Resources - Table of Contents:
- Tools & site-search
- Satellites & sea-level measurement
- Sea ice, thermal expansion & sea-level
- North Carolina & sea-level
- Floods & sea-level
- Climate Reports
- Climate cycles
- Greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide & methane
- Other resources
- See also: Blogs etc (climate blogs and other climate-related sites)
Satellites & sea-level measurement:
- Glossary - ordered for readability
- Glossary - ordered alphabetically
- The "Dictionary of the Climate Debate" (DCD) is the
most comprehensive glossary I've found of climate-related terminology.
- WUWT also has a glossary,
and a collection of
- NOAA's Tides and Currents Glossary is a very
comprehensive glossary of the terminology used on their tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov web site.
- The AMS has a huge glossary of meteorology & climate.
- The BBC has a short climate change glossary.
- The EPA also has a glossary.
- So does the IPCC (in five languages),
and they have a glossary
and a long list of the acronyms
used in AR5.
- Common conversion factors for water, air, ice and sea-level,
will help you answer questions like these:
Q: “if a cubic mile of ice from the Greenland Ice Sheet melts and runs into the ocean,
by how much will it raise worldwide average sea-level?” (A: 0.0106 mm)
Q: “if a gigatonne of CO2 is added to the atmosphere, by how much will it
affect average atmospheric CO2 levels?” (A: 0.124 ppmv)
- Statistics: confidence intervals explained,
and how to calculate composite standard deviations. ↑
- Books: I am grateful to Peter F. Gill and Roger Helmer, MEP for this list of recommended
books about climatology,
from generally skeptical perspectives. ↑
you sure of exactly what “sea-level” means?
If so, it might be because you haven't thought about it very much. The MinutePhysics guy,
Henry Reich, explains it nicely in this 3½ minute YouTube video:
What is Sea Level?.
(It's more complex than you probably think.) ↑
- The NOAA sea-level data portal
has a useful collection of links to several sea-level data collections.
(NASA also has a new
sea-level portal, but theirs is an
“educational” page, devoted mostly to politicized climate propaganda, rather
than real data.)
most important thing that everyone should know about climate change and sea-level is that
there's been no detectable sustained
(increase) in the rate of sea-level rise
in over 85 years. All around the world, the best sea-level measurements all show the same thing:
an almost perfectly linear trend. Sea-level is rising no faster now, with CO2 at
0.040% of the atmosphere, than it was when CO2 was less than 0.031%
atmosphere, in the early 1930s, during the Great Depression.
There are about sixty good-quality, century-long records of sea-level around the world.
A couple of them extend back more than 200 years.
Due to differences in local factors (primarily vertical land motion), the rates of sea-level change
vary greatly between those locations. Some are recording falling sea-level, and more are recording
rising sea-level; the average is slightly rising.
But they all show the
same thing w/r/t acceleration: none of them have measured
a statistically significant increase in the rate of sea-level rise in over 85 years. At most
locations it's been more than a century since the rate of sea-level rise measurably increased.
Since atmospheric GHG (mainly CO2) levels have been increasing substantially
for about seventy years, mostly because of fossil fuel use, the lack of acceleration in sea-level rise
over that period means that anthropogenic GHG emissions have not detectably affected
The sealevel.info data page has measurement data in spreadsheets, with
links to graphs. ↑
is not rising everywhere. The measured rate of coastal sea-level change ranges from
-17.59 mm/year at Skagway, Alaska
(where sea-level is falling due to PGR), to
+9.39 mm/year at Kushiro, Japan
(where the land is subsiding,
perhaps due to coal mining).
The average rate of sea-level change, calculated from measurements by the world's best long-term
coastal tide gauges, is just under +1.5 mm/year (about six inches of sea-level
rise per century).
- NOAA has many sites and programs, including:
- Zervas, C. (2009), NOAA
Technical Report NOS CO-OPS 053, Sea Level Variations of the United States, 1854 - 2006,
is a great resource with in-depth information about determination of sea-level trends from tide gauge
- PSMSL: http://www.psmsl.org/ (Permanent Service for Mean
Sea Level) global repository for long-term sea-level data.
PSMSL now uses a remarkably obscure approach for
sea-level trend analysis. The old (circa 2015) trends (which they calculated by simple linear regression) are
and the new results are here. (Note: The files have Unix-style
(LF) line delimiters. To “fix” them for Windows, by changing the line delimiters to CR+LF, you may use my
“fixtext” program. Example: fixtext trends.txt )
For some long-record sites, they've also improved their handling
of differences between Mean Sea Level (MSL) and Mean Tide Level (MTL) measurements.
Perhaps surprisingly, the results of their new trend calculations are very close to the sealevel.info linear
regression trend calculations. ↑
- GLOSS (Global Sea Level Observing System): http://www.gloss-sealevel.org/
- GLOSS 1997
Implementation Plan Annex IV GLOSS-LTT station list
- GOSIC: https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/gosic
(or old version,
or older version).
- The Sea Level Station Monitoring Facility of the
Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC-UNESCO) provides information about
the operational status of global and regional networks of real time sea level stations, and links to many national data
- University of Hawaii Sea Level Center: http://uhslc.soest.hawaii.edu/
(and old site).
- JASL: http://ilikai.soest.hawaii.edu/uhslc/jasl.html
(and data). ↑
- List of old-style PSMSL
coast/country codes and station names (or here).
- List of NOAA tide
with verified data" &
- List of PSMSL Authorities
and country/station codes.
- NOAA's list of
45 129 U.S. tide stations
for which NOAA did long term trend analysis (or new page).
- NOAA's list of PSMSL (non-U.S.)
tide gauges for which NOAA did long term trend analysis (and an
old version which also included the 45 U.S. stations).
- NOAA's GOSIC Sea
Level Station List (November 2013),
and related documents.
- A .csv data file received on 2012-07-20 from PSMSL, with the mapping
between NOAA's station numbers and PSMSL's.
- Prof. Richard Peltier has calculated model-derived Glacial
Isostatic Adjustment data files, available for download from his datasets page.
(I saved 2011 versions here; note that the last 3 columns in the .txt files
represent 100 years ago ["0.1 kBP"],
present, and 100 years hence, respectively, rather than the 250 year intervals used in Prof.
Peltier's latest datasets.)
Dr. Peltier also gives a GIA estimate for the effect on sea-level of the
hypothesized ongoing sinking and broadening of the ocean basins, as the result of the loading from meltwater
during the last deglaciation:
Many climate scientists add that adjustment to measured
rate of sea-level change, and report the sum as the rate of “sea-level rise,” which is a mistake.
That sum is not actually sea-level rise. It is an estimate of what sea-level rise would be if
the ocean floor were not sinking. It is useful when accounting for sources of sea-level change, but it is not
the rate of sea-level rise, and it should never be reported as “sea-level rise.” ↑
- Tom Moriarty's
collection of sea-level data (and
- ClimateWiki.org has a good overview
of the subject of sea-level rise.
- http://tinyurl.com/rahmstuff has information about the so-called "Rahmstorf Method" of predicting accelerated sea-level rise.
- Meltwater from the Greenland ice sheet is a significant contributor to sea-level rise,
but it is melting very, very slowly. It would take 100-150 centuries for it all to melt, at the current
rate, and that rate apparently has not increased substantially in the last 85 years. (If it had increased then
sea-level rise would have accelerated, which has not happened.)
It is known that during the MWP (circa 900-1300 AD) Greenland
was significantly warmer than it currently is, apparently
without causing notable global sea-level rise. One of the ways we know that Greenland was warmer then is that the
Norsemen who colonized Greenland's coasts grew barley
there, and it is too cold to grow barley there now, even with modern, quick-maturing cultivars. ↑
- Antarctica's ice sheets are very stable. Ice accumulation and loss are very, very close to
being in exact balance there.
Based on GRACE, Shepherd 2012 concluded that Antarctica ice mass change since 1992 has averaged -71 ±83 Gt/yr,
which means they couldn't tell whether it's gaining or losing ice mass. Based on ICESat,
Zwally 2012 found that Antarctica is gaining ice mass: +27 to +59 Gt/yr
(averaged over five years), or +70 to +170 Gt/yr (averaged over 19 years). Based on CryoSat, McMillan (2014)
found Antarctica is losing 79 to 241 Gt/yr of ice, though that's based on only 3 years of data.
More recently, a
in Dec. 2015 reported
that Antarctica is gaining 82 ±25 Gt of ice per year.
The range from those various studies, with error bars, is from +170 Gt/yr to -241 Gt/yr, which is equivalent to
just -0.47 to +0.67 mm/yr sea-level change. That's equivalent to less than 3 inches of sea-level change per
In other words, although we don't know whether Antarctica is gaining or losing ice, we do know the rate, either
way, is so tiny that it's having a negligible effect on sea-level. ↑
- The effect of meltwater from grounded ice on sea-level is more complex than you might expect.
If grounded ice melts and the meltwater finds its way into the ocean, of course it raises average global sea-level. But it also slightly changes the mass distribution on the Earth's surface, which changes local gravity fields, which changes the distribution of water in the oceans, and has uneven regional effects on sea-level.
Suppose, for example, that a substantial amount of ice were to melt from the Greenland Ice Sheet, and run into the ocean. The gravitational attraction by which the ice sheet attracts the surrounding ocean would be reduced, which would cause the ocean to recede in the vicinity of Greenland. It has been calculated by people who presumably know what they're talking about that in the vicinity of Greenland (and apparently as far away as parts of Europe) this effect would exceed the rise in sea-level due to water added to the ocean, so that sea-level at Greenland and the surrounding region would actually fall, rather than rise, as the ice sheet melted.
But that water which flows away from Greenland would also add to sea-level elsewhere, causing sea-level elsewhere around the globe to rise a bit faster than you would expect from a simple calculation from the amount of water added to the ocean.
This effect is probably only significant for Greenland, because only Greenland is losing enough ice from one
place to much affect the Earth's gravity field, so I call it the “Greenland Gravity Effect.”
Most of the tide gauges which it significantly affects are in northern Europe, so Prof. Jerry Mitrovica calls
it the “European Problem.”
Here's a short video
from Boston University's Maureen Raymo, explaining it.
Additionally, the weight of the Greenland ice sheet on the ground beneath would be reduced, so the ground would then slowly rebound upward ("post-glacial rebound"), which would cause the sea-level at Greenland to continue to fall (or to rise at a reduced rate) for thousands of years into the
future. That rebound (PGR) would, in turn, also change the gravity field, and thus the water distribution in the oceans, which would presumably reduce the rate of local sea-level fall near Greenland.
Harvard's Jerry Mitrovica explains it in greater detail here (after unfortunately spending 13½ minutes bludgeoning straw men, and just before
erroneously conflating tide gauge and satellite data).
Unfortunately, the video's owners are censoring commentary on YouTube. They “fake-approved” but hid
("ghosted") my critique. ↑
- That lack of acceleration in sea-level rise is despite the fact that there are two
anthropogenic factors, unrelated to climate, which should have been expected to cause a slight acceleration
in sea-level rise:
reservoir impoundment (which
the filling of the reservoir behind the Aswan High Dam in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and has slowed
since then), and
(which has accelerated). Both of those should have caused an increase in the rate of sea-level rise over
the last 40 years. The fact that the rate of sea-level rise has nevertheless failed to increase at all
suggests that the aggregate melt-water contribution to sea-level rise is slowing slightly, rather than
Sea ice, thermal expansion & sea-level:
altimetry sea level data, notes,
(and old version,
of their dramatic revisions to the ENVISAT data [alt]
- Univ. of Colorado Sea Level Research Group,
and NOAA all have groups working on
sea-level measurement by satellite altimetry.
Note: Even though the satellite measurements show no acceleration in sea-level rise,
changes in how the satellite data is processed and adjusted have substantially
increased the amount of sea-level rise which U. Colorado reports.
There are many different factors
which can affect reported trends, but which are difficult to ascertain with certainty, and are subject to substantial and
often mysterious corrections.
This article & discussion
at WUWT explain it.
(h/t Steve Case) ↑
- From Frank Lansner and Jo Nova comes an enlightening but disturbing
about suspicious adjustments to sea-level measurement data from
satellite altimetry. ↑
measurement of sea-level by satellite altimetry is unreliable. Physicist Willie Soon explains the
problems starting at 17:37 in this very informative
hour-long lecture. ↑
- To address some of these problems, in 2011 NASA proposed
a new satellite mission called the Geodetic Reference Antenna in SPace (GRASP). The proposal is
and its implications for measuring sea-level are
The Europeans are apparently considering a similar mission (E-GRASP). ↑
- DORIS (Doppler Orbitography and Radiopositioning Integrated by Satellite)
is a Doppler satellite tracking system for determining satellite locations. ↑
- NOAAs National Geodetic Survey CORS program
(Continuously Operating Reference Stations) provides satellite-based 3D positional data,
uplift, and lateral movement of the Earth's surface at more than 1,900 locations. Here's a map showing the
- SONEL GPS stations, and
vertical land motion
(VLM) estimates, and tide-gauge data. ↑
North Carolina sea-level:
- When the density
of water decreases, due to either warming or freezing, its volume increases. That's called “thermal
expansion” or “thermosteric expansion.” This photograph shows an example of
locally elevated sea-level
due to thermosteric expansion.
Contrary to a widespread misconception, sea-level rise due to thermal expansion
does not necessarily
affect sea-level at the shorelines, nor anywhere else, except locally, where the expansion
occurs. Changes in the density of the upper layer of the deep ocean produce sea-level change which is
strictly local, because gravity balances mass, not volume. It can affect sea-level measurements
taken via satellite altimetry, but it does not affect the coasts, and should not be included
in sea-level estimates used for coastal planning.
- Floating sea ice does not directly affect coastal sea levels,
so the much-ballyhooed
ice extent is unimportant w/r/t sea-level. But if you're curious about sea ice trends,
you can see them graphed
on the U. Illinois Cryosphere Today site.
Sea ice extent in each hemisphere varies drastically by season, but the global total is always between
14 and 24 million square kilometers, with hardly any significant long-term trend
(though climate alarmists often predict
an imminent dramatic decline [or 2]).
1/22/2017 UPDATE: 2016 saw a sudden decline in reported global sea ice extent, which occurred coincidentally
with the demise of the
DMSP F17 & F19 satellites that were measuring it. Because of that timing, I'm skeptical that the decline
is real, but “hardly any significant trend” is not a proper description for 2016's reported sea
ice extent numbers.
Globally, sea-ice can only indirectly affect sea-level, by affecting snowfall. When sea ice
coverage goes down, evaporation from the ocean increases, which causes increased “
snow deposition on ice sheets and glaciers, increasing grounded ice
mass, and decreasing sea-level. ↑
- The details of how sea ice extent is counted can have
a large effect on the reported trends. (h/t Ron Clutz) ↑
Meteorologiske Institut (DMI)
has had a graph comparing the current year to the preceding ten years' "30%+" Arctic sea ice extent,
with coastal zones masked out, by graphing each year in a different color on the same horizontal timescale.
They also have a graph comparing the current year to the preceding four years' "15%+" Arctic sea ice extent.
In both graphs, the current (partial) year is graphed with a heavier black line.
As of January 2016, depending on which graph you chose, you
can could "prove" that Arctic sea ice extent is either the
(in the "30%+" graph) it's been in the last eleven years, or the nearly the
lowest (in the "15%+" graph)
it's been in the last five years.
Update: On 2016-02-18 DMI discontinued
the "30%+" version, which had showed high recent Arctic ice extents. The differing trends were apparently due to a
with the "30%+" version. ↑
- The University of Illinois has a graph of global sea ice extent starting in 1979; click
on it for the full-sized, updated version:
Note: due to the
demise of the DMSP F17 & F19 satellites,
U. Illinois sea ice extent data since March, 2016
- The NSIDC also has graphs of Arctic & Southern Ocean sea ice extent,
and the MASIE (Multisensor Analyzed Sea Ice Extent)
product (though currently only for the Arctic).
As of May, 2016, the NSIDC has
switched to using the
DMSP F18 satellite for their sea ice data
(though only 10 of 24
SSMIS channels are still functional on that satellite), due to the
failures of the
satellites in February & April, respectively. ↑
- Unfortunately, graphs of sea ice which start with 1979, like the U. Illinois sea ice graph, are
somewhat misleading, because 1979 was a peak year for Arctic sea ice extent
(though not Southern Ocean sea ice extent). The 1990 IPCC
FAR reported on p.224 that:
“...satellite observations have been used to map sea-ice extent routinely since the
early 1970s. ... Since about 1976 the areal extent of sea-ice in the Northern Hemisphere has
varied about a constant climatological level but in 1972-1975 sea-ice extent was significantly
less. In the Southern Hemisphere since about 1981, sea-ice extent has also varied about a constant
level. Between 1973 and 1980 there were periods of several years when Southern Hemisphere sea-ice
extent was either appreciably more than or less than that typical in the
The units in that FAR graph are millions of sq-km, but they used an ice concentration threshold of 10%,
rather than the 15% which is more common today (which makes the FAR ice extent numbers a bit larger). The
1979 peak appears to represent a growth of somewhere between 0.5 and 1.0 million sq-km over five years.
For comparison, since the 1980s it appears that Arctic ice extent maximums have declined about 1 million
sq-km, and minimums by about twice that. So it appears that at least half of the current over-hyped
decline in Arctic sea ice is due to the anomalous 1979 starting
Recent research suggests
late 1970s growth in Arctic sea ice
had probably been ongoing since the early 1950s, and that
increase in Arctic sea ice over the third quarter of the 20th century was as large as the decrease in
sea ice over the subsequent thirty years.
The IPCC's 1995 SAR also mentioned the early (pre-1979) satellite
measurements (WGI p.150),
recent IPCC Assessment Reports do not.
1979 was the beginning of sea ice measurements by the Nimbus 7
NASA has apparently lost the earlier sea ice measurements, from Nimbus 5,
Nimbus 6, and Seasat 1. The most important pre-1979 data are from Nimbus 5, the first satellite
with a scanning microwave radiometer which could view ice through clouds. It collected data from
December 11, 1972 through May 16, 1977.
Correction (2016-01-10): This NASA page
says, "This [Nimbus 5 sea ice] data set is available from the National Snow and Ice Data Center, (NSIDC)."
On the NCIDC site, we find the Nimbus Data Rescue Project,
which has recovered some previously lost data from Nimbus 1, 2 & 3, some of it very recently. That's great news!
For Nimbus 5, NSIDC has
sea-ice concentration data
through December 1976 available for download, and associated
I don't know what happened to the 1977 data, and I don't know why the last three IPCC Assessment
Reports have not utilized the 1973-1976 data. ↑
Floods & sea-level:
- NC-20.com is an organization representing the twenty coastal North
Carolina counties. The sealevel.info webmaster, Dave Burton, is one of several NC-20 Science Advisors. ↑
- The 2010-2012 North Carolina sea-level fight:
In 2010 the NC DCM's Coastal Resources Commission (old) (CRC)
Science Panel on Coastal Hazards (old) produced a severely-flawed
"Assessment Report" (alt)
projecting wildly accelerated sea-level rise, to justify potentially ruinous regulatory
changes for NC's coastal communities. That Report prompted critiques from physicist John Droz
(part 1 and part 2),
sealevel.info webmaster Dave Burton (here), and others.
Burton also discussed the Report in this
lecture at the John Locke Foundation.
In April 2012, the CRC Science Panel issued an Addendum (alt)
to their 2010 Report, defending the Report's conclusions even while abandoning its key claim
that the rate of sea-level rise has accelerated. Six of the Report's authors also issued a
of the Report, which doubled down on its errors.
The NC General Assembly then enacted a new law, HB-819,
by lopsided margins,
requiring further study of the issue before imposing regulations.
HB-819 was harshly criticized by Climate Movement activists like Duke University's Bill Chameides,
who claimed that it was a
bill to "mandate how much sea level will rise," and said that it legislates "how much sea level
rise is lawfully allowable." Those false accusations prompted
from sealevel.info webmaster Burton.
Physicist John Droz has compiled a very useful Timeline/History of the kerfuffle over sea-level rise in North Carolina.
The CRC Science Panel's
final 2015 Report
is vastly improved from the 2010 version, but
still has some problems. ↑
- NCDENR: http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/cm/sea-level-rise (or old version)
- www.ncsealevelrise.com: NC Sea Level Rise Impact Study; the webmaster here, Dave Burton, is on their Advisory Committee.
- nccoos.org: North Carolina Coastal Ocean Observing System.
- ncfloodmaps.com: North Carolina Floodplain Mapping System.
- The State Climate Office of North Carolina is hosted by NCSU, in Raleigh. ↑
- December 2, 2016 — North Carolina's top environmental official,
DEQ Secretary Don van der Vaart,
has written two excellent letters about the role and policies of the EPA, which are worth your time to read.
The first, which was also signed by the top environmental officials of four other States, was to President-elect Donald Trump.
The second was to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. ↑
- IPCC.ch is the web site of the U.N. Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change ("IPCC"), the embattled flagship Climate Movement institution, which has produced
five Assessment Reports
on climate change, to date. (The sealevel.info webmaster, Dave Burton, was an IPCC
AR5 WGI Expert Reviewer.)
Unfortunately, the IPCC has very serious credibility issues. Investigative journalist Donna Laframboise
explains the problems in this enlightening
Why almost nothing you know about the IPCC is true.
31 minutes long, but, to her credit, Ms. Laframboise speaks
so clearly that she's perfectly
understandable if you play the video at 1.5x or even 2x speed,
which will reduce the playing time to as little as 15½ minutes.)
Ms. Laframboise has also written a highly-acclaimed book. ↑
is the web site of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC). They've produced
a series of climate reports by teams of distinguished scientists, in response to the IPCC's
- The 2014 National Climate Assessment Report
is a detailed statement of the Obama Administration's official position on climate issues, though President Obama's former
Undersecretary for Science, Steven
Koonin, has since admitted to being somewhat of a skeptic. ↑
- The Republican Staff of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works has
released a series of 39(!) (and counting) excellent white
papers and other documents, including the definitive report on the UEA CRU's leaked “ClimateGate” emails:
'Consensus' Exposed: The CRU Controversy (Feb. 23, 2010).
It is 73 pages long, plus 10 pages of footnotes with hyperlinks.
Three years later they
released a 23-page follow-up report, Critical
Thinking on Climate Change (July 18, 2013),
and year after that they released another 92-page report, The
Chain of Environmental Command: How a Club of Billionaires and Their Foundations
Control the Environmental Movement and Obama's EPA (July 30, 2014).
BTW, the Climategate whistleblower did not release only emails
(highlights here from
Bishop Hill, and analyzed
Dr. John Costella). He or she also released a lot of computer source code, and it is just as damning as the emails.
Here's a sample.
(Also, Berkeley professor Richard A. Muller, a longtime climate alarmist, did a good job of explaining
Michael Mann's infamous Climategate “hide the decline” email, in
this video.) ↑
- Environmentalist David Siegel shares "What I Learned about Climate Change."
He learned a lot, and so can you. ↑
- 1974 CIA Report on climate change
entitled, A Study of Climatological Research as it Pertains to Intelligence Problems. (Of course, the dreaded
climate threat then was global cooling, rather than warming.) ↑
- In 1975, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences published a 270-page
(or here) entitled,
Understanding Climate Change: A Program for Action. ↑
- National Geographic, Nov. 1976: What's Happening to Our
- University of Oslo climatologist Ole Humlum's Climate4You.com
site has a remarkably comprehensive collection of climate information. He's also produced annual climate reports for
- The Arctic Council's Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) Report (2005),
Synthesis Report (2004). ↑
- In 2009 U.S. EPA economist & physicist Alan Carlin
prepared a scathing internal
report criticizing the EPA's reliance on outdated IPCC conclusions for its
controversial GHG/CO2 Endangerment Finding in support of the Obama
Administration's regulation of greenhouse gas emissions under the
Clean Air Act. The EPA quashed
the report, but Carlin was eventually vindicated.
See also the 2016 Tropical Hot Spot Research Report. ↑
- The 2016 Tropical Hot Spot Research Report,
by James P. Wallace III, John R. Christy & Joseph S. D'Alero, reports the results of a 2016 investigation
into the alleged existence of a so-called “tropical hot spot,” as predicted by GCMs, and
used as justification for the EPA's controversial GHG/CO2 Endangerment Finding. The site hosts
pdfs of the Executive Summary and
See also the 2009 Alan Carlin report. ↑
- The Grantham Institute in London is one
of the more sober climate alarmist institutions. ↑
- CFACT's 2016
State of the Climate Report is from a skeptical perspective. ↑
- TheBestSchools.org is hosting an ongoing, in-depth, online debate between two leading figures
in the argument over climate change:
Prof. David Karoly represents the “alarmist” side.
Prof. Will Happer represents the “skeptical” side.
Here are the links:
- Golden Gate Weather Services has a nice graph of ENSO
(El Niño Southern Oscillation) history, showing the El Niño (warm) and La Niña (cool) years and intensities.
(Click the graph for a full-sized version.) The just-concluded 2015-2016 El Niño
the 1997-98 El Niño. For much, much more detail,
NOAA's weekly ENSO status report,
and the Australian Government Bureau
of Meteorology's ENSO Wrap-Up page and
NINO 3.4 SST Index
Australia's NCI (National Computational Infrastructure) Visualisation Team has produced a highly
detailed, beautiful animation of the 1997-98 El Niño, and
WUWT has a discussion
does not affect long-term sea-level trends, and does not affect properly-calculated globally
averaged sea-level. But because it affects Pacific trade winds,
it is inversely correlated with
sea-level at some Pacific tide gauges, like Kwajalein, in the Marshall Islands (western Pacific), as discussed
and positively correlated with sea-level in the
As a result,
a strong El Niño, temporary sea-level decline at the Great Barrier Reef causes coral bleaching
(h/t Jim Steele). ↑
important but poorly understood climate cycle
is the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation
which cycles over approximately 60-70 years.
It affects temperatures and sea-levels, mainly in the
North Atlantic, and accounts for a small part of the warming seen in the northern hemisphere since
the 1970s. Dr. Judith Curry has written a very informative
article about it.
Its correlation with sea-level is
seen most strikingly
at Murmansk, on the
- The Pacific Decadal Oscillation
is Pacific Ocean climate cycle of approximately 25-50 years duration. There's some
discussion on WUWT. ↑
Greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide & methane:
- NASA's GISS works with NCDC to archive and analyze the
U.S. Surface Temperature data. Since
1999, wholesale "adjustments" to the old data have added about 0.7 °C
(1.26 °F) of warming to the 20th century's reported temperature trend!
GISS has only the latest version on their web site, but I've compiled a collection of
historical GISS "Fig.D" data files, back to mid-1999. ↑
- Anthony Watts' SurfaceStations.org project has definitively
demonstrated severe problems with the U.S. surface temperature record, problems which mostly inflate the
warming reported. Watts and a small army of volunteers have methodically surveyed and photographed over
1000 USHCN surface temperature measurement stations.
A large majority of the stations have major siting problems or other issues. When only high-quality
stations are analyzed, 37%
of NOAA's claimed U.S. warming trend for the last 30 years disappears. (Discussion
- SurfaceTemperatures.org is the web
site of the International Surface Temperature Initiative, which aims to bring transparency
to global surface temperature data. (There's a related article
- “Averaged” temperature trends are heavily affected by just what is being averaged.
For example, when
NASA GISS substitutes
faster-rising polar land surface temperatures for slower-changing sea-surface temperatures in those regions, it
exaggerates the “average” temperature trend. ↑
1975, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences published a Report
which, among other things, on p. 148 (or p. 172 as Adobe Reader numbers the pages)
graphed the sharp decline in Northern Hemisphere temperatures since the 1940s. That cooling trend
fueled the 1970s global cooling scare,
but most of the decline has been erased by subsequent adjustments to the historical data, which is suspiciously
convenient for the global warming alarmist narrative. ↑
- In Jan.-Feb. 2015 Journalist Christopher Booker and Dr. Kevin Cowtan had an argument
about NOAA's adjustments to the global land surface temperature record, and sealevel.info webmaster Dave got involved. ↑
- “Climate Sensitivity” is a measure of the (in)stability of the Earth's temperatures,
most commonly defined as the globally averaged temperature increase to be expected from a doubling of atmospheric
carbon dioxide (e.g., an increase from 285 ppmv to 570 ppmv, or from
400 ppmv to 800 ppmv). (See also TCR and
If essentially all of the 20th century's estimated warming is attributed to CO2 and
methane, it would imply a TCR (medium-term)
climate sensitivity of 1.84 ±0.11 °C (Barrett)
or 1.34 (0.91–2.44) °C (Lewis & Curry 2016).
To the extent that the 20th century's warming was natural, or due to other unaccounted for
or underaccounted for anthropogenic forcings, or if the 20th century's warming has been
overestimated, it means that TCR sensitivity is necessarily
ECS is defined as either "Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity" (EqCS) or
"Effective Climate Sensitivity" (EfCS), two similar measures of very long-term (multiple century)
climate sensitivity. Because some
climate processes are very slow, ECS is thought to be significantly higher than TCR. I've seen the
variously estimated between 1.3:1 and 1.65:1, with 1.5:1 a typical estimate.
AR5 estimates ECS sensitivity to be 1.5 °C to 4.5 °C (midrange 3.0 °C),
assuming that 100% of the 20th century's warming was due to anthropogenic GHGs.
Climate sensitivity estimates in the scientific literature vary wildly, but have generally been
Climatologist Patrick J. Michaels' Feb. 28, 2017
included an excellent, in-depth discussion of climate sensitivity. ↑
- A 2014 paper by LLNL's Ben Santer, et al
sought to subtract out the effects of ENSO and the Pinatubo (1991) & El Chichón (1982) volcanic aerosols, from measured
(satellite) temperature data, to find the underlying temperature trends. This graph is "Fig. 1c" from that paper; the
black line is averaged CMIP5 models, the blue & red are measured temperatures:
Two things stand out:
1. The models run hot. The CMIP5 computer models (the black line) show a lot more warming than the satellites.
The models show about 0.65C warming over the 35-year period, but the satellites measured only about half that. And,
2. The “pause” in global warming began around 1993. The measured warming is all in the first 14 years (1979-1993).
Their graph (with corrections to compensate for both ENSO and volcanic forcings) shows no noticeable warming since then.
Note, too, that although
the Santer graph still shows an average of almost 0.1°C per decade of warming, that's partially
because it starts in 1979. The late 1970s were the frigid end of an extended cooling period in the northern hemisphere,
and 1979 was a particularly chilly year, as you can see in this graph of U.S. temperatures, from a 1999 Hansen/NASA
The fact that when volcanic aerosols & ENSO are accounted for the models run hot by about a factor of two is evidence
that the IPCC's estimates of climate sensitivity are high by about a factor of two, and it suggests that a
substantial part, perhaps half, of the global warming since the mid-1800s was natural, rather than
This is a
classic 1965 educational film from Encyclopedia Britannica Films and
the American Geological Institute, courtesy of the LSU Center for GeoInformatics:
- NOAA has measurement data and graphs
carbon dioxide & methane trends at Mauna Loa, Hawaii, where CO2 has been precisely and continuously measured
by modern spectroscopy
since March, 1958, and CH4 since 1984. Outdoor CO2 levels there average about 400 ppmv, and are increasing by about
2 ppmv/year. (Indoor CO2 levels are typically much higher.)
Prior to 1958, CO2 measurements (by chemical
methods) are generally thought to have been less reliable (and were certainly
than modern spectrographic measurements, but modern measurements of CO2
levels in “old air” samples trapped in tiny bubbles in Antarctic
give fairly consistent results
(though reliably dating those measurements is more challenging).
- Contrary to
a widespread Internet hoax, volcanoes contribute a negligible amount of CO2 to the atmosphere,
compared to human emissions, on human time scales. (On geological time scales it's a different matter.)
In a graph of CO2 levels, you can't even see the increase in measured CO2 levels far
away from a volcano, not even from the enormous 1991 Mt. Pinatubo eruption, and certainly not from Mt. Etna.
In fact, the opposite is true. A temporary reduction in the growth rate of atmospheric CO2
was noticeable over the 2 to 3 years following the
Mt. Pinatubo eruption, perhaps because particulates ejected by the eruption cooled the planet, which
temporarily increased CO2 absorption by the oceans (because gases like CO2
dissolve more readily in cool water than in warmer water), and/or perhaps because iron and other minerals
in the volcanic ash fertilized the ocean and thereby increased CO2 uptake by ocean biota
Most scientists estimate that mankind's CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels and making
are more than 100 times as large as CO2 emissions from all volcanoes (though estimates of
CO2 emissions from submarine volcanoes are very rough guesses, and some geologists
— notably Ian Plimer — think they are badly underestimated).
The good news is that's not a problem. Just the opposite, in fact. Read on... ↑
- CO2 levels elevated to more than eight times the current
average ambient outdoor level of 400 ppmv (0.04%) are harmless to humans
and animals. NASA kept the atmosphere in the
Space Shuttle at about 5000 ppmv (0.5%) CO2.
The air in the International Space Station
is kept at about 4 mm Hg = 5400 ppmv (0.54%) CO2,
though one study recommends
that they lower that to 2.5 mm Hg = 3300 ppmv. CO2 levels in
are often even higher. ↑
- But it has long been known that elevated CO2 levels are
highly beneficial to plants.
That's why most commercial greenhouses use CO2 generators
to keep CO2 at 3x to 4x ambient levels, at significant expense.
That's an increase 8 to 12 times as great as the ~100 ppmv
increase which ⅔ century of heavy fossil fuel use has caused in outdoor levels.
Greenhouse operators spend the money to keep CO2 levels that high because doing so
the growth of most plants.
In 1920 it was reported
by Scientific American
(and re-reported elsewhere)
that experiments with carbon dioxide enrichment showed that CO2 from blast
furnace exhaust gas could be used to increase various crop yields by from 100% to 300%.
Scientific American called CO2 “the precious air fertilizer.”
Crops tested included tomatoes, spinach, castor oil plants, potatoes, lupines, and
Conversely, low CO2 concentrations are very
detrimental to plants, and levels which stay below about 150 ppmv threaten the viability of C3
That's one of the reasons that 20th century global
warming has been accompanied by dramatic improvements in agricultural productivity.
Extra CO2 also makes plants more drought resistant and water-efficient, by improving
stomatal conductance relative to transpiration, which is
especially helpful in arid regions.
(Google finds many articles about it.)
When air passes through plant stomata (pores), two things happen: the plant absorbs CO2,
and the plant loses water through transpiration. When CO2 levels are higher, the ratio
of CO2 absorbed to water lost improves, which improves both plant growth and drought
resistance. The plants also commonly respond to elevated CO2 by reducing the density
of the stomata in their leaves, which reduces water loss.
As a result, some of the world's
and near-deserts are greening.
indicates that elevated CO2 even helps salt marshes resist encroachment by rising sea-level, because
the extra CO2 helps the vegetation grow faster.
Hundreds of other studies confirm that elevated CO2 levels are highly
to almost all plants, and experimental evidence suggests that many of those studies
underestimate the benefit.
Prof. Freeman Dyson, America's most illustrious living physicist (who took over Albert Einstein's old job at Princeton),
says, "It's certainly true that carbon dioxide is good for vegetation. About 15 percent of
agricultural yields are due to CO2 we put in the atmosphere. From that point of view, it's a real plus
to burn coal and oil." ↑
atmospheric physicist Prof. William Happer is a friend and colleague of Prof. Freeman Dyson. He is
one of the world's leading experts on the absorption & emission spectra, mechanisms, and warming effect of CO2.
In 2014 he gave a very informative lecture as part of the UNC Physics Colloquium series. Unfortunately, no
video recording was made, but I made an audio recording, and he kindly sent me his slides, which I combined
with the audio recording to make a video.
In 2016 he had a delightful and very informative
with TheBestSchools.org, which is well worth reading; a couple of months later he wrote a
follow-up article. ↑
- Additional CO2 has a diminishing warming effect on
temperatures, due to saturation of CO2's main IR absorption bands.
MODTRAN calculates that about
20 ppmv (and the NCAR Radiation Code calculates 40 ppmv) of CO2 would generate fully half
the warming produced by current levels (about 400 ppmv).
It is usually calculated that doubling atmospheric CO2 (e.g., an increase from
400 ppmv to 800 ppmv) would be a climate “forcing” equivalent to about a 3.7 W/m²
increase in TSI, or perhaps a bit less, before
feedbacks, though Prof. Happer has found evidence that
CO2's forcing is commonly overestimated by about
- Barrett Bellamy Climate has a wealth of authoritative,
in-depth information about how CO2 and other GHGs affect climate. ↑
- Methane (CH4) is also a greenhouse gas, but
the warming effect of anthropogenic methane is slight.
There's only about 1.8 ppmv of methane in the atmosphere. A “big” increase in methane levels
might be on the order of +0.1 or +0.2 ppmv (i.e, from 1.8 to 1.9 or 2.0 ppmv). The warming potential of
methane is estimated to be about 45 times that of CO2, so increasing CH4 by 0.1 ppmv
would warm the planet about as much as a 4.5 ppmv (= ~1.1%) increase in CO2 — i.e.,
What's more, the effect of a spike in methane levels would be very transient, because even if you don't
burn it, methane in the atmosphere oxidizes with a half-life of only about 6–8 years, into
harmless CO2 and water:
CH4 + 2·O2 → CO2 + 2·H2O ↑
- Contrary to the yellow journalism which dominates climate reporting, even very
large methane emissions have very little effect.
For example, in late 2015 an unusually large natural gas leak in Aliso Canyon, California made headlines.
An estimated 107,000 tons of methane (CH4) were released over a period of 112 days.
thousands of articles calling it a “disaster” or “catastrophe.”
The Washington Post coverage was typical. They described it with apocalyptic terms like
“massive,” “worst,” “historic,” “disaster,” and
“huge” – and that was all in
Their headline screamed: “California gas leak was the worst man-made greenhouse-gas
disaster in U.S. history.”
They lied. “107,000 tons of methane” sounds like a lot, but it isn't. The WaPo
used the wrong units, to make something tiny sound huge. It's a common climate propaganda technique.
The amount of CH4 in the atmosphere is not normally expressed in “tons.” It is
expressed in gigatonnes. One gigatonne is a billion metric tonnes, so 107,000 tons is only 0.000097
metric Gt (about one ten-thousandth of a gigatonne).
The 0.000097 Gt of CH4 released by that massive, huge, worst, historic disaster amounted to less than
0.002% of the estimated 5.284 Gt of methane already in the Earth's atmosphere. It presumably caused an
undetectably tiny 0.000033 ppmv spike in the Earth's atmospheric methane levels, with the temporary
warming equivalent of about 0.0015 ppmv CO2 (about 6 hours' worth, at the current rate of
CO2 increase), diminishing to half that in 6–8 years.
The WaPo was predictably uninterested in
a Letter to the Editor correcting the
- 31,487 American scientists (including sealevel.info webmaster Dave Burton, and
including engineers in relevant specialties) have signed the
Global Warming Petition, signifying our
agreement with this statement:
“There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or
other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the
Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific
evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural
plant and animal environments of the Earth.” ↑
- The EC Joint Research Centre's Emission Database for Global Atmospheric Research (EDGAR) has estimated
anthropogenic carbon dioxide and
overall GHG emissions by country. ↑
- CDIAC (Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center) cdiac.esd.ornl.gov
is part of the U.S. Department of Energy. ↑
Beach: A River of Sand.
It explains how sand beaches are affected by manmade structures and the forces of nature.
(Note: It is 20 minutes long at normal speed, but I preferred watching it sped up to 1.5x normal.) ↑
Also from LSU is this informative 2011 lecture by the late
Roy K. Dokka:
D1S2 Roy Dokka: Subsidence.
Subsidence, rather than global sea-level rise, is the main
factor affecting many coasts, especially the U.S. Gulf Coast.
Note: this lecture is 36 minutes long, but Dr. Dokka spoke very slowly and clearly, so you can
save a lot of time by speeding it up to 1.5x
or even 2x speed. That works if you view it with an HTML5-capable browser, like Chrome,
Firefox, Opera, Safari, or Edge. It works in Internet Explorer 11, too, if using HTML5
to play the video, but not when using FlashPlayer. ↑
The Heartland Institute is one of the world's finest public policy think tanks, and they've compiled
an impressive collection of information about the December, 2015 COP-21 Paris climate conference, here:
James Hansen is an extreme climate catastrophist, representing the far Left wing of the
Climate Movement. While it is tempting to dismiss him as a kook, he does sometimes have
interesting things to say. He and his colleague, Makiko Sato, have a small web site entitled,
Updating the Climate Science. ↑
Estimates of "climate sensitivity" have been
IPCC is slow to notice it. ↑
“Feedbacks” are central to the climate debate, especially w/r/t how they affect climate sensitivity.
The U.S. Department of Energy runs the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Climate Research Facility
British Oceanographic Data Centre: http://www.bodc.ac.uk/
OOPC is the "Ocean Observations Panel for Climate;" their web site is
The WMO in Geneva hosts the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS),
and links to other climate-related data.
IOOS: http://www.ocean.us/ocean_us_mission (archive of defunct site).
MODTRAN, NCAR and other models are on-line at Univ. Chicago:
(see also the AER Radiative Transfer Working Group web site)
Principles of Forecasting are
highly applicable to climatology (but widely ignored). ↑
Meteorologist Tom Wysmuller has
an interesting website, speech and slide presentation entitled, "The Colder Side of Global Warming," which you can view here:
The Colder Side of Global Warming (or starting at 46:20 in this longer video). ↑
Meteorologist Joe Bastardi has written many insightful essays
about weather and climate.
Annular modes are meteorolgical
phenomena which might also have significant long term climate effects. Google finds
much more information. ↑
ScienceUnderAssault.info is a site about the corruption
of science; see also the "science (is a mess)" section
of this web site.
scientists have speculated that anthropogenic warming could cause an increase in the frequency
and/or intensity of “extreme weather” events, like hurricanes and tornadoes. However, that
has not happened, thus far. Here are some graphs:
Climatologist James Hansen claimed
on p.250 of his 2009 book
that during global warming melting ice sheets will keep the oceans cool at extreme latitudes, while the tropics warm due to GHGs,
with the result that the “increasing temperature gradient is going to drive stronger storms.”
However, these days “everybody knows” the opposite: that “Polar Amplification”
(first speculated by Arrhenius in the 19th century)
is expected to cause temperatures to rise faster at higher latitudes. Many scientists also believe that
non-linear negative feedbacks limit warming in the tropics.
Yet I have never heard Hansen, nor any other climate alarmist, speculate that the reduced temperature gradient
might reduce extreme weather. ↑
The Copenhagen Consensus is a project
of Danish environmentalist and “global prioritizer” Bjørn Lomborg and
a long list of distinguished associates.
“Follow the money!” The best scientific evidence indicates that anthropogenic climate
change is modest and benign, and no threat to anyone, but that hasn't stopped its promoters from basing a
large family of
on it. Government-mandated renewable energy, “green” products, “Climate Change Consulting,”
and inflated reinsurance
for hypothetical climate risks
are draining taxpayers' & consumers' pockets all over the world, to the eye-popping tune
of $1.5 trillion
per year. ↑
Leading companies in the reinsurance industry, like Munich Re and
Risk Management Solutions (RMS),
are major supporters of the most extreme climate alarmists.
It's easy to see why: dire forecasts
of climate-related catastrophes are money in the bank for these companies, because they're used to
justify huge rate increases, and the more those forecasts diverge from reality the more money
the re-insurers make. ↑
Willis Eschenbach applied the Rahmstorf
“semi-empirical modeling” approach to temperature data, and, voilà!
“Here you go,
it's the secret of
climate that we've searched for so long,” writes Willis.
“Only problem? …”
Willis makes a great point about a very common scientific pitfall.
Can you guess what the “problem” is?
No? Here's a clue:
The USGS has created a
"Sea-level rise modeling handbook,"
as a resource guide for coastal land managers. (I'm not impressed by it, though. -DB)
Over 3,500 Argo floats are constantly measuring the ocean
temperature and salinity. Some of the floats also have
The Global Marine Argo Atlas is free software that you can
download and run on your own computer, to examine Argo data. ↑
BOEM (Bureau of Ocean Energy Management) boem.gov
NOIA (National Ocean Industries Association) noia.org
Sea level data set to music. Yeah, that's right. By Tom Moriarty.
Clouds are the elephant in the climate living room. They're obviously extremely
important, but they're very poorly understood.
High, whispy cirrus clouds have a warming effect, because they are made of ice crystals, which makes
them much more nearly opaque to outgoing longwave infrared than to incoming visible and near-IR solar
radiation. Lower clouds, which are made of liquid water droplets, have a strong cooling effect in
daytime, but a warming effect at night. The
International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project
(ISCCP) studied cloud data from satellites between 1983 and 2009,
but how clouds are affected by warming or cooling climate is
very complex; for instance, see this next
Sun seems to be entering a "quiet" phase, similar to the Maunder
and Dalton Minimums during the Little Ice Age, contrary to
(and most other)
NOAA maintains a handy
graph of sunspot numbers,
updated monthly. Also, Belgian astronomer Jan Janssens has a wealth of information about the current
solar cycle and related topics, on his site.
(For more on sunspot cycles see also
Historically, an active Sun and short solar cycles have been correlated with warming, particularly
with the Earth's emergence from the Little Ice Age
into the current Modern Climate Optimum. A quiet Sun and
long solar cycles have been correlated
with harsh, cold climate during the the Little Ice Age. Perhaps
anthropogenic GHGs will prevent LIA-like conditions from occurring this time. Perhaps.
The good folks at CO2 Science have more information on the MWP & LIA, here:
Just how the solar sunspot cycle could affect the Earth's climate so much is not understood with
certainty. Total Solar Irradiance (TSI) is not believed to
change much with variations in sunspot activity, so if those tiny TSI changes were triggering
large climate shifts, it would suggest that the Earth's climate balance is quite unstable,
and climate sensitivity must be implausibly high.
However, the work of
& others suggests another possibility.
Solar variation might be a much larger effective forcing than thought, not because of changes
in TSI, but because of a much more obscure chain of effects:
changes in the Sun's magnetic field,
which are strongly correlated with sunspot cycle minima & maxima, affect cosmic rays reaching
the Earth, and that affects cloud formation, which affects climate.
Svensmark and Nigel Calder have written a
book about it,
The Chilling Stars: A Cosmic View of Climate Change. There's a video documentary about it,
The Cloud Mystery - Svensmark, Shaviv & Veizer
Their theory is consistent with a low climate sensitivity to things like CO2 and TSI,
yet a large effect from sunspot cycle changes. If they're right, or if there's some
other causal mechanism,
like the Stephen Wilde hypothesis,
then it is possible that the cooling effect of another Maunder Minimum could even exceed the warming
effect of anthropogenic GHGs, perhaps even leading to another LIA,
even with CO2 levels above 400 ppmv.
In 2016 Svensmark published a new paper
(discussed here &
reporting evidence that the Sun does, indeed, influence cloud cover on the earth.
(See also  &
The "97% consensus" myth: Do 97% of experts really agree with the IPCC
that human CO2 emissions are causing dangerous global warming? (Not even
The anonymous Climategate
whisleblower released a “readme”
manifesto, explaining why it is important that such scientfic malpractice be
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