Observe Closely

As strange as it may seem … I expected better, even from Anthony Watts’ blog.

That’s right. I said it.

There’s a post by Nils-Axel Mörner on WUWT which attempts to dispute concerns about sea level rise. In this particular case it draws attention to the Marshall Islands.

Mörner begins by showing this graph of sea level at Kwajalein:


It shows considerable rise, as well as recent acceleration. We can even retrieve the data from PSMSL (Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level) and confirm this finding:


Not only is it rising, the rate of sea level rise has increased (i.e., sea level has accelerated):


However, Mörner only shows the data from Kwajalein to ridicule the idea of sea level rise. He goes on to show another data record from the same region, for Majuro, saying:

This is a sea level graph (from Majuro) and is shows a general sea level stability from 1992 to 2010.

No traces of any acceleration!


It looks like Kwajalein is affected by a local subsidence induced by building construction (or some sea level “correction” in order to have it going up).

The Majuro records, for sure, contradicts and acceleration claim; even a general “rise”.

In conclusion, don’t “hang your hat” on the Kwajalein graph. Look around and observe!

There’s one part of Mörner’s statement I agree with: that we should look around and observe. Closely.

Regular readers here know that I like to get my hands on the data. Sometimes I even analyze it. So I got the data for Majuro.

There are actually two data records available from PSMSL, “Majuro B” and “Majuro C”. Here they are, for the period 1993 to 2010, with “B” in black and “C” in red:


It looks a lot like the graph Mörner shows, and although it shows signs of increase there’s not much, and certainly no sign of acceleration.

But here’s the part Mörner doesn’t mention: there’s a lot more data for Majuro than just from 1993 to 2010. Let’s look at it all!


Well whadaya know? It definitely increases, and a strong sign of acceleration!

We can even align the two records to form a single estimate of sea level at Majuro, and fit a smooth curve to that:


Yep. Increase and acceleration.

The wild and crazy part is, that all you have to do to know how “shallow” is Mörner’s claim, is take his advice: Look around and observe. With Mörner — as with most of the contributors to the WUWT blog — I advise you to look closely. Very closely.

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81 responses to “Observe Closely

  1. David Appell

    I wasn’t aware anyone was still taking Nils-Axel Mörner seriously. He might have once been a good scientist; anymore he has become an embarassment. It is sad to watch.

  2. Thank you for keeping an eye on these idiots.

  3. You’ve trained me very well over the years when I am now presented with graphs of all sorts; context, context, more context, and, umm, even more context. And statistics.

    I can understand deniers being so hung up on graphs, though; they are visually easy to understand, and so easy to fool people not “in the know” of the underlying workings. It’s standard fare here on this site to point out the disgusting deception these people play at, but to the populace at large it’s scary the amount of effect and power it gains them (or their cause).

    The only way to “win” (and by ‘win’, I mean general understanding of science) is better science education, and a focus on exactly why it is important even for laymen (and women) to understand these things; science isn’t some esoteric art that weirdos do in lab coats in dungeons (I wish!), but Reality, the very same reality people happen to live in. And I’m glad I’ve got your blog to help in that respect! Very well done.

  4. I do not get this: why is there a difference in the data of the third last graph and the final two? Did anybody omit data points by purpose? Then I would call this fraud!


  5. You expected more from Wattsupia? The Lord High Denier did his best with this piece.

    He did, for instance, insert the comment “See more on Majuro here” providing a helpful link to a AMSAT report of 2002 examining the sea level rise in the Marshals. The report’s main findings are “A SEAFRAME gauge was installed in Majuro, Marshall Islands, in July 1993.” and “The sea level trend to date is +8.0 mm/year (as compared to a global average of 1-2 mm/year) but the magnitude of the trend continues to vary widely from month to month as the data set grows. Nearby gauges, with longer records but less precision and datum control, show trends of +2.79, +1.18, and +1.13 mm/year.” It is difficult to not see here the “general rise” that Mörner insists does not exist at Majuro.

    So it seems the Lord High Denier is presenting both the initial denial and a further denial of that denial.
    For those who expect more from the Lord High Denier, all I can ask is “More? How much denial do you expect in such a short Wattsupian proclamation?”

    • so a rise rate of between 1 and 3 mm/yr. Isn’t that the overall “avg” rate for the past century or century and a half? Not exactly an increase dramatic or otherwise.

      But yes, purposely omitting data, especially the most recent (when trying to establish a recent trend) does not pass the s”sniff” test.

  6. Glenn Tamblyn

    When will the rejectionistas ever learn. If you show two graphs with different time periods on the x-axis, someone will be suspicious and dig deeper. Best not to do that at all…..

    ….Oops, forgot. If they do that then they have nothing to say.

    Nice Tamino.

  7. Why did you expect somethimg better, given WUWT and Mörner as contributor? Mörner is a known crank. Anyone remember his ridiculous tilted Sealevel-Graph? http://www.skepticalscience.com/Nils-Axel-Morner-wrong-about-sea-level-rise.html

  8. MightyDrunken

    What I wonder is how a seemingly good scientist like Nils-Axel Mörner suddenly loses all objectivity? Mörner ideas about sea level change do not stand up to the slightest amount of fact checking.

    • Martin Vermeer

      Pension enhancement?

    • The rumor I’ve heard from people who have worked with Mörner is that he has always balanced between genius and madman. Some very good ideas and many not so good. In normal science that’s OK, his colleagues will sort the wheat from the chaff and only keep the good ideas, only when you get a chance to go public to people without the proper background knowledge does it cause damage. Or, which may be worse, when you get to supervise grad students.

  9. I thought it cute that:
    a) Anthony linked to a report dated 2002 when there are much later versions of the same report available- identical to 2010 and subsequent ones to 2012.

    b) Nils scrunched up chart of Majuro was seaframe data in metres! Not mm, not even cm but metres on a 30cm grid! And it stopped at the beginning of 2010, and again there is more recent and better data available – and at a scale that tells us what is happening. As you’ve illustrated, Tamino, in mm.

    Bear in mind Anthony’s been finding it hard to get any worthwhile yarns lately. Beggars can’t be choosers.

    • The last two grid boxes have been blanked out. I’m familiar with NTC (BOM) illustrative plots – the plot always extends into the last box. I’m what might be loosely described as a “sceptic” but I’m no fan of anyone who fiddles about with graphics and lies through whatever teeth he might have left. As you say, the grid interval is 30 cm – hardly “research quality” – these plots are meant merely to inform. They show max and min levels too, hence the “mean” on the left. For Darwin the LH axis extends to 10 metres with a grid interval of 1 metre – the tidal range there is 7 metres.

      The Majuro data is updated monthly – the latest is for last month, so Mörner’s used one from last year and expunged the “elephant in the room”. Par for the course.

  10. Watts has had a big year for low-quality posts. Did anyone else see the stuff about insect breaths? Beyond the normal silliness…

  11. Thank you for another interesting analysis! Could you perhaps mention how exactly you construct and fit the smooth curve in the last figure? Also, is it possible to give some mean value and error estimate on the acceleration, especially during the period 1993-?

    I tried, by fitting a second-order polynomial to the Majuro data (inspired by some older post of yours), from 1993-2010 (as shown in the WUWT blog) and from 1993-2012 (including 2012, i.e. all data from http://www.psmsl.org/data/obtaining/stations/1838.php ). The former results in a negative coefficient for the second order term (-0.3mm/year^2), the latter in a positive coefficient (0.25mm/year^2). Also, Matlab says the fitted polynomials are badly conditioned, which I guess means that this polynomial method doesn’t really warrant using a second-order polynomial, but that a first-order should suffice.

    • Martin Vermeer

      > the fitted polynomials are badly conditioned

      See the matlab polyfit help, and use the following output format:

      [p,S,mu] = polyfit(x,y,n) finds the coefficients of a polynomial in

      x-hat = (x – mu1)/mu2

      where mu1 = mean(x) and mu2 = std(x). mu is the two-element vector [mu1,mu2]. This centering and scaling transformation improves the numerical properties of both the polynomial and the fitting algorithm.

      • Thank you for the suggestion, I didn’t know of that option. I did the calculations again, using that approach, and now I don’t get the “bad conditioned” warnings. However, the resulting coefficients are the same as I showed before, up to the 11th digit, so my other comments stay the same.

      • Martin Vermeer

        That’s good news Jonathan. I’ve had generally (but not always) the same experience.

    • Since I am now more confident that the second-order-term coefficients for my fitted quadratic polynomials can be calculated correctly, I decided to calculate the 95% confidence intervals for the ranges described in my parent post (Jan 1993-Jan 2010 and Jan 1993-Jan 2013), using the Matlab command bootci.

      I then get, for Majuro:
      1993-2010: -0.32 mm/year^2 (-0.67,0.04)
      1993-2013: 0.25 mm/year^2 (0.03,0.47)

      Which I guess means that you can’t (with 95% confidence) say that there was any acceleration in either way 1993-2010, but that you can say that there was an acceleration from 1993-2013.

      These calculations are not corrected for anything, including autocorrelation.

      (Since I still don’t really know how to do these calculations, take them with a busload of salt. I’d be happy to get corrections and learn stuff. :) )

  12. On thermal expansion of the oceans…

    A fact often ignored is that as the water depth becomes shallower towards a coast, there is less and less water to expand. At the shore, the effect is zero.


    Who knew that water can only expand vertically?

    As Judith Curry would say: “Wow!”.

    • Maybe that’s the redefinition of the geoid?

    • I guess the sea will just sort of bulge upwards up where it’s deeper. That will be so useful.
      As global warming progresses, we’ll be able to go water skiing without a boat – just ski downhill from the deep parts to the shallow parts.
      Why has no-one proposed this as one of the many benefits of climate change? Not only will the weather be toasty warm, as they say, but we’ll be able to go boatless downhill water skiiing. At the North Pole!

      • “…boatless downhill water skiiing. At the North Pole!”

        Exactly – The economic benefits of this radial-only oceanic expansion could be multitude…

        The great mountain of expanded water over the Mariana Trench will be high enough to allow for the generation of hydroelectric power – or it would be, if only we could invent water that could move sideways and down.

    • Mörner lives in a uni-dimensional world. He also lives in a world of tides where high and low water are exactly the same every tide, every day, year in, year out. Tidal cycles don’t vary in his world – no springs, no neaps, no monthly lunar cycle. I’ve a picture he’s captioned with “The line of seaweed marks MHWL”. MHWL is “mean high water level”. Pretty smart seaweed, to know exactly where that is (or has been, or will be), and to stop floating up the beach at exactly the right spot.

  13. This is as clownish as the playing with numbers politicians do when they want to ‘justify’ destructive policies…

  14. Where by ‘this’ I mean Morner’s games with graphs… Even a casual glance at the two he presents shows they cover different time periods…

  15. “Very closely”? Nah. You don’t have to look that closely to see that Mörner is full of crabs. Just popped this on Eli’s last month after noticing it in some old notes. Apologies for the ‘double post’, but it belongs here.

    Another famous place is the Tuvalu Islands, which are supposed to soon disappear because they’ve put out too much carbon dioxide. There we have a tide gauge record, a variograph record, from 1978, so it’s 30 years. And again, if you look there, absolutely no trend, no rise.
    - Dr. Nils-Axel Mörner (2007)


  16. Tamino… Is the sea-level anomaly an integral of the surface air temperature anomaly? Any thoughts?

  17. All that’s needed now, similar results from the Maldives, Kiribati, Seychelles, Torres Strait, Tegua, Solomon, Palau, Micronesia, Tuvalu, Carteret and all other allegedly threatened islands around the world.

    I shall watch with interest.

    [Response: This post includes a link to PSMSL (Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level). Those who are genuinely interested in finding the truth are advised to start there. Those who simply want to brandish the word "allegedly" ...]

    • Ah, Earthling reminds me of a post I saw on George Takei’s Facebook page:

      Do you suppose clouds ever look down on us and say, “Oh look, that one’s idiot shaped.”

    • Hmm. If I can find the data at PSMSL
      with just a few clicks, why would anyone else “allegedly” interested in the truth have any need to be prompted where to look?

      Earthling, do you really not know how to do this?

  18. AJ-san, if you can get me an annual time series for sea level anomaly, I’ll see if I can tie it to other things.

  19. Whenever someone posts a single tide gauge record to “prove” something I tend to immediately consult satellite sea level change maps. The Majuro and Kwajalein stations are located along the interface between the big Pacific blue and red blobs (clearly related to the La Nina pattern also manifested in SSTs). One implication of this is that you are likely to see large trend variations across this region without having to travel very far.

    You can also plot data from the satellite lat/lon grid cells which contain the tide gauge locations. For example, the Majuro records are pretty well correlated with AVISO satellite maps. The Kwajalein record is also well correlated. The tide gauge shows slightly more increase over the past few years, but the basic pattern of an abrupt rise is there in the satellite altimeter data.

    The AVISO data I found at PCMDI only goes up to December 2010.

  20. “[Response: This post includes a link to PSMSL (Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level). Those who are genuinely interested in finding the truth are advised to start there. Those who simply want to brandish the word "allegedly" ...]”

    What else is it, if not alleged, when global sea level rise is referred to in one or two locations?
    I’ve been “genuinely interested in finding the truth” about global sea level rise since 2006 and there’s not much chance of finding truth at websites like this

    [Response: Especially if you don't really want to.]

    • Earthling,

      “Websites like this”? Now you are being either dishonest or wilfully ignorant. Several times you have been given the means to obtain the data for yourself. Is this really too much for you?

    • Hilarious.

      A (stupid) post at WUWT claimed that sea level is not rising at one particular Pacific island. So Tamino shows that, in fact, sea level IS rising at that island.

      Then you have the gall to complain that Tamino is only showing you “one or two locations”. Er, that’s because Tamino was pointing out the error in Moerner’s post at WUWT. Tamino isn’t the one suggesting that some sea level gauge at one particular island is representative of the whole world, it’s the guy at WUWT who was doing that.

      You should be complaining about Moerner’s post, not this one. If you’re honest, that is.

    • Michael Sweet

      In the post before yours the site for worldwide data on sea level is linked. Is your mouse broken so you cannot click on the link? What do you want people here to do, operate your computer for you? Tamino has previously bloged on global sea level rise, search the site for that information.

  21. Tamino, is the acceleration statistically signficant? IIRC, you have cautioned readers in the past to be leery of trend analysis without confidence intervals. If it’s not too much trouble, would you post the values in the article or in reply here?

  22. If Earthling is the same one as posts often here, I suspect attempts to educate him here will not bear fruit.

  23. Aside from WUWT and Mörner bashing for now, what about similar results from the Maldives, Kiribati, Seychelles, Torres Strait, Tegua, Solomon, Palau, Micronesia, Tuvalu, Carteret and all other allegedly threatened islands around the world?

    [Response: The title of this post is "Observe Closely." The theme is that when WUWT contributors make claims one should observe the data closely and with skepticism, because their claims are not to be trusted.

    But you've tried to turn it into "Well what about location X instead?" and whine about how "alleged" is the threat of sea level rise. So, we pointed you to exactly where you can get the data so you can do exactly what this post recommends: observe for yourself, closely and with skepticism.

    But you won't do that.

    I cast doubt on the WUWT post by looking at the data -- but you choose to cast doubt by refusing to do so, insisting that we do it for you. That's why most readers here think you're a troll.]

  24. Well, Earthling, why do you want everybody else to do all the work? You don’t even supply a link to explain–let alone support–your allegations.

    However, I’m willing to give it a few minutes. So, I went to the PMSL site, linked in the post, and found two stations in the Maldives. The first had a short record, ending in 2004. The second showed this result:


    Now, it’s just eyeball analysis, but that sure looks like sea level rise to me. You want to tell us about Kiribati, et al?

    I’ll observe closely.

  25. “That’s why most readers here think you’re a troll.” Nice comment, thanks.

    Mörner proved there was no sea level rise at Maldives for 50 years, but a team of Australian “scientists” pulled down ‘the’ tree, yet couldn’t remove the coral remains proving that sea level had fallen at one point, but not risen.
    Male is as high above sea level as it was in 1970 and possibly 1962.

    [Response: You are a troll.]

  26. Michael Sweet

    It has been demonstrated here that the tree photo Morner claims to prove sea level has not risen in the Maldives has been photoshoped. Morner has produced several different versions of this photo, each of a different tree. Please put your comments on the SkS thread if you have questions about how Morner has mislead you.

  27. I thought the subject was sea level rise, sorry if I was mistaken.

    [Response: Let's see ... you're mistaken about what Mörner has "proved," about sea level in the Maldives, and about the silly idea that I should chase down sea level data for you when you won't go get it yourself even though this post is about looking at the data yourself.

    But mostly, you're mistaken to fall for the lame falsehoods of Mörner and his ilk. You are seriously in need of critical-thinking skills, because you've been suckered big-time.]

    • No, the subject is the misrepresentation of sea-level data by a dishonest or incompetent (you choose!) guest poster on another site and how easy it is for someone genuinely interested to find the truth.

      So far, you appear to have shown no interest whatsoever in finding the truth.

    • “…what about similar results from the Maldives, Kiribati, Seychelles, Torres Strait, Tegua, Solomon, Palau, Micronesia, Tuvalu, Carteret and all other allegedly threatened islands around the world?”

      • Well, Earthling? Please show us the results you obtain from the data. There are many free sites you can upload images to, so what’s stopping you? Of course, we expect to be given links to the data you use so there can be no doubt that your graphs accurately represent the data.

  28. Did Mörner also fake the line of coral that shows a fall in sea level at some point in time?
    Has he nothing better to do than play around with photos like these?
    Has anyone got a timeline for The Maldives to disappear beneath the waves?

    [Response: The link to SkepticalScience demonstrates that he's willing to fake photographs and make up stories to support his no-sea-level-rise tale. But you're still trusting Mörner?

    And ... apparently you *still* haven't retrieved actual sea level data (what a concept!) for Male in the Maldives, for which there's both satellite and tide gauge data. They agree with each other ... but not with you and Mörner.

    Seriously ... doesn't it bother you in the least that you swallowed such crap hook, line, and sinker? Or are you what con artists call an "easy mark," someone *born* to be suckered?]

    • Mörner’s pictures remind me of his use of “the reef woman” as evidence for sustained elevated sea levels in one paper, and a tsunami in another. He loves single data points that just happen to fit whatever story he wants to tell.

  29. Morner is now editor of an OA journal that is discussed at http://scholarlyoa.com/2013/07/16/recognizing-a-pattern-of-problems-in-pattern-recognition-in-physics/ . The first issue of PRP contains articles by Parker (Boretti), Scafetta and Morner. The journal also has a comment by Benestad that highlights a number of major problems with the Scafetta paper (e.g., “This conclusion is in error because it is based on a misrepresentation of the previous work”),

  30. “Or are you what con artists call an “easy mark,” someone *born* to be suckered?]”

    Only time will tell who has been suckered, but at the end of the day, we’ll all still be in the same boat.
    Until then, I hope you continue to enjoy being supercilious.

    [Response: Nils-Axel Morner conned you and you fell for it -- the "only time will tell" card ain't gonna change that. It's a pity, but typically human, that you won't face this embarrassing truth. It's also typical to turn your ire on the one who exposes your folly. Insulting me doesn't make you any less a sucker.]

    • Glenn Tamblyn


      A thought to consider. You have put up some stuff here and others, me included, have suggested you are being conned by those you are citing.
      Your reaction is to take a negative attitude to those here rather than the people you reference.

      So consider something in the hypothetical. If someone wanted to con you, or me, how would they go about it? What arguments would they use, to achieve their con?

      Ask any conman. You can’t con someone by antagonizing them. If they don’t trust you, don’t agree with you, don’t feel sympathy with you you can’t con them.

      So how does anyone here who disagrees with you hope to con you?
      In contrast, could those that you regard sympathetically con you?

      Of course. Your trust in them empowers them.

      Simple rule in life. Don’t trust those who agree with you. Don’t trust those who say the things you want to hear. Trust those who disagree with you. They are likely honest. If they weren’t they they wouldn’t disagree with you.

      • Since I agree with you, Glen, I suppose Reagan’s ‘trust but verify’ axiom applies? ;-)

      • I’m afraid agreement or disagreement is not an absolute guarantor of truth. People actually have to do the homework. But if finding only agreement requires someone to ignore the best qualified people in the field, they should find the odor of sanctimony a bit too much.

      • “The original Russian proverb”

        “While Reagan quoted Russian proverbs, Mr. Gorbachev quoted Ralph Waldo Emerson.”

        (I’m having a bit of trouble with links (Duckduckgo on Safari here) but it’s from Wikipedia.)

    • Earthling wrote: “we’ll all still be in the same boat”

      No, we’ll all be in a boat in much worse shape than it is now because people of your ilk will have quite effectively prevented the taking of meaningful, effective action on a large enough scale to prevent it being in worse shape.

      Unfortunately, it will not be just you who will have to live with the consequences.

      • Jim Eager.
        Sorry. I cannot agree with that. You say to the Earthling “Unfortunately, it will not be just you who will have to live with the consequences.” Not so. By the time SLR becomes an unstoppable tide, we here will all be pushing up the daisies.
        It will not be us but future generations alone that will have to “live with the consequences” of SLR. Their only avenue of escape will be to reduce the global temperature rise that we will have left them with, an escape route made ever more difficult by today’s reluctance to take climate change seriously.
        That is not to say that there will be no major coastal flooding in our lifetimes, but these floods will be mostly due to an increase in storm surge heights.

      • Whether it’s worse or better, it’ll still be “The same boat,” Jim.

      • Al, did you miss the phrase “people of your ilk”?

        My comment was not restricted to Earthling alone, or to just those alive today.

        In any case, I think those of us living today will be in deep and serious climate trouble long before we have to seriously worry about population displacement due to sea level rise. Agriculture on the scale required to feed 7 billion people requires predictable, stable precipitation. That’s already starting to slip away.

      • Fair enough, Earthling, but there’s just no way in hades that it’s going to get ‘better’. And it’s people like you that we’ll have to thank.

  31. [edit]

    [Response: Pointless back-and-forth insults are neither amusing nor informative. I suggest you actually learn something about the subjects on which you spout off -- because that's the one thing you've steadfastly refused to do.]

  32. David Appell said “He might have once been a good scientist; anymore he has become an embarassment”. I don’t think he ever was. He claimed to have done several impossible things re. estimating eustatic sea-level trends back in the 70s.

    I’ve had a comment suppressed at WUWT, presumably because I had the temerity to point out some home truths to Willis Eschenbach, who had claimed that the trend at Majuro to 1993 was “much the same” as 1993-2012. The latter matchers the satellite data rather well at 7.3 mm/year. Willis claimed it was 5.6 mm/year, and also said “tidal effects” had to be removed from (monthly) sea-level data to get the “underlying sea level”. He owes me a keyboard, as I was drinking coffee at the time.

    If anyone’s interested, I’ve just posted am analysis of the “86 Australian stations” that Mörner & Boretti-Parker claimed back in April gave an average over the “20 years” 1990-2010 (I know, it’s 21 years) of just 1.5 mm/year, strangely with a maximum rate of 1.5 mm/year also. It’s obvious they didn’t analyse any stations, and just made it up. The average is 4 mm/year, maximum 9.4. They also claim to have analysed “all 2059″ PSMSL stations, an even more ludicrous claim. Luckily I wasn’t drinking coffee when I read that.

    I think the blogosphere needs a good shake-up re Mörner and his ridiculous claims. Can I ask a favour, that you confirm a few of my results? The Mörner sycophants are such an un-sceptical bunch, they’ll believe anything but the truth.

    • Using the annual PSMSL data for Majuro-C I get 6.1mm/yr for the 1994-2012 linear trend. There are 8 monthly values for 1993 in that record. If I average them to get a 1993 value the 1993-2012 linear trend is 6.0mm/yr. If I estimate a 1993 value by overlaying the Majuro-B data (which contains 12 monthly values) I get 6.3mm/yr.

      I get your 7.3mm/yr trend if I splice PSMSL absolute values for Majuro-C on to the end of Majuro-B, i.e. from 2002 onwards, but there is a small offset between the two where they overlap so I don’t think this would be an accurate representation. Don’t know if that’s what you did?

      For satellite data, using the CU wizard with lat=171.4 lon=7.1, I get 6.6mm/yr for 1993-2012.

      The pre-1993 Majuro-B data appears to contain more variance than trend. I make the 1969-1993 linear trend 2.9mm/yr, but the r^2 of linear regression is only 0.23, compared to ~0.5 for the 1993-2012 period for both tide gauge and satellite data.

      • I used a reconstruction, yes, as did Willis. The difference for the overlap is small, average 12 mm, so I didn’t adjust for it. My issue was with Willis’ silly claim that the two periods “were much the same”. They are if 2.7 and a value more than twice as great can be said to be “much the same”. Such a difference isn’t open to interpretation.

        There’s a silly sceptic “faction”, who firmly believe Mörner’s nonsense about satellite rates being “absurd” (his words) or “crap” (from others). Their “proof” usually takes the form of casting about for some much longer-period chart that has a low trend overall to contrast with a much higher rate on a satellite chart, which of course matches only part of the gauge record.

        Being trusting, and therefore gullible and not sceptical (at that time), I believed their rubbish until I started analysing gauge data myself. The truth soon dawned.

        I’ve just re-read Tamino’s excoriation of Watson’s 2nd. degree polynomials applied to moving averages (How Not to Analyze Tide Gauge Data). He should have titled his post “Elementary, my dear Watson”. I didn’t see that Tamino spotted Watson’s chopping off early data. Boretti-Parker has a similar habit, and none of the trend or polynomial equations on his charts match the trend or curve. He fiddles with them to turn a trend/month into a trend/year, and the x-intercepts acquire some extraordinary values. The largest I’ve seem is 111,000 mm, and scaled up, that’s a danger to low-flying aircraft.

  33. No sea level rise here at Tarawa atoll, part of Kiribati in the central Pacific.

    [Response: Answer me this: if I fit a linear-regression trend line to that data, what rate of sea level rise it will show?

    While you're pondering that ... did you know there are 3 other tide gauge records from Tarawa, and satellite data as well? What do those other data show?]

    • I think Mark Lynas got is knickers in a twist on this one. The EOS paper from which that graph was cut is now available in this PDF and it says nothing of there being no SLR at Kiribati. Rather it is saying that variability in SL is far greater than even decades of SLR.
      And the linear regression through that data? Well that is +3.2mm pa. This of course is, according to the renowned Mörner, a value that is not of any significance as “there, in fact, is no ongoing sea level rise that threatens the habitation of the islands.” This is all very reassuring to know, coming from such an unreliable source as Mörner.

      • I noticed Lynas that he was wrong in his blog article, and gave him the facts about SLR in Kiribati. Why he just didn’t admit he was wrong, one can only guess …

  34. Do they show that coral atolls have managed to stay above water since they formed, due to continuous coral growth?

    [Response: Let's recap.

    You posted some total bullshit from Nils-Axel Mörner. It was refuted by demonstrating that he had faked a photo and invented a false story. Your response: rather than admit (apparently, even to yourself) that you had been hoodwinked, you post *more* of his claims.

    You've been repeatedly asked to look at the actual sea level data for the location you yourself suggested (Male in the Maldives). As far as we can tell, you still haven't done so.

    Instead, you dig up a graph for a *different* location and say "Look! No sea level rise!" When you're asked to tell us what *is* the rate of change for that data set ... you have no answer. When you're notified that there are 4 other data sets for that location and asked what they indicate ... you have no answer.

    Instead you spout more bullshit about corals. Although you want to look like you're asking a question, it's obvious to everybody that you're attempting to make a claim. What you haven't done is provide any evidence to back up that claim. And no, "Nils-Axel Mörner said so" is not evidence.

    In fact you seem outright desperate to find some location, some place on earth, which doesn't show recent sea level rise -- as though that would contradict the evidence for global sea level rise. Apparently you are appallingly ignorant of the subject, because sea level change is not uniform world-wide. If you're that goddamn desperate to find a location where sea level isn't rising, you should have done your homework. But, evidently, in addition to being appallingly ignorant of the subject, you're too lazy to do any of the work required even to support your bullshit claims.

    You have two options: 1) You can accept the fact that you (and Nils-Axel Mörner) are wrong about sea level rise, and begin the process of actually learning something true about the subject; or 2) You can cling to your completely stupid bullshit. If you choose option 1, then you will open up a world of enlightenment and you might even learn something useful. I guarantee nobody here will hold it against you that you were so easily suckered in the first place ... we've all been suckered at one time or another, the smart people don't let their ego prevent them learning from the experience.

    What is not an option is 3) continue to pester us with your completely stupid bullshit.

    Is that clear enough for you?]

    • Martin Vermeer

      Executive summary: yes, tropical atolls grow — around the edges. They don’t grow at the top, because there they are dead. They reached their present height, some 2-4 m above current sea level, during the mid-Holocene sea-level highstand.
      You see, folks that bother to study these things can tell you that corals follow sunlight. They grow to the sea surface, and when sea level rises (as it did after the last deglaciation) they will strive to grow with sea level. When sea level drops, they remain above water and die.
      Now that sea level is rising again, that becomes relevant: even a few feet will make rare tropical storms that sweep over these islands, many times more common, compromising habitability. And that extra acreage around the coast means zilch.

  35. Rob Nicholls

    Thanks for your tireless work Tamino. Another delightful cherry-pick debunked. I must admit that I find WUWT entertaining at times, as I am fascinated by the seamingly endless ways that data can be manipulated to conceal the truth and the lengths that people will go to to prop up their point of view (although I doubt that the manipulation is conscious – contributors to the site seem sincere in their beliefs). Then I remember the possible disastrous consequences of continuing to put off massive cuts in GHG emissions (e.g. flooding, mass-migration, mass-extinction, breakdown of agricultural systems and much more widespread hunger) and it’s not quite so much fun.

  36. Earthling – I’m a sceptic in that I’m not convinced that AGW will have the catastrophic effects projected;, an opinion based on much research, and much reasoned thought. I’m also a sceptic in the general sense, in that I believe nothing until I’ve checked out claims and data analyses, and most importantly, references and sources.

    Mörner’s claims are just that – claims, and don’t bear any form of scrutiny. A little ledge of coral on one part of one beach on one island which is part of one atoll in the Maldives proves only one thing – Mörner’s “theories” are based on what our Aussie friends would call “bugger-all” evidence. More to the point, high water doesn’t cut what he hilariously calls “rock-cut platforms” (wave-cut is the term). They’re cut over many hundreds-to-thousands of years by the whole wave-front from low to high water, and are only visible at low water. In both senses of the phrase, a few decades just doesn’t cut it.

    He still claims sea-level in Europe has been falling since the 1980s – not falling rates, but actually falling – negative rates. Unfortunately, no-one remembered to inform the tide-gauges, and every tide-gauge in Europe proves him wrong, yet none of his “followers” has bothered even to check just one of PSMSL’s mini-charts. That’s not scepticism, it’s chauvinism.

  37. Y’all might be interested in the source of Mörner’s mini-out-of-date chart for Majuro. It’s figure 7 in “South Pacific Sea Level: A Reassessment” by Vincent R. Gray

    Read it and weep.It shows a great propensity to totally misunderstand what he’s read. He thinks tropical cyclones lower sea-level, by misunderstanding a reference to “a depression” caused by a cyclone; actually referring to barometric pressure, not sea-level.

    Who he? He’s a great supporter of one Nils-Axel Mörner, and has been hailed as an “expert reviewer” of AR4. His comments on WG! Chapter 5 “Observations: Oceanic Climate Change and Sea Level” are revealing.

    Most of them concern the use of what he calls elsewhere “a single standard deviation” throughout AR4. All such comments were rejected, because, of course, +/- one SD is actually a range of two SD’s. Such a fundamental misunderstanding about SDs and confidence intervals reveals much.