Quote of the Week – what Durban is really about

Quote of the Week – what Durban is really about” (2011-12-11). Anthony Watts thinks that esteemed climate scientist “Cal65” (aka random anonymous commenter) has managed to get to the core truth about the purpose of the Durban climate conference which has, infuriatingly, achieved positive results:

The UN plan will shift wealth from the first world’s poor to the third world’s rich without making any difference in climate control.

That was a real stretch, huh? The invisible hand of the secret commie world government revealed again!

Those “whiny grifters known as the Maldives” are building airports, which clearly means they know that the sea-level won’t actually change for at least eleventy hundred years. Therefore:

“Anything coming out of the mouths of Maldives officials related to climate, CO2, or sea level is pure bullshit.”

I love the nuance of Anthony’s usual noisy arguments:

  1. “Tuvalu and many other South Pacific Islands are not sinking, claims they are due to global warming driven sea level rise are opportunistic.” Good lead! This is as close as Anthony can get to a verifiable claim. Too bad the authors of the paper he’s trying to misconstrue have been summarized thus: “Webb and Kench warn that while the islands are coping for now, any acceleration in the rate of sea-level rise could overtake the sediment build up. Calculating how fast sea levels will rise over the coming decades is uncertain science, and no one knows how fast the islands can grow.
  2.  “The Maldives can’t take a joke.” Yeah, that’s it! Anthony’s spittle is a joke! Roll with it, dudes.
  3. Willis Eschenbach are smart and he says islands FLOAT! Really Anthony? You’re trying to show that the reaction of the Maldives government to rising sea-levels is “FAIL” and you cite Willis? You should have saved him for last and hoped that your readers wandered away before reading this bit.
  4. “The sea level is actually dropping.” It’s called statistics, Anthony. You’re not using them right. (But you know that.)
  5. Lorne Gunther (a virulent right-wing columnist) says that kooky Nils-Axel Mörner can prove that sea-level ”hasn’t risen in 50 years.” Yes, ignore the sea-level charts you shoved in our faces in point 4, Anthony.
  6. The Maldives government is building things! So is Iceland, and they gots volcanoes. Not everything is intended to last eleventy hundred years.
  7. Airports too! So is the US military in Afghanistan.
  8. The Maldives tricked the USA into giving them $30 billion! Maybe you should change the battery in your Casio.

Anthony, you’re experiencing a panic attack. Frankly we were all a bit surprised that the Durban conference managed to achieve something. Please breathe into a paper bag for the rest of the day, OK?

NASA notes sea level is falling in press release – but calls it a “Pothole on Road to Higher Seas”

NASA notes sea level is falling in press release – but calls it a “Pothole on Road to Higher Seas” (2011-08-24). Anthony Watts reminds his readers that if an increase doesn’t happen every single year then it’s not happening. And a NASA press release admits that sea-level didn’t rise in 2010! You’d think after all the denialist accusations them gubmint scientists would be better at falsifying observations to prove whatever they wanted.

So the slight reversal of sea-level increase (which was not happening anyway) means that sea-level rise has stopped (even though it wasn’t happening anyway). Therefore humanity’s CO2 emissions, which don’t cause warming, are not causing climate change (which isn’t happening anyway). Got it?

So we have years of Anthony and his pals claiming that rising temperatures and sea-level are all down to various vague and supposedly cyclic natural causes and definitely not man-made causes. Of course actual scientists have always factored in natural influences and have studied them in great depth to determine their contributions. But here the natural causes are suddenly discounted by the denialist arm-chair critics.

Willis Eschenbach adds a deep scientific insight by noting that Greenland received more precipitation than usual in 2010, so it’s glaciers are apparently not in danger after-all, thus disproving global warming once and for all. Willis somehow didn’t notice that the satellite precipitation data is considered incorrect for that region… And his analysis of NASA’s discussion of the causes of the dip in sea-level dispenses with even a cocktail napkin this time around. Sounds like he’s talking about himself when he pontificates:

When people make claims like that, with no numbers attached, my Urban Legend Detector™ goes off like crazy … and in this case, it was right.

Oh noes! Sea level rising three times faster than expected (again)

Oh noes! Sea level rising three times faster than expected (again). (May 2, 2011) Anthony Watts tells us that a Danish newspaper article about sea-level rise is another crazy warmist exaggeration. How can expected sea-level rise suddenly be three times higher than earlier predictions? Also, the article photo has a funny-looking foreigner wearing a beret in it. Chuckle with superiority and don’t think about it too much I guess.

The Danish newspaper article (Anthony apparently follows Azerbaijan news closely, as that’s what he links to) says:

Sea levels were estimated to rise between 0.9 and 1.6 metres by the year 2100 according to the findings by the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP), cited by Danish daily Politiken, DPA reported.

These are not new numbers. When a newspaper covers this topic these estimates will be present as even Anthony’s 2009 Google search screen capture shows. The IPCC 2007 Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) estimate of 0.3m to 0.9m has long been considered too cautious. Perhaps Anthony thinks that newspapers should only write about something once? He’s free to repeat his misinformation ad nauseam though I guess, because he digs straight in and sticks to a favorite theme.

Anthony’s rebuttal is to talk about the rate of current sea-level rise (what, it’s rising? Oops) while pretending to disprove predicted sea-level rise by 2100. Just one of the many dull-witted misdirections he’s been performing for years. Unfortunately it only works for heads already bouncing up and down in agreement.

Anthony turns to his sea-level citizen-scientist, Willis Eschenbach, for what passes for confirmation (yes, my eyes roll too when I see that name). OMG it’s true, sea-level rise probably isn’t accelerating at the moment! In fact if you cross your eyes and decide that two years is a meaningful period of time, you can even pretend it’s sort of slowing down. Global warming, which wasn’t happening, is over! Stock up on blankets and woolly socks!

A plot of sea-level rise anomaly, not sea-level.

Of course sea-level is still, you know, rising.

More Arctic & sea level “worse than we thought” scare stories

More Arctic & sea level “worse than we thought” scare stories (May 4, 2011). Steven Goddard, alternately an embarrassment to even Anthony Watts and then the next great thinker, is back in the limelight. Steven, just like Bob Tisdale a few days ago, thinks that straight lines are the best way to describe environmental changes. Pick two useful points and connect ’em. Job done.

Anthony’s deep insight into the the Lund University report, Effects of climate change in the Arctic more extensive than expectedis that this is “nothing more than recycled alarm” but the report is confirmation of Arctic climate change, not newly invented fears. Perhaps Anthony wants to frame the report so his readers won’t, well, read it. They could encounter facts there.

Who said that sea-level rise will be linear? Even the Steven Goddard chart above that Anthony thinks is so “telling” shows it’s clearly happening. That’s the recycling here, of  a denialist straw-man. Beyond this misrepresentation Anthony and Steven make no further argument.

From the report:

A much reduced covering of snow, shorter winter season and thawing tundra. The effects of climate change in the Arctic are already here. And the changes are taking place significantly faster than previously thought.

“The changes we see are dramatic. And they are not coincidental. The trends are unequivocal and deviate from the norm when compared with a longer term perspective”, she says.

“It is clear that great changes are at hand. It is all happening in the Arctic right now. And what is happening there affects us all”, says Margareta Johansson.

Perhaps Anthony and Steven think that the climate scientists here are deliberately lying to us in order to collect their 200 secret alarmist pay cheques from Maurice Strong?

Bangladesh, the Poster Child

Bangladesh, the Poster Child. B.Quartero guest posts for Anthony Watts that Bangladesh’s ‘climate risk’ is simply about living on a massive river delta. The delta will magically stay balanced with changes in sea-level because of sediment deposition, “almost by definition”. So don’t worry about them!

This is classic past equals present don’t-worryism. Natural conditions have not been maintained. Reduced sediment volumes in the Ganges-Brahmaputra delta owing to climate change means that we have no clear idea if sediment deposition will keep pace with sea-level rise. But they’re all poor and brown, so it doesn’t really matter anyway. “Learn to swim!”

Geologically speaking, deltas “sink” if sediment intake doesn’t balance compaction + sea-level rise and “grow” laterally if sediment intake exceeds that balance. So can the 1 mm/year of flood deposition continue? Will it keep pace with sea-level rise and sediment compaction? B.Quartero is optimistic, but offers no evidence in support of this (even a single reference would be start).

Here’s something brought to my attention, from Nicholls & Goodbred (2004), Towards Integrated Assessment of the Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta:

This early-Holocene mangrove facies has been recognized across the entire delta front indicating that the coastal ecosystem was widespread, and radiocarbon dates and deposit thickness indicate the environment’s long-term stability (GOODBRED and KUEHL, 2000b). In terms of delta response, that the Ganges-Brahmaputra system was able to maintain coastal stability under 30 meters of sea-level rise at rates exceeding 1 cm/yr is not a result recognized by traditional deltaic models.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed that the future situation be stable enough to allow millions of people to live there and grow a crop a year.

Pielke on ground water extraction causing sea level rise

Pielke on ground water extraction causing sea level rise. Roger Pielke Dr. discovers a new excuse for why sea-level is rising – groundwater extraction! Yes, we’re sucking our way to oblivion. Groundwater extraction is causing sea-level rise! No need to turn off the power plants after-all.

A rising tide floats all boats? Source: Wikipedia.

Actually, Groundwater extraction is a well-known contributor to local subsidence. Happens over oil fields. Happens in areas of intensive irrigation by groundwater. Happens naturally in river deltas as the weight of new sediments squeezes water out of underlying sediment. Happens over underground mining operations sometimes. Is it really the cause of sea-level rise, or just a contributing factor?

I wonder what the article Pielke Sr. briefly notes and that Anthony Watts wants us to believe is YAFNCSLR (Yet Another Final Nail in the Coffin of Sea-Level Rise) really says?

“Although the role of groundwater depletion in rising sea levels had already been acknowledged, it was not addressed in the most recent IPCC report due to a lack of reliable data to illustrate the severity of the situation. Our study confirms that groundwater depletion is, in fact, a significant factor.” (italics mine)

Hmm… They suggest that about a quarter of the sea-level rise can be attributed to groundwater extraction, which of course means that Pielke and Watts are conveniently forgetting the other three-quarters. Still, that’s 7.62928887 × 1013 gallons of groundwater drawn out every year! An interesting topic, but for Pielke and Watts it’s just a useful factoid that has served the purpose of distracting their readers.

It’s tiresome to repeat these criticisms, but why does Pielke Sr. have to keep making false representations about AGW?

“This is yet another paper that shows the interconnection among the components of the climate system. The attribution of a climate effect (in this case sea level rise) to just one cause (e.g. ocean warming and glacial melt due to positive radiative forcing from anthropogenic greenhouse gases) is too narrow of a perspective.”

Show me a scientific paper that claims that modern sea-level rise is entirely due to AGW! He’s dismissing an argument that was never made. (That’s called a straw-man.)

IPCC sea level prediction – not scary enough

IPCC sea level prediction – not scary enough“. How dare the scientists improve their sea level predictions and come up with higher values! They must be using a trick. Anthony Watts just copies and pastes the Niels Bohr Institute news release about a forthcoming paper in Geophysical Research Letters and counts on his readers to rage in the comments.

Recent studies agree that sea level will rise by roughly one meter over this century for a mid- range emission scenario.

The IPCC’s sea level predictions are considered very conservative by many climatologists, although you wouldn’t think so from the denialist accusations. The new data and models suggest a rough tripling of the expected 100 year sea level rise.