in the light of the Hon. Gentleman’s strictures I will undertake to try harder in future.” The House collapsed in helpless laughter…

 The Graphs

The full paper explains the details in a very readable manner, but here is a sample. First — the observations don’t fit the models.

Figure 1. Modelled and observed sea-level changes, 1840-2010. The curve marked “Models” represents the IPCC’s combination of selected tide-gauge records and corrected satellite altimetry data. The curve marked “Observations” represents the observed eustatic sea level changes in the field up to 1960 according to Mörner (1973) and (in this paper) thereafter. After 1965, the two curves start to diverge, presenting two totally different views, separated by the area with the question mark. Which of these views is tenable?

This, amazingly, is the raw satellite data before it was adjusted:

Figure 5. Annual mean sea-level changes observed by TOPEX/POSEIDON in 2000, after technical “corrections” were applied (from Menard, 2000). A slow, long-term rising trend of 1.0 mm/year was identified, but this linear trend may have been largely an artefact of the naturally-occurring El Niño Southern Oscillation event in cycles 175-200.


This is the graph after the adjustments:

Figure 7. Sea-level changes after “calibration” in 2003. The satellite altimetry record from the TOPEX/POSEIDON satellites, followed by the JASON satellites. As presented by Aviso (2003), the record suddenly has a new trend representing an inferred sea-level rise of 2.3 ±0.1 mm/year. This means that the original records presented in Figs. 5-6, which showed little or no sea-level rise, must have been tilted to show a rise of as much as 2.3 mm/year. We must now ask: what is the justification for this tilting of the record?

How about some field data?

Cuxhaven is in Germany:

Figure 3. Cuxhaven tide-gauge record (cm), 1843-2003. The gray area gives the actual tide-gauge reading for the German North Sea port of Cuxhaven for 1843-2003—that is, for 160 years. A polynomial curve was fitted by Jörn Herold to this tide-gauge record. Adding the eustatic component of Mörner (1973) for the period 1840-1970, gives a straight line of subsidence with a rate of 1.4 mm/year. The eustatic component (the difference between the polynomial curve and the linear trend) can now be extended up to 2003, and it shows a halt in the sea-level rise at around 1960, followed by a continuous fall until 2003; that is, a trend totally different from that proposed by the IPCC models but in full agreement with the observational facts recorded in Fig. 1.

French Guyana is not in France: (It’s next to Brazil)

Figure 14. Changes in mean high-water level (cm: left axis) measured by tide gauges at the coast of French Guyana and Surinam (Gratiot et al., 2008; Mörner, 2010b). The record is dominated by the 18.6-year tidal cycle, which swings up and down around a long-term zero trend (the arrowed line), indicating that sea level has been quite stable over the last 50 years. However, satellite altimetry in the same region gives a rise of 3.0 mm/year – another revealing example of the difference between recorded facts and “reprocessed” satellite data.

In 2003, the raw records were adjusted (see Fig 7 above). The satellites suddenly “tilted”. What was flat became 2.3mm rise per year. The correction apparently has not been disclosed (see p13 of the SPPI report). It appears the corrections may have come from one outlier tide gauge in Hong Kong:

Originally, it seemed that this extra, unspecified “correction” referred to the global isostatic adjustment, given as 2.4 mm/year (see, for example, Peltier 1998) or 1.8 mm/year (IPCC 2001) The isostatic adjustment is intended to allow for the deformation of the Earth’s crust by tectonic influences. According to Peltier (1998), the zero isobase, which is the reference point for calculating the global isostatic adjustment, passed through Hong Kong, where a single tide gauge gives a sea level rise of 2.3 mm/year relative to the isobase. This is exactly the same as the apparent trend in sea-level rise over the decade 1992-2003 in Fig. 7 . However, this single tide gauge record is an outlier: it is contradicted by the four other records existing in Hong Kong, and obviously represents a site-specific subsidence, a fact well known to local geologists.
Nevertheless, Fig. 7 shows that the keepers of the satellite altimetry record have introduced a new calibration factor – an upward tilt compared with the raw data, which show no real uptrend in sea level. At the Moscow global warming meeting in 2005, in answer to my criticisms about this “correction,” one of the persons in the British IPCC delegation said, “We had to adjust the record, otherwise there would not be any trend.”


There are lots of ways to guesstimate the rise, but only one can be right.

Figure 16. Reliability of different proposed rates of sea-level rise. The validity of the spectrum of rates of sea-level rise shown in Fig. 2 can now be assessed. Observational facts suggest 0.0 mm/year to at most 0.7 mm/year (<3 in./century). Values >1.3 to 3.4 mm/year are untenable overestimates. Values close to 1 mm/year represent minor centennial rises and falls. This result agrees with estimates of a possible sea level rise of 5 ±15 cm by 2100 (Mörner, 2004) and 10 ±10 cm (INQUA, 2000), but is well below the 37 ±19 cm projected by IPCC (2007).

REFERENCES (See the SPPI doc for the full list)_

Mörner, N.-A., 1973, Eustatic changes during the last 300 years.” Palaeogeogr. Palaeoclim. Palaeoecol. 13, 1-14.
Mörner, N.-A., 1995, Earth rotation, ocean circulation and paleoclimate. GeoJournal 37:4, 419-430.
Mörner, N.-A., 1996, Sea Level Variability, Z. Geomorphology N.S. 102, 223-232.
Mörner, N.-A., 2004, Estimating future sea level changes, Global and Planetary Change 40, 49-54.
Mörner, N.-A., M.J. Tooley & G. Possnert, 2004, New perspectives for the future of the Maldives, Global & Planetary Change 40, 177-182.
Mörner, N.-A., 2005, Sea-level changes and crustal movements with special aspects on the Mediterranean, Z. Geomorph. N.F. suppl. vol. 137, 91-102.
Mörner, N.-A., 2007a, The Sun rules climate. There’s no danger of global sea level rise, 21st Century Science and Technology, Fall 2007, 31-34.
Mörner, N.-A., 2007b, Sea Level Changes and Tsunamis: Environmental Stress and Migration over the Seas, Internationales Asienforum 38, 353-374.
Mörner, N.-A., 2007c, The Greatest Lie Ever Told, P&G-print (2nd ed., 2009, 3rd ed., 2010).
Mörner, N.-A., 2008, Comments, Global and Planetary Change 62, 219-220.
Mörner, N.-A., 2009, Open letter to the President of the Maldives, New Concepts in Global Tectonics Newsletter 53, 80-83.
Mörner, N.-A., 2010a, Sea level changes in Bangladesh: new observational facts, Energy and Environment 21:3, 249-263.
Mörner, N.-A., 2010b, Some problems in the reconstruction of mean sea level and its changes with time, Quaternary International 221, 3-8.
Mörner, N.-A., 2010c, Solar minima, Earth’s rotation and Little Ice Ages in the past and in the future: the North  Atlantic/European case, Global and Planetary Change 72, 282-293.
Mörner, N.-A., 2011a, The Maldives as a measure of sea level and sea level ethics: In Evidence-based Climate Science, D.J. Easterbrook, Ed. [in press], Elsevier.
Mörner, N.-A., 2011b, Setting the frames of expected future sea level changes: In Evidence-based Climate Science, D.J.
Easterbrook, Ed. [in press], Elsevier.
Mörner, N.-A., 2011c, The Great Sardinian Sea Level Excursion [submitted].
Centre for Democracy and Independence

This is a well written and substantial paper, do read it all…

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