Just call it bazaar science.
The projection of sea levels has become quite the political football. So much hinges on the projections. Der Spiegel in an article titled IPCC haggles over data for sea level rise writes that 146 million people live in areas 1 meter or less above sea level. Tens of billions of dollars would be needed to expand dikes to keep the waters back, or to relocate citizens should seas rise too much. So the numbers are hotly contested.
To make things complex, there are hundreds of studies that offer a huge range of projections, up to 5 meters sea level rise by 2100. The job of deciding which sea level rise the IPCC should bank on in its next IPCC report rests on 18 scientists from 10 countries.
In the past each successive IPCC report lowered the sea level rise that is expected to occur by 2100. Critics pounced on the IPCC’s downward corrections, and so fears of rising seas diminished along with the IPCC’s credibility. Now the IPCC faces a dilemma (and irrelevance): Will it go back to alarmism? That may be real tough to do. Der Spiegel writes (emphasis added):
Now for the next IPCC report [due in 2013] the UN experts have to examine hundreds of reports – but indeed the selection is tougher than ever. The haggling over the results is like dealing at a bazaar: On one hand scientists have published alarming sea level prognoses, which surpass those given by the last IPCC Report. And on the other hand the actual sea level measurements indicate no detectable extreme increase.
4000 experts recently met at the IUGG Conference recently in Melbourne and Der Spiegel writes that the motto was: “Who bids the most!” NASA alarmist junkie James Hansen appears to have been the highest bidder at 5 meters. Currently sea levels are rising about 3 mm per year, which is just 1/17 of what Hansen projects.
Jim Houston and Bob Dean have a recent paper saying there has been no detectable acceleration, while Stefan Rahmstorf says there is (though measurements don’t show it). Der Spiegel then cites other experts:
Simon Holgate, sea level researcher at the National Oceanogrphy Centre in Liverpool: Likely the irregularities in data arising from the changeover in measurement instruments are responsible for the differences [in the recent results].
I believe that it is improbable that the sea level increase accelerated in the same year that satellites were put into service.”
Guy Wöppelmann of La Rochelle in France, Der Spiegel writes:
The increase sea level rise since 1993 is nothing unusual, as the sea level during the 20th century accelerated before, only then to decelerate.”
The sea level rise rate has slowed down during the last 8 years. What happens in the future is unknown.”
Of course there are also a number of alarmist scientists who insist that sea level is accelerating and that Greenland and Antarctica pose a serious risk. But so far data measurements don’t show it.
Obviously the risk is all in the modeling (and not the actual measurements).
UPDATE 1: Schellnhuber now offering 70 m! Does anyone offer 80m? http://stevengoddard