Sea Levels Are Rising Dangerously, Or Not

by Claire Mahoney

The world is coming to an end — and it’s coming faster to North America’s east coast. CBS reports on U.S. Geological Survey data published Sunday in the journal Nature Climate Change,

From Cape Hatteras, N.C., to just north of Boston, sea levels are rising much faster than they are around the globe, putting one of the world’s most costly coasts in danger of flooding, government researchers report. U.S. Geological Survey scientists call the 600-mile swath a “hot spot” for climbing sea levels caused by global warming. [According to the study ],along the region the Atlantic Ocean is rising at an annual rate three to four times faster than the global average since 1990.

But, the U.S.G.S. numbers are based on computer models. Consider a study released by the American Geophysical Union in May challenging the idea that the ice caps are melting at all. The research specifically focuses on observation of the Fimbul Ice Shelf, part of eastern Antarctica and about 120 miles long and 60 miles wide:

It turns out that past studies, which were based on computer models without any direct data for comparison or guidance, overestimate the water temperatures and extent of melting beneath the Fimbul Ice Shelf. This has led to the misconception, [Tore Hattermann of the Norwegian Polar Institute] said, that the ice shelf is losing mass at a faster rate than it is gaining mass, leading to an overall loss of mass. The team’s results show that water temperatures are far lower than computer models predicted …

And here I thought the science was settled.

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