The seas have been rising and falling for thousands of years without any help from the EPA or the IPCC
The sea level is rising rapidly! The coastal communities are becoming more and more vulnerable to storms and storm surges! Small island states will disappear under the waves!
Climate alarmists have been making these claims for years, trying to relate them to events like “super storm” Sandy, which was less than the strength of a Category 1 hurricane when it hit New York City in October 2012, or with Typhoon Haiyan, which swept across the low-lying central Philippines in November 2013.
For the alarmists, it doesn’t seem to matter that the strength or frequency of tropical storms decreased in recent years has, while sea level rise has fallen to around ten centimeters per century. Nor does it seem to matter that the loss of life and property has little to do with the sheer force of the storms. Their devastating effect was caused by encountering densely populated areas where governments had not adequately informed citizens of the magnitude and severity of the impending storm surges, too few people had been evacuated – and insufficient people, buildings and emergency equipment were prepared to withstand the raging storm surges.
The alarm calls are meant neither honestly nor factually. They are designed to generate hysterical headlines, scare the public about climate change and call for changes in energy policy and use.
China is rapidly developing into one of the richest nations on earth. It is by far the largest single emitter of carbon dioxide that alarmists claim is causing “unprecedented” storms and rising sea levels. Yet at the recent UN climate talks in Warsaw, China led a group of 132 Third World countries claiming that First World countries owe them hundreds of billions of dollars in “reparations” for “losses and damage” allegedly result from CO2 emissions.
The Obama administration has brought them back to the negotiating table (perhaps “bought” is more appropriate) by promising them unspecified US taxpayers’ money for these alleged losses. The details of this unprecedented concession will be negotiated at the UN-sponsored 2015 climate conference in Paris, certainly after the 2014 midterm elections in the US. In the meantime, a look at history is instructive.
In 2008, presidential candidate Barack Obama proclaimed, “This was the moment when the oceans began to slow down.” Indeed, he was right. Sea level rise has slowed, but not because of CO2 emissions, which are still increasing. Mother nature cannot be bought.
The changes in sea level in recent geological and human history show that alarmist claims do not stand up to scrutiny. The sea level rose significantly after the last Ice Age, fell during the Little Ice Age and has risen again since the end of the Little Ice Age around 1850. In fact, the port cities of the Roman Empire and the Middle Ages are now miles away from the Mediterranean because the sea level actually fell during the Little Ice Age.
During the deepest section of the last ice age, known as the Wisconsin Ice Age, sea levels were about 400 feet lower than they are today. When the earth emerged from the Wisconsin Ice Age about 18,000 years ago and the massive ice sheets began to melt, sea levels began to rise. The rapid rise in sea level during the “Meltwater pulse phase“About 15,000 years ago was about five meters per century, but then slowed down considerably since the Holocene climatic optimum about 8,000 years ago.
The rise in sea levels created new ports for Greek and Roman naval and merchant ships. Today, however, many of these structures and ruins are located inland, under the open sky, which makes them popular tourist destinations. How did that happen? The Little Ice Age again transformed large parts of the sea water into ice, which caused the sea level to sink and the former ports to run aground. Not enough ice has melted to turn them back into ports since 1850.
The ancient city Ephesus was an important port city and trading center from the Bronze Age through the Minoan Warm Age to the Roman Empire. A historical map shows its location directly on the sea. But today, in modern Turkey, Ephesus is 5 km from the Mediterranean Sea. Some historians falsely claim that the silting up of the rivers was the cause of the change, but the real “culprit” was the change in sea level.
The ruins of the old Roman port of Ostia Antica are very well preserved – with intact frescoes, maps and plans. Show maps from that timethat the port was at the mouth of the Tiber in the Tyrrhenian Sea. The Battle of Ostia in 849 that occurred on a painting attributed to Raphael shows that the sea level was so high that the warships could congregate at the mouth of the Tiber. Today, however, this modern tourist destination is two miles upriver from the mouth of the Tiber. The sea level was much higher in the Roman warm period than it is today.
A major turning point in British history came in 1066 when William the Conqueror defeated King Harold II at the Battle of Hastings. Less known is that when William landed, he occupied an old Roman fort known today as Pevensey Castle, which was then on a small island in a harbor on the south coast of England. A drawbridge connected it to the mainland. Pevensey is notorious for the fact that unfortunate prisoners were thrown into this “Sea Gate” so that their bodies could be washed away by the tide. Pevensey Castle is now a mile from the coast – further evidence of a much higher sea level than 1000 years ago.
Before modern Italy, the region was ruled by the famous city-states of the Mediterranean, including Pisa with its picturesque Cathedral Square and the famous Leaning Tower. Located near the mouth of the Arno, Pisa was a mighty city, because the sea trade brought the goods of the sailing ships directly into the port. Their rule ended after AD 1300, the beginning of the Little Ice Age, when the sea level sank and the ships could no longer call at their port. Again, the silting up of the river is the cause called.
However, Pisa is now seven miles from the Tyrrhenian Sea, with large meanders upstream from Pisa and small meanders downstream. A “sloping” river has as little gradation as possible downstream, such as the meandering Mississippi and the Louisiana Delta. Rivers with steep gradients flow directly to the sea, with few meanders, like the Rio Grande in New Mexico.
The facts of the story are clear. Sea levels were 400 feet lower at the end of the Wisconsin Ice Age, 18,000 years ago. Sea levels rose rapidly until 8,000 years ago. In 1066, when the Normans conquered England, the sea level was a lot higher than it is today.
During the Little Ice Age from 1300 to 1850 – when temperatures were the coldest in 10,000 years – snow and ice accumulated in Greenland, Antarctica, Europe and glaciers around the world. As a result, sea levels fell so much that important port cities of Roman and Medieval times (such as Ephesus, Ostia Antica, and Pisa) were miles from the Mediterranean Sea.
Since the end of the Little Ice Age around 160 years ago, tide meters have shown that sea level has risen steadily – unrelated to the rise in carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.
Sea level is a dynamic property in our planet’s climate cycles that are closely related to changes in solar energy and other natural factors. It is unlikely to change in response to tax policies that make energy more expensive and the economy less resilient – no matter what politicians in Washington, Brussels or at the United Nations may say.
Much to their chagrin, Mother Nature doesn’t listen to them. It has a mind of its own.
Robert W. Finally served 21 years as a weather officer with the US Air Force and 17 years as a meteorologist with the US Army. During his undergraduate studies in meteorology at Texas A&M University, he was inducted into Chi Epsilon Pi, the national honor society for meteorology. He has degrees in geology and meteorology from Rutgers University and Pennsylvania State University, respectively, and has studied and visited the ancient sites of Rome, Ostia Antica and Pisa.