Study now says global warming slows sea-level rise

sea levelA prominent global-warming skeptic is marveling at a new NASA report that concludes the purported human-caused changes in the climate now, after years of being blamed for raising the sea level, is slowing down the rise.

“Is there anything global warming can’t do?” Marc Morano asked on his Climate Depot site in response to the NASA assessment.

“Now it seems that there is so much global warming that it is slowing the rise of sea levels.”

He noted that 30 years ago, scientists blamed global warming for sea level decreases.

The new theory behind the slowdown is that as the Earth becomes more parched as a result of humans pumping more water out of the ground, water that otherwise would cause oceans to rise is “being absorbed” by lakes, rivers and underground aquifers, much as a sponge absorbs water.

The estimate is that 3.2 trillion gallons of water “has thus been soaked up and stored and is not pouring into the streets of coastal cities.”

The London Daily Mail said it means islands and cities such as Venice and Miami might be spared from flooding in the near future

NASA looked at satellite measurements collected over recent years to estimate the rate of sea level rise has slowed by 22 percent.

The author of the study is JT Reager of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, California.

“We always assumed that people’s increased reliance on groundwater for irrigation and consumption was resulting in a net transfer of water from the land to the ocean,” he said.

“What we didn’t realize until now is that over the past decade, changes in the global water cycle more than offset the losses that occurred from groundwater pumping, causing the land to act like a sponge ‚Äì at least temporarily.”

NASA launched a couple of satellites in 2002, Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment, that provided the data.

The government agency said that from 2002 to 2014, it looked at changes in gravity as well as estimates of glacier melt.

The Daily Mail reported the analysis suggests climate variability resulted in an increase of about 3.2 trillion tons of water being stored in land.

The report said the gain partially offset water losses from ice sheets, glaciers and groundwater pumping.  The rate of sea level rise, consequently slowed by between 0.7 and 0.2 millimeters annually.

The results were published in the journal Science.

The authors cautioned that much more data is needed to “fully understand.”

At the Climate Depot, Morano pointed out the widely divergent predictions about the effect of global warming on sea level in the scientific community.

He noted that in 1987, Florida State University geology professor William Tanner said climate change would cause the sea level to fall. Tanner plotted 4,000 years of sea-level data on 5,000 years of climatological data, Morano said, and every time the climate cooled a couple of degrees, the sea level went up.

Even further back, the National Science Foundation estimated that a large part of the Antarctic ice mass appeared to be collapsing, which could cause oceans to rise by “almost 20 feet.”

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