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Sea Level Rise: Just The Facts

February 22, 2016

By Paul Homewood   




Reposted from Ron Clutz:


The three most mentioned evils of rising CO2 are Rising Temperatures, Declining Sea Ice and Rising Sea Levels.  Plateaus presently appearing in the first two have been discussed a lot here and elsewhere.  This post gives what you need to know about Sea Level alarms.

Sea level rise (according to NASA)

Global sea level rose about 17 centimeters (6.7 inches) in the last century. The rate in the last decade, however, is nearly double that of the last century.

Dave Burton takes us underneath the hype and exposes the facts.  Below is his post originally at Tom Fuller’s website. David Burton puts it all in perspective from his location on the coast of North Carolina.  Much more info on sea levels is available at Dave’s own website linked below.

Sea-level rise is not accelerating, and has not accelerated since the 1920s.

There are about sixty good-quality, 100+ year records of sea-level around the world, and they all show the same thing: there has been no statistically significant acceleration (increase) in the rate of sea-level rise in the last 85 years or more. That means anthropogenic CO2 emissions do not measurably affect sea-level rise, and predictions of wildly accelerated sea-level rise are based on superstition, not science.

Here are two very high quality sea-level measurement records, one from the Pacific and one from the Atlantic:



With atmospheric CO2 at 0.040% by volume, globally averaged sea-level rise at the coasts is just under +1.5 mm/year.

When atmospheric CO2 was at 0.031% by volume, globally averaged sea-level rise at the coasts was just under +1.5 mm/year.

The difference is that climate alarmists think the current +1.5 mm/year is catastrophic and caused by human release of CO2, and the +1.5 mm/year 85 years ago was natural and inconsequential.

However, the similarity between the two numbers — the catastrophic 1.5 mm/yr and the inconsequential 1.5 mm/yr — has confused even some liberals into backing away from the One True Climate Faith. Even President Obama’s former Undersecretary for Science, Steven Koonin, has written that:

“Even though the human influence on climate was much smaller in the past, the models do not account for the fact that the rate of global sea-level rise 70 years ago was as large as what we observe today.”



Read the rest here.

  1. February 23, 2016 3:43 am

    What’s happening in Alaska? Sea levels are plummeting for most of the gauges there…by a lot. Below are just the first several from the Alaska tide gauges.
    Ketchikan, Alaska
    The mean sea level trend is -0.30 millimeters/year with a 95% confidence interval of +/- 0.23 mm/yr based on monthly mean sea level data from 1919 to 2014 which is equivalent to a change of -0.10 feet in 100 years.
    Sitka, Alaska
    The mean sea level trend is -2.27 millimeters/year with a 95% confidence interval of +/- 0.28 mm/yr based on monthly mean sea level data from 1924 to 2014 which is equivalent to a change of -0.75 feet in 100 years.
    Juneau, Alaska
    The mean sea level trend is -13.16 millimeters/year with a 95% confidence interval of +/- 0.36 mm/yr based on monthly mean sea level data from 1936 to 2014 which is equivalent to a change of -4.32 feet in 100 years
    Skagway, Alaska
    The mean sea level trend is -17.59 millimeters/year with a 95% confidence interval of +/- 0.54 mm/yr based on monthly mean sea level data from 1944 to 2014 which is equivalent to a change of -5.77 feet in 100 years.
    Yakutat, Alaska
    The mean sea level trend is -14.35 millimeters/year with a 95% confidence interval of +/- 1.59 mm/yr based on monthly mean sea level data from 1988 to 2014 which is equivalent to a change of -4.71 feet in 100 years.

    • February 23, 2016 3:56 pm

      Illustrated answer in essay PseudoPrecision. The land under most tide gauges is not standing still. In Alaska it is being tectonicly uplifted so sea level is falling. Portland Maine is isostatically rebounding, so SLR is significantly less than Norfolk Virginia, which is subsiding in isostatic compensation. There are between 60 and 80 long record geostationary tide gauges. These were determined from first principles of geology, most newly confirmed by differential GPS. Sidney Harbor and Wimar are two such.

  2. February 23, 2016 6:13 am

    Great post by Ron Clutz. There is no inflection point in the rate of rise, hence, no acceleration.

  3. February 23, 2016 8:45 am

    The trouble with the whole climate scare industry is they put the conclusion first then try to scrape up evidence, which is the opposite of the scientific method.

    Sea level stats are manipulated every way possible to try and show something that isn’t there.

    • AndyG55 permalink
      February 23, 2016 8:56 am

      “Sea level stats are manipulated every way possible to try and show something that isn’t there.”

      As are temperature stats.

      Having RABID alarmists in charge of the data really DOES NOT help their cause 😉

      If those guys had just shut up and not acted like manic climate activists…

      …. someone might actually take some credence of what they said.

  4. Matthew permalink
    February 23, 2016 11:39 am

    He shows 2 seal level graphs, one from Pacific and one from Atlantic. The ‘Atlantic’ one is from Wismar in Germany. Wismar is on the Baltic Sea not the Atlantic. Does this help you have confidence in the report? Seems a bit of a howler.

    • Matthew permalink
      February 23, 2016 11:40 am

      That would be sea level graphs, rather than a mammal count!

    • February 23, 2016 11:52 am

      You get the same sort of patterns whereever you look

      • Matthew permalink
        February 23, 2016 12:11 pm

        I’m sure that is the case, but the Baltic isn’t the Atlantic!

  5. February 23, 2016 12:36 pm

    A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned watching a video of a program (no longer have TV so watch on the laptop). It was called: “Drain the Great Lakes” and dealt with the mapping of the Lakes and then presenting it as dry land. It was a fascinating program. One of the things mentioned was that they were some 50 m. lower 8,000 years ago. There is even a line of rocks near what would have been a ridge above what would have been the lake then. It is surmised that Paleoindians might have placed them in order to guide caribou to places for hunting. There are dives to see if human materials can be found in the areas of the rock line. Someone asked if they mentioned the warming. I re-watched the program. In passing, they said that things were more “arid” and the lowering was the result of evaporation. Seems as though they avoided the term “warm”.

    • February 23, 2016 4:40 pm

      I lived for many years in Chicago and still have a home there. The 50 meter in 8000 year rise is isostatic rebound. The southern edge of the Laurentide ice sheet was roughly the Wisconsin/Illinois state line. The more recent worry about dropping lake levels due to AGW was silly. The catchment basins went through a dry spell and Michigan went down about 18 inches. Now fully recovered to slightly above ‘normal’.

  6. Dave Ward permalink
    February 23, 2016 12:40 pm

    Funny you should post this, Paul. Only an hour ago I saw a short article in the ever reliable (sarc) Eastern Daily Press with the headline “Sea levels show a rapid rise”. There was no attribution other than mention of two separate research papers from the US & Germany. A quick search came up with this:

    It appears the two sources are Rutgers University and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, which would fit in with what the EDP said.

    • February 23, 2016 4:03 pm

      Potsdam is just more Rahmstorf models. Rutgers is 24 new paleoproxies for SLR and temp, analyzed using ‘new statistical methods’ to produce an SLR hockey stick. Last time, Mann’s new statistical methods produced a temperature hockey stick. According to the Rutgers paper, SLR slowed during the MWP because MWP temperatures fell. Mann erased MWP; Rutgers inverted it. Should never have passed common sense peer review. Fuller comment at Climate Etc, just posted, on the Arctic ice thread.

  7. Don B permalink
    February 23, 2016 12:57 pm

    My favorite tidal gauge is the one at the tip of Manhattan Island, The Battery, which started operation in the 1850’s. For 160 years there has been no change in the rate of sea level rise. Mankind’s emissions did not initiate the current sea level rise, and they have not changed (accelerated) the rate.

    By the way, The Battery’s measured 2.84 mm/yr rate of rise includes the effects of subsidence – that part of the US coast is sinking. In contrast, some Alaska gauges show a sinking sea level, since the land is rebounding from the lost weight of ice.

  8. David Richardson permalink
    February 23, 2016 1:33 pm

    No you must be all wrong.

    It was in the Daily Mail so it must be right – mustn’t it?

    Sorry sarcasm over. As you were.

    • February 23, 2016 4:07 pm

      As rud pointed out, it’s a double-barreled PR approach. One study is all models and the other is paleoclimatology able to “reconstruct” middle age sea levels down to the centimeter.

  9. February 23, 2016 4:55 pm

    Reblogged this on Petrossa's Blog and commented:
    Global sea level change is not really measurable to these levels. Land subsidence, volcanic land creation, tectonic changes largely account for any discrepancies or at least make any ‘proof’ highly doubtful

  10. stmichrick permalink
    March 2, 2016 2:12 am

    Sea level change is not about melting ice…

  11. September 29, 2016 7:50 pm

    NASA research shows sea levels falling for the past 10 years and the researchers blame global warming. Their theory is the parched earth from the warming is soaking up the greatly increased rain normally headed for the seas. The aquifers and lakes are filling up now bleeding away from the sea. Amazing the great fears from sea rise are over now with seas falling by the same cause – global warming. Whatever happens, it is global warming that is the cause. Why the research ignored the fact that overall glaciers are just not melting away. Antarctica represents 90% of all glacier ice and it is expanding at an alarming rate.
    It is drawing billions of tons of ice into the sea helping arrest any annual sea rise beyond a finger nail? Many stories support this fact – here is the National Geographic – What Antarctica’s Incredible “Growing” Icepack Really Means
    A NASA study has climate scientists up in arms; here’s what it means.
    “Antarctica is actually gaining ice.”
    “Scientists concluded in the Journal of Glaciology that the loss of glacier mass in Antarctica’s western region is being offset by thickening of glaciers on the continent’s eastern interior, which has experienced increased snowfall. The result: A net gain of about 100 billion tons of ice per year, according to the report.
    “That increase in ice translates to about a quarter of a millimeter per year less sea level rise than was previously predicted, says lead author Jay Zwally, chief cryospheric scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.
    The logic suggests that it is global cooling more than warming and parching that is causing sea levels to fall or at least stabilize? Indeed, the new climate alarm should be about the next interglacial ice age.

  12. rogerthesurf permalink
    September 29, 2016 11:34 pm

    Of course the catch is that in my country, the sea level rise is still stuck at 1.7mm per year which it has been since records began.

    (GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 31, L03307, doi:10.1029/2003GL019166, 2004)
    (RSNZ, 2010 )

    In spite of this people still seriously warn me that the (EPA) of the US Government seems to think that sea level has risen 10 inches since 1880.!! Mia Culpa!

    1880 to 2016 = 136 years. Times 1.7 mm per year is 231.2 mm. This is, strangely, 9.102 inches. Well, not quite 10 inches, but within a bull’s roar of being right.

    I live in the south pacific. Never heard of the islands disappearing that you mentioned and no refugees have turned up here yet.
    An individual from Kiribati once tried to become one but got sent home. Strangely enough the quota for imigration from Kiribati is generally not filled it seems.

    Its worth looking at the UN who has an interest in sea level rise one would think.
    Try here, well documented



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