Sea Level Changes

I have spent 55 years in the engineering profession where ignoring the evidence often kills people. Thus I am predisposed to look at the evidence before drawing conclusions.

Many articles and claims about sea levels are in conflict with the evidence.

For instance, sea level has been rising at something between 2 and 3 mm per year since the end of the Little ice age. As you can see from the graph, there is no indication that the rate of sea level rise is increasing. There is some indication that the rate of rise has reduced slightly since 2006.


In addition, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology set up a chain of sea level measuring stations around Australia and in the Pacific that are the most accurate in the world. As you can see from the chart, the sea level at Tuvalu dropped markedly during the 1997 – 1998 El Niño and since 2000 it has been substantially constant. Claims that Tuvalu is sinking beneath rising sea levels caused by man-made carbon dioxide therefore cannot be true. it is most unfortunate that many people who choose to spread this rumour have not bothered to look at the data. It is particularly unfortunate for the population of Tuvalu because they have been told that their very real problems with erosion are beyond their control when, in fact, they have largely caused them by taking too much fresh water out of the water table and by mining the reef for coral to reclaim land. If the powers that be recognised that this is the case, then aid could be concentrated on solving the real problems, not the imaginary ones.

One division is 100 mm.


Others claim that Pacific Islands are disappearing. Once again, this does not stack up against the evidence:

Bryan Leyland MSc, FIEE(rtd), FIMechE, FIPENZ.

Sun is the Major Control of Climate; Look for Cooling – Australian Professor

Professor Cliff Ollier of the School of Earth and Environmental Studies, the University of Western Australia, recently presented a paper in Poznan, Poland, in which he described the sun as the major control of climate, but not through greenhouse gases.

Abstract. The threat of dangerous climate change from anthropogenic global warming has decreased. Global temperature rose from 1975 to 1998, but since then has levelled off. Sea level is now rising at about 1.5mm per year based on tide gauges, and satellite data suggests it may even be falling. Coral islands once allegedly threatened by drowning have actually increased in area. Ice caps cannot possibly slide into the sea (the alarmist model) because they occupy kilometres-deep basins extending below sea level. Deep ice cores show a succession of annual layers of snow accumulation back to 760,000 years and in all that time never melted, despite times when the temperature was higher than it is today. Sea ice shows no change in 30 years in the Arctic. Emphasis on the greenhouse effect stresses radiation and usually leads to neglect of important factors like convection. Water is the main greenhouse gas. The CO2 in the ocean and the atmosphere are in equilibrium: if we could remove CO2 from the atmosphere the ocean would give out more to restore the balance. Increasing CO2 might make the ocean less alkaline but never acid. The sun is now seen as the major control of climate, but not through greenhouse gases. There is a very good correlation of sunspots and climate. Solar cycles provide a basis for prediction. Solar Cycle 24 has started and we can expect serious cooling. Many think that political decisions about climate are based on scientific predictions but what politicians get are projections based on computer models. The UN’s main adviser, the IPCC, uses adjusted data for the input, their models and codes remain secret, and they do not accept responsibility for their projections.

The paper: [PDF, 248 KB]

Hansen Claims Oceans will Boil

Prominent climate alarmist James Hansen claims that the wisps of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere could melt all the ice caps, cause the ocean to boil and that would be the end for all of us.

Listen to the him trying to scare us witless:

Are we and the fishes and the corals in danger of being cooked?

The diagram below shows that the Pacific Ocean surface temperature is not rising – in fact it looks to be slowly turning into a cooling phase. The seasonal variations caused by the sun are obvious, but there is no correlation between this horizontal trend of temperature and the rising trend of the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere.



Carbon Dioxide and the Oceans – temperature controls carbon dioxide, not the reverse.

71% of the earth’s surface is covered by water and large areas of the land are covered by frozen water. Water and water vapour are also significant components of the atmosphere.

The atmosphere and its trace component of carbon dioxide is a very thin skin in close contact with the surface of all of this water. Carbon dioxide is very soluble in water and Henry’s Law says that as the temperature of water changes the quantity of carbon dioxide dissolved in that water will change.

Thus if the sea surface temperature increases, carbon dioxide will be expelled to the atmosphere just like carbon dioxide bubbles are expelled from a warming beer. And as sea surface temperature falls, carbon dioxide will dissolve in the cooling water and this reduces the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

This effect can be seen in seasonal, medium term and long term trends.

The seasonal variation in atmospheric content of carbon dioxide is well known, and the huge southern oceans are key players. See the short paper by Bob Beatty on the carbon dioxide cycle at : [PDF, 689 KB]

When it is winter in the southern hemisphere, the cold surface water of the oceans absorb carbon dioxide and the content of carbon dioxide in the air falls suddenly by about 4 ppm. This is reversed when the southern oceans warm in summer, and the carbon dioxide is expelled from the oceans. (The seasonal summer growth and winter fall of northern hemisphere vegetation adds to this seasonal fluctuation caused mainly by the southern oceans.)

On a medium time scale (21 year moving average) Professor Lance Endersbee published a short paper in August 2008 and he concluded that the oceans regulate the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the influence of human-generated carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is negligible. His paper included the following diagram:


See full article at: endersbee-co2-and-oceans.pdf [PDF, 490 KB; Source: ATSE No 151, August 2008.]

See also this paper by Alan MacRae: [PDF, 286 KB]

On longer time scales, ocean mixing caused by deep ocean currents causes long term changes in ocean temperatures. These changes also affect long term carbon dioxide trends. Carbon dioxide held in large quantities in cold deep ocean water is slowly released as ocean currents mix this cold water with warmer surface water. The reverse occurs as the sea surface cools, absorbs carbon dioxide and the cold dense water sinks to the ocean floor.

The most dramatic evidence of this lagged response comes from ice core data. These show that significant turning points in temperature precede the corresponding turning points in carbon dioxide content in air by between 650 and 1600 years.


Henry’s Law can and has been tested in laboratory experiments. The other data provides additional evidence for the conclusion that the major factor regulating carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, on all time scales, is the temperature of the oceans. Ocean temperature is controlled by solar cycles, cloud cover, ocean currents and undersea volcanism.

Viv Forbes

Government Science – Cowed and Corrupted by Politics

The Carbon Sense Coalition today claimed that government science bodies in Australia had become cowed and corrupted by politicians.

The Chairman of “Carbon Sense”, Mr Viv Forbes, said that following the lead of the climate alarmists infecting the government owned ABC, CSIRO, BOM and most state and federal science departments were now singing the government song on climate.

“It’s time to de-politicise the Australian government climate science industry.”

More items in this newsletter:

Skeptical books – the trickle becomes a flood

  • Climate Change Lunacy
  • Climate the Counter Consensus

The Good, the Bad, the Ugly and the Hilarious

  • Wind Power Explodes
  • The Great Wall of Queensland
  • Environmental Extremism turns a Young Family’s Dream into a Nightmare
  • CCNet – regular news on Climate Policy
  • The Last Word

Read the full article: [PDF, 50 KB]

South Pacific Sea Level Changes

“The individual sea level records obtained from the SEAFRAME study on 12 Pacific Islands have all been assessed by the anonymous authors of the official reports as indicating positive trends in sea level over all 12 Pacific Islands involved since the study began in 1993. This assessment studies individual records and finds that all of them show no change of sea level in almost all of the records following the 1998 cyclones. It is considered that cyclones and tsunamis not only induce false readings which should be ignored when calculating a trend, but they also disrupt the leveling of the equipment so that previous years’ figures should also not form part of a trend.”

See the full article South Pacific Sea Level: A Reassessment by Vincent R Gray: [PDF, 1.1 MB]

In addition, Cliff Ollier reports:

“Graphs of sea level for twelve locations in the southwest Pacific show stable sea level for about ten years over the region. The data are compared with results from elsewhere, all of which suggest that any rise of global sea level is negligible. The Darwin theory of coral formation, and subsidence ideas for guyots would suggest that we should see more land subsidence, and apparent sea level rise, than is actually occurring. Sea level studies have not been carried out for very long, but they can indicate major tectonic components such as isostatic rebound in Scandinavia. Attempts to manipulate the data by modelling to show alarming rates of sea level rise (associated with alleged global warming) are not supported by primary regional or global data. Even those places frequently said to be in grave danger of drowning, such as the Maldives, Tuvalu and Holland, appear to be safe.”

See the full article Sea Level in the Southwest Pacific is Stable by Cliff Ollier: [PDF, 881 KB]

Here is a the very latest sea Level data from “The South Pacific Sea Level and Climate Monitoring Project” produced by the Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology with technical support from the National Tidal centre and funded by the Australian Agency for International Development. There is no evidence of any dramatic increases in sea levels.


(From Nov, 2009)

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