German Scientists Call Recent Sea Level Rise Claims “Fijigate”, …Hyped Up To Generate Money

Dr. Sebastian Lüning and Prof. Fritz Vahrenholt show that sea level rise at the Fiji Islands is being hyped up in order to generate money.


Dr. Sebastian Lüning and Prof. Fritz Vahrenholt
(Translated/edited by P. Gosselin)

The COP23 climate conference in Bonn had originally been planned to take place in the Fiji Islands. But in order to comfortably accommodate the approximately 25,000 representatives(!) from every country in the world, it was decided to hold it in Bonn.

It was reported in Spiegel about how the islands are becoming victims. At the start of the article author Axel Bojanowski referred to the rise in sea level and linked to an NOAA-website. But later throughout the rest of the article there was no mention of climate change submerging the islands.

Bojanowski was completely correct to emphasize that the most important reasons for the erosion of the islands is solely the fault of the island inhabitants. The uncontrolled deforestation reduces stability and resistance to the sea. Even persons who sail in the area report that there are 3-meter waves even in the absence storms in the region.

But let’s get back to sea level rise in the area. At the NOAA website there is also the possibility to download the data. And that is what we did.

Figure 1: Sea level rise at the Fiji Islands, 1990-2011. Data: NOAA. The linear trend is 6 mm per year.

The available NOAA data go back (with some gaps) to 1972, but the station was moved in March 1989 and this led to an upwards jump of about 10 cm. Thus we look only at the period from 1990 to the end of 2011, where unfortunately the data series ends. However we supplement the data for the area from satellites (see here:

Figure 2: Sea Surface Height (SSH at the Fiji Islands from satellite measurement. Source here.

After a peak in 2012 the level went down by about 10 cm by mid 2017. It is very much related to natural variations, in sync with the El Ninos (low levels) and La Ninas (high levels).

So what remains of the climate change horror stories in connection to the Fiji Islands? In the article, a 40-year old woman tells about her youth (i.e. around 1990), when she viewed the water as her friend and how today (2017) she regards it as an enemy. But just what should an approximately 8 cm rise (and not the often cited 17 cm that was generated by the powerful 2011/12 La Nina) lead to in 27 years with waves of 3 meters?

The contribution to erosion coming from climate change is certainly hardly noticeable by the residents. However for PR work, it works great for shaking down money.

9 responses to “German Scientists Call Recent Sea Level Rise Claims “Fijigate”, …Hyped Up To Generate Money”

  1. Bitter&twisted

    Follow the money.
    Rent-seeker and subsidy-suckers love (non-existent) climate change disasters.
    P.S.SebastianH is either a paid troll, or mentally ill.

  2. Lasse

    There is a long record of mean temperatures at Fiji.
    Mean temperature was 24,2 C during the period 1900-1930
    Mean temperature was 24,2 C during the period 1991-2015

    There is one concern for natural disaster in Fiji-vulcanos.
    They are situated at the Ring of Fires.
    This affects the land and can be seen in the land level.
    Sea level should not be measured on a land right above vulcanos!

  3. Phyllab

    “However for PR work, it works great for shaking down money.” Could you please develop?

    basically, the title is wrong since I do not know after the reading where it “generated money”.

    Please I want to know more! I am disgusted by this COP23 bullshit but we have to be rigoureous.

  4. Frank
  5. oldbrew

    Nils-Axel Mörner offered his own research on Fiji to the President, pointing out that it showed ‘all threat of an approaching general sea level flooding is totally unfounded.’

    Nils-Axel Mörner: Open letter to the COP23 President

  6. Pamela Matlack-Klein

    We visited Fiji in March of this year to investigate the claims of “dangerously rising sea level.” What we found is a stable sea level, existing for the past 50-70 years. The only erosion was caused by humans building sea walls, groins, clearing the protective vegetation, and removing other naturally-occurring stabilizing conditions of which they were ignorant. Ocean currents can easily rearrange the sediment budget in a given area but this has nothing to do with SLR, only ill-advised meddling with the shore. IOW, sea level remains the same but the shore sediments can be moved around, away from where humans prefer them to remain.

    The bottom line, Fiji is in no danger of being flooded by rising sea level. In some areas the sea level is actually dropping slightly, possibly due to tectonic factors.

  7. JCalvertN(UK)

    Fiji has hundreds of coastal villages and settlements. Very few have undue problems with encroachment from the sea. However every year there are king tides when the surrounding reefs are unable to protect the coast from ocean swells. Storm surges are also a problem for settlements which are located at the end of a long tapering bay. Vunidogoloa Village is at one such location.

    As regards sea-level gauges, I think this is the best website:

    Note the following. (Especially the bit about land subsidence)
    “For Information: A gauge was maintained on behalf of the TOGA Sea Level Center until it was withdrawn in May 1989. A gauge at Kings Wharf was destroyed in November 1983 and was re-located to Walu Bay Naval Facility (operated by University of Hawaii)There was a 3 month overlap between the new NOAA gauge and the Walu gauge.
    From November 1997 the responsibility for the station in Suva was taken over by the Australian National Tidal Facility from the US NOAA. Comparison of daily means for Suva with those for Lautoka and satellite altimetry suggest there could be land subsidence at the Suva station equating to a slow positive sea level trend.”

    You should also know that in 1983 when the gauge was destroyed, Suva’ Kings Wharf was being renovated under the (first) Port of Suva Rehabilitation Project (there have been others since) which was financed by ADB. According to ADB “Before the project, Suva port’s deck was extremely corroded, riddled with concrete cancer, lighting was poor, and the deck’s ability to withstand heavy cargo loads was also in doubt.” The 1983 project involved extensive repairs to the reinforced concrete deck which effectively increased its thickness, full length access bridges from the landside to the quay. The steel landside seawall was faced with concrete to stop it from rusting and many metres of rock fill were placed against it forming a berm to keep it stable. The slope of the berm extended almost the full width of the quay. The apparent sea-level rise may be attributable to this.

    There has been a more recent Port of Suva Rehabilitation Project (also financed by the ADB). I don’t know the full details but it seems quite likely that the more recent reversal in apparent sea-level rise could also attributable to nearby infrastructure development.

  8. Ian Chute

    I am not well versed in history but it appears that the world must have been warmer (volcanoes ect )and water levels much higher due to climate change in the time of Noah , the result his Ark grounded on mount Ararat.
    Even Vice President Al Gore says the special wine pino something only grows so well in France because of the remains of the land being under sea water at some point in the past.
    I don’t think humans create volcanoes, but they do contribute via wars and this is not mentioned.
    We need to preserve our natural resources individually by island nations and positive results will be achieved.

    Otherwise it’s only a money scam by smaller nations.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this. More information at our Data Privacy Policy