At Delta, we love to liquify… and it shows.

The CBC pronounced today that sea level rise was underestimated and that “several B.C. communities will be vulnerable to flooding unless drastic action is taken.”

see lunatic ravings on CBC website here.

Your tax dollars didn’t pay for CBC reporters to take the 30 seconds I expended to look at some basic facts.  Since tide gauges are all automated, I simply searched for some close to the communities referenced in the article.  Delta was singled out as being vulnerable according to SFU professor John Clague.

First stop was a google earth view of Delta.I drew a path around Delta’s major population and viewed it in elevation profile.  It appears Delta is pretty high above sea level.  Certainly 1 meter in sea level rise over the next 80 years doesn’t seem that scary. Considering that 80 years ago, Delta didn’t exist at all, 80 years seems like plenty of time to build just about anything.  The “drastic action” called for and reported by the CBC is absurd in this context.

But  how has the sea level changed so far?  The sea level gauge in the graph below shows no rise in sea level in Delta.  Data provided by Canadian Hydrological Service and is available here.

So there is no trend in 40 years but we are supposed to believe that sea levels will suddenly rise and we must take drastic action.  If nothing has happened for 40 years, it begs the question of how this imagined rise in sea level can be underestimated as the headline suggests.  Just when is the sea going to start rising anyway?  What standard do you use to declare that non existent rise estimates were “too conservative” as the CBC suggests?

The most accurate global sea level measurements are taken by the ENVISAT satellite which has been in operation since 2003.  Here’s what it has measured so far: Nothing.

In order to get to a meter and a half rise in sea level by the end of the century, we are going to have to average a 16mm increase every year.  This kind of rise is not occurring.  In fact, ENVISAT shows sea level less than it was 8 years ago when it began operating.

Every part of this narrative is preposterous.

The entire Vancouver metropolis of millions of people and its infrastructure (including sea walls) was built in the last 80 years.  The need to build sea walls better over the next 100 years hardly seems to invoke the need for drastic action!  As I write this I can hardly believe that PHDs write this drivel or that it makes national headlines in the state-run news.

The real threat to Delta is that when the overdue earthquake hits in the next hundred years, the river silt that Delta is built on will experience liquefaction and leave Delta in total ruin.

Rather than spending money on a real and known problem, our state-run media force feed us Mayan doomsday cultists  and their sea level fantasies.

Waste, waste and more waste.

post script:

Perhaps you will have noticed the Delta sea level gauge indicates at least 10 times in the last 40 years that sea level has increased more than a meter from the mean for short periods of time.  Not 1 meter over 80 years but a meter in a month!  The lack of disaster completely eviscerates the fear mongers.

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4 Responses to At Delta, we love to liquify… and it shows.

  1. geof says:

    Nice post (mostly ;). Some thoughts.
    – I think I pretty much agree with you, at least as far as Vancouver having far bigger things to worry about. Even if sea level rises 2 meters in the next 100 years (about the limit of what is mechanically possible, though certainly no where near likely), we’ll adapt, and probably make money doing it.
    – I have never understood how Hansen can think 5m is at all possible, or why people keep quoting him. Boo Hansen. The “abandonment of Richmond” quote was in response to this, and the scientist is quick to say that that is drastic and unlikely.
    – I wish I understood why journos feel they need to scare people over this kind of thing, especially when Delta is already taking steps to protect itself. Near the end, we see that Delta can mostly get by through building dikes and barrier islands, like you suggest. The scary tone elsewhere in the article is completely unwarranted.
    – Some context would’ve been nice. The “too conservative” values are most likely the (last) IPCC ones, which don’t contain any contributions from Greenland or Antarctica. Events of the last 5+ years have shown that they most likely will add to the total.
    – From the PSMSL site you linked to, the “Large amplitude of seasonal cycle indicates a gauge near a river”, not changes in sea level. I was trying to figure out what would cause sea level to locally rise a meter for a month only, and do so yearly. Now I don’t have to.:)

  2. Dave says:

    Lol, yeah I wondered that too. I thought it was a bulge of water pushed by pressure or current and piled up in the straight (nearly plausable I think!) Makes sense the pulses are from the river but the point is the same. Disasterless after rises in water equal to what is supposed to happen gradually over the next hundred years. The point is the same. Past observations disproves the need for “drastic action.”

  3. rainswept says:

    I think we need a new word for news that better captures its current purpose.

  4. Dave says:

    curiously, I found evidence in a paper of low pressure inducing a 650mm rise in sea level so perhaps I wasn’t wrong when speculating what could also be spiking the data. Local topography could easily amplify those numbers.

    “Effect of barometric pressure on sea level variations in the Pacific region”
    Awnesh Singh, Than Aung
    Department of Physics, University of the South Pacific,Suva, Fiji

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