Is Sea Level Rising?

Climate change alarmists portray a catastrophic rise in sea level as one of the chief dangers of global warming. They draw pictures of the Statue of Liberty up to her chest in water, and so on. I doubt whether many people actually believe these dire predictions, however. If they did, prices for oceanfront property would be collapsing. That isn’t happening, which suggests that a lot of people pay lip service to global warming hysteria who don’t actually think it has any scientific basis.

If they don’t believe it, they’re right. Here, as in so many instances, global warming alarmism is built on a skinny foundation of truth. Sea level is indeed rising, as it has been for something like 15,000 years, since the end of the last Ice Age. At one time, sea level rose rapidly, as the giant glaciers that covered most of the Northern Hemisphere melted. For the last 6,000 years, the melting and consequent sea level rise has been relatively constant and modest:

At The Week That Was, SEPP comments:

Geophysicist Dennis Hadke compared the claim of drastic sea level rise with what is actually occurring in ten coastal cities with long and reliable records of rise (from tidal gages). He calculates linear fits, regression lines, for each of the ten cities. Not surprisingly for TWTW readers, he finds:

There has been no dramatic and consistent sea-level rise in the past century, and projections show no dramatic rise is likely to occur in the coming century.

There is no correlation between CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere and sea-level rise.

The work of Hadke concurs with retired NASA meteorologist Thomas Wysmuller discussed in the January 28 TWTW. Wysmuller explored the correlation between CO2 and sea level rise and found no measurable linkage between Sea Level and CO2. As Wysmuller stated:

For the past 2,000 years, Sea Level rise was unchangingly linear, increasing between 1 & 1.5 mm/yr. The maximum rise is about 6 inches per century. This has continued for the past 135 years, even though CO2 concentrations have increased by 38%.

It must be remembered that in addition to the ocean rising gradually–very gradually–as ice continues to melt, slowly, the Earth also subsides. But subsidence is local, depending on soil conditions in a particular place. Cities that are built partly on landfills, like Miami, are especially likely to sink. When you read in the newspapers about alarming conditions caused by rapidly rising sea levels, it is almost certain that what is mostly happening is that the land is subsiding.

So, unless the prices paid for beach properties suddenly plummet, you can be confident that hysteria over rising sea levels is just one aspect of financially-motivated global warming hysteria.

One last thing about the Statue of Liberty sinking beneath the waves, a common theme on the left: every now and then, we encounter a meme that is so stupid that we can’t let it pass. Like this one:

This meme is a collector’s item because it is dumb on multiple levels. First, there is no prospect of the sea overtaking the Statue of Liberty; not in the next few millennia, anyway, and by then we may be well into the next Ice Age, with sea level falling once again.

Second, the claim that there “[aren’t] any gun background checks” is idiotic. Millions of such background checks are done every year. I myself have gone through five of them. Whoever wrote this has no idea what he is talking about.

And finally, the meme is a non sequitur. There is zero relationship between rising sea levels and gun laws. There is, in other words, no point to the point. It is typical of global warming hysteria that it causes liberals to argue really, really badly.


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