Dodgy science on sea level rise exposed

With much fanfare and a complicit Media party the Royal Society made huge and outrageous claims about how fast and far sea levels were going to rise in New Zealand.

The Media party dutifully piled in and ran all sorts of scary scenarios about how much damage this was going to cause and how we must all do something.

But what if I told you their claims were as fanciful as Aesop’s fables?

The Royal Society of New Zealand’s recent study on sea level rise claims that, in the next 100 years, sea levels will surely rise by 0.3m and 1m is possible. It strongly recommends action should be taken now to deal with this.

The claim does not stand up to close examination.

First, the rise in sea level and New Zealand coast has been about 0.14m over the past 100 years, with no sign of a recent increase in the rate.

There is no solid evidence to indicate this steady rate will increase rapidly in the future. The Royal Society’s claims are based on flawed climate models that predicted, by now, temperatures would be 0.5° higher than they really are and increasing faster and faster.

When this dubious data were fed into sea level models, they predicted rapidly increasing sea level rise. How surprising!

Only one model, a Russian model is even close to getting the temperatures right. Every other model has been plain wrong, to horribly wrong to utterly and comprehensibly wrong.

The Royal Society’s conclusions are a serious matter because many councils are now restricting building close to the sea and putting restrictions on existing houses that have substantially reduced their value.

It is strange the Royal Society has ignored the fact that, all around New Zealand, the land is rising or falling at different rates. So it is quite wrong to assign a single value of sea level rise to the whole country.

The long-term record is from tide gauges spread around the world. The oldest records date back to the 1890s and the average rise for 225 tide gauges spread around the world is 1.48 mm per year. (Source: Sea Level Info.)

This is close to the generally accepted 1.72 mm per year for tide gauges.

Only one and a half millimetres per year? Certainly doesn’t sound scary at all.

In the 1990s, Australia set up a series of very accurate tide gauges all around Australia and on many Pacific Islands (BoM reports). These show that, for the majority of sites, the sea level rise since the mid-1990s was less than 2mm per year.

The Pacific Islands record shows, for instance, that the sea level in Tuvalu has hardly changed since 1992. As a result of the now-ending El Niño effect, the Tuvalu sea level is about 100 mm below the level in 1994-1997.

I wonder if anyone told all those wombles, including Paula Bennett that the sea levels were lower when she went up there to survey the damage rising sea levels was causing.


Photo/ Twitter @paulabennett

Research by Paul Kench, of the University of Auckland, has established that the area of most atolls is increasing because natural processes build up the islands. Without this, all the atolls would have drowned as the sea level rose at 30mm a year at the end of the last Ice Age.

According to Sea level rise – history and consequences, by Bruce Douglas, Mark T Kearney and Stephen P Leatherman, there has been no acceleration of the rate of rise during the 20th century.

Data are available from satellite observations since 1993. These show a rise of about 3.2mm per year with indications of a recent decline in the rate. Nobody seems to be able to explain why it is about twice the tide gauge rate.

Many “climate scientists” have adopted the dubious practice of substituting satellite for tide gauge readings post-1993 so they can claim that the rate of rise is increasing.

Predictions of sea level rise from the more realistic of the IPCC computer models range from about 150mm to 600mm by 2100.

In 2011, NASA’s predictions range from 200mm to 700mm. The Ministry for the Environment and NIWA seem to have used an Australian prediction that cobbled the satellite record on to the tide gauge record and predicts a sea level rise of something like 0.5m to 0.8m by 2100.

So the atolls are increasing in size, the water levels are reducing, and the models are still wrong.

The Royal Society of New Zealand leads the pack with a projected rise of 0.3m to 1m. This is more than anybody else and much more than the 0.125 m we would expect if sea level rise continued  at its present rate.

Based on what? They are predicting between 30cm and 1m in rises, when reality and past experience suggests less than 12cm…over 100 years. This is a fraud.

So, there we have it. All the observational evidence indicates that the sea level is likely to rise 0.1 to 0.2 m by 2100. But the Royal Society, the government and other public bodies ignore this evidence and, instead, choose to believe the predictions of the computer models of climate and sea level that have never made an accurate prediction.

On the basis of this dubious evidence, they are devaluing coastal properties, preventing development in places where, in all probability, there would be negligible risk for hundreds of years and, on Auckland’s northwestern motorway at least, spending millions of dollars on extra raising of the existing road to a level far above the likely sea level rise within its lifetime.

So, blind belief in flawed computer models overrules the evidence. Taxpayers and coastal communities bear the cost.

Utter fraud. Yet the left-wing almost universally embraces this fraud.


What we need is an independent examination of the evidence by people with open minds and practical experience of the New Zealand coastline and sea level rise, rather than a group of academics relying on computer models.

We need to start prosecuting these people, is what we really need to do, to hold them to account for their fraudulent claims.



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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.