About That Sea Level

Little did I know, but that a couple of Island Nations are getting ready to sue a Czech coal plant for making the sea level rise. “Why not China?” comes to mind… but I guess they have a political agenda as Czechs are not “going along” on the whole global warming thing, so need harassment. (Or maybe they know China would just laugh at them and cut off their supply of everything manufactured, and then fish out their waters of anything edible).

At any rate, the attempt to “sue into submission” is beginning.

(h/t to EcoTretas in private email)


Last month, the government of Micronesia formally asked the Czech Ministry of Environment to reconsider plans by CEZ AS, the majority state-owned Czech power utility, to overhaul and potentially expand its largest coal-burning power plant in the north-western Czech town of Prunerov.

In a follow up letter to the Czech government, postmarked Jan. 4, the islanders listed potential risks for the Pacific nation posed by the Czech power plant, half a globe away. They argued the refurbished generator would spew out more carbon dioxide (CO2) and thus contribute to the warming of the planet blamed for rising ocean water levels. Parts of mostly flat Micronesia have already been lost to the rising ocean tide.

The Czech Ministry of Environment subsequently agreed to include some of the points, raised by Micronesia, in its currently ongoing Environmental Impact Assessment, or EIA, of the planned Prunerov power plant refurbishment. CEZ is in the midst of the regulatory clearance process to overhaul its coal-fired generator.

The Micronesian requests, heeded by the Czech Environment Ministry, have delayed the clearance process.

So far, so good. But I’m sure the islanders are thinking “damages” and suits globally if the thing gets approved. Ka-Ching!

Gotta love the name of this giant Polish power plant. Belch-A-tow…

In fact, all of CEZ’s Czech coal-fired power plants produce only slightly more CO2 than Poland’s single, dirtiest power plant, called Belchatow. And how about all those dirty coal-fired power plants in Germany? Their impact on global warming might be sustained if Germany follows through on its plans to phase out all of its zero-emission nuclear power plants.

With all due respect for the plight of the potentially submerging Micronesian archipelago, perhaps the Czechs should demand the islanders to send some warm weather to the Czech Republic to end the blizzards and cold winter weather here. It seems the central European nation may need every kilowatt hour of electricity generated by the Prunerov power plant to not freeze.

Love that ending too… Lots more in the article itself, including images of some of the original documents.

Well, EcoTretas took a look at the island sea level data. Not only did he find some islands going up while others nearby were going down, he found that the data presented had been neatly “pruned” for “best effect”…


Looks like sea level is going up in Pohnpei and Kapingamarangi, but not in Yap. Why might that be? Checking the data and graph in detail, one sees that Yap has all the recent data, but Pohnpei and Kapingamarangi lack data, especially Kapingamarangi, which doesn’t show the decline in 2010. Careful analysis of the graphs show that the highest levels in recent years have similar values in the 80s and 90s…
But more data is being concealed. If one grabs the daily data for Yap, and plots all those daily measurements into a graph, you’ll get the one below:
There is data since 1969! While there seems to be a growing trend since the beginning of the nineties, the truth is that the highest values since mid-2002 are lower than the higher values in the mid seventies, and lower than several peaks in 1984, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002. The lowest value in 2010 is lower than any value from 1969 till 1980!

Hit the link for the whole article and the graphs. It’s worth it.

He also has a related posting where he finds that the data get “adjusted” but only one way:


The first entry should be the relevant file. If you click on it, you’ll get the most recent data. If you click on Google’s cache entry (probably available for only some days; keep a copy…), you’ll get the older data (#version_2010_rel5). Importing into a worksheet and plotting a linear regression is quite easy. Getting a graph for the evolution of the linear regression values over time is also not that difficult, using the SLOPE() function. The results are the following two graphs:

Sea Level Before

Sea Level Before

Sea Level After

Sea Level After

Notice that the rate of rise has gone up, due to the Colorado correction, but is going down. And it’s going down faster! When they last plotted the data, the value for cycle 2010.7415 was 2.956158611, just enough to round it to 3.0, when considering one decimal place, as they do. Now, they have figured out the trick to leave the rate of rise above 3.1, at least for some months…

So just what sea level will be used as the measured level for the suit? Who knows. But I’m sure they can find some mangrove swamp somewhere that is having subsidence and put a lot of photos on a bench.

Let the legal abuse and feeding frenzy begin…

Personally, I say let the Czechs annex Micronesia and have it as a vacation spot. In winter, Czechs can go to the islands. In summer, the islanders can get jobs in the tourism industry in Czech… win-win…

“You broke it, you bought it” comes to mind…

(“Be careful what you wish for”, Micronesians…)

Update 23 June 2011

I’ve added this graph, which was posted in a comment but did not “show”:

Regional MSL trends Oct 1992 to Dec 2010 in mm / year

Regional MSL trends Oct 1992 to Dec 2010 in mm / year

And this is the graph where the “first segment” shows a trend jump up, but the data points are not on the graph:

GMSL 1993 to 2011 in cm

GMSL 1993 to 2011 in cm

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
This entry was posted in AGW and Weather News Events, AGW Science and Background and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to About That Sea Level

  1. PhilJourdan says:

    2 Notes:

    #1 – A man is crawling around on his hands and knees on a sidewalk. A passerby asks him what he is doing? The man on the sidewalk says “Looking for a diamond ring I dropped”. So the passer by gets down and starts helping him look. After about an hour, the passerby asks “just where did you lose this ring?”. The man responds: “around the corner, but the light is better here”

    #2 – Vaclaw Havel is probably the highest ranking skeptic in the world.

  2. Serioso says:

    Unfortunately the “abstract” for your post is very misleading. It says
    “Hide the decline, in sea level, then sue… ”
    There’s no decline in sea level. There’s a decline in the rate of sea level increase. The numbers on the left hand edges of the graphs are (presumably) “millimeters of annual sea level increase.”

  3. E.M.Smith says:


    It’s called “poetic license”. It is part of writing things that are interesting. If you want to carp about such things, I’ve got a category for you…

    Otherwise, just enjoy the place, be polite, and hang out with some good folks.

    BTW, the sea level HAS declined.


    You just have to look at a longer time scale that the last couple of decades.

  4. TGSG says:

    Hmm, data massaging, where have we seen that before? They seriously need a new gig.

  5. Serioso says:

    I am TRYING to be polite. (And I’ve been to Ostia Antica and know about what happened a couple of thousand years ago.) But can I assume you agree with my statement that “There’s a decline in the rate of sea level increase.” ? Because it seemed to me, and possibly to others, that you were saying that sea level itself was declining. I don’t think a plea for clarity is carping!

  6. MichaelM says:

    One can make a strong case that sea level (not anomalies) has leveled off and in the last couple years, decreased.

    The yellow envisat sattelite trace shows no net rise since 2004.

  7. R. de Haan says:

    As a great lover of sunny beaches and a frequent visitor of water fronts all over the world for five decades and a short visit to the incredible blog of the late John Daly, one of the first climate skeptics, see: http://www.john-daly.com/ I can swear with the hand on my heart, contrary to the claims of the alarmist propaganda machine, that sea level rise is the smallest problem humanity has to cope with.

    Sea level decline is a whole other story.
    Sea level decline is proof of cooler times as more water is turned into land based ice.

    I appreciate any article that debunks the IPCC AR4 report and shows the elite scientific community that sold their sole and their scientific integrity to the AGW gravy train for what they really are. Looking like bunch of asses.

    I think your article has met these criteria.

    So thanks a lot.

  8. Serioso says:


    Yes, one can make the case, if one is lawerly. But look at


    which shows that such short-term down-turns are fairly common. I wouldn’t call it a strong case. But it’s a real argument, and I thank you.

  9. E.M.Smith says:


    Given that the data are being “adjusted” I don’t see how we can say much at all now about data during the “adjusted” times. Other than what is written in the rocks…

    The earth moves. Up in some places. Down in others. The whole Hawaiian Island chain is sinking (and has been since almost forever). California is rising (rather a lot). Indonesia just had a chunk move up 9 feet a couple of years back. Coastlines are fractal. Mountains are fractal. So the volume of the oceans will be based on fractals. That means it will change with the ruler used to measure it. “Good luck with that”…

    So for now, best we can do is go with the satellites and they indicate “flat to slight drop”.

    But if you DO trust the land record, then look at the link. Notice that when ALL the data is used, sea level is lower…

    To quote from above, since you seem to have skipped it:

    There is data since 1969! While there seems to be a growing trend since the beginning of the nineties, the truth is that the highest values since mid-2002 are lower than the higher values in the mid seventies, and lower than several peaks in 1984, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002. The lowest value in 2010 is lower than any value from 1969 till 1980!

    So what we have here is a typical “he said / she said”, only someone has been giving the data a nice massage… and the satellites are just not seeing the same thing…


    2000 years ago: Ostea Antica says sea levels MUCH higher. Port now left “inland” as land exposed by falling seas. Egypt says 4000 years ago, sea level about 1 M higher. Pacific Islands say 700 years ago, sea level higher.

    It plunges for the Little Ice Age.

    Then now: Sea level still lower than all those other warm times. LIA “bump” looks like it is ending at a lower level than last 2 bumps. Sats say ‘all done’. Sun says “more snow on the way”.

    Data being diddled…

    Add that all up? Yeah, I’d say “Sea level is dropping”. Measured on any of 4000 years, 2000 years, 700 years, and 4 years basis. Now if you want to Cherry Pick just a couple of particular decades, I can make it go any direction you want… (But it will require hiding some data first…)

    Though if you start from, say 1850, just about the absolute bottom of the LIA, then you can get a “rising sea level” out of most time periods. Just be careful if you get close to the present when that LIA “bump” is wearing off…

    Too bad we never have got back up to the prior two levels. Nor will we. (Watch the rains. Watch the snows. Watch the cold poles and mountains. Watch the movements of the planets. And really closely, watch that calendar…)

    We are in an oscillating decline into the next Ice Age Glacial. It is already underway (and from the looks of things, has been for about 6000 years). The good news is that it is so slow, compared to a human lifetime, that we can’t even see it. The better news is that we have periodic warm bumps higher than the low dips, when civilization can recover and rejuvinate. The only bad news is that this one is ending. Now. And the next cold plunge is gonna be a doozy.

    But even there some good news: It will likely take more than my remaining lifetime to get really cold. “Someone else’s problem”… And when it gets rollijng in force, we can use nuclear power to cruise through it much more easily than in the last one.

    I guess the only real “bad news” out of it all is that there will be 20 years of idiots shouting about the end of the world in fire and rising seas before they finally freeze to death or their kids have them committed.

    Oh well, every body has some fleas to deal with…

  10. Serioso says:

    Okay. I’m officially pissed. I’m trying real hard to be polite. Three screenfulls of text, yet you didn’t bother to answer my question. You just sniped! Not nice.

  11. R. de Haan says:

    “I guess the only real “bad news” out of it all is that there will be 20 years of idiots shouting about the end of the world in fire and rising seas before they finally freeze to death or their kids have them committed.”

    No it’s getting worse.
    They are now calling for a Green Revolution.


    This is a dangerous development.
    Calling for a Green revolution after you have lost the arguments that is.

  12. @Serioso, who wrote:

    Yes, one can make the case, if one is lawerly. But look at
    which shows that such short-term down-turns are fairly common. I wouldn’t call it a strong case. But it’s a real argument, and I thank you.

    That graph is certainly intriguing. It suggests that a large fraction of the surface (the green color) has a trend of about zero, meaning that the ocean there is about the same level as 1992:

    Some portions, such as the cyan, have been trending down (at on the order of 3mm per year, suggesting something like a 60mm (6cm) drop in that roughly twenty years.

    But there are large bulging irregular shapes, in the “shadow” of Southeast Asia, the Falklands, Madagascar, and a curious pattern of water “mountains” dotting most of the circumference of Antarctica. Other irregular shapes here and there; quite interesting.

    The map’s global projection overstates the high latitudes, which affects our sense of proportion; it makes the red areas relatively larger. But some of these are adjacent to cyans or greens, and thus have been rising (this suggests) at a yearly rate of some 10mm or so per year — and thus would be around 200mm — 20cm — 8 inches — higher than the ocean area nearby. I wonder what is driving that.

    I noticed, finally, that the very beginning of the associated graph at that link:

    shows that the two month (red) trendline is coming up from what seems to have been extraordinarily low data points just prior. The data points are not even on the chart, but the trendline is there. These points would be, apparently, for October and November 1992.

    That’s the timeframe used for the other graph to show the trend. I wonder what the numbers would have been had they used December to December comparisons. And is it likely that October 1992 was the very beginning of what would be the largest two-month rise on the chart?

    Or is it more likely that there was some satellite settling-in going on, and they left that first data in for trend calculation, but did not actually show the points on the graph?

    Chiefio and I both use charts in our work on a regular basis; that first trendline segment jumped out at me, and I imagine that it would to him as well.

    I’ve done no serious work here; these are just the observations of a couple of minutes. It took more time to type this out. But since you put some stock in the graph, it seemed to warrant some thoughtful consideration. I’d enjoy seeing anyone’s further analysis of it.

    And I’m going to use a name here rather than a moniker — something triggered by doing so accidentally on this blog a few weeks ago. But you’ll recognize some part of my signature, at least.

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  13. Hmm. I tested this comment on my own WordPress theme to make sure that the graphs showed up properly. For whatever reason, they’re not doing so on yours.

    I’ve left the comment, exactly the same, here temporarily:

    I also notice that a WP user can edit their comments on my theme, but not (apparently) this one. Curious. A neat trick, if that can be resolved.

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  14. Pascvaks says:

    International Law is a collection of handshakes. There is no judicary or police force. It’s a hodgepodge of agreements between the parties concerned. To pretend that there is something to be “enforced” is to believe in toothfaries and Santa Claus, Easter Bunnies and gooblins. If we progress as a species and manage to survive another 1,000 years and history continues it’s relative upward track, maybe in 3011 there will be something more firm to stand on. Between now and then, if you’re a nobody country in the middle of an ocean, make some friends fast and align yourself with a Giant who agrees to protect you, don’t think for a moment that you’re going to force some Big Cats to help you if you call them names and act like a spoiled brat.

    Best thing they could do for themselves is read the script from the play “The Mouse That Roared” and declare war on Oz or the US or… well anyone really… and surrender before anyone gets bombed… Sue the Chechs? Dumb, de dumb dumb, dummmmmmb! Greenpeace, et al, is using these stupid little people the way a pimp.. never mind…

    For some reason, maybe because of the Moon Landing thing back in the 60’s, a lot of people think Humans are really civilized. I hate to burst their bubbles but it just ain’t so. Humans a still cave dwellers. Anyone who doesn’t believe me merely has to scratch one to see what I ‘m talking about. I wouldn’t try the gold test of biting one or spitting on one and trying to rub off the dirt with your sleeve to see what’s really underneath.

  15. Michael says:


    I appreciate your response. I think it’s also good to remember that the forecast is for this la nina to be a 2 year even which means this latest 1.5 year decline in sea level will probably continue well into 2012. (I’m assuming that la nina = lower global temp = lower sea level). If these things play out, the decline from 2010 – 2012 will probably stand out from past dips in sea level the last 15 years or so.

    Also, Steve Goddard posted a telling graph of the Envista data only. Which is nothing definitive, but is ‘telling’.

    And this saga, didn’t help my confidence in what is going on in regard to sea level. (the lack of response and notification of changes, then in the end the changes themselves – speaking of which, I still don’t understand why the GIA adjustment would increase the rate of sea level rise. If they’re adjusting for land rising that is no longer under glaciers…wouldn’t that depress the sea level trend?)


  16. Michael says:

    @Keith DeHavelle – interesting observation about those early data points. Hmmmm. Right in the ‘baseline’ of the other chart, as Cheifio has so often lamented of global temperature plots.

  17. E.M.Smith says:


    Okay. I’m officially pissed. I’m trying real hard to be polite. Three screenfulls of text, yet you didn’t bother to answer my question. You just sniped! Not nice.

    Not my problem. Only you can own your emotional state. No one else can be responsible for it. Personally, I choose “centered” as often as I can. BTW, I don’t “snipe”.

    Second: I have no duty to answer your questions. I have a duty to truth, not to debate tactics.

    Third: Your question was, in fact, well answered. That you don’t understand the answer is “not my problem”.

    Finally: We’ll try a shorter form of the answer. Simplified to the point of being indefensible, but still with the basic notions in it:

    1) The data are diddled. That means you can not trust their answer. That means you can’t know for sure.

    2) Satelites say “sea level dropping lately” (and without any apparent data diddling). So short term, satelite data says “sea level dropping”. I’m willing to trust the satelites, but my trust does not make them correct.

    3) Long term trends are very clear. Lower sea level, with a strong cyclical component on a 700, 1470, and roughly 3000 year basis. (And a probable weaker 176 year or so cycle). If you are using a baseline shorter than a couple of thousand years, you will be “mislead” as to trend by these cyclical components.

    4) Net of all those: The most probable sea level direction, on all but a selected “counter trend cycle cherry pick” is down. Lower sea level. But as it has cyclical components, so by choosing the length of your ruler you can find parts that trend up; thus a ruler of length 150 years finds “up” and one of about 20 years finds “up” (while longer and shorter rulers find “down”). One peak was the recent Modern Climate Optimum. That’s now ended (circa 1998). So measures from 1850 to present can show a “dramatic rise” as we exit the LIA. Yet we never got as high as during the LAST two climate optimums. This time is cooler. And lower.

    5) The land moves. Huge quantities of it erode into the ocean all the time. Filling a bucket of water with a bag of sand raises the water. Any discussion of WHY water depth changes somewhere in particular needs to allow for all the geologic process of uplift, subsidence (as in those tropical islands that are all atwitter), sedimentation and so much more. So while it’s fun to watch the ocean, where the water goes is more a function of geology than gas chemistry.

    If you can’t find “your answer” in that, sorry, “not my problem”.

    (You may now commence being really pissed if you so choose. Me? I’m going to have a long mellow coffee and contemplate rain in farm country… )

    @Keith DeHavelle

    I’ve been contemplating a change of theme, one with an ‘edit’ feature would be nice.

    Sea level is not nearly as simple as folks like to think. There are a lot of things that wobble that bowl of jello all over the place in strange and wonderous ways.


    People are built in layers. One of the more dominant ones is the Lizzard Brain of emotions. Most folks aren’t even past that and into the cave dwelling planning frontal lobe era. They just emotionally gush at all sorts of stimulus. Think we are civilized? No way. Most folks are still trying to deal with this new fangled “cave” thing and not eating their neighbors goods.


    What I worry about with things like adjusting for land rising after the glaciers are gone is that they tend to ignore the OTHER land sinking now that the glaciers are gone… So Scotland is rising, but the other end of the see-saw is sinking as the tilt shifts…

    It doesn’t take much “1/2 way adjusting” to get any “trend” you want…

    Why I like my data raw, please. “Data Tartare” …

  18. E.M.Smith says:

    @Keith DeHavelle:

    I’ve added the graphs you referenced to the posting; via the URLs at your page.

    I do find that first graph fascinating. That the “sea level” is piling up in some places, and sinking in others… Kind of illustrates the complexity in finding just how much the “sea level” has changed…

    And as that surface will be somewhat fractal (as wave and water surfaces tend to be), the size ruler used to measure it will change the measurement…

  19. @E. M. Smith:
    I’ve been writing for a decade on LiveJournal; WordPress is relatively new venture for me. I’m using a separately hosted site, and you’re on WordPress.com. Each has advantages, but you’re very restricted in themes and graphic changes and such.

    Still, I’d be careful messing with something that works. While you can choose from hundreds of thousands of themes (and then do anything to them you want), there are “community” advantages to being part of the big group. At least the membership there doesn’t require that your blog actually be there; I’m commenting here and it automatically assumes my WordPress.com identity, and the hover link goes (I think) to my separate page.

    But I do need to figure out what subset of codes is available on your comments, so you’re not having to “rescue” graphs and such. Thanks for the help!

    As you saw, “Level Head” (the moniker I’ve used since the 1990s) is an anagram of DeHavelle. Thank you for “unmoderating’ me; I try to moderate myself and am usually fairly successful.

    As an aside, I’ve been aware over the years of demonstrated “splice” problems between satellite sea-level temperature records. It caused me to go find out what the tide gauge records were saying, since they’ve been continuous for more than a century. I found something intriguing — a paper and poster by the official Liverpool repository of global sea level data — and wrote about it here:

    There’s an interesting discussion in the comments with my most loyal adversary (a good friend but of completely opposite view with regard to the coming catastrophe).

    Best wishes!

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  20. gallopingcamel says:

    The satellite data seems to show a drop in sea level lately. That suggests that global temperatures are falling, causing water to contract and continental ice to build up.

    The satellite temperature data (UAH and RSS) have not risen appreciably over the last dozen years; would that explain the sea level observations or is something else going on?

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