The Washington Post published an article today titled When sea levels rise, high tides will spill into communities far more often, study says.
What a revelation! It’s almost as foolish as the studies that cost taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars to tell us that heat waves will occur more often (and cold spells less often) in a warming world. A grade schooler could figure those things out.
The Washington Post article was about a study by the Union of Concerned Scientists. See the UCS webpage Encroaching Tides for links to the full report, executive summary and technical appendix. There’s lots of pretty pictures and graphs and stuff.
But it turns out the webpage is nothing more than an advertisement. If you scroll down to the bottom of the Encroaching Tides webpage, the UCS is asking for donations:
We Need Your Support to Make Change Happen
Your contribution puts rigorous scientific analysis to work to advance clean, renewable energy and so much more. With the support of people like you, we are developing and implementing practical solutions to build a healthier environment and a safer world.
So the UCS tries to scare the pants off of their adoring public in an effort to raise some more money for their coffers. What a surprise!!
ISN’T IT TIME WE STOPPED WASTING MONEY STUDYING SOMETHING WE KNOW IS GOING TO HAPPEN?
This post is not about whether the sea level report by the Union of Concerned Scientists agrees with the IPCC. It’s not about whether the Union of Concerned Scientists have exploited a naturally occurring upswing in sea level rise that’s part of the multidecadal variations in the North Atlantic ocean temperatures known as the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation. I’m not going to waste my time downloading tide gauge data from dozens of locations up and down the eastern seaboard.
For decades now, we’ve been told that sea levels are going to rise. Why do they keep telling us? Why don’t we stop wasting money on their foolish studies about what we already know and start spending money on preparing for the inevitable?
This is going to require a different mindset, one geared toward adapting.
Is renewable energy going to stop the rise in sea level? No. To combat rising sea levels, do we need more windmills? No. Do we need more solar cell arrays? No. So why in God’s name would anyone in their right mind send money to the Union of Concerned Scientists to “work to advance clean, renewable energy” when we need them to do “so much more” other stuff?
Here’s a couple of paragraphs and an illustration from the Introduction to my upcoming book.
Sea levels, on the other hand, present an altogether different problem. Again, even if we could turn back CO2 levels to preindustrial values, sea levels would continue to rise. Sea levels have been rising since the end of the last ice age, and they will continue to do so until Earth heads toward another ice age and the globe starts to cool once again. Further, the rate at which global sea levels might possibly change in the future, in response to the hypothetical effects of manmade greenhouse gases, is still the subject of wide ranges of uncertainty and open debate…and the subject of even more alarmism from activists and the media, if that’s possible. One thing is certain: the oceans and seas will continue to assault Earth’s land masses. Adding solar arrays and windmills to power grids is not going to stop the oceans from invading our shorelines. We can only adapt to rising sea levels…and we have been doing exactly that since the end of the last ice age.
We can no longer travel by land between Asia and North America via the Bering Land “Bridge”. Similarly, we can no longer migrate on land between Tasmania, New Guinea and Australia, which were all interconnected landmasses not too many millennia ago. We can no longer hunt and gather in Doggerland, which was the former landmass that once connected Britain to mainland Europe during and after the last ice age. Doggerland disappeared only 6000 to 6500 years ago, swallowed by the rising North Sea. All around the globe, since the last glacial maximum, we’ve lost valuable low-lying lands and their resources to rising sea levels, and we’ll lose more of them in the future. That’s an unfortunate and unavoidable fact of life on this planet.
Maybe it’s easier to fathom if we look at the rise and fall in sea levels in paleoclimatological timeframes. We won’t have to think in those terms often in this book, because most of the discussions are about the past 3 to 4 decades. But for a moment, let’s think in tens and hundreds of thousands of years. Then the 100 to 125 meter (330 to 410 foot) variations in sea levels could simply be thought of as a form of ice age-dependent “tides”, washing ashore when the Earth warms between ice ages and receding when the earth cools toward the glacial maximums. See Figure Intro-5.
Out of need and without the slightest thought of future “tides”, our ancestors built villages, towns and cities along those retreating shorelines, and we continue to build homes and businesses there. Now, with a new-found awareness of those future advances in the “tides”, we are adapting, and future generations will continue to adapt, because our villages, towns and cities lie within the “glacial-interglacial tidal range”. Trying to hold back the “tides” of naturally rising sea levels by limiting greenhouse gas emissions is a fool’s errand.