Nova’s all at sea

In another attempt to baffle her readers, Nova attempts to show how sea levels aren’t rising, much, at least in Australia, or well some parts of Australia, and only if you ignore the last 10 years.

Are we really supposed to be relaxed about Global Sea Level Rise, because four locations of Australasia, show “weak deceleration”? Well you can if you’re willing to ignore a few things:

  • Sea level rise is not even; other places are experiencing greater than average rises.
  • Globally, the planet is showing accelerating sea level rise.
  • Greenland wasn’t melting during the past in the way it is today.
  • Sea Level Rise has been at the upper end of forecasts.

What does Global Sea Level Rise look like …

To put nova’s cherry pick into perspective, take a look at GLOBAL sea level rise.

Global Sea Level Rise


Globally sea levels continue to rise and over the long term are accelerating. Nova’s wants to confuse her readers by suggesting there is no acceleration, because of a few gauges around Australia – yet another example of her deceptiveness.

Acceleration or Deceleration?

In case the above graph is not clear enough, here’s an excerpt from Church & White 2011

the estimated rate of rise is 3.2 ± 0.4 mm year−1 from the satellite data and 2.8 ± 0.8 mm year−1 from the in situ data. The global average sea-level rise from 1880 to 2009 is about 210 mm. The linear trend from 1900 to 2009 is 1.7 ± 0.2 mm year−1 and since 1961 is 1.9 ± 0.4 mm year−1. There is considerable variability in the rate of rise during the twentieth century but there has been a statistically significant acceleration since 1880 and 1900 of 0.009 ± 0.003 mm year−2 and 0.009 ± 0.004 mm year−2, respectively. Since the start of the altimeter record in 1993, global average sea level rose at a rate near the upper end of the sea level projections of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Third and Fourth Assessment Reports.

Not only has the rise been accelerating, it’s at the upper end of IPCC estimates. This is not good news.

Newspapers and Bloggers vs Science

The Australian (a newspaper with a history of climate denialism) ran an article based on the same peer-reviewed paper that Nova cites; so what does the original author think of the matter? Here’s their press release in response to the Australian’s article.

Your article has misrepresented our Mr Phil Watson’s research paper by saying that “global warming is not affecting sea levels”. This is untrue and misleading and it is not what Mr Watson told your journalist. … The research and underlying data is entirely consistent with the rate of global average sea level rise for the 20th century advised by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was of the order of 17 +/- 5 cm.

Lesson learned. Don’t get your science from newspapers or political writers with a track record of misinformation (Joanne Nova). Her tactics of cherry picking small bits of data and ignoring the full picture as deplorable as it is deceptive.

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One Response to “Nova’s all at sea”

  1. Nick Says:

    Of course,The Australian failed to print the letter or a correction…which is their modus for climate ‘coverage’. And that’s why News Ltd opposes stronger press complaint mechanisms. A big FU to the readership.

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