global warming and sea level rise

From: Spike Jones (
Date: Mon Jul 16 2001 - 15:18:33 MDT

In response to Robert Bradbury’s request that I research
and write on the issue of climate models and how they will
affect the sea level, I read a few dozen of these sites. The
concensus seems to be that in the next 100 years the sea
will rise about one foot (30 cm) with an uncertainty of plus
or minus about one foot (30 cm).

The images that stick in the public mind of the Statue of
Liberty torch sticking out of the waves evidently have a
much larger impact on policy than does the actual science
or climatology.

I left out the sites which debunk global warming and sea
level rise, but they are easy to find. I did include however
the Cato Institute paper, which presents an interesting perspective.

For those who use a unit system that makes sense, please
forgive the inches and feet. An inch is about 2.5 cm and
a foot is just under a third of a meter.

One thing I found constant throughout this research is an
underlying assumption among the greenhouse gas experts
that we must pass to our descendants in the coming centuries
a planet that is as much unchanged from the present as possible,
that no change is the ultimate goal. I have a hard time finding
researchers who will say that it really is OK if the earth is a
much different place 1000 years from now.

Here are the references.

Authored by Patrick Mazza and Rhys Roth, 1998, lots
of references.

Sea level has risen 4 to 10 inches in the last century.
This paper assures us that this global warming trend is
the most serious threat that faces humanity, more serious
than any military threat, “perhaps the greatest challenge
in the history of civilization,” but does not really explain
why life as we know it will end if the planet warms a
few degrees.

The US Environmental Protection Agency site. Seems
fairly balanced and comprehensive. Highlights:

Sea level rise has been about 10-25 cm in the last 100
years. This site has an interesting feature: that sea level
rise alone does not tell the whole story. Subsidence of
land is important, as well as post glacial rebound. In areas
where glaciers melt, the reduced weight on the land causes
it to rise. They currently estimate sea level rise at 2.5 to
3.0 mm/year along the gulf coast, 10 mm/year in Texas-
Louisianna coasts and a slight dropping of sea level along
Canadian or Alaskan coasts as a result of post glacial

This report was published in May 1997. Highlights:

2 to 6 degrees warmer by 2100. Sea level rise:

2 inches to 1 foot by 2040.
4 inches to 2 feet by 2075.
6 inches to 3 feet by 2100.
Sea level has been rising at about 3 feet per 1000 years
for the last 5000.
Last hundred years sea level has risen about 1 foot.

How unfortunate our ancestors 5000 years ago neglected to
recognize all the suffering they have caused us by allowing
the sea level to rise to its current level, 3 feet above where
it should be.

Estimates 2 feet ocean rise in the next century.

This site has a collection of articles on global warming.

NewScientist warns that sea levels could rise up to 6 feet
in the coming centuries.

Scientific American article from August 2000 warns that
mosquitos will surely gain the upper hand (upper wing?)
if global temperatures rise a few degrees.

Aldo Leopold, perhaps the most important environmental
voice of the twentieth century, wrote, "We face the question
whether a still higher 'standard of living' is worth its cost in
things natural, wild, and free. For us of the minority, ...the
chance to find a pasque-flower is a right as inalienable as
free speech."

ooookaaaayyyyyy. I still prefer free speech, thank you.

Senator Timothy Wirth, of Colorado, spelled out the strategy
in 1988: "What we've got to do in energy conservation is try
to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global
warming is wrong, to have approached global warming as if
it is real means energy conservation, so we will be doing the
right thing anyway in terms of economic policy and
environmental policy."

Ill be sure to run right out and vote for him.

This points out the problem that the whole issue is hopelessly
mired in politics.

MIT’s Richard Lindzen of the the Cato Institute weights in
on this issue with such comments as:

“...fears of massive sea-level increases accompanied many of
the early discussions of global warming, but those estimates
have been steadily reduced by orders of magnitude, and now
it is widely agreed that even the potential contribution of warming
to sea-level rise would be swamped by other more important

Lindzen’s paper debunks many of the notions in the popular
press today regarding global warming.

NASA Goddard Institute argues that the problem of global
warming could be significantly reduced by stripping the black
carbon aerosols from power plants. Clean up coal fired
power plants.

Explains how the models of the greenhouse effect has been
reduced by an order of magnitude as climate models have
been improved.

A collection of articles on how disasterous would be a small
rise in sea level, starving seabirds in the Berins Sea, checkerspot
butterflies would move north, etc. Not a great deal of scientific
discussion, a lot of politics.

A good collection of sources demonstrating the reasons why
we cannot get scientific concensus on the issues of global
warming. Political opinions far outweigh the scientific facts.

Quotes from algore. Then points out that it is difficult to
measure how fast sea levels rise because land masses rise
and fall.

Dr. Sallie Baliunas of the Heartland Institute points out that
none of our current models of Earth’s temperature correctly
backcasts by postdicting global temperatures from the past.
We simply don’t know yet.

Predicts a sea level rise of 50 inches in 500 years, 40 inches
of that in the next 200.

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