On Kiribati sinking

Island of Tabiteuea, Kiribati.

We didn’t mention straws, only facts


Bryan Walker, of Hot Topic, insists on the fact of the sinking of Kiribati along with a human cause of the sinking. Under the heading “Clutching at straws” he says:

The vigour of denial is as evident as always.

I remain unconcerned about criticism he got from the pugnacious Ian Wishart at The Briefing Room, along with “others” on the Herald web site. I believe that Ian correctly quotes from Kiribati’s marketing material, but now I comment on what Walker says about our post here at the Climate Conversation, Kiribati sinking beneath waves again.

Because his criticism of me is frail, since he ignores what I say. The best that can be said about his summary of our post is that he slides past its substantive arguments, replacing them with “straw man” arguments easily dealt with.

But first, I must express annoyance at his use of “denial”. He says it just once, but securely tars his opponents with it, yet it must be the last resort of the desperate, for where is his argument that the denial has no substance? Absent — he leaves it hanging.

Certainly, when one argues with anything, one denies something. On that definition, Walker himself is a “denier”, for he denies what I said. A denier label cannot be the end of rational thought nor award an uncontested victory, for it applies to both parties to an argument.

But, apart from this attempted smear, how does his complaint fail?

Among the statements I make, he ignores these:

  • No connection is shown between our “greenhouse gas” emissions and the problems on Kiribati.
  • [he offers no observations] of the rate of rise [in sea level], or the length of the period during which a rise has been observed.
  • For at least the last nine years there has been no acceleration in sea level rise at the monitoring station on Kiribati.
  • The sea is not threatening to overwhelm Kiribati.

In ignoring a point, he allows it to stand. Such is debate — statements must be supported by facts. So far, no challenge.

What is Mr Walker’s answer to the Australian-managed South Pacific Sea Level and Climate Monitoring Project (SPSLCMP)? For the observations from that programme show no sea level rise. Yet, in Walker’s original post in the Herald, he referred to (emphasis added):

the changes they [vulnerable nations] have begun to experience

He quoted the Kiribati President, Anote Tong, as saying (emphasis added):

“I think this will be the first opportunity for the large countries to actually see first hand what it is we have to contend with. To actually experience the high tides and the very marginal rise in elevation and land when the tide is coming in at the very highest level.”

These comments attest to existing sea-level rise. They therefore conflict with the observations of the SPSLCMP. I already alluded to the lack of factual observations from Walker or Tong; in the continued absence of observations, we must let the scientific statements stand.

There has been no accelerated* increase in sea level in Kiribati. However you slide by this fact, Bryan, as long as you fail to refute it you fail to persuade anyone that Kiribati has already experienced any “adverse impacts of climate change”.

Further, as long as you rely on unvalidated computer models for your predictions of catastrophic sea-level rise (for there is no other support, such as observations, for them) you similarly fail to persuade anyone there is cause for concern. The fact remains that the computer models you rely on are based on inadequate descriptions of reality and no real-world observations are available to support your assertions of an acceleration in sea-level rise.

All the rest of your sermon is irrelevant without these facts being established. For all the international conferences in the world will not make the sea level rise and thus validate the “$100 billion annually from 2020 to assist poorer developing countries mitigate and adapt to climate change.”

If you get connected with reality and start to quantify the real climatic changes likely over the next 20 to 50 years and agitate to fund emerging nations to cope with those challenges, I will stand with you for the sake of a better world.

But all this nonsense of man-made inflating oceans proceeding from our exhaust pipes and our chimneys is a criminally wasteful diversion.

Oh, did I say “criminally”? Sorry, I guess I’m a bit sensitive to increasingly strident calls to prosecute climate “deniers”.

* CORRECTION: 18 NovemberHot Topic gently points out my error in claiming no increase at all in sea level — sorry about that. I have changed it to “no accelerated increase”.

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Good stuff! Here in the UK, the Guardian has been running little puff pieces in their ‘Poverty Matters’ blog, each written by a local to the area they write about, every writer seems to be coached in the story of their particular Island/state/whatever being affected by the climate change caused by us wicked and eficient producers of afforable food and energy. The ‘Poor disadvantaged me, give me money’ theme gets very irritating after one has read a few of them. There are very real and significant ecological problems that we should be focusing on, such as providing cheap energy, clean water, healthy sanitation, education, public health etc, without being sidetracked by mindless nonsense..


They must be getting desperate. Gareth even blogs about an email he received from Roger Dewhurst


Richard C (NZ)

They’ll be reading Gareth’s Evans/Nova smear in WA over breakfast (wink).


Well they better stay away from the NZ’s resident Hitler Youth then


Of course, if I could be bothered to reply to “Thomas”, one could mention the name Bob Ward, a professional “PR man” whose job it is to smear anyone who questions the consensus line. Bob Carter probably knows a thing or two about this.

One could also mention the untold harm to developing and developed nations that carbon taxation will bring, the fuel poverty that will kill old people in Britain, the starvation that will be caused by biofuel production.

This never enters the heads of the warmists. Why is this? Because they are incredibly thick.

We need to treat them so.

Thankfully, Richard North has got this message as does Dellers.




and just to drive the point, Gareth states “Let’s ignore the main paper (it’s nonsense) ”

and then provides no less than THREE links to the URL at which the Evans paper is published.

First rule of propaganda – don’t draw attention to your enemies arguments.

Richard C (NZ)

Another time I might follow the link to HT but after spending some time there yesterday, there’s only so much silliness I can take. I can happily engage with those of an opposing view on climate and can sometimes learn from those that know their stuff but the keepers of the faith at HT are so out of date datawise and can’t cope with even the simplest of observational trends that there’s no point trying to move into physics or modeling discussion. Gareth has somehow convinced himself that the AR4 models did a good job in hindcast so when I present the relevant IPCC section showing how they completely missed the 30s, 40s and 50s warm-cool cycle he can’t cope and immediately resorts to his own special custom version of argument from authority and ad hom. The notion that we just might be in a similar warm-cool cycle over the 90s, 00s and 10s is completely alien to him because the world only warms and the seas only rise in concert with rising CO2 levels irrespective of conflicting data trends. He always deflects inconvenient data inflexions with his “long-term” trend argument but his… Read more »

Bob D

My Gran used to quote the old Yorkshire saying: “There’s none as thick as them that wants to
be”. Applies well to HT I’m afraid.

Richard C (NZ)

“but the keepers of the faith at HT are so out of date datawise and can’t cope with even the simplest of observational trends” As if to prove my point, Gareth’s doing it again “The figures come from the September 2010 monthly data summary (pdf) from the sea level project, and are quoted accurately (For a broader overview, with lots of good background information, the 2009 full year report (pdf) is recommended).” So let’s not look at 2010 data (sea level falling) when we can look at “long-term” 2009 data instead – got to find that rise somewhere even it means ignoring the present trend. And oooo look “warming in the pipeline”: “And you don’t need to be a genius to work out that with the rate of ice loss from the big ice sheets of Greenland and West Antarctica increasing, 30-40 years of unavoidable further warming in the pipeline,” He can’t extract thermal expansion from a cool upper ocean, sooo……. “and the long term sea level rise that will come from thermal expansion of the deep ocean” Yes, of course, Trenberth’s “missing heat” lurking in the depths.. You are quite right Gareth,… Read more »

Hi Richard C,

You say:

So let’s not look at 2010 data (sea level falling) when we can look at “long-term” 2009 data instead – got to find that rise somewhere even it means ignoring the present trend.

I realise the sarcasm switch is on, but what data are you referring to? The South Pacific Sea Level and Climate Monitoring Project run by the BoM shows trends for the past 12 months for each of the monitoring stations, and they range from +3.2 mm/yr to +14.8 mm/yr. Most of the trends (9 out of 12) have either reduced or remained the same as the previous 12 months, but all are still positive.

Oddly enough, the trends at the two most contentious “sinking islands” in the group — Tuvalu and Kiribati — have the smallest trends: +3.8 and +3.2 mm/yr, respectively.

They’re listed on page 4 of the September report which you can find at the reports page.

Renowden rightly takes me to task for saying (inadvertently): “There has been no increase in sea level in Kiribati.” I’ve corrected the post, as you’ll see.


The reports page you link to is useful, but they don’t make it easy for us do they?
You would think it would be helpful to provide an Excel or csv file instead of a load of pdf’s all with virtually identical fillers.

Richard C (NZ)

“what data are you referring to?” Short-term sea level trends in BOM study terms for Kiribati starting 1994 08? *The plot (graph) from the Dec 2009 report versus the plot from the Sept 2010 report *The tables showing numerical trends, 2009 vs 2010. There’s a note:- “Please exercise caution in interpreting the short-term trends in the table below – they will almost certainly change over the coming years as the data set increases in length.” 2009 12 Figure 4. Evolution of relative sea level trends (mm/year) at SEAFRAME stations. The trends continue to stabilise as the length of record increases. Net Sea Level Trend (mm/yr) December, 2009 was +3.9 (Table 4) http://www.bom.gov.au/ntc/IDO60024/IDO60024.2009.pdf 2010 09 Figure 13 (near end of report) SEA LEVEL TRENDS THROUGH 2010 (mm/year). This figure illustrates that as the sea level record becomes longer, the relative sea level trend estimates become more stable and reliable. Net Sea Level Trend (mm/yr) September, 2010 was +3.2 (Tables, pgs 4,11) http://www.bom.gov.au/ntc/IDO60101/IDO60101.201009.pdf Change Aug 2010 to Sept 2010 -0.2 (Fall) Change Dec 2009 to Sept 2010 -0.7 (Fall) So although the rate from 1994 is still rising, the 2010 trend is falling. This is… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

From the Sept 2010 report (pdf):

• Sea levels were depressed across the equator, where the SEAFRAME stations of Kiribati and Nauru registered anomalies around 10cm below normal. Slightly lower than normal sea levels were observed at Vanuatu and Fiji, while higher than normal sea levels developed at Marshall Islands and FSM.

Ok that’s just La Nina but the Pacific is a climate driver and that may be enough to cause a climate shift. We should know by this time next year.

Richard C (NZ)

“What is Mr Walker’s answer to the Australian-managed South Pacific Sea Level and Climate Monitoring Project (SPSLCMP)?”

Shouldn’t be difficult because as Bryan writes:-

“The science is not difficult to comprehend.”

Well, quite! Neither Walker nor Renowden are in a hurry to address the substance. I can’t wait to hear their rebuttal of the facts about sea level rise in the vicinity of Kiribati. Or, when the next alarming article appears, Tuvalu.

Accepting that a rise of around 1.8 to 3.6 mm/yr is “normal” (as it’s been that much since the ice age), then our lifestyle over the last 150 years cannot have been responsible for it.

Richard C (NZ)

I think this quote from Gareth Renowden puts on display his complete lack of physics understanding in the context of ocean – atmosphere processes:- you don’t need to be a genius to work out that with the rate of ice loss from the big ice sheets of Greenland and West Antarctica increasing, 30-40 years of unavoidable further warming in the pipeline, and the long term sea level rise that will come from thermal expansion of the deep ocean, Just 2 points (leaving aside the dubious ice loss claim – nuther story): 1) Even if there was 30-40 years of unavoidable further warming in the pipeline, that would have minimal effect even on ocean surface temperature. It is solar insolation that heats the ocean, not the atmosphere. That 30-40 years of warming would have to go into the atmosphere but there is no capacity there in which to store it. From NOAA: “The atmosphere does not have much capability to store heat. The heat capacity of the global atmosphere corresponds to that of only a 3.2 m layer of the ocean.” 2) Warm water is not like a WinZip file that lies dormant for… Read more »

I must thank you for this, Richard C! You’ve connected the dots between Renowden’s “missing heat” residing in the ocean and real oceanic behaviour (showing no untoward rise).

If the heat is in the ocean, expansion has already occurred. If the heat isn’t in the ocean, it is vanishingly small.

He cannot have it both ways and I will spell it out for him.

Richard C (NZ)

Because Gareth gets his info from RealClimate we can anticipate what he will come back with. From RC: “Why greenhouse gases heat the ocean” September 2006 Guest commentary by Peter Minnett (RSMAS) http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/09/why-greenhouse-gases-heat-the-ocean/ “………..how can a forcing driven by longwave absorption and emission impact the ocean below since the infrared radiation does not penetrate more than a few micrometers into the ocean? Resolution of this conundrum is to be found in the recognition that the skin layer temperature gradient not only exists as a result of the ocean-atmosphere temperature difference, but also helps to control the ocean-atmosphere heat flux. (The ‘skin layer‘ is the very thin – up to 1 mm – layer at the top of ocean that is in direct contact with the atmosphere). Reducing the size of the temperature gradient through the skin layer reduces the flux. Thus, if the absorption of the infrared emission from atmospheric greenhouse gases reduces the gradient through the skin layer, the flow of heat from the ocean beneath will be reduced, leaving more of the heat introduced into the bulk of the upper oceanic layer by the absorption of sunlight to remain there to… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

German Scientist: CO2 Not The Cause of Climate Change – Cold Period Is Anticipated By P Gosselin on 16. November 2010 The European Institute For Climate and Energy (EIKE) released a paper today written by German physicist Dr. Horst Borchert. The paper reveals a clear relation between solar activity and ocean cycles, and thus act as the main climate drivers. Measured data shows no CO2 impact on climate. “It was found that the South Pacific Oscillation (SO) is influenced by solar activity, similar to the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). Especially during the warming period from 1980 to 2009 the oscillation of solar wind – Index “aa“ – was in good resonance with the delayed South Pacific Oscillation. The same observation was found between the oscillation of cosmic radiation, which is controlled by Forbush– reduction by the magnetic fields of the sun protons of the solar wind and the delayed SO (K=0.8). The consequence of these observations is the postulation that the increase of global temperature in the Southern Hemisphere was caused by solar activity with strong emissions of proton-rays in the Earth ‘s direction during the 22nd and 23rd sunspot-periods, reducing cosmic rays.… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

TESTIMONY OF PATRICK J. MICHAELS TO THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT, COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, U.S HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, NOVEMBER 17, 2010 Thursday, November 18, 2010 IPCC Forecasts are Incorrect Thank you for inviting my testimony. I am a Senior Fellow in Environmental Studies at the Cato Institute and Distinguished Senior Fellow in the School of Public Policy at George Mason University. This testimony represents no official point of view from either of these institutions and is tendered with the traditional protections of academic freedom. My testimony has four objectives 1) Demonstration that the rate greenhouse-related warming is clearly below the mean of climate forecasts from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that are based upon changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations that are closest to what is actually being observed, 2) demonstration that the Finding of Endangerment from greenhouse gases by the Environmental Protection Agency is based upon a very dubious and critical assumption, 3) demonstration that the definition of science as a public good induces certain biases that substantially devalue efforts to synthesize science, such as those undertaken by the IPCC and the U.S. Climate Change… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

From “the truth is what we want it to be” file (Gareth Renowden please note). A Discernible Human Influence … by John L. Daly In a major paper published in the British science journal “Nature” (Vol.382, 4 July 1996, p.39-46) the top players in the Greenhouse Industry (Benjamin Santer of the IPCC, Tom Wigley of NCAR, Philip Jones of CRU, John Mitchell of the U.K. Hadley Centre, A. Oort and R. Stouffer of GFDL among others) all lent their names to a paper titled “A Search For Human Influences On The Thermal Structure Of The Atmosphere”. This paper was trumpeted by the Greenhouse Industry as the final `proof’ that Greenhouse was already here, proved not just by models, but also by actual observed data. And it was little surprise that the `observed data’ agreed with the models. They claim to have found the imprint of human influence in observations of upper troposphere temperatures as recorded by sonde balloons, matched these observations with what their model would predict under similar conditions and found the very match they were `searching’ for. This result then inspired the much quoted claim that there was “… a discernible… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

This link might be helpful.


Richard C (NZ)

Global Warming: How to approach the science. (Climate Models and the Evidence?) Richard S. Lindzen Program in Atmospheres, Oceans, and Climate Massachusetts Institute of Technology Testimony: House Subcommittee on Science and Technology hearing on A Rational Discussion of Climate Change: the Science, the Evidence, the Response November 17, 2010 [Snip] Where do we go from here? Given that this has become a quasi-religious issue, it is hard to tell. However, my personal hope is that we will return to normative science, and try to understand how the climate actually behaves. Our present approach of dealing with climate as completely specified by a single number, globally averaged surface temperature anomaly, that is forced by another single number, atmospheric CO2levels, for example, clearly limits real understanding; so does the replacement of theory by model simulation. In point of fact, there has been progress along these lines and none of it demonstrates a prominent role for CO2. It has been possible to account for the cycle of ice ages simply with orbital variations (as was thought to be the case before global warming mania); tests of sensitivity independent of the assumption that warming is due to… Read more »


Some of Lindzen’s testimony sounds very similar to the keynote he did at the ICCC in Chicago, but it doesn’t diminish the message.

Richard C (NZ)

That’s the thing. The John Daly article above is from 1997 and Landscheidt goes back further.

There really is not much need now for new findings when such a huge backlog of previously ignored disproof and exposure of misrepresentation can be taken off the shelf. I think 2010 has brought it all to a head.

But how do you make the same rebuttals new and fresh and how many are really reqd?

As long as the root issues are addressed everything else falls apart for the AGW camp.

I think Lindzen’s presentation did address the root issues and it’s an easy read but some content could be left out in order for attention spans to take in the essence.

I saw this observation at JoNova;

November 19th, 2010 at 7:04 am

Did you notice in the picture for witness panel I, Lindzen is hidden from view from Cicerone’s thumb sucking? This is a pose called ‘steepling fingers’, which generally implies a closed off mind which is subconsciously establishing a barrier to communication.


(not so) Silent

The “steeple” as a form of body language is actually a sign they are considering and thinking about what is being said.
If he had folded his arms then that would be a negative response as he is forming a “barrier”

Richard C (NZ)

I did wonder whether George was reading the wrong signal.

Using body language to gauge a politicians thinking is fraught with difficulty anyway given that their neural processes are subject to genetic modification once elected and exposed to the excess of counter-intuition that pervades political decision making.

Richard C (NZ)

Influence of the Southern Oscillation on tropospheric temperature J. D. McLean,1 C. R. de Freitas,2 and R. M. Carter3 Received 16 December 2008; revised 23 March 2009; accepted 14 May 2009; published 23 July 2009. [1] Time series for the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) and global tropospheric temperature anomalies (GTTA) are compared for the 19582008 period. GTTA are represented by data from satellite microwave sensing units (MSU) for the period 1980–2008 and from radiosondes (RATPAC) for 1958–2008. After the removal from the data set of short periods of temperature perturbation that relate to near-equator volcanic eruption, we use derivatives to document the presence of a 5- to 7-month delayed close relationship between SOI and GTTA. Change in SOI accounts for 72% of the variance in GTTA for the 29-year-long MSU record and 68% of the variance in GTTA for the longer 50-year RATPAC record. Because El Nin˜oSouthern Oscillation is known to exercise a particularly strong influence in the tropics, we also compared the SOI with tropical temperature anomalies between 20S and 20N. The results showed that SOI accounted for 81% of the variance in tropospheric temperature anomalies in the tropics. Overall the results… Read more »

val majkus

Hi Richard, I think this is what you’re after
there may be more about it on Bob Carter’s website
but I can’t find it quickly

Richard C (NZ)

This response, without Fig. 7, was rejected by JGR as described earlier. We reproduce it here with Fig. 7, and with a number of small changes from the submitted version (less than 20 words) to take account of reviewers’ comments, as is the normal practice for the publication of refereed papers. Response to “Comment on ‘Influence of the Southern Oscillation on tropospheric temperature’” by Foster et al. J. D McLean1, C.R. de Freitas2* and R.M. Carter3 Abstract Key data presented in McLean at al (2009a) show that the Southern Oscillation is a dominant and consistent influence on mean global temperature and, contrary to what Foster et al. (2010) imply, the data in question (Figure 7) were not subjected to contrived statistical analysis. We explain that there are natural mechanisms that might account for the strong coherence of Southern Oscillation Index and mean global temperature. Our research did not set out to analyse trends in mean global temperature, but, should any such trend exist, it follows from our analysis that in most part it would be a response to the natural climate mechanisms that underlie the Southern Oscillation. We believe the findings of our… Read more »

val majkus
Richard C (NZ)

Wow, thanks Val, I’ll also set up a comment in RT’s Climategate post.


This of course, is one of the key issues in the Climategate issues.

The other paper by MM is just garbage – as you knew. De Freitas again. Pielke is also
losing all credibility as well by replying to the mad Finn as well – frequently as I see
I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep
out somehow – even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is !


val majkus

Tuvalu is in the news again
by Prof Cliff Ollier
Vincent Gray, an IPCC reviewer from the start, has written SOUTH PACIFIC SEA LEVEL: A REASSESSMENT, which can be seen here:


For Tuvalu he comments that “If the depression of the 1998 cyclone is ignored there was no change in sea level at Tuvalu between 1994 and 2008; 14 years. The claim of a trend of + 6.0 mm/yr is without any justification”.

Think this may have been mentioned before but didn’t have time to check

[…] on an uninhabited island sticking 145 metres up out of the ocean, and the current situation. In his latest response to Bryan, however, the previously acknowledged rise magically disappears: There has been […]


Strange comment from a blog post in 2010.

Finger trouble?

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