NYTimes Claim: ‘Clear by now that we are in the early stages of what is likely to be a substantial rise in sea level’

Clear to whom based on what?

The NYTimes reports:

Thirty-five years ago, a scientist named John H. Mercer issued a warning. By then it was already becoming clear that human emissions would warm the earth, and Dr. Mercer had begun thinking deeply about the consequences.

His paper, in the journal Nature, was titled “West Antarctic Ice Sheet and CO2 Greenhouse Effect: A Threat of Disaster.” In it, Dr. Mercer pointed out the unusual topography of the ice sheet sitting over the western part of Antarctica. Much of it is below sea level, in a sort of bowl, and he said that a climatic warming could cause the whole thing to degrade rapidly on a geologic time scale, leading to a possible rise in sea level of 16 feet.

While it is clear by now that we are in the early stages of what is likely to be a substantial rise in sea level, we still do not know if Dr. Mercer was right about a dangerous instability that could cause that rise to happen rapidly, in geologic time. We may be getting closer to figuring that out. An intriguing new paper comes from Michael J. O’Leary of Curtin University in Australia and five colleagues scattered around the world. Dr. O’Leary has spent more than a decade exploring the remote western coast of Australia, considered one of the best places in the world to study sea levels of the past…

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8 thoughts on “NYTimes Claim: ‘Clear by now that we are in the early stages of what is likely to be a substantial rise in sea level’”

  1. NYT … that’s a bridge too far !

    BTW, this is how the dill that runs AOL and Huffington Post carries on:

  2. Thirty-five years ago, we were still shaking off the idea of an ice age. By no means “…it was already becoming clear that human emissions would warm the earth…” It’s not clear now, actually.
    Certainly there’ s no evidence that sea level rise is escalating. One could imagine some ice changes that could cause relatively rapid rise in sea level “…on a geologic time scale…” but that’s still veeerrryy slooowwww. And speculation is not even a model.

  3. Wow, that is some digging for this skeer. Must be running out of modern doom and gloom. it seems that they could have done better than dredging up a failed prophecy.
    Mercer’s 1978 paper assumed a doubling of CO2 in 50 years, causing Antarctic deglaciation and 5m sea level rise, in 200 years or less. It seems that Mercer’s projections of CO2 increase, doubling in 50 years, are a bit off, unless someone has a mechanism for ~300 ppm increase in the next 15 years. It looks like if Mercer’s predictions are to be taken as valid, we should be seeing the increase in rate of sea level rise by now. I also thought that the Antarctic was gaining in ice.
    http://www.seas.harvard.edu/climate/eli/Courses/global-change-debates/Sources/18-West-Antarctic-ice-sheets/nature_mercer_1978_wais.pdf

  4. I fully expect the Old Gray Lady will be citing Nostradamus in support of AGW speculation ere long.

  5. If the ice in question is “in a sort of bowl” wouldn’t the result of melting be a (sort of) lake? It being perfectly possible to have lakes which are deeper than “sea level”…

  6. This reminds me of the predictions of the Second Coming of Jesus: It’s over with, sorry you missed it! The Apocalypse is over, and the Romans won (at Masada, 73 CE).
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Post-Glacial_Sea_Level.png

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