Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Shocking Facts about Sea Level Rise

Shocking Facts about Sea Level Rise

Here is what the new IPCC Summary for Policymakers has to say about observed sea level rise:

Global average sea level rose at an average rate of 1.8 [1.3 to 2.3] mm per year over 1961 to 2003. The rate was faster over 1993 to 2003, about 3.1 [2.4 to 3.8] mm per year. Whether the faster rate for 1993 to 2003 reflects decadal variability or an increase in the longer-term trend is unclear.

Although the IPCC would have us believe that sea level rise has been accelerating recently, they are not emphatic about it, and leave open the possibility that decadal variations may be responsible for the perceived rate increase. As shown by Holgate’s new research results that possibility looks like the leading contender.

From this article, we learn from the actual data that (a) sea level is generally rising, (b) the rate of rise decelerated during the 20th century, (c) the rate of sea level rise over the past two decades has been both positive and negative, (d) the rate of sea level rise has been quite small over the last few years, and (e) stations can witness an increase or decrease of sea level quite independently of one another.

At the very least, Holgate shows that the global warming – sea level linkage is far more complicated than typically presented to the public. Or the results show that what the public has been told about sea level rise is simply wrong.

You decide, but the facts look rather obvious to us.


Holgate, S. J., 2007. On the decadal rates of sea level change during the twentieth century, Geophysical Research Letters, 34, L01602, doi:10.1029/2006GL028492.

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