OPINION: Storm floods confused with sea-level rise

JOHN Asquith’s recent article sums up the position of global warming/climate change advocates. Basically, people will have to suffer so the world can be saved.

Unfortunately, Mr Asquith falls into the same error that Lake Macquarie council representatives did at the recent meeting at Marks Point. That is, he confuses natural storm events with flooding from sea level rise.

The Pasha Bulker storm in 2007 had its equivalent in the Sygna storm of 1974. The Sygna storm was just as big and occurred at the tail end of a long stormy period, which was related to La Nina weather conditions.

The Pasha Bulker storm occurred just after the beginning of another such cycle.

These events are part of the natural cycles just as the Queensland 2010 floods were. It is highly misleading to claim these events are exceptional and related to global warming.

Sea levels around the world have been rising since the end of the Little Ice Age in about 1850.

There have been a number of studies that show this gradual rise has continued throughout the 20th century.

The first study is by Houston and Dean, two American professors who in 2010, found the gradual sea rise was now decelerating.

This study was supported by two Australian researchers. The first was by Dr Phil Watson, the principal Coastal Specialist at the NSW Department of Environment Climate Change and Water. Dr Watson studied the four longest sea level tidal gauges throughout Australia and New Zealand and also found decelerating sea rise.

Of particular interest was his inclusion of Newcastle’s record. Newcastle’s record showed a high rise in the 1940s, which reduced to a basically flat sea level for the next 60years. This ‘‘flatness’’ can be confirmed by looking at the Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level (PSMSL) data base for Newcastle, which shows a decline from a high point in 2000.

Dr Watson thinks the initial increase at Newcastle was likely due to land subsidence because of underground mining. This movement of the land to produce a sea level rise is called Isostasy.

Professor Bob Carter in his 2008 study looked at the effect of Isostasy around Australia and concluded it was the dominant reason for varying sea level rise at different locations.

Another paper was written by A.A.Boretti, a coastal engineer. Unlike Houston, Dean and Watson who looked at actual sea data, Boretti studied the satellite data. Boretti also found that sea level rise was declining.

That is what the science tells us. This is different from global warming science, which ignores the facts and predicts large sea level rises. It is obvious that councils like Lake Macquarie are relying on these unproven predictions rather than what is actually happening.

For the ratepayers who cannot sell their homes, who watch as their home values plummet and their insurance costs rise, it must be cold comfort to know they are enduring these hardships to stop a crisis for which there is yet no evidence nor sign of occurring.

Anthony Cox is a member of the Climate Sceptics

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