Are The Seas Really Rising Faster Than Ever?

Or, could it really have more to do with adjusted data? Here’s Jo Nova at Climate Change Dispatch

The Scandal Of Sea Levels — Rising Trends, Acceleration — Largely Created By Adjustments

Headlines across Australia yesterday told us the dire news that a new study finds that “Sea level rising faster in past 20 years than in entire 20th century.   A new paper by Watson et al is driving the headlines, but underneath this Nature paper is a swamp of adjustments, an error larger than the signal, and the result disagrees with many other studies and almost all the raw measurements. Paper after paper kept showing that sea levels rates had slowed (e.g Chen showed deceleration from 2004, Cazenave said in the last decade sea-levels had slowed 30% (but argued post hoc adjustments could solve that). Beenstock used 1000 tide gauges and found no acceleration of sea levels over the last 50 years. A different researcher — Phil Watson, found that Australian sea levels rose faster before World War II then slowed down.)

Firstly,  hundreds of tide gauges show sea level rising at about a third of the rate than satellites do. Worse, the original satellite raw data showed the same slow rise, until it was suddenly adjusted. The real scandal is that the rapidly rising trend was largely created by adjustments in the first place. These latest corrections just adjust down part of the rate which had been created by adjusting up. On top of all that, the long paleo-history of sea levels done by people like Nils-Axel Mörner  show that the current rise is not unusual or unprecedented at all. Could it get more pointless? It can: the acceleration Watson et al found is so small it’s less than the errors. (See the graph below).

Why, exactly, is the satellite data “adjusted” in such a manner? The data is the data, yet, Warmist “scientists” will trot out all sorts of excuses as to why their adjustments are needed, though they never answer “why” the data ends up being so far above the reality of the raw data. One of their favorite excuses is “bias drifts“, which, surprise!, ends up vastly increasing the results to match the Cult of Climastrology talking points.

Furthermore, the sea rise, as I’ve mentioned multiple times, is not unprecedented nor unusual. Since the end of the big sea rise from the end of the last glacial age slowed, about 7000 years ago, the average sea rise is 6-8 inches per century. Averages occur by taking two or more numbers, adding them, then dividing by the number of numbers. So, 2+14=16, divide by 2 and you get 7 inches. One would expect low to even negative sea rise during the cool Holocene eras, which typically last much longer than the Holocene warm periods, hence, we should expect a sea rise of at least 16 inches per year during a warm period. The sea rise was just 7 inches during the 20th Century. That’s a kick in the talking points, don’t you think? Of course, Warmists will screech out that the massive sea rise “is coming!!!!!!!!”

The conclusion of the paper is that instead of the sea levels rising at 3.2mm/yr as per the official satellite data, the are rising at 2.3mm/yr + 0.043mm/yr2 of acceleration. Over a century that means the projected sea level rise is revised downwards from 320mm to 251mm. That means sea level rise on current trends has dropped off the bottom end of any UNIPCC projection for sea level rise (AR5 WG1 SPM) for the period 2081-2100, as against 1985-2005. The likely range is between 260 and 820mm under all scenarios. The projection (mid-point 400mm) range is based on succeeding in cutting global emissions to near zero before 2100.

251mm equals 9.881 inches. So, barely above the average for the Holocene, and below what one would expect during a typical Holocene warm period.

Ms. Nova goes on to describe how the satellite data diverges from the sea level gauge data, well worth the read. Nor is this the first time the disparity has been noted. Steven Goddard (yes, I know the Warmists will blame the messenger) showed, using actual data, that the sea level data shows just .7mm a year and falling during the 21st Century.

This is also not the first time it has been shown that the adjusted satellite data is way off. Another study showed that the data has been adjusted upwards 34%, including “many years after publication, often repeatedly on the same data, and in defiance of the laws of probability, always in an upward direction.”

If tide gauges were good enough to figure out the rate of acceleration from 1900 – 1992, why are they wrong as soon as the satellites start operating? Does anyone think we should compare highly adjustified satellite data to tide gauges if there are continuous tide gauge records over the same period? Its like a tree-ring spliced to a thermometer: Good PR, bad science.

It’s harder to adjust the tide gauges, making it harder to come out with unhinged and doomy prognostications.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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