There is much concern over rising sea levels and disappearing coastline. Yet how are such changes really measured?
Satellites can measure tiny changes in sea levels referenced to a known baseline, but those measurements have only been available since 1993. Two other methods used for changes occurring over more than 100 years are tide gauges and efforts by the United Nations‘ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in computer modeling.
A tide gauge monitors water level changes in relation to a local reference height. They are simple devices, not too different from a pingpong ball floating in a tube. Tide gauge data are available for more than 1,750 stations around the world and are the longest time series available. In the case of Delaware, records go back to the early 20th century, while in places such as Amsterdam they go back to the late 17th century.
How reliable are such data?
In Atlantic City, for example, coastal engineer Cyril Galvin says the tide gauge data may be too sensitive to local and regional activities that aren’t ultimately related to “natural” changes in sea level — including any that might be related to greenhouse gas-induced global warming.
Last week another alarmist story appeared in the Guardian quoting Richard Alley, professor at the once great Penn State University in which it reported on the natural calving of a large chink of the Petermann glacier in Greenland. They noted "Greenland shed its largest chunk of ice in nearly half a century last week, and faces an even grimmer future, according to Richard Alley, a geosciences professor at Pennsylvania State University.
Sometime in the next decade we may pass that tipping point which would put us warmer than temperatures that Greenland can survive,” Alley told a briefing in Congress, adding that a rise in the range of 2-7 C would mean the obliteration of Greenland’s ice sheet.”
We asked a real expert on sea level, Nils-Axel Morner to comment. Here is what he had to say:
No “huge rise in sea level” to foresee: Observation rules out modelling.
PART 1: Get educated. During the Copenhagen Summit in Dec 2009, we visited another conference called "Climate Sense" organised by CFACT (www.cfact.org) to hear a side to the climate debate which the UN's IPCC has attempted to silence. Nor will you hear it in the mainstream media's constant barrage of green alarmism. This short film and the conversations in it may wake you up to some very important points which the establishment are missing in the climate discussion and realise that climate policies being proposed at COP15 may be useless in the end analysis. For more info on this issue, please go to: www.climate-sense.com www.cfact.org
Churchmen who base moral notions on current scientific certainties should remember Galileo
I am getting a little worried about the way pronouncements on climate change are not merely getting to constitute a kind of substitute for religious teaching and belief, but are also beginning to encroach on the real thing: that is, they are coming to be included in the kind of thing that mainline religion is directly concerned with. Here, for instance, is a story headlined “Cardinal: failure to address climate change is ‘moral apartheid’. ”
December 05, 2011
As the Durban Climate Change Conference reached its midway point, the president of the Church’s confederation of relief and development agencies compared current environmental policies to apartheid.
Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga, president of Caritas Internationalis, said that “just as South Africa’s apartheid era policies sought divisions along race lines, today the world’s environment and energy policies divide man from nature.”
“Don’t we realize that the climate is out of control?” the Honduran prelate said during his Sunday homily. “How long will countless people have to go on dying before adequate decisions are taken?”
As scientists, we write to support U.S. Senate candidate Ron Johnson's correct view on natural factors of climate change as reported in the Journal Sentinel (Page 1B, Aug. 17; Page 1A, Aug. 21).
This is not a debate about politics or about a belief system. Objective science informs us that the so-called consensus viewpoints offered by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change about man-made carbon dioxide being the dominant factor of climate change is largely a political conclusion and not likely a scientifically correct one.
If global temperatures are supposedly affected by rapidly rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations but the warming has ceased over at least the last decade, then something more important than atmospheric CO2 must be driving climate change. This is why the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported Aug. 13 that "greenhouse gas forcing fails to explain the 2010 heat wave over western Russia."
We wish to emphasize that many peer-reviewed publications exist that support the minimal role of atmospheric CO2 as a cause for the weather and climate that we experience. Extremist views only serve to induce panic about climate change, and the unwillingness to address the real science only leads to spurious claims that "the science is settled."
An event that gives catastrophic effects on human lives and living conditions is usually termed a disaster. A disaster or catastrophe usually takes us with surprise, by that increasing the negative effects. The boxing-day tsunami is a terrible example of a disaster taking us with total surprise and giving rise to catastrophic effects all around the Indian Ocean. This was a disaster generated by totally natural forces, and we couldn’t have done anything about it as such. What our human societies had missed, however, was the establishment of an
effective warning system.
We have to learn to live with natural disasters; earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, avalanches, tsunamis, cyclones, floods, draughts, blizzards, wildfires, etc. They are all parts of terrestrial system and we cannot change them, but we can prepare for them in terms of warning systems, evacuation plans, aid organization, etc. We may also avoid habitation at spots that cannot be protected.
This seems less feasible, however, as humans, through history, have shown to chose even the most dangerous places for their living (like slopes of active volcanoes, fault zones, foots and slopes of active slides, tops of active coastal cliff erosion, repeatedly flooded areas, etc.). Sometimes we are able to make precautional work like coastal protection, dikes against flooding, bypasses for possible mudflows and other efforts to try to diminish the effects of a potential catastrophe. We also have to make careful risk assessments. This implies temporal and spatial cover of past events.
Click PDF file to download FULL essay from Nils-Axel Mörner
AN apology is in order. The newspaper is way out of line. According to journalism professor Wendy Bacon, of the material published by The Daily Telegraph about the government's carbon tax, 11 per cent has been positive while 89 per cent has been negative.
These figures are alarming, and I would like to assure Bacon, from Sydney's University of Technology, that steps have been taken.
A comprehensive audit is underway to identify exactly who was responsible for those positive articles and to establish the guidelines for a thorough re-education process. In advance of this, our basement-located training facilities have been completely sound-proofed.
I'd like to thank Bacon for calling this state of affairs to our attention. Some of her additional commentary, however, requires a more detailed response.
In her 70-page report, which is not at all stupid and reflective of a predictably academic hostility towards commerce and progress, Bacon claims that "many Australians did not receive fair, accurate and impartial reporting in the public interest in relation to the carbon policy in 2011".
Contrary to prevailing scientific opinion, a Climate Change conference organised by the University of Mumbai and the Liberty Institute, New Delhi, and INSTUCEN India study centre on Friday claimed that the sea levels were not rising and carbon dioxide did not pose a special threat to the climate. Sea levels in the Indian Ocean were not rising and cities like Mumbai, islands like Maldives or Tuvalu would not be affected at all, speakers stated.
The audience clapped at every statement made by Professor Nils-Axel Morner, retired professor from Stockholm University, who enlightened a large group of appreciative students and professors on the perils of the estimates of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He attacked Maldives president Mohammed Nasheed's claims that his island nation was drowning and said this was totally unfounded in observational reality. The one-day conference, “Shifting science and changing policy,” was hosted by the Centre for Extra Mural Studies at Mumbai University.