Burning Fossil Fuels is Responsible for Most Sea-Level Rise Since 1970

By Aimée Slangen, Utrecht University and John Church, CSIRO

Global average sea level has risen by about 17 cm between 1900 and 2005. This is a much faster rate than in the previous 3,000 years.

The sea level changes for several reasons, including rising temperatures as fossil fuel burning increases the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. In a warming climate, the seas are expected to rise at faster rates, increasing the risk of flooding along our coasts. But until now we didn’t know what fraction of the rise was the result of human activities.

In research published in Nature Climate Change, we show for the first time that the burning of fossil fuels is responsible for the majority of sea level rise since the late 20th century.

As the amount of greenhouse gases we are putting into the atmosphere continues to increase, we need to understand how sea level responds. This knowledge can be used to help predict future sea level changes.

Scientists from 60 Countries Condemn Cuts To Vital Climate Research at Australia's CSIRO Agency

Almost 3000 scientists from more than 60 countries have condemned Australia’s key government science agency over plans that would “decimate” its climate change research capabilities.

The open letter, delivered to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his ministers on Thursday evening, warns the cuts would leave the Southern Hemisphere “with no sustainable, world-class climate modelling capability.”

Since news of the cuts at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) emerged last week, leading scientists and institutions from across the world have attacked the plans.

CSIRO chief executive Larry Marshall told staff in an email that the agency wanted to shift the focus of its Oceans and Atmosphere division away from climate change monitoring and modelling because the science of climate change was now “proved.”

His claimed justification for the cuts have been roundly criticised by current and former staff CSIRO staff members

On Thursday, Marshall joined senior CSIRO bosses in a scheduled appearance before an Australian Senate Committee, where he was grilled over the plans. Climate scientists attending a major conference in Melbourne broke off from proceedings to crowd around a televsion to watch Marshall give evidence.

The Undiscerning Climate Science Bookshelf

SHELVES in popular book stores can be undiscerning little buggers, as can the book stores themselves.

For example, I recently had cause to wander through the tightly-bound and bulging aisles of my local Dymocks book store in Brisbane, Australia. They have some really quite “special” offerings both online and in-store.

Even though we essentially know that astrology is, for all intents and purposes, basically b******s, I can report that the paperback version of “Practical Astrology” is “in stock”.

Failing that, there's also “Homeopathy for your Cat” within the pages of which you can find out how magic water can cure your ginger's urinary tract issue.

Are you a book-shopping parent who has “wished for a handbook on each child”? Well tough, because Dymocks has sold out of “Homeopathy and Your Child” so you'll have to work out your kid's “physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs” some other way (by the way, I'm not singling out Dymocks here - most of the big high street book sellers also hawk similar enlightenment-crushing garbage).

And there are the books on climate change.

Just How Many Climate "Sceptics" Are There?

A version of this post first appeared at RenewEconomy.

WHEN Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced that former Woodside gas company executive and lobbyist Gary Gray was Australia’s new energy and resources minister, questions turned quickly to his position on climate change.

Millions In Gas Industry Cash Poured Into Public Research In Australia

SO a major United States university has decided to pull the plug on a research institute focussing on energy from gas after questions were raised over its ties to the industry.

Bloomberg reports that the “potential conflicts of interest”  had created  a “cloud of uncertainty” over the work of the Shale Resources and Society Institute at New York's State University at Buffalo.

Investigations led by the non-profit Public Accountability Initiative alleged there were flaws in the institute's research, which had engaged in “industry-spin” while the authors of the institute's sole report had failed to disclose previous industry ties.

In closing down the institute, the university's president Satish Tripathi said in an open letter:  “Conflicts – both actual and perceived – can arise between sources of research funding and expectations of independence when reporting research results. This, in turn, impacted the appearance of independence and integrity of the institute’s research.”

DeSmogBlog has been rather less forgiving, placing the institute's research into a new category it has dubbed “frackademia” in reference to the controversial hydraulic fracturing technology used by the shale gas industry.

Tripathi said that given the university's “geographic situation” in the line of sight of the booming shale gas industry, it was important the university played a role in research into energy and the environment.

But it seems that even the perception that the university might be funded by the industry (it has claimed the institute hadn't received industry cash) was enough for the “cloud of uncertainty” to overshadow work it was doing.

In a similar geographical situation is the University of Queensland in Australia, one of the leading research institutions in a state where a $60 billion boom in the coal seam gas industry is currently underway. 

UQ also has a centre launched to research the coal seam gas industry. Yet the difference here is that the university has openly welcomed millions of dollars of coal seam gas funding.

Put the science where your mouth is

“If he [Bob Carter] has any evidence that [global warming over the past 100 years] is a natural variablilty he should publish through the peer review process,” said Graeme Pearman, a former former CSIRO climate scientist. “That is what the rest of us have to do.”

A well-stated and simple point refuting the words of the well-known and very vocal global warming denier Bob (RM) Carter. Often at DSBlog we have quipped that if the so-called “skeptics” are so “skeptical” why don't they get into a lab and prove it. Last time I checked, that's what scientists do. Anything else is just arm-chair quarterbacking.

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