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JPL’s new climate website: Yes, sea level rise has accelerated

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"JPL’s new climate website: Yes, sea level rise has accelerated"

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The Jet Propulsion Laboratory has a very good new website on global climate change. It offers a nice summary of the relevant science in a variety of areas: key indicators, evidence, causes, effects, uncertainties, solutions. The website is a good place to send people who are uninformed on global warming, but looking for basic information.

JPL has a very nice front-page banner with pulldown menus providing data on “Vital Signs of the Planet,” including Arctic sea ice, carbon dioxide, sea level rise, global temperature, and the ozone hole. Here is the expanded chart showing the recent 70% jump in sea level rise:

sealevelgraphic1.jpg

“The chart [above] shows historical sea level data derived from 23 tide-gauge measurements. The chart on the right shows the average sea level since 1993 derived from global satellite measurements, updated here monthly. Sea level rise is associated with the thermal expansion of sea water due to climate warming and widespread melting of land ice.”

If you go to Key Indicators page, you can run your mouse over the final data point, which shows that the trend continues. JPL gets their data from the University of Colorado, which has extended their plot through the end of 2008:

Mean sea level

[Note to UC: Your website seems messed up on IE, but not Firefox.]

So sea levels are now rising about 1.3 inches a decade. This is not yet worrisome, but if current emissions trends continues and the rate of sea level rise merely continues the same relationship to global temperature rise that it has in recent decades, then we could see a total rise of up to 5 feet by 2100, at which point the rate of sea level rise would exceed 6 inches a decade, as explained in a 2007 Science article, “A Semi-Empirical Approach to Projecting Future Sea-Level Rise.”

Kudos to JPL.

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10 Responses to JPL’s new climate website: Yes, sea level rise has accelerated

  1. Tom G says:

    Since natural shorelines are sloped, not vertical, to get an increase in sea-level rise, there must be an even larger rate of increase in the volume of water added.
    An obvious point, but I thought it worth mentioning.

  2. Publius 2012 says:

    5 feet by 2100? Everybody panic!!!!
    WTF? Climate change will be linear for the next 100 years? Are you joking?

    [JR: nobody said climate change will be linear for the next 100 years. This analysis merely looked at what would happen if future trends were an extrapolation of past trends. I have little doubt that the author of the paper would agree that in fact sea level rise could be considerably higher..

    But I don't get your first sentence at all. Do you have any idea what an unmitigated catastrophe of sea level rise of 5 feet by 2100 would be (not to mention the 6 inches then being added every decade)? More than 100 million people would lose their home.]

  3. Dano says:

    I suspect that the ’2012′ in the moniker of the commenter above is the high school graduation year. Let’s move on.

    Best,

    D

  4. charlesH says:

    http://www.forbes.com/opinions/forbes/2 … 1/094.html

    “A number of influential people in Russia, China, India, Indonesia and Vietnam say the planet is now entering a 30-year cooling period, the second half of a normal cycle driven by cyclical changes in the sun’s output and currents in the Pacific Ocean. Their theory leaves true believers in carbon catastrophe livid.

    To judge by actions, not words, the carbon-warming view hasn’t come close to persuading a political majority even in nations considered far more environmentally enlightened than China and India. Europe’s coal consumption is rising, not falling, and the Continent won’t come close to meeting the Kyoto targets for carbon reduction. Australia is selling coal to all comers.”

    It seems that “do with out, use wind, use solar, use bio …… is not working. Everyone is using more coal. Do you have a plan B?

    Do you really prefer coal over nuclear?

  5. Ron Wagner says:

    We need to take advantage of this trend. As an example, California can route the ocean through the Stockton Delta into the desert areas of the state. It must be desalinated first, using wind or solar power. Many areas of the world need water for reclaiming deserts into agricultural land. Major irrigation progects could meet this need. This would also slow the rate of sea level rise. There are also recreational advantages, and lots of potential jobs.

    Large parts of California and other areas are below sea level, and that would make it easy to transfer water through siphon pipes.

    Redistribution of fresh water from areas with too much, to areas in need is also a great idea, and should be mandated by the national governments.

  6. Eli Rabett says:

    I really hate the first graph. Since tidal gauges are still operating they should have continued that record through 2007 so we can judge whether the current trend is an acceleration, or a systematic defect in the gauge or satellite measurements.

  7. Dano says:

    The CharlesH spam message has made it to this site! Yay! The bot routine is working.

    Best,

    D

  8. John Hollenberg says:

    > The CharlesH spam message has made it to this site! Yay! The bot routine is working.

    Yes, “CharlesH” has already posted this same message in two different threads here. I replied to the first one, not realizing it was “nuclear spam”. Thanks for the alert.

  9. shop says:

    So sea levels are now rising about 1.3 inches a decade. This is not yet worrisome, but if current emissions trends continues and the rate of sea level rise merely continues the same relationship to global temperature rise that it has in recent decades

  10. porno says:

    To judge by actions, not words, the carbon-warming view hasn’t come close to persuading a political majority even in nations considered far more environmentally enlightened than China and India. Europe’s coal consumption is rising, not falling, and the Continent won’t come close to meeting the Kyoto targets for carbon reduction. Australia is selling coal to all comers.