Sea-Level Rise

In the context of the report released on Friday, Judith Curry has issued her own final report on it:

Why have I devoted so much time to the sea level rise issue? First, I regard sea level rise to be the most consequential potential impact of predicted global warming. Second, there is a great deal of public confusion about the issue, including decision makers. Third, a number of CFAN’s clients have queried me about a range of specific concerns that they have regarding sea level rise (and I have been doing consulting on this topic).

Why do I think an independent assessment of the sea level rise issue by yours truly is needed, given the plethora of international and national assessment reports? My clients are concerned about the alarmist predictions they have encountered. I have seen various ‘experts’ make public statements projecting 21st century sea level to be as high as 9 m [30 feet]. My clients are looking for someone that they trust to provide an objective assessment that focuses on their issues of concern.

I am not a published expert on sea level rise, although I have published some relevant papers in oceanography and the climate dynamics of the polar regions. What I bring to this assessment is a broader perspective on the issues of climate dynamics, climate modeling and uncertainty than most of the community working on the sea level rise issue. In any event, it is arguably useful for a knowledgeable person outside of the publishing sea level community to provide an independent assessment.

Yes. It will be interesting to see the response from the alarmists, if any.

8 thoughts on “Sea-Level Rise”

  1. As I’ve said before… if it were possible to hand the keys of global climate policy to a single person, so that I would never have to worry about it again — Judith Curry would be that person.

    So, of course, she is vilified by the Michael Manns of the world.

      1. I won’t deny my Georgia Tech bias, but I actually discovered Dr. Curry through her blog, and sought her out on campus afterwards. (Before she, and I, joined the Great Georgia Tech Talent Diaspora of 2015-2017.) She’s a rare voice of rationality in a “debate” that’s driven far too much by polarized politics on both sides.

  2. Another factor not mentioned in any of these predictions and related conditions, is vertical movement of land masses. A tilt of a fraction of a second of a tectonic plate several hundred miles across would mean a variation in sea level if you were standing on that plate. And we are all standing on one of those plates. No mention of Honshu here, but I heard it moved 8 feet laterally in the Fukushima quake. Might it have moved a few millimeters up or down during this activity?

    1. There are multiple such factors. In addition to seismic movement like you describe (for certain faults, you can see meters of up and down motion during the largest earthquakes), there’s glacial rebound (where land rises after no longer having the weight of thick layers of ice – can range up to kilometers thick), settling due to the weight of sediment or dead vegetation (many river estuaries and marshes experience this), and rising and lowering of local sea level due to ocean currents pushing water in or pulling it away.

      The thing is, these are all local effects and generally can be separated from global sea level rise with little trouble.

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