Monday, September 25, 2006

Bolt burger # 6 is undercooked and raw

Fossil-fuel industry shill, Andrew Bolt's 6th "minor quibble" with Al Gore's rendering of the science in "An Inconvenient Truth" dismisses rising sea levels as a minor dribble:

6: Gore claims the seas have already risen so high that New Zealand has had to take in refugees from drowning Pacific islands.

In fact, the Australian National Tidal Facility at Tuvalu in 2002 reported: ?The historical record from 1978 through 199 indicated a sea level rise of 0.07 mm per year.? Or the width of a hair.

Says Auckland University climate scientist Chris de Frietas: ?I can assure Mr Gore that no one from the South Pacific islands has fled to New Zealand because of rising seas.?

I have not had the time off to see the movie yet, so I don't know whether Gore made the call as Andrew relates it, or not. But I do know that late last year a UN study revealed that there could be as many as 50 million environmental refugees around the world by the end of the decade. Not all of these refugees will be a result of rising sea levels, of course.

The Guardian article linked above reports that New Zealand has already agreed to accept the 11, 600 inhabitants of the low-lying Pacific island state Tuvalu if rising sea levels swamp the country. Elsewhere, as many as 100 million people live in areas that are below sea level or liable to storm surge. A total of 213 communities in Alaska are threatened by tides that creep three metres further inland each year.

Andrew Bolt specifically states that "In fact, the National Tidal Facility at Tuvalu in 2002 reported: the historical record from 1978 through 199 (sic) indicated a sea level rise of 0.07mm per year". These data are now 6 years old. The most up-to-date recordings from Tuvalu available from the National Tidal Centre show a sea level rise of +6.1mm/year, some 100 times faster than the value Andrew Bolt quotes. Similar rates of sea level are evident across the entire Pacific SEAFRAME network maintained by the National Tidal Centre at the Bureau of Meteorology.

Other blogs on:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Frankly you're as guilty as you claim Bolt is; I note that the report you linked to explicitly states:
It is also to be noted that the observed trends in sea level include natural variability, for example, events such as El Niño and effects due to other atmospheric, oceanographic and geological processes. Longer-term data sets for all stations are required in order to separate the effects of the different signals. Please exercise caution in interpreting these data ? they will almost certainly change over the coming years as the data set increases in length. The trend value is highly variable for the above-mentioned reasons.

How do you know you're not just mouthing off about an easily explained El Niño variation? The new instruments measure a lot more than just sea level, we should be hesitant about jumping to conclusions based on such a small data set.

In fact the report also notes:
? Monthly mean sea levels were near average for most stations. The largest anomalies were observed at Cook Islands where sea levels were around 10 cm higher than normal and at Marshall Islands, FSM and Tuvalu where sea levels were 5-10cm lower than normal.