The clever ruse of rising sea levels

“There has been no dramatic sea level rise in the past century, and evidence-based projections show no significant or dangerous rise is likely to occur in the coming century.”
– Jay Lehr and Tom Harris______________

Contrary to concerns that increasing levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide could result in catastrophic sea level rise, no real-world evidence supports this fear. In fact, tide gauge and other measurements from multiple locations around the United States and world – dating back a century or more – show that seas have been rising at only four to six inches per century. That’s a far cry from the TEN FOOT rise predicted by climate alarmists like James Hansen and Al Gore.

As authors Jay Lehr and Tom Harris also point out, some “sea level rise” is actually the result of land subsidence – and even Obama Undersecretary for Science Steven Koonin has said the rate of global sea-level rise 70 years ago was just “as large as what we observe today.”

The clever ruse of rising sea levels

Alarmists try to frighten people, and stampede them into terrible energy decisions

Jay Lehr and Tom Harris

For the past 50 years, scientists have been studying climate change and the possibility of related sea level changes resulting from melting ice and warming oceans. Despite the common belief that increasing levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in our atmosphere could result in catastrophic sea level rise, there is no evidence to support this fear. Tax monies spent trying to solve this non-existent problem are a complete waste.

There is another widely held misconception: that all the oceans of the world are at the same level.  In reality, sea level measurements around the world vary considerably, typically by several inches. Prevailing winds and continental instability are among the variables that make measurements difficult, but the varying results of rising sea levels are extremely accurate.

Measurements show no evidence of accelerating sea level rise

The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the United States updated its coastal sea level tide gauge data in 2016 at the request of the previous administration. These measurements continue to show no evidence of accelerating sea level rise.

The measurements include tide gauge data at coastal locations along the West Coast, East Coast, Gulf Coast, Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico, as well as seven Pacific Island groups and six Atlantic Island groups, comprising more than 200 measurement stations.

The longest running NOAA tide gauge record of coastal sea level in the U.S. is in New York City at Battery Park. Its 160-year record shows a steady sea level rise of 11 inches per century. A few miles away at Kings Point, New York is a station whose 80-year record shows about the same.

Steady, unchanging sea level rise rate whether temperature has been rising or falling

Both locations show a steady, unchanging sea level rise rate whether temperature has been rising or falling (see below figures). Indeed, The Battery measurements showed the same rate of sea level rise well before the existence of coal power plants and SUVs as today.

The 2016 updated NOAA tide gauge record included data for California coastal locations at San Diego, La Jolla, Los Angeles and San Francisco. The measured rates of sea level rise at these locations vary between four inches and nine inches per century. NOAA data provide assessments with a 95% confidence level at all measured locations.

In contrast to these steady but modest real-world rising sea level rates, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) claims that sea levels all over the world will almost immediately begin rising far faster than before. Not only do NOAA records contradict such claims for U.S. and selected island coasts; this pattern of steady but modest sea level rise is being observed all across the world, despite rising CO2 and fluctuating average global temperatures.

Sea level rise trends have stayed essentially constant over the past 90 years

The IPCC and its supporters are not able to provide convincing evidence to support their concerns about dangerous warming-driven sea level rise, as rising temperatures have rarely pushed sea level rise beyond one foot per century. Current sea level rise trends have stayed essentially constant over the past 90 years, despite the rise of atmospheric CO2 levels from less than 300 parts per million (ppm) as the Little Ice Age ended and modern industrial era began, to today’s 410 ppm.

Dire predictions made decades ago of dramatically accelerating polar ice loss, and an ice-free Arctic Ocean, have simply not come to pass. Dr. Steven E. Koonin, former Undersecretary for Science in the Obama administration, noted in The Wall Street Journal on September 19, 2014: “Even though the human influence on climate was much smaller in the past, the models do not account for the fact that the rate of global sea-level rise 70 years ago was as large as what we observe today.”

We can test the rising-seas hypothesis with real data collected from ten widely-distributed coastal cities with long and reliable sea level records in addition to those listed above. Those cities are indicated on the map below.


Source:, modified.

Each of these cities has well-documented, long-term sea level rise data, from which linear extrapolations can be made for the next 100 years. Here are three samples of the data available on the NOAA web site:

No correlation between CO2 concentration and sea-level rise

The Ceuta, Spain data show a nearly flat trend. Most notably, the data show no correlation between CO2 concentration and sea-level rise. If the current trend continues for the next century, the sea level in Ceuta will rise only three inches. This is in sharp contrast to the 10-foot global rise in sea levels recently projected by former NASA scientist James Hansen.

Like some other regions, Hawaii can see significant year-to-year fluctuations in sea level because of global oceanic currents or local plate tectonic movements. However, Honolulu has seen an average sea-level rise of only 5.6 inches since 1900. The sea level around Honolulu is projected to rise a mere 5.6 inches in the next 100 years, once again with no correlation to CO2 levels.

The sea level trend in Sitka, Alaska has been downward, not upward

In contrast to these other locations, the sea level trend in Sitka, Alaska has been downward, not upward. If the rate of change continues, sea level will fall nine inches over the next 100 years. Note that Sitka is only about 100 miles from Glacier Bay and 200 miles from the Hubbard Glacier on Disenchantment Bay. If melting glaciers were causing sea levels to rise, one would expect to see it in Alaska.

Of course, the Sitka anomaly could be due to rising land masses, as is the case in other parts of the world. Still other locations – such as the Norfolk, Virginia area – are prone to land subsidence, the result of groundwater withdrawals from subsurface rock formations and/or to isostatic changes in nearby areas that cause some land masses to rise while others fall in elevation.

Here is the forecast sea level rise over the next century for the remaining seven cities on the map:

Atlantic City, New Jersey – 16 inches
Port Isabel, Texas – 15.4 inches
St. Petersburg, Florida – 10.7 inches
Fernandina Beach, Florida – 8.3 inches
Mumbai/Bombay, India – 3.12 inches
Sydney, Australia – 2.7 inches
Slipshavn, Denmark – 3.6 inches.

The observational data and projected sea level trends for these ten coastal cities lead to three obvious conclusions:

  1. There has been no dramatic sea level rise in the past century, and evidence-based projections show no significant or dangerous rise is likely to occur in the coming century.
  2. There is no evidence to indicate that the rate of sea level rise (or fall) in any of these areas will be substantially different than has been the case over the past decades or even century.
  3. There is no correlation between atmospheric CO2 concentrations and sea level rise. The steady but modest rise in sea level pre-dated coal power plants and SUVs, and has continued at the same pace even as atmospheric CO2 concentrations rose from 280 parts per million to 410 parts per million.

Nothing more than a clever ruse

Claims about dangerously rising sea levels, and island nations being submerged by them – as a result of human fossil fuel use and manmade global warming – are nothing more than a clever ruse, designed to frighten people into demanding or accepting terrible energy policies.nothing more than a clever ruse

Those policies would cause nations the world over to give up abundant, reliable, affordable coal, oil and natural gas … and replace these fuels with unreliable, weather-dependant, expensive wind, solar and biofuel energy. The results would be devastating – for economies, jobs, manufacturing, food production, poor families and the environment.

Dr. Jay Lehr is the Science Director of The Heartland Institute which is based in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Tom Harris is Executive Director of the Ottawa, Canada-based International Climate Science Coalition and is also a policy advisor to Heartland.

8 thoughts on “The clever ruse of rising sea levels”

  1. I really wonder about some people. When I was a kid, maybe 50 years ago Dad explained to me that water finds its own level, that didn’t make much sense to me at the time, so he took me outside and showed me, in a clear hose, we filled with water, and discovered that the lawn slopped away to the right, confirmed by a spirit level, and I got it. Many years later I got into a furious argument with somebody, about water and level, in the end I lost my temper and upended the sugar bowl and a glass of water, the sugar stayed in a pile, and water ran off the table onto the floor, other person still didn’t get the message that the table was not level and that is why the water was running the way it was. Some people you cannot help. I answered a question just a few days ago on facebook page, and got slammed as an uneducated idiot, don’t need to be educated to understand water and level. I went on to point out what other variable were there, had the land sunk, was the so called island a volcanic land or a sand island, and even pointed out that Mt St Helens believed to be extinct suddenly erupted a number of years ago, so much for set in stone belief’s.

  2. It’s a great pity the IPCC is a biased political organisation rather than a science truth based body people think it is.
    History teaches a lot about sea level, historically sea level was much higher than now, it reached ts highest point during the Holocene Optimum shortly after the 8500K drop and 4000BP some 2M higher than now.
    As the Land based Glaciation restarted some 3500BP, sea levels have cyclically dropped, risen slightly less during each named Solar Warm Period and dropped further on trend during each GSM cool period coupled with inconvenient and massive volcanic events, depressing the climate further.
    Sea level dropped during Dalton, it will drop during this Modern GSM, but it will rise less than before, as the headline warm temperature trend continues it slow downward path toward the major glaciation tipping point some 1500 years from now.
    The water is still there it just locked in land based ice like our two major Icecaps. Those icecaps are now growing rapidly. Within 40,000 years from now sea level will have dropped 140M a new Ice cap will cover Canada and its Northern Archipelago, North Western Europe including the British Isles and what was the North Sea and Baltic will be under 1Km of ice.
    Climate history repeats it’s self, time after time.

  3. Tides ebb and flow. So do the seasons. So do many a natural cycle. Then why don’t we see the same sort of behaviour with taxes and prices? They only go up, up and up like a REAL hockey stick graph, grr. I am fuming.

  4. My family has owned property on Hood Canal since the early 20’s.
    The original boat house my Grandad built is still there. I am 51 and have been spending time there since I was born.
    My uncles and aunts have been going there since they were born in the 1930’s(its a summer residence not a primary residence).
    None of us can tell any difference in the water level.
    I know. Anecdotal to the extreme, but until I see that boat house start to go under, I will remain skeptical.

  5. Slipshavn is sinking a bit because in the last ice age the ice sheet over scandinavia pushed Slipshavn up as it pushed scandinavia down alot. Slipshavn sank since the end of the last ice age. Norway rose app. 800 meter. Around scandinavia there is a neutral line on which land does not sink or rise for example Fredrikshavn. Hardly any sea level rise or drop there as in multple coastal places on the neutral line in Scandinavia.

    • Much the same with the UK, the rocky areas under the last Ice cap are rising, and the slit regions to the South East are sinking slowly around a tipping point from the Severn to the Humber.
      Tidal ranges remain the same, the only coastal flooding is due to low pressure surges, or the odd tidal wave.

  6. The Maldives are still going strong despite panic about rising sea levels. You know I would love to visit them, those beautiful atolls with such rich corals and marine life. Scuba diver’s paradise. Shame plastic bags keep littering the place. I want to go there to give the litter louts a good ticking orf.

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