❝ One of the great things about science is that it allows you to make predictions. Three top climate scientists just made a very bold prediction regarding sea level rise; we should know in a few years if they are correct…
❝ For instance, the oceans are rising. We know that’s indisputable. Measurements taken from physical gauges and from satellites confirm sea level rise. The cause of the rise is more complex…
❝ The three ways we know sea levels are rising are from physical tide gauges, from satellites that measure the water height, and from satellites that measure where ice is stored across the globe. While tide gauge measurements go back many years, they only measure water levels at their location. Many tide gauges have to be in place to get an accurate sense of what is happening globally.
Satellites, on the other hand, are much more capable of taking global measurements. The problem with satellites is they have only been taking measurements since approximately 1993 (not nearly as long as tide gauges). So scientists try to combine these two measurements to get a long-term and global picture of what is really happening.
❝ A very recent paper published in Nature has evaluated the history of sea level rise, and what they find is really interesting…Using satellite data, the authors found little evidence of an acceleration. However, they show that this is because the satellites began measuring in 1993, right after a large volcanic eruption (Mount Pinatubo). This eruption temporarily reduced global warming because particles from the eruption blocked sunlight. Just by coincidence, the timing of the satellites and the eruption has affected the water rise so that it appears to be linear. Had the eruption not occurred, the rate would have increased.
❝ This allows the scientists to make a prediction:
barring another major volcanic eruption, a detectable acceleration is likely to emerge from the noise of internal climate variability in the coming decade.
This means that the authors will be able to statistically observe an increase, even though the Earth experiences natural changes that may mask any increase.
❝ …Dr. Fasullo…told me:
This article shows that the acceleration of sea level rise is real and ongoing. It is also an example of how climate models can play a key role in both the interpretation of observations and the prediction of near-future climate.
While only time will tell if they are right, I’d put my money on the scientists.
I’ll second that emotion.