back to article New science: SEAS WILL RISE due to CO2 ... but not for centuries

A new, first-of-its-kind comprehensive scientific analysis has shown that there is little to fear from rising sea levels driven by global warming. The likelihood is that the 21st century will see rises much like those of the 20th, and even in the worst possible case sea levels in 2100 will be far below those foreseen by …

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Trollface

Let the Foaming begin!

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Especially since most commentards won't bother to actually read the article, which happens to be not behind a paywall, and is as such actually perusable for the average amateur boffin, and is as far as a quick browse indicates, quite well written.

But hey... Lewis + Climate = Frothage.

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So somebody else's problem then

So according to this most recent example of cherry picking and bad science reporting we don't need to worry because it'll happen but only after we're dead.

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Which 'truth' to believe?

So you don't like this opinion/evidence because it doesn't tally with your opinion/evidence that you believe?

Climate science is the latest religion - with all the same schisms and factions all bickering over which 'truth' is correct. Like religion, it's all rather comical. Each vocal faction (Global warming or not, human effect or not) is guilty of the same thing - waving their own 'evidence' in the air and slagging off everyone else's.

Thing is, like religious differences, there is no concrete evidence to actually put one opinion over any other, while there are plenty of contradictory models, theories and ideas. So all the zealots pick the 'God' of their choice, and all others are heathen 'non-believers'.

So, come all ye climate fanatics, both pro and con. Keep bickering - the hot air alone will probably cause man-made global warming.

Just don't resort to guns and IEDs. Like religion, it just isn't worth it.

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: So somebody else's problem then

I think your slightly misconstruing. It's not that we will be dead, but rather that it's a potential problem 50 generations from now...

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Re: So somebody else's problem then

It works for me.

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Boffin

Re: Which 'truth' to believe?

Clearly not Lewis's, because here's the conclusion of the report he cited:

"Anthropogenic carbon dioxide is causing global warming and this will lead to irreversible sea-level rise on human timescales even when emissions were to reduce drastically to reach greenhouse gas stabilization in the atmosphere. Our model results indicate that a sea-level rise of at least 1.1 m by the year 3000 is already committed by the compounded effect of greenhouse gas buildup by the year 2000. Several metres more are likely unavoidable if measures to curb emissions drastically are not taken during the next few decades and greenhouse gas concentrations continue to rise to the levels implied by the SRES scenarios used in this study."

Funny he missed that bit.

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Though I am very much a "climate change sceptic" (even though I think that makes me sound like someone who doesn't believe in climates changing at all, I just don't believe the current evidence that we're doing anything that wouldn't naturally occur is lacking - note: NOT FALSE, just lacking, even if it could still be feasibly correct) I think housing is the least of our worries if a rise in sea level measured in metres occurs. That's a vast amount of land to lose, and a vast amount of maybe farmland and woodland destroyed for the original purpose. You'd also lose ALL beaches first, which is infinitely more worrying then where you'll shove granny onto when it happens.

But more important than all: Just what do we do about it? Saying if we warm up, the world will flood, and then spuriously linking it to synthetic climate change because of a handful of industries are links that are dubious and still unproven beyond a reasonable, statistically-significant doubt. And if they ARE 100% correct, what's the impact of the proposed fix?

If stopping all greenhouse gas emissions leads to 10,000% increases in the cost of electricity, say, or that we can't have plastic at all, or that we have to tear down the telecoms networks and Internet because it just costs so much to run that it's no longer practical, I think there's a good chance that most people would actually be happier to let the world flood a bit (not saying that's a likely outcome, or a sensible response). If the fix is worse than the problem and sends us back to a dark age, surely that's a LOT worse than a slightly speeded-up natural cycle.

The world is reliant on energy production and oil production at the moment. Sure, at least one side will come to an end sooner or later anyway, but we're SO reliant on that energy being around to use that our whole planet is set up to rely on it. Take that away in the name of climate science and we may well be unable to sustain the population on levels even comparable to post-10m-water-level-rise populations (which may even make some of the deserts farmable and inhabitable again without energy-heavy fertilizers, soils, machinery, genetic modification, etc.).

My gripe with the focus on climate lately is NOT the predictions of doom - it's the bad science, the blindness to the solutions, and the lack of good, scientific comparison of what will happen if we don't do X (where X is a currently unknown solution to the currently unknown cause of the problem) versus what will happen if we do. If you gave the populous a choice between a 2m sea level rise and not having electricity or cars for the rest of their life, they might take more interest, and give more thought to exactly what should be done, rather than doomsaying with no notion of what we actually need to do about it and what the impact of that will be.

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Coat

Max word count please!

I like to read comments - not white papers on your thoughts

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Anonymous Coward

If Greenland becomes ice-less and the climate warms we'll gain habitable land. It's bizarre to only talk about the land we'll lose and not consider the land we'll gain.

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Boffin

@LeeDowling

+1

The last thing some people want is a comparison of the cost of the fix vs the cost of the problem. There's a lot of money (and careers) riding on that comparison never being made.

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WTF?

Wow why didn't I think of that we could just put a big lift and truck the major coastal cities inland.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Max word count please!

Short attention span, hmmm?

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Alert

The IPCC

Is inherently conservative in their estimates of future climate change.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ipcc#IPCC_processes

[...]The structural elements of the IPCC processes have been criticized in other ways, with the design of the processes during the formation of the IPCC making its reports prone not to exaggerations, but to underestimating dangers, under-stating risks, and reporting only the "least common denominator" findings which by design make it through the bureaucracy.

Also...

[...]Conservatives promoted the IPCC's clumsy structure, which consisted of representatives appointed by every government in the world and required to consult all the thousands of experts in repeated rounds of report-drafting in order to reach a consensus.

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Holmes

Re: The IPCC

And wikipedia is, of course, a wholly reliable and neutral repository of information when it comes to inflammable subjects.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The IPCC

Are you kidding us?!!!

IPCC is the Temple of the AGW sect. It has more alarmists than real scientists, and the head of the organization is making millions from telling people the end of the world is nigh.

IPCC has been caught too many times making up data to prove its theories of warming. Their modelling is way incomplete, their data selective and their bias obvious.

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Re: The IPCC

The head of the IPCC is an unpaid role. 1/10 for your trolling attempt.

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Re: The IPCC

Since we now have a paper just submitted by a couple of scientists it must be right? and all those thousands of other papers must be wrong?

Since no one national or internationally recognized organization says that global warming does not exist or will not have major impacts to the climate then this one paper must make them all fools?

Perhaps this is the straw that the the denialists must desperately grab when evn the weather does not agree with their positions.

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Lewis Page for President!

Lewis Page for President / Prime Minister or just in charge of IPCC!

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Way to go Lewis.......

Lets talk about a small sea level rise and dismiss everything else.

Fo instance lets ignore any possible changes to the weather due to temperature rises, changes in the Jet stream due to pressure changes, changes to the flow of currents in the oceans and seas such as the ulf stream changing weather patterns again, changes to hurricane strength due to warmer seas on the equator, the fact that Bangledesh no longer exists due to either being under water for much of the year or in a drought depending on weather etc etc, after all the only effect of climate change if it happens is the sea will rise a bit........

Tell that to the American Mid West which is in a long drought that its ok because the drought is just a periodic thing and so its not going to happen more often or that your lands will be waterlogged in the future......

Oh and one last thought, what if rainfall increases a bit over coastal glaciers without the temperature being low enougth to freeze it, well then it sits on the surface and melts the ice under it, that then goes under the glacier, then the glacier moves quicker and more breaks off into the sea / ocean quicker, it doesn't need to melt quickly as its there and already adding to sea rise......

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Re: Way to go Lewis.......

Well, the paper was about sea level rise, so why not talk about it.

You mention the US drought, but current trends would indicate that US droughts are generally less severe and less frequent at the moment. Indeed, there have been papers published that would suggest that one of the effects of global temperature rise may be *fewer* mid-west droughts. There's evidence that there are periodic US mega-droughts that make this years affair look like a couple of hot days.

The interesting thing about the paper is that, having shown that sea level rise *may* not be a worrying consequence of climate change the authors feel suitably qualified as economists to recommend a course of action to deal with a problem that they've just said doesn't exist. I assume that they felt obliged to toe the party line or risk being ejected from the consensus.

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Coat

Re: Way to go Lewis.......

You know most of the American Midwest used to be underwater... right?

Quite frankly this could simply be advertised as a "return to nature" type of thing. After all the rise in sea levels is just mother natures way of making a "Green" initiative.

*mine is the one with the paddle boat in the pocket.

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@Big_Ted

Tell that to the American Mid West which is in a long drought that its ok because the drought is just a periodic thing and so its not going to happen more often or that your lands will be waterlogged in the future......

If global warming is responsible for our drought this summer, what caused the far worse droughts in the 1930s and late 1800s?

We had very weird weather this year, with temperatures in the 60s in early January, in the 80s in early March, and then the drought this summer where we had about an inch of rain over nine weeks with some very hot weather (but that's normal during a drought because lower dewpoints make the air easier for the sun to heat) Until August we'd had 10 months above average temperatures in the state where I live, but now we've had two months with below normal and the 10 day outlook makes it look quite likely that October will make that three.

Basically what I'm saying is don't confuse the normal ebbs and flows of temperature and precipitation over a few months or a few years with climate trends that are being tracked and predicted over decades and centuries by both sides in the global warming debate. It's getting beyond ridiculous how every time there's any "extreme" weather that it is blamed on global warming.

It's nifty how people will claim that not only hot weather is evidence for global warming, but any sort of deviation from what is considered "average". The problem is, we only have average weather on average when averaged over decades and centuries. But in any one day/season/year we can have a record high or record low, or drought that lasts all summer or floods that last all spring, or a string of bad blizzards or tornadoes. They aren't evidence for global warming, they are evidence that the standard deviation for daily weather is quite high! Humans used to blame the deviations from average on angry gods, now we blame it on CO2.

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FAIL

Re: Way to go Lewis.......

@Big_Ted

...Oh and one last thought, what if rainfall increases a bit over coastal glaciers without the temperature being low enougth to freeze it, well then it sits on the surface and melts the ice under it, that then goes under the glacier, then the glacier moves quicker and more breaks off into the sea / ocean quicker, it doesn't need to melt quickly as its there and already adding to sea rise......"

Hmm. This used to be a favourite argument of the warmists, who would take pictures of meltwater for their propaganda. It was debunked three years ago as completely incorrect. Here is a reference:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091215173144.htm

If Big_Ted is not capable of following the current state of the science, I don't think his contributions are going to be of much value. But that would be normal for a Global Warming Believer...

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Re: Way to go Lewis.......

"http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091215173144.htm"

Excellent and very interesting article. Thumbs up.

It would seem if people are *really* keen to slow down glacier movement they need to identify the biggest under glacier channels (moulins?) the melt and lake water is flowing inside and tap them when the pressure in them is too great and the *whole* glacier lifts off the bed rock and slides on a layer of water.

Which is a pretty big job.

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Good news.

Hotter summers, and I won't have to walk as far from my deck chair to the sea....

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WTF?

Wow

Kinda funny to read another head-in-the-sand article about climate. I guess we will leave the problems to future generations then... that has worked very well in the past.

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Headmaster

Re: Wow

" I guess we will leave the problems to future generations then... that has worked very well in the past."

It has, because future generations have better technology and infrastructure to deal with the problem. It's easier to build a sea defence out of steel and concrete than it is to build it out of wattle and daub. This generation is relatively poor - and does not need further burdening.

A sure way of f*cking over future generations is to leave them 'sustainable' (aka rubbish) technology. That will guarantee they go hungry and cold.

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Unhappy

Of course this is a *computer* model of the climate.

Should we trust this one more than others?

Although an interesting sidelight on these is the admission that "The polar ice sheets are not normally included into projections due to computational constraints, whilst researchers often find it difficult to account for the 200 000 individual glaciers that are found all over the world in very different climatic settings."

Perhaps explaining a little more *why* their results have not always matched physical reality.

Real scientists treat *systematic* differences between their models and reality as a clue their model is *incomplete*, and needs revision, not something to add (yet another) fudge factor to.

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Boffin

Re: Of course this is a *computer* model of the climate.

Real scientists treat *systematic* differences between their models and reality as a clue their model is *incomplete*, and needs revision, not something to add (yet another) fudge factor to.

1. A model is by definition incomplete. If it were complete, it would be the thing it models.

2. Revision is the process of making changes to a model based on evidence that the model is not producing accurate results. This includes, among other things, identifying and including additional relevant factors. Setting aside your unscientific and unfounded pejorative term "fudge", this is indeed what climate scientists do.

3. The most suspect model is the one which always matches physical reality. It means either that the system being modeled is simple enough that a model is not necessary, or that there is a good chance that either the observations or the results are being manipulated to produce the "perfect" match.

PS. Real commentards use HTML.

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Boffin

Re: Of course this is a *computer* model of the climate.

"1. A model is by definition incomplete. If it were complete, it would be the thing it models."

Something climate modellers might make more of an effort to remind people of.

"Revision is the process of making changes to a model based on evidence that the model is not producing accurate results. "

It's not that I don't understand what it is. It's the fact that climate modellers seem to be rather slow in *doing* it, or acknowledging that it *needs* to be done.

"Setting aside your unscientific and unfounded pejorative term "fudge","

A "fudge","fiddle" or "safety" factor has a long and valuable history has a long and cherished history in *engineering*.

One of the New York bridges built in the 19th century was built with a safety factor of 6 because the designer knew there were forces he could not model but could guess the *size* of. It's still standing, many of its contemporaries are not.

But that's engineering, *not* science. Especially not science which calls for multi $Bn changes in energy, housing and transport policy.

Historically both biochemistry and astronomy have had good track records of getting together and agreeing either nationwide or worldwide goals. In the 1950's and 60's IIRC conferences at Cold Spring Harbour (US) set the research agenda and allocated specific projects to various labs to make progress faster. In astronomy "decadal surveys" are carried out to decide which objectives should be pursued across the *whole* community.

"or that there is a good chance that either the observations or the results are being manipulated to produce the "perfect" match."

I'd quite agree. I'd be *exceptionally* suspicious of any "scientist" whose reaction to the request to release the base data was "I'm not going to do that as you're only trying to find holes in the work." I'd suspect in fact 1) Their data analysis chain was FUBAR and they could not re-construct how they got to their result (incompetent but not fraudulent) or 2) They made the results up in the first place.

PS. Real commentards use HTML.

I date from a time when HTML input was rare and not entirely trustworthy.

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It's certainly nice to see climate skeptics finally accepting Climate Models as a source of evidence for how the climate will behave in response to human greenhouse gas emissions.

Perhaps now they can understand the evidence for 2-4C global warming per doubling of CO2 that Climate Models also show, which is enough warming to mean human emissions are on course to take global temperature to million of year highs. Untested levels for human civilization and many species that didn't exist back when it was that warm.

"It should be borne in mind here that in most places the sea rises and falls every single day on a scale measured in metres and even more during unusual events (big storms from certain directions when the moon is in certain positions etc)."

That large range is irrelevant. No-one builds defenses in mind of a low-tide/high-tide range range. High tide happens regularly enough that no-one would even think of building a structure that would be flooded by a high tide. Even frequent storms happen regularly enough that no-one would build something below the level of frequent storm surges. The range people build against is (high tide + worst-case-scenaro storm surge) to (high tide + worst-case-scenario storm surge + wiggle room). So the range used is actually just the wiggle room and 30cm could very well be significant in comparison to that range.

Remember with sea level we are talking about everywhere, not just one spot during one storm. 30cm sea level rise will make everything everywhere 30cm higher: storm surges, freak tides. Some places don't even have defenses.

30cm sea level rise itself has variation. It is a global average with a fair degree of variance. Some coasts will see more rise than average, some less. Eg some might actually see a 50cm increase while others only a 10cm rise. If that can't be predicted in advance everywhere has to expect the worst case.

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FAIL

This is not a climate model, and it says nothing whatsoever about climate.

This is a prediction of the sea-level rise that is likely to occur if one of the climate models used in the work is correct. (One set of curves for each climate model prediction)

To put it another way, this works says the following:

If Climate Model A is correct, then we predict Sea Level Rise A

For Climate Model B, we predict Sea Level Rise B

etc.

It doesn't say anything about whether or not those climate models are believed accurate or not. Modelling the behaviour of an event doesn't (necessarily) have any bearing on whether the event is likely to occur!

- See what-if.xkcd.org for several examples of modelling highly unlikely events.

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Re: It is a climate model

It is a climate model. As Lewis says: "They did so by using a climate modelling system called LOVECLIM, which includes components from a number of different subsystems."

You say: "Modelling the behaviour of an event doesn't (necessarily) have any bearing on whether the event is likely to occur!"

But Lewis said: "The likelihood is that the 21st century will see rises much like those of the 20th..."

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Anonymous Coward

"to mean human emissions are on course to take global temperature to million of year highs. Untested levels for human civilization and many species that didn't exist back when it was that warm."

The last three warmings have been warmer. And on geological scales CO2 and temperatures have been much, much higher and biodiversity richer than today.

You should read a bit more. Starting with basic geology and biology.

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"Existing human infrastructure that can cope with these comparatively everyday occurrences will not be much affected by rises on the 30cm scale"

I think the article may have confused mean and variance. An increase in 30cm mean is very different from a variance of 2 meters: the peaks will still occur and those peak level will also rise by 30cm.

I'm not saying that we can't absorb this increase (I really have no idea), but the (very) sloppy thinking leaves me pretty sure that it's not as simple as the article makes out.

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Anonymous Coward

another 'fact'

to prove that no-one on this planet knows what they are talking about with regards to climate. Nothing at all so why dont you all just shut the fuck up.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: another 'fact'

dude! this is the internet, after pr0n its main purpose is to allow people to have heated arguments / troll about stuff they know little or nothing about. It's kind of like the infinite monkies with typewriters eventually producing the works of shakespeare - eventually someone will solve all the world's problems, possibly in the comments section here on el Reg!

...though not today i fear.

p.s. JPG!!! I got bored waiting for that bmp to crawl down the company wires...

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Trollface

LP;DR

Well, what's the point, really?

GJC

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Stop

Balance?

So Mr Page, how about a bit of balance in your relentless quest to convince us all that climate change isn't happening/isn't a big deal?

I consider myself a sceptic on some of the evidence that is presented about climate change - purely because I think the modelling of a climate system over 10/20/50 years is incredibly difficult and prone to huge error the further out you go... however I think it's important to bring all of the evidence to the table, not this relentlessly one sided view.

If Lewis Page isn't going to provide balance, how about El Reg employs a second reporter who can give the other side of the argument?

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Go

Re: Balance?

Because maybe Lewis Page *is* a balance to the horde who is crying "wolf!!" ?

Like him or loathe him, he is one of the critics that say: "show us the wolf then." , while happily providing evidence for a rather lackluster lack of wolf.

And vehemently objecting to burning down the village to make sure the wolves find nothing there.

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Re: Balance?

Well I for one appreciate a bit of scepticism and there is nothing wrong or even unusual in a publication taking a stance on an issue. If you don't like it, you don't have to agree with it or even read it (these are two different things by the way).

And as for balance, there is a balance to be struck between mankinds environmental impact (to be minimized I think even Lewis would agree) and its growth - by this I mean in particular the development of the poor parts of the human world - eliminating hunger, poverty, suffering ...

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Re: Balance?

Well I for one appreciate a bit of scepticism and there is nothing wrong or even unusual in a publication taking a stance on an issue. If you don't like it, you don't have to agree with it or even read it (these are two different things by the way).

And as for balance, there is a balance to be struck between mankinds environmental impact (to be minimized I think even Lewis would agree) and its growth - by this I mean in particular the development of the poor parts of the human world - eliminating hunger, poverty, suffering ...

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Anonymous Coward

@Paul Louth

"Please make The Register as crap as every other news publication, which mindlessly recycles climate alarmism. My brain hurts when I have to think. Stop it at once."

There. Fixed it for you.

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Busted were right all along. They really HAD been to the year 3000!

www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQn93YNHyR0

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Busted were right all along. They really HAD been to the year 3000!

Downvoted for not letting everyone just forget Busted.

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Anonymous Coward

It had to be ...

Scroll down reading increasing levels of bollocks, ignoring massive feedback issues, with an obvious axe to grind and no attempt at objectivity.

Scroll up ........ yep, it's another daft, misinformed, diatribe from Lewis Page.

When ARE you going to sack him? He knows nought about nought - a walking, typing example of the Dunning-Kruger effect in action, yet he's still employed.

He's cheap isn't he? Free? Please tell me you aren't wasting money on drivel that isn't even absorbent enough to line the bottom of the budgie cage.

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Facepalm

Oh good, so this means we can do whatever we like during our lifetimes because the mess we make will only affect future generations, right?

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er...no

It means we've time to develop sensible alternatives and put in place low risk mitigation policies. If you prefer to panic feel free. However, I'd rather avoid doing anything high risk (geo-engineering I'm looking at you) or expensive (solar) if possible.

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It's based on the assumption that as time goes on humans get better and better at dealing with problems and improving their lives. Looking at the last 10,000 years on average that seems a reasonable assumption.

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