As climate change accelerates sea level rise, feds censor climate info
Calculations in a new study show that sea level is rising three times as fast as it was before 1990. The scientists concluded in their reassessment that the rise before had been overestimated and the rise since 1990 has been dramatically underestimated.
Chris Mooney at The Washington Post reports:
Their paper, just out in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, isn’t the first to find that the rate of rising seas is itself increasing — but it finds a bigger rate of increase than in past studies. The new paper concludes that before 1990, oceans were rising at about 1.1 millimeters per year, or just 0.43 inches per decade. From 1993 through 2012, though, it finds that they rose at 3.1 millimeters per year, or 1.22 inches per decade.
The cause, said Dangendorf, is that sea level rise throughout much of the 20th century was driven by the melting of land-based glaciers and the expansion of seawater as it warms, but sea level rise in the 21st century has now, on top of that, added in major contributions from the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica.
Whether this means we’re headed for an acceleration of this acceleration in sea-level rise is unknown, of course. What we do know for certain is that trillions of dollars of the world’s infrastructure, many of its major cities, and up to a billion human beings living in low-level coastal zones will be directly and in many cases severely affected by the rise, and more trillions will have to be spent to adapt to the change.
This isn’t likely to be the last word on the subject. But the fine-tuning of measurements in the new study will no doubt spark critics to claim that the change from previous calculations proves scientists don’t know what they’re talking about. Although most of these “skeptics” have given up claiming global warming is a flat-out hoax, they haven’t stopped challenging fundamental assumptions held to by an overwhelming percentage of climate scientists. The sea-level study was conducted by scientists at the Research Institute for Water and Environment at the University of Siegen in Germany.
John Timmer points out at ArsTechica that one of the reasons for the previously lower calculations is the lack of solid long-range data from four decades of the satellite era and a bit more than a century’s worth of tide gauge readings. The scientists in the Siegen study reassessed both these data sources to come to their conclusions.
Meanwhile, as Sabrina Shankman at InsideClimate News and Adam Siegel at Daily Kos have noted, the Trump regime is engaged in weakening climate language in public declarations, and in their outright censorship. Not exactly a surprise from the climate science-denying website scrubbers in charge of various agencies these days, but nonetheless highly disturbing.
In his Monday post, Siegel wrote that the US Geological Service had issued a press release May 19, “Next Decades, Frequency of Coastal Flooding Will Double Globally.” In the draft copy of the release, these words appeared: Global climate change drives sea-level rise, increasing the frequency of coastal flooding. But they were nowhere to be found in the final release. Here’s Dino Grandoni:
“It’s a crime against the American people,” Neil Frazer, a geophysics professor at University of Hawaii at Manoa and one of the study’s co-authors, said of the line’s removal and of other efforts to limit scientific communication from federal agencies. “Because scientists have known for at least 50 years that anthropogenic climate change is a reality.”
He added: “The suppression of this information is a scandal.”
And Shankman writes:
The day before the Arctic Council met for its biannual ministerial last week, the United States requested six changes to the intergovernmental declaration that was to be issued—each of which weakened the language on climate change.
The Arctic Council, an intergovernmental body representing all eight Arctic states, does not make policy, but the diplomatic work accomplished there is intended to trickle back to the countries and result in changes. An important part of that is the declaration issued at the end of each two-year chairmanship, which is signed by top officials from each country, to acknowledge the scientific and diplomatic work that was accomplished and to state the council’s goals going forward.
These folks seem to believe that if they purge climate change data from government statements and documents, climate change itself will vanish. Or, they believe climate change is happening, will cause huge disruptions and possible catastrophe, but they aren’t willing to do anything about it because it will hurt the bottom lines of their fossil fool-fueled patrons.