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Satellite data shows that sea levels have not been rising faster in last 20 years

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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It looks like planet Earth has already made good on President Barack Obama’s 2008 promise to slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet. A top Swedish climate scientist says that satellite data confirms that there has been no acceleration in sea level rises over the past two decades.

“We now have satellite measurements for 20 years which indicate a steady rise of about 3 mm per year, and during that time no acceleration,” commented Lennart Bengtsson, a senior research fellow at the Environmental Systems Science Centre at the University of Reading, on the Swedish blog Stockholms Initiativet.

Bengtsson points to satellite data of rises compiled by the University of Colorado which shows global sea level rises of about 3 millimeters per year on average for the last 20 years, meaning there has been no acceleration in sea levels rises.

“However, it is important to be clear that this is an average and that there were considerable local variations related to tectonic changes, among others, after the last ice age,” Bengtsson added. “The isostatic adjustment that needs to be done in order to obtain useful data are being evaluated by the experts now. As you can see from the graph, it is clear that we need a relatively long time to obtain a realistic trend, but 20 years is certainly enough.”

This is actually in line with what the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said in its most recent assessment of global warming that was released earlier this year. Though the UN climate bureaucracy says that sea level rises have accelerated since the early 1900s.

“It is very likely that the mean rate was [1.7 millimeters per year] between 1901 and 2010 for a total sea level rise of [0.19 meters],” according to the I.P.C.C.’s latest assessment.

“Between 1993 and 2010, the rate was very likely higher at [3.2 millimeters per year]; similarly high rates likely occurred between 1930 and 1950. It is likely that global mean sea level has accelerated since the early 1900s, with estimates ranging from 0.000 to 0.013 [millimeters per year],” the climate bureaucracy continues.

However, environmentalists and politicians have been warning that sea level rises due to melting polar ice caps could damage development along the world’s coastlines.

Rhode Island Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse warned that sports stadiums could be harmed by rising sea levels if nothing is done to curb greenhouse gas emissions which he says contribute to global warming.

“We see significant sports facilities, the palaces of — of sport that are at risk from the storm, climate, sea-level rise effects of climate change,” Whitehouse said after meeting with executives from the NFL, NHL and NBA.

Earlier this year, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a $20 billion plan to climate-proof New York City in the wake of Superstorm Sandy which includes building “integrated flood protection systems, measures like flood walls and levees” to protect the city from flooding.

“As bad as Sandy was, future storms could be even worse,” said Bloomberg. “In fact, because of rising temperatures and sea levels, even a storm that’s not as large as Sandy could — down the road — be even more destructive.”

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