Faking sea level data?

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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