‘Any adjustments’ to exaggerate sea level rise, study finds


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A new study by Australian researchers says that the data about how the sea level is rising, led by the United Nations, was adjusted up in “random” way.

The scientists examined the sea level measurements at three locations around the Indian Ocean dating back to the 1800s and found that the raw sea level measurements showed no clear increase of the sea level.

Their research was published in the journal Earth Systems and Environment, and it raises the question on adjusted official data showing steadily rising sea levels – which most scientists say is caused by manmade global warming. The adjustments are done by the Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level (PSMSL), which is funded by the government of the United Kingdom.

The top graph in the following figure shows the unadjusted sea level data in Mumbai, India, where each color stands for a different set of measurements at the same location. The lower graph shows the corrected data:

The authors of the study say that this is evidence that the adjustments are affected.

“The adjustments are always in the direction of raising the alarm,” says one of the authors of the study, Clifford Ollier, told Fox News. Ollier is a geologist and honorary research fellow at the University of Western Australia.

“If the raw data shows that there is no alarming increase, and you want to create an alarm clock, you have to change the raw data,” he said.

The PSMSL not immediately respond to a request for comment, but other scientists were critical of the study for citing too few locations and it is published in a low-tier journal.

“I have some major concerns about the credibility of this study,” Kristina Dahl, a scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists, told Fox News.

“It is very unusual to be written. … This paper seems to be published, just one month after the receipt of the magazine, which is an astoundingly short time, that raises the question of the quality of the peer-review process.”

The adjustments are always in the direction of raising the alarm.

– Clifford Ollier, honorary research fellow at the University of Western Australia

The magazine that is issued is located in Saudi Arabia and is associated with King Abdulaziz University. It just started with the use of this year.

“This particular magazine is new, but well above the average,” said Albert Parker, one of the co-authors – a retired scientist and former automotive engineer who has written many publications on sea level and also goes by the name Alberto Boretti.

The authors say critics evaluate the strength of their arguments instead of references or the publisher’s prestige.

“If someone wants to argue, they should argue with the facts; the place of publication is not relevant,” Ollier said.

With regard to the facts, Dahl says that the most important data adjustments done by the British researchers are understandable, given the fact that the locations examined by the study had spotty measurement records spread over different measurements in meters.

“There is a complete lack of measurements [in Aden, Yemen] between 1970 and 2010. … In cases such as these, researchers have tried to adapt to the different data segments to each other like the pieces of a puzzle. You can imagine how difficult it is to be derived from the long-term trends of the past 100 years, then 40 years of data are missing.”

She says that other studies agree with the PSMSL adjustments: “At least one study using [approximately] 20 metres in the northern part of the Indian Ocean, for example, found that regional sea-level rise rates were on a par with the global average.”

The sea level change vary around the world. The U. N., relying on data from PSMSL, reports that global sea level rose in the past two decades, with about one meter per century. However, the U. N. notes that some parts of the world, such as the coast of California, saw the sea level fall.

Ollier and Parker say their study raises the question of the accuracy of the established estimates of sea level rise, because the PSMSL and the U. N. say is a rise in the sea level in the Indian Ocean, despite the raw data such as that in the image above.

Ollier agrees with the U. N. that world sea levels are rising on average, but thinks that it is rising only half as fast (about half a meter per century), and says that it may not be due to human-induced climate change.

Maxim Lott can be reached on Twitter at @maximlott



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