Cheat-Seeking Missles

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Fallacious Hysteria Over Ocean Levels

For Warmie hysterics, there's nothing better than raising ocean levels. Tropical islands under water! Flooded coastal cities! Drowned polar bears!

Good stuff for fundraising and political power -- but what if you knew that Al Gore's much-disputed 20-foot ocean increases were a mere drop in the oceanic bucket compared to what we've already been through? What if oceans had already risen 400 feet?

Wouldn't Al and the Warmies just seem a bit hysterical over next to nothing?

Let's start where my paper trail started, with a FEMA report from 1991, before global warming was all the rage. The report was provided to me by my friend Neil, who is a bit of a data packrat. To my knowledge, it's not available on-line, but it worries over the insurance ramifications of a one-foot or a three-foot rise in sea level:
Based on these findings, the aspects of flood insurance rate-making that already account for the possibility of increasing risk, and the tendency of new construction to be built more than one foot above the base flood elevation, the NIFP [National Flood Insurance Program] would not be significantly impacted under a one-foot rise in sea level by the year 2100. For the high projection of a 3-foot rise, the incremental increase of the first foot would not be expected until the year 2050.
What was FEMA doing projecting a 3-foot rise in ocean levels in 1991? Neil had a simple answer:
There is global warming and there is Global Warming. The former started happening about 10,000 years ago. The latter started happening a few years ago and has reached a fevered pitch unaccompanied by a proportional increase in global temperature or sea level.

The real global warming started at the end of the last ice age and has long been recognized by the scientific community. Enough of the ocean water was trapped in continental glaciers to cause the sea level to be over 100 m (or about 400 feet) lower than now. Much of the present continental shelf was exposed dry land, and rivers cut through to reach the then-ocean shore. As global warming progressed and the ice melted, sea levels started to rise, drowning the rivers and forming some of what are now called submarine canyons. Some, but not all, of these canyons can be attributed to sea level rise. The deepest canyons, deeper than the lowest prehistoric sea level, appear to be cut by density or turbidity currents that are still occurring today. (Wikipedia)

So, sea level has been rising gradually for a long time, but the rise didn't reach Congressional radar screens until recently. That probably prompted FEMA's early work done in the pleasant interlude between initial realization and the latest shrieking.
The rise of the oceans has been occurring since long, long before SUVs and incandescent light bulbs -- it is a major, long-term force of nature that won't stop until a cooling cycle begins -- which could be soon since the Hysterics were predicting it in the 1970s.

Why should we sacrifice our quality of life, why should we short-change health and hunger fixes that are real in the name of costly global warming fixes that are specious, if this has been going on for centuries? Global warming clearly doesn't need us and isn't much impacted by us. It will march on until it stops, with or without us.

Let's let it march without us. We've got better things to do with our time, resources and emotions than fret over three feet or two, three or 20 feet of ocean level increases if the Earth has already poved its abilitity to raise the oceans 400 feet.

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