by Charles Clough
May 17, 2016
physicist Charles Clough, Bel Air, MD, is retired chief
of the U.S. Army Atmospheric Effects Team at the
Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD; retired Lt. Col., U.S. Air
Force Reserve Weather Officer; President of Biblical
Framework Ministries; adjunct Professor at Chafer
Theological Seminary, Albuquerque, NM; and a Fellow of
Cornwall Alliance for the
Stewardship of Creation.
Sea-level Rise - Faster than Ever?
These are stinging
words from retired atmospheric physicist Charles Clough.
He quickly debunks
the fear-mongering of rising ocean levels that
supposedly will wipe out hundreds of million of coastal
dwellers. In short, it is a scam.
wannabe-scientists are twisting existing data,
fabricating new data out of thin air and then applying
faulty logic to arrive at fantastical conclusions.
Such is the
Technocrat mindset and practice.
Simulation of San
with 80 meter rise in
In yet another instance of the media
jumping on the climate alarmist bandwagon,
The New York Times this past February boldly headlined "Seas Are
Rising at Fastest Rate in Last 28 centuries."
The article went on to proclaim,
"the worsening of tidal flooding in
coastal communities is largely a consequence of greenhouse gases
from human activity, and the problem will grow far worse in
coming decades, scientists reported Monday."
"Worsening tidal flooding" - "grow far
worse" - scary words for coastal inhabitants, but do they help the
reader understand what the two reports (here
Do they help the
reader evaluate what was reported?
Or does the NYT wording continue
the intellectually shallow but emotionally potent sea-level terror
Al Gore's movie,
An Inconvenient Truth?
The two reports published in the
Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS) made several
During pre-industrial history (prior to 1860), global sea
level rose at an average rate of 0.1 to 0.3 mm/yr. From 1860 to 1900 it rose at an average
rate of 0.4 mm/yr, and from 1900 to the present it has been rising
at 1.4 mm/yr.
The studies project for various
hypothetical CO2 emission-increase scenarios
during this 21st century a total rise in global sea level
between 1 ft and 2.5 ft.
First, observe that "tidal
flooding" is not the same as the spectacular "storm-surge"
that accompanies severe coastal storms like Sandy or the
fictionalized surge in the 2004 apocalyptic sci-fi film The
Day After Tomorrow.
Such surges can easily exceed the
reports' estimated increase in tidal flooding by ten times
You probably wouldn't know that
from media stories like the NYT piece. Mitigation of known
storm surge damage could protect coastal communities from
the worst guesses of sea-level rise for the rest of this
Second, forecasting sea-level
rise involves even more guesswork than forecasting global
warming. Actual sea-level direct measurement data exist
only for a century and a half and only for a few regions of
Even in the world's best
documented region, the eastern North Sea and Baltic region,
tide-gage records of sea-level measurement are less than 200
Estimates of sea-level changes
over 28 centuries necessarily rely upon layers of
interpretation of various proxies such as evidence of
shoreline changes. Extensive modeling, therefore, is
required as the two PNAS papers demonstrate. Each model
element to some degree has to involve guesswork.
Resulting estimates of sea-level
rise rates vary from 1.15 mm/yr to about 3 mm/yr - a
considerable variation for any long-term projections.
Third, tide gages and proxies
give relative sea-level, not absolute sea-level. They show
sea-level relative to the land level. Absolute sea-level
measurements from satellite only began in the early 90s -
too recent to establish significant trends.
To obtain absolute sea-level
measurements from relative measurements or proxies,
scientists have to correct for many variables - vertical
changes in both land and ocean basin levels, ocean salinity
changes, overland glacial decreases and increases,
on-shore-off-shore prolonged winds, and gravitational
interactions between the earth and lunar orbits.
Sea level rise
Image from WUWT
archive for purpose of illustration.
Would readers of media headline articles
Finally, there is the problem of
learning how long the oceans take to reach equilibrium once there is
a change in global temperature.
Temperatures have been generally rising
and sea-levels with them ever since the end of the ice age thousands
of years ago. But there have been numerous up-and-down oscillations
in this general trend, none of which is well understood.
Are we in one or more of these
Given these caveats in the reasoning
behind the claim that "seas are rising at the fastest rate in the
last 28 centuries," it comes as no surprise that renowned experts in
the field like Dr. Nils-Axel Mörner of Sweden don't take
these reports seriously.
Mörner challenges one of the PNAS
papers, pointing out several of its conflicts with actual
Nowhere do global tide gauges show
valid increases in the rate of sea-level rise, and new satellite
altimetry of absolute sea-level when carefully calibrated shows
a mean rise of 0.5 mm/yr, not the modeled 1.4 mm/yr.
Since atmospheric CO2
emission levels do not correlate with such changes prior to the
industrial age, the upward trend in temperature and sea level will
continue regardless of the political campaign to impose
economy-destroying carbon asceticism on the world's population.
Readers of such articles ought to heed
the advice of Harvard oceanographer Roger Revelle (whom Al
Gore claimed taught him fear of global warming's planetary effects).
Revelle's last published article
(co-authored with S. Fred Singer and Chauncey Starr) before his
death was entitled "What to Do about Global Warming: Look before You
Leap" (Cosmos 1 (1991): 28–33).