Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Anthony Watts about that Sea Level Rise

I had a chance to look at Anthony's next item sea level rise (SLR).  It appears Watts thinks because new satellite data is giving the closest look ever at the complexities of sea level rise, including unexpected surprises, that it somehow negates the measurements of the past century's documented sea level rise.  It doesn't make any sense to me, but I've learned that the creative science skeptic is an intellectual acrobat.

Consider the absolutism of their tactic: Expect perfection and impossible standards, reject everything that falls short of those expectations, then disregard everything that was learned.

That's the nut to crack.

National Geographic’s Warming Warning – 10 Years Later
Anthony Watts / August 31, 2014
Geoff Sherrington writes: National Geographic Magazine had a Global Warming issue in September 2004. New instruments have given new data. By planning now, NatGeo can make a revised issue 10 years later, in September 2014.
The 2014 edition should aim to correct what is now known to be wrong or questionable in the 2004 edition. We can help. Here are some quotes that need attention. The first three have some commentary, as is suggested for the remainder.
~ ~ ~
August 31, 2014 - 3. “… raising average global sea level between four and eight inches in the past hundred years.” P.19  
This estimate was conventional wisdom until the specialist satellite era, when measurement technology improved. 
~ ~ ~
Measurement technology improved and now we have real time information down to minute day by day variations, but none of that changed our basic understanding of the past century's sea level rise.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Anthony Watts / As the NOAA figure shows, Jason 1 (data from 2002) and Jason 2 (2009) have complicated the story, with data showing ocean levels falling at times. The Jason instruments were specifically designed for ocean level measurement. More time is needed before the modern estimate of ocean change can be calculated. 
~ ~ ~
For your contrarian types no measurement will ever be accurate enough.  Still a rational evaluation of the graph does indicate continued rising sea levels, which isn't surprising considering the cryosphere keeps melting and ocean keeps warming.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Anthony Watts / Graph is from

~ ~ ~
Anthony posted his complaints about National Geographic just a few days ago and posted the above graph.  Interestingly an update was available - I wonder why Watts chose the older graph, hmmm.  
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~ 
It baffles me how someone can look at that graph and deny the trend, how accurate does it need to be before we take it seriously?  Is the melting of our planet's cryosphere slowing down? NO.  Where's that water going to go?
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Anthony Watts / It is noted that Ocean Heat Content, OHC, a cause of ocean level change, has barely changed since measurements became acceptable through an increase in the number of Argo buoys in year 2002 or so.

~ ~ ~

Here again there is a clear rising trend.

Even crazier Anthony wants us to think that the ocean is only 700 meters deep.  In actuality the ocean floor averages well below 4,000 meters.  There are many layers and currents under that 700 meters Anthony restricts himself to understanding. 
~ ~ ~
- - -
New study finds sea level rose 2.4 mm/year between 2005 and 2011
Jun 03, 2013 by Bob Yirka
- - - 
Global Warming Has Accelerated In Past 15 Years, New Study Of Oceans Confirms
- - -

And now we have this:

Varying planetary heat sink led to global-warming slowdown and acceleration
Science 22 August 2014: 
Vol. 345 no. 6199 pp. 897-903 
DOI: 10.1126/science.1254937

Deep-sea warming slows down global warming
Global warming seems to have paused over the past 15 years while the deep ocean takes the heat instead. The thermal capacity of the oceans far exceeds that of the atmosphere, so the oceans can store up to 90% of the heat buildup caused by increased concentrations of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. Chen and Tung used observational data to trace the pathways of recent ocean heating. They conclude that the deep Atlantic and Southern Oceans, but not the Pacific, have absorbed the excess heat that would otherwise have fueled continued warming.
Science, this issue p. 897
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
In keeping with my mission to get information out to a larger audience here are some more informative links that will make clear how completely disconnected Anthony Watts is from appreciating our actual geophysical reality.  And be sure to check out Jerry Mitrovica's lecture at the end of this post.

IPCC Report on Sea Level Rise (2007)
~ ~ ~ 
IPCC Report on Sea Level Rise (2013)
13. Sea Level Change 32.9MB
  • Supplementary Material 0.1MB
~ ~ ~ 

~ ~ ~  

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) water level (tide) gauges have been measuring water levels around the U.S. for over a century, providing clear evidence of sea level rise relative to land (SLRrel) around most of the continental United States and Hawaii. As SLRrel increases mean sea level (MSL), there is naturally an increase in tidal datum elevations, which are typically used to delineate inundation thresholds. 

Direct consequences of rising sea level against fixed elevations such as today’s built infrastructure also include increased inundation during extreme events both spatially and temporally. Not only are extreme flooding events reaching higher grounds and covering larger areas due to SLRrel, the frequency and duration of these extreme flood events are increasing.

Another consequence of SLRrel is the increase in lesser extremes such as occasional minor coastal flooding experienced during high tide. These events are becoming more noticeable and widespread along many U.S. coastal regions and are today becoming more of a nuisance. As sea levels continue to rise and with an anticipated acceleration in the rate of rise from ocean warming and land-ice melt, concern exists as to when more substantive impacts from tidal flooding of greater frequency and duration will regularly occur. Information quantifying these occurrences to inform mitigation and adaptation efforts and decision makers is not widely available.
Impacts from recurrent coastal flooding include overwhelmed stormwater drainage capacity, frequent road closures, and general deterioration and corrosion of infrastructure not designed to withstand frequent inundation or salt-water exposure. From this, we conclude that there is a time horizon, largely dependent upon the local rate of SLRrel, when critical elevation thresholds for various public/private/commercial serving systems will become increasingly compromised by tidal flooding. 

This concept of a non-linear impact trajectory needs to recognized, as it is critical for coastal planning to prevent degradation to society-serving systems at risk from SLRrel. The goal of this report is to heighten awareness of a growing problem of more frequent nuisance coastal flooding respective to a community’s living memory and to encourage resiliency efforts in response to impacts from SLRrel.


Thermal expansion of the world’s oceans and melting of glaciers and ice sheets from climate warming has contributed to global sea level rise (SLR) of approximately 1.7 mm/yr over the last century (Church and White, 2011) and even higher rates (3.2 mm/yr; Merrifield et al., 2013) over the last several decades. Superimposed upon this trend are ocean-atmosphere circulation dynamics producing significant regional interannual mean sea level (MSL) variability. ... link
~ ~ ~ 

Zeroing In on IPCC’s Sea Level Rise & Warming ‘Hiatus’
By Andrew Freedman  September 27th, 2013

Among the pages of dense, scientific language in Friday’s latest U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report are two key areas that deserve special attention: sea level rise and a recent slowdown in global warming.
The new report incorporates new information on the melting of Greenland and Antarctica, data that had prevented the Nobel Prize-winning panel from making confident projections of sea level rise in its previous reports.
- - - 
Sea level rise is one of the most visible effects of climate change, and the report found that sea levels are increasing more rapidly than in previous decades. During the 1901-2010 period, the report said, global averaged sea level rise was 0.07 inches per year, which accelerated to .13 inches per year between 1993 and 2010.
- - -
Most of the extra heat being put into the climate system by greenhouse gases is going into the oceans, accounting for more than 90 percent of the energy accumulated between 1971-2010, the report found. In recent years, deep ocean heat content, particularly in the Southern Ocean, has increased rapidly even while global air temperatures have slowed their rate of increase.
~ ~ ~ 

Rising Waters: How Fast and
How Far Will Sea Levels Rise?

Although the latest U.N. climate report significantly increases its projections for sea level rise this century, some scientists warn even those estimates are overly conservative. But one thing is certain: Predicting sea level rise far into the future is a very tricky task.
by nicola jones

~ ~ ~ 
It seems to me the nature of the Climate beast is big and complex and everyone knows it.  Now, Anthony Watts comes along with his Republican/Libertarian handbook and starts screaming this climate beast is too big, too complex to measure, and hahaha once again scientists didn't nail it exactly.  To him "close" doesn't exist, but then that is the nature of the Faith-Based Mind.

Thus, since nothing less than a perfection in our understanding is acceptable to our right wing brothers and sisters, we should all pretend nothing is going on, (even though every shred of real Earth observation data is screaming global crisis).  Truly a way of thinking that could only have been born in the bosom of Hollywood combined with a holy roller and an awful lot of brainwashing.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Here's a very interesting talk by Dr. Jerry Mitrovica who specializes in studying sea level rise.  Even though this video is a few years old, if you haven't keep up on oceanographic news of the past five, ten years, then this talk holds some astounding discoveries and realizations about global sea level dynamics, absolutely fascinating stuff.

In Search of Lost Time: Ancient Eclipses, Roman Fish Tanks and the Enigma of Global Sea Level Rise

No comments: