Can scientists really measure a change in sea level over the course of a year, averaged across the world, which is two dimes thick?

Steve Goreham writes in the Washington Times:

Sea level rise is the greatest disaster predicted by Climatism, the belief in catastrophic climate change. Today, leading scientific organizations support the idea that the ocean level is rising due to man-made emissions. Further, they claim to be able to measure ocean level to a high degree of accuracy. But a look at natural ocean variation shows that official sea level measurements are nonsense.

The theory of man-made climate change warns that human emissions of greenhouse gases will raise global temperatures and melt Earth’s icecaps, causing rising oceans and flooding coastal cities. Former Vice President Al Gore’s best-selling book, An Inconvenient Truth, showed simulated pictures of flooding in South Florida, the Netherlands, Bangladesh, and other world locations. Dr. James Hansen predicted an ocean rise of 75 feet during the next 100 years.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated in 2007, “Global average sea level rose at an average rate of 1.8 mm per year over 1961 to 2003. The rate was faster over 1993 to 2003: about 3.1 mm per year.” This translates to a 100-year rise of only 7 inches and 12 inches, far below the dire predictions of the climate alarmists.

But three millimeters is about the thickness of two dimes. Can scientists really measure a change in sea level over the course of a year, averaged across the world, which is two dimes thick?

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7 thoughts on “Can scientists really measure a change in sea level over the course of a year, averaged across the world, which is two dimes thick?”

  1. The sea-level rise data is probably about as good as any of the data. Even the question of CO2 levels has come into some debate. The idea that we know sea level within a couple of dimes width, let alone thickness, is hard to buy at retail. As for knowing temps for a year to a tenth, based on tree rings from about 10 trees — I need a whole lot of convincing on that.

  2. Speaking of CO2. If you consider the quantity of atmosphere we have compared to the quantity of atmosphere we’ve sampled and tested, it is odd how accurate they purport to be. Would you lend any credence to a survey with a sample size that proportionately small? What’s the difference between concentrations over the middle of the ocean vs the middle of Los Angeles? Some quick digging revealed is currently reporting monthly average CO2 concentration to within a hundredth of a part per million. The number of sampling sites? One, conveniently located on the side of the largest active above water volcano on earth. That can’t be relevant to CO2 concentrations, right?

  3. Most non-scientific people don’t have a clue on how much guesswork, assumptions, and extrapolations go into something as simple sounding as measuring sea level. For example, most people don’t know that the Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean are not at the same level on either side of Panama. And the readings are affected by tidal forces, ocean temperatures, gravitational forces, etc. So for a particular measuring point, you have to correct for constant changes in these conditions. And then, your final result is an average of all these statistically massaged readings. But not everyone agrees with what tools (models) should used and how they are used. So questioning a claim of change that’s a very tiny fraction of a percent in a year, is not anti-science, especially when you put the deed to the farm in the pot.
    This is even truer concerning measuring the Earth’s temperature. GISS is constantly fiddling with satellite data, ocean temp data, ground station data, and archival temp data, putting in “correcting” factors. I’ll leave my suspicions about this process for another time.
    Even in the science community itself, accepted results are based more on methodology and statistical averages. There really are no objective “right” answers because it is impossible to have all the knowledge needed to make that claim. Tweak a variable here and a constant there, and the results may vary considerably.

  4. All true. Combine that with the fact that most people have no concept of scale and it’s easy to put out any number you like and whether the reader thinks it’s good or bad will be determined entirely by what adjectives you’ve used. That’s why people can be made to panic over a proposed 100 year temperature change that’s less than the difference between the left and right side of my garden.

  5. That of course brings to mind the health scare industry who might claim that people who do abc activity are 25% more likely to get xyz condition. The actual occurence rates might be 40 in 100,000 population for non-abc and 50 in 100,000 general population for abc users.
    The salient statistic here is that your odds of actually getting xyz are 0.04 % for non-abcs vs. 0.05% for abc’ers. But this is hardly frightening enough for regulation zealots and snake oit salesmen.

  6. I strongly concur with GH05T on CO2 sampling. The Keeling measures taken on Mona Kea are universally accepted as absolute truth about CO2 levels even though it is just one unrepresentative spot on the entire globe. There are no mid-ocean measures other than that, and we must accept Keeling’s method as the “right” method even though past measures, some showing well above 400 ppm, are by different but accepted methods in different places such as Europe. Why skeptics have ignored this lack of replication and lack of world-wide sampling as an issue is beyond me. The Hawaiian site is further contaminated by the robust and increasing CO2 belching development that has characterized the Big Island since the 1950’s. It is well known that the oceans are the major sink and source for CO2 and its various levels. Despite these legitimate reasons for doubt, if we still accept the Keeling data as gospel, the odd thing about the “curve” is that it is not a curve at all but much more like a straight line, in other worlds linear growth, casting further doubt on the catastrophic hypothesis of accelerated CO2 increase leading to catastrophic climate change.

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