Posts Tagged ‘National Research Council’

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Profound insight from the National Research Council

June 25, 2012

The National Research Council has released a hard-hitting report about global sea level, and in particular, sea level along the western coast of the United States.  Yup, they really nailed it down.  They predict the sea level along California’s coast to rise somewhere between 4 and 30 cm (between 1.5 and 12 inches) between 2000 and 2030 (see page 5).

Their report is hundreds of pages long because they are very smart people.  But if you want to save some time, you can get an idea of what is really happening by looking at the following three images.  Click on each image to put it in animation mode in its own window.  There is one animation for each of the coasts of California, Oregon and Washington state. 

Be sure to notice the sea level rise rate centered above each graph.  Keep in mind that a 30 cm sea level rise in 30 years requires an average of 10 mm per year.

Click on image to start animation in new window

California sea level data.  Click image to start animation in a new window.

Click image to start animation in new window.

Washington sea level data. Click image to start animation in new window.

Click image to start animation in a new window.

Washington sea level data. Click image to start animation in a new window.

We are already 12 years into the 30 from 2000 to 2030.  As you can see from the above animated plots, there appears to have been a distinct lack of acceleration in the last 100 years or so.  Roughly speaking, the sea level along the coast of California is rising at about 2 mm/year.  So it looks like there will be  a net rise surpassing the National Research Council’s lower limit of 4 cm in 30 years.  On the other hand, it would require an extraordinary, nearly impossible acceleration to get to 15 cm, just half the NRC’s upper estimate of 30 cm, by 2030.  But you can still pray to Gaia for a miracle.

A sure sign of poor scholarship

Here is a little hint for my obvious betters at the NRC: When you rely on the models of Stefan Rahmstorf to make your sea level rise predictions, one of two things will have happened by 2030.  If you are lucky your report will have been forgotten.  If you are unlucky people will simply be laughing at you.

Well, I suppose you can hope for that big earthquake that your report says (page 7) could cause the sea level to rise by an additional meter.  You’d have it made if you could blame atmospheric CO2 for earthquakes.  Your elite thinkers should start working on that paper now.