Faking sea level data?

posted at 11:30 am on June 19, 2011 by Jazz Shaw

If you can fake it there, you can fake it anywhere. (Insert your own Sinatra soundtrack here.) Generally, when I see stories popping up about climate data which winds up having a, shall we say, “dubious” pedigree, it’s coming from the UK. But never let it be said that America isn’t competitive. Out in Colorado, the Sea Level Research Institute is facing increased scrutiny after it was revealed that they’ve been “adjusting” their data for a while now. (Before we get to the quotes, quick show of hands… how many of you even knew we had a “sea level research” program?)

Is climate change raising sea levels, as Al Gore has argued — or are climate scientists doctoring the data?

The University of Colorado’s Sea Level Research Group decided in May to add 0.3 millimeters — or about the thickness of a fingernail — every year to its actual measurements of sea levels, sparking criticism from experts who called it an attempt to exaggerate the effects of global warming.

“Gatekeepers of our sea level data are manufacturing a fictitious sea level rise that is not occurring,” said James M. Taylor, a lawyer who focuses on environmental issues for the Heartland Institute.

Why the revisions? Apparently they claim that it’s because of glacial isostatic adjustment. Basically it describes the gradual, slight rise of continental land masses which means that the ocean basins can hold a bit more water. (Again… who knew?)

So it looks like the institute decided to fudge the sea level data a bit to represent how high the levels would be if land wasn’t rising also. I don’t know about you, but if the major concern is ocean levels rising and swallowing up the coastlines, I’d think you’d want to measure the actual ocean levels, no? It reminds me a bit too much of when meteorologists go on and on with comparisons of wind chill factor on temperature readings. I’m really not interested in how cold it would seem if the wind wasn’t blowing. The wind is blowing, and I’d like to dress properly before I take Max out for his walk, thank you very much.

Your award winning, takeaway quote from the article is found at the very end.

“When Al Gore talks about Manhattan flooding this century, and 20 feet of sea level rise, that’s simply not going to happen. If it were going to happen, he wouldn’t have bought his multi-million dollar mansion along the coast in California.”

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keep the change on June 19, 2011 at 11:49 AM

Beware of the Little Ricky “9 meters, what is that in English?” Sanchez correlation.
“Your to stupid to convert measurements tween different systems”

“If we correct our data to remove [the effect of rising land], it actually does cause the rate of sea level (a.k.a. ocean water volume change) rise to be bigger,” Nerem (Colorado, the Sea Level Research Institute) wrote. The adjustment is trivial, and not worth public attention, he added.

“For the layperson, this correction is a non-issue and certainly not newsworthy… [The] effect is tiny — only 1 inch over 100 years, whereas we expect sea level to rise 2-4 feet.”

D’Ho! 1 inch but 3mm I’m so confused!
“only 1 inch over 100 years” So that would be 1/100 in. per year.
1 inch is 25.4mm, so
“only 25.4mm over 100 years” So that would be 0.254mm per year.

So what does 0.254mm look like?

Hey I know! Ya know what ya find at most beaches? Sand!
Ya know what else has sand? Sandpaper!
Get 1 piece 180 grit Sandpaper and 1 piece 220 grit Sandpaper.
Flake off one grain of sand from each piece of Sandpaper.
0.254mm is about the size of one Flake 180 to 220 grit grain of sand.

Yes the claim is the AGW is causing the oceans to rise equal to one grain of sand per year!

So long as the moon, day, time are consistent and there are no other variables like weather.

DSchoen on June 19, 2011 at 6:31 PM

I assume this group is in CO not for aesthetic reasons, but in order to be safest, longest.
Hucklebuck on June 19, 2011 at 4:13 PM

Yep! They Make Beck look like………………….well…………

“When Al Gore talks about Manhattan flooding this century, and 20 feet of sea level rise, that’s simply not going to happen. If it were going to happen, he wouldn’t have bought his multi-million dollar mansion along the coast in California.”

how many years?
3mm to equal 20ft, is 6096mm
6096mm/3= 2032 years

OMG! Looks like Al Gore’s mansion along the coast in California will be getting flood damaged in the year 4043!

DSchoen on June 19, 2011 at 6:38 PM

Apparently they fail to consider their “adjustment” taken to its logical conclusion:
If land were rising at the very same rate as sea levels, the relative levels of both would remain the same, even if – God forbid – sea levels were rising 1 inch per second.
deadrody on June 19, 2011 at 12:29 PM

If sea levels were rising 1 inch per second and land was rising at 1 inch per second, would this
mitigate AGW due the the change in the distance of the Sun and the Moon?

OMG! We need to get to work right now and figure out how we can relocate the Sun and the Moon!

Is that the logical conclusion?

DSchoen on June 19, 2011 at 6:49 PM

There still is no reason for the adjustment. They need to start showing us both the books they keep. If you don’t think that this is not being done to further a cause you are quite naive.

Here is an exercise. Why not go to their website to see what they have to say about it. It includes links to both the adjusted and unadjusted data. No secrets here; everything above board. If you went there, you’d also find this:

Note that our current rate estimate is actually the lowest of the groups, which does not support the claim that we “doctor the sea level data” to artificially support pro-climate change opinions.

This is the thing that is so frustrating about the debate. No one bothers to find out what’s going on; they just quote a lawyer from the Heartland Institute as thought it were gospel. And you can bet that this talking point will contiueto turn up on “reasons AGW is a hoax” lists from now until the end of time.

Hal_10000 on June 19, 2011 at 7:11 PM

If the land is rising, and sea level stays the same, is the Earth expanding?

Also, sediment continually washes into the sea, so that would mean the actual water content is shrinking.

How do their theories account for sediment?

jodetoad on June 19, 2011 at 7:12 PM

Hal_10000 on June 19, 2011 at 7:11 PM

You do realize that was a response by the research group right? The reality is that you AGW nuts put this stuff out there (and as you contend of us “deniers”) have the believers buy into the lies and distortions. Look at how many of you and yours buy into AGW without ever asking questions. You expect no challenges . That is really what you want.

Again there is no reason to adjust the numbers . None. Really pathetic.

CW on June 19, 2011 at 7:55 PM

Hal- you really are naive. You do realize that this peer-reviewed game is a stacked deck . Go do a little exercise yourself and you will find that those that dare
question or challenge are not allowed to be a part of the group. There is a deeply incestuous thing going on with you types. It doesn’t hurt your pocket books either. Follow the money . Really. Pathetic.

CW on June 19, 2011 at 7:57 PM

Hal- Oh and please tell me just what happened to those pesky glaciers that used to cover the land where my house now sets.
You guys give man far too much credit. The reality is that science in this field works to massage the numbers to seek a desired outcome.

The longing of you believers to find ways to give up more control of your lives comes at a heavy price. It is quite telling and actually quite scary. How about this . Stay the f out of my life.

CW on June 19, 2011 at 8:07 PM

Hal is Oakland

The dishonesty and spin never ends

CW on June 19, 2011 at 8:09 PM

There still is no reason for the adjustment. They need to start showing us both the books they keep. If you don’t think that this is not being done to further a cause you are quite naive.

CW on June 19, 2011 at 5:41 PM

If you don’t need to know ocean volume, then you don’t need to subtract the .3 mm. They made that quite clear. What’s the big deal?

And, if you want the raw data, just ask for it. If public money was used to gather it, it’s available to the public.

I have yet to see anyone show where scientific data gathered by our universities and government agencies has been falsified. Manipulated, yes. But data must be manipulated in order to make sense of it.

oakland on June 19, 2011 at 8:14 PM

THE Research group noted:

You may also note that rate of sea level rise over recent years has been less than the long-term average. This is believed to be due to the recent La Nina’s we have been experiencing, though research on this is continuing.

WOW you believers are always trying to spin it.(It is laughable) You will never give up. That is very clear. As long as they have the leftists and the oaklands/hals the dishonest and money grab will continue.

I am sure this list is now longer but this is truly telling:

http://www.numberwatch.co.uk/warmlist.htm

And the tards like hal wonder why we are so darned doubtful and questioning.

CW on June 19, 2011 at 8:14 PM

Manipulated, yes. But data must be manipulated in order to make sense of it.

oakland on June 19, 2011 at 8:14 PM

You have your talking points down Hal.

CW on June 19, 2011 at 8:15 PM

There still is no reason for the adjustment. They need to start showing us both the books they keep. If you don’t think that this is not being done to further a cause you are quite naive.

CW on June 19, 2011 at 5:41 PM

Why not, CW? Are you an atmospheric or oceanic scientist?

oakland on June 19, 2011 at 8:15 PM

.

oakland on June 19, 2011 at 8:14 PM

Please they put out these reports knowing that you and the media will simply report the rise. Lemmings like you prove that every time you show up on a AGW thread. I should just say thread because you have no knowledge or interest in any other topic. You have to be pretty lame at a party.

CW on June 19, 2011 at 8:18 PM

Why not, CW?

oakland on June 19, 2011 at 8:15 PM

You just proved my point. Really dude you are scary.

CW on June 19, 2011 at 8:18 PM

Why not, CW? Are you an atmospheric or oceanic scientist?

oakland on June 19, 2011 at 8:15 PM

You do realize they are saying the water rose but it didn’t.

You guys are nuts.

CW on June 19, 2011 at 8:19 PM

You do realize they are saying the water rose but it didn’t.

Let me clarify-they are saying both: 1)it rose
2)it didn’t rise
Ahhh science.

CW on June 19, 2011 at 8:20 PM

Oakland funny that the comments that we constantly see like the one I noted above about the la nina don’t seem to bother you. It is so rare for these scientists to doubt AGW. THAT should bother you more than ANYTHING I think.

CW on June 19, 2011 at 8:26 PM

Yes. Their adjustment is akin to Mann’s hide the decline trick. Since the proxies started to show a decrease in temperature they took them out and spliced in thermometer temperatures to complete the hockey stick……

chemman on June 19, 2011 at 12:26 PM


The reason Mann’s statement to “hide the decline” was so devastating to AGW theory was not that they fudged a few years worth of date in a 1,000 year record. It’s that it shot holes through the entire theory.

Mann used tree ring data over a 1,000 year period to show that AGW was occurring only now and that it was accelerating now. But, how accurate were his figures? Well for the only time period where we had any means of double checking the tree ring based temperatures, that is over the last 50 years, with instruments, the two methods of measuring temperature didn’t agree at all. So Mann was stuck on the horns of a dilemma, either ALL the tree ring based temperature reading over the entire 1,000 year period were inaccurate to some unknown degree or his figure for the last 60 years (when the heating was suppose to be accelerating) were wrong. Of course, there was also a third way: he could hide the entire problem from the public and ask for more funding. So, guess which option he picked?

Fred 2 on June 19, 2011 at 8:38 PM

CW, you’re just ignoring what you don’t want to hear. You asked for the unadjusted data; I pointed you to it. Your response is ridiculous ad hominem attacks.

Hal_10000 on June 19, 2011 at 9:14 PM

Every time the data makes an AGW theory go haywire true-believer scientists either tamper with the data or fudge the theory – and true-believer message board trolls change the subject.

Knott Buyinit on June 19, 2011 at 10:31 PM

MWAHAHAHAHAHA!!

StubbleSpark on June 20, 2011 at 3:08 AM

Sea Level Science Whores: “More grant money, please!”

BigAlSouth on June 20, 2011 at 6:51 AM

But shouldn’t Colorado be about the last place in the United States to be concerned about the oceans raising?

Narniaman on June 19, 2011 at 11:48 AM

BTW, the coolest thing I ever say in Colorado was the fossilized footprints of dinosaurs that had walked across a sand bar at the Inland Sea during the Jurassic Period about a 100 million years ago. (See: Colorado Dinosaur Museum)

BigAlSouth on June 20, 2011 at 7:19 AM

And, if you want the raw data, just ask for it. If public money was used to gather it, it’s available to the public.

I have yet to see anyone show where scientific data gathered by our universities and government agencies has been falsified. Manipulated, yes. But data must be manipulated in order to make sense of it.

oakland on June 19, 2011 at 8:14 PM

A) tell that to NASA who has refused to release their data.

b) Data must be “manipulated” to make sense of it? Only if the data doesn’t say what you want it to say as it is.

Monkeytoe on June 20, 2011 at 8:21 AM

Why not, CW? Are you an atmospheric or oceanic scientist?

oakland on June 19, 2011 at 8:15 PM

I love it. The first argument is that manipulating the data is fine – that’s what scientists do. The second defense when teh first is challenged is to challenge the credentials of the person asking questions.

That, in a nut-shell, is the entirity of the “science” behind AGW.

Monkeytoe on June 20, 2011 at 8:24 AM

I have a computer model that shows that the earth will become a huge ball of cheese in the next 100 years. I can’t give you my raw data, but it is clearly science – I have a computer model.

Monkeytoe on June 20, 2011 at 8:25 AM