Yes, Virginia, There is Sea Level Rise

July 11, 2012

Newest video in the “This is Not Cool” series, over at the Yale Forum.

58 Responses to “Yes, Virginia, There is Sea Level Rise”

  1. One candidate, Rocky Anderson will deal with global warming. Any democrat or republican will not.

  2. daveburton Says:

    Yes, Virginia, the sea has been (on average) slowly rising for at least 150 years. But it’s rising no faster now than it was 3/4 century ago or more, which means that all that CO2 we’ve put into the atmosphere has not resulted in a measurable increase in the rate of sea level rise.

    Houston & Dean did both a thorough analysis of tide station data and a comprehensive literature search. The result:

    “The results of all of our analyses are consistent – there is no indication of an overall world-wide sea level acceleration in the 20th Century data. Rather, it appears that a weak deceleration was present.”

    Rejoice! That’s good news! (So why are you scowling?)

    • dana1981 Says:

      Personally I’m scowling because you’re propagating a long-debunked myth, Dave.

      • daveburton Says:

        Good grief, dana1981. That’s Tamino’s nonsense! Did you read it? It’s complete nonsense. (No wonder Tamino censors his blog to prevent dissent!) Here’s an excerpt:

        “I averaged the two data sources during their period of overlap, and computed a smoothed version…”

        Do you see it? He conflated coastal tide gauge data with mid-ocean satellite altimeter data!

        That’s the only way you can get a graph from actual data that seems to show acceleration in the rate of sea level rise in the last 3/4 century: by comparing apples to oranges, i.e., sea level in different locations.

        Sea level trends vary widely from one location to another. At some places in Scandinavia sea level is falling about 8 mm/year, due to post-glacial rebound. At Galveston, it was until recently rising at about 6 mm/year, due to land subsidence. If you draw a graph with sea level at one location until 15 or 20 years ago, and then replace it or average it with sea level from a different location for the remainder of the graph, then you can create the illusion of acceleration.

        That’s what Tamino did.

        Averaged tide gauges shoe no acceleration in the rate of sea level for more than 3/4 century.

        Satellite data has major quality issues, and there’s less than 20 years of it (about 60 years is needed to establish a robust trend), but, such as it is, it indicates that sea level rise has decelerated substantially in the last few years.

        Only by gross statistical malpractice is it possible to detect statistically significant acceleration in sea level rise over the last 75-85 years.

        • Did you read it? I can only presume from you comment that you didn’t.
          Tamino did not conflate satellite data with tide gauge data. He used the Church and White data, which was constructed from a sophisticated analysis which took into account tide gauge data, pressure data, satellite data, isostatic rebound and land based water storage.
          So your comment is fundamentally wrong on two grounds:
          1. Tamino didn’t construct an apples-to-oranges dataset, because he didn’t construct the dataset at all.
          2. The method by which the data was constructed is much more sophisticated than you suggest. The method is published. From your comment I suspect you haven’t read it. That would be a good starting point if you want to critique it.

          • daveburton Says:

            What part of “I averaged the two data sources during their period of overlap, and computed a smoothed version” is confusing to you, thereoncewasawindmill?

            No matter how much massaging you do to the data, adding things like Peltier’s GIA guesses, there’s no way you can conflate coastal tide gauge data and mid-ocean sealevel data, as Tamino did, and not end up with a misleading result.

            BTW, w/r/t GIA, have you looked at those numbers? Just compare his VM2 and VM4 numbers, and see how different they are! They are really just WAGs, and adding them to real, measured data, just corrupts the data, it doesn’t make measurements at different locations equivalent.

        • dana1981 Says:

          Yeah, you can’t average sea level data and sea level data! Riiiight Dave.

          • daveburton Says:

            It is statistical malpractice to draw a graph with measurements from one location or set of locations until a certain point in time, and then switch to using measurements from a different location or set of locations after that point in time — and then claim acceleration (or deceleration) because the different locations see different rates of sea level rise.

    • ktorsten Says:

      What dana1981 wrote. I’m also scowling because that quote does not appear in the Houston & Dean paper. I did find it in an NC-20 press release, where it may be a paraphrase of something that Dean said, but it’s made to sound like it’s from the paper. Sloppy scholarship, Dave.

      • daveburton Says:

        I didn’t say the quote was from one of their papers. It’s from Dr. Dean’s symposium presentation here in North Carolina. Here’s his powerpoint:

        Click to access DEAN_Sea%20level_NC-20.pdf

        • daveburton Says:

          Good grief, people! Six thumbs-down for posting a correct reference link in reply to someone who questioned the accuracy of a quote, to show him the source of that quote?

          We don’ want no steekin’ facts! We in the Climate Movement know what we believe! Thumbs-down to facts!

          If you Climate Movement followers actually cared about the well-being of the Earth, and its climate, and the people and creatures that live upon it, then you’d be pleased to learn good news, like the fact that > 2/3 century of heavy GHG emissions have resulted in no acceleration at all in the rate of sea level rise. So why do you folks give thumbs-down to accurate references and good news?

          Well, I think the answer to that question is obvious: it’s because y’all care more about promoting your ideology than about the Earth or the Truth.

          That’s also probably one of the reasons that most Climate Movement blogs except this one ruthlessly censor the comments, to prevent dissenting views from being expressed. Their purpose has nothing to do with finding or promoting the truth or science, their purpose is to propagandize for an ideology.

          Kudos to Peter for being the exception to the rule.

          • “y’all care more about promoting your ideology than about the Earth or the Truth.”

            We are often guilty as charged, Dave. Now, with a bit of self awareness and humility, read your comments. Do you really think that you’re objective?

            I’m glad you’re here. You do make us think.

      • Here it is

        Sea-Level Acceleration Based on U.S. Tide Gauges and Extensions of Previous Global-Gauge Analyses

        J. R. Houston† and R. G. Dean‡

        Discussion of: Houston, J.R. and Dean, R.G., 2011. Sea-Level Acceleration
        Based on U.S. Tide Gauges and Extensions of Previous Global-Gauge
        Analyses. Journal of Coastal Research, 27(3), 409–417.
        Stefan Rahmstorf{ and Martin Vermeer

        • Sorry (did not finish) the only thing close to that quote in his paper was in his conclusions “..indeed why global sea level has possibly decelerated for at least the last 80 years.”

          Our analyses do not indicate acceleration in sea level in U.S. tide gauge records during the 20th century. Instead, for each time period we consider, the records show small decelerations that are consistent with a number of earlier studies of worldwide-gauge records. The decelerations that we obtain are opposite in sign and one to two orders of magnitude less than the +0.07 to +0.28 mm/y2 accelerations that are required to reach sea levels predicted for 2100 by Vermeer and Rahmsdorf (2009), Jevrejeva, Moore, and Grinsted (2010), and Grinsted, Moore, and Jevrejeva (2010). Bindoff et al. (2007) note an increase in worldwide temperature from 1906 to 2005 of 0.74°C. It is essential that investigations continue to address why this worldwide-temperature increase has not produced acceleration of global sea level over the past 100 years, and indeed why global sea level has possibly decelerated for at least the last 80 years.

        • daveburton Says:

          Anthropogenic climate change passenger, thanks for the JCR links, but did you see the link to the source of that quote? I posted it exactly 4 hours before you posted these links.

          Here’s a better link for info about the argument in JCR over sea level.

    • MorinMoss Says:

      Recall that we’ve put more than just CO2 in the air and some of those substances have a strong cooling effect.

      • daveburton Says:

        It is widely hypothesized that one reason that the 1990s and 2000s were warmer than the 1960s and 1970s is that we cleaned up a lot of ash/particulate/aerosol pollution.

        It used to be that the standard solution to air pollution from power plants and factories was simply to build taller chimneys. That (usually) kept people from having to breath the smoke, but it did nothing for concerns about global cooling and acid rain.

        Eventually, in the developed world, governments began requiring the use of “scrubbers” to remove particulate pollution. It seems to have been successful: we rarely hear fretting about global cooling and acid rain anymore.

        • MorinMoss Says:

          Definitely improved in the Western world but Asia has probably made up for it as evidenced by the gigantic brown clouds that have been observed since the ’90s

          • daveburton Says:

            Could be. Perhaps that has something to do with the plateau in warming over the last 1.5 decades.

          • Dave, Do you accept the physics of GHGs in the atmosphere?

            You’re right. There is indeed almost certainly less inbound solar radiation because of short-lived aerosols. That aerosol “dimming” counters much of the increased downward forcing from long-lived GHGs. The surface temperature has increased and almost certainly will continue to increase – unless people learn to love a lot more smog for a long, long time.

            Nature loves equilibrium. The net energy flux imbalance will eventually level off because of the increased intensity of outbound surface radiation from a hotter planet. However, the net energy flow will only reach equilibrium many years after the increase of the atmosphere’s CO2/methane concentration stops increasing. This graph shows about where we are now.


    • neilrieck Says:

      Sorry to disagree, but “measured” average global sea-level over the 20th century rose by 2 mm/year (7.8 inches per century). Measured average global sea-level over the past decade has jumped to 3.5 mm/year (13 inches per century). Now anyone familiar with calculus will already realize that we are talking about “an increase in the rate of increase”. Put colloquially (albeit inaccurately), “the rate is accelerating”.

      What happens at this point can be more art than science. You could use a straight edge ruler to project a line from 1900 (2mm) though 2012 (3.5) to 2100 project what the sea level “rate of increase” would be at the end of the century. Newton teaches us that the actual sea level is computed by calculating the area under the line.

      But we have only speculated about the most conservative calculation. Since the 2mm rate represents a century average then it makes more sense for the straight line to begin at 1950 resulting in a faster rising slope. But should we use a straight line? The data point appear to be arcing up slightly so you want to replace your straight edge ruler with a french curve. Once again, you must compute the area under the line to see how bad things will get.

      • daveburton Says:

        Wrong, wrong, and wrong, neilrieck.

        Some locations (including Wilmington) have seen 2 mm/year sea level rise, some have seen more, some have seen less, and about 1/4 of the 159 gauges on NOAA’s list of term tide gauges records show falling sea levels. The median of those gauges is 1.1 mm/year. So is a geographically-weighted average of those gauges. (A simple average is even lower.)

        At Wilmington, the measured rate of sea level rise over the last 20 years has dropped to zero. The same thing has happened at many, but not all, other tide gauges. Globally, the average rate of sea level rise has also dropped, but only very slightly; the decline may be simply an artifact of various multidecadal cycles.

        That’s the measured rate of sea level rise.

        If you add Peltier’s model-derived Glacial Isostatic Adjustments, or Church & White’s “additional spatially uniform field,” you can get different (larger) numbers, but they aren’t measured rates of sea level rise when you do that.

        Measured sea level rise hasn’t increased at all over the past decade, either. If you conflate measurements at different locations, you can create the illusion of acceleration, but if you compare apples-to-apples you’ll find no acceleration.

        Even the satellites, which had been measuring 3.1 mm/year, are now measuring a much lower rate. ENVISAT was measuring only about 0.6 mm/year over an 8 year period, until a massive revision of the data a couple of months ago. But even after that revision it still shows only 2.37 mm/year over the last 9.5 years, which obviously represents a deceleration. (That said, there are major problems with the satellite data, and even if there weren’t, 19 years is nowhere near long enough to determine a robust trend.)

        Also, integrating (“compute the area under the line”) is nonsensical. The graphs are of sea level, which is the level of the top of the sea, which is the quantity of interest. The first derivative is the rate of sea level rise. The 2nd derivative is the acceleration (or, when negative, the deceleration). There’s no physical meaning for integrating (computing “the area under the line”).

    • daryan12 Says:

      Dave (in the style of Fox news) why do you hate America? Did you not hear what the navy guy said, they’re not going to be able to operate their carrier bases in future thanks to deniers such as you.

      Clearly you must be working for the Chinese, or Iranians!

  3. Here is some interesting reading about the sea level rise paper from Houston and Dean.
    A few quotes:
    “It does raise some questions about the quality of peer review at JCR.”
    This is a classic case of “cherry picking”. The date beginning of the study was chosen as 1930 because that is exactly when measurements reverse from mildly negative to strongly positive. Its hardly worth a discussion. It only gets worse from there. Suffice to say that the papers reception by the rest of the peer community has been less than unanimously positive. Sounds a little like cherry picking papers, too. Kind of like Lindzen, etc.

    • daveburton Says:

      Bunk. The reason for starting circa 1925 or 1930 is to prevent your answer from being distorted by the post-LIA acceleration in sea level rise which occurred over the 50-60 year period that spanned the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. That acceleration, which preceded all significant anthropogenic contributions to GHGs, accounted for all of the 20th century acceleration in sea level reported by Church & White (2006).

      Even Church & White noted the “clear change of slope at 1930” in their paper. But they failed to mention that acceleration went down to zero from that date on. (In fact, it was not really a step-change in rate of sea level rise at 1930, but a more gradual acceleration over the 1870-1930 period.)

      The key thing to remember is that nearly all of anthropogenic contribution to GHGs came after 1930, but all of the acceleration in rate of sea level rise can before 1930. That obviously means that the acceleration wasn’t caused by the anthropogenic GHGs.

      (Also that bit about 1930 being “when measurements reverse from mildly negative to strongly positive” is muddled nonsense; ~1930 is when the acceleration in SLR ended, not when it began.)

      Note that the Yale Climate Forum does not permit dissenting views to be expressed, which probably means the same is true for the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies as a whole, which means the kiddies there are probably getting Climate Movement indoctrination rather than true education. They should all demand refunds.

      • The key thing to remember is that nearly all of anthropogenic contribution to GHGs came after 1930, but all of the acceleration in rate of sea level rise can before 1930. That obviously means that the acceleration wasn’t caused by the anthropogenic GHGs.

        No it doesn’t, because sea level should respond to net forcing, not to GHGs, and it should respond with a response function which lags on multiple time scales. If you have an evidence-based forcing/sea-level response function to show us, then do so. Then we can convolute it with the forcings and test whether the resulting sea levels falsify AGW or not.

        However, I suspect you are making stuff up.

        • daveburton Says:

          I think you mean convolve, not convolute. 🙂

          Anyhow, as I think you probably know, the only “forcings” of sea level for which a global sea level response can robustly be calculated are simple additions and removals of water. That’s one of the biggest problem with alarmists’ predictions: they depend on what Dr. Richard Lindzen memorably called “implausible chains of inference.”

          “Future generations will wonder in bemused amazement that the early twenty-first century’s developed world went into hysterical panic over a globally averaged temperature increase of a few tenths of a degree and, on the basis of gross exaggerations of highly uncertain computer projections combined into implausible chains of inference, proceeded to contemplate a roll back of the industrial age.”
          -Dr. Richard Lindzen (Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology, Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, MIT)

          The Climate Movement alarmists’ projections of accelerated sea level rise work roughly like this:

          A -> B -> C -> D

          A is GHG emissions
          B is global average temperatures
          C is melting of ice, in various places

          A->B means CO2 (and other GHG) emissions should lead to higher temps (but we don’t know how much). It seems to be a lot less than the alarmists GCMs predicted, perhaps due to unaccounted for negative feedbacks, like clouds.

          B->C means higher temps should lead to more ice melting (but we have no idea how much)

          C->D means more ice melting leads to higher sea level

          The only one we have a good handle on quantifying is “C->D”

          But we do know this: a 30-40% increase in CO2 over more than 2/3 century has, thus far, caused no detectable acceleration in the rate of sea level rise.

          Neither A->B nor B->C are linear.

          A->B is less-than-linear because additional GHGs have diminishing effects on temperature. (MODTRAN calculates that less than 20 ppm of CO2 would cause fully half of all the warming we get from the current 394 ppm.)

          B->C is probably less-than-linear, too, because of simple geometry: the mountains and spheres are smaller the higher up (in altitude or latitude) you go, so the more ice melts the less is available to melt.

          Just as zero times anything is zero, “tiny” times anything less than huge is “tiny.”

          We’ve done the experiment, we know the result: putting lots of additional CO2 in the atmosphere over a very extended period of time has resulted in on detectable increase in the rate of sea level rise. A has negligible effect on D. Whether that means A->B is tiny, or B->C is tiny, or both, is an interesting question, but we know from actual, measured data, that A->D is tiny.

          To put this in less abstract terms, here’s a question for you:

          Do you agree that global average temperatures during the 1990s and 2000s were significantly higher than the average for the 1930s through 1980s?

          If so, … well, let’s see how you answer, first.

          • daveburton Says:

            Correction: “resulted in on detectable increase” should be “resulted in no detectable increase”

  4. From a policy setting perspective, at least hypothetically, an educated lay person, not a climate specialist, but not stupid either, would be hearing “sea level is rising”.

    She’d also be hearing “the estimates vary – the lower bound on the acceleration is linear – and that study is a bit of a controversial outlier”. Knowing that the impact is high, a good, small c, conservative planner would not bank on the outlier.

    There’d be a temptation to wait it out and see if the outlier is indeed right. Waiting costs on current cash. But you’d be well aware that you’ve just bet against the house. And that’s not good, small c, conservative planning.

    • daveburton Says:

      The lower bound is not linear. The 77 year average rate of sea level rise at NC’s best tide gauge (Wilmington) is 1.98 mm/year. But over the last 20 years it’s 0.0 mm/year.

      The global rate of sea level rise has been decelerating slightly. Additional deceleration is as likely as renewed acceleration.

      1.98 mm/year would be less than 7″ by 2100.

      0.0 mm/year would be zero, of course.

      The best mid-range projection is the long term trend: about 2 mm/year at Wilmington.

      • The salient point is your one paper is still an outlier. Would you plan on that? That’s not conserative; that’s daft. That’s not “the best mid-range prediction” – that’s driving by the rear view mirror.

        And why pick Wilmington? Haven’t they troubles enough?

        • daveburton Says:

          Trouble enough? Are you referring to the 1898 Democrat coup in Wilmington? Yes, we’re still a bit sore over that.

          However, you’re mistaken about what’s an outlier. Even Church & White (2006) noted that no other researchers had detected any 20th century acceleration in sea level rise — and when their 2009 dataset is used, instead of their 2006 dataset, neither did they!

          There was an acceleration in sea level rise around the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th, but that acceleration ceased before there was much anthropogenic contribution to CO2 levels. 80 years later, we’re still waiting for it to resume.

          Don’t hold your breath.

        • You’re mistaken claiming your outlier for mainstream. A letter printed in Nature in June, “Hotspot of accelerated sea-level rise on the Atlantic coast of North America”,

          • daveburton Says:

            Maybe you haven’t noticed: water sloshes.

            The global average rate of sea level rise hasn’t increased at all. But some places are up a bit, and others are down.

            There are cyclical processes at work on the order of 60 years. So Sallenger measured 30 year trends — absolutely the worst possible period for trying to measure long term trends, because it’s exactly half of a full cycle:

            Sallenger cherry-picked a small area of coastline where the “slosh” has been up over the last few decades. They could have easily picked areas where the “slosh” was down, and reported a “Coldspot of decelerated sea-level rise.”

          • So you believe we’re at the top of a slosh. And what sloshes up must inevitably slosh down. Is this Sloshology? Surely, as per the wise legisators of North Carolina, one can only accept a straight line, even if is as the the crest of a slosh. Or, as per your cited paper we could go with “oceanic thermal inertia and risingGreenland melt rates imply that even if projected temper-atures rise more slowly than the IPCC scenarios suggest, sealevel will very likely rise faster than the IPCC projections[Meehl et al., 2007]”

            I find Mitrovica’s work more compelling, as per

  5. Peter Mizla Says:

    The rise of 1 meter by 2100 seems the most conservative estimate. And this was revised by the IPICC recently. 2 meters is more likely. And some like Hansen say 5 meters is likely.

    • daveburton Says:

      A rise of 1 meter is more than 5 times the best estimate. What would cause such an increase? Greenhouse gases?

      We’ve been driving up CO2 and other GHGs substantially for at least 2/3 century. Thus far, they haven’t caused any measurable increase in the rate of sea level rise.

      We’ve done the experiment, we know the result. We know what GHGs do to the rate of sea level rise: nothing measurable. It is utterly irrational to expect that if we repeat the experiment we’ll get a wildly different result the next time.

      • Pure mathturbation. You are assuming we know no physics.

        The same climate models which are predicting 2-4C temperature increase by the end of the century and a 60cm sea level rise, predict sea level rise over the last decade which is lower than the sea level rise which we have actually seen, and do it on the basis of known physics.

      • atoieno Says:

        Dave you impart more spin than a wind turbine…you should be connected to the grid.

      • jpgreenword Says:

        You cannot expect sea level rise (or temperature rise) to increase directly with CO2 concentrations because there is a lag between when we put the CO2 in the atmosphere and when we feel the impact. It’s the same idea as putting a pot of water on a element to boil. While the element reaches its desired temperature within seconds, the water itself takes several minutes to reach boiling point. The more water in the pot, the longer the lag.

        Our atmosphere and are oceans are so massive that the lag between emitting the CO2 and the increase in temperature is around 40 years. That means that we are currently experiencing the impacts of CO2 from (approximately) 1972. It also means that we will not experience the full impact of 390 ppm until around 2052.

        And so, we can expect sea level rise to accelerate because our CO2 emissions since 1972 have accelerated which will cause temperature rise to accelerate. We can also expect sea level rise to accelerate because not only will thermal expansion continue (materials expand as they warm), but because the ice in Greenland and Antarctica will become a greater factor in sea level rise as they increasingly melt into the oceans.

        By the way, great video Mr. Sinclair!

        • daveburton Says:

          1. Where’s the evidence that GHGs have no impact on temperature for 40 years? What possible physical mechanism could account for that?

          To use your analogy, although the water warms more slowly than the stove’s heating element, it starts warming immediately. There is no lag before the water temperature starts going up. Rather, the bigger the pot, the more slowly the temperature rises. If it takes 20 minutes to reach a boil, temperature does not rise more quickly toward the end of that period: it rises just as quickly during the first 5 minutes as it does during the last five minutes.

          2. We’ve been driving up GHG levels for much more than 40 years — at least since WWII. According to your 40 year delay theory, we should have been seeing accelerated sea level rise for the last 30 years or so. Yet the rate of sea level rise still hasn’t increased at all.

          3. Thermal expansion due to increases in SST has no effect at all on coastal sea levels, until and unless the temperatures of the lower layers of the ocean are affected. (It does affect satellite-measured sea level, however.)

          4. The Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets will not “melt into the oceans.” Greenland might contribute more meltwater if temperatures go up, but it certainly won’t do so by enough to cause catastrophic sea level rise. We know that because temperatures there were considerably warmer ~1000 years ago — warm enough to grow barley and vegetables — and it stayed warm for hundreds of years, and there’s no record of any great increase in world sea levels as a result. Antarctica is expected to have a negative contribution to sea level rise, due to increased snowfall, if temperatures go up.

          • jpgreenword Says:

            First of all, let me start off by saying that your attempt at picking out all the little details that I have not addressed is rather unpleasant considering I have based my comment on scientific research done by scientists that are much more qualified than I am.
            So, here is one paper that you may want to read regarding climate lag.
            Science AAAS, ”Earth’s Energy Imbalance: Confirmation and Implications”, available (after free registration) at, p.1
            Regarding your points 1 to 4, I suggest you find the answers yourself as anything I could come up with would be my educated guess. I am sure that researchers in related fields could better respond to your comments than I ever could.

          • daveburton Says:

            (It is amazing to me that y’all continue to cite the likes of Hansen, Mann & Rahmstorf.)

            Anyhow, that Hansen paper gives no support to your theory that “the lag between emitting the CO2 and the increase in temperature is around 40 years.” Hansen suggests that it is likely that “25-50 years are needed for Earth’s surface temperature to reach 60 percent of its equilibrium response,” but nowhere does he suggest that there’s such a lag before the climate begins to respond.

            The paper’s title is, “Earth’s Energy Imbalance: Confirmation and Implications,” but it’s not about a measured imbalance in energy influx/outflow. It is about calculations from a computer model. If you trust that, then you should take a look at how well their model performs.

          • Did I just see someone express amazement at citing Hansen – and then go onto cite from wattswrongwiththis as a supposed refutation? Boggling.

          • daveburton Says:

            Actual measured data trumps models every time…

            …For real scientists, anyhow. Do you know how the Scientific Method works?

          • Good try, Dave, but no kewpie doll for the errorfest that is Watts. Remember BEST. 🙂

  6. Dear Friend:
    Thank you for contacting me about the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). I welcome your thoughts and comments.

    The NFIP was established in 1968 to combat mounting flood losses. More than 20,000 communities across the nation now participate in the NFIP by adopting and enforcing flood plain management to reduce future flood damage. In exchange, the NFIP currently covers about 5.6 million homeowners, renters and business owners in these communities through federally-backed flood insurance. In Texas, more than 675,000 homes on the Gulf Coast and in other flood-prone communities are insured through the NFIP.

    The NFIP was self-sustaining from its creation in 1968 until 2005. Insurance premiums covered claims until the hurricane seasons of 2004 and 2005, which forced the NFIP to borrow more than $17 billion from the US Treasury in order to meet the claims of policy owners. Satisfying succeeding years’ insured claims has prevented the NFIP from repaying the Treasury.

    In the succeeding years, Congress struggled to reform the federal flood insurance system. I supported a number of short-term extensions to ensure that Texans retained access to affordable flood insurance, but it was not until June 29 of this year that Congress finished work on NFIP reauthorization that modernizes the program and stabilizes its precarious finances.

    The Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, which was approved by both the House and Senate as part of a bill that included reauthorization of surface transportation programs, will make federal flood insurance more reflective of the actual cost of insurance and encourage the development of a private flood insurance market. The new law also ends federal flood insurance subsidies for vacation homes and properties that suffer repetitive losses. Of particular importance for Texans living in areas that leverage the resources of the community to mitigate their flood risk, the Flood Insurance Reform Act does not mandate that homeowners living behind flood control structures such as levees and dams purchase flood insurance.

    I appreciate hearing from you, and I hope that you will not hesitate to contact me on any issue that is important to you.

    Kay Bailey Hutchison
    United States Senator

    • daveburton Says:

      Thanks for this, Charles.

      • I liked Senator Hutchison’s description of NFIP changes too Dave.

        I wish she’d have defeated Perry in our GOP gubernatorial primary. Governor Perry and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (we laugh about their name down here) also overruled reality in a planning report about Galveston in 2011 by removing references to climate change related sea level rise. The Rice professor refused to let them publish it with his name on it.

        • daveburton Says:

          Galveston Pier 21 has a 104 year tide gauge record, and over the full period it has seen the highest rate of sea level rise of any gauge in NOAA’s list of 159 long term tide gauges: 6.35 mm/year (+/- 0.26 mm/yr). Of course, most of that is due to local land subsidence.

          However, like Wilmington, and like many other locations, Galveston has seen a deceleration in the rate of sea level rise. I’ve not done an analysis, but from eyeballing the graph it appears that SLR at Pier 21 is down to be less than 3 mm/year over the last 20 years.

          Now, just as is probably the case for Wilmington, my guess is that much of Galveston’s measured SLR deceleration is due to multidecadal periodic changes, rather than a dramatically falling long term trend. But it utterly delusional to think that the seal level measurements at Galveston are consistent with accelerated sea level rise.

          There’s no such thing as climate change related sea level rise acceleration. To impose government regulations based on such fantasies is completely irresponsible. Kudos to the TCEQ for resisting the pressure to subordinate real science to Climate Movement propaganda.

          • Is there such a thing as climate change related sea level rise that is a constant value?

            Government programs formulate 100 year plans based upon probabilistic risk assessments over a very wide range of possible values. They should not operate as historical societies. Maybe, snowfall in East Antarctic will triple, and 2100 sea levels will be lower. Maybe, Greenland will lose ice faster than expected. Maybe, smog will be eradicated which will increase the Earth’s instantaneous energy imbalance.

            Is this reply “climate movement propaganda”?

          • daveburton Says:

            Charles wrote, “Government programs formulate 100 year plans based upon probabilistic risk assessments…”

            That’s how it should work, Charles. But that’s not how it’s done in the Climate Movement. Economist Roy Cordato recently made the following observation:

            2. It’s worse than I thought

            A few weeks ago I noted that the prediction being made by the NC Coastal Resource Commission’s Science Panel on Coastal Hazards that sea level rise along NC’s coast will be 39 inches over the next 90 years was not particularly useful for doing serious cost/benefit analysis, which should be the basis of public policy. This is because the prediction is made without attaching any probability statistic to it. But it is even worse than I thought. The prediction of 39 inches is based on Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) scenarios regarding global warming which themselves have no probability statistics associated with them. So the 39 inches of sea level rise prediction is a prediction without an associated statistical probability that is based on another prediction without a statistical probability. So not only is there no probability statistic attached to the sea level rise prediction, it would actually be impossible to calculate one.

          • Roy Cordato? That slightly divorced from reality right wing climate denying economist from the Koch funded John Locke Foundation? Less mainstream you’d struggle to find.

  7. True. The IPCC does not assign probability to sea level rise due to uncertainties such as glacial flow rates – which they don’t include in their projection. It’s a work in progress. Scientists are less certain than are you about future sea level.

    However, the IPCC does assign probability to surface temperature relative to possible emission scenarios.

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