Something for the weekend: boy child birth on the way, will get feet wet

by Gareth on May 9, 2014

Odds are shortening on the imminent arrival of an El Niño, as Peter Sinclair explores in his latest video for the Yale Climate & Media Forum (see also Climate Progress), and we can expect a wild ride. Meanwhile the ice continues to melt and the oceans rise: in Wellington and Christchurch they’re planning for 1 metre by the end of the century. As Jim Salinger noted this week, we need a big picture fix for the problem — adaptation is essential, with mitigation to prevent the worst happening. And while China plans a high speed train network to span Eurasia and North America, oil investors are looking nervously at the $1.1 trillion oil companies are gambling on a high carbon future. Yes folks, it’s time for another open thread, and there is no shortage of hot topics to discuss…

{ 233 comments… read them below or add one }

andyS May 9, 2014 at 12:56 pm

The decision of Christchurch CC to adopt the one metre standard for SLR was apparently based on “an informal show of hands”
I wonder if any of them paused to think how much this might actually cost the city in terms of increased building compliance costs in the short term?

This is the same council that recently announced it is half a billion dollars worse off than they thought on the rebuild costs. They will either have to put up rates from its dwindling rating base, sell off some assets (which include the airport and Port of Lyttelton) or borrow it.

noelfuller May 9, 2014 at 2:38 pm

They are the better for facing the future rather than deceiving themselves with short term financial calculations.

andyS May 9, 2014 at 2:51 pm

So putting up property prices out of the reach of most people is not a problem for you?

How does this reconcile with “affordable housing”?
Should we just tell everyone in ChCh that they need to leave?

Why are they even bothering with rebuilding the city of they think the seas will inundate it in 100 years?

Gareth May 10, 2014 at 9:51 am

“They” certainly need to do more to factor sea level rise into their long term planning.

andyS May 10, 2014 at 11:04 am

It s going to cost Wellington a lot of money too, since Lambton Quay is close to sea level. They also have the additional earthquake requirements too. The land is reclaimed there and prone to liquefaction.

Gareth May 10, 2014 at 2:22 pm

If you follow the link under Wellington in the post, you’ll find an animation of what storm surge could do to Lambton Quay later this century. Not pretty.

Rob Painting May 10, 2014 at 7:06 pm

There seems little sense in building at low elevations that will overtopped by the sea. Christchurch flooding will only grow worse over time due to the increased moisture holding capacity of a warmer atmosphere (heavier downpours), and the gradual increase in sea level.

Why do people do stupid things? Because they’re stupid.

noelfuller May 9, 2014 at 3:06 pm

On financial calculations, my Electricity supplier chose to disbelieve my last meter readings. When I received their inflated estimate of my imports I saw why. The new invoice had a graph by month of my supposed history on it. This was also supposed to display my exports. What it actually appeared to do was combine my exports and imports, and report them all as imports. Thus my Januaruy usage was shown as just under 800 kWh, Actual imports for the period were 86 and exports 732 = 818 so still some discrepancy. The people making out the bills did not have the nous to understand that this was a fiction, a big big computing error, and ignored my protests completely until I went over their heads. I hope they got a big rocket but will their system be cured by next bill or will it still resemble the education pay computer system? :(

I presume they’ll get it right in the end but sometimes I wonder.

nigelj May 9, 2014 at 3:10 pm

The one metre decision may be the first sensible thing the council have done in a very long time. The Council have a history of bad environmental decisions in cantebury going way back, for example building on poor ground, due to worries about short term “costs” of choosing better locations. This seems to have backfired on them.

I’m sure the costs of the one metre rule won’t break the bank. This rule limits the location of a few buildings, raises foundation height of others a little, none of this is a massive expense. As circumstances progress the rules can be modified if required.

Relax and don’t panic AndyS. Watch a big el nino coming and releasing all that heat energy that has gone into the oceans. The bit the sceptics pretend isn’t happening.

andyS May 9, 2014 at 3:20 pm

A neighbour in ChCh has rebuilt her house and the new building codes mean she has to pay an extra $80K on top of the house rebuild costs. These extra costs are due to the new flood management regulations.
There has been no flooding in this area in the 15 years I was there, which is 200m from the sea.

So maybe an extra 50-100cm of house height may mean an extra $50-100K? Who knows, it won’t break the bank
We can all afford a little $100k here and there.

Meanwhile, the areas that are actually being flooded due to the subsidence of the land during the quake are being ignored. The council won’t fix the rivers and won’t bail out the houseowners. They won’t even reduce the rates despite the fact that many of these homes are completely unliveable

Now where does this “one metre” figure come from? Do any of the councillors who had a “casual show of hands” know this?

It comes primarily from an RSNZ paper, in which they bluntly state “some of the assumptions in this paper may not be correct”

nigelj May 10, 2014 at 10:59 am

AndyS, I don’t accept what you say. I used to be involved with the building industry, and it doesn’t cost $50,000 – 80,000 to build a house 50 – 100 cm higher. It would be more like $10,000 at most for the average size house, using either extra hardfill, or an old style piled foundation. Your friends costs must have more to them.

andyS May 10, 2014 at 11:02 am

I can give you the phone number of the person who had their house rebuilt

This is what it cost. The extra cost was the additional flooring requirements.

nigelj May 10, 2014 at 3:51 pm

AndyS I’m not interested in your “friends” experience or anecdotal cases. Please provide verifiable proof of your claims from some website on building costs.

andyS May 10, 2014 at 3:55 pm

If you are not interested in me telling you about my real life experience and that of a neighbour, then I certainly have no interest in digging out he necessary proof of my assertions. We spent three years getting money out of the insurance company and I have better things to do with my time than run around pandering to your needs.

andyS May 10, 2014 at 5:10 pm

Having said that, you can go to the council website, get the TC2 and TC3 building regs. Also the flood management requirements

It’s not a single factor that has caused these increased costs. These are compounding factors that make the properties more expensive to build on these sites than on a green field site elsewhere

Sorry if got a bit sniffy in the previous post

nigelj May 11, 2014 at 10:55 am

AndyS
You do have my sympathies dealing with these insurance companies, or if you are a victim of all these problems in Christchurch.

So we have a situation in Christchurch of low lying land that floods from rain and it’s expensive to build on this land. The rules set minimum standards. This appears to be a separate issue from coastal sea level rise.

Not much you can do about this surely? You haven’t really given a compelling reason why the rules are wrong or floor levels are set too high. I watched some of these areas on television and the flooding seemed quite frequent ,and significant.

Bob Bingham May 9, 2014 at 5:01 pm

The problem with Christchurch is that Brownlee is a denier and missed a golden opportunity to move much of the city to higher ground. Mind you it would have been a very brave politician who would have suggested it. Imagine telling all those people in Flockton that they had to move before they had a flood. Still I would have guided the bigger projects up the hill.
If you believe we are going to get two meters by the end of the century dont invest in Auckland airport as the runway will be underwater.

andyS May 9, 2014 at 5:10 pm

The problem with Flockton is that it dropped 50cm during the quake, and the drainage rivers are clogged up due to liquifaction

We could have done a risk analysis on ChCh earthquakes and decided that it was uneconomic to live there, 10 years ago

It would have saved the insurance companies and council a lot of money

Rob Painting May 9, 2014 at 5:48 pm

Whilst 2 metres of sea level rise this century is a possibility, 1.2 metres is a more realistic figure based on ice sheet behaviour for the last several hundred thousand years. It’s still going to be a massive problem for Christchurch.

sonnywhitelaw May 9, 2014 at 7:17 pm

In the video, you’ll note that as sea level rises on the west coast of the Americas, it drops over on our side of the Pacific, so our feet will remain somewhat drier, relatively speaking, during El Nino events.

As to Christchurch, the dunes are prograding slightly, which, given the rate of eustatic sea level rise in the area (the SOI notwithstanding, as it’s just a localised short term impact), is a strong indicator of an increase in sediment supply that exceeds the rate of rising sea levels. This is most likely sediment from the Waimakariri River (due to increased discharge) and/or sediment from badly eroding South Canterbury shores travelling north around Banks Peninsular. The mechanisms are complex and the University of Canterbury Geography Dept. and Ecan have more details of the progradation (and possibly the source of sediment?) , but it’s an insight into the complexities of coastal morphodynamics and how these are changing in unexpected ways.

This increase in dune progradation does not for one millisecond minimise the risk of flooding in some Christchurch suburbs, due largely to land dropping up to 1m during the earthquakes, effectively creating a higher relative water table. ECan has also found a direct relationship between irrigation and the height of the water table, compounding the risk of flooding. Combined with unusually high rainfalls we all now know what that looks like on the ground. In sum, during an El Nino event, Christchurch may get a breather from 100 year floods happening every few weeks, and areas north of the Waimakarari and Ashley Rivers, where the barrier dunes are set up for catastrophic failure, may be safe for another year.

That does not stop the inevitable (nor the major coastal erosion happening north of the Ashley River). Unfortunately for those of us interested in getting the message out about risk mitigation, if we get an El Nino, some idiot is bound to publish an article claiming sea-levels (around NZ) are no longer rising and in fact are falling, without explaining it’s a temporary localised event due to El Nino (and the payback, when it comes from La Nina, is going to be a b**ch).

Of course if we do get an El Nino, everyone here on the east coast may soon be begging for rain because we’re likely to be in the grip of a nasty drought and even nastier nor’westerlies than we had last September. The 1997/8 El Nino cost the NZ economy an estimated $1 billion. I don’t know about you, Gareth, but I’m thinking of buying another water tank and sharpening the chain saw.

Gareth May 10, 2014 at 7:43 pm

I bought a super-sharp chain for the saw after the September winds…

Thomas May 9, 2014 at 8:36 pm

There is a good summary in the latest New Scientist magazine on the El Nino we may see later this year.
Of cause the Climate Escalator is likely going to get onto its next step. Much to the horror of the denileratie… I guess we will then hear the howling of their chorus on how the next big step up was all natural: “El Nino, for chr… sakes….”

Simon Arnold May 9, 2014 at 8:55 pm

The legal requirement in NZ is that local authorities take “into account national guidance and the best available information on the likely effects of climate change on the region or district.” NZCPS 2010.

The current best advice on sea level rise is the IPCC WGP1 AR5 report. Any LA that tries to over-egg beyond this in their plans under the RMA will find their plans over turned.

So the IPCC AR5 report should be used to generate scenarios for projections. The extreme range (5% RCP2.6 to 95% RCP8.5) from models for the rise by 2100 ranges from 0.275m to 0.98m respectively (likely confidence). The RCP6 mid-point in 2100 0.475m is a potential for a middle senario.

Thus the suggested 1m rise by 2100 being claimed here is beyond the extreme of the scenarios and not a “likely” effect of climate change. In fact it it is “unlikely” and a rise of 0.275m is presumably more likely.

Further IPCC states:

“We have considered the evidence for higher projections and have concluded that there is currently insufficient evidence to evaluate the probability of specific levels above the assessed likely range. Based on current understanding, only the collapse of marine-based sectors of the Antarctic ice sheet, if initiated, could cause global mean sea level to rise substantially above the likely range during the 21st century. This potential additional contribution cannot be precisely quantified but there is medium confidence that it would not exceed several tenths of a meter of sea level rise during the 21st century.” IPCC WGP1 AR5 Chp 13

In fact the higher projections rely on models referred to as semi-empirical models, of which IPCC says:

“Despite the successful calibration and evaluation of semi-empirical models against the observed 20th century sea level record, there is no consensus in the scientific community about their reliability, and consequently low confidence in projections based on them.” IPCC WGP1 AR5 Chp 13.

A bit more realism is called for. We should also remember that the IPCC stuff is just scenarios based on climate models that are having difficulty modelling the current climate. We basically have limited information about what sea levels will be in 100 years time, in 50 years the IPCC is saying 0.175m to 0.3m is likely which is quite manageable and by then we’ll know much more clearly which track we are on.

We should use adaptive planning to cope with the uncertainty, rather than bet the farm on a real outside chance.

Anyway some on this thread are quite clear that next year it’ll all be over, so why not wait until then to be completely sure?

Thomas May 9, 2014 at 9:59 pm

Well, no matter what measure you plan for, 0.5m, 0.8m, 1.0m, its all just a temporary measure. Science is pretty certain that the climate system we are going towards over a bit longer horizon will see very significant SLR, unless we drastically and soon curb CO2 emissions and probably drive a strategy to reduce CO2 concentrations again below 350ppm. Strategies for sighting a whole city re-built such as CC should have given the opportunity to secure the place for a much longer time frame than the next century. If you wander through European cities with histories well into the medieval times, you know how valuable they are today.
It is quite possible though that indeed the next two years will deliver another big step up in the climate escalator and people who today ramble about a ‘pause in warming’ will be laughed out of the house. Perhaps then we will come to our senses and plan for the long howl.

Rob Painting May 9, 2014 at 10:08 pm

I guess that’s the crucial point here Thomas, sea level isn’t going to stop rising in 2100, it’s going to continue rising for several millennia most likely.

Rob Painting May 9, 2014 at 10:05 pm

Yes, the IPCC still tends to err toward the side of least drama in regard to sea level rise, which is why rates of observed sea level rise have been near the upper bound of projections. But I prefer to base my comments on reading the primary scientific literature, not necessarily some version decided upon by democratic, rather than meritocratic processes.

Semi-empirical methods give a range of 21st century sea level rise of 0.5-1.4 metres. And when the Earth has run this warming experiment itself, with ice sheets of similar configuration ,the seas rose at rates of around 1.2 metres per century.

The primary suspects for this much larger than present sea level rise are the marine-based sectors of East and West Antarctica, where vast volumes of ice are being held in place by the buttressing effect provided by the grounding of the ice on the sea floor. This is currently being eroded, and may uncork a rapid advance of ice once it goes.

The rapid rise of sea level during the latter stages of the last interglacial, indicates that these marine-based sectors of the Antarctic ice sheet did indeed collapse, and they portend higher rates for the centuries ahead.

Ultimately, however, Christchurch will be drowned beneath the sea and there is nothing feasible we can do to stop it. Based on the relationship between atmospheric carbon dioxide and global sea level over the last 40 million years we can expect sea level to rise around 24 metres above present day, although this will likely take place over many many centuries.

andyS May 9, 2014 at 10:18 pm

There is also quite a high probability that the alpine fault will cause a massive earthquake in our lifetime, and kill potentially thousands of people.

Yet, no one is doing anything to stop people building houses next to this fault line.

Rob Painting May 9, 2014 at 11:20 pm

I don’t know anything about the probability of an earthquake. What’s the source of your claim?

andyS May 10, 2014 at 8:35 am

From GNS

“The Alpine Fault has a high probability (estimated at 30%) of rupturing in the next 50 years. The rupture will produce one of the biggest earthquakes since European settlement of New Zealand, and it will have a major impact on the lives of many people”

http://www.gns.cri.nz/Home/Learning/Science-Topics/Earthquakes/Major-Faults-in-New-Zealand/Alpine-Fault

Four ruptures have occurred over the last 900 years, each of about magnitude 8 richter.

nigelj May 10, 2014 at 11:28 am

AndyS what’s your point? We can’t reduce the chance of earthquakes. We already build to very stringent earthquake codes, capable of dealing with magnitude 8.

We do all we can practically do. Everything from Hamilton south is in a moderate to high earthquake risk zone, and you can’t really put most of the country off limits to live in.

In comparison there are things we can do to both prevent and mitigate climate change.

andyS May 10, 2014 at 11:43 am

You could spend that money on better insulation, double glazing etc. instead we have a building code to meet a hypothetical threat.

How does raising houses one metre help anyway? If the roads are underwater, it’s not much use.

There are flooding issues and storm surge issues. The latter is not a problem at Brighton where a 200m bank of dunes protects the properties. The most vulnerable houses are close to rivers and the estuary, and many of these have been red zoned anyway.

Thomas May 10, 2014 at 9:32 pm

“How does raising houses one metre help anyway? If the roads are underwater, it’s not much use.”
Well said Andy. It puts this whole: Lets just adapt, and burn fossil fuels with abandon… doctrine of the denileraty to the test! What use indeed would be houses that stand marooned just above the king tide marks if the roads are impassable and the underground services drowned….
It highlights nicely that adaptation to the insidious march of the sea levels can only mean drastic relocation if you want a solution that is not converted into a farce in due course.

Rob Painting May 10, 2014 at 7:08 pm

That is indeed troubling.

John C May 9, 2014 at 10:44 pm

You all will be reassured to know that SLR is slowing and is now just 2.2mm/yr.

[Please provide evidence for this assertion, or further comments will not pass moderation. GR]

Thomas May 9, 2014 at 11:11 pm

Not so John C. Where do you get your nonsense from?? Fancy a citation perhaps?

Sea Level Rise has been at 3.2mm/year +/- 0.4mm/year since the early 90ties. The short term rate (from 2011 to 2014) would be much higher at about 5mm/year. But that would be sinking to the level of John C and would be cherry picking and nonsense. So lets stick to the long term trend of 3.2mm/year.
http://sealevel.colorado.edu/

andyS May 10, 2014 at 9:15 am

Your graph shows a linear rate of 3.2 mm per year, which equates to 32 cm over 100 years, not 100cm

Why, then, is 100cm likely?
There is no acceleration shown on that graph

Rob Painting May 10, 2014 at 9:56 am

Long-term sea level rise has already accelerated. Future acceleration of sea level rise is likely to come from collapse of parts of the massive polar ice sheets. See my comments above.

andyS May 10, 2014 at 10:06 am

Is there some data on this long term acceleration? What is defined as “long term”?

nigelj May 10, 2014 at 11:45 am

AndyS, there is an acceleration of sea level if you look longer term over the last 100 years. The rate was 1.8mm from about 1900 – 1970 and since then has gradually increased to 3.2mm. The science on positive global warming feedbacks both suggest furthur acceleration as does the shape of the curve for the last 100 years.

https://www.skepticalscience.com/decelerating-sea-level-rise.htm

andyS May 10, 2014 at 2:35 pm

The methodology in that SkS article looks a bit suspect to me. They seem to be splicing data from different measuring devices together.

Now where have we seen that before?

Rob Painting May 9, 2014 at 11:31 pm

It’s likely a cherry-pick doing the rounds on anti-science blogs.

There are decadal variations in water mass storage on land due to the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO). The negative phase (La Nina-dominant) dumps more rainfall over the continents. Since most of this water evaporated off the oceans, it temporarily lowers global sea level. Since 2000 the IPO has been strongly negative. Cherrypick this time interval and you can mislead gullible readers.

Unfortunately global sea level is rising due to thermal expansion and the addition of meltwater from land-based ice, and will do so a little faster during the positive phase of the IPO – when rainfall is concentrated over the oceans and the continents dry out.

bill May 10, 2014 at 1:20 am

Ooh, Mr. ‘I’m Not Denying the Science, Me’ has been dying to run this one.

We’ve seen this schtick before, John. How it works is you constantly – piously – claim you Accept the Science, but in reality you dispute every element of it that is presented to you, and then feign indignation when challenged.

This ‘SLR slowing, no really’ thing is dumb, even by denier standards. And that is what you are. What was your priceless squishy nugget when you first hoiked this up from your crop the other day – see, the oceans aren’t warming, so they’re not expanding anymore?

Your ‘proof’ should be highly entertaining, but, let’s be honest; it’s a safe bet you won’t actually present one, isn’t it? Surprise us!

Stuart May 10, 2014 at 1:29 am
Stuart May 10, 2014 at 1:49 am
Stuart May 10, 2014 at 2:00 am
andyS May 10, 2014 at 3:35 pm

I’m beginning to get the bigger picture that you like link spamming without any argument from yourself.

Stuart May 10, 2014 at 2:04 am
John ONeill May 10, 2014 at 2:12 am

Stuart May 8, 2014 at 10:47 pm
Hey you myopic deniers! Read this.

http://uknowispeaksense.wordpress.com/2014/05/08/why-wind-is-cheaper/

[Off-topic under this post, Stuart. Please repost in the open thread I'll post later today. GR]

I’m just myopic, not a denier, but – another report from the wind industry about how it’s not pushing up prices.
Cheaper wholesale, less carbon, better capacity factor than the rest of the grid. All good. However, retail prices have not gone down. Recently, the highest household electricity prices in the world, by country, were for Denmark, Germany, and South Australia, just coincidentally one, two and three in wind capacity percentage. Spain, Portugal and Italy , also with significant solar and wind, have also had steep price rises. Renewable boosters will blame the big grid operators – Germany too has had lower wholesale rates despite climbing home bills. In fact , the powercos have to provide more transmission, just as much expensive peak capacity, and pay for it all on less of total demand. Customers who don’t like it can always buy batteries to go with their PV, or, if they prefer reliability, a generator. Meanwhile, carbon emissions for all those countries may have gone down, but they are still at the high end of the range.

https://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/special-reports/sroc/Tables/t0305.pdf
As you see, the only countries with a ‘ 0.0…’ at the start of their figures for grams CO2/kWh have a lot of nuclear, a lot of hydro, or both. Denmark, the best-performing of the ‘ new renewables’ countries, still makes nearly five times as much carbon dioxide per watt-hour as France, and nine times as much as Sweden. They’re even considerably worse than Finland, which still subsidises peat burning, but has managed to complete some of its reactor projects.
As for wind’s capacity factor, that is not the same as a dam or gas plant that is only on when you need it. The more wind turbines on the grid, the more likely that they’ll be curtailing not fossil burners, but other low- carbon generators, especially other wind farms.

REPLY

John C May 10, 2014 at 7:38 am

Try this one Bill.

I am not denying ‘ the science’ at all, potentially I might be disagreeing with YOUR science. If you have evidence to the contrary over the last decade do post it. Now I know a decade (or 8 years) is a short time in climate science but I put this fwd to suggest the trend of SLR is slowing. Which is good news don’t forget.

A new paper by Cazenave et al 2014

Now, it’s become irrefutable that, for the last ten years, the rate of sea-level rise slowed by thirty percent. Seas were rising at 3.5mm a year up til 2003, then the rate fell to 2.2mm per year for the next eight years.

Rob Painting May 10, 2014 at 9:52 am

The Cazenave paper supports my comments above. As stated in the abstract:

We find that when correcting for interannual variability, the past decade’s slowdown of the global mean sea level disappears, leading to a similar rate of sea-level rise (of 3.3 ± 0.4 mm yr−1) during the first and second decade of the altimetry era

Yes, the IPO has been in an intensely negative phase since 2000, so more precipitation has been falling over the continents and thus temporarily concealing actual sea level rise due to thermal expansion and increased glacial meltwater.

John C May 10, 2014 at 9:22 pm

Exactly, once ‘corrected’ the slowdown disappears. It’s impossible to understand all the natural factors at play, why not just use actual data? After all adjusted sea levels can’t flood your house, only actual sea level rise can do that.

Let’s not argue with actual data, if natural variability changes and increases SLR to 5mm/yr then that’s what it is. You won’t see me running around claiming it must be adjusted down.

Ian Forrester May 11, 2014 at 2:53 am

Stop being so silly. The aim of the Cazenave paper is to isolate the long term trend of GMSLR caused by AGW from the short term variability. Surely building plans should be based on the long term and not “look see, sea level dropped this year let’s all build our mansions on the newly exposed beach”. You are a pathetic dishonest denier troll.

Thomas May 11, 2014 at 8:05 am

John C: Take one look at this: http://sealevel.colorado.edu/
Say no more. Where is your slowdown?

John C May 11, 2014 at 9:19 am

I can not comment on why the paper appears to have a different observation than other data. If you refute the Cazenave paper that’s fine, I am simply putting fwd that SLR appears to be slowing according to actual data. I could not find the full paper to read so am unsure of any adjustments that might have been made (please inform if you know). I am of the understanding that significant upwards adjustments are made to the CU data set. Again please inform if you think otherwise.

We know scientists made adjustments for good reasons, the problem in my view is they can undermine the credibility of the data (we must trust the scientists methodology) or it looks like tampering.

Thomas May 11, 2014 at 10:18 am

No John, I do not refute Cazenave at all, it is you who does not comprehend or deliberately misrepresents its findings!!!

As you can see, Cazenave confirms the same rate of SLR of (3.3 ± 0.4 mm yr−1) as we see in this graph that you see at http://sealevel.colorado.edu/

You may want to explore the various graphs (GMSL rates box on the left) of CU, CISRO, AVISO, NASA, NOOA..

The SLR trend is most steady indicator of the risking Earth heat content.

Simon Arnold May 11, 2014 at 10:44 am

Thomas see the comment I’ve just made on the rate of rise issue.

I think you should think this through yourself before accusing others of not understanding.

John C May 11, 2014 at 8:38 pm

Are you saying the sea is actually rising at 3.3mm/yr or that the sea should be rising at 3.3mm once natural variability is adjusted for? From what I could gather the SLR observed is 2.2mm/yr ( last 8 years). Remember observed SLR you can touch, adjusted SLR lives only in scientific papers until such time as it is observed. I’m not saying it won’t increase again, I am just saying it has slowed down.

bill May 12, 2014 at 10:52 am

Signal / noise. The noise in the system over short timeframes should not be confused for the longer-term signal, at least by the honest.

With you, of course, it’s all noise. No signal.

John C May 12, 2014 at 12:51 pm

You could have just called it noise from the start you could have saved all that effort trying in vein to rubbish my statement and calling me a denier.

The truth will be revealed when the IPO changes phase to increase the rate of SLR. If the rate does not increase then your claims of increasing SLR have issues. Maybe someone in the know can comment on what the next decade of SLR might look like. (This excludes you sorry Bill)

Thomas May 10, 2014 at 11:18 am

“Now, it’s become irrefutable to know that,…..” John C simply parrots like the proverbial parrot what he is fed by denier websites (Nova, Morano). And even there he stops at the headline. Nova actually filed here “report” of this under her “Semi-Satirical Press” section as not be held to account perhaps for her perversion of science.

Nevertheless Nova at least then recites the paper including its clear conclusion that SLR is still around 3.4mm/y. But I guess John C missed not only the “satirical” section header, which of cause is in small type, as well as the paper’s conclusion. John is so desperate to get a point that he carries on shooting own goals with abandon.
What a hoot!

nigelj May 10, 2014 at 12:27 pm

John C there is a slight slowdown of sea level rise over the last ten years, due to a precipitation event about 2011. This is a short term trend, so isn’t very meaningful. Your own quoted science paper says this is just short term natural variability!

If the same short term trend had a ten year acceleration you would probably be screaming natural variability. You make me laugh. Ha ha ha. Buy a book on logic and try looking at longer term trends.

John C May 10, 2014 at 7:55 am

Before I am attacked again…

I understand the paper claims this slowdown is likely due to natural variability. The fact though is the last 100 yrs of data also included natural variability. You could make the same case for adjusting the high SRL of the 90s down. Point = SLR has slowed, at least in the short term.

Ian Forrester May 10, 2014 at 9:33 am

Stop playing your silly games John C. Try reading the paper you cite, or at least the abstract, then you will see that you are being, once again, dishonest in your comments on the described science. Here is a quote from the abstract:

Here we present an analysis based on sea-level data from the altimetry record of the past ~20 years that separates interannual natural variability in sea level from the longer-term change probably related to anthropogenic global warming. The most prominent signature in the global mean sea level interannual variability is caused by El Niño–Southern Oscillation, through its impact on the global water cycle13, 14, 15, 16. We find that when correcting for interannual variability, the past decade’s slowdown of the global mean sea level disappears, leading to a similar rate of sea-level rise (of 3.3 ± 0.4 mm yr−1) during the first and second decade of the altimetry era. Our results confirm the need for quantifying and further removing from the climate records the short-term natural climate variability if one wants to extract the global warming signal.

http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v4/n5/full/nclimate2159.html

If you read that and used what little intelligence you may have you will see that the ENSO contribution factor was used both for the early part of the time period as well as for the latter part.

Your dishonesty surely knows no bounds.

Rob Painting May 10, 2014 at 9:44 am

He’s probably just parroting crap from Judith Curry. That’s where I first saw this nonsense. She can’t seem to read an abstract from a peer-reviewed scientific paper either.

Simon Arnold May 10, 2014 at 11:07 am

Rob Painting May 9, 2014 at 10:05 pm
“Yes, the IPCC still tends to err toward the side of least drama in regard to sea level rise ….. But I prefer to base my comments on reading the primary scientific literature, not necessarily some version decided upon by democratic, rather than meritocratic processes.”

And the primary literature reflects the IPCC conclusion on semi-empirical models. A recent example that summarises the problem these models face is Gregory et al “Twentieth-Century Global-Mean Sea Level Rise: Is the Whole Greater than the Sum of the Parts?” that concludes: “Semiempirical methods for projecting GMSLR [global-mean sea level rise] depend on the existence of a relationship between global climate change and the rate of GMSLR, but the implication of the authors’ closure of the budget is that such a relationship is weak or absent during the twentieth century.”

Ian Forrester May 10, 2014 at 1:28 pm

Simon Arnold, did you get your misinformation on that paper from the Australian? They eventually admitted that their original opinion piece was wrong and published an “apology”:

A report in the Australian on Tuesday (Sea rise ‘not linked to warming’, page 1) said a paper by JM Gregory with a contribution from John Church had “found no link to global warming and no increase in the rate of glacier melt over the past 100 years”. In fact, the paper found the effect of anthropogenic global warming on the rate of sea level rise would have been greater in the 20th century but for volcanic activity. It found that in the past two decades the rate of sea level rise had been larger than in the 20th century.

http://tinyurl.com/ljqrcn2

It always pays to read the actual scientific literature rather than quote from sources which have a history of dishonesty and distorting the facts.

Simon Arnold May 10, 2014 at 3:46 pm

Ian Forrester May 10, 2014 at 1:28 pm
“Simon Arnold, did you get your misinformation on that paper from the Australian? ”

No I was completely unaware the Australian had written anything about it, although this doesn’t appear to be about the issue to hand.

“It always pays to read the actual scientific literature rather than quote from sources which have a history of dishonesty and distorting the facts.”

Agreed. You should go and read the paper; it is available at the Utrecht University web site. When you read it remember we are discussing what it said about semi-empirical models.

Rob Painting May 10, 2014 at 8:41 pm

Yes there’s conflicting literature on this issue – genuine scientific debate. That much is for sure.

There are a few issues in the Gregory paper that aren’t sufficiently explained. For instance they attribute a residual from the budget calculations to the Antarctic ice sheet, stating that this is due to an ongoing contribution over millennia, but they don’t provide the justification for this. One of the co-authors, Oerlemans, has put together a compilation of global glacier length time series that suggest a rapid loss of ice beginning in the mid 19th century. This is consistent with paleo-sea level data which indicate the ocean volume has been unchanged for 4-5000 years until the 18-19th century. Inhabited coral atolls would not exist if not for the equatorial fall in relative sea level over the last 4-500 years as the fixed ocean volume was siphoned away to fill collapsing regions of the seafloor.

The other issue that seems unaccounted for, and which the semi-empirical method points out, is the natural fluctuations in sea level associated with changes in the ocean circulation at each tide gauge site. These don’t necessarily average out to zero over the course of a century because of their multi-decadal length, and because some of the changes are a permanent response to global warming.

Clearly, if the stream of ongoing research starts converging toward IPCC estimates, then I’ll have to alter my views on this subject in accordance with that. Given the range of expert views, and the evidence to date, we’re not there yet.

Simon Arnold May 10, 2014 at 10:26 pm

The question at hand is whether semi-empirical models are reliable, and the problem with them that is being discussed is the extent to which global climate change and the rate of GMSLR are related in the historic record.

If I understand what is being argued here (and it isn’t exactly transparent) the suggestion is that there are sufficient unknowns that it is still possible GCC is influencing GMSLR in the historic record. That’s all well and good but it isn’t a case for justifying the use of semi-empirical models. By the same argument it could be the man in the moon.

On the IPCC stuff be clear that their numbers are scenarios or projections, not forecasts. They say if we get these emissions and our models are accurate this is what we get.

Thomas May 11, 2014 at 7:50 am

SLR measurements are measurements. The record of the last decades is not a model. It is an observation.
http://sealevel.colorado.edu/files/2014_rel3/sl_ns_global.png

Simon Arnold May 11, 2014 at 10:37 am

Yes, but to forecast or project GMSL into the future one needs a model to use to do it. That is what is being discussed.

There are three classes of model in play in order of the rise they produce by 2100 empirical (~150mm), scenario based (IPCC 280 – 980mm) and Semi-empirical (1000m+). We are discussing how much confidence science has in the latter (IPCC said there is too much controversy around them to give them much confidence).

Rob Painting May 11, 2014 at 10:21 am

Gregory et al have at least one unphysical assumption in their calculations – imaginary sea level rise over the last few millennia. Rhamstorf and his co-authors show that the semi-empirical method is a very good match for paleo-sea level dating stretching back a thousand years.

And there doesn’t appear to be any discussion in the Gregory paper of changes at tide gauge locations that have nothing to do with increasing ocean volume. These can introduce spurious trends that need to be accounted for. This is especially true going further back in time because of the increasingly more sparse tide gauges used in the reconstructions.

The justification for the semi-empirical method is provided in the scores of papers produced to date. As I commented earlier this is an area of genuine scientific debate and your handwaving does nothing to change that.

Simon Arnold May 11, 2014 at 11:10 am

Sorry, thought I was just reflecting the debate, not handwaving. Can you give an example of where I’ve indulged in making superficial comments in an attempt to impress?

The problem is that the model fitting being done in this area largely start with the premise the factor must be in their because we believe it to be the case, and we find the parameters that fit. Tacit knowledge, often of what is trying to be demonstrated, is assumed.

The way to test a hypothesis to support the semi-empirical model is to assume aGHGs have no effect and attempt to disprove this.

One example of the problems is that to give a credible justification of any relationship at a minimum we should expect parameter estimation to be be validated against different data from that which is used to estimate the parameters. Further if you wish to use them to forecast you should desirably demonstrate skill estimating points outside the range of the initial data.

So the problem then with these studies that simply fit linear models to the data are much more deep seated than the specific issues you mention.

Gareth May 11, 2014 at 12:20 pm

Your first comment, despite quoting the IPCC, certainly demonstrated a superficial and ultimately misleading approach to risk management with respect to sea level rise.

Substantial sea level rise is not just likely, it is a certainty. The paleo data gives us the quantum: for 400ppm CO2 in the range of 16-24 metres above current. The argument is about how long it takes to get there. As Rob says, for the full amount the timescale is of the order of hundreds to thousands of years. But it is inevitable, unless we quickly reduce the forcings driving warming (and before we pass ice sheet tipping points).

How much SLR we get in the next 100 years will depend on factors that we can’t know in advance – emissions trajectories, for example – and on things we don’t understand perfectly – in particular marine terminating ice sheet dynamics. This means that we have to assess risk, and plan adaptively, as you say. Note that uncertainty about the amount of SLR expected doesn’t reduce the risk – it increases it. (See this SkS article for consideration of this in the wider climate context – although I should note that in the specific case of SLR the cost curve is likely to be different because the the first metre of SLR is the most costly because of the investment in current coastal infrastructure and the impacts on heavily populated megadeltas).

It makes absolutely no sense to wait decades to decide what to do when we are certain that substantial rises are going to take place. What’s required is a scaling of approach. For (relatively) low value coastal assets you might decide to rebuild as and when necessary, but for high cost essential services – sewage systems or state highways, perhaps – you need to consider longer timescales and larger amounts of SLR.

Ultimately, the response to SLR has to be both local and national. Local circumstances vary considerably (see Sonny’s nice exposition of the issues in Pegasus Bay above), and there’s no doubt that local expertise (and community input) will be required to work out the best response. But national guidelines are also required, for two reasons: because strategic national assets are affected, and because local authorities should not be required to make their own assessments of the current state of scientific knowledge (most are woefully ill-equipped to do so).

The Ministry for Environment’s last guidance to local authorities on SLR was issued in 2008, post AR4 (see here). It suggests that projects with lifetimes extending to the end of the century should consider 0.8m SLR, and add 10cm for every decade after. Given that 100 years from now adds 20 years to MfE’s original timeline, local government should already be considering at least 1m SLR in their planning. Unfortunately for Christchurch, that is the amount of effective SLR the earthquake sequence delivered to parts of the city in a matter of minutes.

I believe the current government has no plans to update the MfE advice post AR5, presumably part of their policy of “active indifference” to climate issues. However, as AR5 updates the upper range to just under 1m, you might expect a revision of the NZ advice to increase the rise to be considered further.

Simon Arnold May 11, 2014 at 2:45 pm

Gareth I can probably help you a little to understand the legal framework for managing coastal hazard risks under the RMA/NZCPS framework. If you still feel what I’m saying is superficial and misleading after reading feel free to repeat that, but with specifics.

The previous guidance on sea level rise given by MfE was done in the context of the 1994 NZCPS. The 2010 NZCPS significantly expanded on the process of risk management required. I quoted from it in respect of hazard identification, and if you read what it says about climate change it refers to the “likely effects” taking account of national guidance the best available information.

Now it doesn’t matter whether or not MfE make any changes to their guidance any local authority will need to pay heed to the AR5 report and its view on the likely range by 2100 (0.275m to 0.98m). In fact this view is likely to carry more weight than the MfE guidance issued in the context of the superseded 1994 NZCPS, because the shift is to probabilistic assessment to risks, not deterministic.

I should add that as MfE and NIWA build their capability to do probabilistic risk assessments as now required we will hopefully see a much more sophisticated approach where the likely estimated is no longer tainted by the scientists perception of precaution, and there much greater effort put into reporting the other critical piece of information required for risk assessment – the level of uncertainty.

Now you may have a personal view that the IPCC assessment underestimates the likely sea level rise. I might feel given the tools they used to estimate it that it is over-egged. But to an local authority and the environment court etc they will naturally put more weight on what the IPCC says.

Turning to risk management. Lets just be clear that we are talking about the same thing. The risk of sea level rise is the likelihood times the cost.

You seem to be arguing that we should take action commensurate with the risk, and this is appropriate. The 2010 NZCPS adopts this approach by requiring different approaches to where developed and undeveloped assets are at risk.

However you do seem to be arguing against the value of taking ones time when the likelihood of loss is uncertain. There are two reasons why this should be done.

The first is their are costs associated with acting, particularly when they infringe on peoples properties. These costs are certain. They need to be fed into the equation. Note however the cost is site specific, so the cost where development is not possible is much lower than where it is, or has already occurred.

The second is that the incremental cost of delay may be much lower than cost of acting. This is very much the position we are in today with the risks that are 50+ years away (Lewandowsky notwithstanding). With the passage of time the uncertainty will decrease and we should plan on that basis. It’s called adaptive planning and is likely to be the optimum approach to minimizing the aggregate risk in the face of uncertainty.

Gareth May 12, 2014 at 11:37 am

It seems you are keen to avoid the points I’m making, Simon.

One: whatever the framework for determining coastal policy (and I’m reasonably familiar with it), it is obviously ridiculous to expect local authorities to make their own assessment of the “big picture” science. That function is properly carried out by central government (MfE) and the national experts (NIWA and others). Local expertise is required to determine how that might affect any particular stretch of coastline, and that may (or may) not be carried out in house or by consultants. The lack of up to date national guidance leads to the function being performed by external consultants. It’s interesting to note that both ChCh and Wellington choose to rely on Tonkin & Taylor, who make their own assessment of the science — and suggest considering a “plausible upper limit” of up to 2m of SLR in the next 100 years.

We agree on how to value risk, but not on the application of uncertainty to a risk analysis. In the case of SLR, an increase is certain, but the quantum is difficult to project because of the uncertainties I noted in my earlier comment. Even Tonkin & Taylor’s “plausible upper limit” is not (yet) well constrained.

One fact we are likely to agree upon: over the next 20 years it is (I hope) unlikely that substantial SLR increases will take place. For most extant coastal assets, that will allow adaptation to take place at modest cost, except where increasing risks of storm surge/dune failure lead to high impact damages on vulnerable coastal communities.

However, as I said before, for new developments and major infrastructure with expected lifetimes over 50 years, failing to take into account substantial SLR is guaranteeing increased future costs. Waiting a few decades “to see what happens” whilst allowing large projects to be built at or close to current sea level is simply wasteful.

Simon Arnold May 12, 2014 at 1:37 pm

I trust this comment will appear after Gareth May 12, 2014 at 11:37 am to which it replies.

First I am bemused by the subculture that seems to exist on this blog that seems to require some abuse or snide remark before getting to the point. So far I’ve been termed a denier, hand-waver, superficial, misleading, and someone that avoids others points. I assume it is just insurance because you are insecure about the quality of your arguments and feel the need for some ad hominem to bolster them.

T&T’s Chch report, like Shand’s for Kapiti Coast makes a bow to the 2010 NZCPS but only to the extent of adding a 100 year perspective. They’ve missed the other changes, and will find they will need to build their capability in this area to comply with the RMA. One key issue is the requirement to consider the likely effects rather than what is plausible (as an aside if you put something in quotes it should be a quote).

They will also have to amend their findings in light of AR5 that they anticipated was going to significantly increase the estimate and no doubt put weight on the semi-empirical models. Climate Science is becoming more realistic and the recent hiatus means the hard evidence for accelerating increases isn’t accruing. Chch and Wgtn Cities will need to make sure they are complying with the RMA.

The other point is about the value of delay. The question is what do we give up by not acting on the extreme 100 year forecast for 5 years (say) compared with what we gain. My point is that the answer to this isn’t a slam-dunk, it requires some analysis. You, if I read it correctly, take a view that the answer here is a given.

In this case I think the RMA is with me. It requires communities to go through this process to determine the management regime they wish to adopt having first received the best estimates of the likely impact of climate change and the uncertainty in those estimates.

Ian Forrester May 12, 2014 at 2:03 pm

Simon Arnold wonders why he is accurately described by participants on this blog:

I assume it is just insurance because you are insecure about the quality of your arguments and feel the need for some ad hominem to bolster them.

Firstly, I urge him to become familiar with the definition of “ad hominem”. I don’t see any ad hominem comments directed at him, only some factual information on the way he behaves and what he says. It’s funny that when any denier doesn’t like honest criticisms they immediately use the “ad hominem challenge”. There are many examples of Arnold’s denier tactics sprinkled around the blogsphere both on denier sites and on science sites.

If he doesn’t like the epithets used on him then there is a simple solution, stop the denying nonsense and stop spreading FUD.

Gareth May 12, 2014 at 2:34 pm

OK, Simon: I will ignore your tone-trolling (Ian F has handily dealt with that), and cut to the core of your argument. You say:

They will also have to amend their findings in light of AR5 that they anticipated was going to significantly increase the estimate and no doubt put weight on the semi-empirical models. Climate Science is becoming more realistic and the recent hiatus means the hard evidence for accelerating increases isn’t accruing.

Now, I will not infer any motive here, but it is clear you are completely misreading and/or misunderstanding what AR5 has to say about SLR projections. AR5 represents a significant increase in projected SLR over the coming century compared with AR4, and specifically excludes providing any “plausible upper limit”. Here’s what Anders Levermann had to say (quoted from an excellent overview of what AR5 says about SLR at RealClimate):

In the latest assessment report of the IPCC we did not provide such an upper limit, but we allow the creative reader to construct it. The likely range of sea level rise in 2100 for the highest climate change scenario is 52 to 98 centimeters (20 to 38 inches.). However, the report notes that should sectors of the marine-based ice sheets of Antarctic collapse, sea level could rise by an additional several tenths of a meter during the 21st century. Thus, looking at the upper value of the likely range, you end up with an estimate for the upper limit between 1.2 meters and, say, 1.5 meters. That is the upper limit of global mean sea-level that coastal protection might need for the coming century.

If you add in to this an emerging understanding of the drivers of the high sea level stand during the last interglacial (+6m compared to current, with CO2 at 300ppm and ice sheets of similar size today), you can see why the upper limit is being revised upwards steadily.

T&T and MfE will have to revise their guidance.

Your suggestion that the so-called hiatus shows anything at all about acceleration or the lack of it is unpersuasive. I would say that it amounts to the same kind of wishful thinking that John C wants to apply to the question. And wishful thinking, or creative low-balling of what the evidence says, is no basis for sound risk management in coastal development and management.

andyS May 12, 2014 at 5:00 pm

In response to this “plausible upper limit” issue, I am not sure how relevant this is.

In climate sensitivity discussions, we deal with probability distribution functions (pdfs)

Typically, in CS, these are asymmetric bell curves that have a single peak, representing the “modal” or most likely) estimate

I suppose we could have a “plausible upper estimate” for ECS/TCS for which the probability drops below a certain value( say 5%, for sake of argument)

A bell curve of CS could extend to infinity so we have to cut it off somewhere.

I don’t see these kind of discussions going on in SLR. Maybe they are and I haven’t seen them .

A PDF of SLR projections would seem to be more policy relevant that “plausible upper limits”

Gareth May 12, 2014 at 5:58 pm

Andy: You could probably extract a pdf for the model estimates for each scenario (this is implicit in the model mean and uncertainty ranges given), but I suspect that it’s impossible to assign any sort of probability distribution to marine terminating ice sheet discharges/collapses. There’s been modelling work on the Greenland ice sheet to try and put an upper bound on physically plausible ice discharge over the next 100 years – IIRC that was 1m SLR equivalent – but I’m not aware of anything similar for Antarctica. Attention has focussed on Pine Island/Thwaites glaciers: it’s not encouraging because it shows they are prone to rapid loss.

Simon Arnold May 13, 2014 at 4:58 pm

Gareth May 12, 2014 at 2:34 pm

As I noted before the legal test in NZ isn’t what’s plausible or the upper limit but what is likely.

As WG1 AR5 Chpt 13 notes: “There is currently low confidence in projecting the onset of large-scale grounding line instability in the marine-based sectors of the Antarctic ice sheet.”

So IPCC’s guidance of 0.275m to 0.98m as likely (with a mid-point of 0.475m) will be what the courts take notice of.

andyS May 12, 2014 at 5:00 pm

“A PDF of SLR projections would seem to be more policy relevant that ‘plausible upper limits’”

And this is essentially what WG1 AR5 Chpt 13 does, it reports the distribution of multiple runs of models on different forcing scenarios and 5% – 95% ranges. These become their assessment of the likely range.

On thing to note is that distribution of model runs within a scenario tend to be biased downward (mode<mean) so technically higher values within each scenario are less likely.

Ian Forrester May 12, 2014 at 2:03 pm

I don't recall mention anything about my views on WW2.

Gareth May 13, 2014 at 5:57 pm

Simon A:

As WG1 AR5 Chpt 13 notes: “There is currently low confidence in projecting the onset of large-scale grounding line instability in the marine-based sectors of the Antarctic ice sheet.”

So IPCC’s guidance of 0.275m to 0.98m as likely (with a mid-point of 0.475m) will be what the courts take notice of.

Nonsense. Any Environment Court hearing on an SLR case would likely hear from expert witnesses, and you don’t get much more expert than one of the chapter lead authors, as quoted above. A competent expert witness would certainly construct a “plausible upper limit” incorporating ice sheet uncertainties. PUL is a key factor in coastal planning (see my reply to Andy S below).

Note also that AR5 is not the last word on the issue, and views on SLR from Antarctic melt will have to be revised upwards as our understanding improves. See today’s news (and the next HT post) for more.

The RMA process is certainly far from perfect, but the Environment Court lives in the real world, not some strange place where real risks can be ignored.

Simon Arnold May 13, 2014 at 6:35 pm

And the expert witness will be giving evidence on what the likely effects of climate change are, not the extremes. If asked Anders Levermann will repeat what he said “The likely range of sea level rise in 2100 for the highest climate change scenario is 52 to 98 centimeters (20 to 38 inches.).”

The reason why we don’t take account of unlikely scenarios in our district plans is because, well, the experts judge it to be “unlikely”.

Gareth May 13, 2014 at 7:52 pm

Simon: You clearly have a very strange idea of what constitutes risk assessment in coastal planning, or the application of uncertainty in the face of certain sea level rise. Prudent coastal development is not going to involve your definition of what is “likely”, it will adopt the approach of (say) bridge designers who design their structures to withstand flood events that are, by definition, unlikely. The bigger the bridge, the larger the river, the more important the route, the longer the flood return period that will be considered.

Simon Arnold May 13, 2014 at 8:21 pm

Gareth

You are confusing hazard risk assessment and hazard management (building a bridge).

Thee 1994 NZCPS didn’t separate them. The 2010 NZCPS is more sophisticate and does. There is some learning to do in the industry to catch up with modern risk assessment techniques. The old ways aren’t acceptable anymore.

.

Gareth May 13, 2014 at 8:31 pm

The old ways aren’t acceptable anymore.

Nor is the wearing of rose-tinted glasses when interpreting the evidence with respect to sea level rise.

No court in the land – whatever legislation it interprets – can make the reality of rapid sea level rise go away. If we are to adapt to that harsh reality, pretending it’s not going to be bad is just plain stupid.

Simon Arnold May 13, 2014 at 8:52 pm

Gareth, we’ve established that you think the IPCC likely range is under-egged (your “reality”). I think it is probably over-egged (but I wouldn’t describe my view as “reality” – much more a contingent hypothesis).

As my wife would say to both of us “that’s nice dears but it doesn’t make a toss of difference”.

The courts will will follow the IPCC.

But I’m now repeating myself.

Gareth May 13, 2014 at 9:00 pm

I have every confidence that the courts would find your interpretation of what the IPCC says to be in error, as I clearly showed above.

Simon Arnold May 13, 2014 at 9:43 pm

I did idly think of running through the cross examination you would face if you were a witness arguing that a district plan should take account of “large-scale grounding line instability in the marine-based sectors of the Antarctic ice sheet” in the hazard risk assessment, but thought better of it.

The thing to contemplate though is that the IPCC is saying more than 0.98m by 2100 is a 2.5% event assuming climate models and emissions RCP8.5 scenario are robust/achieved. Beyond that the IPCC has medium confidence that the increase in sea level from this uncertein event will be limited to several tenths of a meter.

So the top end of the likely range might get to a bit over a meter. The bottom of the range won’t change.

So your argument is that the courts might be debating the difference of several tenths of a meter in a hundred years time. It will be impossible to differentiate the costs between the two sea level rises so the hazard risk assessment will be neither here nor there.

Rob Painting May 13, 2014 at 8:40 am

Somewhat timely research news given our previous discussion – part of the West Antarctic ice sheet (equivalent to 1.2 metres of sea level rise) is undergoing irreversible retreat. This may take centuries, but it will also greatly speed up ice mass loss in adjoining regions.

I haven’t had a read of the paper yet.

Gareth May 13, 2014 at 9:21 am

I’ll have a post later today: both papers in the in-tray…

bill May 13, 2014 at 11:42 am
Gareth May 13, 2014 at 2:50 pm

Andy: a bit more on why “plausible upper limits (PUL)” are important bits of information for planners. Imagine you’re Dutch, and tasked with making sure that the dykes are good for another century. Dutch engineers routinely plan for their coastal defences to withstand a 1 in 10,000 year storm. With a PUL of 1.5 m for the next hundred years, they would therefore have to engineer the coastal defences to cope with that rise, plus what that increase in mean sea level might mean for the 1 in 10,000 year storm surge. And because they don’t want to have to be continuously raising the height of their dykes, they will probably look at what’s happening in Antarctica and add 5m to the current PUL.

Simon Arnold May 10, 2014 at 11:30 am

Ian Forrester May 10, 2014 at 9:33 am
“Stop playing your silly games John C. Try reading the paper you cite, or at least the abstract, then you will see that you are being, once again, dishonest in your comments on the described science.”

Unfortunately the paper is paywalled so I can’t read, but Ian could you have a look and tell me the confidence limits they put on their assessment of the inter-annual variation. The problem I anticipate is that with 20 years’ only to play with any such analysis will not be statistically significant and becomes simple supposition, but I stand to be corrected by those of you who’ve read the paper.

Ian Forrester May 10, 2014 at 1:48 pm

I haven’t read the paper, only the abstract so I don’t know if they gave confidence limits or not. In their Figure 1 they do show error bars of approximately +/- 0.4 cm for their mean values. This is the same range as given in the references of Nerem et al. 2010 and Church and White 2011 as quoted in the Nature article. So I would conclude that there is no problem with the calculated data.

John C’s dishonesty has nothing to do with confidence levels but with the fact that he deliberately distorted the results of the paper saying that ENSO adjustments had only been made to the latter data and not the earlier data. It is obvious, even from the abstract, that that is not so.

Simon Arnold May 10, 2014 at 4:28 pm

Ian Forrester May 10, 2014 at 1:48 pm

“I haven’t read the paper, only the abstract ….”

As you say – better to read the paper rather than just rely on a report or the abstract, particularly if you are going to call someone dishonest.

“John C’s dishonesty has nothing to do with confidence levels but with the fact that he deliberately distorted the results of the paper saying that ENSO adjustments had only been made to the latter data and not the earlier data. It is obvious, even from the abstract, that that is not so.”

I’ve looked back on this thread and can’t see John C claiming what you suggest, only that the paper finds a slow down in the rate of sea level rise. In fact he quotes the abstract accurately when he talks of a 30% slowdown over the last decade.

You seem to be exercised about the attribution issue (what’s natural variation, what’s attributable to global warming). The errors quoted in the abstract don’t help in this regard. Rejecting the hypothesis that the global sea level time series can’t be reproduced by natural variation is a hard job (particularly in a short time series), and without knowing the methodology and the statistical analysis I’d be skeptical that’s what they did.

Neither Nerem et al. 2010 nor Church and White 2011 seem to try and partial out the natural variation apart from providing some commentary, they simply deal with constructing the time series.

But anyway all speculation without the paper to hand.

But I think you maligned John C. My understanding is that the rate of sea level rise has reduced in recent times and this is generally accepted (see for example Nerem et al. 2010 nor Church and White 2011 as well as Cazenave.

Notwithstanding Cazenave the reasons for this remain matters for hypothesis. The general view is we need more information to gain this understanding.

Rob Painting May 10, 2014 at 8:59 pm

Based John C’s trolling of this site, Ian Forrester has John C pegged. He’s just parroted garbage from Judith Curry and her followers in order to insinuate that long-term sea level rise is declining. That won’t happen until long after humans have stopped adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

Short-term sea level rise fluctuates due to a number of reasons that John C just can’t be bothered with because it clashes with his preconceived notions about climate science. That’s fine, he can believe in unicorns if he wants. But it’s not okay to peddle misinformation on sites dedicated to explaining climate science – denier blogs are dedicated to that purpose.

Simon Arnold May 10, 2014 at 9:47 pm

Actually I read John C as simply observing that in the last decade the rate of increase in sea level rise had declined.

Do you disagree with this?

In fact you answer that rhetorical question in your second para where you note that the “sea level rise fluctuates” (I presume you meant the rate).

You are welcome to hypothesize recent sea level rise is due to CO2 increases but the jury is clearly still out on whether that is proven. We can’t even successfully model the process before aGHG became an issue, let along attribute their impact to recent changes.

If you are active researching in the field I trust you understand this. If you think you have this problem licked I’d be pleased to have a look at what you’ve done.

Thomas May 11, 2014 at 7:47 am

Simon, looking at the SLR graphs I fail to note what the deniers are on about: http://sealevel.colorado.edu/
In fact, it would seem that the SLR rise is one of the most steady indicators of the rising heat content of the planet.
This whole “seeding doubt” into the SLR measurements is a rather dumb strategy of the denier bunch indeed!

Simon Arnold May 11, 2014 at 10:28 am

Read the 3rd para of my comment at 9.47pm – we are discussing a slow down in the rate of increase.

Sea level has been rising well before aGHG became an issue (although with wide variation on a regional basis) attributed as I understand it in part to the bounce back of the crust from the removal of the glacial cover in the last ice age.

Thus the aGHG signal would be seen in an acceleration in the rate of rise, not in the rise itself.

Thomas May 12, 2014 at 7:20 pm

Simon: Sorry but if you look at: http://sealevel.colorado.edu/files/2014_rel3/sl_ns_global.png

You will need to show us the slowdown in the rate of increase that you somehow believe exists.

I maintain that the rate of increase (fist order derivative on SL) would appear steady over the last decade around the 3.2+-0.4mm/y mark.

And yes, an acceleration of SLR is clearly visible in the data since the late 19th century.
http://www1.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/cmb/images/indicators/sea-level-rise.gif

If you don not accept the NOAA data above, please supply a reference to peer reviewed data that support your thesis (I suppose you deny the rate of increase due to aGHG)

Bounce back and gravitational attraction of ocean to land masses can cause local effects, some of which can either enhance or reduce the global SLR by small amounts. Bounce-back is actually countering SLR in some places, not increasing it, as land that has lost significant ice masses slowly rises!
Your argument of a positive SLR due to post glacial bounce makes no sense. Provide peer reviewed evidence for your assertion if you still believe it to be valid.

Simon Arnold May 13, 2014 at 6:03 pm

Thomas May 12, 2014 at 7:20 pm

“I maintain that the rate of increase (fist order derivative on SL) would appear steady over the last decade around the 3.2+-0.4mm/y mark. ”

Now here’s thing. Before I was just reflecting what some of the papers were saying, but like you say there’s nothing like looking at a bit of data. So I downloaded the TOPEX, Jason-1, and Jason-2 Multiple altimeters, Seasonal signals retained, from NOAA off the page you reference, ran a regression for the last decade and got 2.8mm pa, and for the pre-2004 data I got 3.1 mm pa.

The satellite series has slowed down in the last decade.

However what that means given the number of years available and the quality of the data I wouldn’t know, but I can’t work out why you apparently don’t want people discussing it.

Thomas May 13, 2014 at 7:25 pm

Yes Simon, and if you do it for the last 5 years you will get 3.7mm/y and for the last 3 years its 6.2mm/y!
Your point being?

I am happy that SLR data are discussed. But what the denileraty have made of the Cavernaze paper is a travesty. Obviously SLR is subject to seasonal (just look at the seasonal effects included graphs on the CU site) and multi annual variability. If you are honestly interested in trends you look at the big picture and not a few years. Cherry picking ranges wont do any good.

Simon Arnold May 13, 2014 at 8:33 pm

It’s good to remember what this thread is about. Its about Rob Painting claims that John C was a troll that believed in unicorns (and I have to admit it possibly is more likely that a troll would compared with a human).

I said:

“Simon Arnold May 10, 2014 at 9:47 pm

“Actually I read John C as simply observing that in the last decade the rate of increase in sea level rise had declined.

“Do you disagree with this?”

You stuck your oar in, but I gather that now that you don’t disagree.

Amen.

Thomas May 13, 2014 at 9:14 pm

Simon, John C is a habitual denier that will spin any old cherry picked and demonstrably silly argument into some mythology that in his mind should tell the world that Climate Change and its associated impacts are either not happening or not really that bad etc.
Your harping on with the fact that along the SLR data of the last decades there are periods with a lower SRL rate than the average is obviously trying to make the same and silly assertion, that we should prepare for not much of an SLR at present… Why else would you stare on a period with an SLR of 2.8 when just the next few years its over 6?
You clearly seem to have a heck of myopia, going by the rest of your posts when it comes to SLR.

Simon Arnold May 13, 2014 at 10:01 pm

Thomas

I has idly spent some time on this thread to help readers understand a bit more about the legal framework that now applies in NZ on coastal hazards and the complexities of experimental design and time series analysis. Neither are particularly well understood by the local industry working in this field. Engineers particularly tend to mix up risk management practice with the science of risk assessment.

I suspect from your comments that none of that particularly interests you.

The other thing I found commenting here is that there is a subculture of abuse. I suspect that being able to indulge yourself in that interests you more than any content. I was simply calling you out on that.

andyS May 13, 2014 at 10:42 pm

Simon,
The subject of risk assessment interests me, partly as someone who has property exposed to multiple risks (earthquake, flooding, liquefaction, and sea level rise)

Out of the 4 risks listed, we have had direct experience of 3 , so naturally we are disposed towards real experience versus perceived ones.

In any real life assessment, you need to deal with real people who have property, families, and lives to maintain. This is the real situation in Christchurch and beyond, so we can expect hypothetical scenarios based on models to take second place, whilst homes are flooded on a weekly basis.

Thomas May 14, 2014 at 7:09 am

Simon, you think you have x-ray vision into peoples minds. You do not.
Risk management of coastal hazards is of great interest to me. I currently live and teach in town (Whitianga) that will have to grapple with this very issue and in fact will have a fight for its survival at its hands. Already, even on a still and not storm enhanced king tide, the ocean laps just onto the coast road, which lies a meter or so ABOVE the level of significant parts of the town landward form it. It takes not much imagination of how the future will pan out here unless the community (local and regional and national) starts to make plans for how and whether to defend the place. And yes, complex it will be.
But, digging their heads in the very same pseudo-arguments you have swung around here, the authorities engage in hand-waving at best, draw a new set of ‘future coastal erosion lines’ on the planing maps, which lie landward from the current line of defense. A silly sight really, as ‘coastal erosion’ is a rather odd misnomer for a time when the water will run a mile or more inland. But the phrasiology of the planers seems to have no nomen for what is going to hit us. All part of the “legal framework that now applies in NZ on coastal hazards and the complexities of experimental design and time series analysis.” I would imagine….

In the meanwhile the town is growing and new farm land, indefensible unless some serious alternatives are engineered for our future sea defense, is zoned residential, luring buyers.
The local planer said that he is not convinced sea level rise will be an issue at all and perhaps belongs to the readers of denial bogs….
So here you have it. Those who are supposed to plan for the future are lost or take refuge in the very confusion you seem to be happily sowing here as well. Nature is unimpressed by the bladderdash. So am I. But people make silly choices all the time and long term planing is in the way of short term profit taking. The later is what drives most peoples agendas. The next generation will look back and shake their heads in disgust.

andyS May 14, 2014 at 9:01 am

Thomas,

Are “denier bogs” (sic) and “bladderdash” related at all?

Gareth May 14, 2014 at 9:12 am

Andy: Don’t pick on Thomas’s use of English.

“Denier bogs” seems apposite to me, and I believe “bladderdash” is a kind of seaweed often used to clear up constipation.

andyS May 14, 2014 at 9:13 am

I thought that if you got a dose of bladderdash you might have to dash to the denier bog.

Lame, I know

Thomas May 14, 2014 at 4:09 pm

http://urbanthesaur.us/urban-dictionary-bladderdash
:-)
Its also a urban colloquial for “a whole lot of verbal diarrhea…”, hence the Bog….

andyS May 14, 2014 at 4:14 pm

I was thinking that “bladderdash” was a typo and you meant “balderdash”

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/balderdash

Either would do I suppose. The etymology of the latter is interesting.

Simon Arnold May 14, 2014 at 9:07 pm

andyS

The point that is being missed by a number of people here is that risk assessment is built on an objective as possible understanding of the uncertainty. So that’s the first job. Only once that has been done can you think about managing the risk.

There is a strong temptation for some reason for people to want to focus on the worst outcomes. Perhaps it’s morbid curiosity.

People also forget that uncertainty can be reduced with more information, and the passage of time will often help. There is sometimes a cost of inaction, but often there can be a cost of acting too soon/too much.

The climate is a complex system, poorly understood, so decisions about how to manage its impacts are not for science to decide. It comes down to making trade-offs that require personal and political judgements.

Our individual and community perceptions of risk and willingness to take it differ, and in a democracy that should be respected. Hence the RMA is a political process. Our host thinks the risk of sea level rise is much higher than I do. I live by the coast, he should buy inland.

But to repeat the science won’t help anyone by having attitude. Its job is to do the best it can to quantify what’s going on, particularly the uncertainty.

andyS May 14, 2014 at 9:21 pm

Simon Arnold
I do understand your comments on risk
I live in a commercial world that is iterative and adaptive

I can’t see why we can’t apply this model across the board.

Simon Arnold May 14, 2014 at 9:47 pm

Thomas

I don’t know anything about what is going on at Whitianga. What I do know is that climate “science” has over egged the likely impact on the Kapiti Coast and more recently in the Hawkes Bay.

Macro May 14, 2014 at 9:59 pm

“What I do know is that climate “science” has over egged the likely impact on the Kapiti Coast and more recently in the Hawkes Bay.”
References Simon for your outlandish claims, otherwise we can only assume that what you write is nothing but your opinion – which quite frankly appears to be worthless.

Simon Arnold May 15, 2014 at 12:35 pm

andyS on adaptive planning.

Yes I think that is the approach to use when dealing with this level of uncertainty rather than prescriptive planning. I’d just add that the uncertainty in the climate is more uncertain than in say seismic risk. In the case of seismic risk we have a pretty good handle on how the processes work, whereas that is still lacking in climate science, with significant gaps.

Simon Arnold May 15, 2014 at 12:54 pm

Macro May 14, 2014 at 9:59 pm

‘References Simon for your outlandish claims, otherwise we can only assume that what you write is nothing but your opinion – which quite frankly appears to be worthless.”

Marco there is a lot about the Kapiti issue on line.

Once you have read the Dahm and Shand reports over the years and the various critiques of them; their use in the draft distinct plan including the recent review panel; and the comments on those from experts inputting to the panel, including my own, we can have a chat.

Thomas May 15, 2014 at 6:13 pm

Simon Arnold, lets look in some detail at your post:
You said: “The climate is a complex system, poorly understood, so decisions about how to manage its impacts are not for science to decide.“.
1) Like some others who pop in here from time to time you seem to mistake your right to hold any odd personal opinion you like for the right to make statements of fact about of the same. So lets try again: “Simon A believes that the climate is a poorly understood system and that science should not decide about its impacts”. Now we could leave that stand and sit as is. People can then draw their inferences about you and your motives as they wish and may wonder: if science and objectivity is not to guide our decisions, what does Simon think should?…

I would think that most, including myself, would say that after a significant amount of research over the last decades we understand very much about the climate system and the “poorly understood” attribute is a gross misrepresentation with the intent to confuse.

2) You then voice the rubbish often heard from the right wing spectrum of the political debate that “science belongs back into the lab” when it comes to make decisions of an political nature. This Simon, is precisely the fundamental error of judgement that is getting us into so much trouble. We have ill informed and politically motivated power players making calls on matters that are best decided by objective analysis (the forte of Science) and not by political wrangling (the forte of Lawyers and spin doctors) and of people wanting to advance their personal agendas.

Your ongoing rambles about NZ’s risk management legal framework are completely pointless unless said framework was in fact an active process that constantly adjusts its recommendations or guidelines according to the advancement of our scientific understanding.
At the moment, and especially with perhaps people like yourself somewhere embedded in the systems to be, I have no confidence that this is so. In fact, the culture of governance in this regard in NZ and internationally is very inadequate and as a process is still pretty much in denial of the science that should guide our actions. The current politically driven “Risk management” poses a significant risk in its own right!

Further: You seem to belong to the people that interpret uncertainty in a singular manner: That matters such as SLR will arrive later or weaker or perhaps not much at all. While the reality is rather different: Remaining uncertainty on the details of SLR development and aGW is symmetrical at best and judging from latest developments in the published science, most likely underestimating what is in fact in store for us.
Unless we have a “cultural revolution” in the ossified halls of political power and give science real political clout, we risk serious and systemic failure of our systems of governance to guide us into the future!

Simon Arnold May 15, 2014 at 7:26 pm

Thomas

So
(1) The scientific consensus (and Thomas) think that the climate is a simple system, and/or well understood, so decisions about how to manage its impacts are for science to decide?

(2) We should give up democracy and have a society run on scientific say-so.. Given the tone here, perhaps eugenics would be first cab off the ranks.

But seriously the point I’d make is that science is about understanding the uncertainty and how to reduce it. Not denying that it exists.

And from the public policy point of view, when decisions are uncertain then applied science tries to elucidate those as best it can while the political process deals with the trade offs (unless you live in N. Korea).

Thomas May 15, 2014 at 7:41 pm

For people interested what Simon Arnolds motivation is to blow fog into the SLR debate, have a look at this cute site:
http://coastalratepayersunited.co.nz/
and an interesting read is surely this:
http://www.coastalratepayersunited.co.nz/files/05-submissions/01-submissions/KCDC-coastal-further-submission-Arnold.pdf
Can you spot a single argument in the “bladderdash” (yes its not a spelling mistake) that would be useful in fending of the rising seas of our future?
The “coastalratepayersunited” phenomenon is probably indicative of the “throw the pacifier out of the cot” tantrum coastal property owners will enact when told the bad news. In the past, sovereigns shot messengers bearing bad news. Today they employ spin doctors like our friend here to try to make the black spot vanish long enough to hog off the property a bit later to unsuspecting buyers with a profit….
The big questions is: Who will bear the cost of loss for coastal properties that now have a use-by sticker on them? The current owner? Some insurance? The general public? The so often cited poor masses who would prefer subsidized petrol over action to curb AGW perhaps? The tax payer (Opps, not going to fly for the anti-tax right wingers).
Well, Simon, stop trying to make the Science go away. Its a futile and silly Don Quixote style strategy that won’t fly far. Start to think who will carry the loss of the properties given to the floods of our future. Perhaps your CRU members can put signs up at the highway: Donations wanted for future Kapiti Coast SLR victims repatriation fund…..
Perhaps the land owners should park the Audi around the block for the time being…. (just a thought…)

andyS May 15, 2014 at 8:42 pm

Thomas
Thanks to the link to Simon Arnold’s submission.

Naturally, I am as shocked as you are that someone should try to represent property owners and ratepayers of NZ

Are you able to give specific details about what your objections are?

I presume, naturally, that you don’t live next to any coastline yourself…

Thomas May 15, 2014 at 9:24 pm

Simon: Eugenics! Ugh, I guess we struck a nerve then. 3rd Reich or North Korea similes are normally invoked at a last resort…
Whatever…

You demonstrate two things:
1) You are a spin doctor. People can read what I posted and your hilarious reflection of the same. Cool demo!

2) You just don’t get it: “But seriously the point I’d make is that science is about understanding the uncertainty and how to reduce it. Not denying that it exists.
Well, Science does not deny the uncertainty, in fact scientists draw it as nicely colored ranges into their forecasts…. Deniers however see only the shading below the center of the trend and proclaim: Eureka, its only….
And Deniers also fail with abandon to consider the compound impacts of SLR, storms and aGW enhanced flooding events of the future.

But the actual risk assessment is: The uncertainty goes both ways. Plus we KNOW that the IPCC has admittedly so far not factored the elephant in the room into the predictions: Antarctic and Greenland glacier contributions. And while there is uncertainty over the timing of the same, the realization that we caused irreversible collapse of big chunks of the same already is now established. So we are looking at SLR much more than 1m and likely sooner than later.
So your weasel work with legal phraseology with a few risk here and there assessment tokens chucked in will not delay the inevitable. It might perhaps buy land owners a few years to enjoy possession of a ‘non-stickered’ property if your words were to impress those in charge of making decisions (hence your ambition to keep the scientists and their nagging voices behind lab doors and out of the council chambers).
Well it might keep the merry go-around alive for a bit longer, the bank manager in denial and the insurance broker’s deodorant failure away for another day. And possibly the land owner can sell and the musical chairs charade of coastal land ownership keeps going one more turn…..

Perhaps this explains why the CRU site lauds the Wellington Council (CRU Link “how it should be done”) planning document:
http://coastalratepayersunited.co.nz/files/08-planning/11-how-it-should-be-done/7_february_2013_report_3_sea_level_rise.pdf

Citing from there:

Scientists have observed that New Zealand is on track toward 80cm
of sea level rise by 2100. This is in-line with central government guidance which recommends that Councils consider sea level rise of 50-80cm (at least) by the 2090’s. For planning and decision timeframes beyond the end of this century, government guidance also recommends an additional allowance for sea level rise of 1cm per year (although more recent estimates indicate that 1.5cm per year beyond 2100 should be considered). It is important to note that sea level rise won’t stop at that point, with 1, 2 and 3m or more likely to occur in the longer term. Also, sea level rise will occur alongside other changes in the climate, such as higher-intensity rainfall events, which can further exacerbate issues such as flooding.

So why does the CRU like this? Answer: Wellington has deferred saying which properties will be carrying the “black dot” for a while yet. The Kapiti folks, without the benefit of the resources of a billion dollar city economy to work with, were more direct. Probably not much they could do other than looking at the situation realistically.

Simon Arnold May 15, 2014 at 9:29 pm

Thomas May 15, 2014 at 7:41 pm

The report I’m criticizing in that submission got dumped on by an independent panel of people you would regard as respectable climate scientists too.

Their draft report is available on the KCDC web site.

Regrettably to confirm all your prejudices about me you will find another submission from me that is critical of bits of their draft report.

You should read more widely, it helps understanding of complex issues like the climate.

bill May 15, 2014 at 9:40 pm

Yeah, the ‘eugenics’ reference is a Godwin, and hence Simon loses the internets. Sad; he clearly felt he was doing so well…

Simon Arnold May 15, 2014 at 10:49 pm

Bill, there are 180 comments on this post and 40 references to denier.

Godwin’s long since past.

bill May 16, 2014 at 12:36 am

So a reference to a ‘denier’ is a Godwin, is it, Simon? Intriguing – I think I’m going to have to ask you for more details on that one.

Simon Arnold May 16, 2014 at 9:51 am

Clearly not of Jewish descent then Bill

andyS May 16, 2014 at 11:29 am

In response to the “eugenics is a Godwin” comment, this is a bit incorrect. Eugenics has its root in the times of ancient Greece

The philosophy was most famously expounded by Plato, who believed human reproduction should be monitored and controlled by the state

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_eugenics

Plato was really quite a statist, and Karl Popper wrote about him in his book “The Open Society and its Enemies”

bill May 16, 2014 at 12:29 pm

In the absence of the appropriate punctuation should I assume that was a question, and directed at me?

Sorry, you’re going to have to s p e l l it out. Actually, you could start by searching for the relevant word here. Paying particular attention to dates.

And andy, Simon certainly appears to be implying that his use of ‘eugenics’ was in the vein of a tit-for-tat, no? Therefore…?

(Note: ‘loses the internets’ is not actually a bona-fide award, and there’s no cup or anything…)

andyS May 16, 2014 at 12:35 pm

No Bill it is not a question aimed at you
Godwin’s law applies to the argument that if you end up comparing someone with a Nazi, usually in the context of an internet discussion, you have lost the argument.

Bringing up the subject of Eugenics, a feature of ancient and modern society, does not constitute comparing someone with a Nazi.

Ian Forrester May 16, 2014 at 2:03 pm

I had a look at that coastal rate payers united site that Thomas linked. It’s a hoot, they get their science from a paper by Kesten Green in Energy and Environment. Talk about over-egging it, lots of egg on those people’s faces.

Gareth May 16, 2014 at 2:35 pm

Even more remarkable, from my perspective, is that CRU has used Willem de Lange as an expert. Now WdL is certainly a coastal hazards scientist, and I accept that he has expertise in this area, but he is also an active climate denialist, a member of the NZ C”S”C amongst other things. In his submission to the Kapiti process, he misrepresents the contents of AR5, runs some standard denialist nonsense about models over predicting warming, and then cherry picks numbers he likes for the council to use.

Reminiscent of the approach Simon Arnold has used in this discussion, and just as wrong-headed.

andyS May 16, 2014 at 2:58 pm

Isn’t there an element of personal choice as to whether you take the risk of living by the sea? Obviously, the councils have to plan for infrastructure, but you could choose to manage that yourself.

bill May 16, 2014 at 7:40 pm

Andy, only the third para of my post was directed at you. Hence the phrase ‘and andy…’

I know perfectly well what a Godwin is, ta, and ‘denier’ isn’t one. Because dictionaries.

Ian Forrester May 11, 2014 at 2:45 am

John C’s dishonesty is that he (and the other deniers whom he cites and reads) misrepresents what is being studied. Cazanave’s paper is looking for and isolating the AGW component of GMSLR. The authors have removed the contribution due to ENSO and they have removed it from all the data that they looked at, not just the recent data as John C implied.

This is confirmed by the following statement found in the abstract which John C either hasn’t read, does not understand or is willfully ignoring:

Our results confirm the need for quantifying and further removing from the climate records the short-term natural climate variability if one wants to extract the global warming signal.

This is very similar to the paper published by Foster and Rhamstorf where they isolated the GHG temperature signal from actual readings. This is normal scientific practice when a number of different factors are encountered.

http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/6/4/044022

I wish you deniers would take a simple course in English comprehension and interpretation before making the ridiculous and wrong comments regarding real and honest science.

Simon Arnold May 11, 2014 at 10:20 am

Sorry, you misunderstand. I know Cazanave et al tries to remove short-term variability.

What I can’t see is where John C claimed they had only removed ENSO from the recent data. All John C seemed to do here was to use C. et al to point to the recent slow down in the rate of increase of GMSLR, which is uncontroversial.

Ian Forrester May 12, 2014 at 2:12 pm

Arnold, here is a paper you should read if you really want to understand what is happening with GMSL:

Timescales for detecting a significant acceleration in sea level rise Haigh et al. 2014

http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2014/140414/ncomms4635/full/ncomms4635.html

There is observational evidence that global sea level is rising and there is concern that the rate of rise will increase, significantly threatening coastal communities. However, considerable debate remains as to whether the rate of sea level rise is currently increasing and, if so, by how much. Here we provide new insights into sea level accelerations by applying the main methods that have been used previously to search for accelerations in historical data, to identify the timings (with uncertainties) at which accelerations might first be recognized in a statistically significant manner (if not apparent already) in sea level records that we have artificially extended to 2100. We find that the most important approach to earliest possible detection of a significant sea level acceleration lies in improved understanding (and subsequent removal) of interannual to multidecadal variability in sea level records.

Simon Arnold May 13, 2014 at 6:43 pm

Yes thanks, I’d read an uncorrected proof that’s available online.

Ian Forrester May 14, 2014 at 3:15 am

Typical denier response by posting a load of FUD. Notice the words he used to spread uncertainty and doubt; “uncorrected”, “proof”.

If he was honestly a true sceptic rather the a pseudo sceptic he might have made some criticism of the paper based on what it contained. But no, true to his denier colours he ignored content and just smeared the paper.

Arnold, i think it would benefit the scientific quality of this blog if you just crawled back under your denier rock, make sure it is well above present day sea level.

Simon Arnold May 14, 2014 at 9:20 pm

An “uncorrected proof” is a technical printing term used to refer to a version of the paper that hasn’t been finally signed off for publication.

Sorry, I assumed most people would know the term.

Ian Forrester May 15, 2014 at 2:42 am

I’m calling out your dishonesty on that comment:

I’d read an uncorrected proof that’s available online

If you really did read an “uncorrected proof” why did you not link to it? Your term “uncorrected proof”, and by the way I do know what “proof ” is as it refers to submitted manuscripts which have been returned by the editor with minor corrections so I have never seen “uncorrected proof” they always find something to change.

So either link to this imaginative “proof” or admit you are just full of it. Your comments were just invented to add typical denier doubt and uncertainty to a paper whose results you do not like. That should not be allowed on a science based blog. However, it does show how low you deniers will go.

Simon Arnold May 15, 2014 at 12:27 pm

Ian

I’m sorry, but all you assumptions about my motives are wrong. You referred to a paper Haigh et al.; we’d previously had a chat about the necessity of reading papers rather than just quoting abstracts; I reassured you that I had in the past read the paper, but simply for accuracy made it clear I hadn’t read it in the journal, I’d read an uncorrected proof.

I made no comment on the contents.

As to linking to it this seemed unnecessary because I took it from your previous comments that you wouldn’t have just quoted from it without having already read the paper. If you haven’t and do want to read it Google will find the uncorrected proof for you reasonably quickly.

As to the meaning of “uncorrected proof” I do need to share with you that I have spent some time in printing and publishing, and I can expand your knowledge by explaining that a “proof” is what the printer produces that then goes to the author/editor for correction.

So much to learn so little time.

Ian Forrester May 15, 2014 at 4:37 pm

I stand by my views on your motives. I have come across many,many deniers some of whom even have the audacity to deny that they are deniers.

You use words in a very specific way i.e to spread uncertainty and doubt which is the first thing deniers are taught when they go to denier school and take “denying101″.

So stop spreading this nonsense, you don’t really have a clue about science so stop pretending that you do.

andyS May 15, 2014 at 4:39 pm

I think Ian Forrester gets the prize for most uses of “denier” and its derivatives in one comment

andyS May 15, 2014 at 5:01 pm

Assuming that Simon is the same Simon that owns arnold.co.nz, then a brief glance at his linkedin page suggests that he might actually know a thing or two about science, so maybe the name calling will look a bit silly from certain quarters

Gareth May 15, 2014 at 5:47 pm

Unfortunately, Andy, as I’m sure you appreciate, expertise in one area does not necessarily signify expertise in an unrelated field. I doubt you’d go to a haematologist for advice on a skin cancer, though they’re both medical specialists.

Simon Arnold May 15, 2014 at 6:57 pm

Ian Forrester May 15, 2014 at 4:37 pm

Sorry Ian, the reason I made no comment on it was because it basically supports the matter under discussion in this thread – a range of 0.28 – 0.98m for sea level rise by 2100 from IPCC and no consensus on any change in acceleration supporting the higher projections.

It also focuses on the problem of detecting if/when change is occurring which is consistent with the adaptive planning approaches I’ve suggested, and as an aside it suggest that using existing techniques is unlikely to give us a definitive steer til 2020 odd.

I also just repeat that I haven’t mentioned my views around WW2.

Simon Arnold May 15, 2014 at 7:10 pm

Gareth, to be clear I don’t hold myself out to be an expert in statistical analysis, time series analysis and modelling complex systems (although I spent 7 years working in the general area).

Just more expert that many who practice climate science.

bill May 15, 2014 at 7:47 pm

We look forward to your papers with considerable interest.

bill May 16, 2014 at 12:39 am

Just as I’m going to have to ask for more detail on the claim that you’re ‘more expert that many who practice climate science’. Just a few names will do.

Gareth May 16, 2014 at 10:58 am

Just more expert that many who practice climate science.

And there, in one sentence, Simon blows any last vestiges of credibility he may have retained.

Frankly, given your performance to date in this discussion (claiming to know more about the risks of SLR than a lead author of the SLR section of WG1), and inability to appreciate how to handle uncertainty in assessing risk, I don’t think your views on SLR and coastal planning should be given any weight whatsoever.

To use one of Tim Groser’s favourite expressions, perhaps you should “stick to your knitting”.

Simon Arnold May 16, 2014 at 11:48 am

Garth

It obviously gets hard here when the content gets too difficult to handle.

My claim of expertise related to various areas of statistical analysis, particularly in time series analysis and forecasting, and I said while i didn’t claim a lot it was better than many climate scientists. You just implied I had claimed something more than that.

On Levermann I quoted him approvingly in the context of what he would say about SLR in the NZ legislative context (and I actually suspect I know more about that than either you or he).

On risk management you have a view that unlikely events should be weighted heavily in any assessment, and while you haven’t said it you seem to be implying that in the management of uncertainty you prefer the use of prescriptive planning tools rather than adaptive planning (it isn’t even clear you understand the subject because you haven’t participated in that discussion).

I should add however give the extent to which you reduce discussions to a personal level and do not even try to understand what the other party is saying perhaps means you have taken your and Tim’s advice on knitting to heart.

Gareth May 16, 2014 at 12:35 pm

Simon: your pomposity is doing you no favours. Given you can’t get my name right, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that you are misrepresenting what I have written in this discussion – I have specifically noted that an adaptive planning response is required.

For the last time: we can be 100% certain of multi-metre sea level rise in the future. We are not sure how long it will take to arrive, but come it will (unless we somehow find a way to reduce atmospheric CO2 to a level compatible with current shorelines – probably 280ppm).

How we respond to that depends on what is under threat, and how our understanding of ice sheet melt develops. We will require a nuanced planning response that will include defence (for some high value/strategic assets) and managed retreat of everything else. Existing assets will have to be treated differently to new development.

The politics of this are going to be complicated and highly contested, as your involvement in Kapiti demonstrates, but underplaying the nature and extent of the risks involved does nobody any favours.

bill May 16, 2014 at 12:36 pm

Be that as it may, Simon, it really was you who really did appeal to your own authority, and I think it’s a little naughty of you not to substantiate your claims.

And, OK, because it’s a field of deep expertise in itself, many in climate work with statistical specialists and all – so, are you better than, say, Grant Foster? A simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ will do…

And there really isn’t much point in getting in a huff if you paint yourself into a corner, now is there? ;-)

Ian Forrester May 16, 2014 at 1:39 pm

Arnold’s comments about being better at statistics than climate scientist is a hoot. The two best in the denier camp are McKitrick and Wegman. What a couple of bozos those two are. I’m sure Arnold will be better than them especially if he knows the difference between degrees and radians.

andyS May 16, 2014 at 1:54 pm

Ian Forrester, there are several statisticians in the “denier” camp of some note:

Doug Keenan, Matt Briggs, Nic Lewis, etc

Simon Arnold May 16, 2014 at 3:17 pm

Gareth

Apologies for the misspell. I’m one of those rare people that MS Word auto-correct regular improves what they type.

It’s good that you support adaptive planning, but in my defense it is the first time you have mentioned the word on this post. andyS and I are the only ones discussing it explicitly. The devil will be in the detail, but good that we can agree on that.

” .. we can be 100% certain of multi-metre sea level rise in the future. We are not sure how long it will take to arrive, but come it will (unless we somehow find a way to reduce atmospheric CO2 to a level compatible with current shorelines – probably 280ppm).”

I personally don’t read the literature as suggesting this (unless you are talking about things in the same way people discuss death and taxes). You are entitle to your opinion but the test NZ has agreed upon to use is what’s in our planning law, not just that Gareth thinks it.

So can we agree some things other than just the need for adaptive planning?

First, can you accept that my comments have all been in the context of NZ planning law that deals with 100 year assessments?

Second, can you accept that our planning horizons are this long because most of our built infrastructure has lives less than this?

Third, can you accept that the consensus from IPCC AR5 is that the likely range for its scenarios is 0.28-.98m for 2100 with little certainty about any contribution from sea ice melt but reasonable certainty of less than a couple of hundred mm – one paper cited here suggests 200+ years before this will happen?

Fourth, can you accept that NZ planning law requires the coastal hazard risk assessment to be based on the likely effects of climate change, and within that a requirement to focus on the high risks?

Fifth, can you accept the conclusion that in the absence of local factors coastal hazard risk assessment should then use that range in any hazard risk assessment at a property boundary and weight the cost by the likelihood, and that means the very unlikely 0.98m rise carries limited weight in the assessment despite its potentially higher cost?

You might feel uncomfortable about this because you believe it is fool-hardy. But put that aside. Given our legislative framework, the nature of the risks we are trying to manage (built infrastructure), the uncertainty and the guidance from the IPCC can you agree that above is the appropriate response?

If you feel that all you have to offer is some advice about how I could improve my character I think I’ll leave it there.

Gareth May 16, 2014 at 4:32 pm

Sorry Simon, but you continue to misunderstand and misrepresent both AR5 and the current state of the SLR literature. Until you can get your head round what that is, you have nothing further to offer any sensible discussion – however wordy your comments.

Simon Arnold May 16, 2014 at 9:44 pm

Gareth

I think this has run its course.

You want to talk about me and make me a better person by pointing out my supposed failings (while not knowing me from a bar of soap), and I’m trying to have a discussion about SLR in the context of the NZ RMA.

I obviously misjudged the purpose of this site.

Gareth May 16, 2014 at 10:20 pm

The purpose of this site is to represent climate science accurately. You have a problem doing that. Your loss, not ours.

Thomas May 12, 2014 at 10:14 pm

Simon A, you said: ” … the recent slow down in the rate of increase of GMSLR, [which] is uncontroversial.

This is a rather bold assertion and I hope you can show us the data to support this point!!

The fact remains that none of the sea level rise charts you can access via: http://sealevel.colorado.edu/ show any decline in the rate. Check CU, AVISO, CISRO, NASA and NOAA, none shows such a decline. In fact the 2014 data point is smack on the 3.2mm/y trend since 1993.

Perhaps your confusion results in looking in outdated data.
As you can see, the date range that Cazenave looked at was the period from 2003 to 20011 and he looks at 5 year rolling averages. This is a very short time frame.

But we are writing the year 2014! As you can see with the current data set, the 2014 data point of the SLR graphs of any of the reporting institutes has caught up exactly with the overall trend of 3.2mm/y again after we had a very steep increase in the SLR rate between 2011 and now. If I wanted to play the “cherry picking game” I could say that the current (2011 to 2014) SLR rate is at about 6mm/y! But that would be nonsense and alarmist.

The Cazenave paper is a hind casting exercise in explaining the observed multi year variations in SLR due to La Nina/El Nino cycles. The ‘slowdown’ of SLR was already an old hat when the Cazenave paper came out as the reality of 2014 has overtaken and erased any trace of a ‘slowdown’ from 2003 to 2011 anyway!
What Cazenave showed is that we can explain the past time variations along the trend well with known variations due to the El Niño–Southern Oscillation.

Simon Arnold May 13, 2014 at 6:49 pm

See my earlier response.

John C May 14, 2014 at 10:24 am

You are giving me far too much credit if you think I am wilfully manipulating the paper. I am only learning about this subject and dont claim to be an expert. I have done nothing more than google SLR and put fwd what appeared to be a recent trend. The longer you spend looking at it the more answers you get unfortunently. I think all this deliberate dishonesty talk is a bit extreme. What’s more I believe climate change is happening and man is contributing, I only question the rate of change.

[Trolling snipped. GR]

Macro May 14, 2014 at 11:11 am

Your results of googling confirm your Internet bias then John. The results for your google search for say SLR will NOT be the same as mine, nor mine the same as Gareth’s, or Rob’s or whomever.
http://www.internetseer.com/services/article.xtp?id=37037
Time you stopped visiting Watts and co and did some real investigation

Stuart May 10, 2014 at 12:00 pm

Sorry. Must have pasted link to wrong topic. Never mind. Won’t cause a global disaster. Anyway I’m past feeling indignation toward the deniers. Their desperate responses are reducing them to the rediculous.
Just as a lack of sophisticated thinking explains the reluctance and inertia among lay folk, their common sense is already beginning to question the competence of city planners and politicians. In the meantime the deniers will sound increasingly shrill and will start ranting from street corners. I can’t wait.

Stuart May 10, 2014 at 2:29 pm

Ian F.
I notice individual deniers don’t come back admitting their errors. The change the subject or move to a new bit of questionable nit picking. Meanwhile the sea levels rise, the fires rage, the floods sweep whole villages away. While will be decisive for these guys (and they usually are) is when their wives crack them over the head with a frypan after the next flood or landslip or toppling tree.

andyS May 10, 2014 at 2:48 pm

One thing we haven’t discussed with respect to the SLR policy of ChCh and Wellington is what effect this will actually have on building regulations, public policy on infrastructure, insurance costs, etc.

At the moment, the CHCh housing market is in a bit of a crazy bubble. An insurance write off on TC3 land in Merivale recently sold for $1.3 million. You can’t insure or get a mortgage on this property.

A friend got paid out for a red zoned property in South Shore, and bought two properties with the money, in the same area. Both were insurance write offs. He has fixed up one to live in, the other is being done up as a rental and he reckons he will have paid back the investment in 5 years.

So I don’t think there is any short term movement away from the areas by the sea. Judging by the proliferation of anti oil and various other environmental billboards up, it isn’t “deniers” living there either.

Additional regulatory requirements may prevent new builds, though.

Rob Painting May 10, 2014 at 9:26 pm

It’s problem for sure Andy. People don’t tend to think long-term until reality starts hammering at the door. A lot of people whom accept the scientific evidence of human-caused climate change are in denial too.

Stuart May 10, 2014 at 9:09 pm

AndyS.
Your happy to drip feed us anecdotal reports yourself.
At Harwood on the Otago Peninsular new houses must be rolacatable. The Council have publicly discussed their long term plans for raising harbour side roading and minimum levels ASL have been raised a metre. The bottom of boat sheds are being regularly inundated and ponding is a regular occurrence adjacent to the harbour. Drill holes are regularly monitoring shifts in the water table and the St. Clair Esplanade has taken a hammering from storm surges since it was extended.

andyS May 11, 2014 at 9:10 am

Stuart, is global warming worse in Denedin than Christchurch?
According to Tonkin and Taylor, there has been no SLR in Lyttelton Harboir for a decade.
Even if SLR was on the global trajectory of around 3mm a year, you would have 3 cm over a decade, which is hardly likely to cause inundation of the peninsula.

Of course, there are other factors to take into account, such as tectonic movement and slumping due to removal of ground water from the soil structures. This suggests an adaptive strategy based on local conditions would be the best, rather than employing a countrywide one metre policy.

Bob Bingham May 11, 2014 at 9:13 am

You guys have been busy while I was out planting trees but here is my latest blog on Tree Die Off. http://www.climateoutcome.kiwi.nz/blog.html

Stuart May 11, 2014 at 3:04 pm

Can’t decide whether you are being stupid or funny. SLR is tidally expressed by the shape and profile of estuaries and harbours. Other factors such as rain and wind direction also effect it. The nominal average is the least of our worries. It’s the increasing frequency and intensity of storm and tidal surges that will be the decisive factor. A managed retreat is now being officially confronted in the UK. Plenty of references. Go and do some homework.

andyS May 11, 2014 at 4:35 pm

I don’t need to do any homework Stuart. I am fully aware of what the issues around sea level rise and flooding are.

We have abandoned our house in ChCh, my inlaws have a property in the Flockton area that uninhabitable, yet they still pay full rates and can do nothing about it.

My wife and mother in law have appeared on Campbell Live on this issue.

[Snipped.]

We are already well into our “managed retreat” and Chch can turn into a rat infested slum for all I care.

[Snipped. Your frustration is obvious, but no need to personalise it. GR]

Stuart May 11, 2014 at 3:22 pm

In fact this increase in frequency, intensity and range IS the problem in the whole business. It’s the heat waves and wildfires, and weather bombs that are impacting and causing the damage. Why do you think it’s called “climate change”?
Science reporting uses the trends of averages which the popular press finds somewhat boring clearly it is the destruction caused by the extremes that attract public attention and force the hand of politicians (and insurance companies). Many of course don’t readily grasp the connection or the implication.

Bob Bingham May 11, 2014 at 3:25 pm

When .the NZ government gives guidance on climate change it uses the middle of the road assessment of CO2 emissions. The problem here is that the various scenarios were set in the mid 1990′s when scientists were niave enough to believe that with the huge impact of CO2 on the environment people would actually start moving towards a carbon free industry. As we now know this was a complete miscalculation, I thought that in the latest IPCC report they might start a new code for a business as usual scenario but they did not, The NZ government should change the guidance from A1B (mid range) to A1F1 (worst case) to reflect the true situation. http://www.climateoutcome.kiwi.nz/temperature.html
All this shows is that there is not much point following the government guidelines and thinking that you will be OK. As somebody has already mentioned there is no certainty about when the collapse of Greenland will take place. The only certainty is that it will melt completely over time.

Stuart May 11, 2014 at 4:00 pm

Bob B.
That climate outcome site is brief but very good. It shows how fragile our (human) environment actually is. We live in a very slim envelope something not obvious to us from our primitive non scientific perch. I can imagine how the smartarses in our denier communities would have responded to Copernicus and Galileo!

Stuart May 11, 2014 at 4:25 pm

I suspect the Politicians are desperately trying to postpone climate change becoming a major election issue. That of course suits our major emission offenders. Hence the encouragement of the denial community. Hence the forked tongue posturing. Internationally play lip service to us but internally denial or avoidance.

Stuart May 11, 2014 at 4:34 pm

That was a bit garbled.
Internationally paying lip service to the scientific consensus but domestically (for the punters) denial or avoidance.

Stuart May 11, 2014 at 4:50 pm

Thomas.
Measurements and models. Some don’t know the difference and some try and focus attention on the models which they know are fallibalistic not inclusive of unknown variables of course. The usefulness of a model is its capacity to predict novel outcomes. But in any case the deniers don’t want attention paid to data that confirms the predictions.

Stuart May 12, 2014 at 1:06 am

And guess what? Wet sand sinks.

Stuart May 12, 2014 at 12:57 pm

Here’s a good example of Southern coastlines under assault. While managed so far along the Dunedin coast and south toward the Catlins, the same sea level rise and increased energy is taking its toll.

http://www.odt.co.nz/print/301898

bill May 12, 2014 at 2:45 pm
andyS May 12, 2014 at 2:16 pm

The point I was trying to make earlier about how this translates into actual policy hasn’t really been addressed.

I have heard that the adoption of this one metre standard will mean that the flood management area of Christchurch will be extended. The concept is already in place so it presumably means extended the area affected.

Policy might dictate that new houses should be built on piles at a certain level above MSL

This is not necessarily a bad thing. The earthquakes taught us two main things about house construction – houses on piles fared better than those on concrete pads, and wooden structures fared better than brick/concrete.

There are other questions as to how infrastructure decisions are made.
For example, the waste water systems are still quite badly damaged in Christchurch. How does the policy affect repair decisions on these?
The T&T report has the rather worrisome phrase “forced retreat” in it. What does this imply? There are property rights to consider. The red zone process was one of forced acquisition and in many cases there was a positive outcome for those affected, but it was very expensive and one that the government seems reluctant to continue with as seen in the Flockton basin area

Finally, if the “informal show of hands” that led to the CCC decision that is not in line with the RMA, as Simon Arnold suggests, what is the process for the public to challenge decisions from the council?

Christchurch residents are rather weary but in some cases experienced in court cases against insurance companies and EQC.

Simon Arnold May 13, 2014 at 6:54 pm

“… what is the process for the public to challenge decisions from the council?”

Legal challenge and political pressure as has happened in Kapiti with he District Council’s use of work by coastal scientists that have been subsequently judged as not fit for purpose leading to LIMs being withdrawn along with the coastal hazards component of the draft district plan being withdrawn.

Stuart May 12, 2014 at 8:44 pm

I have to say, as I’ve said before I think, I admired the handful of people I saw loading up a few possessions onto a trailor with the kids stuffed into the car, who headed out of the disaster zone. I admired them because these were people obviously without significant resources, probably renters but were just not prepared to risk their kids to possible harm for the sake of dodgy politicians and council officials who seek to maintain a captive community, the source of their wealth and power.

Stuart May 12, 2014 at 9:25 pm

AndyS.
I commiserate on your situation and your in-laws. There’s a bit of consolation in the realisation that you don’t have to face disaster on your own. Decisive action for the sake of your immediate family is essential, but even casual observation shows cooperation and focused group and community action is the only way forward. Don’t expect too much help from people whose interests lie in public denial. These people are often full of public reassurance while they are privately securing their own salvation at the expense of others.

Stuart May 12, 2014 at 10:21 pm

Here is a good US example where the history of individual success in politics and the alliances involved make migration to rational policies all but impossible for many.

http://www.salon.com/2014/05/11/marco_rubio_i_do_not_believe_that_human_activity_is_causing_these_dramatic_changes_to_our_climate_the_way_these_scientists_are_portraying_it/?source=newsletter

Thomas May 13, 2014 at 4:59 pm

Rubio is just another Republican sunny boy, raised as a lawyer, which is a primary concern actually for so many US lawmakers, who frequently have an education in Law, where being right or wrong is decided by money, Machiavellian ruthlessness, and whit, and not necessarily at all what’s true! In fact, truth is one of the first victims in many US legal or political wrangles. These figures then believe they can apply courtroom tactics to the interpretation of science. Unfortunately they forget entirely that nature is not a jury or an electorate they can hoodwink or an opponent they can outmaneuver with rhetoric.

Also Rubio is a Baptist. So he has traded reality for a 2000 year old fairy tale and reinforces the same each Sunday. Being a Lawyer and a Baptist is probably a mix through which science and physical reality has very little chance of intruding into the space between the ears. His mental fire wall won’t let data packets pass to his brain circuits that do not fit the sandbox reality in which he plays his Republican games.

But also this figure will pass and nature will take its course. Sadly right wing nut cases like him will influence the US agenda for too long. Its time the people over there wake up from their daze and send the sunny boys and smart b… s…. talkers packing.

Stuart May 13, 2014 at 3:22 pm

For many the implications of global warming/climate change are just to uncomfortable to face up to. But scientists and economists by the ship load are convinced that correction is not only necessary, it is viable, affordable and in fact economically beneficial in the short, medium and long term. In addition to emmission reductions, a progressive veering away from fossil fuels has other immediate benefits for waterways, breathable air and carcinogenic issues. All of these are economically attractive. Then there’s the job opportunities with significant up-skilling of the appropriate labour forces. Add to that the localisation of electricity generation and the savings of the hugely expensive grids. Add to that the diversification of generation and the increased competition that the mega corporations would just die for! All in the name of market forces!
The incentive for new technologies is also good economically. The biggest problem the world currently faces is monopolisation and market manipulation. Change is good for that reason alone.

Stuart May 13, 2014 at 4:22 pm

The flooding and sea level problem can only addressed of course by the bigger picture. Combine three emerging realities.
Warmer sea surfaces and atmosphere? More and heavier downpours.

Sea level rise? Higher water table and more flooding.

Glacial recession? Faster runoffs of precipitation and scouring of river courses and more flooding.

The cost of mitigating and reversing (hopefully) this process over the next century or two? Starting now with new and existing technologies and here are some IEA ideas.

http://reneweconomy.com.au/2014/iea-says-fossil-fuels-must-be-replaced-by-renewables-46853

Stuart May 13, 2014 at 4:34 pm

I see a new potential problem has been identified from flooding, the spread of toxins from old, possibly illegal chemical dumping in the environment.

andyS May 13, 2014 at 4:41 pm

Flooding brings all sorts of interesting things into your property
This is what my in-laws place looked like recently
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/48940782/floodgarden.jpg

Stuart May 13, 2014 at 8:00 pm
Stuart May 13, 2014 at 8:09 pm

There have been pauses in temperature and sea level rise but the long term trend is still upward. These sort of changes normally have quite a bit if inertia but once started the have a lot of momentum. Like huge ships they don’t reverse readily.

http://www1.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/cmb/images/indicators/sea-level-rise.gif

Stuart May 14, 2014 at 4:10 am
Stuart May 14, 2014 at 11:30 pm

A good number of the deniers reveal not only a complete lack of scientific knowledge but even their conventional thinking is quite blinkered by a lack of imagination. It takes imagination to see the implications of novel developments. They concentrate on conventional issues such as by-laws and legalistic semantics where there is plenty of wriggle room and doubt sowing doesn’t attract immediate scorn.

Stuart May 14, 2014 at 11:35 pm

How do you dispute a phrase like “over-egged”.
Excuse me Professor, I think you’ve over-egged the second law of thermodynamics!”

Simon Arnold May 15, 2014 at 12:04 pm

Over-egged is a technical term that as I remember we used quite often in thermodynamics.

Ian Forrester May 16, 2014 at 1:31 pm

It’s also a phrase we use to describe serial deniers. They get more and more egg on their faces with every piece of nonsense masquerading as science they post.

andyS May 16, 2014 at 1:38 pm

Serial deniers? That sounds super serial

Bob Bingham May 15, 2014 at 4:28 pm

While you guys have been chatting I have done another blog. On topic as it is about melting ice and sea level rise as there have been some recent reports published. http://www.climateoutcome.kiwi.nz/blog
I would be interested to know if the RSS feed works.

andyS May 16, 2014 at 4:06 pm

If anyone wants another topic to discuss, then Dunedin Council’s decision to divest from fossil fuel assets might be a “hot potato” for the weekend…

Gareth May 16, 2014 at 5:01 pm

Responding to Andy’s comment here, for clarity’s sake. [I hate the long indents. Might get rid of them entirely one day.]

Of course there’s personal choice involved in deciding how close you live to the sea. So long as it’s only your property that’s at risk – and that you can get someone to insure it against SLR/storm damage – then I’m sure people will continue to make that choice.

The problem comes when people have invested too much in their coastal property, and find the damage coming to them. They call on their local authority to build flood/storm defences. Entirely understandable, and if funded by a special rate on the affected properties, all well and good. But given what we know about the expected SLR, and the certainty that it will continue for centuries, there has to be both a practical and financial limit on constructing defences. Insurance will become impossible to get and retreat will become inevitable.

As I said (somewhere) above, I would be very concerned about some of the North Canterbury beach communities. These were originally mostly baches for holiday use, but have become much more permanent features in the last few decades. Rebuilding or moving a bunch of glorified sheds after a dune failure or storm surge is one thing, but some of the big modern homes that have gone up in recent years is quite another. At Waikuku there are some homes built on stilts several metres above ground level. Families who have lived through previous floods, at a guess…

For cities and ports, the problem becomes even more complex. I wonder who will be the first to propose a Thames Barrier-style structure across the entrance to Wellington harbour?

andyS May 16, 2014 at 5:13 pm

There was a case recently of an elderly couple in their 80s (in Australia somewhere) who were told they had to leave their property because of SLR. They were two metres above MSL

This seems to me a patently absurd decision, for people that had maybe 10-15 years left on this planet, to be forced to leave based on a scenario that *may* eventuate in 100-200 years time.

In Christchurch, there are now a number of properties by the beach (including my own) that have zero book value, and are uninsured. People will continue to live in these properties, regardless. We don’t expect “the authorities” to do anything if our houses become threatened by floodwaters.

Similarly there are people living in the Brooklands area of Christchurch whose houses have been red-zoned (despite having no physical damage) yet they continue to live there.

If you have no financial stake in the property, i.e it owes you nothing, then these decisions take on a whole different perspective

Gareth May 16, 2014 at 5:58 pm

I can’t comment on the Aussie case since I’m not familiar with it, but a property 2m above MSL could get into trouble long before a century’s up, via storm surge, erosion, salt water intrusion into groundwater etc.

And you are quite right, people will continue to live in places prone to flooding and all the rest as long as the costs of recovering from flooding are less than the cost of moving elsewhere. But I do think that the insurability of flood/storm surge/damage prone properties will be a key driver of coastal adjustments.

bill May 16, 2014 at 7:50 pm

Can I suggest some of the more unwieldy subthreads – where ‘reply’ becomes an endurance test – might be pulled down to the main thread by linky magic?

For example: continuing on from the Simon’s superior statistical skillz subthread, what, no comment on outranking (or otherwise) Grant Foster? I’m disappointed…

Thomas May 16, 2014 at 11:16 pm

To assist with the thread thingy I reply here (last one, its gets boring) to Andy and Simon on the CRU and Kapiti coast matter:
I think the hoopla is simple: Coastal dwellers want to be allowed to live under some sort of SLR invisibility cloak for a while longer. They want to enjoy a property worth $xxx.xxx or seven figures, whatever, for as long as possible and hopefully for them with annual value increases they can take to the bank (or out of the same and spend). The imagination of considerable net worth in form of a valuable coastal datcha is priceless….
Now there then comes some district council underling with a red pen and draws the beach lines of the future on the map, a future that only a fool would deny will come. And woops, the palace is now carrying a use-by sticker. To be worthless by 20xx it reads. Now this ‘callous act’ of a tax payer funded bureaucrat has nixed the value play of kadozen of land owners who’s patch is going to be run over by the waves.
Of cause, no hand waving and mincing of numbers by Simon or others will stop the rising waters.

I am with Gareth on this one: Land owners should be allowed to stay where they are but the tax payer funded govt has the obligation to minimize future losses to the tax payer. This implies to inform any potential buyers of land of the status of the same in regards to its SLR imposed likely use-by date plus a policy that will clearly state what flood defenses the council might fund which definitely not. If land owners sell, the new buyer will have to sign a “we told you so” clause so that the tax payer is off the hook. Places like this will be un-insurable but heck, it will be worth something still, even if it was only for a couple of decades. Buyer beware!

andyS May 17, 2014 at 8:53 am

The “told you so” clauses already exist in the form of Land Information memorandum, LIM, reports.

Many Christchurch home owners had clear warning of liquefaction threat which many chose to ignore or didn’t see.

So the legal frameworks are already in place.
I don’t think it is the council or government role to determine that your land is worthless.

Macro May 17, 2014 at 3:21 pm

Not quite so sure I agree with you there andy. The problem is that many in local government are only in it to feather their own nests and that of their mates. Having worked in the civil contracting scene – (land surveying) for a while recently I saw many examples of where land was being developed which should never have been, almost always at the instigation of developers closely or intimately associated with people in local government. To give one prime example, a development near Ruakaka by Marsden Point called twin lakes was being subdivided. Like the Flockton street area in ChCh it was actually a swamp. The Twin lakes were to be the solution for the storm water drainage. The area was about 1m above sea level and was almost solely comprised of peat, to a depth of 3m. During the course of the sub-division it became apparent:
1. The lakes were never going to drain and a 1km storm water drain of 1m diameter pipes at a gradient of less than 1% would be required cost over $1m and
2. the peat would have to be removed and replaced with compacted sand.
The developers went broke and while I have no real sympathy for them the whole project should never have gotten past resource agreement and was only instigated because one suspects the mayor at the time had a large trucking company. But wow betide any one who buys there! The storm water even now would be working at its capacity and as you know water doesn’t flow up hill unless its pumped.

andyS May 17, 2014 at 6:14 pm

Macro – I agree with many of the points you raise here. In Christchurch, there were similar issues with some of the new subdivisions on the east side which had very poor engineering reports yet managed to get pushed thorough to resource consent through bribery, corruption or some other dubious tactics.

The Flockton basin area is a little different as this was adversely affected by the earthquake, and in fact today’s paper reports that EQC are going to the high court for clarification on their financial obligations

The issues I raise are really in regard to retrospective decisions on existing titles, which becomes tricky as you have to respect peoples property rights and balance them against the councils obligations to maintain infrastructure

Macro May 18, 2014 at 6:40 pm

Yes I too concur with the points you raise with regards the Chch situation.
I am currently visiting Chch for the first time in a long time, and have had a guided tour of the city by an old friend who lives close to what was the CBD. :( Yes it has to be seen to be true understood.

andyS May 18, 2014 at 7:59 pm

Macro yes it does have to be seen to be believed. However, this Google Street view before and after shots does convey some of the devastation quite well

http://m.imgur.com/a/XMPO2/noscript?utm_content=bufferde598&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Thomas May 18, 2014 at 7:08 pm

Yes the LIM mechanism is there. But still, until new policy of the council starts to put SLR ‘use by dates’ onto the affected properties via the LIM mechanism, land owners and prospective purchasers can remain in denial. The issue with the Kapiti (CRU) people is that they object to have the ‘SLR will sink this property’ sticker on their LIM.
Eventually though this will happen to a large number of properties around the country. Many people who own those properties now will spit fire if it does….

Simon Arnold May 18, 2014 at 10:21 pm

Thomas

The issue in Kapiti was the LIMs ended up with rubbish on them as a consequence of over enthusiastic non-scientific assessments of the risks (but I suspect the kind of thing has support from some in this quarter).

As a consequence of some more robust scientific review and appropriate application of the legislation (as I’ve been discussing here) the Kapiti Coast DC has removed the LIM notification. You should read up a little bit about it. One of the particular issues in Kapiti is that most of the shoreline is building up at about twice the rate likely from sea level rise (rivers from the Whanganui down bringing bits of the inner N Island down to see it carried down the coast line), but even putting that aside there has been worst cases added to worst case throughout the analysis, and then presented as likely.

No one disagrees that there are bits at risk S of Paraparaumu surf life saving club and management is called for. But the over enthusiastic coastal scientists are detracting from that issue. However even they are recanting in the face of patient explanation.

If I get time I’ll come back and quickly run through the calculation of the likelihood of extremes of the 2100 sea level rise as seen by the IPCC and the implications for risk assessment. I have other fish to fry right now and Gareth has headed for the hills, but you might be interested.

I’d just summarize by saying the likelihood of a 1 m rise by 2100 is mercifully low on any reasonable interpretation of the IPCC (perhaps less than a couple of percent).

Thomas May 19, 2014 at 5:41 am

Shall we then print and frame this for a prominent place over the mantelpiece:

I’d just summarize by saying the likelihood of a 1 m rise by 2100 is mercifully low on any reasonable interpretation of the IPCC (perhaps less than a couple of percent).
Simon Arnold – 18/5/2014

Thomas May 19, 2014 at 5:59 am

My take:

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2013/11/sea-level-rise-what-the-experts-expect/

And add to that: The ‘red’ scenario in the discussion above can only be avoided if we engage very pro-actively in AGW mitigation, i.e. rapid reduction of GHG emissions. However this seems rather unlikely if current politics do not change significantly. But even then, as we learned in the recent past, some significant Antarctic ice shelf contributors to SLR may well be past the point of rescue already and an eventual multi-metre SLR booked in by now.

Also, even with a 60cm SLR by 2100, what would the erosion picture of the Kapiti coast look like?

As to your assertion that “most of the shoreline is building up at about twice the rate likely from sea level rise”….
I am pleased to hear that houses are being thrust higher (perhaps like Charlie Chaplin in that barbers chair) from coastal build up at twice the SLR rate… :-)
A novel phenomenon for sure.

noelfuller May 19, 2014 at 9:42 am

Due to tektonic forces NZ experiences a considerable degree of uplift and in places some subsidence, add in erosion and platform building. An alpine peak may be uplifted at a rate of 7mm/year and eroded at 3.5 mm/year the resultant almost matched by current SLR but that’s too simple a picture. The North island lies wholly on the Australasian plate which overides the Pacific plate. With the South Island the story is almost the opposite so I’ve been trying to imagine the screw-up between. Here is a simplified map with rather rounded figures that provides an overview of the uplift situation. I would find it far more interesting if the seabed was included but I doubt such figures can easily be arrived at. Does Kapiti relate more to the uplift to the east? or a subsidence to the west? if any?, or neither? Of course uplift is a process that tends to proceed in jumps rather than steady movement. SLR is a more gradual process with accelerations and decelerations related to rainfall distribution and also a steadier thermal expansion.. Me? I’ve always found that Hauraki rift interesting and have kayaked under sail then motor from Clevdon to about 43 kilometres up the Piako river near Tahuna.

noelfuller May 19, 2014 at 9:58 am

Catastrophy! My beta computer containing 2 years work suffered total loss of harddrive data and corruption of the bios nearly 7 weeks back. That I took at the time to be catastrophy but the computing cyclone since has been downgraded to “…” setback :)

Part of the recovery process depended on getting back the content of emails regularly dispatched to a group over the two years concerned – analogy with kinship group contribution to former pacific island sustainability!

Two nights ago I was freezing after completing the tedious process of restorating my largest database so I read through this thread. I found myself quite warmed by the time I got to the end of it :)

noelfuller May 19, 2014 at 10:32 am

Since the beginning of the theatre that has resulted in annexation of Crimea by Russia I have put it about that the motive is control of oil and gas under the Black sea. To quite spoil your day you can read up on this in the New York Times before the report disappears behind a paywall.

A further note: some of the 42% of non-Russians in Crimea are being intimidated with threats of deportation as happened 70 years ago – crosses appearing on gates or doors. (Source: Al Jazeera last night). Some years ago former Tatar deportees returned to Crimea from central asia to find Russians in their former homes. They applied for land grants but never received the land so have remained squaters. Tatars compose 15% (300,000) of Crimea’s population. Meanwhile Ukraine has not been supplying the usual quantity of fresh water to Crimea. Fossil fuel politics once again poison all the peoples!

Tony May 20, 2014 at 10:16 am

Here is an interesting little tidbit, you could have sneezed and you would have missed it:

http://www.voxy.co.nz/politics/budget-whacks-forest-owners-ets/5/190559

National takes a swipe at forest owners and probably gets a pat on the back from polluters. No doubt their actions will see them gain the ascendency in the opinion polls by several notches.

noelfuller May 20, 2014 at 10:49 am

It’s a matter of votes. Power companies can go on with arbitrage for another year, i.e. after the election. They have more clients and maybe more new shareholders. Nevertheless the move is necessary if inequitably carried out. When, we wonder, will forest be planted or retained for the purpose of carbon sequestration?

Bob Bingham May 20, 2014 at 8:11 pm

Electricity companies all round the world are in a static market as appliances become more efficient, LED lights are installed and people install solar panels. to grow their business they need to attack the transport market and convert our cars and goods transport industry to electricity. We have an abundance of renewable energy and an oil import bill of four billion dollars a year. Oil is a diminishing resource and as we we can passed peak oil in 2007 we can expect sudden price hikes and it would be good insurance to have an alternative form of transport.
http://www.climateoutcome.kiwi.nz/clean-energy-alternatives.html

noelfuller May 31, 2014 at 12:16 am

A not insignificant problem with Contact is annoying me. Is anyone else here a Contact Customer – better still are you exporting power their way? If so you might have the same complaint as me.

During April they rised their charges – something to do with Vector they said – but in their next bill introduced a new billing form with a usage graph on it. At the same time they questioned my meter reading and claimed they were estimating usage for all customers, got everything completely wrong, ignored my protests and did not pass on my invoice for payment until I went through their complaints process.. I suspect their staff do not know what to expect from a generator, compounded by some appalling programming concerned with estimating imports and exports to check on emailed or phoned meter readings from clients.

An example billing form was included with the bill that explained the changes. If you are a Contact client look at the example usage graph on that form, especially the black bits signifying exports. Note how they have exports matching imports. If they are trying to represent PV exports they clearly have been badly advised.

My bill is even worse. From November to March they somehow added my exports and imports together did something to calculate calendar usage and called it all imports. I cannot match their graph with my figures. Consequently when applying their new system of estimation they questioned my import reading and estimated something much higher, They also produced an imaginary export figure that was much too high and a first appearance of an export bar on the graph which was about half the real value.

After going to great lengths to put them right, in the next bill they still ignored my reading but their import estimate was not too far out. However they came up with an amazingly high figure for my exports – the real figure was 330 kWh, theirs was 732 – real for January but not for May. I wish I could show you their ridiculous usage graph. It seems that they are basing their estimates on imaginary numbers and do not know enough about what they are doing to question it. That bodes ill for the future. Have they got only me wrong or is it all generators? My efforts to get them on their complaints line have not succeeeded yet – too many others on the lines!

Bob Bingham May 31, 2014 at 10:48 am

I have solar panels and am with Contact and it did not take long to realise that although the staff are very helpful the company system is not designed to cope with solar customers. After fitting the panels I went to Australia and knew that Contact would take money from my account unless I gave them a reading. True enough they took $400 as an average payment. All power companies take more from you as an estimate so that they can hold a big fund of cash. They did the same in the UK so I expected it here.
Since then I take a reading every month and phone them with the figures otherwise by now they would have taken thousands from me. I have also put the actual readings in the funny little form in the readings panel that is for regular customers and that worked as well. My latest bill for May was $10.69 and they still owe me $350.

noelfuller May 31, 2014 at 3:31 pm

I’ve been supplying readings from go but since they have come up with their totally erronius usage graph they have been ignoring my readings. I reworked my spreadsheet so I could see what has been happening and learned their big estimate during the price rise gave them a windfall of $1:90. It might have been about $8 but I made lots of noise.. As I have been maintaining daily readings I see better than most what is going on

As that usage graph has my name on it and as it represents the basis for their strange estimates I consider I own it and they have an obligation to put it right, all the way back, just as other commercial and government entities are obliged to be accurate or else.

“they still owe me $350″
Send them an invoice for the whole amount apart from your regular invoice for exports. That money should be earning in your account, not theirs.

Bob Bingham May 31, 2014 at 10:57 am

While on the subject of solar I am promoting the principle of converting our transport from oil, where we have an oil import bill of 4 billion dollars annually, to renewable electricity where we have an abundant supply.
Oil is a diminishing resource with a volatile price and it no good waiting for the price to surge before we start to do something we need to start on this mammoth task while money is still available.
I need help with contacts to promote the principles with power generators. Can anyone help?
http://www.climateoutcome.kiwi.nz/clean-energy-alternatives.html

noelfuller May 31, 2014 at 3:37 pm

At least Auckland is getting it’s electric trains.

Bob Bingham May 31, 2014 at 10:13 pm

Getting back to the original subject of the boy child I have just done a new blog. http://www.climateoutcome.kiwi.nz/blog Our man Kevin Trenberth has produced a very good video on the subject.

Thomas June 12, 2014 at 4:46 pm
noelfuller June 12, 2014 at 10:09 pm

Very good article indeed.

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