'There is no scientific consensus' on sea-level rise, say scientists

Just don't have enough data to say what'll happen


There isn't enough data to say with any certainty what will happen to sea levels around the world this century, and there is no "scientific consensus" to suggest that the rate of the seas' rise will accelerate dangerously.

That's according to a group of eminent specialists based in Germany, the Netherlands and the UK. Writing in hefty boffinry journal Nature Geoscience this week, the assembled experts have this to say:

The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have been reported to be losing mass at accelerating rates ... However, at present there is no scientific consensus on whether these reported accelerations result from variability inherent to the ice-sheet–climate system, or reflect long-term changes ...

[Our emphasis.]

The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are very important factors in forecasting the rate at which the seas might rise in the coming century, which is perhaps the primary reason to be concerned about global warming and associated climate changes.

During the 20th century, sea levels as measured by tide gauges rose about 17cm, just short of 2mm a year. The most recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said that "no long-term acceleration of sea level has been identified using 20th-century data alone", but the organisation nonetheless forecast rises in the 21st century of 26-59cm as many scientists think that the rate of rise will increase seriously due to global warming.

Many others boffins assess that the ice sheets are so massive that they will take centuries to respond to likely levels of warming. Recent first-of-its-kind analysis pulling together all the factors in play suggested that the worst possible case in 2100 would be 30cm with the likely result less - in other words, no major change from the 20th century situation. And that was before new studies came out reflecting the fact that global warming has been basically on hold for the last decade and more, meaning that warming forecasts should be revised downwards.

Be all that as it may, the next IPCC report is now being produced. It will attempt to reflect what the various committees and advisors believe to be the scientific consensus on various matters including sea levels. But it appears that there simply isn't any scientific consensus on the Antarctic and Greenland melt rates - and therefore there isn't one on sea levels either.

You wouldn't necessarily know this. Various organisations, for instance the Google-funded alarmist activism organisation Climate Central, say that there is a consensus and that it centres on a much higher figure - one or even two metres of rise by 2100. ("Scientists expect" this, we are told by the Google mouthpieces.)

One of the authors of the new study today, Professor Jonathan Bamber of Bristol uni, carried out a previous effort to work out what scientists think sea levels will do, in which metre-range rises were described as "conceivable" but highly unlikely.

"Expert opinion is shown to be both very uncertain and undecided," that study said.

The scientists compiling the new assessment say that there simply isn't enough data yet (especially from the GRACE satellites which have lately produced such surprising results on glacier and ice sheet mass) to know what will happen. In the case of the Greenland ice sheet, at least another ten years of data will be required.

According to a Bristol uni statement released to highlight the research:

As a result, extrapolation of the current contribution to sea-level rise of the ice sheets to 2100 may be too high or low by as much as 35 cm. The study, therefore, urges caution in extrapolating current measurements to predict future sea-level rise.

IPCC drafters, take note. ®

Got strong opinions on this issue? Or on the journo who wrote this? Or on anything else? Or maybe you'd like to upvote and downvote others' views? Why not fire up a thread over at the soaraway Register forums.


Other stories you might like

  • FTC urged to protect data privacy of women visiting abortion clinics
    As Supreme Court set to overturn Roe v Wade, safeguards on location info now more vital than ever

    Democrat senators have urged America's Federal Trade Commission to do something to protect the privacy of women after it emerged details of visits to abortion clinics were being sold by data brokers.

    Women's healthcare is an especially thorny issue right now after the Supreme Court voted in a leaked draft majority opinion to overturn Roe v Wade, a landmark ruling that declared women's rights to have an abortion are protected by the Fourteenth Amendment of the US Constitution.

    If the nation's top judges indeed vote to strike down that 1973 decision, individual states, at least, can set their own laws governing women's reproductive rights. Thirteen states already have so-called "trigger laws" in place prohibiting abortions – mostly with exceptions in certain conditions, such as if the pregnancy or childbirth endangers the mother's life – that will go into effect if Roe v Wade is torn up. People living in those states would, in theory, have to travel to another state where abortion is legal to carry out the procedure lawfully, although laws are also planned to ban that.

    Continue reading
  • Zuckerberg sued for alleged role in Cambridge Analytica data-slurp scandal
    I can prove CEO was 'personally involved in Facebook’s failure to protect privacy', DC AG insists

    Cambridge Analytica is back to haunt Mark Zuckerberg: Washington DC's Attorney General filed a lawsuit today directly accusing the Meta CEO of personal involvement in the abuses that led to the data-slurping scandal. 

    DC AG Karl Racine filed [PDF] the civil suit on Monday morning, saying his office's investigations found ample evidence Zuck could be held responsible for that 2018 cluster-fsck. For those who've put it out of mind, UK-based Cambridge Analytica harvested tens of millions of people's info via a third-party Facebook app, revealing a – at best – somewhat slipshod handling of netizens' privacy by the US tech giant.

    That year, Racine sued Facebook, claiming the social network was well aware of the analytics firm's antics yet failed to do anything meaningful until the data harvesting was covered by mainstream media. Facebook repeatedly stymied document production attempts, Racine claimed, and the paperwork it eventually handed over painted a trail he said led directly to Zuck. 

    Continue reading
  • Florida's content-moderation law kept on ice, likely unconstitutional, court says
    So cool you're into free speech because that includes taking down misinformation

    While the US Supreme Court considers an emergency petition to reinstate a preliminary injunction against Texas' social media law HB 20, the US Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday partially upheld a similar injunction against Florida's social media law, SB 7072.

    Both Florida and Texas last year passed laws that impose content moderation restrictions, editorial disclosure obligations, and user-data access requirements on large online social networks. The Republican governors of both states justified the laws by claiming that social media sites have been trying to censor conservative voices, an allegation that has not been supported by evidence.

    Multiple studies addressing this issue say right-wing folk aren't being censored. They have found that social media sites try to take down or block misinformation, which researchers say is more common from right-leaning sources.

    Continue reading
  • US-APAC trade deal leaves out Taiwan, military defense not ruled out
    All fun and games until the chip factories are in the crosshairs

    US President Joe Biden has heralded an Indo-Pacific trade deal signed by several nations that do not include Taiwan. At the same time, Biden warned China that America would help defend Taiwan from attack; it is home to a critical slice of the global chip industry, after all. 

    The agreement, known as the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), is still in its infancy, with today's announcement enabling the United States and the other 12 participating countries to begin negotiating "rules of the road that ensure [US businesses] can compete in the Indo-Pacific," the White House said. 

    Along with America, other IPEF signatories are Australia, Brunei, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Combined, the White House said, the 13 countries participating in the IPEF make up 40 percent of the global economy. 

    Continue reading
  • 381,000-plus Kubernetes API servers 'exposed to internet'
    Firewall isn't a made-up word from the Hackers movie, people

    A large number of servers running the Kubernetes API have been left exposed to the internet, which is not great: they're potentially vulnerable to abuse.

    Nonprofit security organization The Shadowserver Foundation recently scanned 454,729 systems hosting the popular open-source platform for managing and orchestrating containers, finding that more than 381,645 – or about 84 percent – are accessible via the internet to varying degrees thus providing a cracked door into a corporate network.

    "While this does not mean that these instances are fully open or vulnerable to an attack, it is likely that this level of access was not intended and these instances are an unnecessarily exposed attack surface," Shadowserver's team stressed in a write-up. "They also allow for information leakage on version and build."

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022