Sea Level Data Shatters The Hype

Lots of “hottest years ever” during the last five years. GISS says 2010 is the hottest year ever so far, ahead of 2005. NCDC says that 2010 is tied with 2007 so far as the hottest year ever. We are told that glacial and sea ice melt have been at record levels over the last five years. The Met Office tells us that ocean heat content is at the highest level on record.

Lets do the math. The two things which affect global sea level are glacial melt and water temperature. Given that both of these are supposedly at record levels. sea level would have to be rising at a record rate over the last five years. There is no other option.

In fact, it has done just the opposite. Over the last five years, sea level rise rates have significantly declined, from 3.5 mm/year to 2.0 mm/year. Identical to the rise rate for the last century.

Sea level doesn’t lie, does it?

About Tony Heller

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41 Responses to Sea Level Data Shatters The Hype

  1. Douglas DC says:

    We had a good Nino this year and not much happened in the way of Sea level rise.
    Now we have this whopper La Nina and it is now snowing in the western US.
    Got Wood?

  2. bbttxu says:

    I’ve always wondered if we would eventually see a decline in sea level rates, based solely on the fact that the coastal shores are not vertical walls (bear with me).

    If you have a shallow plate measuring water level in the middle, the second mm of water in that dish will require more volume than the first mm. The third more than the second, etc. until the edge of the dish is breached. Even if the amount of water added to that shallow plate remains constant, the measured increase in the middle would not be constant, rather declining, yet always increasing.

    Likewise, as sea-level rises, the total surface area of the ocean increases as well. It’s possible that the volume of water added remains constant, but as surface area increases, the depth of that increase would lessen, but still be decreasing.


  3. bbttxu says:

    Err, replace “yet always increasing” with “yet always positive” wrt rate. -bbt

  4. Lazarus says:

    “The two things which affect global sea level are glacial melt and water temperature. Given that both of these are supposedly at record levels. sea level would have to be rising at a record rate over the last five years.”

    So just to clarify Steve, you are not saying that sea levels are not rising, just that you think they should be rising more?

    But given the ‘two things which affect global sea level are glacial melt and water temperature’, and sea level is rising, you must agree that glaciers are melting and sea level temps are increasing. ‘There is no other option.’

    • I think the post is very clearly written. What part don’t you understand?

    • Boxorox says:

      Water mining adds another component of sea level rise. In fact, surveys of groundwater that has been pumped to the surface of the earth over the past century all over the world equates to at least half the volume of all the glacial meltwater that has been produced during the same period.

  5. Lazarus says:

    I understand it all.

    I just wanted clarification that you accept that the world is warming, glaciers are melting, and sea levels are rising. As you stated, there is no other option.

    With that knowledge assured then it will be interesting to discuss why the seas are not rising quite as fast as you think they should and examine the flaws in your thinking that has lead you to believe they should.

  6. Lazarus says:

    “Yes, for the past 8,000 years, sea level has been rising while the Earth has been cooling. ”

    How can sea level be rising when the earth has been cooling when ‘The two things which affect global sea level are glacial melt and water temperature.’?

    How has there been glacier melt and increasing water temperatures while the Earth has been cooling?

    Have some logical consistency for goodness sake!

    • mkelly says:

      I started the pot out at 90 C to melt some ice but thought I might want to save alittle money so I turned it down to 40 C. I thought better of it and turned it down again to 10 C. The ice melted although I reduced the heat/temperature. Conclusion Mr. Lazarus is I can reduce the heat/temperature and have ice melt as long as the temperature stays above ….. You fill in the blank.

    • Boxorox says:

      The widely touted thermal expansion of seawater can be essentially dismissed. It amounts to about 1 inch over the past century, at most. Thermal expansion would apply to the topmost 200-500 feet of the world’s ocean, within the intermix zone. The expansion coefficient of thermal expansion of seawater of average salinity is 0.02 percent per one degree C rise in temperature.

  7. Perry says:

    Hell’s teeth. My foot, my foot, it flamin’ hurts. The bloody gun went off. ARRRGH!

    Lazarus, your name appears twice in the bible. Once as a beggar who allegedly received his reward in the hereafter and as Lazarus of the four days. Neither story is gospel, nor do your objections seem kosher. I wonder why you fail to understand the science presented here. Do you have cognitive dissonance, as well as a failed sense of humour?

    • Lazarus says:

      mKelly and Perry,

      Do you not see the failure of basic logic in what Steve has said and has yet to respond to?

      He clearly claims that sea level rise must be due to more water from glacier melt and thermal expansion due to increased heat. As he says; “There is no other option.”.

      Except he has yet to accept that sea level rise is due to increased temperatures and glacier melt and he has subsequently claimed that sea levels are rising but global temperatures are cooling.

      So is there no other option? The whole premise of the post is flawed either way.

      • Boxorox says:

        Start with the obvious: glacial ice melts when it comes into contact with a material that is above the melting point, be it water or air.

        The degree or rate of melting of glacial ice is a function of the amount of thermal energy transferred to the ice. Thus, the higher the temperature of the contact water or air, the greater the rate of ice melting which leads to more meltwater being supplied to the seas.

        Another aspect of this situation is that, as polar ice melts, the ice coverage generally recedes to the higher latitudes (in alpine regions, glaciers retract to higher altitudes) where prevailing average temperatures tend to be lower, closer to the melting point, and thus less prone to rapid melting.

        So, the case can be made that glacial melt may indeed decrease over time, even as temperatures increase globally. I am not convinced that worldwide temps have increased significantly, especially in polar or alpine areas where glaciers lurk. But it seems clear that, melting should be taking place as temperatures remain above the melting point where glaciers are located. An added factor stems from whether the ice melting now is cold (multi-year) ice or new ice. The former requires much more thermal energy to melt than the latter for a given volume.

  8. Ian L. McQueen says:

    I read recently that a quarter of the sea level rise could be atributed to depletion of aquifers.


  9. GolfCharley says:

    Have any countries found it necessary to modify their tidal data to take into account rising sea levels?

    The village of Bosham, approximately 10 miles east of Portsmouth UK, would be particularly vulnerable to a small rise in sea levels. Some of the cottages have modified front doors, but these modifications appear to have been carried out some time ago.

  10. M Carpenter says:

    Ice right to the horizon in one day! Yesterday it was only on the shore line, how many manhattans is that? :o)

  11. JDL says:

    “the two things which affect sea level are glacial melt & water temperature”
    What about sedimentation from thousands of rivers, and tectonic plate movement, and underwater volcanic activity ? If we exclude the latter two above, and consider the ocean basin shape to be unchanging, I would still expect that land erosion from wind, ice, & water, and subsequent sedimentation, might be able to raise the sea level, even in a cooling world

    • Those would affect local sea levels. If one place goes up, somewhere else has to go down, so global sea level doesn’t change. The mass of the Earth is fixed.

      • MikeTheDenier says:

        Steve says “The mass of the Earth is fixed.”

        Really?? You mean the mass of the earth doesn’t increase with every meteor or comet that strikes? If a another really big one strikes again and blows a mass of debris out into space (like the one that most likely created the moon) that would not change the mass of the planet?

        How about all the space junk floating above our heads in earth orbit?

      • Boxorox says:

        With regard to MikeTheDinier’s response to this idea that “The mass of the Earth is fixed,” overall, I agree with that assessment. Yes, the Earth gains something on the order of 10,000 tons of matter each day from cosmic debris and micrometeors and such which fall upon Earth relentlessly. However, even over centuries and millions of years, the accumulated added mass is miniscule. Proportionately, I think the average haircut–even a major haircut–has a greater effect on a person’s body mass by comparison.

        The volume of the several ocean basins is measured in the thousands of cubic kilometers, while the annual infall of debris from extraterrestrial sources is only cubic meters. So, it is not completely accurate to say that the mass of the Earth is fixed, but for the sake of the topic at hand, it should be accepted as a given.

    • Brendon says:

      I have read (somewhere) that sedimentation and the capture of water in dams has been given consideration in some papers on sea level rise.

  12. Gneiss says:

    stevengoddard writes,
    “Lets do the math….
    Over the last five years, sea level rise rates have significantly declined, from 3.5 mm/year to 2.0 mm/year.”

    Being skeptical by nature, sometimes I like to do the math. Using CU’s sea level data (inverse barometer and seasonally corrected), the trend since the start of the satellite data series in 1992 to their most recent published value is 2.97 mm/year.

    If someone is not a Real Scientist, though, and wants to cherry pick a starting year other than 1992 to make the slope appear less steep, I recommend 2005 as the very best choice. Anything more older or more recent, and that darn slope goes up again!

    years, mm/year rise
    1992-2010, 2.97
    1995-2010, 2.97
    2000-2010, 2.50
    2001-2010, 2.31
    2002-2010, 2.13
    2003-2010, 2.08
    2004-2010, 2.01
    2005-2010, 1.99
    2006-2010, 2.43
    2007-2010, 3.27
    2008-2010, 3.37
    2009-2010, 3.12
    2010, 3.09

    • A real scientist would look at the data and observe that the slope has been lower during the last five years – at a time when global warming hype has gone through the ceiling.

      Apparently the ice does not listen to Al Gore.

    • daniel says:

      Hi there Gneiss,

      You have no idea of the ability and scope to which data is cherry picked in regards to sea level rise. To your shame however you do not realise that the worst cherry pickers are warmists like you. I have already argued at length with wannabe’s on the website “Skeptical Science”

      on this issue. They are fool headed zealots who cannot see the smoke through the mirrors.

      Ask yourself a question. Is the current rate of sea level rise unusual relative to past SLR rates? How do we know that? What can we compare it to? How certain are we of changes or lack of changes in past sea level rise rates?

      The data presented here, if globally averaged, is a huge blow to the alarmist mentality that 1) Climate science is the shiznit (Hasn’t got the cohesive undeniable “meshing” of different data sets they love to gloat about) or 2) Sea levels will rise un-controlably over the coming decades or centuries (or some unsubstantiated nonsense like that).

      No, there is a huge cherry pick done by the warmists, they look only at usually controversial data sets over the last 30 or 100 years and try and use that as a basis for panic without having the reliable data to compare to over past centuries.

    • Greg says:

      So where were these “Sea level” rises measure from? The sea moves up and down depending on El Nino/La Nina, how much the moon and sun are pulling it. Then we have the continents rebounding after the ice age. So we are talking about mm moves, wake me up when it moves 10metres/year like it has in the past !

  13. Gneiss says:

    Brendon writes,
    “A real scientist would also consider if such slopes are statistally significant.”

    I considered that too. All the slopes in my note above are statistically significant at p<.001, until we drastically truncate the sample just to 2009-2010 (p<.05) or 2010 only (n.s.).

    I'm curious exactly what test stevengoddard performed, to conclude that
    "sea level rise rates have significantly declined".

    • Boxorox says:

      Forget the “significantly” part of the statement. That sea level rise rates have declined, and noticeably so according to the plotted data, is where the significance enters the picture. If the slope of the plotted points over time decreases, even without declining, thus the slope remains non-negative, then it signals a decrease in the rate of sea level increase.

  14. Gneiss says:

    stevengoddard writes,
    “A real scientist would look at the data and observe that the slope has been lower during the last five years”

    Lower than what? Choosing start dates of 2006 or later appears to yield higher slopes than any earlier start. Not that picking start dates for such reasons is Real Science.

    • Boxorox says:

      If we could exhaustively gather sea level data from the age of the Medieval Warming about 1000-1200 years ago, we could get a sense that maybe sea levels have been declining over the past millennia. We would also have to account for icostatic rebound of continental margins where the ground continues to spring upward in response to the removal of ice mass from the latest glacial maximum. That uprise in ground levels, on the order of inches per year in Scandavia for example, could influence a measurable change in sea levels over centuries.

  15. Greg says:

    Antarctica holds 70% of freshwater on earth, Antarctica particular east is growing in ice, so basically there will be no sea increase, as if Greenland/Arctic start melting Antarctica grows.

    This sea level rubbish is the biggest hoax ever worse then the CO2 myth. We could say sea level has dropped, because Ephesus is like 5 miles inland!

    • Brendon says:

      When you look at the whole of Antarctica, not just the east, then it is losing mass.

      There goes your theory.

      • Scarlet Pumpernickel says:

        Overall it’s gaining mass, especially the east, there goes your theory why do you think sea level is static, because you didn’t flush the toilet today?

  16. daniel says:

    Honestly ladies and Gents, read up on papers used to determine past sea levels over the last millennium. It doesn’t take a sharp eye to see the folly the warmists are up to. Just like in the temperature record (or perhaps worse in this case) there is no reliable data to make meaningful comparisons to.

  17. JohnH says:

    Anyone checked what datum is being used for the satellite altimetry? Is it reliable and non-subjective?

  18. Pingback: Global Warming Hoax Weekly Round-Up, Oct 28th 2010 « The Daily Bayonet

  19. NikFromNYC says:

    Broken link: “sea level rise rates have significantly declined,”

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