[Coral-List] Coral-List Digest, Vol 107, Issue 22 -Re: sea level rise speeding up

Douglas Fenner douglasfennertassi at gmail.com
Wed Jul 26 02:06:08 EDT 2017

    I guess you missed my earlier post on population.
    I've noticed that the only people who complain about population are in
developed countries, and that they never complain about too much
consumption.  But as Paul Ehrlich and others have pointed out,
environmental impacts are usually proportional to the product of the two,
not population alone.  People have a tendency to like to blame someone
else.  The USA has, over history, emitted far more CO2, for instance, than
any other country, including China, far more.  That is because it's economy
grew rapidly in the industrial revolution, before many other countries
(long before China), producing black smoke, dirty air, and dirty water (one
river in Ohio actually caught fire at one point).
       I notice in the US that while many people have garages built for
cars, quite a few garages are so full of "stuff" that people buy and rarely
use, that there is no room for a car.  "Mini storage" facilities are very
common all over the states.  They have lockable rooms of various sizes, you
pay rent to store the stuff you bought that don't have room for and rarely
use.  Contrast that with Japan, where most people live in small apartments
with very little storage space, and they convert the living room to a
bedroom every night.  In many developed countries, people talk about being
in the "rat race" in the endless race to earn more money to buy stuff they
don't really need.  The result is mountains of trash, consumption of much
of what the world has or produces, and environmental impacts.
     As you say, "nobody wants to talk about it", but actually, it has been
brought up on coral-list periodically.  People in developed countries don't
want to talk about over-consumption (their problem), they'd rather talk
about overpopulation (some other country's problem).  And actually the
populations of developed countries (US being the 3rd largest population
country in the world and Europe having a similar population) is the result
of an earlier boom in population in Europe, so people in developed
countries don't complain about that population boom because it was their
own.  Europe exported a lot of its population to the Americas, where those
excess people pushed people off the land or killed them to get the land,
and took the land.  Ploughed the entire prairies of North America for farm
land, there are essentially no scraps of that ecosystem left intact, nor
are the herds of millions of bison that grazed them.  The destruction of
tropical rainforests and coral reefs pales in comparison, at least in
percent destroyed.  While some complain about population, some US
administrations try to minimize any foreign aid to poor people in
developing countries who can't afford family planning (if they use any
funds at any time for abortion), and even in the best of times the amount
the US gives for family planning in other countries is peanuts compared to
the size of foreign aid, which in turn is peanuts compared to most things
in the federal budget let alone the whole budget, and foreign aid is much
smaller than most of the US public thinks and the smallest percentage of
any developed country.  So US support of family planning in poor countries
is truly minute, and many orders of magnitude too small to make a dent in
the problem.  If people are really concerned, that needs to be changed.

     I quote Paul Ehrlich in "Conservation Biology for All" (Box 1 on page

"The tasks of conservation biologists are made more difficult by human
population growth, as is readily seen in the I=PAT equation (Holdren
and Ehrlich 1974; Ehrlich and Ehrlich 1981).  Impact (I) on biodiversity is
not only a result of population size (P), but of that size multiplied by
affluence (A) measured as per capita consumption, and that product
multiplied by another factor (T), which summarizes the technologies and
arrangements to service that consumption."

The ebook form of the book "Conservation Biology for All" is available
online, open-access, for free at http://conbio.org/publicati
ons/free-textbook  Download it, recommend it or give it to your friends and
colleagues, read it.

Cheers, Doug


On Fri, Jul 21, 2017 at 9:39 AM, Durwood M. Dugger <ddugger at biocepts.com>

> Did I miss it? Jeff Tollefson’s article doesn’t seem to provide any
> reference where tidal gauges are currently showing an average of 4mm/yr. of
> sea level rise exists. If I missed something I would appreciate that tidal
> gauge data reference.
> I have to agree Richard Dunne. This past year I helped research the basis
> for a graduate level course in Anthropogenic Marine Impacts. Researching
> sea level data interpretations are at least as uninspiring - regarding
> scientific confidence - as Richard so well points out.
> Satellite measurement errors have been down played by satellite technology
> groups over the past decade. They have even reduced the discussion of those
> errors in places like WikiPedia. A few years ago there was an entire
> section ”Satellite Error” discussing the problems of sea level measurement
> regarding satellite orbital decay and the need for calibration - and
> resulting sea level measurement errors. The satellite error discussion in
> Wikipedia now seems to have been reduced from a bold sub-heading under Sea
> Level Rise to a couple paragraphs under the generic subheading of
> “Satellites <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_level_rise#Satellites>.”
> Additionally, reading numerous of papers on the subject spanning the
> beginning of tidal gauge measurements to and through present satellite and
> LIDAR elevation technologies - I was struck by the number of papers that
> don’t separate subsidence from true sea level rise. I suspect that a lot of
> the uneven sea level rise rate data we see are caused by poor land
> subsidence accountings - and or uplift and accretion. You can still see
> examples of the lack of subsidence consideration in current authoritative
> sea level rise discussions like the chart here where the Galveston, Tx. and
> Sitka, AL <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_level_rise#United_States>
> showing the highest sea level rise rates in the US, but they also have the
> fastest subsidence rates and clearly the chart does not reflect sea level
> rise alone.
> I too, am glad to see that those folks whose egos and jobs are attached to
> the accuracy (or lack thereof) of satellite sea level measurements have now
> developed the necessary algorithmic (fudge factors) that allow satellite
> measurement to finally align with most tidal gauge measurements. Now can we
> assume that those satellite and tidal gauge measurement comparisons reflect
> accurate subsidence, uplift and or accretion rates?
> I’m not at all saying that sea levels aren't rising, but only voicing my
> major concerns over our hubris and our obvious in our ability accurately
> measure sea level changes over short periods. Perhaps equally or more
> concerning are those folks who are more than willing to make WAG
> projections - especially when there is still data not considering the most
> basic elements of sea level rise - such as accurate subsidence, uplift and
> accretion.
> It’s interesting to note that there is also skepticism of our nascent
> climate science accuracy  alive and well in the Land Down Under <
> http://www.climatedepot.com/2017/05/25/sea-level-rise-
> hysteria-can-be-cured-by-looking-at-tide-gauge-data/> regarding rapid
> increases in sea level rise projections and how they suggest connections
> between increased CO2 levels, and rainfall (or lack thereof), with
> subsidence.
> Regarding Doug’s comment on the importance of sea level rise to corals -
> here’s a recent encouraging paper on some corals' growth and recovery from
> thermal anomalies. <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5390766/>
> Last but by far not the least, the lack of connection made between climate
> change, sea level rise and all other forms of ANTHROPOGENIC MARINE IMPACTS
> - is the continuing failure to discuss the over abundant quantities of
> Anthropogens on our planet. A global failure to maintain and or even
> entertain positive and benevolent discussion about how we reduce global
> overpopulation - before we destroy not only our species, but countless
> others.
> As I’m reading these Coral List comments in Bonaire, and while I make my
> own comment - I watch three different dive boats and one local fishing boat
> run through the shallows on the inside of the reef behind our apartment on
> the leeward west side of the island. They could have added a few hundred
> yards more to their respective journeys (rather than making this short cut
> through the coral inhabited turquoise shallows) by going into the deeper
> water further out in blue water as the round Punt Vierkant. Last year there
> was a massive 8 foot high Elkhorn Coral reaching toward the surface about
> 25 meters from the shore. This year the Elkhorn (stump) is only three feet
> high and it branching arms are gone. Earlier today I was at Jibe City on
> Lac Bay watching locals and cruise ship tourists walk - and windsurfers
> sail through - the areas fringe marine grass beds that have been protected
> and respected areas for more than a decade - and now that respect seems
> totally forgotten. This year most of the grass beds are gone - just giant
> bald spots that were once productive habitat in Lac Bay.
> When will we take responsibility? Not just for our fellow humans' mindless
> actions, but as well our mindless reproduction and resulting grossly
> excessive numbers and the resulting critical finite resource depletion  -
> that make us the most unsustainable species on the planet.
> Best regards,
> Durwood M. Dugger, Pres.
> ddugger at biocepts.com <mailto:ddugger at biocepts.com>
> BCI, Inc. <http://www.biocepts.com/BCI/Home.html>
> Message: 7
> Date: Thu, 20 Jul 2017 15:18:49 +0100
> From: Richard Dunne <RichardPDunne at aol.com <mailto:RichardPDunne at aol.com>>
> Subject: Re: [Coral-List] sea level rise speeding up
> To: Douglas Fenner <douglasfennertassi at gmail.com <mailto:
> douglasfennertassi at gmail.com>>,        coral list
>         <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov <mailto:coral-list at coral.aoml.
> noaa.gov>>
> Message-ID: <b3175b28-fc37-4d90-07c1-8d61d8e45637 at aol.com <mailto:
> b3175b28-fc37-4d90-07c1-8d61d8e45637 at aol.com>>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=utf-8; format=flowed
> I have used satellite (SST & SSH), tide-gauge data, and GPS products for
> many years.
> Satellite data in particular is dependent on accurate calibration, and
> the quality of the processing algorithms (scientific guesswork?). When
> that earlier processing is shown to be wrong such as in this case it is
> not very reassuring.
> More generally, I have experienced Hadley SST products with inexplicable
> discrepancies, GPS data which has shown land rising, falling and
> stationary depending on which 'solution' is employed, and even
> tide-gauge data held on central databases with unexplained errors.
> Perhaps we are 'improving' in all this data collection and analysis. I
> hope so. In the meantime in trusting what is available it transpires
> that we are simply generating results that are rubbish. I guess it is
> time to start deleting some of the older (now inaccurate) papers - but
> which?
> Richard P Dunne
> On 19/07/2017 21:07, Douglas Fenner wrote:
> > Satellite snafu masked true sea-level rise for decades.
> >
> > http://www.nature.com/news/satellite-snafu-masked-true-
> sea-level-rise-for-decades-1.22312?WT.ec_id=NATURE-
> 20170720&spMailingID=54526224&spUserID=MjA1NTA3MjA0OQS2&
> spJobID=1203043033&spReportId=MTIwMzA0MzAzMwS2 <
> http://www.nature.com/news/satellite-snafu-masked-true-
> sea-level-rise-for-decades-1.22312?WT.ec_id=NATURE-
> 20170720&spMailingID=54526224&spUserID=MjA1NTA3MjA0OQS2&
> spJobID=1203043033&spReportId=MTIwMzA0MzAzMwS2>
> >
> > Open-access.
> >
> > I note that they say that the new calculations fit with tide gauge
> records
> > around the world, all sources of info on sea level now agree.  I also
> note
> > that they report that average sea level rise around the world is now
> nearly
> > 4 mm per year.  Sea level rise is of course important for coral reefs.
> >
> > Cheers,  Doug
> >
> ---
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Douglas Fenner
Contractor for NOAA NMFS Protected Species, and consultant
"have regulator, will travel"
PO Box 7390
Pago Pago, American Samoa 96799  USA

phone 1 684 622-7084

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