NOAA Global Sea Level Rise Far Below IPCC Estimates

NOAA has 159 global sea level monitoring stations used to calculate trends. The graph above plots all of them, with the pink region showing the IPCC projected range of 19-59 mm/century.

The average of all stations is 6 cm/century, which is less than one third of the IPCC minimum, and 69% of their stations are below the minimum forecast. 26% of the stations are showing sea level decline.

Meanwhile, Hansen’s meltdown of the West Antarctic ice sheet seems to be going a little slow.

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25 Responses to NOAA Global Sea Level Rise Far Below IPCC Estimates

  1. Mike Davis says:

    I wonder if NOAA uses the same Quality Control procedures on these sea level monitoring sites as they do on their temperature monitoring sites?
    I do believe that Surface station web site shows a good example of NOAA’s QC which is non existent.
    You knot that the NOAA surface temperature records are fluid and what you see for today is not the same as a real temperature measurement. It is not the same as when we used paper records and once written it was fixed and changes were also recorded. With the new Al-Gore-Rhythm all we see are this days best guess which will change tomorrow. Temperature measurements that have an error range of + or – 2C are represented using 4 decimal places or more,

  2. Les Johnson says:

    Shouldn’t it be 6 mm per year, and not cm?

    OMG, its worse than we thought!

  3. Les Johnson says:

    and, now I have read it carefully. The dangers of no caffeine.

    I see its 6 cm/century, not per year. But, it should be 60 cm/century, or 600 mm per century.

    That puts sea level rise right at the top end, of the IPCC projections, at 59 cm per century.

  4. Robert says:

    What does air temperatures have to do with a “meltdown” of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet? Anyone with a brain knows that the WAIS is too cold to be losing ice due to air temperatures but rather that it is losing ice due to warming ocean temperatures causing grounding line retreats and glacier accelerations.

    Indicating that air temperatures have anything to do with a “meltdown” of the WAIS is just complete and utter BS. You have no clue what you are talking about. I think over at skeptical science there was already a series of 3 posts that addressed this issue about how you keep wrongly saying its too cold to lose ice. Why do you keep rehashing an argument that everyone knows is wrong? I can link to the website if you like and let your readers decide for themselves whether it is “warmist propaganda” or rather if its you just not having a clue?

    • Ahhhh, that explains the record amounts of sea ice. All that warm water.

      Everyone with a hockey stick brain knows that warm water is associated with cold air and increasing ice.

      • Robert says:

        There are not “record” amounts of sea ice on the Antarctic Peninsula or in the Amundsen Sea Embayment which is where the majority of Antarctic ice losses come from.

        Despite your protestations we do have very accurate information about the discharge through the amundsen sea embayment and how it has changed in relation to warm waters causing thinning and grounding line retreat thereby accelerating flow. Rignot et al. 2008 a and b (b is better for WAIS) gives very good data for this subject.

        The interesting thing about radar interferometry and speckle tracking is that you can physically SEE the accelerations of ice. You are ACTUALLY MEASURING ice discharge accelerating in the amundsen sea embayment.

        I take it you haven’t seen the paper on abysmal warming being mostly in the Antarctic region of the deep ocean, how could this happen with your “cold air” keeping the oceans from warming…

        Mike, If you think that Geothermal activity is what is causing ice losses in West Antarctic then you actually don’t have a clue. It is a well-known phenomena that grounding line retreat and thinning is reducing the backpressure on the glaciers (or buttressing effect) and is causing ice to move faster into the ocean. It is not due to “Geothermal activity”. What is the mechanism for this Geothermally induced accelerations? The outlet glaciers in the region are already basally lubricated enough for to move quickly, geothermal melting at the bed of the glacier which just add water to an over-saturated system. In such cases it has been shown that injecting more water to already saturated glacial beds does not cause accelerations as shown by Dr. Pelto in a realclimate post a couple years ago.

        My understanding of glacial activities is not in your place to judge but I can assure you that if you feel your glaciology “pedigree” is vastly superior to mine then you can start posting some articles which “prove” your view. I’m sure Goddard would give you the time.

    • Mike Davis says:

      This shows the level of your understanding of glacial activities and how well you understand the West Antarctic. I will admit that there are unverified claims the West Antarctic region is losing ice. However they fail to include the Goethermal activity in that region. Have you found the ocean Bouys that are currently floating around the West Antarctic region that have been providing reliable weather information from that region for the 200 years we would need to have an understanding of what is happening in that region? The West Antarctic region is about equal to the area east of the Mississippi River. Where can I find the equal number of stations in West Antarctica as those used to record temperatures East of the Mississippi with equal length of histories.
      Why is it that they can not say: We do not know or better yet do not say anything about Antarctica when there is not enough data to make any claims.

    • Paul H says:


      If you were more honest, you would admit it is not ” warming ocean temperatures” but ” sea currents” you were alluding to.

      Over most of the Southern Ocean sea temps have if anything been cooling. It is only around WAIS that warmer currents been drifting from the South Pacific.

      Nothing to do with Global Warming.

      Buit perhaps they don’t tell you this at Skeptical Science.

  5. Les Johnson says:

    ok, just ignore all my earlier posts. What crap I wrote.

    I downloaded the data from the site Steve provided. The average sea level rise is 0.611 mm/year, or 61.1 mm/century, or 6.11 cm/century.

    And it only took me 3 tries.

  6. peterhodges says:

    never mind the tons of rock the glaciers grind through and push along as they move over land. that doesn’t slow them down.

    it’s the floating ice they hit at the ocean which suddenly holds them up.

  7. Kevin says:

    This decline in sea level has nothing to do with global warming happening or not. It’s because aliens are stealing our water. I saw it in a documentary about them in the 1980s. It was called ‘V’.

    Frankly, I’m amazed that no one is alarmed.

  8. JohnH says:

    Before looking at NOAA sea level altimetry figures, satisfy yourself that the datum being used is sound rather than subjective.

  9. Benjamin Franz says:

    The only way you can get that number is by a direct average of all 159 MSL trends which are over different time ranges from 28 to over 150 years, starting anywhere from 1832 to 1970 and ending anywhere from 1936 to 2007.

    And you ran =AVERAGE() on them and declared it proved the IPCC estimates were wrong. The resulting number quite literally has absolutely no physical meaning what-so-ever.

    This is such utter garbage of a “technique” that if you turned it into a high school physics class you would summarily fail on the spot.

    The reality, of course, is that sea level is rising at more than 3 mm/year (30 cm / century) right now – and accelerating.

    • Right – I get it. Sea level being extremely low viscosity chooses to pool up around poor countries.

      Gavin says he can calculate a global temperature from 30 stations. Why don’t you head over to real climate and fail him?

      • Benjamin Franz says:

        You don’t get it.

        It isn’t a matter of “pooling”, picking certain stations, or any other cherry picking technique.

        It is literally that what you did mathematically has no physical meaning. What you did was so unphysical that I’m having trouble coming up with a real world analogy to what you did.

        It is as meaningless as if you were asked the question of how fast a car was going and replied “apple”.

        Ok, I’m going to try to explain what you did and why it isn’t even wrong – it’s actually, literally, without any physical meaning.

        Imagine 159 people traveling from New York to San Francisco, by different methods over the entire trip. They start out walking to the local bus stop. They take the bus to the local train station. They take the train to Denver where they catch a plane to San Francisco.

        You measure the average speed of each person but only over part of the route. You might measure the speed of one person as they walked to the bus stop. That of a second person while they were riding on the train. A third person while they waited motionless at Denver International for their flight for a few hours. A fourth while they were in the air from Denver to San Franscico. And all kinds of ‘mix and match’ combinations of those.

        And then you just averaged each those separate speeds, and declared that was how fast they must have been traveling from the California-Nevada state line to San Francisco. Never mind you averaged the speed of a person walking in New York with the speed of a person on a train with the speed of a person on an airplane.

        It isn’t merely a wrong number – it is literally meaningless.

        Tell you what – go hunt down a mathematic professor and tell them what you did. Hopefully he won’t die from laughing too hard to breath before he can explain why what you did wasn’t merely an error but actually meaningless.

  10. Benjamin Franz says:


    Taking every single NOAA sea level station and averaging them has no physical meaning? You have got to be pulling my leg.

    Every single NOAA sea level station over different time periods.

    You think there is a physical meaning to averaging a trend measured from 1865 to 1936 with a different trend measured from 1970 to 2002?

    What exactly do you think it means?

    And that isn’t even getting into the difference between an average from 1887 to 2007 and the average for the last 30 years even for the same station.

    • Have you ever done any Monte Carlo analysis? That is exactly how it works.

      BTW – Most of the NOAA stations show lower rise rates over the last 30 years. My calculation is probably too high.

      Unfortunately, they don’t provide digital data.

      • Benjamin Franz says:

        Have you ever done any Monte Carlo analysis? That is exactly how it works.

        Yes, I have. I first used it before you were probably born. And no, that is not “how it works.”

        A piece of advice: When you don’t know something and make a blatant basic mistake as a result, don’t dig your hole deeper by trying to claim your mistake was really an application of a more advanced technique. It doesn’t make you look smart and knowledgeable – it just makes you look foolish.

        BTW – Most of the NOAA stations show lower rise rates over the last 30 years. My calculation is probably too high.

        Your “calculation” is not merely too low – it isn’t even in the right ballpark.

        The real number is about 3mm/year currently. Versus around 1.8 mm/year (average) for the 20th century and an average of 0.1 to 0.2 mm/year for the previous two or three thousand years.

        Unfortunately, they don’t provide digital data.

        Yes, actually, the data is available online, digitally, for free.

        If you are going to try and play scientist you had better learn how to find source data.

        And by the way, before you go on one of your patented fishing expeditions for individual stations showing a decline to be ripped out of context, it is expected for some stations to decline. They are balanced by other stations that are increasing even more: The current global average trend is still about +3 mm/year.

        This is confirmed bydirect satellite measurements of the entire ocean.

  11. Benjamin Franz says:

    Actually it is you who are not in the ballpark. CU satellite altimetry shows about 2mm/year since 2005

    Or 2.6 mm/year since 2006. Or 3.3 mm/year since 2007. Or 3.7 mm/year since 2008.

    And you are contradicting even yourself. Either your previous post claiming a current rate of 2 mm/year was complete garbage, or this one claiming 0.6 mm/year is garbage. Which is it?

    (Actually that is a trick question: All your posts on sea level are garbage.)

    • Actually it is your posts that are garbage.

      Sea level will have fallen close to 35 mm by the end of the year relative to December 2009. If you looked at the graph objectively, you would see that sea level rise has dropped off dramatically since 2005. By the end of 2010, the five year trend will be below 2 mm /yr. Which is the average for the last century.

      • Benjamin Franz says:

        You are slow, Grasshopper.

        1. You didn’t compute statistical significance. And your “Relative to Dec 2009” is not even close to being statistically significant. And yes – I did check statistical significance for the ones I posted.

        2. You just directly stated that the trend for the last century was (approximately) 2 mm/year instead of the 0.6/mm year you started this whole damned page with.

        IOW: YOU just clearly admitted that your own post claiming 0.6mm/year is in fact nonsense.


        • Gawd… Not another one of these discussions …

          If sea level is declining this year, it is declining. That has nothing to do with statistics.

          It is simple enough to prove that Mt. Everest is not statistically significant.

  12. B.Kindseth says:

    This is great information considering this Sunday’s New York Times front page article on sea level rising. But, there is a glaring error in your statement, “with the pink region showing the IPCC projected range of 19-59 mm/century.” I just checked the IPCC AR4 and their projection is an average of 3.9 mm/yr, which translates to 390 mm/century or 39 cm/century, if my math is right. So your number should be 19-59 cm/century. Then the current rate of 6 cm/century would be rougly one third of the lower estimate of 19 cm/century.

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