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« Diary dates, fracking edition | Main | Imperical - Josh 286 »
Monday
Aug182014

Heroic projections

The Responding to Climate Change website has one of the perennial "climate change impacts on exotic south seas island" stories today. This time it's about the Solomon Islands.

A small community in the Solomon Islands is preparing to relocate entirely to a neighbouring island, as the pressures of climate change threaten to overwhelm the town and its inhabitants.

As usual, the link to climate change is a complete fabrication, as the author of the piece notes that the plan was prompted by the 2007 tsunami.

I particularly enjoyed this bit:

The Solomon Islands, along with other small island nations in the Pacific, are among the most vulnerable to climate change. Since 1993, the sea level around the islands has been rising by about 8mm every year – three times faster than the global average.

This claim can be traced to a report by the Pacific Climate Change Science body from Australia. Here's the relevant graph:

It made me laugh anyway.

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Reader Comments (41)

Sea level is rising faster around some islands?

Whatever floats you boat.

Aug 18, 2014 at 1:45 PM | Unregistered Commenterssat

Having just watched Willis's pitch over at WUWT, where he tells a story about the Solomons, I can't wait to read his take on this report.

Aug 18, 2014 at 1:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

According to psmsl there were/are 2 tide gauges in solomon islands

HONIARA II from 1974 to 1994 with a slope of -6.0 +/- 1 mm year (a fall of 120 mm over 20 years)
http://www.psmsl.org/data/obtaining/stations/1373.php

and

HONIARA-B from 1994 to 2013 with a slope of +7.0 +/1 mm year ( a rise of 139 mm over 19 years)

presumably HONIARA II was in the wrong pllace

It seems peculiar to mention the rate of 'sea level rise' since 1993 and not before

Sea levels globally were depressed by Mount Pinatubo eruption and raised by 1998 El Nino
so nothing to do with global warming or climate change
unless you think global warming and climate change is caused by volcanoes and El Ninos

From 1974 to 2014 (based on 2 trends) the net rise is 13mm over 39 years = 0.33 mm/year

Aug 18, 2014 at 1:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Shiers

I'd like to see an experiment where a bucketful of water is added to the back of a half full bath producing a higher water level in that area. I'd believe.....I was dreaming. Do these people actually read what they are writing?

Aug 18, 2014 at 1:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterMargaret Smith

NOAA suggests the trend at Honolulu is +1.5mm +/ 0.25mm p/yr - Honolulu sea-level, 1906-2014.

Envisat data suggested the trend was +0.516mm per year - until it was adjusted to be +2.33mm/yr:

Envisat sea level adjustment, blink graph . [Source: http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2014/08/12/what-part-of-this-isnt-clear-3/ ].

Aug 18, 2014 at 2:10 PM | Registered Commenterlapogus

Niels Axel Moerner, the World's leading expert on sea-level rise, has maintained that the rate of sea-level rise for the last century has been a mere 2.4mm/yr. The manipulators at UN-IPCC AR4, when they first publish the draft got all the numbers wrong trying to be so clever. Evetually, they corrected it without so much as a by-your-leave, so that from 1961-1993, the rate was 1.8mm/year +/- 0.5mm/yr, then apparently it leaped between 1993 to 2003 to 3.1mm/yr +/- 0.7mm/yr. When one sits down & tots it all up both figures produce the 2.4mm/yr average rate, but it doesn't quite look as dramatic.

Aug 18, 2014 at 2:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

It is a little known scientific fact that the magical powers of the CO2 emitted by evil western nations are 3 times more powerful in the region of low lying islands of the Pacific. The rising sea levels of the previous thousands of years was an anticipatory effect of human emitted CO2.

Aug 18, 2014 at 2:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterH2O: the miracle molecule

As Jeremy Shiers points out, the likely way in which SPREP obtained an 8 mm/year *past* rate of sea level rise is by cherry-picking. There is a huge year-to-year variation in the levels, and it looks like 1993 is one of the deep dips. The center-line of the projections in their graph -- which seems to match the observations so far, on average -- rises by 2 mm/yr from 1990-2013.

On the lighter side, I enjoyed the title of their article: "Sea level in Solomon Islands predicted to rise over 8mm in the coming century". Certainly a very conservative prediction.

P.S. Bishop -- while you cited the origins of the graph as "report by the Pacific Climate Change Science body from Australia", I couldn't find the graph in the reports which I browsed. Can you please give a more specific source?

P.P.S. I found this "toolkit" for journalists amusing.

Aug 18, 2014 at 2:57 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

3 times faster since 1993 ? that means the sea level around the Solomons is now (21*8*0.66) 110 mm higher than it is here
that means all the boats going to pick up the climate refugees will have to sail uphill

Aug 18, 2014 at 3:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterEternalOptimist

Eternaloptimist: "...that means all the boats going to pick up the climate refugees will have to sail uphill"

But just think, the holiday-makers on the islands will be able to water-ski the new slopes without a boat!

Aug 18, 2014 at 3:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

Harold

Sorry. HEre it is. http://www.pacificclimatechangescience.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Solomon-Islands.pdf

Page 14

Aug 18, 2014 at 4:15 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Satellite Sea Level rise is very, very specific in location. It is not global.

http://sealevel.colorado.edu/content/map-sea-level-trends

Aug 18, 2014 at 4:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterBruce

So how much are property prices in the Soloman Islands these days.

" preparing to relocate entirely to a neighbouring island, as the pressures of climate change threaten to overwhelm the town and its inhabitants".

The property sharks are circling .Scare off the locals .Exotic locations ripe for tourist development all going cheap.
The Maldives got a new airport out of it.

Aug 18, 2014 at 5:02 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

Bruce - satellites are a terrible way to measure sea level - a craft in a slightly different orbit each passing, going 2000 mph, 500 miles up above the waves, which can vary in height from -10 to +10m or more, and then there's the tides also. John Daly looked at this years ago: TOPEX-Poseidon Radar Altimetry: Averaging the Averages and concluded the accuracy was at best 5cm.

Aug 18, 2014 at 6:06 PM | Registered Commenterlapogus

Lapogus you have just listed some of the reasons why satellites are the best way of measuring sea level - so many opportunities to adjust the data.

Aug 18, 2014 at 6:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Taken from here http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sltrends/sltrends.html


Honiara-B & Honiara II , Solomon Islands
734-004
The mean sea level trend is 2.80 mm/year with a 95% confidence interval of +/- 4.39 mm/year based on monthly mean sea level data from 1974 to 2011 which is equivalent to a change of 0.92 feet in 100 years.

Aug 18, 2014 at 6:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

I'll just say it in case nobody else does - the global sea level rise is locally higher around the Solomon Islands?

Aug 18, 2014 at 7:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterUncle Gus

@ Jeremy Shiers Aug 18, 2014 at 1:54 PM

The Solomons straddle a complex tectonically active plate tectonic boundary subduction zone.

http://walrus.wr.usgs.gov/tsunami/solomon07/

It could well be the case that parts of the archipelago are rising simultaneously to others subsiding. Tide guage measurements in geologically unstable locations are next to useless in differentiating sea level rise or fall from tectonic subsidence or uplift.

Aug 18, 2014 at 7:15 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

There is actually no such thing as sea "level" since the height of the sea surface conforms to the shape of the Geoid. For example, the only reason the Maldives poke their head above the sea surface is that they are located in the area of the globe where the height of the sea surface is over 100m below the idealised ellipsoid :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geoid#mediaviewer/File:Geoid_height_red_blue_averagebw.png

One has to wonder how much local and regional changes in sea level are driven by changes in the shape in the Geoid caused by processes (specifically local changes in mass and density in the mantle and the core) about which we know precisely nothing.

Aug 18, 2014 at 7:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnything is possible

BH -
Thanks for the link. Viewing the graph in its full glory shows that 1992 appears to be the big dip in the tide-gauge graph, and the years just after remain quite low. The trend given comes from the satellite curve, where 1993 is the first year and is second lowest to 1998. Looking at the curve, an OLS trend (which I assume was the source of the 8mm/yr value) pretty clearly is not going to give a reliable estimate.

The text contains a weak caveat that "this rise [8 mm/yr] is partly linked to a pattern related to climate variability." [I.e., ENSO, which explains most of the drops in the graph, although the 1993 low is more likely due to a general cooling due to Pinatubo.] I notice that in a more recent version of the report, the historical sea level rise rate is no longer given. Perhaps they computed the uncertainty bounds for the trend estimate, or noticed how much it changed if the 1993 point was dropped from the trend calculation.

Aug 18, 2014 at 7:38 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

They're probably all moving to the Maldives!! Apparently they're looking for loads of waiters there.


http://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2014/08/16/massive-increase-in-tourism-developments-in-maldives/

Aug 18, 2014 at 8:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul Homewood

The Solomons contain mountainous terrain- no cause to worry about climate change.

And did you know?

Shipwrecked John F. Kennedy and his crew of the PT-109 were rescued by Solomon islanders Biuku Gasa and Eroni Kumana using a traditional dugout canoe. They used a coconut to deliver a rescue message, which was later kept on the desk of the president.

Aug 18, 2014 at 9:07 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

Actually the Solomons should be among the least threatened places on Earth with regards to rising sea-levels considering how rugged the terrain is.
Some of You may have heard about the battle for Guadalcanal where American and Japanese forces slugged it out for six months in 1942-43. The whole fight was about a few square miles of flood-plain along the lower Lunga River, the only place in the whole eastern Solomons big enough and flat enough to build an airfield.

Aug 18, 2014 at 9:24 PM | Unregistered Commentertty

Judging by what can be found on Google Earth, minute Taro Island looks like a very nice place. I would hesitate to describe the rest of the Solomon Islands this way.

Aug 18, 2014 at 9:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterJ Calvert N

Wouldn't capillarity phenomena at the edge of the islands cause the sea to creep up and over them?

Eh?...

Aug 18, 2014 at 10:13 PM | Unregistered Commenterjones

'Actually the Solomons should be among the least threatened places on Earth with regards to rising sea-levels considering how rugged the terrain is.'

TTY - no one likes a smarty pants. :-)

Aug 18, 2014 at 11:24 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

It seems some in the US are worried by things other than sea level rise in the Pacific. There is a US Congressman, Rep. Hank Johnson, that thought if the military put more troops on the Island it would tip over from the extra weight. These are the people determining climate policy. Think I am kidding - Watch

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=cesSRfXqS1Q

Aug 18, 2014 at 11:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterBob

Blaming subsidence and erosion and tectonic activity on CO2 is a deceptive and intelelct-robbing scam. But climate obsessed kooks depend on just that sort of dumbing down to maintin their hold on the public.

Aug 19, 2014 at 12:13 AM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Sovereign risk is a tad more of an issue on the Solomons than most places around the world.
Probably not the place to invest a few mill$$$ on developing a resort just yet.

The guy reading the tide gauge will probably give you whatever data you prefer - for the right price..

Aug 19, 2014 at 12:14 AM | Unregistered Commentertoorightmate

If they are abandoning these tropical islands does that mean that I could go there and plant my flag and claim it?
How much are the property prices running on the Islands at the moment as that is a sure way to see if this is serious idea or just a scam.
The only property for sale I've found is here -
http://www.viviun.com/AD-1817/
Residential House, 6 Bedrooms For Sale in Guadalcanal Solomon Islands $200,000 (Prices are negotiable).

Aug 19, 2014 at 1:58 AM | Unregistered Commentertom0mason

Interesting the capital has 500 people, the GNI/capita is $1610 the cost to relocate is $35M or $70,000 per person which is more than the average income a person can earn in a lifetime. Something is out of whack here, Consultants creaming it again with I have the only solution give me money. This is not to say that after the hurricane they shouldn't get help.

Aug 19, 2014 at 4:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterKevin Hearle

@If they are abandoning these tropical islands does that mean that I could go there and plant my flag and claim it?

I suppose your strategy might reasonably be called "sanity arbitrage" ... you are leveraging your sanity to identify a mispriced asset. Given that the sea-level rise meme is parasitic, careerist drivel, it sounds like a safe bet.

Aug 19, 2014 at 5:45 AM | Unregistered Commenterschadenfreude

About 8000 people died in Galveston Texas during the 1900 hurricane, the solution is not to move settlement but build stronger houses, with shelters in the basement.

Aug 19, 2014 at 8:39 AM | Registered Commenterlapogus

The graph is typical of almost every impacts report yet produced: The actual data shows nothing much is happening and certainly nothing to worry about so they overlay a projection from a model which is widely acknowledged by climate modelers to be useless for regional projections in order to raise a false alarm. The money wasted on useless impacts reports would be far better spent building berms and sea walls to protect against the real dangers of natural, sudden events that are far more scary than any putative and miniscule sea level rise.

Aug 19, 2014 at 10:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Anything Is Possible, Aug 18, 7.17pm

AIP makes a good point. Changes in gravitation can be (and are) measured from the air using Gravity GradiometryTM. This might be too revealing for the alarmists.

Aug 19, 2014 at 10:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterMardler

The Solomons are a volcanic group of islands so sea levels might be tied to land movement due to that activity. But they are NOT drowning.

Aug 19, 2014 at 12:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Marshall

lapogus,
You are mostly correct about Galveston. The early 20th century was an age when people understood that nature is dangerous and humans are frail. That defending oneself against nature's wrath is serious work.
Galveston rebuilt immediately after the 1900 Storm. The seawall has worked many times since, saving property and lives. It worked as recently as 2008 when hurricane Ike struck.
The real work was that most of the eastern part of the island was raised up to 16 feet, sloping down to the bay side of the island. However, no one has a basement on the island of any significance. Structures are built up, not down. The water table is essentially only a foot or two below the surface.
In the age of climate fear and enviro derangement, Galveston would likely be abandoned.

Aug 19, 2014 at 12:34 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Lapogus says:

"About 8000 people died in Galveston Texas during the 1900 hurricane, the solution is not to move settlement but build stronger houses, with shelters in the basement."

Definitely not! People killed by hurricanes are rarely killed by the storm as such. They are drowned by the storm flood. Shelters in basements a few meters above sea-level are death-traps. Storm cellars are for tornados, not hurricanes.

Aug 19, 2014 at 1:38 PM | Unregistered Commentertty

tty clarified the point bout hurricanes/cyclones well: it is storm surge that kills the most people. Death from wind caused injuries is relatively rare by comparison. Galveston City was at a point on the island that was then about 2 feet above sea level. People either built up, or accepted that high tides or storms would put wter through their buildings and homes. Galveston became a narrower island from the imapct of the storm, losing whole streets and blocks into the Gulf of Mexico from the surge's devestatation.

Aug 19, 2014 at 6:39 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Having been to Galveston and the coastal marshes around Galveston Bay, I can confirm that the defensive tactic is to build houses on stilts, or have garages on the ground floor, with elevated living quarters. The idea is to get out of town ahead of the storm, and hope to avoid flood damage.

This is tyipcal:

http://goo.gl/maps/nmQYh

Aug 20, 2014 at 3:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterIt doesn't add up...

"I'd like to see an experiment where a bucketful of water is added to the back of a half full bath producing a higher water level in that area...." --Margaret Smith

Easy. Freeze the bucket of water before adding. Then use the top of the frozen water as the relevant level.

Egad, I'm starting to think like a climastrologist!

Aug 20, 2014 at 11:39 PM | Unregistered Commenterjorgekafkazar

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