Sea level essentially unchanged … yawn

When it comes to sea levels, I will say again: Individuals should feel free to use their own eyes.

For those who live near enough the ocean to visit, do so. Look around. Do you see homes being claimed by the waves? Do you see flooding? Anything unusual at all?

I’m a surfer, and I have visited a lot of coastlines, many of them “precarious.” Chief among these is the Outer Banks of North Carolina. (Left by the last Ice Age, by the way.) Has everyone noticed how the Outer Banks, average elevation about 10 feet, have been completely evacuated and all construction stopped? But, wait a second, I thought …

How about Venice, Italy? It has been completely submerged by the melting ice caps, right? No? Wait …

No amount of grandstanding by James Hansen or Al Gore can change the fact that Venice remains a safe place to live and visit.

No amount of grandstanding by James Hansen or Al Gore can change the fact that Venice remains a safe place to live and visit.

How about all of the ports in all of the countries of the world? They have had to be re-engineered and rebuilt to deal with the rising water, right? No?

If you want to know what is happening with the world’s oceans, then ask some plain regular people, I say. While living in Rhode

Island, I was friends with the fishermen there. They were all talking nonstop about the rising sea water, right? No, they weren’t.

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The Outer Banks, with the “elbow” atop which sits Buxton, North Carolina, at the top of the image.

What about the world’s surfers (who typically know a great deal about meteorology and the oceans)? They can’t stop talking about the disappearance of their breaks to rising waters, right? No? What about the North Shore of Oahu where some of the largest surf on Earth regularly assaults the coast. It’s being eaten away at a steady clip by the rising water, right? No? Wait a minute …

What about New York City, shown in Al Gore’s “documentary” to be at risk for sudden irremediable flooding? The waterfront shows a steady rise of water to dangerous levels, right? No? No discernible change? Wait a minute …

What about all the low-lying islands on Earth? They’ve pretty much all been wiped out, right? No? Only one or two have been encroached upon, and those have had their groundwater overtapped and are subsiding? But I thought…

Seriously – seriously! – how can so many people be so skillfully manipulated?

Maybe you can fool all of the people all of the time.

Maybe …

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About Harold Ambler

I am a lifelong environmentalist. I started my journalism career at The New Yorker, where I worked as a copy editor. Since then, my own work has appeared in The New York Daily News, The National Review Online, The Atlantic Wire, The Huffington Post, The Berkeley Daily Planet, The Providence Journal, Brown Alumni Monthly, The Narragansett Times, Rhode Island Monthly, and Providence Business News.
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11 Responses to Sea level essentially unchanged … yawn

  1. Dave Kanevsky says:

    There is no preventing minor changes in sea level, any more than there is a possibility of “fighting climate change”. I am rooting for global warming to continue until we achieve the warming of the medieval period when vikings grew crops in Greenland. Far fewer people will die.

    Scientists who deny the catastrophe continue to face the Inquisition. I grow weary of uninformed liberals advocating major policy change and carbon taxes to address non existent problems. If we are willing to starve hundreds of millions, and destroy the free world economies, we can delay the increase in carbon emissions.

    Dave K

  2. 4TimesAYear says:

    Excellent post – it’s too bad our schools don’t teach our kids to be more observent rather than indoctrinated.

  3. John Wright says:

    The problem is, you can fool most of the people most of the time…

  4. Mark H. says:

    I think your photographic narrative might be countered with this one:

    • Harold Ambler says:

      Hey Mark.

      Glad to have your feedback. Tuvalu, listed on your link as proof of manmade global warming, is actually proof of manmade local sinking. Over-extraction of freshwater led to some sinking, but the greatest authority on sea level (for the world, and specifically for Tuvalu and the rest of the Indian Ocean) has written extensively about it:

      “Tuvalu in the Pacific is often said already to be in the flooding mode. The tide-gauge record (Fig 7) for the last 25 years does not show any rise, however. The truth seems to be that a Japanese pineapple industry had subtracted too much freshwater by that forcing saltwater to invade the subsurface.

      “Fig 7. The Tuvalu tide-gauge record 1978-2003 showing stability around a zero level plus three negative ENSO events (from Mörner, 2004c).
      Venice is notorious for its flooding problems. It lies on a delta area subjected to subsidence. Therefore, the sea level variations are superposed on a long-term subsidence trend (Fig 8). Any rise in sea level would immediately worsen the situation. The last 30 years lack signs of any rise or accelerated rise, on the contrary sea level fell (partly as a function of engineering work).” — Nils Axl-Morner

      Link here:

      Bangladesh is gaining in land mass, not losing:

      “Each year about 2.4 billion tons of sediment from the Himalayas is carried by the rivers of Bangladesh to the Bay of Bengal, and deposited on the continental shelf causing accretion of land to the coast of the country. The high sediment load results in a net accretion of about 35 square kilometers of land per year to Bangladesh.” –Faruque Hasan, The Daily Star

      Link here:

      Again, though, I side with Morner all the way on this. The Indian Ocean is not rising meaningfully. And also, again, I do trust my own eyes. I know what the coast looks like in many, many places and know a lot of coastal dwellers. The ocean is not about to drown anyone who hasn’t left themselves in harm’s way unnecessarily.

      Perhaps more to the point, sea level has never been static, and never will be. It is the nature of water, on a grand scale, to expand, contract, freeze, melt, evaporate. It is not in water’s nature to be stable over geologically meaningful lengths of time. The Native Americans came to this continent walking across the Aleutian land bridge less than 25,000 years ago. The last interglacial, the Eemian, had sea levels 4 to 6 meters higher than today.

      Before the first power plant, or SUV, was a twinkle in anyone’s eye…

  5. Mark Haller says:

    Thanks for your detailed reply. I’m particularly interested in this Nils-Axel Mörner, and why people don’t listen to him. Re: the Indian Ocean sea levels, I did come across this (from a footnote on his wikipedia article):

    Not sure who these people are…

    I think what I was trying to say is that the article, or photo essay, I linked was engaging in a low-evidence kind of rhetoric, which I felt was similar to your post. This sort of… “look here, there be water.” Where you are saying, “look here, there be no water.” I do apologize for that primitive assessment, but can eyes really be that empirical? I’d like to think they have some value. I do appreciate what you’ve seen; I envy it. But, this appeal to authority (yourself) is also, well, not something I can swallow. I do realize that you actually do have facts to back up your eyes, but even those may not be what they seem.

    In the end, I find high confidence in predictions about something as complex as the Earth’s climate, to be mystifying; seeing it raises my skepticism. That’s why both the AGW crowd, and the anti-AGW crowd are irritating. Maybe I’m just ignorant. I will continue to try to understand. (Actually, maybe trying to understand is the irritating part.)

    • Harold Ambler says:

      Sea level has been rising or falling as long as there have been seas. To believe otherwise is pure anti-science. There is no credible evidence of accelerating rise, just the opposite in the past three years as cooling has begun. But, again, we’ve adapted through far greater fluctuations in the past with far less technology at our disposal.

  6. John says:

    The outer banks of NC were left by the last ice age? I didn’t think the glaciation got down that far, I thought that Cape Cod and Long Island were the glacial moraines.

    Did I misunderstand your meaning?

    • Harold Ambler says:

      Sea levels were 400 feet lower during the last ice age. As the ice age ended and sea levels rose, the interplay between ocean storms, the west wind off the coast of North Carolina, and river silt outflow created the lip of sand we know as the Outer Banks as the sea level came up. So, no, the moraine did not extend to North Carolina, but the Outer Banks were created by the ice age. Much published material about it…

  7. Darrin says:

    Hitler once said (I’m paraphrasing), “it is easier to get the masses to believe a big lie than it is a small one” – not verbatim, but close, as it was that succinct.
    As for proof of sea levels rising/falling over time, I live in KS. From New Mexico up through the MW there are vast salt layers formed from times when these areas were covered by the ocean, which then receded leaving the salt as the water evaporated…rinse & repeat over the millenia and you get the vast salt domes that cut through a large portion of our country…just another example of asking people to simply look at the obvious evidence, as you suggest on sea levels, versus believing a grandstanding politician (Al Gore) who was at best a C student…even worse in science…

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