2010-12-01 23:49:03Did Jim Hansen ever predict SLR of 1.20m by today?


Hi Folks,

a denier (on a rather unimportant German online comment-thread) states that Jim Hansen had predicted a SLR of 1.20m by today but - of course - doesn't specify a source for that claim. Poking around SkS I did find a couple posts about Jim Hansen but they all seem to be about temperature-predictions and - if at all - only mention SLR in passing.

Is there any information about this argument somewhere? 

Thanks much and Cheers

2010-12-02 06:05:58
Paul D


My guess is the poster is probably taking a future high SLR projection and assuming the increase would be linear, thus exagerating short term SLR.  I would assume that the high long term SLR predictions are based on significant positive feedbacks that might happen once you get to some tipping points, the sort of thing Hansen predicts. If you 'back projected' these then you might get a high figure today??

It's a guess.

BTW there is some recent research (Natalya Gomez and Jerry Mitrovica) that suggests that the gravity of the the West Antarctic ice sheet would reduce as it melts, causing the sea levels locally to drop a bit and reducing the rate at which the sheet melts. This is because it is resting on ground and the warm water would fall away from the ice.

But the question I would put, is surely the ice would be stressed and crack, so that the mass would collapse into the water if it weren't being supported as much by the water??!


2010-12-02 20:26:39
Rob Painting

Baerbel, yeah that nonsense has circulated for a while. From memory - some reporter talking to Hansen (back in the late 80's?) claimed that Hansen said the West side highway in New York would be submerged in 20 years. My recollection was that the said highway, had not even been built at that time. The 1.2 meter thing could be a new embellishment.

I doubt very much that someone like James Hansen, would have said such a silly thing in the first place. But of course, it could be some new "skeptic" gossip, you're referring to. 



2010-12-02 21:02:53


The guy who posted that shot at Jim Hansen also managed to reply within 4 minutes of me posting a link to "The big picture". That reply roughly translates to "The post at Skeptical Science is everything but skeptical. One could basically write complete books about what all is wrong with it. The most important point is that most of climate isn't understood, which means that one cannot explain past warming - which is prone to big uncertainties in the measurements - with human-caused CO2. Scientists don't know the climate-sensivity of CO2 and aerosols. With that it's impossible to make projections".

I was tempted to reply back to ask if he was a "speed-reader" if he was able to read the post plus the many links included in just about 4 minutes but I didn't give in to that urge!

Another guy replied with a typically long "gish-gallop" post citing all kinds of "information" and "facts" which he recently received from a German meterologist, a guy who on closer look is affiliated with the EIKE-think tank we have here in Germany (which, btw, is holding a conference this weekend in Berlin with Fred Singer being one of the speakers - so much for source-reliability). As the thread is basically dead by now, I'm not going to reply as I do have much better things to do....

Cheers and thanks for the feedback


2010-12-08 10:21:50what Rob said
Dana Nuccitelli

I've read an article that's as Rob describes.  In the late '80s or early '90s somebody interviewed Hansen.  In part of the interview there's something about him looking out the window and saying that soon (20 years sounds about right) part of New York will be submerged.

The problem is that it's not a direct quote.  The article author is just paraphrasing what he recalls or what he wrote down during the interview.  It's quite possible, perhaps even likely that he misunderstood what Hansen said.  That's the only source I've ever seen about Hansen making this sort of sea level rise prediction.  It was never picked up by any mainstream media outlet, just published on some random website by some random interviewer.