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Location: St. Louis, Missouri, United States

Monday, June 27, 2011

More on Mann Made Sea Level Rise

Timothy Birdnow

A few days ago I wrote a quick post on a study done in North Carolina on sea level rise, a study with "hockey stick" Michael Mann participating as author which claimed to reconstruct 2000 years of sea level rise and concluded that sea levels are rising faster now than at any other time in history. I had limited information at the time, but postulated that dredging and building levees would affect the depth of the swampy tidal pools as less silt would be getting into them. (Remember, levees prevent flooding of flatlands by rivers, thus reducing the amount of silt eroded from the land and deposited into the shallow parts of the sea.)

Again, I had limited information on the details of the study. Sepp kindly fleshes this out for us in a piece in their newsletter:

Sea Level Rise

The climate alarmists released another study claiming accelerating sea level rise. In a twist from past claims, many alarmists now claim that sea level rise is the major threat of global warming. The new study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS), was immediately greeted with comments on various blogs, pointing out the inadequacies of the study. As William Gray suggested in his article carried in TWTW last week, the internet blogs provide a more rigorous analysis of questionable climate science studies than the "peer review" process does. (Please note that the articles in the Proceedings are not necessarily rigorously peer reviewed.)

Among the many interesting revelations is that one of the co-authors was none other than Michael Mann of hockey-stick fame. Yet, the study asserted a Medieval Warm Period and a Little Ice Age - contrary to the hockey-stick. The study claimed to establish a global sea level model for the past 2000 years, which it validated by using studies of microfossils from sediment cores taken in the coastal salt water marshes of mainland North Carolina. These were then compared with North Carolina tidal gage records going back only 80 years. From this 80 year record, the researchers extrapolated back 2000 years!

According to the study, the area was selected because it is not rebounding from being burdened by ice during the last Ice Age.

Environmentalists generally refer to these coastal salt water marshes as "fragile wetlands" and these wetlands have a number of interesting characteristics. They are broad, flat, generally marshy lands made of plants, silt, and sand which were formed by sediments from the long term erosion of the Appalachian Mountains and other uplands. As one can see by looking at a road map, these wetlands may stretch as far as 50 miles deep into main part of the state. As with most coastal areas built up by sediments, they are probably subject to subsidence, sinking in relation to the surrounding land or water.

During the last Ice Age, streams and rivers cut channels through these sediments, but as the sea levels rose by about 400 feet after the last Ice Age, the channels became tidal estuaries resulting in wide rivers and bays. The areas are subject to erosion and accretion caused by the tides and storms such as hurricanes and northeasters.

The areas are partially protected from ocean waves by a series of barrier islands made of sand which shift over the years. As the islands shift, they change the influence that tidal currents and storms have on these wetlands. To suggest that a model of global sea levels can be based on studies of such unstable lands is highly questionable.

The natives of these areas call land that is suitable for farming and building "fast" (stable) land. It appears this study is not built on fast land.

Given the difficulty that Richard Lindzen, a Member of the National Academy of Sciences, had with the editors of the Proceedings who refused to publish an article without almost impossible restrictions, as described in last week's TWTW, one must wonder about the standards used when this new study is readily published. Please see referenced articles under "Change Seas" and "Climategate Continued."

End Sepp Excerpt.

Oh, and by the way, the claim that the rate increase coincided with the industrial era is exactly that; their data shows it beginning in 1880, during the industrial era certainly but long before the atmosphere was showing any effects from emissions.

Willis Eschenbach does a fine job of explaining the many errors in the paper at Wattsupwiththat. He argues the same point as I, that the nature of the land as such is likely quite different than it was a thousand or even a hundred years ago.

Also see his follow up post here.

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