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A sea level Golden Horseshoe nominee*

Filed under: — gavin @ 14 October 2012

I was reading a sign high on the wall behind the bar:

‘Only genuine pre-war British and American whiskeys served here’

I was trying to count how many lies could be found in those nine words, and had reached four, with promise of more …”

Dashiell Hammett, “The Golden Horseshoe”

Google News occasionally throws up some obscure postings that I would never otherwise come across. A recent example was a letter to an editor of a Scottish newspaper (not my usual reading material) declaring that “Climate change is not man-made”. The letter itself is uninteresting – a basic confusion between weather and climate seguing into a NIMBY-ish rant about windmills. Ho hum.

However, in one of the comments from a “Dr John Cameron, St Andrews” (posted 9/Oct/2012), there was this unrelated pseudo-factoid:

As regards the catastrophic sea level rise in the Pacific, it became obvious some 20 years ago that results from island tide gauges did not support computer predictions. Scientists from Flinders University in Adelaide set up new, modern, tide-gauges in 12 Pacific islands to test whether there was in fact any evidence of sinking. Recently the whole project was abandoned as there had been no sign whatsoever of a change in sea level at any of the 12 islands for the past 16 years.

Now this is specific enough to probably actually refer to something real, but doesn’t pass the sniff test for something that might actually be true. Scientists don’t set up monitoring stations only to get the answer they want and then stop monitoring if it doesn’t happen. This only happens in the fevered imaginations of conspiracy theorists. So I was intrigued enough to investigate what this actually referred to…

The easiest way to look for this is to search for the exact string – specifically the second sentence. Google comes up with 1000 or so very close antecedents – particularly with the “new, modern, tide-gauges in 12 Pacific islands” section. The links are to comment threads on partisan websites, the standard climate ‘skeptic’ blogs, and even a mention on SkepticalScience. The comments stretch back around 5 years. Some of the examples give an actual source for the remarks (unlike Dr. Cameron’s version) – one Dr. Vincent Gray – a well known pseudo-skeptic. Some even cite the newspaper article they appeared in – a error-ridden puff piece by Lawrence Solomon at the Canadian Financial Post. Curiously, that online version of the article doesn’t have a publishing date – though secondary sources suggest it was published on Oct 26th 2007. The lack of a date means that people quoting it often claim that this is a ‘recent’ claim.

Going back a little further, Gray made similar claims in a July 2007 article:

A claim that Pacific Islands were sinking led to an investigation by Flinders University, Adelaide, which replaced all the tide gauges in 12 Pacific islands to attempt to find out whether it was true. The attempt has now been abandoned as a failure, as none of the 12 islands showed any significant change since 1991. The team tried to save face by claiming that all showed an upwards “trend” because the 1998 hurricane caused a temporary depression in the ocean. Since 1998 all have remained flat, and the main island of contention, Tuvalu, actually rose last year.

This is referenced to an actual report from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology about the “South Pacific Sea Level and Climate Monitoring Project” (SPSLCMP), dated November 2006. Now we are getting somewhere!

There are some obvious signs of confusion in the Gray/Cameron statements. Firstly, the Australian National Tidal Facility (which installed and monitored the tide gauges starting in 1991) used to be managed by Flinders University in Adelaide – but the facility was transferred to the National Tidal Centre run by the Bureau of Meteorology … in 2003!

Second, the SPSLCMP has been rolled out in stages starting in 1991: the third stage terminating in Dec 2005 – and they are now in stage IV. This might be the source of Gray’s claim that the project had been abandoned, though even the report he cited clearly states that the phase IV was started in January 2006 and was slated to continue at least another 5 years (at that time). The ‘last 16 years’ is a clue that the Cameron statement was obviously written in 2007 not 2012.

Finally, annual reports from SPSLCMP are available through to June 2011 – indicating a project that is very much ongoing and one that was not ‘abandoned’ before 2007.

So none of the statements that Gray (and Cameron) made about the project itself were true (either in 2007 or in 2012). But what about the sea level trends?

This is even odder. The report Gray cites states clearly that relative sea level trends (1992/3/4 to 2006) at all stations were positive (2.7 to 8.1 mm/year for the 11 of the 12 stations with long enough records). The 12th station at FSM was only installed in 2001 and the trends were very noisy (though positive). The Jun 2006 SPSLCMP report goes further and applies corrections for platform movement and the inverted barometer effect, concluding that trends ranged from 1.7 to 7 mm/year at the 11 longer stations. Note that these trends may include a component of subsidence/uplift of the islands themselves and so are the numbers most relevant for local planning (not eustatic sea level change). But so much for not finding a trend!

As one would expect, monitoring has continued since 2007, and in the latest report (June 2011), the 11-station trends range from 2.8 to 7.7 mm/year (and +17.0 mm/year at the FSM station). The monthly data series are available here for people to check for themselves. Comparisons with the satellite altimeter records show a reasonable coherence since the West Pacific sea level has risen faster than the global mean (at least partially related to the number of recent La Niña events).

Trends using all data up to June 2011.

Roughly comparable trends (1991-2012) using the satellite altimeter record.

In summary, every piece of concrete information in the Gray/Cameron statement is wrong. They were wrong even in 2007 when the statement was written and even wronger when it was cut-and-pasted without sources in 2012. Yet demonstrating this took a a few hours of googling, a little familiarity with the issues and people, and obviously is not going to be done by every reader. Thus a statement which clearly make no sense goes unchallenged for years and keeps getting regurgitated. Sure, no single statement like this is likely going to change anyone’s mind about anything, but this one and others like it form part of a drumbeat of disinformation, which by repetition, becomes embedded and hard to shift.

A good question would be why I bothered to research a claim in an obscure comment, on an obscure letter to the editor in a regional newspaper I have never read, and I don’t really have a good answer. Clearly, looking for substantive points in newspaper comment threads is a bit of a fool’s errand, but I was still surprised at how completely wrong every single aspect of the comment was. Given that I did look into it, it is worth sharing here – just on the off chance it will save someone else the bother.

* The Golden Horseshoe award, whose name derives from the Hammett quote above, is for spectacular wrongness in the climate discussion, first initiated by SomeAreBoojums, and occasionally revived by the Wabett.

251 Responses to “A sea level Golden Horseshoe nominee*

  1. 151
    Jim Eager says:

    Good idea, Hank, then he could be a real “blog scientist” instead of just playing one on RealClimate.

  2. 152
    Jim Larsen says:

    148 Dan H said, “I will stop replying to his questions, if you insist.”

    Great example of a GH, and I’m impressed with your writing skills. So few words, yet it infers, but does not explicitly say:

    1 That the disruption was the question.
    2. That your replies were on-point (as opposed to evasions)
    3. That your initial comment did not initiate the chain of response.
    4. That you’re ever so helpful and compliant.

    I take your point that your opinion does change. Hyperbole is always technically incorrect, which feeds into your strengths (if one is keeping score instead of learning)

    150 SecularA said, “You mean this isn’t Dan H’s blog? Because, you know, looking over this thread, he seems to own it.”

    Obviously this is his thread, and properly so.

  3. 153
    Eric Rowland says:

    HR @142, thanks for the link. For me there is a 2nd clear takeaway:
    * The La Nina signature in 2010-2011 is mirrored by the ’97-’98 El Nino.

    Is this a live link or should I poke around at CU to find updates as they are available? Thanks for your posts, they are much appreciated.

  4. 154
    Hank Roberts says:

    Do look at someareboojums — the illustration there is good.

  5. 155
    Jim Larsen says:

    I propose we designate particularly stellar golden horseshoes as Diamond Horseshoes.

    Acronyms are fun and captcha is cool: exaggerated, utalkod

  6. 156
    Eli Rabett says:

    IEHR this nonsense with the tidal gauges started in the 1990s with the late John Daly Nil nisi and all that.

    Us old timers remember the Isle of the Dead. However the lesson is bayonets and horses. When someone starts with such nonsense you need a memorable and amusing way of pointing out that they are clueless. After that, details are just details, you don’t have to confront each response, merely point out that they are a few fish short.

  7. 157
  8. 158
  9. 159
    Craig Nazor says:

    Dan H – here is a comment made by you on 11/9/09 on the web site: “I am not challenging the greenhouse effect. […] I am questioning the effect that a trace gas in the atmosphere has on the overall effect. There is a lot of evidence pointing towards human-induced climate change. There is also a lot of evidence that climate change is largely natural. What will it take to convince me? How about some solid scientific proof that CO2 is the primary climate driver? Until then, I remain highly skeptical.”

    From the same site, 12/26/09: “To say that CO2 has no effect is probably under-estimating its effect. To say that it is the dominant or even a major player is probably over-estimating its effect. The sun and the oceans are the most influential forces on our climate, and yes, both are currently working together resulting in the recent temperature decrease.”

    So what do you actually believe is causing SLR? Has your opinion changed since 2009?

    Of course, you did not answer my first question @144 above, so something that might actually be interesting, like discussing Mitrovica’s (thanks, Hank) lecture, and what you may or may not agree with, remains undone. As a matter of fact, you did not answer most of my questions. This is no longer much of a scientific discussion if you will not directly respond to questions.

    As for those of you who think that “Dan H” “owns” this thread – Dan H is EXACTLY what this thread is all about – someone who is spreading misleading information. What’s wrong with debunking him?

  10. 160
    Dan H. says:

    Thank you for the compliment, and yes, all four are accurate. Everyone should have an opinion that changes when new data is presenteded which overrides the preceding work. Otherwise, the discussion degrades into a barroom argument, which appears to occur here at times. I would gladly accept ownership of this thread, except that there is someone else who is more prevalent, with less infomative posts than myself.

  11. 161
    Dan H. says:

    I already answered all your questions – twice. Mitrovica showed a plot that sea levels increased ~2.3 mm/yr from 1930-2010. I agree. He then showed the satellite measurements indicating that SLR since 1993 has been 3.1 mm/yr. No disagreement there either. My main disagreement is with his contention that sea level has continued to accelerate. Over the first 10 years of the satellite record, the SLR was ~4 mm/yr, while during the most recent 10 years, it has fallen to ~2.3 mm/yr. Read some of the other posts here. The decrease in SLR over the past decade is well documented. Here is a detailed plot showing the SLR vs. ENSO, and a second order plot presented over at skeptical science (the same site which posted the Mitrovica video).

  12. 162
    Jim Larsen says:

    160 Dan H said, ” I would gladly accept ownership of this thread”

    “Ownership” doesn’t fit. The original sense was of description and study.

    Captcha says, “respect drivSe”

  13. 163
    Unsettled Scientist says:

    > while during the most recent 10 years, it has fallen to ~2.3 mm/yr

    Once again this poster uses an average of the most recent decade to imply a slowing of of the sea level rise, failing to understand his own source. The link to Colorado Sea Level site has been posted here repeatedly and he continues to ignore it. IMO, unless it is acknowledged that the rate of sea level rise in the most recent decade is actually 3 mm/year, according to this poster’s own source, further repetition of this nonsense should be bore holed.

    Dan H, here’s the quote from source you posted, again.

    “The 2011 La Niña: So strong, the oceans fell

    Key Points:

    – Sea level drop in 2011 mainly caused by water exchange between ocean and land

    – Exchange related to 2010/11 La Nina driving regional changes in precipitation

    – Sea level decline is temporary as water will return to the ocean through runoff

    Global mean sea level (GMSL) dropped by 5 mm between the beginning of 2010 and mid 2011. This drop occurred despite the background rate of rise, 3 mm per year, which dominates most of the 18-year record observed by satellite altimeters.”

    Continually repeating that most recent decade has a rate of 2.3mm/year is to misrepresent the data, not to accept new data. Will you now acknowledge the fact that the data shows your calculated average is temporary? That this average you calculated does not reflect a change in the processes that are driving the current sea level rise? That it is not a decrease in SLR, it is only a temporary drop in the SL due to the excessive dumping of ocean water on land for one year? Or are you going to keep ignoring the scientific resources you posted?

    General readers, I think it should be blatant that Dan H is misrepresenting the science at this point. He is cherry picking a decadal average in which a La Nina event distorts that average to imply a slowing of SLR when his own source says that is not the case.

  14. 164
    dhogaza says:

    Continually repeating that most recent decade has a rate of 2.3mm/year is to misrepresent the data, not to accept new data. Will you now acknowledge the fact that the data shows your calculated average is temporary?

    Dan H knows exactly what he is doing and no, he won’t acknowledge the fact that the source he cites does not support his position. He’s never done so before, why would you expect him to do so now?

    People continue to engage DanH as though he’s posting in good faith, for reasons that I fail to understand.

  15. 165
    Unsettled Scientist says:

    > People continue to engage DanH as though he’s posting in good faith, for reasons that I fail to understand.

    I may have addressed him directly, but I try to write for the general readership which in my mind requires something of good manners rather than good faith. If I had faith in that person I wouldn’t have said to bore hole him if he just keeps repeating this same misleading point over and over and over. I probably should have left the questions out though, and stuck with just the facts.

    The thing to understand about the most recent decade is that the physical processes driving sea level rise have not reversed, and are actually getting worse. The reason the arithmetic works out to appear as if there is a slow in the rise of the sea level is that very large La Nina a couple years ago. As the scientific resources point out, this appearance of a slow down is only temporary. When, instead of just looking at a line on a graph and doing a little calculation, we understand the physical processes driving sea level rise then we can see that we are not turning around to better times.

  16. 166
    Hank Roberts says:

    oops. Another lovely talking point slain by a perfidious observation

  17. 167
    Jim Larsen says:

    So Dan H, it is likely this thread has run its course, only the climax is left. Well, and perhaps some post game chat.

    Does your opinion change when you’re confronted with the fact that raw data must often be adjusted? Kind of like the heat island effect.

    Please write your current stance on sea level rise, including any changed opinions

  18. 168
    Dan H. says:

    There is no misrepresentaion of the data. Over the entire data set, the rate is 3.1 mm/yr. During the first portion, it was higher, and lower during the second half. Claims of El Ninos influencimg the rate to the high side, and La Ninas influencing to the low side are fine. Scientific explanations to esplain the decrease in SLR are always welcome. To claim that this misrepresents the data is false. The current decadal trend is 2.3 mm/yr, and may indeed be temporary. Hanks most recent post shows that the trend has already decreased to 2.8 mm/yr.

  19. 169
    Balazs says:

    I would be interested to hear comments on the following exchange from the on-line PBS chat:

    Comment From Gary Anderson
    What is your opinion about the United States being the only country that has an organized effort to deny global warming?

    John Hockenberry: USA not the only one. China has an institutional push-back on global warming related to the perception that it is a ruse for the industrialized world to hold China back.

  20. 170
    Craig Nazor says:

    Dan H – you have said you agree with Mitrovica, except where you don’t agree with him, depending on which post I am looking at. Mitrovica thinks that SLR is accelerating, but you do not. I would call that a pretty big disagreement, as that observation dictates how critical it would be to respond to AGCC. As many posters have pointed out, a good, scientifically valid interpretation of the raw data is not as straightforward as you claim. Cherry picking short-term data isn’t credible. I concur with Jim Larsen – would you care to respond?

  21. 171
    Craig Nazor says:

    Dhogaza – Dan H may or may not be posting in good faith. Does that really matter? His goal seems to be to be the archetypal denier’s goal – to attempt to create enough doubt about the science in anyone who will listen to delay their taking any kind of meaningful action to address AGCC. As the Buddhists say, the world is changed one person at a time (or not). And as the Hindus say, the true enemies of Krishna are the ones who go around attempting to make the unimportant things important. Dan H used to do the exact same thing on another blog. I’ll tell you one thing – ignoring him will not make him go away. Neither will condemning his posts to the borehole. So what is left? Calling him out and asking him once again to defend his indefensible position…

  22. 172
    Hank Roberts says:

    Full size image of that chart:


    Laboratory for Satellite Altimetry / Sea level rise
    “… estimates of sea level rise based on measurements from satellite radar altimeters. ….
    … The estimates of sea level rise do not include glacial isostatic adjustment effects on the geoid, which are modeled to be +0.2 to +0.5 mm/year when globally averaged.”

  23. 173
    Hank Roberts says:

    > Dan H. says: 24 Oct 2012 at 9:43 AM
    > OK Hank, I will stop replying to his questions ….

    Alas, Dan misread, or just wanted to go away for a while.

    “Get a blog” means: get a blog.

    Repeatedly posting claims with fake cites isn’t credible; an automaton could be doing that much, and that’s what you seem to be doing.

    Post your claims somewhere people can follow up — a blog where you’re ‘at home’ to deal with facts and change as new information comes along — and you can develop some credibility.

    You could make your first post at your new blog deal with the recent temperature data, which contradicts your claims to date.

    Repeating the same mistaken stuff many places seems robotic.

  24. 174
    Unsettled Scientist says:

    Dan H wrote > “Scientific explanations to esplain the decrease in SLR are always welcome.”

    Welcome, perhaps, but you have blatantly and repeatedly ignored it. You even ignored it from your own source. Please read your own source. For the final time, the quote below is cut & paste from the peer-reviewed scientific literature which you have linked to but have either not understood or have misrepresented.

    “Sea level drop in 2011 mainly caused by water exchange between ocean and land. Sea level decline is temporary as water will return to the ocean through runoff. This drop occurred despite the background rate of rise, 3 mm per year, which dominates most of the 18-year record observed by satellite altimeters. This temporary shift of water from the ocean to land is closely related to the transition from El Niño conditions in 2009/10 to a strong 2010/11 La Niña, which affected precipitation patterns world-wide.”

    That is the scientific explanation. It is not a a decrease in sea level *rise*, it is a temporary decrease in sea level. The background rate of SLR remains the same. Those key points are made both at the Colorado Sea Level site (from which you get the data) and the AGU peer-reviewed paper to which you linked.

  25. 175
    Hank Roberts says:

    > Hanks most recent post shows that
    > the trend has already decreased

    No, it doesn’t show that, Dan H.
    You didn’t read the captions or the FAQ; you compared pictures from two different sources charting different analyses.

    From that fake comparison you claimed a change in trend.

    You take bits from what others wrote in the thread, add an unchanging talking point, and post something that looks superficially like an actual comment.

    Kids, don’t believe everything you read on the Intertubes.
    Some of them are just delivering sludge you don’t want.

    For the exercise, here’s how to check the claim “Dan H.” made:
    This: Colorado (source for the first trend number)

    Read their FAQs linked on the page.
    Colorado: “Glacial isostatic adjustment … contributes 0.3 mm/yr … a small effect since it is less than our estimated error of 0.4 mm/yr.”

    This: NOAA (source for the slightly lower number Dan H. misused claiming it “decreased”)

    Read their captions and linked text.
    NOAA: “The estimates of sea level rise do not include glacial isostatic adjustment effects on the geoid, which are modeled to be +0.2 to +0.5 mm/year when globally averaged.”

  26. 176
    Dan H. says:

    Am I to believe that you are accepting of this ENSO-adjusted plot of SLR?

    [Response: Why do you think I can accept or not accept a figure that has no provenance, no reference, and appears to be detrended – when the exact issue is the trend? If you want to interact on scientific level here, please cite sources and describe methods of any results you want others to accept – it’s really not that hard. – gavin]

  27. 177
    Jim Larsen says:

    Dan H,

    I’ve often found myself doing exactly what will make others think the least of me possible. Holding onto a position, such as you’re doing by saying raw data trumps all ONLY in sea level rise, but in other cases, such as heat islands, raw data is useless, well, that makes folks think you’re a twit and a jerk. So, your choice is to grasp your initial comment tightly and ensure everyone else thinks the absolute worst of you…

    or man up and evolve. Do you know how many Brownie Points you could earn by bragging about how much you’ve learned? There’s few better ways to boost your star than by starting with, “I was wrong, but now…”

    (Women swoon, men nod…)

  28. 178
    Didactylos says:

    Dan H. – all that shows is that warming water expands – something that hopefully we all know already.

    I think the *author* of that graph is a well-known graph-mangler (I forget his name) who will stop at nothing to create pointless correlations that he can misrepresent. Am I wrong?

  29. 179

    #169–Yes, Canada has friends of science, Oz has–well, I misremember the name, but nutso bunch. Even read recently as how Japan’s anti-nuclear crowd has a strong denialist streak. Denialism is not nearly so well contained as one might wish.

  30. 180
    Unsettled Scientist says:

    Gavin & Didactylow, it appears that uncited random graph of the detrended Pacific Ocean sea level was made by Bob Tisdale for an August 2011 post on WUWT. Not what any of us would consider to be a scientific resource, and it is certainly not peer-reviewed nor in any well respected journal. There really is no reason to discuss that graph any further. Gavin’s point about the lack of rigor and silly baiting attempt is enough.

  31. 181
    Unsettled Scientist says:

    Didactylos, sorry about misspelling your moniker.

  32. 182
    Didactylos says:

    Yes, that’s the guy! He special​ises in numerical gymnastics that eventually arrive at a tautology, but get presented as meaning something else. I see why Dan didn’t give the source – if he had, nobody here would even have looked at it.

    PS: I can’t believe you still haven’t fixed the spam filter to whitelist real words like special‍​ise. And I can’t believe that the spam filter can be defeated so easily!

  33. 183
    Hank Roberts says:

    > 175: “Colorado” link got mangled by the blog software; that first trend rate number was estimated or taken from

  34. 184
  35. 185
    Craig Nazor says:

    Dan H – refer to 170, Gavin’s response at 176, plus 174, 175, 178, and 180 (I may have missed some). Do you still insist that SLR is slowing down? If so, how do you explain the strongly supported arguments in 174 and 175? Don’t get coy on us now!

  36. 186
    Tokodave says:

    Tamino has a new post on Sea Unlevel… I don’t know if it’s worth sending Dan H over for a read or not… Following this whole sequence I can’t help but be reminded of Doug Bostrom’s comments on a similar wild goose chase a while back: “Those aren’t the droids we’re looking for…”

  37. 187
    Robin Levett says:

    @Dan H. #168:

    Hanks most recent post shows that the trend has already decreased to 2.8 mm/yr.

    But, but, but… The trend shown on that chart is, as you say, 2.8mm/yr; but (firstly) your claim was that the trend had dropped to 2.3mm. Given that the error on the chart is stated at 0.4mm, it disproves the claim (and, of course, Mitrovica’s 3mm/yr is within the error bars…).

    Secondly, looking at the current trajectory of sea level rise on that chart, which way would you guess the trend is going to go?

    Thirdly, you are still including the reduction in sea-level due to the change in ENSO phase as reducing the background trend. Take that out, and the 2.8mm/yr trend in the chart would go over 3mm/yr.

  38. 188
    Hank Roberts says:

    > 168, 187
    Robin, forget Dan’s “arithmetic”–it was bogus. He makes up facts and misreads other people’s posts to pretend support.

    Tamino mentioned those data sources recently:

    “… the absolute values, and the trends, of their data sets are not the same…. 2.8 mm/yr, and if we add the 0.3 mm/yr isostatic adjustment it’s the same as the rate of 3.1 mm/yr ….”

  39. 189
    Dan H. says:

    The trend for the entire Jason data (2002-present) is 2.3 mm/yr. The trend for the Topex data (1993-2002) is higher, 3.3 mm/yr. The posted 2.8 mm/yr may be an average of the two data sets (as it covers the entire time frame). Yes, the most recent La Nina is included in the Jason data. As are the La Ninas from 2009, 2008 and 2006. Also included are the El Ninos from 2010, 2007, 2004, and 2003. The ENSO index was neutral at the start of the data, and in currently neutral today. The data show no current trends toward an increase or decrease in SLR. Be careful to whom you listen, some people just cannot add.

  40. 190

    Robin @ 187, DH points out that “some people just cannot add.”

    It’s even worse…some people can’t read a graph. And those same people won’t admit when they’re wrong.

  41. 191
    Dan H. says:

    So true. While the icecap article yielded a supporting conclusion, the graph displayed did not. The poster then admitted that he was wrong in using that article to support his position. Thatwas just one of four references, and the other three were valid.

  42. 192
    Craig Nazor says:

    Dan H – once again, you did not answer my questions.

    So Jerry Mitrovica of Harvard says that SLR is definitely increasing. When you compare tide gage readings of the early 20th century with the satellite data since 1993, and interpret them properly, there has been a definite increase in SLR in the last part of the 20th century into the first part of the 21st. Dan H, of unknown employment and education, and without providing any support for his statements, disagrees, and implies that Jerry Mitrovica cannot add.

    Be careful to whom you listen, indeed.

  43. 193
    Craig Nazor says:

    Dan H – Icecap is a ridiculously biased web site that includes blatant name-calling in the titles of many of its articles. Of course, you did not link to the article to which you were referring. Is that the best you can do to try to defend your reputation, NOT LINK to an unidentified article on a highly biased web site?

    Yes, be very, very careful to whom you listen.

  44. 194
    Clif Westin says:

    Out of curiosity, are you aware that JoNova covered this topic and the data your refer to in the SEAFRAME study; however, the report you posted goes only to 2006. Data continued. Here is a post from 2010 seems to indicate that the trend is such that, in 50 years, it will have zeroed out. What are your thoughts?

    [Response: Your claim makes no sense since you are not only extrapolating a trend, but the second derivative of sea level, without any understanding of what is driving either. Nova’s headline is simply untrue. The trends from the early 90s to the near present (2011 in the second tide gauge data figure, 2012 in the satellite-derived field) are shown in the last two figures in this post and flatly contradict Nova’s statement. How can you support that? The trends are not only still all positive, all-but-one are larger than the global mean change! Going forward, one might expect them to converge on the global mean trend in the absence of any climate change impact on ENSO, but the idea that they are suddenly going to go to zero makes no physical sense. – gavin]

  45. 195

    >article yielded a supporting conclusion

    As Tamino told you, “You might begin by wondering why you choose to get your information from websites like “icecap” which pontificate on the subject of drought when they don’t even know the right sign for the PDSI. Perhaps they’re simply not trustworthy?”

    Robin and any others following the link I provided will note that you were given a good whipping on all of your points.

    Thanks again for exemplifying this thread’s topic.

  46. 196

    The spin over Sandy has begun…

    [Response:Pun intended? :)]

    I couldn’t resist weighing in; perhaps some here may be interested:

    Comments welcome.

  47. 197
    Robin Levett says:

    @Dan H. #189:

    The trend for the entire Jason data (2002-present) is 2.3 mm/yr. The trend for the Topex data (1993-2002) is higher, 3.3 mm/yr. The posted 2.8 mm/yr may be an average of the two data sets (as it covers the entire time frame)

    “An average”? No; it is the trend for the entire period – that’s what that graph thingummy is telling you.

    Yes, the most recent La Nina is included in the Jason data. As are the La Ninas from 2009, 2008 and 2006. Also included are the El Ninos from 2010, 2007, 2004, and 2003.

    Oddly enough, it makes a difference how strong the event is. Simply eyeballing the graph, the recent El Nino had an exceptional effect upon the figures.

    The ENSO index was neutral at the start of the data, and in currently neutral today.

    According to this page:

    the Multivariate ENSO index was pretty positive (value c1.0) at the start of the data; and is significantly less so (value .27) now. That would imply, all other things being equal, a drop in sea-level between then and now.

    The data show no current trends toward an increase or decrease in SLR.

    The way that the current numbers are rocketing above the trend-line doesn’t suggest to you that the next move in the trend is likely to be upwards?

  48. 198
    Unsettled Scientist says:

    > Yes, the most recent La Nina is included in the Jason data. As are the La Ninas from 2009, 2008 and 2006. Also included are the El Ninos from 2010, 2007, 2004, and 2003

    Yes, this is why your simplistic averaging is meaningless. It’s not about El Ninos offsetting La Ninas. But you know this and continue to ignore the scientific explanation in your own sources. Once again, it was during the transition from El Niño conditions in 2009/10 to a strong 2010/11 La Niña that an enormous amount of ocean water was dumped on land, and this effect on sea level is large but temporary.

    If you’re gonna bring up another topic, like the index, you might want to cite which one you are referring to. As has been pointed out, you often misinterpret these kinds of things, especially if they have “index” in the name. For example, if you mean the Multivariate ENSO Index then its being neutral has absolutely no impact on this discussion. The six variables are: sea-level pressure (P), zonal (U) and meridional (V) components of the surface wind, sea surface temperature (S), surface air temperature (A), and total cloudiness fraction of the sky (C). Mentioning the ENSO index being neutral is also meaningless to this discussion except that it serves your ability to confuse the general readership.

    ENSO Index for the general readership:

  49. 199
    Hank Roberts says:

    Yeah — “close” gets points, in horseshoes; “close” here means ‘never did understand why the graphs are different’.

  50. 200
    Dan H. says:

    I am not sure at what data you are looking, but the MEI Index from the noaa link lists -0.21 for Feb, 2002, which is quite close to neutral. Today it is slightly positive (0.27), but both this readings can be classified as La Nada (ENSO neutral). JISAO data, to which unsettled linked at #197, shows similar readings. While I do not disagree that sea levels fell during the recent La Nina, the trend was not rising prior to its onset. In fact, the Jason trend from 2002 – May,2010 (at which point ENSO switched from positive to negative) was 2.5 mm/yr. The trend was already falling before the LA Nina kicked in.

    I answered your questions previously. I think everyone here agrees that SLR increased from the early 20th to late 20th century. However, the increase did not continue into the 21th century. Several posters have responded that the recent La Nina was responsible for all or part of the decrease measured recently. What other question do you have to which you think I have not responded?