Sea Level Challenge

Calling all reality deniers, who live inside computer models. Here is your chance to prove that sea level is rising rapidly.

See the rock island  inside the circle at The Cove Beach, La Jolla California? I am well acquainted with that rock because I go snorkeling there, and it has a pool on the near side full of brightly colored fish.

Your challenge is – find a modern photo where the water is higher than in that picture. The picture above was taken in 1870.

The animation below shows that nothing has changed since 1870.

People have objected to the animation because the newer picture may have been taken at low tide. Fair enough. So find me a picture where the rock is underwater.

If you can’t do that, then find me a better picture of Raquel Tejada – 1959 homecoming queen at  La Jolla High School. She is better known now as Raquel Welch.

About stevengoddard

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84 Responses to Sea Level Challenge

  1. Can we place bets? I’ll take Goddard to win on both.

  2. Amino Acids in Meteorites says:

    Don’t worry, ChrisD will be here any minute to tell you what really happened. He will tell you everything. He knows everything.

    • ChrisD says:

      He knows everything.

      No, I don’t, and I don’t claim to. I know some stuff about things that I’ve been studying for a long time.

      That was a very juvenile comment. And, might I add, completely off-topic.

  3. Jimbo says:

    Just a suggestion.
    You will be attacked over the fact that land falls and rises at different places at the same time, sea levels fall and rise at different places during the same time period. So the example above does not vaidate or invalidate the alarmists’ claims. We need to go global as in global warming and look at other possible explanations. For example Bangladesh has been gaining land mass over the last 30 years. Yet sea levels have been rising since the end of the last ice age. Atol coral island rise with sea level rise and fall with sea level falls. I could go on but I’ll stop here for now.

    Here are a few pointers for visitors to Real Science to browse through at their leisure:

    Click to access MornerEng.pdf

    Click to access MornerInterview.pdf

    Click to access 33-37_725.pdf

    Click to access MornerInterview.pdf

    • I’m hoping for that.

      If there had of been an earthquake large enough to raise San Diego by 12″ during the last 140 years, someone would have noticed. There is no glacial rebound there.

    • Thank you for posting these. Providing an introduction to these issues for visitors is valuable, esp on websites like this — where many posts assume considerable knowledge of the subject.

  4. bbttxu says:

    Haha, you want definitive photographic evidence of mm sea-level rise, based on photographs, taken from several hundred feet away, in an area where tides are measured in feet? Good luck with that.

    Can you provide an article from a scientific paper where sea-level rise is measured using photographs?

    • The 1870 photo has the water less than six inches below the top of the rock. Compare the size of people and horses in the photograph.

      Why aren’t scientific papers using photographs? Is modern technology too confusing?

      • bbttxu says:

        Arguing about six inches where tides are routinely several feet? And even tide levels vary across a month.

        I’m declaring you the winner, Steve. You can’t show mm-scale sea-level rise based on two photographs (where the level of tide is unknown). Well done!

        ” I am well acquainted with that rock because I go snorkeling there”. Please follow-up with pictures from your next visit. 🙂

        • Hansen is talking about 3-5 metres (>120 inches) rise in 90 years.

          The challenge is simple. Find me six inches in 140 years.

          You claim that tides will give you several feet. It should be a trivial challenge for you to find one picture which supports your assertion.

      • bbttxu says:

        “The challenge is simple. Find me six inches in 140 years.”

        I can do better. I can find forty-eight inches in 7 hours.

        From 10:45pm tonight, to 5:47am tomorrow, there will be 4 feet of change (see the previous tide table I linked).

        It’ll be too dark to take a photo though, so I humbly concede defeat in this challenge. I lose—lack of photographic evidence :\

  5. Amino Acids in Meteorites says:

    How come there weren’t girl like that in my High School?

  6. T G Watkins says:

    Stunning pictures!
    There are more important things in life….. but Raquel is not one of them.
    On a similar theme, next w/e Wales play Australia in the game they play in heaven.

  7. Jimbo says:

    Here’s something from Charles Darwin regarding barrier-reefs and atolls.

    “No other work of mine was begun in so deductive a spirit as this; for the whole theory was thought out on the west coast of S. America before I had seen a true coral reef. I had therefore only to verify and extend my views by a careful examination of living reefs. But it should be observed that I had during the two previous years been incessantly attending to the effects on the shores of S. America of the intermittent elevation of the land, together with the denudation and deposition of sediment. This necessarily led me to reflect much on the effects of subsidence, and it was easy to replace in imagination the continued deposition of sediment by the upward growth of coral. To do this was to form my theory of the formation of barrier-reefs and atolls.”

    Darwin, Charles., The Autobiography of Charles Darwin 1809-1882, 1887 p. 98, 99)

    He noticed the phenomena over 100 years ago. Yet alarmists worry about coral atolls. The only thing they have to worry about is sand mining, draining of freshwater, landuse issues etc. and not co2.

  8. bruce says:

    Steve, will you please post the photos of the model? Or send them directly to me so I can assess them at my leisure.

    As for the other photo, its cherry picked, happens to be taken during a solar eclipse with Jupiter in the mix. Also, if you look around the point you will see water being pumped into the ocean.

    • PJB says:

      Bruce, you also forgot the influx of Mexicans into California is causing the inland to sink, thus causing the shore to rise…..

      What else could it be? Hansen cannot be either crazy nor mistaken so we much just not be looking at the right measurement. (hot-spots anyone?) Perhaps they could analyze the earthquake data and find something about sea-level in them (seeing as everything is related to GW after all, isn’t that the official line?).

  9. Lazarus says:

    Do you have time/tidal information for the times of both photos?

    I would be a very silly person who claimed no sea rise based on just two photos and without such relevant inforamtion.

  10. Mike Davis says:

    I spent time all along the California coast and planned my vacations during periods of spring or leap tides the view the tide pools or the high tide as the waves tend to be more dramatic at high tide.
    The only pictures I retain are in my mental photo gallery. I first saw that cove in the 60s and was last there in 2004. I see or saw no recognizable difference during that time beyond normal variations in tides.
    I drew a line in the sand at low tide to see if the sea level was going down, but someone must have erased it, as it was not there when I went back! 😉

  11. Lazarus says:

    “If you think the modern picture was taken at low tide, then find a picture at high tide. ”

    So if no one has taken a picture from that particular spot an a certain time then you are proven right?

    • It doesn’t make any difference where the picture was taken from. That doesn’t affect the height of the water.

      • ChrisD says:

        <i.That doesn’t affect the height of the water.

        But the tide sure does. Why answer only half of the question?

        • Are you folks really that dim-witted?

          Find a picture showing the water higher. High tide is not invisible. It is not a vampire or a ghost. It can be photographed.

      • Mike Davis says:


      • Lazarus says:

        “It doesn’t make any difference where the picture was taken from.”

        Of course it does. If the picture shows a different angle then levels cannot be reliably compared.

        But that avoids the point I made. You have set up a scenario that can never really be falsified as the relevant data and photographic evidence you expect are almost certainly unavailable.

        Even if it was, from that view point (or any other if it doesn’t really doesn’t make any difference), could you reliably say that the sea level was 150mm higher in the latter pic? That is about the average sea level rise during the period you are basing you post on and is probably the height of the horse’s hoof in the first pic.

        But the real credible evidence does show global sea levels are rising.

        • I see. So from one angle the rock might be covered with water, but not from another angle.

          None of the other rules of science apply to global warming, so why should geometry?

      • Lazarus says:

        “So from one angle the rock might be covered with water, but not from another angle. ”

        So you expect the rock to be covered with water?

        As part of your challenge to find a picture, that almost certainly does not exist, perhaps you could tell me how high that rock is, just so I know I have found the right one?

        So how many millimetres above the water is your rock in the first picture?

  12. Lazarus says:

    “The rocks are several feet out of the water”

    How many mm exactly?

    Remember to refute you, I need to be able to measure 150mm (about 6 inch) between the images.

    • Less than the 5000 mm which Hansen forecast for this century.

      Anyway, your argument is fallacious. If the recent picture was taken at low tide, then a high tide picture will cover the rocks. Find me that picture.

  13. Lazarus says:

    “Less than the 5000 mm which Hansen forecast for this century.”

    That’s less than half a meter so that must be a Shetland pony pulling a toy carriage in the first photo and a sea side outing for dwarfs pictured in the second, but Ok, so all we need is a link to the paper Hansen based this on to see how it was calculated, what margins of error he claimed and see if it is possible to determine what range of sea level rise to expect nearly a century previous.

    Have you got a link to this science?

    • Find me a picture with the rock covered.

      • Lazarus says:

        “Find me a picture with the rock covered.”

        Because if I don’t you have proved that AGW is false?

        This blog gets sillier and sillier. Do you even have research of Hansen coming to the conclusions you claim, let alone a credible way of calculating what it should be after only a tenth of that time in a non-linear scenario?

        “Methinks your arithmetic is off by a factor of 10.”

        Methinks you may be right, I can only apologise. It’s been a long day and I fear ignorance may be catching.

    • Lynn says:

      SG: “Less than the 5000 mm which Hansen forecast for this century.”

      Lazarus: “That’s less than half a meter…”

      5000 mm is less than half a meter? I obviously need to re-learn how to convert millimeters to meters. Methinks your arithmetic is off by a factor of 10.

  14. Mike Davis says:

    It was one of Brother Jim’s predictions for the near future that he blew out his!!!!. Just like all of Brother Jim’s other so called work. Our current “Walking Dead” visitor Lazarus is just blowing conjecture out the !!! due to mental diarrhea! This is a symptom of “Climate Hypochondria”, A well known and easily observed mental condition among those who fear the Climate is out to get them. They tend to imagine all sorts of climate problems due to Human Activities that can only be corrected by all the people in the world singing Kumbya.

    • Lazarus says:


      Thanks for the insults. Easier than actually providing credible information or realistic challenges. Good job!

      • Mike Davis says:

        You must be part of the walking dead to claim a handle such as Lazarus who was risen from the dead by Christ according to the bible. Christ has not returned so you must be one of the walking dead. You picked the name, I did not. If your parents picked that handle you should sue them.
        You asked for information about Brother Jim and his traveling alarmist show. If you have not seen what Brother Jim has spouted over the recent past you must have just risen from the dead to be asking for links to Jimmie’s pronouncements.

        As for the water line on that rock. I have seen it at Leap Tide and Spring Tide and levels in between. Not enough difference to measure accurately due to natural changes in sea level over the natural ocean atmosphere cycle for that region. Also not enough years have passed to even know if the current cycle is over. Then we would need a series of cycles to determine a trend as 1 cycle is not enough information.
        Does that answer your question?
        You could also think you are Lazarus Long, related to Methuselah but your questions rule out any possibility of that being probable.

  15. Lazarus says:

    “I have seen it at Leap Tide and Spring Tide and levels in between. Not enough difference to measure accurately due to natural changes in sea level over the natural ocean atmosphere cycle for that region. ”

    Yet you see no reason to criticise our host for wanting a picture to refute his challenge. Yet the best scientific data we have show that sea levels are rising.

  16. Mike Davis says:

    No! There is no reason to critize our hist because what you call the best scientific data, showing sea level rise is probably “Junk” based on pseudo science.
    One can determine sea level as compared to adjoining land surfaces. Due to land floating on the mantel and changes in atmospheric pressure associated with long term regional weather patterns there is no such thing as stable sea level. I realize there are locations where it is obvious, for whatever reason, sea level as related to adjoining land has risen. On the other hand in some geological regions sea level has also fallen. Without accurate measurements over even 5 complete weather cycles there is no way to determine if the sea level is either rising or falling at Sand Cove in La Jolla near Scripp’s.

    There are those who research sea levels that would question your claim of best data!

  17. sunsettommy says:


    None of you guys,ChrisD,Lazarus,bbttxu can answer a simple challenge.

    “Find me a picture with the rock covered.”

    He gave you several photos already and has conceded the possibility that he does not account for the HIGH tide:

    “People have objected to the animation because the newer picture may have been taken at low tide. Fair enough. So find me a picture where the rock is underwater.”

    This is your opportunity to blast his sea level position of that area,out of the water and crow about it.

    Instead you guys are bullshitting away the opportunity with nitpicking crap.

    • Lazarus says:

      sunsettommy says;

      “None of you guys,ChrisD,Lazarus,bbttxu can answer a simple challenge.

      “Find me a picture with the rock covered.””

      So that is what passes for a simple challenge?

      First find me a picture of the Sun going Supernova. Scientists say it heading that way so show me photographic proof.

      Steve’s ‘Challenge’ is just as silly unless there is evidence that the scientists have previously said that the amount of sea level rise expected is such that the rock should be covered by now.

      That is not bullshit or nitpicking.

      • sunsettommy says:

        I did not realize that it is silly to accept an invitation from Steve to prove him wrong.

        Incredibly you write this howler:

        “Steve’s ‘Challenge’ is just as silly unless there is evidence that the scientists have previously said that the amount of sea level rise expected is such that the rock should be covered by now.”

        Were you in a cave when people like Hansen make outlandish sea level rise predictions?

        Quoting Steve who DID bring it up:

        “Hansen is talking about 3-5 metres (>120 inches) rise in 90 years.

        The challenge is simple. Find me six inches in 140 years.

        You claim that tides will give you several feet. It should be a trivial challenge for you to find one picture which supports your assertion.”

        Since you have not tried ,why are you still in the thread bullshitting?

    • Tony Duncan says:

      read my post below. There can be no picture, because there has not yet been enough sea level rise to warrant such a picture. Talk about a straw man. Show me one scientific paper that says that sea level rise by 2010 would be more than 10 cm from 1980 (or 15cm since 1870 or whenever his old picture is from). Anyone, scientist or no that has said there would be more than that by this time I concede as being an alarmist and deserves to have the real science shoved in their face.

  18. peterhodges says:

    the point is we are supposed to be experiencing catastrophic sea level rises.

    we are not.

    • Tony Duncan says:

      we are POSSIBLY going to experience large sea level rises over the next century . Catastrophic sea level rises over the next 2-400 years, if CO2 emissions are not reduced. There are parameters and the effects of CO2 greenhouse impact is just beginning to have a measurable effect over the last 30 years.
      The Greenland ice cap is melting faster than most predictions, and Antarctica non sea ice melting will take a while to kick in because of local factors as well, although there has been measurable land ice loss already. Even the worst case scenarios state that it will take hundreds of years for ALL of Greenland to melt, and over a thousand for all of Antarctica
      Remember it has only been 50-60 years that we have been putting really massive amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere, and it takes a while for all the effects to manifest. Stephan’s challenge is ridiculous. The science says there has been an increase of maybe 10 cm over the last 50 years, and there should be a further increase of maybe 20-50 cm in the next 30 years, and maybe 1-2 meters by 2100.
      If in the NEXT 40 years there are no pictures available showing an increase in sea level in the area Stephan wants, he will have a strong case for no sea level rise, although the practical impact of sea level is subject to many local factors.

  19. Lazarus says:

    “Sea level rise hasn’t changed over the last century”

    The science begs to differ;

    Click to access 2008SLRSustain.pdf

    Click to access Donnelly%20GRL%202004.pdf

    So why make such unfounded claims?

      • bbttxu says:

        It’s interesting that you say that sea-level isn’t rising, and for support, link to your own blog, where you say that sea-level rise over the last century was 2.0mm/year, or 20cm over the century.

        Wouldn’t you have to say that the rate is 0.0mm/year, for the two statements to jive?

        • I never said sea level wasn’t rising. I have written dozens of articles explaining that sea level has been rising for 20,000 years and that the *rise rates* have not changed over the last century.

      • Mike Davis says:

        Steven: You have to excuse this entity. Whoever thinks they are a dead man walking and chooses a name to reflect that has an entire life experience based on unfounded claims.
        For dead Man Walking:
        There is evidence that under natural condition throughout the planets history the rate of sea level change has not been consistent. Like every thing else in nature in “Cycles” in intensity and there are obvious periods of faster and slower activity. To determine a trend a sufficient period of time is needed to find a pattern. I think I wrote about climate patterns a time or two already.
        I think the song said: Come back when you grow up as you are still living in a make believe world.

      • bbttxu says:

        Actually, the rate sea level rise has been constant, at 2.0mm/year, which means that sea level is rising.

      • Which is exactly what I said

      • Mike Davis says:

        Sea level rate of rise varies but over a determined period of time the average rate is whatever the agreed number is. Of course that number has its error bars due to problems with equipment and methods, I have read the errors may be greater than the reported changes.
        That would mean that if the reported rate is 2mm year +/-4mm year. The prediction was 20cm +/- 40 cm for the next century with the most probable outcome on the low side.
        A view about sea level rise from a person who was paid to studt sea level:

  20. bbttxu says:

    The modern photo was taken on 2007/09/02 at 5:12pm, if the exif data is to be believed. That was a falling tide, ~2.75 feet.

    The high tides around that time are 5.69 and 5.5 feet. The rock is more than 3 feet above the water—greater than the difference between the water level shown and the high tide.

    “At low tide, several feet of the rock are exposed. Find me one picture with the rock covered.”

    At the risk of bringing data into this ‘scientific’ blog, it appears that the same holds true for high tide as well. It appears the challenge is to provide evidence of something that doesn’t happen… well done, sir!

  21. Mike Davis says:

    For a more complete summery of sea level rise:

  22. zulu-X-treme says:

    What a great discussion, if at time a little heated… lol.

    Steve thanks for the gutts to create a site where at least the claims that support the Global Warming agenda supported by the NWO Carbon Offset program can be refuted…

  23. peterhodges says:

    Tony Duncan says:
    November 3, 2010 at 10:43 am

    yeah and in the last ten years the planet has been cooling and the rate of sea level rise has slowed. meanwhile CO2 has continued to rise.

    the truth is, in the long term, the planet is cooling. we are, afterall, in the middle of an ice age. we are on the cold side of an interglacial, which was colder than the last interglacial…get it?

    if things were really going to warm we should all be jumping for joy. there is a reason all those times it was warmer in the past are called CLIMATE OPTIMUMS

  24. coloradobob says:

    In 1839, distinguished naval officer and polar explorer James Clark Ross (1800–1862) set off on an expedition to the Southern Ocean with two ships, HMS Erebus and HMS Terror. In April 1842, he stopped at Port Louis, primarily to make magnetic field and other measurements, but also to make repairs to his ships which had been badly damaged in the Drake Passage. Having set up a winter base, he took the opportunity to make careful measurements of sea level relative to two benchmarks cut into the cliffs and marked with brass plaques.

    These marks remain in good condition to this day. This fact, along with the apparent good quality of Ross’s data, has allowed Woodworth’s team to compare the sea level records from 1842 with measurements taken at Port Louis using modern instruments in 1981–1982, 1984 and 2009.

    After correction for air pressure effects and vertical land movement due to geological processes, the researchers find that sea levels rose by an average of around 0.75 millimetres a year between 1842 and the early 1980s.
    (140 X .75 = 105 mm = 4.13 inches)
    However, they also find evidence that the rate of sea-level rise has accelerated over recent decades. Specifically, they estimate that sea levels around the Falkland Islands have risen by an average of around 2.5 millimetres a year since 1992, a figure consistent with measurements made by satellite radar altimeters over the same period.

  25. slp says:

    I am in southern California for a few days of vacation, so I drove down to La Jolla Cove to take a few pictures for your reference. Feel free to use any of them, if you find them at all useful. These were taken at close to high tide (of about 4 feet) today (2010-12-10):

    I wish they were clearer, but it was rather foggy today.

    Incidentally, I live in central Florida and with I left Wednesday morning, it was 30F at my house. Not something we see (or feel, as the case may be) that often.

  26. Thank you for this wonderful piece. Sometimes people gets so caught up in numbers and statistics that don’t really tell the full story. Your challenge is so simple, and yet everyone is trying to prove how smart they are. Like they’re the next Nobel Prize winner. If all y’all want to prove him wrong, go out there yourselves and take the damn picture. Stop talking about the tide when that’s not the point he is trying to make. If he regularly goes snorkeling there, I’m pretty sure he can figure out the difference between high and low tide.

  27. rightbill says:

    Then again, how do we know that the earlier picture wasn’t taken at low tide?

  28. Pictures can prove or disprove anything. Here’s my picture taken January 23, 2010 showing the big rock in the foreground almost completely submerged, so much so that the seals and the sea lions are on top of it, instead of on the non-existent beach:

    But it just happened to be during a big-wave winter storm.

    Love this spot. One of my favorite places in the world!

  29. Actually, the date was probably Jan 29th, 2010.

  30. OK, now I’ve been slogging through the comments, and I have to agree with you, Steve. There is not a significant difference in the sea level EVEN during a huge winter storm.

  31. OK, I’ll try again:
    I’m a newcomer to this subject, trying to sort it all out. The La Jolla pictures drew me in to this blog.

  32. chatterb0tX says:

    all i know is i have lived in florida on the coast all my life 34 years and have not seen the ocean raise an inch at all.

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