It wasn’t long ago a PNAS study led by Stefan Rahmstorf had come out claiming sea level rise is “accelerating”. This of course was followed by the mainstream media jumping on the global warming bandwagon and trumpeting doom and gloom would strike sooner than we ever thought, maybe even before we die.
Unfortunately, the acceleration has been in the opposite direction, thus making the authors of the PNAS study look just a bit foolish.
The latest NASA satellite data show that sea levels have dropped 6 mm over the last year – the biggest drop ever recorded since satellite data has been taken. This is hardly the kind of acceleration Rahmstorf had in mind. You’d think the media would be falling all over themselves to report this good news. They have not. Only a tiny few German media outlets have reported the plummeting sea level news.
It’s due to a “weather shift”!
Der Spiegel rolled out a report called: Weather Shift Drops Global Sea Level, authored by Axel Bojanowski, hat-tip Dirk Maxeiner here. Caution: don’t be fooled into thinking Der Spiegel writers have become sceptical. To the contrary, they are cleverly, indirectly, blaming global warming for the “peculiar” sea level drop.
Global warming, you see, leads to weather shifts, which then leads to sea level drop. Hence global warming leads to sea level drop. Of course Der Spiegel will never admit this is what they are claiming, but they do indeed want you to believe it’s all because of “unusual freak weather” (which started when humans started driving SUVs).
The eastern Pacific heated by up to 10°C, huge quantities of water evaporated – and then later the mass of water fell to the ground via numerous storms over South America and later over Australia during the La Niña period.”
As is often claimed with temperature, sea level drop is now weather and sea level rise is climate. To Der Spiegel’s credit, Bojanowski at least admits that sea level rise has slowed down (emphasis added):
However since 1993, the oceans have been measured by satellites. They have detected a rise of 3 mm per year. During the last eight years, the rate of increase has slowed down.”
Leading German tabloid Bild here also expressed shock that sea levels have dropped by more than half a centimetre over the last year. Here, Bild blames the ENSO (er, weather) for the sea level drop.
Over the last 12 months, more precipitation than usual poured down over the continents, for example the destructive flood in Australia. The blame for this: the especially pronounced weather phenomena El Niño and La Niña.”
German sceptics mock bogus “accelerating” sea level claim
Germany’s online auto-reporter.net expresses doubts about the coming climate catastrophe, citing that back in the 1980s Germans were projecting the end of the forests due to acid rain. 25 years later the forests are as healthy as they have ever been. Auto.reporter.net questions the supposed sea level rise:
It is supposed to be rising rapidly and submerging many countries. Now scientists have determined that sea level is sinking. […] The causes have yet to be determined. Scientists had expected a continuous increase.
What can we learn from that? That scientists can never exactly know what is happening. And this is the case concerning alleged man-made climate change. It is foolhardy when people think they can impact the climate over 100 years. The political target of limiting the temperature increase to 2°C is haphazardly selected. […] We’ll probably laugh about the climate change discussion in 20 or 30 years just as we laugh today over forest die-off, which in reality never came to pass.”
Finally German science publicist Dirk Maxeiner here simply could not contain his urge to mock the alarmists:
Global sea level has dropped by more than half a centimetre over the last 12 months. That equals 5 metres of sea level drop over the next 1000 years – at least that’s what my computer simulation shows. Now how on earth are the island states supposed to cope with all this expanding land? What a catastrophe! We have to immediately form a special commission charged with the task of managing the great transformation of these regions and setting down ecological guidelines. Professor Schellnhuber – it’s up to you!”
43 responses to “Der Spiegel: Global Warming Now Causes Sea Level Drop…Through Weather Shifts!”
Maxeiner, and of course you, are confusing the noise with the signal. The sea levels are clearly rising when looking at the decadal signal, don’t you agree?
Rising – of course it’s rising as a trend. No one disputes that. It’s been rising for the last 15,000 years or so.
Which data are you looking at?
Before 1993, tide gauges were used – and they show no acceleration. Indeed the last eight years show a definite deceleration. That leaves only 9 years of acceleration left in between (1993 – 2002) and, as you say yourself, that is not a decadal signal and is thus only noise.
The point of my report is that the warmists are saying: “When it rises, it’s climate! But when it drops, it’s weather!”
Sorry, you can’t operate science that way.
global climate is long trends. weather is short-term noise. the dump in sea level rise is short-term noise due to weather events, mostly due to lots of water having been moved outside of the oceans, which will flow back eventually. there’s more water being moved due to rising global temperature. the long-term rise of sea levels is due to changes in climate. I think that makes a whole lot of sense, don’t you too?
“Before 1993, tide gauges were used – and they show no acceleration”
With the exception of the subsiding Hongkong tide gauge that showed 2.3mm/yr and was used to calibrate TOPEX/Jason.
Peter Hartmann says Envisat data is noise. Take that to the Envisat operators, Peter, and report back with their answer, please.
you don’t even understand what noise means in this context. i won’t communicate with you unless what you says actually makes some sense.
are you again censoring me or is the software broken? some of my comments are not coming through again.
It’s always remarkable to hear this argument – that “people confuse the signal and noise”. Pierre hasn’t mentioned either of these two words – signal or noise – so how he could have confused them? He’s discussed the drop of the sea levels during some period of time.
When you’re trying to separate the actual curves to the “signal” and “noise”, what’s your actual algorithm? Different methods will isolate different signals and different noises. There’s no God-given separation of a function h(t) into a sum of two functions, “signal” and “noise”.
But even if there were such a separation, why would you consider one of them – called the “signal” – more important than the other? If the sea level within the millimeter accuracy is as important as the alarmists ludicrously try to claim, then it’s surely the whole, actual, measured sea level h(t) that is important, and not just an artificially separated piece of this function, right?
This whole division to “signal” and “noise” in the climate debate is actually nothing else than the separation of things that you find convenient and those that you find inconvenient. The first ones are called “signal” and are overhyped while the second class are inconvenient things that are called “noise” and are being systematically hidden, distorted, and humiliated by the alarmists. This whole procedure is based on dishonesty and nothing else than dishonesty.
We will either talk about the sea level as being an important thing, and then all changes, regardless of the origin, are important, or we shouldn’t talk about this irrelevant technicality at all. For practical purposes, the sea level hasn’t been changing for 5,000+ years. Before that, it jumped by 100 meters in 10,000 years. But this fast change of the sea level no longer occurs because there haven’t been any large continental ice sheets for 5,000+ years.
Some years ago, when I first recognized the tom-foolery in climate “science”, I told a friend of mine that:
Back in the 1980’s, if you wanted to make money out of noise, you’d form a rock band. Now, you instead become a climate “scientist”. Neither requires any responsibility or talent.
well, on a long enough timeline, everyone’s life expectancy is functionally zero, so we needn’t be worrying about sea level, much less any of this, anyway!
what you say is valid Loubos, yes – but to a point. if ‘artificially’ narrowing the signal and noise curves is intellectually dishonest, then so too is artificially widening it to infinity. it doesn’t invalidate the argument made, like you insinuate.
this whole debate about weather vs climate and sea level change as a result of one or the other is pretty silly, yes.
but just because there are oversteps in assumptions of causality by someone on either side of the debate doesn’t instantly justify the trashing of then entire debate over anthropogenic climate change. /that’s/ not how science is done.
Maxeiner and you are confusing the signal with the noise. When looking at the decadal signal, the sea levels are rising. Don’t you agree?
Also, you seem to have banned my IP. please don’t do that.
PS of course the RSS feed is available, after all this is where i get delivered your posts.
oops sorry about the allegation that you banned my IP, wordpress seems to have trouble updating at the moment. feel free to delete my surplus comment.
at least remove the website link of the first commenter (“games online” etc.). he’s a spammer.
i am trying to help you here.
Thanks – fixed.
The lesson here I wish everyone would learn, is that looking at anything in the short term is very foolish. Even hundred-year trends can mislead. The satellite era has been, and will be, especially prone to misuse. No environmental satellite will be in a stable, long-term orbit long enough to reliably measure anything for enough time to predict anything about climate. An observatory on the moon for a thousand years might be just adequate, but 100,000 years would be better. Any hundred-year prediction based on 30 years of observations should be ridiculed immediately.
well, you did censor me in the past, that’s why i’m a bit suspicious.
[I edited, and did not censor – there’s a difference. -PG]
the thing is that when i go through a proxy and change my mail address, that comments “await moderation”, when i don’t, they just don’t appear. but maybe that’s in the software. never mind, i’ll keep trying 🙂
just to be clear: i’m never trying to annoy you. but i will keep pointing out obvious errors and misunderstandings that appear on your site, even if it’s not the nicest user experience, with people like dirk smearing me just because they don’t understand/like what they hear. The Envisat remark is pure nonsense, a cheap misrepresentation of what i said.
you need to read up on signal/noise. the noise is in the system, not in the measurement. do you understand this?
“the noise is in the system, not in the measurement. do you understand this?”
I understand that you have a very blurry notion of reality.
Peter – you realise that there can be multiple signals? Here are two that I think are likely reasons for the recent decline in sea level:
1) A roughly 65 year sinusoidal temperature signal which appears related to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation. The data suggests this was at peak in about 2005 and has been falling since. (Note that the PDO and AMO are not synchronous, but presumably the temperature signal is a summation of their effect, and effect of other possible causes).
2) A solar minimum which appears somewhere between the Dalton and Maunder Minimums has commenced. This can be expected to cause about 1 to 1.5 C of global cooling over a period of about 30 years.
CO2 has trouble overcoming these strong cooling signals, particularly with recent measurements of climate sensitivity clustering around 0.6 to 0.7 C/doubling.
The point about this is you can’t just say there is a signal in a dataset and force the equations to fit the signal you think is there. You have to wavelet analyse the signal and decouple it out. Then work out where it is real or not – as tested by acquiring more data.
I do hope that Peter is seriously reading comments such as yours. Unfortunately his sole intention is to grasp at any data and reasoning that might lend support to his pre-conceived idea and agenda, and to not look objectively at data and draw a conclusion from them. Peter also confuses models with data.
[…] me shocked when a week after the latest satellite data shows a drop in sea level, the Eco-tards say their fancy models of Thermageddon predicted in all along…along with the 20 meter rise…that didn’t happen and the record ice […]
Dear Mr Hartman, I think that all of us understand pretty well what “noise” means in your dictionary. It’s any change of any observable quantity in the climate system that you find inconvenient, right? The term “weather” is being used in the same way. If a climate phenomenon has the right sign, then you present it as an important sign from the heavens that strengthens the consensus; when it has the wrong sign, it’s just “noise”, isn’t it?
But unlike you, Mr Hartman, honest people are actually able to look rationally both at changes of the temperature or sea level that are going up as well as those that are going down. All these changes may potentially have a cause, an explanation, and if they have a cause or even a known explanation, then it’s surely misleading to call them “noise”.
If the man-made activity influences these things, these influences may be called “noise” as well. On the other hand, if there are other, natural causes of these changes, there is no guarantee that they will “average out” and produce no trend over e.g. a 30-year interval. That’s just not how Nature works. Both natural and man-made influences may produce changes that operate at both short and long time scales and they can have any magnitude.
It’s just complete nonsense to assume in between the lines – and sometimes explicitly – that Nature only produces “noise” while the people produce “signal”. Both people and Nature may produce both signal and noise; the separation of things into “signal” and “noise” is really ill-defined. We may only separate things to influences whose cause is currently understood and those whose origin is not understood or looks chaotic, close to white noise or red noise or any other noise.
But note that the term “noise” doesn’t mean that there will be no trends. Red noise – which is surely a part of temperature dynamics at some timescales (red noise is also known as random walk) – surely does produce trends over arbitrarily long periods of time.
“Both people and Nature may produce both signal and noise; the separation of things into “signal” and “noise” is really ill-defined. ”
When we talk about measurements, it’s pretty well defined – the noise is the unwanted contribution of the electronics and algorithms involved in measuring the signal.
When you talk about noise as the name for a certain kind of power spectrum, you’re right; Nature does produce that kind of noise.
But as Peter talked about “signal” vs. “noise” i take it he talks about the S/N ratio – and I have the feeling he doesn’t know what that is.
first, it is very bad style to doubt my honesty. [-snip You’re out of bounds here. You are not going to address Lubos this way. No way! -PG]
about the signal/noise: i can forgive Pierre or Dirk for not understanding why it’s disingenuous to whip themselves into a frenzy when looking at a measurement from one year (which is easily covered by noise), while not giving any relevance to long-year trends. [-snip, arrogant comment]. i’ve seen the same thing hundreds of times using the global temperature curve. this is just bad science. [Here again you are assuming an attitude of arrogance because people refuse to submit to your opinion. Sorry, that isn’t going to fly here. -PG]
of course noise can have known causes. just take volcanic eruptions, ENSO etc. for the temp record. the 1998 El Niño is noise in the long term signal, and has been used all too often to allege there has been no warming “since 1998”.
with sea level rise, the long term signal is pretty clear, and there have been downturns quite often, as seen in this graph:
there’s the one in 1998 for example. this is the noise. but the trend is very clear.
other than clearing that up, i’m not interested in sea level rise discussion really, as i think that climate disruption will wreak havoc with global agriculture long before sea levels become a serious problem. sea level rise is SLOW, guys. btw i was really put off by the part of gore’s movie where he did not make it clear how damn slow this is, for he totally skewed the priorities with this.
you’re implying that climate scientists are just slaves to their confirmation bias. but if you look at the whole of current science, not just the parts you like, you’ll see that there are big uncertainties as to what actually will happen, but it is pretty clear that the outcome will be bad at best, and cataclysmic at worst. [Big uncertainties, yet it is “pretty clear” what will happen!? -PG]
one thing i really do not understand regarding your view of those convinced of AGW is this: why on earth should i have a confirmation bias for AGW? i’m just some guy (biologist) trying to approximate reality. i would love to see AGW falsified, but the data just does not lead to this conclusion. the physics, the geological record (indicating high climate sensitivity), the direct measurements, all point in the direction of trouble ahead [Again, which data are you looking at? We’ve been waiting 20 years to see this “convincing data”. And there are a number of reasons why people are motivated to believe in AGW. – PG]. on the other hand, there’s a strong psychological motivation to deny this (the “head in the sand” approach), which is human, but non-scientific. [-snip – Dirk’s disagreement with your opinion does not mean that he’s is wrong and inferior as you imply. You’re being arrogant here, again. Stick to the facts, stop getting personal].
pierre: now some comments of mine re-appeared much later. could you try to release comments in order of posting, the way you’re doing it now is very confusing [Sorry if you are confused – PG].
all: i’m really trying to have a civilized discussion here, and am working hard not to hurt anyone. [If you wish to have a civilised discussion, you have to stop the personal attacks, the arrogance and focus on the facts only. People are not wrong and “dead” just because they don’t agree with you. There is the chance that you may be wrong, and should be open to it. -PG] if this doesn’t work out all the time, i apologize. more often than not a seeming insult from my side will at closer scrutiny turn out to be a misunderstanding between two sides of a too heated debate [Peter, you are approaching the debate with far too much arrogance. That is you are absolutely convinced you are right, and believe anyone who diasgrees with you is intellectiually inferior to you. This arrogance closes the mind. The purpose of scientific debate is not to force your opinion onto others, but to put both opinions out so that a conclusion can be approached- -PG]. i’m trying to assume the best, most honest motivation in others, and would appreciate if you returned that favor. yes, i’m looking at you dirk. [Here it helps to get off the “science is settled high horse and start considering that you may be indeed wrong. Coming into a sceptic arena with the attitude: “I’m right and all you sceptics are children that need to be taught will not go well, and will lead to an immediate expulsion here. This is my last warning. Stick to the facts, and get off the high horse of arrogance- PG.]
[Peter, the greatest problem is the towering arrogance that the warmists display to sceptics. If sceptics do not believe the alarmist scenarios, then the warmists think they have to treat the sceptics like uneducated children who need upbringing. Perhaps you have not noticed it yourself, but you keep demonstrating this attitude throughout in your comment above. In the future comments displaying this will be wholly deleted. Stick to the facts, and you’ll be fine. – PG]
A practical tip can be found in the Bible, Vol. 2, where J.C. transferred an evil spirit to an herd of wild swines and drove them into the sea. See also: http://motls.blogspot.com/2011/08/nir-shaviv-cloud-is-clearing.html#more
Note to “Warmers”………………….make up your mind!………..your giving us a massive headache!
There are three kinds of theory. Some of them are considered true (not yet falsified) and some are falsified. About the latter you can read in history books but this category falls apart in two kinds. Some theories are simply stone dead but some managed to survive as zombies, haunting the minds of people. Because they are dead they cannot die for a second time. Therefore, if we have warmer winters, AGW predicted it. If we get suddenly cold winters, AGW explains that perfectly. Rising sea levels? AGW tells why. Dropping sea levels? AGW has the answer. Actually, AGW explains everything, which is the defining characteristic of a zombie.
Per my comment above, any spectral content of either temperature or sea level, with a period of 30 years or less, is purely noise.
Not entirely off topic:
The reality of Sea Ice is starting to bite
That photo is a good illustration of very pronounced “falling sea level”. The photo is supposedly of the inland Aral Sea from which the Soviets diverted a couple of rivers for irrigation use. They now have the equivalent of the Bonneville salt flats.
Indeed it is. I chose the photo purely for the purpose of illustration.
It may be too soon to tell if the sea level drop is signal or noise. It is well demonstrated that human activity has had no significant effect on climate.
A simple equation based on the physical phenomena involved, with inputs of only sunspot number and ppmv CO2, calculates the average global temperatures (agt) since 1895 with 88.4% accuracy (87.9% if CO2 is assumed to have no influence). The equation, links to the source data, an eye-opening graph of the results and how they are derived are in the pdfs at http://climaterealists.com/index.php?tid=145&linkbox=true (see especially the pdfs made public on 4/10/10, and 3/10/11).
The future average global temperature trend that this equation calculates is down. The huge effective thermal capacitance of the oceans (about 100 times everything else) will cause the decline to be only about 0.13°C per decade. Steeper if the sun goes really quiet.
This trend is corroborated by the growing separation between the rising CO2 and not-rising agt. From 2001 through July, 2011 the atmospheric CO2 increased by 23.2% of the total increase from 1800 to 2001 while the average global temperature has not increased. The 23.2% CO2 increase is the significant measurement, not the comparatively brief time period.
“i would love to see AGW falsified, but the data just does not lead to this conclusion. the physics, the geological record (indicating high climate sensitivity), the direct measurements, all point in the direction of trouble ahead”
If the geological records show anything, it’s low climate sensitivity
We have species roaming the planet for millions of years still doing really well in our times.
This despite huge volcanic eruptions and ice ages.
The entire system is running as smooth as a clock.
Nothing we see today hasn’t happened in the past and the anthropogenic signal can’t even be measured.
As for the noise, it must be in your head (LOL)
Just take a tour at Anthony Watts blog Watts Up With That and read what is written about “climate senitivity”. Also read the comments from the posters.
It could be an eye opener.
“the geological record (indicating high climate sensitivity)”
Which part of the geological record indicates “high climate sensitivity”?
[-snip – venting (I’m not a counselor here for frustrated warmists) pls get back to the debate and stop complaining about the rules – PG]
Lacking real knowledge the combatants of both sides resort to rationalisations, like the ones above.
The debate has sunk to the level of the theological argument of how many angels can fit on the head of a pin, in short it is quickly becoming irrelevant.
The true test of science is its ability to predict. And so far neither side to the warming debate has proven it has, or will obtain this ability soon. So sort it out and leave us alone till you do. Or you might find that the patience of the public, especially its tax bearing patience, will be replaced by anger which might express itself in unexpected and impolite ways.
Unfortunately your picture is of the Aral Sea, the levels of which fell as a response to irrigation of cotton crops in that area. Global warming had nothing to do with it.
Sea levels have dropped today probably due to ocean cooling due to low solar energy.
It’s just for illustration purposes, John. A bit of sarcastic humour.
Evaporation and precipitation and runoff from the land are happening somewhere in the world all of the time. To suggest that evaporation and runoff has created a significant one year lag in the water returning to the sea, causing a sea level drop, means there must be some persistent and massively extensive flooding going on somewhere. Er, there’s no news of such . . .
Hmmm, if the precipitation was on Greenland and Antarctica, there would be a fairly significant lag. However, that would mean a horrendous amount of snow fall in these regions, which has not been reported. That leaves water contraction with cooling in the upper ocean?
1. September 2011 at 00:49 | Permalink | Reply
“i’m trying to assume the best, most honest motivation in others, and would appreciate if you returned that favor. yes, i’m looking at you dirk.”
Peter; I’m living in a stagnant backwater of a country that pours all its spare resources into useless projects. It’s due to people like you that this waste goes on, and it probably cannot be changed; your kind will find another useless exercise after the silly CO2 scare is forgotten; I am under no illusion there; you and your fellow alarmists will use a different reason to continue squandering money.
And just like you are honestly trying to save the world from CO2 now, you will try to save the world from a different imaginary scare tomorrow. It’s a mental disturbance; a misdirection of natural instincts; an inability to assess risks.
Rahmstorf’s boss, Schellnhuber, is on the editorial board at PNAS.
AGW. Still the greatest hoax since Piltdown man. The sad part is these “scientist” hacks who could never hold a real job will have their gumming jobs forever.
For a non-scientific observer such as myself, the macro areas of climate are incredibly easy to follow, just as most of the micro are complex. As the large is made up of the small then the minutiae are irrelevant, only the overall picture counts. That means signal/noise etc are totally irrelevant, as we have a few major indicators.
1) Temperature. If that does not rise then nothing can follow.
2) Sea level. Far easier to measure than temperature but still variable and highly open to interpretation
3) Ice coverage. Similar to sea level, the only queries are thickness estimations and gaps in measurement coverage
4) CO2 concentration
The one thing which rises consistently according to all accounts is CO2. That begs the question ‘What if it had been stable and the temperature had varied indentically?’. Would anyone even have remarked on it? The warmists began turning out predictions in the 90s. Bear in mind they had a problem. CO2 had never risen in historic memory, so it was a new area to investigate from scratch. All they had were two existing figures, the lab experiment and the paper experiment, both giving a 1/33 of the total greenhouse effect at 260ppm (1C), expected to double to 2C with no feedback. To further simplify, as sea and ice are micro in relation to temperature, at a 50% rise at 390ppm temperatures are now up by 0.8C on an existing rising trend from the ice age recovery, giving around the exact figure predicted. I am not aware of any study that envisaged a delay, waiting over half way along the route before it gradually or suddenly appeared (through cloud increase from sea evaporation). As the sea ought to evaporate (as it melts and freezes) seasonally with temperature fluctuations it is fair to assume it should do so on a linear fashion.
As for modelling, climate is not something able to be future projected. Until global warming was thought up, scientists stuck to 3-6 month projections max. More than that was never supposed to be possible (as it indeed is not), as these were created for shipping, oil drilling etc who needed the best possible predictions when they could go and get on with their work. It was never designed or expected to be used for anything else. Climate has more influences than virtually any other terrestrial phenomenon, and as such is an open system, non-linear and chaotic. Trying to tame such a system on a computer and run it forwards is no different from trying to predict the stock market a week, a year and a century ahead. Pure idiot arrogance. But our world has been taken over by the IPCC who make laws affecting us all in some degree purely based on the 2100 projection, with around a +/- 400% error margin (1.5-6C).
If a business were to offer such a budget to a bank, or accountant then they would be struck off or put away. Yet our world’s politics is now driven by nothing more and only the people here and on similar sites care, the rest are driven by fear for their unborn grandchildren (as I’m told regularly) and probably burn down pediatrician’s houses thinking they are pedophiles (this really happened in Portsmouth after a newspaper article). They are the masses, average IQs, average lives and average occupying the middle of the bell shaped curve, always the majority. That is why Julia Gillard is currently about to send Australia down the toilet to follow Britain and Spain with her similar policies. But the second pig in a poke is that nothing is even expected to happen by the IPCC so’s we’d REALLY notice before around 2100 but we can’t find out as we’ll all be dead. Every single one of us.
We are up against a combination of weak minds, huge criminal interests and worst of all irrational fear. How simple facts and logic can beat that goodness only knows, but in all religious texts truth always wins out as that is all there is. And one final crumb, in 1962 the official amount of atmospheric CO2 was 260….
It’s currently 390. As in 1962 it was accepted as varying then had it been measured there back then it may not have been considered unusual either.
what about luboš alleging dishonesty on my part. why is that “within bounds” here.
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