The scandal of sea levels — rising trends, acceleration — largely created by adjustments

ocean wavesHeadlines 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).

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.

Tide gauges don’t agree with the satellites on sea level. The 68 most stable NOAA tide gauges around the world show about 1mm a year rise. Beenstock use a thousand tide gauges around the world and found the same rise of about 1mm/year. Nils-Axel Mörner has studied arrays of gauges as well but also used the opposite approach and found practically the single most stable beach in Northern Europe. He analyzed long records on all the beaches around it to figure out which way the whole area was tilting — again he found the change of the most stable point is about 1mm/year.

We’re analysing the decimal points of the acceleration of a trend that was largely created by adjustments in the first place. Why bother? The raw satellite data showed almost no rise at all from 1992-2002, and was post hoc adjusted up from less than 1mm to 2.3mm/yr (Aviso, 2003). And the raw low rate was skewed high by the El Nino in 1997. These adjusted figures have been used to generate thousands of headlines about how sea levels are rising faster after 1992. (Anyone going to retract those headlines?) The European satellite data was also adjusted up. Nils-Axel Mörner has described the whole sordid process of sea level adjustments in detail. Knowing this puts the ABC version is a new light. Christopher Watson, lead author, “said the study suggested satellites marginally overestimated the rate of sea level rise in the first six years and that distorted the long-term picture.” He didn’t mention that it was the overestimate of the underestimate and all these numbers were subject to change, post hoc, ad hoc, as the wind blows…

Sea levels are always changing and past changes were often larger.

  • Past changes were larger in the Maldives (Mörner, 2007); In Connecticut (van de Plassche, 2000),; SW Sweden – Kattegatt Sea region (Mörner, 1971, 1980);  In the Kattegatt and the Baltic (Åse, 1970; Mörner, 1980, 1999; Ambrosiani, 1984; Hansen et al., 2012). Other sites (e.g. Pirazzoli, 1991). [See the link above for the full references].
  • White et al showed seas around Australia were rising at about the same speed during the depression era as they are now.

The rate since 2002 is slowing despite the massive emissions of  CO2: The new adjustments on adjustments bring the 1992 – 2012 rate down (did the ABC tell you that?). This changes the curve, and creates a weak acceleration that was not there before.This also creates new headlines of “acceleration”. At some point in the future, today’s measurements will be adjusted down to create more headlines of “acceleration”. Rinse Repeat Recycle.

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.

The acceleration is so small it’s less than the errors. (Be afraid, it’s accelerating at 0.043 +/- 0.058 mm/yr2.) Normal scientists don’t get excited at this. They don’t issue press releases.

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Comments (12)

  • Avatar

    GR82DRV

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    [i]”A new paper by Watson et al is driving the headlines, but underneath this Nature paper is a swamp of adjustments, [b]an error larger than the signal[/b], and the result disagrees with many other studies and almost all the raw measurements.”[/i]

    Just incredible.

    Where is the visible and tangible evidence of rising sea levels causing harm?

    Are we to assume that ocean levels remain static over time?

    If we see a fraction of a decimal point change do we sound the alarms and demand a world change to economic Marxism?

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Davoud Tohidy

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    Globally Sea level are NOT rising! SUN has gone into hibernation and we are heading to an ice age. Even NASA has accepted that Sun has gone into hibernation. Sun controls the climate on earth and sun spot counts according to NASA is getting lower and lower and that means NO sea level rises and NO global warming rather there is going to be sea level decline and global cooling. that is what matters.

    This is a quote from Mr. John L. Casey former NASA HQ Consultant and Space Shuttle Engineer. Read transcripts of his presentation within my article located in the link below:
    “The way the level rises ladies and gentlemen is not because of how much gas we put in our cars and trucks. It comes from the heating of the Ocean.

    What causes the heating of the Ocean? Other than Al Gore’s ego! It is the Sun. The sun heats the earth the Sun heats the Oceans, and expands the … and that is what cause the sea level rise.

    Now the sun is going into hibernation it is a locked step, we are going to see global sea level drop for decades. That phase already has begun and this chart “Sea Level Annual Rate of Decline” proves it.”

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/257808415/Climate-Change-Ontario-Consultation-Davoud-Tohidy-March-2015

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  • Avatar

    amirlach

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    [quote]”Where the Boys Are” is both an entertaining 1960 movie as well as a catchy Connie Francis song which was the theme tune of the film. However, it now appears that “Where the Boys Are” is performing a great unintended public service. The opening credits of the movie has preserved for us an aerial view just where the ocean of 1960 was in relation to the sand and State Road A1A in Fort Lauderdale. Guess what? The beach is exactly as wide now as it was in 1960. On Friday morning Brian Craig, co-host of the Steve Kane Show, the longest running radio program in South Florida mentioned that just by watching “Where the Boys Are” you can see the beach is just as wide now as 54 years ago. – See more at: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/pj-gladnick/2014/10/24/where-boys-are-disproves-rising-seas-scare#sthash.U6j8o05P.dpuf%5B/quote%5Dhttps://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2014/10/25/fort-lauderdale-sea-level-identical-to-55-years-ago/

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  • Avatar

    William Teach

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    [quote]Worse, the original satellite raw data showed the same slow rise, until it was suddenly adjusted..[/quote]

    That’s pretty much all that needs to be known. Why would the actual hard data need to be adjusted? The rate either is or isn’t correct. The rate is what it is. I’m sure the climate “scientists” will come up with all sorts of excuses, as they usually do.

    Funny part is, even with the fraudulent adjustments, the rate of rise is well within the norm for a Holocene warm period. Heck, it is actually less than one would expect. There was a 7 inch rise during the 20th Century, when we should expect at least 16+ inches, seeing as how the mean rise over the last 7000 years is 6-8 inches per century, where we would have much less of a rise, perhaps even negative, during the cool periods, which last much longer than the warm ones.

    Reply

  • Avatar

    russ

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    Scientists warn of global warming or climate change as being responsible for rising oceans. Not being a scientist or having the data available to those scientists, I like to look at science differently. Science taught me that water can be displaced by a solid. Example; fill a cup full of water and drop a stone, or stones into the cup and some of the water will flow out of the cup. Think for a moment, of the oceans as being huge cups. For centuries huge rivers have been emptying not only water but huge amounts of solids into the oceans. Undersea, volcanoes are erupting huge amounts of lava into the waters, some building to the surface and above. Thousands of huge ships displace huge amounts of water. Land that once absorbed the rains has been paved or built upon and the rains diverted to the streams and rivers that lead to the oceans. My science tells me that if the oceans are not rising, something has gone haywire.

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    • Avatar

      Me

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      You need to know about ground water flow with reference to been paved or built upon, as it slows the flow of ground water underneath it. And then think about rivers brooks and streams as it is like storm and sanitary sewers that has a east path of resistance. As for Ice, the ice was water that froze and when thaws displace nothing. Glaciers do what glaciers do, it is from their own weight move down using the path of least resistance again.

      Reply

  • Avatar

    John Swallow

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    With the links, I hope:
    What does this do for your concern about sea levels? Updated Mean Sea Level Trends 1611400 Nawiliwili, Hawaii
    http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sltrends/sltrends_update.shtml?stnid=1611400 

    9451600 Sitka, Alaska
    http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sltrends/sltrends_station.shtml?stnid=9451600 

    “The average sea level rise rate for all 157 NOAA tide gauges active this century is just below 0.7 mm/year.”

    http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2012/11/19/sea-level-rise-less-than-0-7-mmyear-and-falling/

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Charles S. Opalek, PE

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    This is another “scientific” paper trying to pick fly droppings out of beach sand; pulling a signal from noise.

    Meanwhile, the paper by Lokier et al (doi.1016/jqres.2015.04.007) documents that sea levels in the Persian Gulf where 1,000 cm higher 5,000 years ago than today.

    So, I guess a meter change over millenia is not as important as a mm change over a couple of decades.

    Reply

  • Avatar

    BKMart

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    I remember that episode. The professor thought the island was sinking. Turned out Gilligan kept moving the measuring stick to deeper water with the lobster pot…

    Reply

    • Avatar

      amirlach

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      Hmmm… If you put that hat and shirt on Bill Nye…

      Maybe Mikey Mann could be the Skipper?

      He is a pretty damn good dancer for a little round guy.

      Reply

  • Avatar

    stefanthedenier

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    NASA cannot monitor any sea level, because the satellites wobble as drunks walking on the street.

    #2: because of ”evenly distribution of gravity” IF sea was rising-> would have risen everywhere the same b] if somewhere is reported that has risen = is because the persons monitoring there are part of the propaganda! and: is always somewhere far away from populated areas…?!: https://globalwarmingdenier.wordpress.com/global-warming-lost-its-compass-again/

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