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Monday, September 17, 2007
Sea-Level Slowdown?

By World Climate Report

We have heard a million times that if we don’t stop emitting greenhouse gases, our inexcusable actions will result in a warmer earth, and the warming of the planet will cause icecaps and mountain glaciers to melt and sea level to rise. Island nations will be drowned, coastlines around the world will go underwater, Florida will cease to exist, and the World Trade Center Memorial could someday be a sight seen only by scuba enthusiasts.

We have covered this sea-level rise issue many times in the past at World Climate Report and we fully agree that sea level is rising – sea level has been somewhat steadily rising for the past 10,000 years. During the last glacial advance, a large amount of fresh water was tied up in ice, and as the glaciation ended, that water returned to the oceans. Furthermore, as the earth warmed up following the last glacial advance, thermal expansion of the ocean water occurred, and sea level rose even more. There is little doubt that the sea-level rise will continue into the future, but the rate of rise is the focus of an interesting paper published recently in Global and Planetary Change by a team of scientists from France and Spain.

When the authors (Wöppelmann et al.) factored their measurements of land motion into the estimate of sea-level rise, they determined a global value of 1.31 ±0.30 mm per year compared to the 1.8±0.5 mm per year value given by the IPCC for the recent half century. We understand that the IPCC acknowledges a low-end value of 1.3 mm per year in their estimate, but another way to look at this article is that Wöppelmann et al. just reduced observed sea-level rise by 27%! Perhaps the IPCC should reconsider whether they still have high confidence that the rate of sea level rise has in fact increased from the 19th to the 20th century.Of course, these results gained absolutely no press coverage whatsoever – imagine the coverage they would have received had their results increased sea-level rise by 27% and suggested that sea level rise was occurring faster then previous research indicated!  See full report here.

Posted on 09/17 at 10:23 PM
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