Whistleblower Scientists: PSMSL Data-Adjusters Are Manufacturing Sea Level Rise Where None Exists

‘Adjustments’ To Create Spurious Sea Level Rise

Have Now Infected The PSMSL Tide Gauge Data


In a new paper published in Earth Systems and Environment this month, Australian scientists Dr. Albert Parker and Dr. Clifford Ollier uncover evidence that Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level (PSMSL) overseers appear to have been engaging in the “highly questionable” and “suspicious” practice of adjusting historical tide gauge data to show recent accelerated sea level rise where no such acceleration (or rise) exists.

Extensive evidence from “tide gauges, coastal morphology, stratigraphy, radiocarbon dating, archaeological remains, and historical documentation” all suggest that sea levels in the Indian Ocean have effectively been stable in recent decades.

The authors expose how PSMSL  data-adjusters make it appear that stable sea levels can be rendered to look like they are nonetheless rising at an accelerated pace.

The data-adjusters take misaligned and incomplete sea level data from tide gauges that show no sea level rise (or even a falling trend).  Then, they subjectively and arbitrarily cobble them together, or realign them.   In each case assessed, PSMSL data-adjusters lower the earlier misaligned rates and raise the more recent measurements.  By doing so, they concoct a new linearly-rising trend.

This adjustment of tide gauge data to yield a rising sea level trend where none exists is not occasional or episodic.  Instead, for every adjustment of raw data analyzed, “the adjustments are always in the direction to produce a large rise in sea level.”

The suspicious perpetuity of this pattern strongly suggests that there is an agenda driving these arbitrary and subjective realignments.

From all appearances, the data-adjusters at PSMSL are attempting to “correct” the sea level rise data that do not support the conceptualization of a rapidly-rising sea level trend in response to rising human CO2 emissions.

As Drs. Parker and Ollier conclude: “It is always highly questionable to shift data collected in the far past without any proven new supporting material.”

Apparently not even tide gauge measurements can be spared from those who tendentiously fiddle with raw data to satisfy an agenda.


Parker and Ollier, 2017

‘Multiple Lines Of Evidence’ Affirm Sea Levels Are Stable In The Indian Ocean

The tide gauge result of Aden is perfectly consistent not only with the tide gauge results for Karachi and Mumbai. It is also consistent with the multiple lines of evidence, tide gauges, coastal morphology, stratigraphy, radiocarbon dating, archaeological remains, and historical documentation, for a stable sea level of about zero mm/year experienced over the last 50 years in all the key sites of the Indian Ocean (Mörner 2007, 2010, 2014, 2015a, b, 2016a, b).
Contrary to the adjusted data from tide gauges and the unreliable satellite altimeter data, properly examined data from tide gauges and other sources such as coastal morphology, stratigraphy, radiocarbon dating, archaeological remains, and historical documentation indicate a lack of any alarming sea-level rise in recent decades for all the Indian Ocean.
The new alignment of the data 1878–1936 and 1937–1994 seems by far superior to the one proposed by PSMSL. The aligned metric data 1878–1994 show a trend of − 0.05 mm/year, i.e., nearly perfect stability.

Stable Sea Levels Are Transformed Into Positive Trends Via Arbitrary Adjustments To Past Data

What is proposed as a single record in databases such as the Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level (PSMSL) is often the composition of data collected by different instruments, sometimes in different locations or over different time windows, with significant gaps in between one measurement and the others.  … While adjustments are certainly necessary to produce a tide gauge record that may be analysed to infer a trend of the local relative sea level, the way that the alignment is performed may introduce rising or decreasing trends even where the true sea level is oscillating without any trend. How can we perform a proper alignment of data when there are gaps of years and the tide gauge has been moved, destroyed, or replaced?

This is the case of the Aden, Yemen tide gauge that is the only tidal location of the Arabian Peninsula spanning a time window long enough to infer a trend and acceleration of the relative sea level (assuming there was continuous measurement and no quality issue). In Aden, similar to Karachi and Mumbai and other tide gauges of the area, a single-tide gauge record is the result of multiple sets of data subjectively coupled together. While a new tide gauge is recording since about 2007, the alignment of the previous data is continuously changing.
The sea levels in India, including Mumbai, and in Karachi, Pakistan, have been recently analysed and discussed in Parker and Ollier (2015) and in Parker (2016). In both cases, it was shown that the latest positive trends in the PSMSL RLR [revised local reference, adjusted] data are only the result of arbitrary alignments, and alternative and more legitimate alignments reveal very stable sea-level conditions.
The metric (raw) data show misaligned results. The metric data are the data as originally provided, or suffering from historical adjustments. What are more dangerous are the corrections recently introduced to the past to magnify the sea-level trend or the acceleration. As shown in the prior section, the adjustments introduced by PSMSL to make the RLR [revised local reference, or adjusted data] are arbitrary in Aden, Karachi, and Mumbai.
It is always highly questionable to shift data collected in the far past without any proven new supporting material. In the case of Aden, we analyse the PSMSL alignments starting from the unaligned metric data, introducing possible break-points when there has been a change of tide gauge or there has been a suspicious alignment, and enforcing break-point alignment when connecting sets of data spanning sufficiently long-time windows.
While the metric data do not tell us, which is the correct trend, they tell us that the alignments made to produce the RLR [revised local reference, or adjusted data] are very likely wrong, because they are inconsistent with the individual measurements components, none of which showing any sign of increasing sea levels, and because the adjustments are always in the direction to produce a large rise in sea level.

Examples Of Stable/Negative Sea Level Trends Re-aligned To Create Positive Trends

Realignments of past data and addition of new data possibly misaligned have, therefore, increased the trend to + 3.02 mm/year from + 1.21 mm/year.
Differences with prior studies in the literature based on data sets not available any more are even more striking.  Pirazzoli (1986) noticed that the record for Mumbai between 1952 and 1962 reversed the entire rising trend for the previous 30 years.  Per Douglas (1991), the sea-level trend in Mumbai over the time window 1930–1980 was negative, − 0.3 mm/yearIn the latest PSMSL RLR, over the same time window, it is + 0.52 mm/year.
The RLR data for Aden, Yemen, show that the misaligned measurements have been composed to produce a high trend, high acceleration record. After the latest PSMSL corrections and addition to generate the RLR data, there is a trend of + 1.28 mm/year and a large acceleration of + 0.0164 mm/year2 in the 134 years long but 50% complete tide gauge record.
Within the short time window 1937–1969, the trend has been increased to + 2.60 mm/year from the + 1.89 mm/year of the previously misaligned data. One would have expected the data 1937–1956 to be shifted up vs. the data 1957–1969. The adjustment has done just the opposite, and the data are being shifted down. Similarly, the data before 1937 have all been shifted down. The data collected since 2007 have not been moved vs. the data collected 1957–1969.
Notice especially that the data 1878–1936 are closed by the December month, and the data 1937–1994 start with the January month, so there is virtually no time gap, yet there is a 677-mm sudden difference between the measurements collected before and after the so-called break-point. From the raw data, Mumbai exhibits a very small rate of rise since 2005. If we look at the metric raw data, we may notice that the trend 1878–1936 is a + 0.60 mm/year, while the trend 1937–1995 is largely negative, − 0.72 mm/year. Combining the two trends, one would expect over the longer time window 1878–1936 a small negative trend.
In the RLR data, the small negative trend 1878–1995 is transformed [into] a + 0.68 mm/year positive trend, that with the latest data 2005–2011 further increases to + 0.80 mm/year.
Karachi seems to suffer from the same issues as Aden, with four misaligned sets of data: 1916–1920; 1937–1948; 1957–1995; 2007–2014.  These data show individually very little rise, and a lowering in the longest continuous record. Then, the RLR has a large trend introduced by arbitrary alignment. The metric trend 1957–1995 is negative, − 2.67 mm/year. In the RLR, the trend 1916–2014 is now + 1.85 mm/year. This is the result of the measurements 1916–1920 having been shifted down, the data 1937–1948 shifted down vs. 1957–1995, and the data from the novel tide gauge relocated in another place claimed to be aligned with the old tide gauge.

43 responses to “Whistleblower Scientists: PSMSL Data-Adjusters Are Manufacturing Sea Level Rise Where None Exists”

  1. Henning Nielsen

    Pierre, thank you for this very important information. It is a small step towards a sane and serious climate science. And now, prepare for the tribal howl: “D…D…D!”

  2. Bruce of Newcastle

    Of course sea level in Aden should be falling. It’s a volcano on the edge of an expanding rift – the Red Sea spreading centre. As the sea floor spreads it squeezes the sides of the rift upwards.

    To produce a rising sea level from that data is ludicrous.

    Karachi is a more complex case as the land is sinking from the delta Karachi is on, but that is counteracted by the Indian suncontinent forcing up the continent of Asia as it moves northwards. That causes Asia to rise into a mountain range. The Himalayas. Karachi is on the southern end of that mountain forming region.

    So put the two together and a flat trend seems the most logical. Concocting a CO2 linked rising sea level somehow, out of data affected by a messy and massive geological collision, is silly.

  3. Bitter&twisted

    Any comment, Sebastian?
    Or do you believe misrepresentation of the data is OK, since it is for a “good” cause?

    1. ClimateOtter

      The top articles on wind energy are about stocks falling in those companies. He must be worried about his investments.

      1. Bitter&twisted

        This is good news.
        I want every wind, solar and other greenscam company to go bust.
        If enough people lose their shirts over this Enron-like fraud then a proper investigation of the dodgy “science” underpinning this house of cards will finally take place.

        1. SebastianH

          Dream on … solar/wind is just taking off. You’ve seen nothing yet.

          1. P Gosselin

            That’s what worries me.

          2. sunsettommy

            Still dreaming,Sebastian?

            The Subsidies are slowly falling away.

            Then it will be too expensive to keep it running.

          3. eclecticmn

            All will be glorious after completion of next 5 year plan comrade.

          4. AndyG55

            Something like 1600 new coal fired power stations being built now or soon, iirc.

            An increase of some 43% of world CO2 emissions.

            GREAT NEWS for the world’s plant life 🙂

            And for feeding the world’s population 🙂

          5. SebastianH

            The Subsidies are slowly falling away.

            Then it will be too expensive to keep it running.

            Highly unlikely. There are many places where wind/solar are the cheapest sources of electricity now and the costs of installing them per kWh generated is still falling rapidly.

            So are fossil fuel-based energies…at a far greater magnitude than solar/wind. How are solar/wind going to displace these explosive-growth fossil-fuel energies when their share is so tiny?

            We had this discussion many times and you always demonstrated that you don’t get exponential growth. solar/wind is growing faster than fossil fuel consumption. In a few years new renewable installations (or rather non-CO2-emitting sources) will more than cover the yearly growth in energy consumption.

            This can only be stopped to happen or slowed down if governments actively decide they don’t want to have sustainable energy sources. Possible, but unlikely. Even with Trump in office. He is a business man after all.

            Something like 1600 new coal fired power stations being built now or soon, iirc.

            Care to give a timeframe for this to happen? And how is that coming along when China and India effectively stopped building new coal power plants because of overcapacity? Not saying that 1600 is not true, but planning to build is different from actually building them. So, I’d like a timeframe for your wet dream, so we can remind you of what you claimed when it didn’t happen.

    2. SebastianH

      I commented, but apparently that comment got deleted or lost in the spam bin or whatever. I don’t feel like commenting again.

      tl;dr was: viewing an alignment that shows sea level rise as suspicious is your good right, but aren’t flat or descreasing alignments equally suspicious by the same “rules”?

      1. Colorado Wellington

        “… viewing an alignment that shows sea level rise as suspicious is your good right …”

        Is your good right? How magnanimous. It’s good to have Sebastian’s approval.

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  5. Tom

    When data is adjusted there is not unreasonable to expect documentation of the rationale behind those adjustments – obvious – but seemingly not the case in this matter.

    What should be of deeper concern is if access to the raw data is obfuscated in any way (beyond the usual and inexcusable NERC nonsense) – can anybody save me the spadework of scoping that out?

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