Sea Level Plummeting : Lowest Level Since At Least 2004

The latest data has been added to the Aviso site, and sea level is dropping through the floor. Europe’s Envisat satellite has been collecting data since 2004, and now shows that sea level is the lowest it has been since they started collecting data.

Since the start of the year, sea level has dropped almost 10 mm.

NASA tells us that 2010 saw record melt in Greenland, and that huge amounts  of water poured into the sea.


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41 Responses to Sea Level Plummeting : Lowest Level Since At Least 2004

  1. Don McCubbin says:

    Hi Steve,

    Thoughts on what might be going on? I have no clue.

    I would note, however, that drops have occurred before (e.g., 2007), but the overall trend is up. See the 1993-2011 mean sea level graph on the AVISO site.

    Best regards,

    • Don,

      NASA tells us that 2010 was the hottest year ever and that it saw record melt in Greenland. How do you explain that sea level is plummeting since the start of 2010?

      • Don McCubbin says:

        Hi Steve,

        It seems that a La Nina has been cooling Pacific ocean waters in 2010. No doubt there are other factors as well.

        Nevertheless, look at the overall trend 1993-2011. As I noted, there have been dips before, but the trend is clearly up.

        Rising global temperatures leading to thermal expansion and ice melt, and in turn rising oceans, seems likes a plausible explanation for the 1993-2011 trend.

        How might you interpret the 1993-2011 trend?

        • Don,

          NASA says that Greenland had record melt in 2010. Where did all that water go? NASA says that 2010 was the hottest year ever and that the oceans have continued to gain heat. Where did all that thermal expansion go?

          Current sea level is the lowest point in the Envisat record. Some trend.

      • glacierman says:

        Now we have missing water? Maybe Trenberth will find it hiding with the missing heat.

    • Bruce says:

      The overall trend has been up for almost 20,000 years.

      Its probably the PDO switch. There were no sea level satellites bofre the last PDO switch.

      Or maybe … its all the snowpack?

      • DEEBEE says:

        Seems its flat for the last 7000 years, but then perhaps I do not know how to read graphs.

      • Jimash says:

        As a non-scientist who has looked at that graph several times,
        The trend line shows the rate of increase of the sea level, not the level itself, and HAS been pretty flat, as in, rising consistently the same amount for 7-8000 years.
        Before that, it rose really fast dues to the melting Ice Age ice.
        It takes a special kind of thinking to see catastrophe in this,
        and you just aren’t showing it.

    • Paul H says:


      It seems pretty clear to me. The 1993-2011 trend is made up from :-

      a) The underlying increase seen for thousands of years.

      b) The warming effects from the positive PDO.

      Sea level increases are now starting to slow down as we enter the negative PDO ( though there will ups and downs as El Ninos and La Ninas come and go.)

      What is abundantly clear is that the data there is no evidence of increased ice melt in recent years.

      You also seem to be under the misapprehension that sea level rise has been increasing in recent years. Tide guage data shows this conclusively to be untrue.

    • Jimbo says:

      Yes sea levels have fallen before but can you appreciate the magnitude of the drop. Look at the graph again. 🙂

      It does make you think though: hottest decade on the record, accelerating Greenland ice melt, worldwide retreat of glaciers, warming oceans etc. then we have this!

  2. suyts says:

    This is fairly simple to explain……….SST’s have dropped. Thus, condensing the water.

    Or, it could be that all of the evaporation only occurred in the ocean and decided to rain in areas where the water couldn’t flow to the oceans……….. yeh……that’s the ticket!

  3. mkelly says:

    The Bridger-Teton National Forest Avalanche Center is fully staffed to warn outdoors enthusiasts.

    “May snow depths are deeper than anything we have seen in the last 45 years,” said avalanche center spokesman Bob Comey.

    Maybe part of the reason sea level is slightly down is snow depth is way up. Don’t know about Alps, Himalayas etc. but the Rockies are way up.

  4. Anything is possible says:

    If this present trend continues, it is only a matter of time before the oceans dry up completely.

    We’re all DOOMED!!

    • Jimbo says:

      Just wait until they blame this on global warming. We must act now otherwise we will get oceans that are too salty for fish. Ocean saltification no less. 🙂

  5. Philip Finck says:

    It is well recognized that ea-level rise accelerated to the present around 1920 – 1930. This is well before CO2 could have any effect. Ref., Church, 2006. They just dont talk about it or the implications.

  6. Dr. Seiko says:

    Or perhaps the talk of an impending ice age due to the gulf stream shut down are true. Even record temperatures (probably not to be seen again soon) aren’t making up for apparent re-glacierization.

  7. David Palfrey says:

    In Australia we have talked about these conditions and are about to impliment a plan of action that will stop all this nonsense . we are going to put a tax on CO2 namely a Carbon trading scheme . a scheme that tax’s the major polluters . who in turn will pass the costs on to consumers . So there !! And we are advised that this will solve the problem of pollution ?? God help us

  8. RichardCarpenter says:

    Data is so 20th century; scientific questions are settled by government nowadays.
    Soon, these questions will be settled by law enforcement officers, who aim their arguments not at your mind, but at your skull. Blunt objects aimed at skulls can work wonders for a scientific consensus.

  9. Leon says:

    Not long ago I read that in the two years from 2008 through 2010 there had been a doubling in area of “thick” (2.5+ meters) Arctic ice. The way I interpret the current suppressed solar activity and articles and graphs I have been seeing: there was solar warming of Earth, (ending around 1998 though) that did not bring us up to the level even of the Medieval warming, now known to have left its marks in Peru and China as well as Europe. The sun is showing signs of being too quiet, and going even quieter, and the Earth is cooling at about 4 degrees per decade, getting us down to Little Ice Age levels around 2020 or so. Japanese climate researchers managed to tie various geological markers together and show a synchronicity of the Maunder Minimum deep solar quiet and precipitation increases and temperature decreases that gave us a Little Ice Age. The whole thing seems to be tied together well with the Carl Smith “Rosetta Stone” graph, using solar angular momentum to ring the changes. Beyond me I must admit, but it makes sense that solar particles and magnetism would have huge effects, with the sun being so huge and the Earth so small in comparison. The ice core graphs that show CO2 levels rising consistently 800 years after warming occurs makes sense too in this scenario.

  10. DDearborn says:


    So the whole global warming “campaign” was really just a smoke screen thrown up to deceive (and attempt to steal money via carbon taxes) the worlds population. Instead of global warming we are now and have been for some time in a period of global cooling. And the rate of cooling is increasing. I do believe that when mother earth decides to have a mini ice age the change over is measured in decades not millinums. So the world could in fact be in the grips of an ice age within 20-30 years.

    Of course world governments have been demonstrating for oh about the last 5000 years of recorded history their willingness to lie, cheat and steal from their citizens each and every chance they get. And if history is any guide those chances seem to appear on a daily basis world wide.

  11. Don McCubbin says:

    Hi All,

    Thank you for your thoughts.

    Here is some info from an article published in Science in 2010 by Nicholls and Cazenave, which states that sea-level has remained reasonably stable over the last few thousand years, but has risen in recent years:

    “Although mean sea level remained nearly stable since the end of the last deglaciation [~3000 years ago; e.g., (9)], tide gauge measurements available since the late 19th century indicate that sea level has risen by an average of 1.7 ± 0.3 mm/year since 1950 (10). Since the early 1990s, SLR has been routinely measured by high-precision altimeter satellites. From 1993 to 2009, the mean rate of SLR amounts to 3.3 ± 0.4 mm/year (Fig. 1) (11), suggesting that SLR is accelerating.”

    See also the 2008 article by Church et al (2008). In particular look at Figures 1 and 2, which show sea-level relatively flat over the last 5,000 or so years and again picking up in recent years.

    I am interested in whatever research (published or not) that you might be relying on for your statements. This is what the scientific method is all about.

    This blog quotes from <a href=""<Feynman's speech on what is science. Feynman is a towering genius, so his words deserve consideration. After saying that “Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.” Feynman goes on to say:

    When someone says, “Science teaches such and such,” he is using the word incorrectly. Science doesn’t teach anything; experience teaches it. If they say to you, “Science has shown such and such,” you might ask, “How does science show it? How did the scientists find out? How? What? Where?”

    It should not be “science has shown” but “this experiment, this effect, has shown.” And you have as much right as anyone else, upon hearing about the experiments–but be patient and listen to all the evidence–to judge whether a sensible conclusion has been arrived at.

    In a field which is so complicated [as education] that true science is not yet able to get anywhere, we have to rely on a kind of old-fashioned wisdom, a kind of definite straightforwardness. I am trying to inspire the teacher at the bottom to have some hope and some self-confidence in common sense and natural intelligence. The experts who are leading you may be wrong.

    I have probably ruined the system, and the students that are coming into Caltech no longer will be any good. I think we live in an unscientific age in which almost all the buffeting of communications and television–words, books, and so on–are unscientific. As a result, there is a considerable amount of intellectual tyranny in the name of science.

    Finally, with regard to this time-binding, a man cannot live beyond the grave. Each generation that discovers something from its experience must pass that on, but it must pass that on with a delicate balance of respect and disrespect, so that the [human] race–now that it is aware of the disease to which it is liable–does not inflict its errors too rigidly on its youth, but it does pass on the accumulated wisdom, plus the wisdom that it may not be wisdom.

    It is necessary to teach both to accept and to reject the past with a kind of balance that takes considerable skill. Science alone of all the subjects contains within itself the lesson of the danger of belief in the infallibility of the greatest teachers of the preceding generation.

    One of the things I take from this is that it is great to question prevailing science — this is how we progress. So, I applaud all of you to question.

    We need to be clear, however, on our facts — what they are and where they are coming from. In my writing here, I am trying to be clear on the basis for my statements, and, while it is a pain in the neck to carefully cite, it is useful, and I will continue to do so. I encourage others to continue to do so as well.

    Best regards,

    • Sundance says:

      @ Don

      There is a link to a paper by Cazenave indicating a recent slow down in sea level rise by 20% here:

      This paper was from 2008 but there has been no significant sea level rise since 2008 either.

      Peer review papers are great but just because a paper makes it through peer review doesn’t mean it’s information is valid. Reading peer review papers is important but it isn’t a substitute for the self-development of reason and logic. Such a mind, a mind like Feynman’s, would certainly think it odd that so much ice melt is occurring in conjunction with decelerating sea level rise.

      Steve asked you to use your own brain, the Feynman part of your brain so to speak (if it exists), to try to answer why, given unprecedented ice melt, we haven’t seen unpecedented sea level rise and also why we are seeing deceleration of sea level rise when we should be seeing acceleration?

      Most of us are good natured here and would considerer a reasoned shot at an explanation.

  12. John Marshall says:

    During the last glaciation, 12,000 years or so ago, the sea levels were 160m lower than today. The Great Barrier Reef was dry land. Of course sea levels change, same as climates.

  13. fenbeagle says:

    I’m not at all surprised. The water level in my pond is going down as well.

  14. Scott Scarborough says:

    To Don McCubbin,

    The quote you make of the 2010 Science article compares apples to oranges. The first thing one learns in engineering school is that the results of a measurement are very dependent on the measurement method. It is false to compare tidal basin measurements with satillite measurements. No matter how acurate you think satillite measurements are, this comparison is meaningless. What have tidal basin measurements been doing from 1993 to 2009? From what I have seen, nothing different than what they have been doing for the last hundred years (you can look it up in Wikapedia). That is 40 years before the Climate modelers claim that CO2 emissions can be completely ignored in there world temperature models.


    The variable output of the sun,the sun’s gravitational relationship between the earth(and the moon) and earth’s variable orbital relationship with the sun, REGULATES earth’s climate. The process by which the sun effects the earth, shows periodicities on many time scales ;each process is very STOCHASTIC and immensely COMPLEX. The system consisting of the totality of the processes, is even more COMPLEX.

    This climatic system does NOT have a stable underlying structure,even if some of it’s subsystems do. The total climatic system is NON ERGODIC,meaning it will always, andd forever feature INCONSISTENCY ,over time.

    I say good luck to anyone that thinks a slight increase in CO2 of 100 ppm, is going to somehow counteract the above statement,and make the complex climatic system conform to it,just because of some silly asinine climate models ,which don’t have the proper, full, or complete data to begin with ,say so. Yet that is what the IPCC tries to spew out, they have to be either CLUELESS, or CORRUPT.

    I think the material I have been presenting ,mainly on Dr. Spencer’s website, is the material that needs to be studied ,and accounts for ALL earth’s, past temperature changes. Yet the ridiculous CO2, waste of time back and forth keeps going on and on.

    I conclude by saying this, about that. This decade will finally put an end to that nonsense ,since the prolong solar minimum that started in Oct.of 2005 , will be continuing throughout this decade and into the next one.

    • Moderate Republican says:

      Huh? There is so much pseudoscience there it is hard to get through it all….

      “In 1981, NASA scientists predicted the impact of carbon dioxide emissions on global temperatures between 1950 and 2100 based on different scenarios for energy growth rates and energy source. If energy use stayed constant at 1980 levels (scenario 3, bottom lines), temperatures were predicted to rise just over 1°C. If energy use grew moderately (scenario 2, middle lines), warming would be 1–2.5 °C. Fast growth (scenario 1, top lines) would cause 3–4°C of warming. In each scenario, the warming was predicted to be less if some of the energy was supplied by non-fossil (renewable) fuels instead of coal-based, synthetic fuels (synfuels). ”
      Now keep in mind that was 29 YEARS AGO. They pretty close, not perfect, but pretty darn close based on the moderate growth scenario referenced above.

      • Ross says:

        So how are they doing in respect to atmospheric temperatures. Those temperatures from the satellite data, I’ve seen, aren’t keeping up with the theory?

  16. 1DandyTroll says:


    “So the whole global warming “campaign” was really just a smoke screen thrown up to deceive (and attempt to steal money via carbon taxes) the worlds population.”

    It’s not so sinister a thing. It’s apparently been explained time and again by environmental party politicians. It’s all very rational, political wise, really, which spells small political environmental parties trying to enforce their will/policy upon society. In their minds they had the better will. They did so by employing environmental organizations.

    However, as usual, hippies eventually loose control, which is what they did. They actually thought they could tame, not just the big oil and big coal, but society. The first problem was that big oil and big coal is just big energy in the real world. Secondly they believed that money would not rule the agenda. You have to be insane to believe something like that.

    Now they have a situation where they do not have the initiative any more, instead they’re just trying to patch things together. Look at Greenpeace and WWF, who officially now claim that it is better that they are involved with the “dirty” companies so those can better themselves, right, better themselves, like when Big coal invests in some stupendous wind farm project because they get thrice investment back from the cherry merry CO2 tax paying crowd.

    Petrol, with the current exchange rate, in EU, cost about $2 per litre, that includes:

    Energy tax
    Carbon tax
    VAT, Value added tax on the petrol
    VAT, Value added tax on the energy and carbon tax.

    The price of the actual petrol is about 40-45% depending on country. Which means our mean price per litre is about the same as the petrol price for regular including Cali taxs is in Cali per litre.

    With electricity we europeans pay the same type of environmental taxes, as in tax on the actual product and then extra tax, and then tax upon the taxes itselves.

    All the socialist politician love it, because it keeps the state strong.

    All the center to left right wing politicians love it because they can lower income tax, but “legally” raise environmental taxes instead to compensate threefold for the loss of income tax.

    So, apparently, essentially, the environmental hippies enforced their will, with the help of major environmental disastrous accidents, then lost control to the very part fo reality they tried to subdue in the first place, and are now desperate to try and get back control, or at least get credit for something so they can, ever, survive the next election. That’s, apparently, why they on the one hand want to protect the forest, but on the other hand let Big Tree Furnace Incorporated to use it for fuel. They’re running around like headless chickens, because they never really had a great ingenious plan. :p

  17. Chris says:

    Looks like Obama did it!

    i.e., “This was the moment the rise of the oceans began to slow.”

  18. kasphar says:

    As the ice melts, the land rises. It rises faster than the sea water so we need to add another 3mm per year to the sea-level over and above its natural level. Anyway, that’s the version given to us by:-

    You can’t beat ’em.

  19. Jimmy Haigh says:

    Japanese earthquake?

  20. Jimmy Haigh says:

    As my old Geology Professor used to say – quoting Bob Dylan – : “The carpet too is moving under you”…

  21. DirkH says:

    Maybe those Envisat controllers just didn’t get the memo.

    There Is No Alarming Sea Level Rise!
    by Nils-Axel Mörner

    Click to access Morner.pdf

    Satellite altimetry only shows a sea level rise after the IPCC “scientists” applied a correction of 2.3 mm/year.
    In other words: Whenever you see JASON/TOPEX data from one of the esteemed ivory towers of climate science YOU LOOK AT A
    DECEPTION! They took the 2.3 mm/year from the infamous subsiding gauge in Hong Kong.

  22. Sam says:

    Dear Don at 4:29 PM:
    I thought it very dashing of you to end your data source in 2009, just before sea level started to drop. Way to go, man. But keep your 3.3 mm rise and it’s still about one foot per century. Here in California we think in inches, like 55 (more impressive number) by the turn of the century. That’s how screwed up we are. Sam

  23. Pingback: Sea Level Scare Stories – Simply Scandalous « tallbloke's talkshop

  24. Nór says:

    Mr Goddard. Aviso is updating every graph, and yours are now showing the old one. This is happening to every other similiar posts aswell. Quite sceptical!

    • Yes, it was very evil of me to not anticipate that they would later corrupt the data. I should have guessed their data corruption in advance and published it ahead of them.

      But thanks for the laugh

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