Scary Headlines About Thames Estuary Sea Levels Don’t Stand Up To Scrutiny
By Paul Homewood
Latest news from the “We’re all going to drown department”.
Simon Evans, who is Policy Editor at Carbon Brief, and calls himself a Doctor, is referring to a recent publication by the Environment Agency – TE2100 5 Year Monitoring Review.
But as is usually the case with alarmist scientists, he has produced a highly misleading headline by using cherry picked data.
This is the key table from the report, claiming 4.52mm/yr average sea level rise.
But the first thing you notice is that sea levels were rising even faster at the start of the record, 1930-44.
However, look closer and you will see that you can only get such a scary figure of 4.52mm by using a period that has the year of 2007, when sea levels were abnormally low, in the first half of the period, and finishing in 2014, when they were anomalously high.
In fact no serious scientist, and certainly no reputable statistician would think about drawing trends over such a short period of time. And particularly not with tidal gauge data, which can be notably volatile.
This is certainly the case in the North Sea, where winds and ocean currents can lead to a build up of water.
You will also readily notice that sea levels fell back sharply again in 2015, yet this was not included in the average.
In fact, far from the scary impression given, the reality is much more mundane.
According to the PSMSL data, sea levels at Southend rose from 7088mm to 7117mm between 1999 and 2015. This equates to a rise of 1.81mm a year.
Furthermore, as the Environment Agency study goes on to explain, the land at Southend is sinking at a rate of 1.04mm/yr (see Shoeburyness, which is on the outskirts of Southend).
In other words, absolute sea level rise (as opposed to relative) is only 0.77mm/yr.
Regardless of statistical trends, the only thing which really matters is what is happening with peak surges. In other words, the times when sea levels become dangerously high.
And here again, the Environment Agency report nails the lie that sea level rise is accelerating. (Skew surge excludes the effect of astronomical tides).
Finally, let’s have a look at the statistics for the Thames Barrier:
Note that the unusually high number of closures in 2013/14 coincided with the extremely wet winter in the Thames Valley. These closures were designed to avoid flooding in West London and have little or nothing to do with high tides.
Taking fluvial closures out of the equation, there is little to suggest that closures have become more common in recent years, despite the land sinking.