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via As Glaciers Melt, Science Seeks Data on Rising Seas – NYTimes.com.

Scientists long believed that the collapse of the gigantic ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica would take thousands of years, with sea level possibly rising as little as seven inches in this century, about the same amount as in the 20th century.
But researchers have recently been startled to see big changes unfold in both Greenland and Antarctica.

Rising sea levels threaten the livelihood of millions of coastal residents, but no one is planning for the time when they must move.  The biggest problem is that climate scientists are unsure of how much the level will rise – anywhere from 3 to 6 feet, according to the best estimates.  But it could be more.

To a majority of climate scientists, the question is not whether the earth’s land ice will melt in response to the greenhouse gases those people are generating, but whether it will happen too fast for society to adjust.

Sea level has changed many times in the past 4 billion years.  The problem now is that many millions of people live in land that could be underwater by the end of this century.  And half of the of the world’s 6billion-plus people live within 150 miles of a coast, and could be endangered by storm surges.

“The past clearly shows that sea-level rise is getting faster and faster the warmer it gets,” Dr. Rahmstorf said. “Why should that process stop? If it gets warmer, ice will melt faster.”

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One Response

  1. Sea level rise is one of the pillars upon which the concern over global warming is built. One of the most commonly reported projections of sea level rise for the 21st century comes from a Proceedings of the December 2009 National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) article “Global Sea level linked to Global Temperatures” by Vermeer and Rahmstorf.

    Two profound problems with the Vermeer and Rahmstorf article are the fact that they used out-dated sea level data and did not incorporate a vital correction for water that is added to the oceans through depletion of groundwater aquifers.

    Their source for sea level data, Church and White, updated their data at about the same time that the PNAS article was published. A Geophysical Research Letters article this year (Wada, et. al.) has provided very good information on the effect of the groundwater depletion. When the updated Church and White data and the groundwater depletion are accounted for, Vermeer’s and Rahmstorf’s model yields sea level rise projections for the 21st century that are only half of what they reported in the PNAS.

    As far as I can tell, Vermeer and Rahmstorf have never acknowledged the updated Church and White data. They have not published new calculations or a retraction of their projections. Their extreme projection of 1.8 meters for the 21st century still finds its way into various official documents and is widely echoed on the internet.

    The concept of their model was bogus to start with. But even their bogus model yields sea level rises half of what they reported when proper data is input.

    I have written a variety of posts concerning what I see as very serious flaws in this widely read article. Here is a URL to an index of those posts…

    http://climatesanity.wordpress.com/critique-of-global-sea-level-linked-to-global-temperature-by-vermeer-and-rahmstor/

    I suggest you read parts 9 & 10 first.

    Parts 8, 9 & 10 cover the effect of using the updated Church and White sea level data and the groundwater depletion correction. If you feel so inclined, please have a look.

    Best Regards,
    Tom Moriarty
    ClimateSanity.wordpress.com

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