Who do you believe on sea level rise?

“The herd instinct among forecasters makes sheep look like independent thinkers. ”

–Edgar R. Fiedler

“Those who have knowledge don’t predict. Those who predict, don’t have knowledge. ”

–Lao Tzu, 6th Century BC Chinese Poet

In science, a prediction is a rigorous, often quantitative, statement, forecasting what would happen under specific conditions. The scientific method is built on testing statements that are logical consequences of scientific theories. This is done through repeatable experiments or observational studies.  A scientific theory which is contradicted by observations and evidence will be rejected.

That’s true except in climate science.  Predictions of sea level rise caused by sea water expansion and ice melt have been made for over 40 years.  The first IPCC report in 1990 predicted that sea levels would rise by between 80 and 290 mm by 2030.  That’s 4.5 mm per year average (range 2.0 to 7.25mm)

In that time frame scientists in NZ say our sea level has risen 1.7 mm per year on average up till now and it took some never revealed massaging of the numbers to get it to that number.  It is a very imprecise calculation and given known biases toward exaggeration it may be lower.  In any event it’s a small fraction of what the IPCC said would happen.  It’s out by a factor of 2.5.

If you apply the rules of science you would ignore any further predictions from those sources as being contradicted by observation.   

Globally the sea level continues to rise slowly following the end of the Little Ice Age.  In fact the rate is slowing from around 2.0mm per year to closer to 1.5mm although you would never know that given the headlines.

Just yesterday our Royal Society made some bold predictions:

“Climate change could swamp significant areas with even modest rises in sea levels”, a report by the prestigious Royal Society of New Zealand says.

Coming from New Zealand’s pre-eminent research body for science, the report confirms the severity of the local threat posed by climate change. Chair of the expert panel which wrote it, Professor James Renwick, said New Zealanders were particularly vulnerable.

Depending on how greenhouse gas emissions were managed, the sea would rise between 30 centimetres and 1.1 metres by 2100, it said.

For that to be true the rate or rise would have to go from an already exaggerated 1.7mm per year to nearly 14mm per year.  That is simply not credible given their earlier false predictions.

NZ has a particular interest in the Pacific Islands especially Tuvalu and Kiribati that are very low-lying.  Al Gore in 2006 had climate refugees flooding NZ from these islands.  So what is the truth? Here are the records that have been taken by the Australian Government since the early 1990’s.

Picture1 Picture2

Does that look like a problem?

Is it any wonder that ordinary Kiwis refuse to buy into the climate alarmism?

If past predictions have proved to be so wildly inaccurate why should we believe present ones?


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  • biscuit barrel

    All ways remember there is no such thing as a single sea level. Tides, wind, air pressure mean its always changing. Then there are coastlines, which are rising or sinking or even going sideways ( yes that happens in NZ, the plates are moving faster than any hypothetical SL rise)
    What we do know is that when the numbers are crunched there is a slight SL rise on average, which hasnt changed much in the last 100 years.
    Otago School Of Surveying looked back at NZ records and have a similar rise going back to the 1860s.

  • Dave

    I believe the late Professor Bob Carter, a qualified expert, and one who denied the climate change predictions, funnily enough, one of his greatest tools is the water / tide marker in Auckland Harbour. some raw data…..

    Combined velocity : 0.55 ± 0.84 mm/year
    GPS velocity : -0.22 ± 0.59 mm/year
    Tide gauge velocity : 0.77 mm/year
    Selected period : 1960 >>> 2013

    So averaged at 0.77 mm a year = = 77 mm over a hundred years. Actually, they are right, Maori might have to give up their coastal land to the seabed in about 4299, I suggest the government start budgeting and negotiating now as no doubt this will be John Keys fault, and Maori will need compensating.

  • Bryan William Leyland

    It is sad that, instead of relying on people with practical experience in the measurement and history of sea level rise and tectonic movement in New Zealand, the Royal Society chose to get an opinion from a number of academics who, in the main, have careers devoted to the increasingly dubious hypothesis that man made carbon dioxide causes dangerous global warming. They have totally closed their minds to the evidence that shows this world is not warmed significantly over the last 18 years and the predictions of their beloved computer models are worthless.

    For sure, there is no reason to believe that future sea level rise will be markedly different from what we have experienced over the last hundred years.

    The belief that we must prepare for a massive sea level rise has had a detrimental effect on seaside communities and cost an enormous amount of money.

  • localnews

    I think I would struggle to measure the water level in my bath to within 1.7mm, surely there must be a margin of error, and surely it is bigger than 1.7mm. Have they considered what would happen is a seagull landed near their measuring bouy, would that cause a wave of greater than 1.7mm?

    • PersonOfColor:WHITE

      Indeed. Approximately 100mms….

  • PersonOfColor:WHITE

    Credibility is not important to the credulous. Its just a surprise how large a proportion of the population this is.

  • cows4me

    The Royal Society, it you have to mention their tittle it would be polite to mention their full tittle. The Royal Society of Dribbling, Parasitic, Good For Nothing, Bludging, Leftist Wonders .

  • duve

    I am 68 years old. As a kid I spent untold hours fishing off the rocks at a particular spot on the North Shore coast. I remember my favourite spot where there is a gap in the rocks and you can see the the approximate high and low tide levels. Looked there again recently and it still looks the same. Any minor fluctuations in sea level up or down are just part of our planet’s never ending variation.

  • Orca

    In order to understand the point of view of a climate scientologist, you need to first try to see things from their viewpoint. Bear with me as I explain. Since the earth is flat, then a sea level rise of even 1.7mm may be all it takes for all of the seas to run clean off the circular edge of the earth.

    Now obviously, it isn’t that simple, as it does also depend on the angle of tilt of the disc of the earth, relative to the horizontal. That in turn depends on the height of the ice at each end, and this is why melting of the ice is so important. If the antarctic ice melts faster than that of the arctic, then the earths tilt changes, and all of the water runs off the eastern edge.

    There will be a test on these basics of climate science at the end of the week.

    • Dave of the West Bank

      I detect a fault in your otherwise impeccable hypothesis; if the Antarctic ice melts faster than the Arctic then, of course, all the water would run off the NORTHERN edge.

      I think you’ve confused the direction of tilt with that of the erudite and highly educated Senator Johnson shown in the link where he posits that Guam will tip over because of too many US serviceman landing there. Come to think of it, I don’t think he states whether the island will tip over to the east or to the north.

      • Orca

        Ah yes, Hank Johnson, I remember him, a fine student, dux of his climate scientology year as I recall.

  • Dave of the West Bank

    “Who Do You Believe on Sea Level Rise?”

    Certainly not Professor James Renwick!

    I think I’d go for Nils-Axel Mörner if I had my druthers.

  • EliteDangerous

    “Globally the sea level continues to rise slowly following the end of the Little Ice Age. In fact the rate is slowing from around 2.0mm per year to closer to 1.5mm although you would never know that given the headlines.”

    The following graph uses satellite altimetry data (the measurement of elevation or altitude) which shows a global mean sea level rise of 3.36mm/yr.

    Can you show us how you get a rate of 2.0mm/yr slowing to 1.5mm/yr?


    • Bob D

      The tide gauges have been measuring sea level rise for a very long time, and they report 1.7mm/yr. The satellite method you show is relatively new, and relies on complex 3D geoids to average the sea level rise globally. From the start, the satellite method has disagreed with the tide gauges, and is therefore to be considered uncalibrated. The two datasets continue to diverge.
      It’s worth noting that the geoids used have some published problems, resulting in other satellite measurements that use them being out by a factor of two. Is it coincidence that 3.36mm/yr divided by two is 1.7mm/yr? Not sure.
      The jury is still out on this one, from a scientific viewpoint, but of course the politicians are involved now.

      • Barry Brill

        Comparing eustatic sea level rise (ESLR) with local sea level rise (LSRL) is apples and oranges.

        The former is a theoretical construct that measures the notional average level of all the world’s seas relative to a fixed point such as the centre of the earth. As sea levels vary everywhere by at least ± 2 METRES at any time, to suggest accuracy of a tenth of a millimetre strains credulity.

        ESRL models use various proxies to estimate changes in mid-ocean, after making adjustments for ever-changing currents, gravitational fields, salinity, temperature, etc. It has nothing to do with drowned cities and coastal land management.

        On the other hand, tide gauges measure LSRL around coastlines. These observations are real, and tell us what is happening where we live.

  • Fuglybud

    Just add sea rise to the growing list of climate theologians’ predictions of the last say 30 years. Global cooling, acid rain, overpopulation, climate refugees, resource depletion, drought, floods, famine, tipping points, peak oil, climate warming, climate change, climate disruption. All of them appear to have been completely wrong so we are to believe this one. Yeah Right.

    • EliteDangerous

      Acid Rain was indeed a problem caused by the emission of sulfate aerosols from the unscrubbed effluent of coal fired power plants, and nitric oxide particulates from the combustion of gasoline in automobile engines. Accordingly, the problem was solved by the gradual installation of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide scrubbers onto coal fired power plants along with the switch to low sulfur gasolines. Oh by the way, you forgot OZone depletion :-)

  • Blockhead

    To put sea level change into context, I was just reading about the Chch EQs. In a matter of seconds some parts of the city were raised by 40mm, and other parts sunk.
    The gradual change in sea levels is nothing compared to other tectonic shifts and adjustments which occur daily around the globe. And of course, they change the local, relative sea level.

  • JLS

    Its sadly all just the latest religion for our now ‘educated’ society (we are so much smarter now!)- complete with blind or lying high priests (scientists) telling us from on high of our sins, sinners (fossil fuel users- all of us) transgressing gods law, god (nature) serving judgement on us, punishment (oblivion through climate change) if we don’t repent , repentance (becoming a ‘believer’, and joining the flock by using public transport and joining the Green Party), and of course tithing (carbon credits). Nothing to do with power, control, or money at all- no, never.
    The UN scares me way more than the churches do now.