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Giving birth to the sea level hockey stick

20 June 2011
Climate change

Amazingly, after the mess the AGW 'Team' got themselves into over the temperature hockey stick model, climate scientists have produced another progeny – this time with sea levels (see http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/06/20/manns-new-sea-level-hockey-stick-p… ). This one came out a day earlier than the paper was actually published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) and the orthodox view can be found at www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/331684/title/Modern-day_sea_level_ri… which is a reference to sea level rise over the last 150 years in which time the earth has been climbing out of the Little Ice Age – at a grand rate of 2.1mm annually, or a few inches a century to put it into perspective. Hence, we have catasclysmic sea level rise that is measured in a matter of inches but journalists in the media, and surprisingly in the science media too, merely accept the weasle words of the press report without actually looking seriously at what is being proposed.  See also www.physorg.com/print227792808.html we have a piece with the title, 'fastest sea level rise in two millennia linked to increasing temperatures' which again illustrates the somewhat silly words used by the media – in what is supposed to be a science based news service (and see also www.physorg.com/print227792738.html 'salt marsh sediments help gauge climate change induced sea level rise' which describes a bit of how the trick was achieved – in North Carolina salt marshes. As we all know very well that sea levels rose dramatically in the late Roman period (after the 3rd century AD) so much so that large tracts of the North Sea coast between NE France and Denmark was flooded, and likewise the low lying areas of Britain (such as the Humber, the Fen lands etc). Roman remains are found beneath peat deposits. A similar picture is known to exist in the Mediterranean etc so we would expect something similar on the opposite side of the pond. No. In this paper the period from 200BC to 950AD was remarkably stable – in fact no discernible change in sea level was detected in the proxy data used in the paper. Between 950 and 1400AD sea levels are said to have risen as a result of a slight warming – half a millimetre per year. This was followed by the Little Ice Age 1400-1850AD when sea level was at a standstill because temperatures had gone down – but the hockey stick blade, they have announced, is the rapid rise since 1850 2.1mm per year on average. This is the steepest rate for 2000 years they say, and must be due to global warming. However, as the link at Science News says, it was foraminifera (plankton) in sediment cores that are the foundation of this study – on the basis that foraminifera vary in salt tolerance. As sea levels rose the mix of salt loving species outdid those of fresher water loving species, and inferred past sea levels from this very clever bit of research that also made use of radioisotope dating and C14 dating methodology – so are we any the wiser? Its high resolution say the researchers – but over at Anthony Watts blog (first link) they aren't at all impressed. The comments are sometimes banal, sometimes simply sceptical of anything with the name of Michael Mann attached to them, and never willing to concede. Now, what does this mean for the wave theory of sea level rise and fall as favoured by the likes of Shennan, or the somewhat earlier theories of Rhodes Fairbridge concerning up and down sea levels during the Holocene, or even the exhaustively researched book by Basil Cracknell, Outrageous Waves: Global Warming and Coastal Change in Britain over the last 2000 years' (Philimore:2005) where indeed he catalogued evidence of rising and falling sea levels quite distinct from what this new paper with a narrow area of research, a salt marsh in N America, that has been assembled to support the idea AGW causes sea levels to rise (and AGW is caused by C02, that really big nasty trace gas). All the hype over this dodgy paper is quite unlike the reaction by mainstream media to the conference of the American Astronomical Society that claimed we may be on the verge of another Little Ice Age. Benny Peiser's GWPS web site deals succinctly with the BBC reaction that was one of denial and claims that AGW was strong enough to counter anything the Sun might do. Where do these people keep their brains I wonder, as if C02 could possibly outweigh the influence of the Sun on the climate of the earth (see http://thegwpf.org/the-observatory/3259-solar-science-little-ice-ages-an… ).

Meanwhile, over at http://notrickszone.com/2011/06/20/callous-der-spiegel-organic-food-busi… is a kick at Der Spiegel that had an article advocating African producers of organic food marketed in Germany should ban DDT in case it polluted the food. This illustrates once again, the strength of the organic food movement and the green agenda in general in Germany – to a far greater deal than in the UK. The recent E.coli outbreak was covered up but was apparently due to biogas plants, an now this act of faith over DDT. The chemical is used to treat malaria so banning it could be potentially very harmfal. DDT was effectively banned by the UN as a result of environmentalist pressure in the 1960s but in the 1970s it was clear that the DDT scare was scientifically unsound. However, once in place the ban was kept as a result of continuing environmentalist pressure on western governments. It was recently lifted in Africa as it is a cheap and effective treatment for malaria – and this is what the green lobby at Der Speigel object to. 

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