The Fox News Effect: Sea Level Edition

Mon, 2011-06-20 10:37Chris Mooney
Chris Mooney's picture

The Fox News Effect: Sea Level Edition

Climate scientists–and other scientists–are always improving and updating their methods. That’s how science works. And it’s a very good and honorable thing–or at least, it is until conservatives catch on to some particular methodological change and argue that it’s political, rather than part of the normal course of scientific events.

And until Fox News–whose viewers are far less likely to accept climate science, as well as various other well known facts–joins in.

In the latest case, a group at the University of Colorado at Boulder added a new correction to their estimates of global sea level rise. What they did is pretty technical, but before going further I’ll have to briefly explain it—more details can be found here.

A correction for glacial isostatic adjustment—or GIA—was recently added to the Colorado group’s estimates of the rate of sea level rise. This was done because even as sea level is rising (due to the thermal expansion of the oceans and the melting of land-based ice), the land in some areas is also rising a bit, increasing the size of the ocean basins. Why is the land rising? It’s a “rebound” from the disappearance of massive land based glaciers since the last ice age.

Any questions so far?

So the Colorado scientists added a correction to take into account GIA, so that they could measure–in isolation–how much total water volume is being added to the ocean. Due to the rising of land, this cannot be simply inferred from measuring the sea level along the coastline.

Here’s a somewhat comprehensible explanation from the University of Colorado website:

…we have to account for the fact that the ocean is actually getting bigger due to GIA at the same time as the water volume is expanding. This means that if we measure a change in [global mean sea level] of 3 mm/yr, the volume change is actually closer to 3.3 mm/yr because of GIA….We apply a correction for GIA because we want our sea level time series to reflect purely oceanographic phenomena. In essence, we would like our [global mean sea level] time series to be a proxy for ocean water volume changes. This is what is needed for comparisons to global climate models, for example, and other oceanographic datasets.

Okay. Perfectly normal, perfectly justifiable.

However, as we know, climate science is watched closely by conservatives, who are looking for places where they can cry foul and object. And in this case, along comes the Heartland Institute’s James M. Taylor, who says the scientists have “doctor[ed]” their data:

Faced with the embarrassing fact that sea level is not rising nearly as much as has been predicted, the University of Colorado’s NASA-funded Sea Level Research Group has announced it will begin adding a nonexistent 0.3 millimeters per year to its Global Mean Sea Level Time Series. As a result, alarmists will be able to present sea level charts asserting an accelerating rise in sea level that is not occurring in the real world.&

Note: Taylor himself admits that the consequences of this correction will only be “1.2 inches over the course of the 21st century.” In other words, if sea level rise is a big deal, then the correction in question certainly isn’t.

But we’re not done yet. Now comes Fox News and its reporter Maxim Lott, who does an “on the one hand, on the other hand” piece about whether the GIA correction is kosher. Suddenly it’s the scientists at Colorado vs. Taylor:

Steve Nerem, the director of the widely relied-upon research center, told FoxNews.com that his group added the 0.3 millimeters per year to the actual sea level measurements because land masses, still rebounding from the ice age, are rising and increasing the amount of water that oceans can hold. “We have to account for the fact that the ocean basins are actually getting slightly bigger… water volume is expanding,” he said, a phenomenon they call glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA).

Taylor calls it tomfoolery.

“There really is no reason to do this other than to advance a political agenda,” he said.

Actually, we’ve already seen the entirely non-political reason to do this.

But we’re still not done. Then Matt Drudge takes up the story, adds some more bias and some embellishment—“Climate change ‘researchers’ caught padding sea level data”—and off it goes. Another byte of misinformation about climate change is now in circulation.

What’s tragic about all of this? Sea level is really rising, and the rate is expected to increase—and adjusted or unadjusted, corrected or uncorrected, this is one of the most transformative aspects of climate change.

Previous Comments

LOL

Old news. Just another example of how the desperate AGW industry “Adjusts” the data in a futile attempt keep the scam going.

Here is just another example:

Everyone know how Jimmy “Adjusts” temperature records, well it appears they also “Adjust” sun spot records as well.

No shame in the AGW Industry:

As Earth enters deepest solar minimum in centuries NASA caught hiding sunspot data to prop up dying global warming cult. Inconvenient new ice age imminent. http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=7907

‘As Earth enters deepest solar minimum in centuries NASA caught hiding sunspot data to prop up dying global warming cult. Inconvenient new ice age imminent.

http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=7907’

Don’t make me laugh, climaterealists are anything but real about climate change.

Bob Carter and Heartland in the mix here - that is the same Heartland Institute that tried to prop up tobacco industry profits by creating false doubt about the dangers of SHTS (second hand tobacco smoke for those with short memories - or none as the case may be).

climaterealists (CR) is an Orwellian exercise in naming right at the start.

Here is more on the Cretinous Retards (title earned because their actions condemn their own descendents to lives of misery and the CRs cannot even realise that - so much for any reality eh!):

http://thingsbreak.wordpress.com/2009/06/03/reliable-sources-climate-realists-craig-idso-ocean-acidification-edition/

Now as for sunspots and minima try learning from the people who know more:

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2011/06/what-if-the-sun-went-into-a-new-grand-minimum/

Now as for Anymouse 1

Don’t comment on stuff about which you have clearly no idea.

For some sea levels are rising for real this has been explained elsewhere here so go look before dropping more bubkas.

I think you’re missing the humor value of CR, Lionel A. Corbyn has a lot of entertainment value. See link. I’ll quote my favorite by him below.

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Piers_Corbyn

“As was shown by Charles Darwin years ago, the tropical islands like the Maldives they change their level according to sea level” - Piers Corbyn, quoted from SourceWatch

So they float, according to Corbyn. That’s an angle of denial that I hadn’t even considered.

is either being ignorant or mendacious when he states:

“As was shown by Charles Darwin years ago, the tropical islands like the Maldives they change their level according to sea level” - Piers Corbyn,

if he does not at the same time explain how long it takes for the organisms that construct the reefs upon which such are built to add height in the context of an accelerated rise since about 1900 (see note [1] below) and also a rapidly changing ph value of oceanic water which is going to slow them down or even stop them.

[1] There has just been announced a paper on sea level rise:

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2011/06/2000-years-of-sea-level/

So the FOX-Heartland-WUWT-Drudge Circus can try and spin this all they like but the truth is soon going to be blindingly obvious to even the most inattentive canary.

So Anthony Watts is in on the scam? After all, he wanted the figures adjusted for the Urban Heat Island effect.

All NASA is hiding is their incredulous laughter at your feeble intellect.

“So Anthony Watts is in on the scam? After all, he wanted the figures adjusted for the Urban Heat Island effect……And how much do you think Spencer and Christy’s satellites cost?”

It’s funny isn’t it & ironic. The deniers use the same data sources that pro AGW scientists use, then interpret the results differently.

If scientists didn’t provide them with the raw data in the first place, then people like Christy, Lindzen, Spencer etc wouldn’t have anything to work with either.

It’s the cut off the nose to spite the face type logic of the denier.

An oldie but a goodie:

See how the record is “Adjusted” to look Scarrier…. http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/01/25/the-hardest-part-is-trying-to-influence-the-nature-of-the-measurements-obtained/

If you follow the trail, you would see that the non-story started earlier on WattsUpWithThat, then a few blog regurgitations of those posts, then Taylor’s rewording of WUWT and its comments, then finally Lott, who threw in Christy. Basically churnalism of blog posts. None of them did any real investigative journalism until Media Matters took up the piece; the others just speculated about a conspiracy that didn’t exist.

LOL….

Lionel…. Don’t comment on stuff about which you have clearly no idea.

there you go quoting prapaganda from an industry shill site..

Realclimate has no credibility.

Cute Rant though…..

I would have thought the Koch brothers could afford a better class of troll. One who at least knows how to spell “propaganda” correctly.

Where do you get this fantasy that FF companies pay people to be skeptics?

You do realize that fossil fuel companies spend millions of dollars a year on getting their viewpoint across. While the likes of Greenpeace and WWF spend hundreds of millions, and funded researchers spend billions. No comparison.

Where do you get this fantasy that FF companies pay people to be skeptics?

You do realize that fossil fuel companies spend millions of dollars a year on getting their viewpoint across. While the likes of Greenpeace and WWF spend hundreds of millions, and funded researchers spend billions. No comparison.

The fat cats are on your side of the argument. You are doing their bidding.

There are fat cats on both sides of the argument. There are plenty of greedy capitalists looking to profit from global warming and they will spin the half truths to their advantage as well as any oil ceo. In fact it will end up being the same guys who will be raking in gov subsidies for churning out toxic solar panels and useless wind turbines.

You cant win this game.

Well….

Now we know the real reason for the sea level “Adjustments”

Breaking:
“Mann’s new sea level hockey stick paper”

This should be just a hell of a lot of fun as the latest silly hokey Schtick get schredded.

Does this guy just never get enough ridicule?

what skeptical science has to say on this:
http://www.skepticalscience.com/broken-hockey-stick.htm

What the science says…
Since the hockey stick paper in 1998, there have been a number of proxy studies analysing a variety of different sources including corals, stalagmites, tree rings, boreholes and ice cores. They all confirm the original hockey stick conclusion: the 20th century is the warmest in the last 1000 years and that warming was most dramatic after 1920…While many continue to fixate on Mann’s early work on proxy records, the science of paleoclimatology has moved on. Since 1999, there have been many independent reconstructions of past temperatures, using a variety of proxy data and a number of different methodologies. All find the same result - that the last few decades are the hottest in the last 500 to 2000 years (depending on how far back the reconstruction goes).

But I suppose we should just believe an anonymous Koch-sucker like you?

what skeptical science has to say on this:
http://www.skepticalscience.com/broken-hockey-stick.htm

What the science says…
Since the hockey stick paper in 1998, there have been a number of proxy studies analysing a variety of different sources including corals, stalagmites, tree rings, boreholes and ice cores. They all confirm the original hockey stick conclusion: the 20th century is the warmest in the last 1000 years and that warming was most dramatic after 1920…While many continue to fixate on Mann’s early work on proxy records, the science of paleoclimatology has moved on. Since 1999, there have been many independent reconstructions of past temperatures, using a variety of proxy data and a number of different methodologies. All find the same result - that the last few decades are the hottest in the last 500 to 2000 years (depending on how far back the reconstruction goes).

But I suppose we should just believe an anonymous Koch-sucker like you?

Oh goodie the troll bot is back, and there goes the signal-to-noise ratio.

Said troll is OK with Fox lying and smearing and slandering, and does not know what the GIA is. OK got it :)

His juvenile diatribes were cute, they are now boring and predictable and vacuous. And citing WFUWT is not helping his “case”, Watts has no credibility except in the minds of his uncritical and unskeptical followers. So quoting propaganda from a shill to Limbaugh and Inhofe and friends is not helping. Oh , and neither does FauxNews, the above revelation is a case in point. But Anon keep fighting for the climate denialist industry and disinformation scam machine, you need to sharpen up your intellect though. You area perfect, shining example of why your ilk have no credibility or honour.

I’m sure Anon also thinks Monckton and Fauxnews are the epitaph of credibility and honor and scientific knowledge;)

Ta ta.

In case you did not know, Maxim Lott is the son of John Lott - the author of the infamous “More guns, Less crime” and former AEI scholar. If Maxim learned about science from his father, his knowledge is skewed and warped.

I particularly liked how Fox claimed that the adjustment was “sparking criticism from experts”, then they go on to quote from Taylor, a lawyer with no science background, and Christy, a legitimate climate scientist but one whose expertise is satellite analysis of the atmosphere. Nobody who actually works at measuring sea level changes was relied on for the hit piece. And it is not as if the CU researchers tried to do something underhanded and sneaky; they are the ones who posted on their website the changes that were going to happen, and exactly why. The Drudge headline is therefore the more egregiously dishonest; nobody “caught” them doing anything - they stated the GIA correction openly and without any prompting. And if someone does not like the new correction, they can just subtract .3mm a year and use that number instead.

Continental rebounding is meaningless. Sea level measurement has always been about the sea overtaking the land, moving up the beach and flooding low lying cities. Thats what we talk about and that is what we should measure. Fox has a point here boys but you are too antifox to see it.

The Sea Level Research Group at University of Colarado now makes an adjustment to forecast rise in sea-level to account for glacial isostatic adjustment of the continental lithosphere following deglaciation. Fair enough.

There is nothing wrong per se with including such an adjustment. However, what concerns me is the assumptions that have gone into determining the magnitude of the adjustment and its sign.

First comment…

There is no doubt that icecaps loaded the continental lithosphere at high latitudes, depressing the bedrock surface and causing flowage of the mantle away from the loaded regions. However, this may not have been true in all regions. The problem is that creation of the ice caps necessarily locked up as ice, some of the water that formerly occupied the oceans (in the main). This resulted in sub-aerial exposure of continental margins globally that were formerly underwater, indeed several hundred metres underwater. Continental margins globally were isostatically unloaded of ocean water and this would have resulted in their isostatic uplift, with consequent flowage of mantle from beneath the ocean basins into the uplifting regions resulting in an increase in the volume of the ocean basins.

Conversely, at high latitudes, once sub-aerially exposed, the continental margins were areas where glacial ice was able to accumulate. In some areas the glacial loading of the continental margins is likely to exceeded that produced by ocean water loading, acting to reduce ocean basin capacity as mantle flowed oceanward away from the so-loaded margins. In other areas, glacial loading may have been less than ocean water loading, acting to increase ocean basin capacity as mantle below the ocean basins would have flowed towards these margins.

The continental margins and ocean basins are now isostatically recovering globally from the effects of high-latitude ice cap formation. How they are recovering depends on the relative sizes of the water and ice loads that they once had and the water loads they are regaining. Deducing the magnitude and sign of any correction factor to be made to measured rates of modern sea level rise, is going to be heavily dependant on knowing how the size of the water and ice loads on the continental margins has changed. It would be interesting to know if this has been done.

Second comment…

The rate that icecaps melt, have melted, or can melt, is almost certainly several orders of magnitude faster than the continental lithosphere below the ice can isostatically recover. Large parts of the bedrock of Greenland and Antarctica are depressed by glacial loading, to an altitude below modern sealevel. As glacial ice has melted from these areas and water returned to the oceans, regions of bedrock loaded by ice to below sea-level have been inundated by the oceans. There this inundation is occuring even though the formerly ice-loaded regions are undergoing isostatic uplift in response to removal of a greater ice load than that now provided ocean water. Eventually, of course, these depressed regions will isostatically recover and emerge from beneath the oceans. The upshot is that there is a time lag between glacial ice load removal and isostatic recovery of the crust below that provides the creation of accomodation space for ocean water. This lag acts in the short term to moderate the rise in global sealevels. Has this effect been considered when determining the sign and magnitude of the adjustment factor?

Long story short, determining the magnitude and sign of an isostatic adjustment to modern sea-level rise is potentially fraught with difficulties and can be presumed to highly dependent on the history of the loadings the continental margins were subjected to, and the relative magnitudes of water and ice loadings. This calculation is likely to be further complicated by several other factors. Firstly, the rheology of the mantle below the margins and ocean basins, determining the rate of mantle flow possible, the possible flow rate being determined by mantle temperature and geothermal gradient. Secondly, the infilling of the ocean basins by glaciogenic sediment eroded from the land.

Gravity/GPS measurements are doing quite correctly their jobs, especially for inland areas. I would venture from my personal small experience about this topic that the error bars are about one millimeter, or even less. Compared with the 5mm/year scandinavian uplift, results are therefore quite robust.

And lol at the guy who loled first. He doesn’t even know about Earth’s interior, and he thinks he knows enough to unravel a conspiracy ?
But he’s useful : the more he rants like this, the more educated people are convinced about AGW just by looking at the sheer lunacy of the hysteric WUWTpeople

It is a new episode of the sea level ramblings on FOX news.

Hey Hugo. What do you think of Fox telling “the other side of the story”? Ahhh the dilemma for you. On one hand you don’t like liars ( well left leaning ones), but on the other hand you say it’s good that Fox is around & they provide balance. But yet you also say you believe in AGW. Ahhh the conundrum.

skeptical science. and why go right to name calling? i believe that happens when you have nothing to say. but let me get this straight….ur saying there was no mwp? and btw, people who call other people cock suckers usually are the ones with that on their minds.

straight, self-refuting denier talking points. I hope you and your various sock-puppet clones/clowns are getting paid well by the Kochs, because the devil owns your soul. Selling out your children and grandchildren for a few bucks. You are the very lowest of the low.

LOl….

And so it degrades into adolscent name calling. Soo amusing.

When the arguments fail the only recourse is …..

hahaha..

BTW…. if Koch is reading…. I would love some money… Just saying…

And that devil and soul comment… LOLOLOLOL
Get a grip man.
This is jsut a silly blog about a silly scam.
It has not connection reality.

lighten up… the only thing in danger is our standard of living.

i think you are going to stroke out pal. pretty tough stuff for a comment about the lia wouldnt you say? so a mwp or not? cock sucker

Another point : to my knowledge, GIA should in the end get a zero gravity average over the globe (you redistribute only mass). Since the characteristic time is quite long (from my faulty memory, I found zeros at the millenia time scale) and slower than the ice melt, you get this small correction.
I guess.

Yup, right on cue.

Every time the Climate Scientology Cult is exposed and caught red-handed in another of their frauds, the paid shills at James Hoggan & Associates Public Relations Inc. desperately try to spin the facts.

You’re failing.

http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/331684/description/Modern-day_sea_level_rise_skyrocketing

@rum

Wrote “it pisses me off that he thinks he is so smart. he is no scientist. the wording “i’ll have to” cries egomaniac. ….”

Have you ever seen this video Rum?

http://youtu.be/LiYZxOlCN10

What do you think?

complete desperation

Annon said:
“You don’t get to claim that proxy data is fine to show the MWP but no good for the Hockey Stick.”

And other nonsense.

well
1. I and anyone else here can and will say whatever the hell we want whether you like it or not.

2. The Hokey Schtick WAS a fraud and that has been shown conclusively all over the net for years. No need to rehash.

3. The MWP Was indeed global and Does indeed show that the little warm spell of the 1990s was nothing unpressidented and perfectly natural.

the evidence has been linked here many many times, but like true deniers you all just pretend it does not exist or your try to smear the site owner or some other lame AGW scam tactic.

You may as welll just admit that you are a Faithful cult member and facts wont ever sway you.

Oh… And I dont care a whit what you think of any of this.

Facts about the MWP:

http://www.skepticalscience.com/link_to_us.php?Argument0=4

Facts about the Hockeystick:

http://www.skepticalscience.com/broken-hockey-stick.htm

It is a democratic right to have an opinion, but your opinion does not change the fact that 1, the hockeystick is not broken and 2, the earth was colder than today during the MWP.

Some good stuff there: http://www.skepticalscience.com

EJO
You OPINION is noted.
You do have the right to be wrong.

and you can certainly link to the propaganda blog Skepticalscience all you want.

But as you said, none of that nonsense changes the Facts.

The MWP was global and warmer and the HS was is and always shall be fraud.

There is no opinion in a finding of fact. That you insist it was opinion is proof that you never read a damn thing.

Show us your data on the MWP.

Don’t give us your worthless opinion on it.

Give us your facts.

Yes, there are no penalties for lying on a blog. Not even shame if you’re a misanthropic speck of scum like yourself.

The Hockey Stick wasn’t a fraud. Not even McIntyre and Wegman have managed to prove any such thing. Despite over a decade of trying.

The MWP wasn’t global if you can’t find evidence to show it was global.

But being a denialist PoS that you are, you can continue to spread lies like the plague and your conscience (being nonexistent) will cause you no problems.

goes the merry-go-round:

‘3. The MWP Was indeed global and Does indeed show that the little warm spell of the 1990s was nothing unpressidented [sic] and perfectly natural.

the evidence has been linked here many many times, but like true deniers you all just pretend it does not exist or your try to smear the site owner or some other lame AGW scam tactic.’

No the medieval climate optimum was not global and not persistent in any one area for the length of that period. Don’t believe in fairy tales.

So, ‘the evidence has been linked to here many times’, show us the colour of YOUR money.

I suspect CO2Nonsense, ClimateRetards, We Use Wishfull Thinking and Joanne Cod-piece will be in there somewhere, and who knows maybe even Climate Fraudit or Denial Despot. Sludge from those places is just that, sludge, so try to be a little more sensible and rational eh!

Soon, Idso and Baliunas are demonstrably cherry pickers but then so are the rest of that sorry lot, besides that 2003 paper was a crock.

Surely you know that by now? Must be a bit slow if you don’t.

Well if you are slow then this will educate (note these are only starting places for you to go search the relevant scientific literature rather than simply believing what the ‘howler’ monkeys on the denial ‘jungle drums’ tell you:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrKfz8NjEzU&list=PL029130BFDC78FA33

Hmmm. Interesting.

If opinion is worthless, then you are saying, every comment on this silly little blog is worthless.

Well, I would agree with half of that anyway.

so …. Source. Not that anyone here would actually read any of it…..

http://www.co2science.org/data/mwp/mwpp.php

The papers are referenced and sourced and the Data (FACTS) are verifiable.

But of course that wont stop religious zealots form simply claiming it is false…..

But there may some actual thinking people out there that could find it useful…..

Never know…

And since I said YOUR opinion is worthless YOU have just said you can’t read.

So, where are YOUR facts?

That page doesn’t actually prove the MWP global. The site is made up so that you are unable to use it to prove anything about the MWP.

As proof, I give the FACT that you, anon, cannot explain the length of the “global” MWP, the time of maximum temperature, and the global average temperature at that time.

If you had actually understood (or, indeed, ever TRIED to understand) that site, you’d be able to explain these values. They are rather central to any hypothesis of a *Global* MWP and whether it is hotter than today.

http://www.co2science.org/data/mwp/studies/l1_nevadoillimani.php

Has the MWP there peak at -0.1C anomaly about 1300. Current warming (pre 2000 on this graph) +0.2C anomaly.

Warmer now than then.

http://www.co2science.org/data/mwp/images/l1_cariacobasin.gif

Has the MWP occurring before 1100AD.

http://www.co2science.org/data/mwp/studies/l1_lagunaaculeo.php

Has the MWP starting after 1050AD.

http://www.co2science.org/data/mwp/images/l1_perushelf.gif

Has an axis in the thousands of years. God knows when that puts the MWP.

http://www.co2science.org/data/mwp/studies/l1_cariacone.php

Has the MWP colder than 2000 years ago.

http://www.co2science.org/data/mwp/images/l1_coldaircave.gif

Has a MWP colder than 500 years ago or 2100 years ago.

Seems like the data is highly incoherent.

As expected… and right on queue…

The famous Desmog denial team ….. LOL

You guys are just sooooooo predictable.
And so irrelevent.

“As expected… and right on queue…

The famous Desmog denial team ….. LOL

You guys are just sooooooo predictable.
And so irrelevent.”

When your denier arguments have been shown to be worthless & feeble, this is all you are left with.

@ Chris Mooney;
No matter how you try to spin this story it STILL smacks of ‘Hide the decline’! Even if there is a shred of justification for these adjustments it’s very bad policy at a time when increasing numbers of people are losing faith in that part of the scientific community that is pushing the CAGW mantra.
How about everybody just reporting the numbers as they stand, not ‘adjusted’ for any reason. That might bring back some credibility to the science. Hank

They reported the raw numbers in the first article. The isostasis adjustment was brought afterwards in a follow-up.
If you are not even able to get the original article …

@skeptics : why do you talk if you clearly have not understood what you are talking about?

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