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« Irony fail | Main | Booker on the Somerset floods »

Euan Mearns on the Met Office report

Euan Mearns has been analysing the Met Office's report on the floods and has raised some important concerns:

Sea level along the English Channel has already risen by about 12cm in the last 100 years. With the warming we are already committed to over the next few decades, a further 11-16cm of sea level rise is likely by 2030. This equates to 23-27cm (9-101⁄2 inches) of total sea level rise since 1900.

12 cm in 100 years translates to 1.2 mm per year of sea level rise along the English channel over the past 100 years. The Met Office is now suggesting that this is going to accelerate to 13.5 cm (median) in the next 16 years giving a rate of 8.4 mm per year until 2030. This represents an acceleration in the rate of sea level rise of 700% that is forecast to start happening tomorrow! This must surely be total drivel (Figure 3).

There is also this worry about the report's coverage of tides:

In the main body of the report the authors do discuss the exceptional Spring tides of early and late January but in the summary instead choose to present drivel on sea levels. Clive Best has estimated that the additional tidal height caused by rare alignments of Earth, Moon and Sun may have added over a meter to the normal Spring tide events. If correct this will have added significantly to coastal flooding and is totally unconnected to manmade global warming.

As Euan explains, the report is not all bad, but some of the issues he raises, and the fact that some high, but not exceptional rainfall caused a report to be published in the first place, make it look as if there is a political subtext to its publication.

Read the whole thing.

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Reader Comments (59)

Euan presumably did not see Ruth's post

on exactly this issue of sea level rise. Briefly- the Met Office re-worded it to gibberish about a "further" rise "relative to 1990". It's a disgrace that the Met Office still have the original version on their website.

Feb 24, 2014 at 10:01 AM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Could this be part of an Agenda 21 driven Global plot?

I'm beginning to think so;

Feb 24, 2014 at 10:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

The Met Office claims that we are now 'committed' to warming 'over the next few decades'. This is plainly an article of faith rather than a scientific prediction.

Given how utterly wrong all their long-term forecasts have been, I would have thought the smartest thing they could do was to keep very, very quiet for a very, very long time.

Feb 24, 2014 at 10:10 AM | Unregistered Commenteragouts

The report did contain an admission that the Met Office needs new computer models.

More research is urgently needed to deliver robust detection of changes in storminess and daily/hourly rain rates. The attribution of these changes to anthropogenic global warming requires climate models of sufficient resolution to capture storms and their associated rainfall. Such models are now becoming available and should be deployed as soon as possible to provide a solid evidence base for future investments in flood and coastal defences.

Presumably these new models that are becoming available would not have forecast a drier than average winter. Nor, if they had been available a few years ago, would they have predicted our famous "barbecue summer" or a mild winter in 2010, just before one of the coldest Decembers on record.

Perhaps these new models will not repeated over-estimate future global temperatures like the present ones have, but if their forecasts prove to be realistic, what will the people who want to "Save the Planet" do then?

Feb 24, 2014 at 10:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

"total drivel " from the Met Office - never. Those nice simple people pretending to be scientists would never talk drivel!

I used to think that Jackanory described those distinguished people, but now I think that is too adult.

Perhaps Bill (Richard Betts) and Ben (Doug McNeal) the flowerpot men with Weed (Julia Slingo - doesn't say anything intelligible) is more applicable.

In fact I can easily see Myles Allen as Slowcoach - who else could play him so well!

Feb 24, 2014 at 10:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterCharmingQuark

Could this not be the Met Office mixing their units up? We have long been told that the sea-levels have risen 10 inches in the last 100 years; perhaps we were foolish to believe even that claim (as someone has pointed out in the past, compare the views of Brighton now with those on Victorian postcards, and there seems very little difference). Now, they say the seas have risen 12 centimetres over 100 years. Which figure is correct?

There is the distinct smell of something decidedly fishy. Don Keiller could be right; so, call us “conspiracy theorists” if you will, but that does not invalidate the existence of a conspiracy.

Feb 24, 2014 at 10:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

The Met Office does seem to be pushing for more computers, and no doubt buildings and staff to go with them. Perhaps a focus group somewhere has persuaded them that sea-level rise threats are a good scarer, worth a try. Or maybe the climate cabal in the Met Office decided that all by itself?
Whatever, good to see such analysis being done of their publications in such a timely fashion by Euan Mearns. One aspect of his conclusions has a familiar echo to it:


The main body of the report is substantially better than the summary. The section on “Global Context of Recent UK Weather” is a good read, rooted in climatology.
The summary is not a faithful summary of the report, omitting some important points made in the main report whilst dangling the possibility of human made climate change at the reader.
The information on sea levels cannot possibly be correct and is presumably a mistake.
Data are tortured to create records that do not really matter or exist.
There are three serious omissions 1) snowfall connected to the storms, 2) tides (omitted from summary) and 3) flood defences role in the flooding.
The sub-text is frequently searching for links to human made climate change that is quite simply not there.

Anyone else reminded of the IPCC's practice with SPMs vs main report?

Feb 24, 2014 at 10:20 AM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

Ruth Dixon covered this.. and the sea level rise is NOT from now, but 'from' 1990.

Met Office Report Says Sea Levels Likely to Rise 11-16 cm by 2030?

Posted on February 9, 2014
Update 11 Feb 2014: Met Office says Oh, you thought we meant from now? No, from 1990! See comment from Richard Betts, below and the updated Met Office report.

13 Feb: A further comment from Richard confirms that the Met Office projections for UK sea level rise are 5 to 7 cm between now and 2030.

Feb 24, 2014 at 10:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Hey! You guys are fast! I thought I was going to be third in the comments!

That aside, I think it is time we started looking at the sensationalist language being used: “…an exceptional run of winter storms…” We already know that the storms so far this winter have NOT been exceptional (i.e. suggesting without precedence); they have been unusual – and not in their intensity, but in their frequency. Strong storms have struck before, sometimes two or three following each other; this year, how many have there been? Oh. Maybe four (to tell the truth, I’ve lost count), which is unusual.

Feb 24, 2014 at 10:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

The analogy for this as I see it is this: The EU models tell me my car should do 40 mpg. In the real world I get less the 30 mpg and I pay for my petrol accordingly. Now, what if the EU models said that my car should only do 30 mpg but I actually got 40 mpg; but the EU said that I must pay the price for my petrol as if it only achieved what the models said. I'd be paying through the nose for my fuel.....ah, I see it all now....

Feb 24, 2014 at 10:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

I love mild winters...means I will keep getting notifications from my French/German owned British power company that my monthly payment is going down cause I is paying too much (currently £90 a month for both gas and electricity for a four bed house).

Long live Mann Made Global Warming (tm)!!!



Feb 24, 2014 at 10:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

I'm not fully up to date with the rates of isostatic adjustment in southern England. I think they lie somewhere between about -1 and -2mm per year with the south west sinking at a faster rate than the south-east. Taking the lower limit of -1mm as an average then the 12cm sea level rise quoted by the met office consists of a 10cm isostatic adjustment and 2cm attributable to ocean volume (eustatic) effects. If the Met Office thinks that there is going to be a further 11-16cm rise in sea level over the period 1990-2030 then subtracting 4cm due to isostatic effects results in 7cm to 12cm ocean volume effects over a 40 year period. This is an acceleration of between 3.5 and 6 times the eustatic rate between 1900 and 1990!

Looking at the tide gauge record at Ruth Dixon's site I'd suggest that the Met Office prediction is already looking to be way out.

Feb 24, 2014 at 10:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterPaul Dennis

Winter brings higher spring tides because we are closer to the sun. The Moon is also a bit closer at the moment so we get super-springs. Mean sea level rise has reduced, according to Prof Nils Axil Morner, due to global cooling of sea waters. The UKMO seem not to be able to convert metrics or calculate a 100 years rise from the annual one. They need a bigger computer obviously.

Feb 24, 2014 at 10:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Marshall

Are these the same Met Office "experts" who predicted a dryer than normal winter especially in the south west?

Feb 24, 2014 at 10:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterDoug Elliot

Do the good people of Dover, Portsmouth, Southampton, etc, etc, confirm that their ports are becoming flooded at an accelerating rate. Thought not...

Feb 24, 2014 at 11:26 AM | Unregistered Commentertom0mason

What are they going to do with new computers when they can't even work a calculator?

Feb 24, 2014 at 11:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

I suspect the Met Office contracted the sea level calculations to Phil Jones, who ran them through his trusty spreadsheet.

Seriously, we know the Met Office claims to have quality procedures in place, which should eliminate all errors before publication (at least all significant ones, which even the lowest of the low should be able to spot). There is a big difference between the Met Office claims and reality.

I wonder who actually checks these Met Office reports to see that they are clear, correct and that the summary reflects the content. Heads should roll.

Feb 24, 2014 at 11:54 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

@ Paul and others, I hadn't seen Ruth's post on sea levels and I see it was also discussed on Tallbloke. Not surprising really that others have picked up on same point, a school child would also do so. It should be pretty straight forward for "scientists" to present data like this in an honest and accurate way. The inclusion of gibberish on sea levels in the summary that probably contributed zero to the flooding, and are in any case mainly natural in origin, and exclusion of exceptional high spring tides that almost certainly contributed to coastal flooding, is indicative of a clear agenda.

Measuring sea level is in fact far from straightforward since the land to which the tide gauges are attached is sinking in S England.

The fact that the word "snow" is not mentioned once in the report is also staggering. But then again they do not mention CO2 either.

Those wanting to get an idea of the complexity of the global climate system may want to read the section "Global Context of recent UK Weather", which I'm guessing was written by a good old fashioned climatologist. I'm left wondering how many of the incredibly complex "teleconnections" are included in the climate models.

Feb 24, 2014 at 12:27 PM | Registered CommenterEuan Mearns

Like squeezing a giant Table Tennis ball in and out from the inside

Up and down Sea Levels anyone mentioned Sea Bed Continental Drift.

Feb 24, 2014 at 12:31 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

This MO rune reading and false projection - is fifth form stuff.... 11th grade [or whatever].

I recently read a report, craftily linking climate change to causing greater coastal erosion and using the example of Blakeney harbour was being threatened - well it is but only because it is an area of marine deposition for heavens sakes! True to say, other parts of Norfolk are being washed away but that is a natural process - the sea giveth and it also taketh away but ask the Dutch about that because it seems on this side of the North sea we are, or the EA is at any rate ready to give Norfolk and all points south - back to the littoral and uncle Neptune.

Cynically, it all adds to the mountain of BS being recently spouted in the media concerning the myth of man induced climate change and its risible linkage to wet weather and winter storms - which is exactly the way the MO are playing it for all it is worth, the only valid description we can make is of, desperate stuff, dodgy measurements and p*88 poor science. About par for the MO, I would deem.

That, the failure is man made is true enough but as North and Booker have so plainly pointed out pertaining to the Somerset levels - man made failure exacerbated flooding. Then, the SW railway line at Dawlish was washed away but so what, that bit of the line has always been most vulnerable - it's what happens when there is poor maintenance and a big sea.

So obvious and fifth year grade.

Deliberately made so that, spoon fed Joe Public can see the meme here; man made warming equals sea level rises and more wet, with the additional scurrilous accusation and red herring thrown in - that of coastal erosion.

All of it, is execrable exaggeration, loud is the miasma of desperation, a fog of unfounded prognostication and rank amateurish at that. I'm betting that, with the vestiges of public sympathy ebbing away for the man made myth, many senior civil servants in the MO see these recent events as a final throw of the dice but in fact the die is not cast and never has been, a political fiction is what it is.

Feb 24, 2014 at 12:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

"Climate Scientists DO NOT get things wrong EVER"
you bunch of shameless deniers!

.. When they "corrected" did they apologise for the error and give Ruth a credit ?

Hilary Ostrov posted on Ruths blog

There are several things badly wrong with this response. The first thing is the complete failure to acknowledge the original error or the fact that it has been corrected. I see that the pdf has been changed, but there is no note in the pdf to this effect, and there is no note on the html page. Similarly the choice of words in the revised text is deeply obfuscatory, and seems almost designed to confuse: “a further overall 11-16cm of sea level rise is likely by 2030, relative to 1990″ is self contradictory drivel.
Ruth added it wasn't Richard Betts fault & he had got the report corrected even though it's not his business and he's on holiday

Feb 24, 2014 at 12:52 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Stewgreen: From your comment: "The first thing is the complete failure to acknowledge the original error or the fact that it has been corrected. I see that the pdf has been changed, but there is no note in the pdf to this effect, and there is no note on the html page." [my bold]

In my (past) professional life, where I had to read - and sometimes write - technical guides/manuals regarding systems releases etc, it was expected that any update or revision would be indicated with a document revision level number and that somewhere there would be a history of the changes made. I fail to understand that the MO, purporting to be a 'professional' body, responsible for some strategic government decisions affecting the future direction of the lives of the people of this country (not so unimportant, then), would not have someone in their organisation who understood this pretty basic requirement of document management. Doesn't any professional body ever audit these people????

Feb 24, 2014 at 1:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

Now had time to look Ruth Dixon's contribution and see that a second version of "The Final Briefing" is at large with text amended in response to Ruth's query.

This is the version I saved to my hard drive several days ago:

And this is the amended version.

This in itself is utterly useless. Picking up on what Stewgreen says, they should have issued an erratum attached to the original report leaving original text in place and explaining why new text is required. Here is the new text on sea level:

Sea level along the English Channel has already risen during the 20th century due to ocean warming and melting of glaciers. With the warming we are already committed to over the next few decades, a further overall 11-16cm of sea level rise is likely by 2030, relative to 1990, of which at least two-thirds will be due to the effects of climate change.

So we now have 13.5 cms (median) over 40 years giving 3.4 mm / year approximately 3 times the historic rate of 1.2mm / year claimed in the original report. Still drivel!

Ruth says this:

That implies that the rate of sea level rise (SLR) in the English Channel will more than double in the next 16 years to 7 to 10 mm per year (on average) from the current 3 mm per year. And assuming that the rate of SLR does not leap to the new level in the first year, a linear increase from the current rate implies a rate of about 15 mm per year by 2030.

I'm not sure where her 3mm / year comes from but it appears the Met Office have simply adjusted their statement to comply with Ruth's version of reality ;-) It really seems like they are just making this stuff up!

I am to write to Met Office asking for clarification and to invite them to issue a final, final, final report. Anyone have Dame Slingo's email?

Feb 24, 2014 at 1:40 PM | Registered CommenterEuan Mearns

It is incredible that the MO cannot explain adequately their sea level rise estimates and leave it to the reader to unpack what they mean and find the errors in their statements.

In the last 100 years sea level along the English Channel has risen about 12cm. Of this at least 10cm of the rise can be attributed to isostatic adjustment following the last ice age. The south of England is sinking at about 1mm per year. i.e. Any rise in sea level along the south coast due to climate change is at most 2cm or 0.2mm per year. i.e. it is not detectable from the background isostatic level changes.

The MO agree with this statement since they imply that over the 40 years between 1990 and 2030 there might be 11 to 16cm rise in sea level of which 2/3 could be attributed to climate change i.e. 4 to 5cm is due to isostatic adjustment which is 1mm per year as I stated above.

Thus the MO are saying they expect to see an acceleration of climate change effects on sea level from an average of 0.2mm per year (1900-2000) to an average of between 15 to 30mm per year for the period 1990-2030.

This acceleration is extraordinarily high and as far as I can tell from the published tide gauge records hasn't revealed itself anywhere along the Channel in the 23 years since 1990.

Good luck Euan with getting a straight answer out of the MO.

Feb 24, 2014 at 2:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul Dennis

Oops...make that 1.5 to 3mm per year and not 15 to 30mm per year as I stated above! Sorry!

Feb 24, 2014 at 2:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul Dennis

Where I live on the west coast of Ireland the High Spring tides in early January and early February had predicted heights of 5.68 metres whereas a "normal High Spring tide is generally around 5.0 meters. Also in the January and February storms we experienced very low barometric pressure of 955- 960 mB. added together these two natural factors raised high water levels 1.23 metres (4.0ft) .

In addition storm force westerly winds piled up water into Galway Bay adding a further 0.35 meters ( 1.0ft) and along the exposed coasts of the Bay close to Galway city centre wave heights added an additional 2.0 meters ( 6.5 ft).

So without rainwater drainage problems like those as in the Somerset levels/Severn estuary area we encountered serious coastal flooding because water levels were 3.5 meters ( 11.5 ft!) above what most of our infrastructure was designed to handle.

This was exacerbated in Galway city because the discharge of water from Lough Corrib runs right through the middle of town and the sea level in the bay was higher than the surface of the River Corrib so the fresh water could not escape.

Nothing to do with sea levels rising as a result of "Climate Change!!

During the Flandrian Transgression, caused by the melting of the Northern Hemisphere continental ice caps, sea level rose 120 meters in 17,000 years giving an average rate of 7 mm/ yr from the melting of an ice volume more than 150% LARGER than the Antarctic and Geenland ice caps combined.

Where are MO getting the water from to raise the sea level at their forecast rate??

Feb 24, 2014 at 2:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Whitehead

My trawling of the internet by way of links provided took me to the site of “Stefanthedenier” (a brave name, that brought to mind a Gary Larsen cartoon of two deer – “Bummer of a birth mark,” says one, referring to the concentric rings on the other’s chest).

Anyhoo…. Stefan raises what I think should have been obvious to many: as the temperature of the deep oceans is around 3°C, then any rise in temperature (say, from the Trenberth’s “magic” heat) would actually cause the sea levels to FALL, as the lowest density for water is 4°C, so any increasing temperature would cause shrinkage. So, warming oceans should mean falling sea-levels.

While there is probably some dodgy science on Stefan’s site, he does make many good points. When you consider ALL the variables that we do know about, and add in the variables that we have yet to discover, you have to wonder what this fixation of CO2 is all about.

Feb 24, 2014 at 2:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

Radical Rodent: "the lowest density for water is 4°C"
Pure water has its highest density at 4°C, but salty ocean water continues to increase in density as it is cooled, all the way to its freezing point around -2°C.

Feb 24, 2014 at 3:32 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

"you have to wonder what this fixation of CO2 is all about."

Taxation and control.

Feb 24, 2014 at 3:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

RR, that is true for fresh water, but not sea water.

Feb 24, 2014 at 3:35 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

HaroldW: thank you for pointing out my elementary mistake (I now hate you, by the way); but, is it the water that increases in density, or the salts dissolved in the water that give that effect? Is there any effect that the increase in pressure would have?

(hee hee - caught you out, too, Michael, even if you did get my meaning!)

Feb 24, 2014 at 3:38 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

As I stated above, the Met Office has quality assurance procedures. Quote from the Met Office Annual Reports and Accounts 2012/2013:

Assurance over the effective operation of the organisation’s business and environmental Management systems has also been obtained via the retention of its certifications for ISO 9001:2008 and ISO14001:2004.

However, being QA certified, does not mean the QA procedures are any good; the procedures will no doubt have been written by Met Office staff to suit its own shoddy working methods. As Harry Passfield states above, any creditable and professional organisation would have document control procedures wherby each revision would be indicated with a document revision number and there would be a history of all the changes made, together with the reasons and appropriate signatures.

Clearly the Met Office's method of working is not fit for purpose.

Feb 24, 2014 at 3:41 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Out of interest, and totally off-topic, but I have long been annoyed by my registered name's dodgy display (no capitals, and no space), so had a look at changing it to "correct" English - and it works! Try it yourself, Euan et al.

Feb 24, 2014 at 3:48 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Philip Bratby: Re ISO 9001 etc. In my time I have actually been both auditor and auditee for 9001 (in a large multinational). The key thing was always to ask if the auditee had process documentation in place and at the correct release level (among other things), and when the auditee said, "Yes", the follow up was always: "Show me". Used to catch a few out...

Feb 24, 2014 at 4:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

Harry: I worked in the nuclear industry, and I put in place a lot of the detail in the QA procedures my company used (starting in about 1981). We used to get audited regularly by the nuclear regulator and our clients. They had great difficulty trying to find faults with us; year after year they would try and delve deeper and deeper. A lot of our procedures were subsequently adopted by some of our clients because they were so thorough, effective and superior to any others.

Feb 24, 2014 at 5:24 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Radical Rodent (3:38 PM) -
It's definitely the salts which change the property. Per the Encyclopedia Brittanica: "At salinities less than 24.7 psu the density maximum is reached before the ice point, while at the higher salinities more typical of the open oceans the maximum density is never achieved naturally." Figure 3.1 here shows the effect of salinity on the temperature of maximum density.

The Britannica article also shows the effect of pressure, which (unsurprisingly) increases the density.

Feb 24, 2014 at 5:26 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

Unbelievable (well, not really) that the Met Office's appalling version control is still causing problems!

It's excellent that Euan Mearns has analysed the report in such detail. Regarding my use of '3 mm/year' sea level rise that Euan mentioned above (Feb 24, 2014 at 1:40 PM) - that figure was not from the Met Office report, but approximately the IPCC's global average current sea level rise, which I thought would be a reasonable comparison with the Met Office's projection.

Richard Betts said in in a comment on my post:

In the UKCP09 sea level projections, the central estimates (50th percentile) for SLR in the English Channel for 2010 to 2030 are 6.28cm for the SRES B1 (“Low”) scenario, and 8.78cm for the SRES A1FI (“High”) scenario. So linearly interpolating this to 2014-2030 (not strictly correct but close enough), the “further rise” by 2030 from now is projected to be about 5-7cm

The numbers above include isostatic adjustment, and were worked out for me by a colleague today – they are close to those for London in Table 2 of the UKCP09 sea level report cited in the Met Office report.

NB These don’t represent the full uncertainty range – see Figure 1.3 of the UKCP09 sea level report for the 5th & 95th percentiles of the projections. However, I’ve quoted the 50th percentiles because those were the post-1990 numbers given in the Met Office report.

Nic Lewis has of course also taken apart the use of the UKCP09 projections for this purpose.

P.S. Thanks Paul and Barry! :-)

Feb 24, 2014 at 5:45 PM | Registered CommenterRuth Dixon

The MO follows the output of its alarmist models come what may. You would think that after about 14 years of getting forecast totally wrong there would be some embarrassment, perhaps a twinge of sheepishness. Maybe even an apology to the taxpayers who deserve better.

Not a bit of it. Their latest forecast is for lots more global warming. Perhaps if they keep this up for another few decades they might be lucky. Then again, it is just as likely to stat cooling. Who knows? The Met office doesn't.

Feb 24, 2014 at 5:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

Phil & Harry, I was also instrumental in achieving ISO 9001 for a multinational's Plant in the UK.
We obviously have a certain "slant" to our thinking that throws out the AGW garbage.
The MO may have a certificate but they certainly are not practicing it.

Feb 24, 2014 at 5:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterA C Osborn

The Bish says "but not exceptional rainfall caused a report to be published in the first place, make it look as if there is a political subtext to its publication."

I thought we already new that there was a political subtext to just about everything that they publish or say apart from their basic weather forecasting.

Feb 24, 2014 at 5:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterA C Osborn

When the Met Office says (in the revised report, p.21):

Sea level along the English Channel has already risen by about 12cm during the 20th century; this is over and above the increases associated with sinking of the southern part of the UK due to isostatic adjustment from the last Ice Age. With the warming we are already committed to over the next few decades, a further overall 11-16cm of sea level rise is likely by 2030, relative to 1990, of which at least two-thirds will be due to the effects of climate change.

...readers should note that the Met Office is comparing two different metrics, for different places, with overlapping time periods.

That is, the 12 cm/century DOES NOT include isostatic rebound, is for 'the English Channel' and is for 'the twentieth century'. The 11-16 cm/ 40 years DOES include isostatic rebound, is for London, and is for 1990-2030.

As I said in a comment, the Met Office made the minimum revision to ensure that their report was not actually wrong. The fact that it is drivel doesn't seem to matter.

Feb 24, 2014 at 6:09 PM | Registered CommenterRuth Dixon

Philip Bratby: Re Nuclear audits: Well done! Would that the MO - and a few other government departments/agencies - EA, anybody? - were subject to such audits!

It seems to me that the hysteria of AGW - and what it will 'do to us' is not dissimilar to that of a nuclear plant (and a properly audit-proof plant like Fukishima shows us how nuclear is not to be feared - just the prats who decide where standby generators are positioned) and we should push to make sure these places are audited.

In fact, as much as I get p*ssed off when warmists claim that certain theories/papers have not been peer-reviewed, I shall hit back with the fact that they can't know that their support structures (MO, EA et al) have been properly audited.

Feb 24, 2014 at 6:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

> RR, that is true for fresh water, but not sea water.

Here's a question for you.

Ocean Heat Content (OHC) is calculated using both temperature and salinity and one of the arguments supporting an increase in OHC is a rise in sea levels.

If you change the temperature but keep the salinity the same the water density (and hence the sea level) will change.
If you change the salinity but keep the temperature the same the water density (and hence the sea level) will change.

My question is, is it possible to change both the temperature and salinity (one up and one down) so that the OHC remains the same but the sea level changes?

Feb 24, 2014 at 6:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

@ Ruth, first apologies for not referencing your earlier post that I did not know about - I've added a note and reference now. Your 3 mm is interesting - a relevant number you pulled out of your head ;-) The Newlyn tide gauge (Cornwall) shows a rise of 170 mm from 1910 to 2010, so that's 1.7 mm / year and about 1.1 mm of that was isostasy. So that leaves 0.6 mm / year from seawater volume change - that's really going to send massive waves over the ramparts.

It seems to me these folks have lost the plot completely and that they just made something up to satisfy your query.

Feb 24, 2014 at 7:04 PM | Registered CommenterEuan Mearns


where is the information that the 12cm rise over the past century does not include the effects of isostatic rebound? Are you saying that the rise has been 22 to 24 cm, that is 10-12cm for isostatic rebound and 12cm for eustatic changes? My reading of the tide changes is the total sea level rise over the century is 12cm and includes the effects of isostatic rebound and ocean volume changes.

Feb 24, 2014 at 7:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul Dennis

Paul Dennis said
"Ruth, where is the information that the 12cm rise over the past century does not include the effects of isostatic rebound?"

Paul, that is what I understood from the new version of the Met Office report ( which says on p.21:

"Sea level along the English Channel has already risen by about 12cm during the 20th century[12]; this is over and above the increases associated with sinking of the southern part of the UK due to isostatic adjustment[13] from the last Ice Age."

Reference 12 is Wahl et al. 2013: Observed mean sea level changes around the North Sea coastline from 1800 to present. Earth-Science Reviews, 124, 51–67.

Wahl et al. discuss both absolute and relative sea level rise and say (in the Abstract):

"The long-term geocentric mean sea level trend for the 1900 to 2011 period is estimated to be 1.5 ± 0.1 mm/yr for the entire North Sea region. The trend is slightly higher for the Inner North Sea (i.e. 1.6 ± 0.1 mm/yr), and smaller but not significantly different on the 95% confidence level for the English Channel (i.e. 1.2 ± 0.1 mm/yr)." (my emphasis)

I'm not making any estimate of total 20th century sea level rise, just trying to puzzle out what the Met Office report is saying. But this, as well as Richard Betts' comments on my blog, seems to say that the 12 cm/century does not include isostatic adjustment (but please correct me if I've misunderstood - I really don't want to add to the confusion around this issue!).

Feb 24, 2014 at 8:08 PM | Registered CommenterRuth Dixon

I've missed something, haven't I?

Nobody seems to be batting an eyelid that the claim is that the rise has been 12 cm in 100 years, yet we have often been told that sea levels have risen 10 inches since 1880 – i.e. over twice as much in less than 1.5 times the time. What have I missed?

Feb 24, 2014 at 8:18 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Radical rodent

The 12cm figure is for the UK. The 10Inches is the worldwide average. Local effects can increase or decrease the rate of change.

Feb 24, 2014 at 8:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

Euan Mearns - no worries - the internet is a big place! Thanks for adding a link on your blog.

BTW, I didn't 'pull the 3 mm out of my head', I looked at IPCC AR5! Of course I wrote my post before I (or anyone, it seems) knew what the Met Office was talking about. I didn't want to start speculating about what the 12 cm/century meant (the original version of the report gave no references regarding sea level rise). I just wanted to compare the one apparently clear statement in the Met Office report "a further 11-16 cm by 2030" with a figure (3 mm/year) that had been (so to speak) peer reviewed.

Feb 24, 2014 at 8:48 PM | Registered CommenterRuth Dixon

Ruth, do you think if they gave us £100 million we could work it out?

There are about 6 variables that need to be taken into account to explain the coastal flooding:

1. Normal high spring tide
2. Additional exceptional spring tide
3. Storm surge (low pressure in eye of cyclone)
4. Water piling up on W coast of UK due to prolonged strong westerlies
5. Waves
6. Sea level rise

I'm guessing that 1 to 5 accounts to meters / several meters and that 6 accounts for millimetres. Going to put this into an open letter to Met Office.

Feb 24, 2014 at 9:11 PM | Registered CommenterEuan Mearns

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