Dr. Andrew Glikson’s response to “Csiro Alarmism more dangerous than CO2”

A RESPONSE TO OLLIER’S ARTICLE CSIRO ALARMISM MORE DANGEROUS THAN CO2” (THE AUSTRALIAN 27.3.2012)

I refer to the article by Ollier (27.3.2-12) titled “CSIRO alarmism more dangerous than CO2” (http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/opinion/csiro-alarmism-more-dangerous-than-co2/comments-e6frgd0x-1226312898312), where the writer states: “The CSIRO projection is extreme, but before explaining why, I would note that the world’s main source of alarmism is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This is not really a scientific body but one that adjusts data and subjects it to mathematical modeling before passing its “projections” on to politicians.”

The IPCC reports represent summaries of thousands of peer review papers in scientific journals, as well as reports by reputable science bodies, including the CSIRO. Here I examine the basis for some of Ollier’s claims:

  1. Ollier is critical of CSIRO’s 2012 report “State of the Climate 2012” which states ”Since 1993, the rates of sea level rise to the north and northwest of Australia have been 7 to 11 mm per year, two to three times the global average, and rates of sea-level rise on the central east and southern coasts of the continent are mostly similar to the global average (www.csiro.au/…/~/…/8E59FBA4F8A94FE4B84F01E271226316.pdf). However, due to the west Pacific current and high water temperatures sea level in the Western Pacific and around northern Australia can exceed global average sea levels.

  1. Ollier states “the CSIRO says that since 1993 sea levels have risen up to 10mm a year in the north and west. That means that somewhere has had a 19cm-rise in sea level since 1993. Where is this place. The European satellite says that sea levels have been constant for the past eight years.”

However, sea levels over the past eight years have not been constant:

  1. The 1970-2010 mean tide gauge-measured sea level rise rate of ~2.2 mm/year has risen during 1994-2010 to 3.4 mm/year, as measured by Topex-Poseidon + Jason-1 + OSTM Jason-2 satellites. (http://www.cmar.csiro.au/sealevel/sl_proj_21st.html). Similar acceleration of sea level rise rates is reported from other parts of the globe. For example, “The average rate of coastal climate-related sea level rise in the Mediterranean Sea was consequently revisited to be of 1.7 mm yr−1 over the past century, whereas the Atlantic northern Iberian coast revealed a significant high rate of sea level rise in excess of 3.4 mm yr−1 for the past 70 years” (JGR, 117, C01007, 14 PP., 2012) (http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2012/2011JC007469.shtml).

  1. Inherent in Ollier’s future sea level projection is a constant or near-constant linear rate, where he states: “This (1.7 mm/year) is a reasonable level accepted by most sea-level watchers outside the IPCC and CSIRO and gives a sea-level rise of about 15cm by 2100“.  However, the assumption of constant sea level rise is negated by tide gauge and satellite data evidence for an acceleration of Greenland and Antarctic ice melt rates reported by Grace satellite gravity measurements  (http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2011/2011GL046583.shtml). According to the landmark paper by Church et al. 2011 (Revisiting the Earth’s sea-level and energy budgets from 1961 to 2008) “The largest contributions come from ocean thermal expansion (0.8 mm yr−1) and the melting of glaciers and ice caps (0.7 mm yr−1), with Greenland and Antarctica contributing about 0.4 mm yr−1.

Referring to the title of Ollier’s piece, since the connection between atmospheric CO2, global temperatures and sea levels is an established observation in paleo-climate science, the warnings arising from climate science of global sea level rise consequent on continuing carbon emissions can no longer be refuted.

(Dr) Andrew Glikson

1.4.2012

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