Scientists in the Netherlands have found a new excuse as to why sea levels are stubbornly refusing to rise in line with Al Gore’s doomsday predictions: “ocean bottom deformation.”
Apparently, they claim in a study by Thomas Frederikse et al, the weight of the extra water caused by all those melting glaciers and icecaps is so great that it is causing the sea bed to sink.
Their paper – titled ‘Ocean Bottom Deformation Due To Present-Day Mass Redistribution and Its Impact on Sea Level Observations’ – is published in Geophysical Research Letters.Here is the abstract:
Present-day mass redistribution increases the total ocean mass and, on average, causes the ocean bottom to subside elastically. Therefore, barystatic sea level rise is larger than the resulting global mean geocentric sea level rise, observed by satellite altimetry and GPS-corrected tide gauges. We use realistic estimates of mass redistribution from ice mass loss and land water storage to quantify the resulting ocean bottom deformation and its effect on global and regional ocean volume change estimates. Over 1993–2014, the resulting globally averaged geocentric sea level change is 8% smaller than the barystatic contribution. Over the altimetry domain, the difference is about 5%, and due to this effect, barystatic sea level rise will be underestimated by more than 0.1 mm/yr over 1993–2014. Regional differences are often larger: up to 1 mm/yr over the Arctic Ocean and 0.4 mm/yr in the South Pacific. Ocean bottom deformation should be considered when regional sea level changes are observed in a geocentric reference frame.
What this means is that seas are expanding much faster than is shown either by satellite altimetry or tide gauges. We just can’t see it because it’s happening, unnoticed, on the deep sea beds.
If you believe the environmental website Earther.com this is very worrying.
For the average reader, though, there’s an even simpler takeaway, which is that humans are messing with the planet in some very profound ways.
“The Earth itself is not a rigid sphere, it’s a deforming ball,” Frederikse said. “With climate change, we do not only change temperature.”
Newsweek is similarly appalled, though without being quite able to explain why.
It says, rather desperately:
Recently, rising temperatures have caused much of the frozen water on the planet’s glaciers to melt and join the ocean as liquid. This mass melting ice rising sea levels, a problem whose consequences we’re already starting to see. The first to notice the repercussions of rising sea levels are those who live in coastal areas. Rising waters mean less land to live on.
Yes, it’s true that sea level rise is a major concern to climate alarmists. So important, in fact, that they’ve felt the need to fake it to make it look far more dramatic than it actually is.
But if this study is correct – something we can’t be certain of, given that a lot of it seems rather too dependent on calculations based on models rather than rigorously measured data – then surely the alarmists should be celebrating rather than panicking.
As Benny Peiser of the Global Warming Policy Foundation puts it:
So the sea levels aren’t rising too fast after all because of climate change? Problem solved.