Update on Sea Level Rise

Reuters writes, “Global sea levels climbed 3 inches since 1992, NASA research shows.” That’s less than one inch every 8 years. If it continues at that pace we will see 1 foot of sea level rise this century.

It doesn’t change the shape of this chart:


Although recent performance is easier to see here:


Those charts don’t seem like cause for much in the way of worry.

However, climate scientists are saying that sea level rise is not necessarily linear. I believe them. The Konsensus Krazies didn’t help the level of discussion by saying that the Greenland Ice Cap could melt and that we should actually be concerned by it.

The Greenland Ice Cap may melt, although it didn’t during previous warm periods that were warmer than today. If it does melt, it will take 3,000 years to get halfway finished.

The same is true of the incredibly huge Eastern Antarctic Ice Cap. Same panic stories, same exaggeration, even longer length of time involved.

So now we are told we must beware the Western Antarctic Ice Sheet. This in fact is being tortured by mechanical stress, reported in the 1920s. But climate scientists worry that warm water at the base of it may accelerate its disintegration. And the Konsensus Krazies seize on that as another reason to panic.

Global warming may accelerate the disintegration of the WAIS. It may happen 20 or 30 years sooner than would otherwise have been the case. But it still is estimated to require about 200 years or more.

The IPCC gives a range of between 0.26 meters and 0.98 meters over the course of the century. The lower figure is actually below current rates of sea level rise. The higher figure is based on RCP 8.5, which is not actually a scenario based on examination of the real world, but a postulated forcing of 8.5 watts per square meter with a brief look at what could in theory cause it.

The IPCC adds, ” We have considered the evidence for higher projections and have concluded that there is currently insufficient evidence to evaluate the probability of specific levels above the assessed likely range. Based on current understanding, only the collapse of marine-based sectors of the Antarctic ice sheet, if initiated, could cause global mean sea level to rise substantially above the likely range during the 21st century. This potential additional contribution cannot be precisely quantified but there is medium confidence that it would not exceed several tenths of a meter of sea level rise during the 21st century.”

We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.


6 responses to “Update on Sea Level Rise

  1. Thanks for putting my mind at rest. 😃

    Maybe shrewd investors can buy for a snip, seafront properties owned by the gullible victims of scaremongering.

  2. Fly over Colorado, Kansas, Wyoming, Nebraska, Montana, North and South Dakota, see all those crop circles? That is pivot irrigation draining the Oglala Aquifer… Where does all that water go? The same is happening all over the world, in Russia, Pakistan, China, etc, etc. Where does that water go?

    Now to be fair, aquifer depletion is somewhat offset by new reservoirs but some studies estimate that a third of sea rise is due to irrigation. When you account for that, the curve is not as steep as some would have you believe.

    • Almost Iowa,

      Interesting question. According to Wikipedia, withdrawals from the Ogallala Aquifer are 26 km^3 a year. Wow! So if all that goes into the oceans, the see level rise is 7 mm/century. The ocean is big.

      • 7mm per century does not sound like much, however, that is equal to two years of sea rise at the current rate and that is just one aquifer – and not the largest nor the most vigorously pumped.

        One also has to wonder about other things. Take my well in the backyard for instance. I never have a problem with water level and the recharge area in the hills miles away keep our aquifer charged – yet I draw water – as does the city to our south who serves 17,000 customers with tap water. The change in the lag between charge and discharge is measurable – some have called it a “dimple” in the aquifer. So one needs to ask, where is did the water go that once filled the “dimple” for millions of wells and hundreds of thousands of cities?

        Those who understand the hydrological cycle know the answer.

        So when people talk about the rapid rise of sea level in the 20th century, are they really talking about the rise in pumping from the aquifers?

  3. The recent propaganda piece by NASA is being parroted by media here in Spain, so I went ahead and looked at the data again, and noticed they had cherry picked the years. The NASA cherry pick technique can be used to write: “sea level rise rate from 1939 to 1951 was higher than from 1989 to 2014”.

    The NASA statement is just one amongst dozens if not hundreds of propaganda items orchestrated by the Obama administration as it seeks support to commit the USA to large money transfers to third world nations during the Paris global warming talks. This bullshit reminds me of the Bush administration’s pro war blitzkrieg before the 2003 Iraq invasion. As we know Bush et al lied massively about the Iraqi WMD to justify a huge blunder.

    • Fernando wrote: “so I went ahead and looked at the data again, and noticed they had cherry picked the years”

      Right. Depending on the time frame and data set used, one gets sea level rise of 2 to 3 mm/yr. The low end of that range is likely more representative of true long term trends. 1 inch every 8 years is 3 mm/yr, so at the high end of the range.

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