I don't usually do two posts from the same series back to back, one after the other, but today I am doing so (The Evolution of Models, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11).
The reason I am doing so is that two scientific papers concerning the magnitude of sea level rise (SLR), which have recently gone public, come to very different conclusions about SLR.
I am going to argue, today, that the most likely reason for the contrast is that the researchers who came to the same old business-as-usual conclusion that has been ongoing for half a century, is that they are not aware of the concept that sea level change (SLC) does not take place in a gravity free environment.
II. The Gravity of SLC
A post on the Ecocosmology Blog discusses the yet-to-be-widely-acknowledged, yet very essential ingredient of SLC discussions (The Gravity of Sea Level Change; be sure to watch the video below. or at that link).
Not exercising that knowledge when crafting SLC models would be like a modern Sherlock Holmes not being aware of the usefulness of fingerprints when solving various unknowns.
That is because an important part of SLC science is understanding the gravity of ice sheets, and the discernible fingerprints which gravity, axial location, and the rotation of the Earth have on SLC.
Another part of the SLC fingerprint is sea level fall (SLF) (ibid).
III. A Quick Example To Illustrate The Point
A relatively short time ago, observers on the East Coast of the United States noticed that a sudden SLR had taken place over only a two year period of time:
Our analysis of multi-decadal tide gauge records along the North American east coast identified an extreme sea-level rise event during 2009–2010. Within this relatively brief two-year period, coastal sea level north of New York City jumped by up to 128 mm [5.04 inches].(NOAA, An Extreme Event of Sea-level Rise). They did not mention that this is a fingerprint indicating ice sheet melt or calving in a specific location.
That specific location is Antarctica, of all places.
Yes, SLC on the East Coast of the U.S. is a sign, a fingerprint, of ice mass events in Antarctica, because the U.S. is in the long term SLC sights of Antarctica.
Notice that there is a reality so strong, concerning those SLC fingerprints, that scientists who know can tell what ice sheet caused the SLR of "128 mm in a two year period" on the East Coast, or anywhere else for that matter:
(Sea-level Fingerprints, cf. Moving Boundaries of SLC). Since SLC is happening now, it is incumbent on scientists and public officials to understand the gravity of SLC.
However, the collapse of polar ice sheets produces a distinct geometry, or fingerprint, of sea-level change, which must be accounted for to accurately infer peak eustatic sea level from site-specific residual highstands.
Fingerprint: some SLR, SLF, and No-deviation
Had the scientists, who discovered the 128 mm quick rise mentioned above, understood this and had they taken the fingerprints, they would have suspected and cuffed W. Antarctica (You Are Here - 5).
"Book 'em Danno."
IV. The Two Conflicting Papers
The paper I am criticising today, European SLR model ("European Paper"), indicates that a global mean average (a.k.a. "eustatic sea level") of "an extreme" 20 cm (8 inches) is all that will take place over the remainder of this century.
That is, by 2100.
That European Paper SLR amount, at their current W. Antarctica ice stream rate-flow-projections, is their "global mean," their full expectation, over the remainder of this century.
That, even though the European Paper also says that the glacial ice streams will disintegrate a lot, and retreat significantly.
Professor Mitrovica and Professor Gomez would say that the 128 mm (5.04 inches) of SLR that took place on the East Coast of the U.S., in 2009-2010, is a likely fingerprint from Antarctica.
That severe 128 mm / 5 inches of SLR, which is only 3 inches less than the European Paper's entire 85 year projected amount (8 in.), took place in only two years.
The other paper I mentioned ("The Hansen Paper"), which conflicts with that European Paper's SLR model conclusions, says that if "a ten year doubling" takes place, a ten foot SLR would take place by 2050.
That would be orders of magnitude more, and five decades prior to that 20 cm / 8 inch SLR the European Paper predicts (A Paper From Hansen et al. Is Now Open For Discussion).
V. The Dangerous Crisis In This Conflict
"The European problem" in the scientific literature (elaborated on in the video below @14:40 as having developed because they were "clueless") was caused by either scientific unawareness, ignorance, or both.
They were unaware / ignorant of the major impact that ice sheet gravity has on SLC (like the rest of us were for awhile too).
Unaware of the discernible fingerprints that Greenland and Antarctica ice sheet melt and disintegration have on sea level when physics applies.
Europe has zero SLR when the Greenland Ice Sheet melts, but other places have significant SLR from the same melting events.
The global mean average business as usual, described as being like "water rising uniformly in a bathtub," is a total illusion (again, see the video below @14:50).
Yet, engineers who build sea ports have been and are working under that illusion.
They are digging and pouring concrete thinking that sea level is going to rise in places where actually it is going to drop a lot (Peak Sea Level - 2).
The lives of millions of people depend on scientists getting their science right by reading the papers of other scientists who impact upon what is being done at that time (Greenland & Antarctica Invade The United States, 2, 3, The 1% May Face The Wrath of Sea Level Rise First, Why The Military Can't Defend Against The Invasion, Weekend Rebel Science Excursion - 44, Why Sea Level Rise May Be The Greatest Threat To Civilization, 2, 3, 4, 5).
The fingerprint-science for SLC is out there for those who are going to work on software projection models.
If scientists contemplate doing a model they must understand the nature of SLC and the part gravity plays.
I think that perhaps the models should have a section which focuses on SLR areas, another section that focuses on SLF areas, and a third that focuses on the very few areas where the sea level will not significantly deviate (see the colorful "fingerprint" graph in Section III).
Otherwise, it is like fishing, surfing, scuba diving, etc. without knowing what gravity is doing with the tide scene (high, low, in-between).
The next post in this series is here, the previous post in this series is here.
About the gravity of ice sheets and its impact on sea level change fingerprints: