Climate Alarmism Is No Substitute For Good Information — Apparent Sea Level Rise

Actual Sea Level Rise

The National Ocean Service of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says, “Global sea level has been rising over the past century, and the rate has increased in recent decades. In 2014, global sea level was  2.6 inches above the 1993 average—the highest annual average in the satellite record (1993-present). Sea level continues to rise at a rate of about one-eighth of an inch per year.”

Apparent (Relative) Sea Level Rise

The data presented by the NOAA is empirical evidence derived from both precision satellite measurements and historical records. Mean sea level (MSL) rise is an indisputable fact. But it is the apparent (relative) sea-level rise that poses the greater threat to coastal communities. How are the two different.

Apparent (relative) sea-level rise is due to land subsidence in coastal areas due to the extraction of groundwater. According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), more than 80 percent of known land subsidence, both coastal and inland, in the U.S. is a consequence of groundwater use.

My hometown of Palacios on the Texas Gulf Coast also experiences actual and apparent sea -evel rise. Groundwater extraction also affects small coastal towns.

Barack Obama used the apparent sea-level rise at the Norfolk Naval Yard as his ‘poster child’ for his climate change crisis. The USGS has studied the contributions of groundwater extraction to apparent sea level at the Naval Shipyard. The combined rise in MSL and the apparent rise in sea level are indisputable facts.

So, What’s the Cure?

The climate alarmists believe humans must flee from those coastal areas. Is this the only recourse? No, the alarmists overlook common sense and human history.

The City of New Orleans was built on Louisiana’s coastal land. The original city was built on land laid down by sedimentary deposits from the Mississippi River above sea level. But, the nearby swamp was unwanted, so very large pumps were installed to drain that swamp. Unfortunately, pumping also drained groundwater below the swamp.

Instead of retreating to higher ground, the residents and businesses in the area of New Orleans that were below sea level constructed levees to work with the pumps and they are there to this day. Learn more from the Columbia Daily Tribune: New Orleans was built above sea level, but the sinking city tries to weather Hurricane Ida, September 1, 2021.

The people of New Orleans adapted to the rising sea level, both actual and apparent. They are still there. Over half of the city is below sea level.

Back Off, Climate Alarmists

The climate alarmists, like Chicken Little, overstate and misstate the issue. Sea level rise is only a problem until people devise ways to overcome it.

Looking ahead to the rising sea level (actual and apparent), we can also look to present scientific knowledge and history. Rest assured the coastal cities of Miami, Norfolk, and my hometown of Palacios, Texas will adapt quite nicely.

Sea wall along West Bayshore Blvd., Palacios, Texas

John White
Rockwall, Texas

Published by John White

A lifetime (over 50 years) of experiences with automation and control systems ranging from aerospace navigation, radar, and ordinance delivery systems to the world's first robotic drilling machine for the oil patch, to process-control systems, energy management systems and general problem-solving. At present, my focus is on self-funding HVAC retrofit projects and indoor air quality with a view to preventing infections from airborne pathogens.

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