The year 2018 could mark the beginning of the end of climate change alarmist reporting. Projections of catastrophic melting of the ice sheets and sea level rise swallowing up the Earth’s coasts are increasingly undermined by observations.
Extensive glacier and ice sheet melt resulting in an accelerated sea level rise threatening the world’s population centers living along the coasts is indeed the most legitimate threat posed by a global-scale warming trend.
Alarming sea level rise predictions abound. Several meters of sea level rise due to catastrophic melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have been predicted based on anthropogenic CO2 emissions scenarios.
For example, claims that we shall experience 260 centimeters (2.6 meters) of global sea level rise by 2100 unless we dramatically curtail our fossil fuel consumption have been published by authors like Dr. Michael Mann and Dr. Richard Alley (Garner et al. 2017). These same authors even suggest seas will rise by 17.5 meters in the next 180 years (Mörner et al., 2018).
Image Source: Mörner et al., 2018
Despite the hackneyed practice of reporting “staggering” ice sheet melt for both Greenland and Antarctica in recent decades, the two polar ice sheets combined to add just 1.5 centimeters to sea level rise between 1958 and 2014 (graph from Frederikse et al., 2018) as global sea levels only rose by “1.5 ± 0.2 mm yr−1 over 1958–2014 (1σ)” or “1.3 ± 0.1 mm yr−1 for the sum of contributors”.
That’s about 7.8 centimeters (3.1 inches) of global sea level change in 56 years.
Even more significantly, satellite observations all across the globe show that the coasts of islands and sandy beaches and continents have not only not been shrinking for the last several decades, they’ve been stable to growing on net. Along the world’s coasts, there is today more land area above sea level than there was in the mid-1980s (Donchyts et al., 2016), leaving scientists “surprised”.
“We expected that the coast would start to retreat due to sea level rise, but the most surprising thing is that the coasts are growing all over the world,” said Dr Baart. “We’re were able to create more land than sea level rise was taking.” (BBC press release for Donchyts et al., 2016)
Dr. Nils-Axel Mörner – a world-renown sea level expert who headed the Department of Paleogeophysics & Geodynamics at Stockholm University – and 3 other co-authors have concluded that sea level rise projections of 2.6 m by 2100 and 17.5 m by 2300 are “deeply flawed” and “not rooted in facts” (Mörner et al., 2018).
What follows is a very abbreviated summary of the dozens of alarmism-quelling papers published in 2018 pertaining to ice sheet melt, sea level rise, and coastal expansion.
Estimating Future Sea Level Changes, Assessing Coastal
Hazards, Avoiding Misguiding Exaggerations, and
Recommending Present Coastal Management
“Tide-gauges offer records of the relative changes in sea level. Out of a total of about 2300 stations (PSMSL), “a global set of ~300 tide gauges that serves as the backbone of the global in situ sea level network” in the Global Sea Level Observing System (GLOSS). There is no objective, straightforward solution for estimating a global mean value. The University of Colorado chose 184 global tide-gauge records. Their rate of distribution has a marked peak in the zone from ±0.0 to +2.0 mm/yr with a mean value at +1.14 mm/yr. Because the majority of stations used include a component of regional subsidence and local sediment compaction, the true mean sea level value should be <+1.14 mm/yr. … Satellite altimetry is a new and important tool, which reconstructs the entire ocean surface changes. But nowhere do the measurements agree with coastal observations. Satellite altimetry exceeds tide-gauge records by about 300%. There have even been accusations of data manipulation [Mörner, 2018].”
“Garner et al. (2017) propose SLR of up to 2.6 m by 2100, 10.5 m by 2200, and 17.5 m by 2300 (Fig. 1). These SLRs are far greater than those that occurred during catastrophic melting of immense ice sheets at the end of the Pleistocene, so the question arises, where will all the water come from to produce these very large SLRs? Melting of small, temperate, alpine glaciers wouldn’t produce anywhere near the SLRs projected by Garner et al., so the only possible sources of water are the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets. The projections of Garner et al. of SLR of 7–8 m per century would require about seven times the end of the Pleistocene SLR when immense ice sheets were collapsing under warming of up to 20 °F in less than a century. To get these huge SLRs would require melting of an immense amount of ice from the Antarctic ice sheet. The average winter temperature in Antarctica is about –55 °F and temperatures have reached as low as 135 °F, so any significant melting of the Antarctic ice sheet would require 55° + 32° = 87 °F of warming just to get to the freezing point plus another 10 degrees or so to melt much ice. So Antarctica would have to warm up by 90–100 °F to melt enough ice to substantially raise sea level.”
“Hazard prediction is important, but the essence of science is the testing of predictions by comparison with observational facts. Without that validation, predictions are really just idle speculations. The future sea level values given by Garner et al.  are deeply flawed and therefore misleading for coastal planning. They must be rejected as nonsense. Sea level research has its own well established means of recording past and present sea level changes and from those data to estimate likely sea level changes in the future. There are also physical frames to consider, some of which are absolute and must not be violated. … [T]he values given by Garner et al.  violate not only physical laws but also accepted scientific knowledge of glaciology. Therefore, their values must not be considered in coastal planning. We also question the reviewing process.”
“Is Greenland warming and the ice sheet melting away? Chylek et al.  analyzed temperature histories of coastal stations in southern and central Greenland having almost uninterrupted temperature records between 1950 and 2000 and found that coastal Greenland’s peak temperatures occurred between 1930 and 1940, after which subsequent decrease in temperature was so substantial and sustained that current coastal temperatures “are about 1°C below their 1940 values.” At the summit of the Greenland Ice Sheet, the summer average temperature has decreased at the rate of 2.2 °C per decade since the beginning of measurements in 1987. Two weather stations, Godthab Nuu and Angmagssalik, on opposite coasts of Greenland, have the longest records, dating back more than a century. Both show similar annual temperature patterns–strong warming in the 1920 and 1930s followed by cooling from 1950 to 1980 and warming from 1980 to 2005. The significance of these recent temperature records is that they show that temperatures in the past several decades have not exceeded those of the 1930s and Greenland temperatures have fluctuated normally in step with global temperatures changes [Easterbrook, 2016].”
“Satellite and surface temperature records and sea surface temperatures show that both the East Antarctic Ice Sheet and the West Antarctic Ice Sheet are cooling, not warming. Satellite and surface temperature measurements show that the East Antarctic Ice Sheet is cooling, not warming, and glacial ice is increasing, not melting. Satellite and surface temperature measurements of the southern polar area show no warming over the past 37 years. Growth of the Antarctic ice sheets means sea level rise is not being caused by melting of polar ice and, in fact, is slightly lowering the rate of rise. Satellite Antarctic temperature records show 0.02 °C/decade cooling since 1979. The Southern Ocean around Antarctica has been getting sharply colder since 2006. Antarctic sea ice is increasing, reaching all-time highs. Surface temperatures at 13 stations show the Antarctic Peninsula has been sharply cooling since 2000. This indicates that the hypothetical “enhanced Antarctic Ice Sheet contribution” of Garner et al.  is a serious mistake (Fig. 1) not anchored in facts.”
2. Ice melt from Greenland, Antarctica added just 1.5 cm to sea levels since 1958
“For the first time, it is shown that for most basins the reconstructed sea level trend and acceleration can be explained by the sum of contributors, as well as a large part of the decadal variability. The global-mean sea level reconstruction shows a trend of 1.5 ± 0.2 mm yr−1 over 1958–2014 (1σ), compared to 1.3 ± 0.1 mm yr−1for the sum of contributors.” (Frederikse et al.,2018)
3. Ice mass gains in the rapidly-cooling Antarctic Peninsula since 2009
“Two small glaciers on James Ross Island, the north-eastern Antarctic Peninsula, experienced surface mass gain between 2009 and 2015 as revealed by field measurements. A positive cumulative surface mass balance of 0.57 ± 0.67 and 0.11 ± 0.37 m w.e. was observed during the 2009–2015 period on Whisky Glacier and Davies Dome, respectively. … Ambrožová and Láska (2016) reported a significant decrease (0.03–0.15°C a−1 [-0.3 to -1.5°C per decade]) in the temperature along the AP [Antarctic Peninsula] over the 2005–15 period with the most prominent cooling at the Bibby Hill station on JRI [James Ross Island]. … The cumulative mass gain of the glaciers around the northern AP [Antarctic Peninsula] indicates a regional change from a predominantly negative surface mass balance in the first decade of the 21st century to a positive balance over the 2009–15 period. The change in the glacier mass balance follows a significant decrease in the warming rates reported from the northern AP [Antarctic Peninsula] since the end of the 20th century. The mass gain is also consistent with the regional trend of climate cooling on the eastern side of the AP [Antarctic Peninsula].” (Engel et al., 2018)
4. Collapse of Larsen C glaciers would add 0.25 to 0.42 of a cm to sea levels
“Here we apply numerical ice-sheet models of varying complexity to show that the centennial sea-level commitment of Larsen C embayment glaciers following immediate shelf collapse is low ( < 2.5 mm to 2100, < 4.2 mm to 2300) [0.25 to 0.42 of a cm added to sea levels by 2100/2300 with Larsen C collapse]. Despite its large size, Larsen C does not provide strong buttressing forces to upstream basins and its collapse does not result in large additional discharge from its tributary glaciers in any of our model scenarios. In contrast, the response of inland glaciers to a collapse of the George VI Ice Shelf may add up to 8mm to global sea levels by 2100 and 22mm by 2300 [0.8 cm to 2.2 cm] due in part to the mechanism of marine ice sheet instability. Our results demonstrate the varying and relative importance to sea level of the large Antarctic Peninsula ice shelves considered to present a risk of collapse.” (Schannwell et al., 2018)
5. East Antarctica is gaining mass – it takes “millions of years” for “even partial retreat”
“The East Antarctic ice sheet may be gaining mass in the current, warming climate. The palaeoclimate record shows, however, that it has retreated during previous episodes of prolonged warmth. … In terms of immediate sea-level rise, it is reassuring that it seems to require prolonged periods of lasting hundreds of thousands to millions of years to induce even partial retreat.” (Nature Geoscience, 2018)
6. No glacier-melt trend for Antarctica’s largest sea level rise contributor in 70 years
“Pine Island Glacier is the largest current Antarctic contributor to sea level rise. Its ice loss has substantially increased over the last 25 years through thinning, acceleration and grounding line retreat. However, the calving line positions of the stabilizing ice shelf did not show any trend within the observational record (last 70 years) until calving in 2015 led to unprecedented retreat and changed alignment of the calving front. … Despite the thinning and flow acceleration of PIG [Pine Island Glacier], and sustained, rapid thinning of the ice shelf over at least the past 25 years the position of the ice front had not shown any clear trend over 68 years of observations prior to 2015 (Bindschadler, 2002;MacGregor et al., 2012;Rignot, 2002).” (Arndt et al., 2018)
7. East Antarctica gaining mass…projections due to ice sheet melt “overestimated”
“East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS) mass balance is largely driven by snowfall. Recently, increased snowfall in Queen Maud Land led to years of EAIS mass gain. It is difficult to determine whether these years of enhanced snowfall are anomalous or part of a longer-term trend, reducing our ability to assess the mitigating impact of snowfall on sea-level rise. We determine that the recent snowfall increases in western Queen Maud Land (QML) are part of a long-term trend (+5.2±3.7% decade-1) and are unprecedented over the past two millennia. Warming between 1998 and 2016 is significant and rapid (+1.1±0.7 °C decade-1). Using these observations, we determine that the current accumulation and temperature increases in QML from an ensemble of global climate simulations are too low, which suggests that projections of the QML [Queen Maud Land] contribution to sea-level rise are potentially overestimated with a reduced mitigating impact of enhanced snowfall in a warming world.” (Medley et al., 2018)
8. Globally, 73.1% of island coasts are stable, 15.5% are growing, and 11.4% are shrinking
“This review first confirms that over the past decades to century, atoll islands exhibited no widespread sign of physical destabilization by sea-level rise. The global sample considered in this paper, which includes 30 atolls and 709 islands, reveals that atolls did not lose land area, and that 73.1% of islands were stable in land area, including most settled islands, while 15.5% of islands increased and 11.4% decreased in size. Atoll and island areal stability can therefore be considered as a global trend. Importantly, islands located in ocean regions affected by rapid sea-level rise showed neither contraction nor marked shoreline retreat, which indicates that they may not be affected yet by the presumably negative, that is, erosive, impact of sea-level rise. .. These results show that atoll and island areal stability is a global trend, whatever the rate of sea-level rise. Tuvaluan atolls affected by rapid sea-level rise (5.1 mm/yr; Becker et al., 2012) did not exhibit a distinct behavior compared to atolls located in areas showing lower sea-level rise rates, for example, the Federated States of Micronesia or Tuamotu atolls.” (Duvat et al., 2018)
9. Since 1984, 48% of the globe’s shorelines have been stable, 28% are growing, and 24% are shrinking
“The application of an automated shoreline detection method to the sandy shorelines thus identified resulted in a global dataset of shoreline change rates for the 33 year period 1984–2016. Analysis of the satellite derived shoreline data indicates that 24% of the world’s sandy beaches are eroding at rates exceeding 0.5 m/yr, while 28% are accreting and 48% are stable. …. Erosion rates exceed 5 m/yr along 4% of the sandy shoreline and are greater than 10 m/yr for 2% of the global sandy shoreline. On the other hand, about 8% of the world’s sandy beaches experience significant accretion (>3 m/yr), while 6% (3%) are accreting more than 5 m/yr (10 m/yr). … Taking a continental perspective, Australia and Africa are the only continents for which net erosion (−0.20 m/yr and −0.07 m/yr respectively) is found, with all other continents showing net accretion.” (Luijendijk et al., 2018)
10. “Despite sea-level rise” there has been a “land area increase in eight of nine atolls” since 1971
“We specifically examine spatial differences in island behaviour, of all 101 islands in Tuvalu, over the past four decades (1971–2014), a period in which local sea level has risen at twice the global average (Supplementary Note 2). Surprisingly, we show that all islands have changed and that the dominant mode of change has been island expansion, which has increased the land area of the nation. … Using remotely sensed data, change is analysed over the past four decades, a period when local sea level has risen at twice the global average [<2 mm/yr-1] (~3.90 ± 0.4 mm.yr−1). Results highlight a net increase in land area in Tuvalu of 73.5 ha (2.9%), despite sea-level rise, and land area increase in eight of nine atolls.” (Kench et al., 2018)
11. Bangladesh coastal land area has expanded by 7.9 km2 per year during 1985-2015
“This paper draws upon the application of GIS and remote sensing techniques to investigate the dynamic nature and management aspects of land in the coastal areas of Bangladesh. … This research reveals that the rate of accretion [coastal land growth] in the study area is slightly higher than the rate of erosion. Overall land dynamics indicate a net gain of 237 km2 (7.9 km2annual average) of land in the area for the whole period from 1985 to 2015.” (Ahmed et al., 2018)
12. 54% of ‘vulnerable’ SW Pacific Islands studied had shorelines that expanded from 2005-2015