Study: Sea Level Rise Revised Downward

If I had not looked past the headline of the press report on a new study, I would have just filed it under “It’s worse than we thought”. A new study in Nature reported on July 17 carried the following headline:

“Satellite snafu masked true sea-level rise for decades”
“Revised tallies confirm that the rate of sea-level rise is accelerating as the Earth warms and ice sheets thaw.”

When I read that, I (like everyone else) assumed that corrections to the satellite sea level data since 1993 have now led to a revised trend toward faster (not slower) sea level rise. Right?

Wrong.

During the satellite era (since 1993), the trend in sea level rise was revised downward, by almost 10%, from 3.28 mm/year to about 3.0 mm/year. (For those concerned about Miami going underwater, these numbers equate to a little more than one inch every 10 years). This result was published back in April in Geophysical Research Letters, and the new Nature study looks at the wiggles in the revised data since 1993 and makes ominous pronouncements about sea level rise “acceleration”.

I’m calling “fake science news” on the Nature reporter who covered the story. The headline was technically correct…but misleading. (I can also make up technically correct headlines: “Scientists Agree: Sea Levels are Rising, We are All Going to Die”)

The researchers in April made a major adjustment to the first 1/4 of the satellite record, bringing those early sea levels up. This results in adding curvature to the upward trend (an acceleration) by flattening out the early part of the curve. This new signature of “acceleration” was what made the news in the new Nature study, even though the long term trend went down.

Should this New “Acceleration” be the News?

In a word, no.

Short-term undulations in the sea level rise curve should not be used as a predictive curve for the future. They are affected by a wide variety of natural phenomena. For example, ice loss from Greenland (which was large in 2011-12) has recently reversed itself with huge gains made in the last year. These events are governed by natural variations in weather patterns, which have always occurred.

For longer-term variations, yes, the rate of sea level rise during the entire period since 1993 probably is a little more than, say, during the period since 1900 (sea level rise was occurring naturally, anyway). But the inferred acceleration is small. And even that acceleration could be mostly natural — we simply don’t know.

My main point is that the Nature headline was misleading. They clearly had to find something in the study that supported the alarmist view of sea level rise, and they figured few people would read past the headline.

A face-value reading of the two main studies together results in the conclusion that sea level rise since 1993 has been revised downward. The most recent study then reads too much into the wiggles in the new data and even implies the acceleration will continue with the statement, “The suggested acceleration… highlights the importance and urgency of mitigating climate change and formulating coastal adaptation plans to mitigate the impacts of ongoing sea level rise”.

The new study does NOT revise recent sea level rise upward, as is suggested by the Nature headline quoted above.

Read more at Dr. Roy Spencer’s Blog

Trackback from your site.

Comments (14)

  • Avatar

    Sonnyhill

    |

    Adapt, because the third world won’t make any sacrifices. China should buy the Maldives. Miami can advertise itself as New Venice.
    STOP GLOBAL WHINING

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Spurwing Plover

    |

    A flooded earth was the theme of Kevin Kosners putrid movie WATERWORLD where we get to see him with stupid gills and swimming dolphin style and making himself look like a total baffoon and now i see that Bill Nye the Mad Scientists Guy wants all climate change global warming skeptics to die off and he is a Mad Scientist already to create his own monster to turn loose on the world

    Reply

  • Avatar

    MikeW

    |

    The hysterical alarmism about climate change and sea levels is total nonsense. At any location, the local sea level is dominated by land movements, not climate change. And worldwide, coastal land areas over the past 30 years have actually increased (e.g. from river silting and land uplift) more than they have decreased (e.g. from subsistence), as revealed from actual satellite observations. If climate change were a significant factor in local sea levels, the coastal land areas worldwide would be decreasing, not increasing.
    http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v6/n9/full/nclimate3111.html
    https://www.deltares.nl/en/news/how-the-earth-has-changed-over-the-past-30-years/

    Reply

    • Avatar

      rakooi

      |

      “….a group of researchers found sea level rise was only about 1.1 millimeters per year before 1990,
      whereas in the period between 1993 through 2012 it was 3.1 millimeters per year. N
      ASA, TODAY, puts the rate of sea level rise at 3.4 millimeters per year….”
      .
      THAT IS NOT HYPE…it is a clear result of warming oceans and melting snow & ice… AND it is increase quickly..
      .
      In the 1st half of the 20th century, you would find it difficult to name 6 coastal towns & cities with bothersome tidal flooding.
      TODAY,
      There are over 90 towns and cities with TIDAL FLOODING….and THAT is compounded during storm surges…..
      TO POOH POOH sea level rise, is maddening for many mayors who are being forced to protect Coasts from tidal flooding…and land owners … like Donald TRUMP’s resort in Florida where Lots a money is being spent to protect against tidal flooding.
      .
      Regarding coasts lines increasing….
      ..is a DIVERSION…..
      Flooding Rain Events and HUGE storms store moisture and are clearly washing silt to the seas…increasing land…vast majority is low level flat lands which are subject to increased flooding.

      1799
      The FIRST Postulation about Human Activities causing “climate changes” by name.
      .
      1811
      The FIRST Scientific LINK of Global Warming and Human Activities.
      .
      1958
      The Legititmate Scientific Community, in 1958, gave a Research Study & Warning t President Eisenhower
      about the unrestrained & MASSIVE Dumping of TOXIC industrial waste gasses &
      chemicals into our atmosphere & the climate warming Changes it causes.
      Complete with tumultuous weather changes: Cold events, Heat waves, Droughts, Rising Sea levels, & Flooding Rain events!
      Source: AAAS
      (The American Association for the Advancement of Science)
      .
      1965
      The Scientific Community Delivered a detail Research report in 1965 to President Johnson about the massive,
      unrestrained Dumping of TOXIC industrial waste gases & chemicals into our atmosphere &
      Global Warming with Climate Changes threatening our populations and economies.
      Source: AAAS
      .
      Global Warming Science PROJECTED (Spot on, accurate) Changes likely over 50 yrs. into the future (to 2015)
      PROJECTED Climate changes:
      .
      1. AS PROJECTED:
      ALL Surface digital weather station measurements register RISING Global TEMPERATURES .
      Particularly during the last 20 years. 16 of the 17 hottest years have occured since 2000.
      .
      (2100+ (NASA NOAA) Ground Stations around the world)
      .
      (independent News/TV/Radio collected.
      Tens of millions of human measures / yr. from well over 30,000 private, independently owned & operated
      Digital Weather stations around the world.)

      ALL Satellite measurements show that the troposphere is warming…& verified by HUNREDS OF THOUSANDS OF
      digital weather balloon launches around the world.
      ALL Satellite measures of the stratosphere is cooling for 52 straight YEARS, as Projected by anthropogenic global warming
      & as projected spot-on accurately BASED ON GLOBAL WARMING THEORY & numerous computer models in over 2 dozen countries.
      .
      (Strotospheric Cooling “CANNOT” be explained by ANY NATURAL CYCLE !
      …If direct solar warming is responsible for Climate on earth,
      how can 1 atmospheric layer be warming while the layer closer to the sun, with a vastly larger surface area, is actually cooling???)
      .
      If Deniers/Skeptics are to be believed…the heat comes only from the sun.
      then the Stratosphere Is FIRST IN LINE to WARM from the sun…how could IT be cooling and the next atmospheric layer, the Troposphere, be warming ….? ?
      As projected by Global Warming Theory:
      Temperatures at the ocean surface & at various ocean depths show * warming as far down as 3000 meters (after thousands of years cooling)
      The additional fresh water from melting glaciers has slowed the ocean currents, cooling the N. Atlantic and altering weather for years to come.
      AS projected:
      Sea level rise gravitometric measurements of Greenland and Antarctica show net ice loss. HEADLINES: “….“The loss of ice from West Antarctica
      between 2009 and 2012 caused a dip in the gravity field over the region,”
      writes the ESA, whose GOCE satellite measured the change. Apparently, melting billions of tons of ice year after year has implications….”

      National Snow & Ice Data Center registered the ARCTIC AND ANTARCTICA set Satellite Historic Low Ice LEVELS…2016
      Anarctica melted so heavily a slushy lake covered 300,000 SQUARE MILES….hard to believe with an average temp. of 50 BELOW.
      As Propjected:
      Ice loss in the Arctic is dramatically accelerating setting low ice records 2015, 2016 etc.
      **continuing a 40-80 year trend ! Acceleration of melting glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica, particularly within the last few years.
      China reports a stunning 18% loss of Ice Packs and Glacier Ice in recent years, Citing Accelerating Global warming & Black Carbon build up
      from Coal electric generation locally & around the world.
      Asian Mountain populations are in near panic as, today, they can see, year after year, their Snow Packs and Glaciers receding
      …which is their primary source of Water for drinking and irrigation.
      AS Projected:
      Poleward migration of species: (42% of ALL species have been dislocated)

      The Pine Beetle, for example, has been confined to much warmer southern latitudes for tens of thousands of years by Frigid Northern Climates.
      Today, That Beetle is found north of Fairbanks, Alaska !!
      MORE LODGE POLE PINE will be felled by the Beetle than FIRE & LOGGING combined.

      AS Projected:
      Increased hurricane & Storms (numbers &/or intensity) as expected from rising sea surface temperatures
      & expanded surface area, with expanding evaporation.
      (10 of the 15 Busiest Hurricane Seasons have occurred since 2000.)
      Accelerating decline of glaciers throughout the world
      Montana’s glacier national park had 150 in 1910 ((& in 1958 when I was there)) today, only 25 remain ! (soon to be 24)

      ( at a time when Skeptics & Deniers claim we are Plowing into a new ICE AGE, that we will be knee deep in it by 2030 ! ?)
      As Projected:
      The rise of the troposphere altitudes
      .
      As Projected:
      Rise in temperatures at greater depths in the permafrost
      As Expected:
      Rapid expansion of thermokarst lakes throughout parts of Siberia, Canada and Alaska
      .
      Russia reports that atmospheric temperatures in Siberia are rising at Twice the world wide average increase.
      Changes in ocean circulation as predicted by climate models, for example, with temperatures rising more quickly overland
      AS expected: Disintegration of permafrost coastlines in the arctic
      AS expected: Changes in the altitude of the stratosphere.
      ALSO, AS expected: An energy imbalance-the earth is receiving more energy than it emits (Hansen 2005) Verified.
      every monthly compilation of energy readings registers the same imbalance
      increasing energy staying within the earth’s atmosphere rather than escaping to space.
      (These findings are verified by detailed satellite data from 3 different nation’s satellites)
      .
      Poleward movement of the jet streams
      SOURCE: (Archer 2008)
      SOURCE: (Seidel 2007)
      SOURCE: (Fu 2006)
      The 270 Largest Fresh Water Lakes in the world are ALL rising in temperatures, TWICE as fast as the atmosphere.
      Algae Blooms and mass fish die-offs have doubled.
      .
      Flooding Rain Events have far more than doubled. (Regional Flooding Rains have tripled )
      .
      Deserts world wide are expanding.
      .
      The Number of droughts has more than doubled AND the Square Miles affected have more than doubled.
      .
      Heat Waves have more than Doubled.
      .
      The world is greening, primarily at higher altitudes on mountains and in far northern/Southern latitudes
      & far southern lattitudes as snow is replaced by vegitation. So let’s remember that Snow/Ice Reflects I.R. Heat back to space
      but vegitation absorbs MORE heat on Earth.

      "....Robin Bell, an Antarctic researcher at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Institute at Columbia University who was not involved in the study. “Who had heard of rain in Antarctica — it is a desert!....”

      " Our ability to analyze and adapt is what makes humans the dominant species on the planet.
      Spitting on that, is spitting on what makes us, us !

      .
      Fewer than a Dozen Coastal cities experience tidal flooding issues in the US in the 1950’s…”….already, more than 90 coastal communities in the United States are battling chronic flooding, meaning the kind of flooding that’s so unmanageable it prompts people to move away.
      That number is expected to roughly double to more than 170 communities in less than 20 years.
      .
      In the 70s,
      when scientists told us that CFCs used in aerosol sprays and refrigeration had punched a hole in the Ozone Layer
      & their continued use would render the planet uninhabitable to humans,
      we listened and A VERY CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICAN banned them.
      The hole is closing and we’re safe from a world poisoned by ultraviolet radiation.
      HUMANS AFFECT the CLIMATE of EARTH.
      HUMANS can correct CLIMATE CHANGES they have caused.

      https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2015-whats-warming-the-world/?

      Reply

      • Avatar

        Knights Templar

        |

        Rakooi – Yet again, you prove how unbelievably gullible, naïve and misinformed you are.Your ongoing irrational rants highlight your inability to accept empirical climate data rather than the fiction of climate modelling.

        Reply

      • Avatar

        Gator

        |

        RAKOOI, it is time to put up, or shut up. You claim that the recent global climate change is not natural. Prove it.

        1- List all climate forcings, order them from most to least effectual, and then quantify them all.

        2- Please provide even one peer reviewed paper that refutes natural variability as the cause of recent, or any, global climate changes.

        There is nothing unusual or unprecedented about our climate, or how we got here. For 4,500,000,000 years climates have always changed, naturally. This means there has been a set precedent, and the burden of proof falls on natural climate change deniers like yourself.

        In am willing to discuss this with you further tomorrow, but if you need more time, I more than understand.

        Reply

  • Avatar

    amirlach

    |

    “THAT IS NOT HYPE…it is a clear result of warming oceans and melting snow & ice… AND it is increase quickly..” Once again your completely FOS. It’s slowing not “increasing”. It has been rising since the “Earth emerged from the Wisconsin Ice Age some 18,000 years ago and the massive ice sheets started to melt, sea levels began rising. Rapid sea level rise during the “meltwater pulse phase,” about 15,000 years ago, was roughly five meters (16 feet) per century – but then slowed significantly since the Holocene Climate Optimum, about 8,000 years ago.”

    Nothing to do with Co2 or man.

    “Sea level changes over relatively recent geologic and human history demonstrate that alarmist claims do not withstand scrutiny. Sea levels rose significantly after the last ice age, fell during the Little Ice Age, and have been rising again since the LIA ended around 1850. In fact, Roman Empire and Medieval port cities are now miles from the Mediterranean, because sea levels actually fell during the Little Ice Age.” https://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/12/02/history-falsifies-climate-alarmist-sea-level-claims/

    Reply

    • Avatar

      G

      |

      My back yard is exhibit A for the Wisconsin Ice Age. We are littered with rock debris that was left behind from glaciers that receded just 11,000 years ago! That’s just a blink of an eye in geo-time. Yet the local leftist climate changers won’t allow themselves even a moment to consider that this is evidence of RECENT and PROFOUND climate change that cannot be attributed to human activity. How convenient.

      Reply

  • Avatar

    Spurwing Plover

    |

    Some idiots beleive that animal agriculter is destroying the earth if they realy beleive that poppycock then study that claims total and strict vegans have shrinking brains is true and their walnut brains getting pea sized

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Amber

    |

    Nature mag is a rag and the farthest thing from scientific integrity going . Maybe they just have to mislead to flog their stuff .

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Spurwing Plover

    |

    Remember it once rained for forty days and forty nights nonstop and Noah the Ark the animals coming two by two the raven the dove the olive branch and Mt Ararat

    Reply

  • Avatar

    JayPee

    |

    After more than 40 years of
    UNPRECEDENTED
    global warming,
    where have sea levels risen ?

    In the USA alone,
    NO ONE on
    Cape Cod, Long Island, Florida, Hawaii, etc.
    Has lost real estate to the sea.
    ” Sea level rise ” has to be revised ?
    NO !

    They just have to stop lying about it .

    Reply

  • Avatar

    G

    |

    I can’t see much difference between the eco-left’s constantly failed predictions of apocalypse and those of the Heaven’s Gate cult who committed mass suicide after their “Mother Ship” repeatedly failed to appear from behind the Hale Bop Comet. Likewise, Jehovah’s Witness leadership has predicted Armageddon to occur in 1878, 1881, 1914, 1918, 1925, and 1975. Still waiting…

    It’s time to put the eco-left climate scam in the same bin as these crack-pot religious cult losers.

    Reply

Leave a comment