2011-07-22 11:20:08The Australian provides a new denier talking point
Tom Curtis


with its report on Phil Watson's article, "

Is There Evidence Yet of Acceleration in Mean Sea Level Rise around Mainland Australia?"


The answer, if you couldn't guess, is no.  In fact, there has been a "Consistent trend of deceleration from 1940 to 2000".  Buried deep in the arcticle you learn that there has been a high rate of sea level rise in the 1990's, which would actually mean that the recent record is of an accelerating sea level rise, but apparently we are not to think about that. 





In reading the Australian's article, I was waiting for a comment from John Church, or Neil White, Australia's obvious go to people for any questions about sea level.  They would no doubt have pointed to their 2011 paper, whose abstract reads:


We estimate the rise in global average sea level from satellite altimeter data for 1993–2009 and from coastal and island sea-level measurements from 1880 to 2009. For 1993–2009 and after correcting for glacial isostatic adjustment, the estimated rate of rise is 3.2 ± 0.4 mm year−1 from the satellite data and 2.8 ± 0.8 mm year−1from the in situ data. The global average sea-level rise from 1880 to 2009 is about 210 mm. The linear trend from 1900 to 2009 is 1.7 ± 0.2 mm year−1 and since 1961 is 1.9 ± 0.4 mm year−1. There is considerable variability in the rate of rise during the twentieth century but there has been a statistically significant acceleration since 1880 and 1900 of 0.009 ± 0.003 mm year−2 and 0.009 ± 0.004 mm year−2, respectively. Since the start of the altimeter record in 1993, global average sea level rose at a rate near the upper end of the sea level projections of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Third and Fourth Assessment Reports. However, the reconstruction indicates there was little net change in sea level from 1990 to 1993, most likely as a result of the volcanic eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991.



Probably they would also have pointed to the satellite date.


Instead, the Australian went to (or was probably provided the original story by) Howard Brady, described as "Climate change researcher Howard Brady, at Macquarie University".  The problem is that Howard Brady is not listed as a current faculty member at Macquarie University at all, and his previous association appears to have been with the Biology Department.  A blurb for a talk he gave on climate change said that:


Howard is a micropaleontologist using microfossils to track past environments and geological history. His specific research concentrated on Antarctic history and climate over the last 14 millions years using sediment cores taken from the dry valleys of Victoria Land and from the Ross Sea over 5 Antarctic expeditions.

However, since undertaking that research, Brady has been CEO of Mosaic Oil, an oil exploration company.





2011-07-23 10:20:35
Tom Curtis


Just to follow up, Deltoid has an analysis of the Australian's coverage:



And Tamino critiques the statistical methods used in the peper, which turn out to not be very good, and materially affect the results:



For my own small contribution, it turns out the results are significantly effected by the inclusion of Newcastle data.  Without that data it is quite clear that for all series used, the period of most rapid sea level rise is that between 1985 and the present.  But during the period of more rapid rise at Newcastle between 1940 and 1960, the Newcastle coast may have been subsiding due to coal mining.