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Sea Level Rise and IPCC

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In recent weeks, the popular media is viewing with immense alarm the possibility of a huge sea level rise (SLR) as postulated by the most recent IPCC summary (biased?) recommendations and assessments (AR5) and U of Wash. studies.

At the dawn of the 2013 (AR5) release, Dr. Fred Singer noted the changes in the IPCC estimates from the first alarm in 1990.  Over subsequent releases, the dire estimates have been reduced over the original, with the most recent showing a slight up-tick in the eroding trend.  Digging into the current assessment, it appears that although there have been useful refinements in some  measurements and observations, the current estimate is driven by new, but admittedly, more uncertain issues.  The uncertainty mostly comes from new estimates of rate of loss of land-based glacial ice, a difficult method to test or validate.  A recent paper indicates that traditional glacier loss may already be stabilizing, a confounder to this approach.

Progressive slide of IPCC estimates of sea level rise.

Progressive view of IPCC estimates of sea level rise.

Will Miami disappear?  Will New York subway trains be inaccessible?  The accompanying chart shows the SLR estimates in relation to the mean elevation of these two cities.  For Miami, certain lower areas could be affected.  But certainly, the included estimate of the AlGore is very unlikely.  Oh, yes, there is the historical 20th century rise which fits with a couple of centuries previous.  Also, the early 21st century saw a brief reversal, but natural El Nino and La Nina cycles are blamed for that.

With more government study monies and time, will we see a fading SLR and a vanishing need to be worried?

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