Have you ever wondered why respected scientists of both major political parties see climate change so differently, one party viewing the future with great fear and trepidation while the other calmly views it as normal and natural? The one claims their position to be “established science;” the other responds “we have seen this before.” One side tries to create legislation to limit greenhouse gases, while the other side believes increased CO2 gases actually benefit the earth. It all comes down to what assessment tools are used by the scientists: computer models or actual climate history.
Nowhere is the discrepancy wider than with respect to sea level assessments. Is it rising or subsiding or neither? A recent article, perhaps the best in assessing the problem in laymen’s terms, was printed in The New American, September 2017, and entitled “Sea Level Lies” by Ed Hiserodt and Rebecca Terrell.
Only two factors can affect a rise or a decline, adding or subtracting water. Increasing water volume can only happen in three ways: water added by volcanic eruptions, temperature rising expands water and frozen water melting. Added water by volcano eruptions is minimal.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that “the global mean temperature of land and ocean has increased … 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit over the past 135 years.” That increase has contributed no “real” volume change. Glacial melt does not increase sea levels when it contributes floating ice any more than ice floating in a glass of water, when thawed, overflows the glass.
“When ice melts, it contracts causing no change in water level,” NOAA said. The poles are mostly floating ice.
Land ice, as opposed to sea or floating ice, is displaced from the sea and does affect sea levels when it melts because it adds back to the water initially taken to make the land ice. Between the coolest ice age, when sea levels were 410 feet lower than today, and warmest age, when sea levels were 19.7 feet higher than today, there was a sea level change of 380 feet, but there has been very little change in actual sea level change in many decades. The extremes account for why there once existed a land bridge between North American and Asia which was some 600 miles wide and for why southern Greenland, once a forest, is not today. Certainly we have a long way to go before either extreme is met again.
Since most of the ice on the poles is floating ice, and not land ice, its affect on sea level change is minimal. Scientists estimate that a melted land ice sheet the size of New Hampshire, 1,000 inches thick, would raise sea levels only a fourth of an inch. There has been little sea level rise from melting glaciers the past 20 years.
If the sea level of the planet is best illustrated as a bowl partially filled with water, the level of that water thereafter can change only, as we have said, by two factors: adding or subtracting water. If the three possibilities of adding water, volcanic eruptions, water temperature rising and water melting do not change the levels significantly, perhaps the answer is in subtracting water, instead.
This reduction can happen in four ways: subduction, subsidence, displacement and isostasy. All four ways amount to changing the dimensions of the bowl and not the amount of water in the bowl. Subduction alters local tidal readings when one tectonic plate overlaps another and moves. Subsidence, somewhat similar to subduction, is a gradual sinking of land, such as in sinkholes in Florida but on the ocean floor instead. Its twin, called displacement, would be the action of volcanoes pushing land upward where water once was, such as those creating the Hawaiian Islands. The water is now simply displaced elsewhere, causing sea level risings in other places. Isostasy is the melting of land ice returning water to the bowl, which, using New Hampshire as our example is important, but changes the water surface of the globe minimally.
All of these things can affect local readings up or down by varying the dimensions of the bowl, but it will not change the volume of water in the bowl. Further complicating readings is the moon and its alignment with the sun, which results in gravitational pull, but this action does not add or subtract water either.
What the geological and historical data show for the last 20 centuries is little fluctuations in sea levels, perhaps 7-8 inches a century. So why do “alarmists” and “normalist” scientists vary so much on this subject? The first has taken over the Democratic Party, while the second maintains their hold on the Republican Party. It is because Republican scientists continue to focus on documented past trends for their predictions, while Democrat scientists accept past trends up to 1993 but thereafter abandon these trends, favoring “computer simulations of global temperature rise, which suffer from faulty models” instead.
The advent of satellite radar altimetry, which is not time tested and yields only a very limited database, has allowed faulty data to be seriously considered as fact. Why would any scientist value such data without it having a long-term verifiable past? The answer is because its projections fit with those who believe in man-made climate change theories. It is because catastrophic science is more easily funded than non-catastrophic science and because global warming education infiltrated the cartoons of preschool learners and inundated government schools thereafter. And it is because science has become politicized, and most of the established media cover only the alarmist view.
Dr. Harold Pease is a syndicated columnist and an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and to applying that knowledge to current events. He has taught history and political science from this perspective for over 30 years at Taft College. Newspapers have permission to publish this column. To read more of his weekly articles, visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org.