Damning evidence of fraud by Nils Axel-Morner

Nils Axel-Morner is a global warming denialist who has claimed that sea-level rises predicted by supporters of global warming are not happening and even that sea levels were higher in the historical past.

First, check out this blog entry from Tim Lambert:

http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/11/the_australians_war_on_science_42.php

Category: The War on Science
Posted on: November 8, 2009 1:23 PM, by Tim Lambert

Despite her training in law, Janet Albrechtsen was not able to figure out that the Copenhagen treaty wasn’t going to impose a COMMUNIST WORLD GOVERNMENT, so you just know that she has no chance in hell of understanding a scientific question. Albrechtsen claims that it is a “fact” that “Sea levels have remained constant for the past 30 years”. Study the graph below from the CSIRO to see that measurements from tide gauges and satellites contradict this claim.

So how did Albrechtsen get it so completely wrong? Well, her authority, Nils Axel-Morner, completely ignored all direct measurements of sea-level from tide gauges and satellites. Simply really. Details in a previous post.

Graeme Readfearn (who, like Albrechtsen, works for News Limited) observes

wasn’t inquisitive enough to find out that Morner is treated like something of a joke among most oceanographers and quaternary scientists.

Albrechtsen tries to invest Morner with some authority because of his association with INQUA, but Readfearn gets a statement from the president of INQUA:

Dr Morner was, quite some time ago, president of one of INQUA’s commissions, indeed, the commission on sea-level changes. That commission no longer exists, as such, but is now part of our Commission on Coastal and Marine Processes. Dr Morner’s views concerning sea-level change are his own and are not endorsed by the current Executive Committee of INQUA, nor have previous INQUA Executive Committees endorsed Dr Morner’s views. On several occasions INQUA has requested of Dr Morner that he not inadvertently represent his views on sea-level change as if they have some connection with INQUA.

OUCH! How embarrassing! Oh, wait….denialists have no sense of embarrassment. Nowhere does this become more obvious than in the testimony that Nils Axel-Morner gave to the British House of Lords on March 30, 2005.

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200506/ldselect/ldeconaf/12/12we18.htm

With the TOPEX/POSEIDON satellite mission in 1992, we now have new means of recording actual sea level changes. The record from 1992 to early 2000 (Fig 4) lacks any sign of a sea level rise; it records variability around zero plus a major ENSO even in year 1997.


When we three years later have the same record extended into year 2003 on the Webb, a tilt has been introduced. This tilt does not originate from the satellite altimetry readings, however, but represents an inferred factor from tide-gauge interpretations. In order to get back to true satellite data, we have to tilt the whole record back to its original data of Fig 4. When this is done, there is no sea level rise to be seen—only a variability around zero plus a number of high-amplitude ENSO oscillations (Fig 5). This is why I in Fig 3 conclude that the sea level remained stationary at around zero for the last 10-15 years (as further discussed in Mörner, 2004a and 2005).

The tide-gauge introduced into the satellite data on the Webb seems to violate observational facts at sites spread all over the globe; not least our NW European data covering both uplifted areas (Fennoscandia, Scotland) as subsiding areas (the North Sea).

From 2000 to the present, we have run a special international sea level project in the Maldives including six field sessions and numerous radiocarbon dates. Our record for the last 1,200 years is given in Fig 6. There are no signs of any on-going sea level rise. It seems all to be a myth.

How the hell is it that denialists are willing to accuse the makers of the “hockey stick” graphs of faking data, yet they never noticed anything from their own people like THAT?! Morner did not provide any proof that the land in question was sinking! He merely ASSUMED it!

Tide gauges are indeed based on sea levels relative to land, so if the land is rising or sinking, it will indeed affect their measurments of sea levels. It reminds me of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. Even with tide gauges, you can get a more accurate reading of sea levels by taking readings from dozens of places around the world, taking into account that it is unlikely that all those locations are rising or sinking at the same rate.

Satillite readings of sea levels may seem more accurate than tide gauges, but even satillites can be affected by variations in their orbits. It’s the same issue as satillites taking temperature readings vs temperature readings based on the ground. There is no ABSOLUTE accuracy in any measurement.

In 2007, other scientists took Mörner’s claims and cut them to pieces.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gloplacha.2006.08.002

Global and Planetary Change
Volume 55, Issue 4, February 2007, Pages 358-360

R.S. Nerema, b, Corresponding Author Contact Information, E-mail The Corresponding Author, A. Cazenavec, D.P. Chambersd, L.L. Fue, E.W. Leuliettea and G.T. Mitchumf

We feel compelled to respond to the recent article by Mörner (2004) because he makes several major errors in his analysis, and as a result completely misinterprets the record of sea level change from the TOPEX/Poseidon (T/P) satellite altimeter mission. One major criticism we have with the paper is that Mörner does not include a single reference to any altimeter study, all of which refute his claim that there is no apparent change in global mean sea level (GMSL) [see Cazenave and Nerem, (2004) for a summary]. The consensus of all other researchers looking at the T/P and Jason data is that GMSL has been rising at a rate of 3.0 mm/year (Fig. 1) over the last 13 years (3.3 mm/year when corrected for the effects of glacial isostatic adjustment (Tamisiea et al., 2005)).
Mörner gives no details for the source of the data or processing strategy he used to produce Fig. 2, other than to say it is based on “raw data”. Because the details of the analysis are not presented in his paper, we are left to speculate on how this result could have been obtained, based on our years of experience as members of the T/P and Jason-1 Science Working Team. Mörner was apparently oblivious to the corrections that must be made to the “raw” altimeter data in order to make correct use of the data.
As with any satellite data set, calibration and validation of the data must be performed after launch to determine if there are any instrumental errors, find the source of those errors, and evaluate their behavior over time. Satellite altimetry is somewhat unique in that many adjustments must be made to the raw range measurements to account for atmospheric delays (ionosphere, troposphere), ocean tides, variations in wave height (which can bias how the altimeter measures sea level), and a variety of other effects. In addition, the sea level measurements can be affected by the method used to process the altimeter waveforms, and by the techniques and data used to compute the orbit of the satellite. Early releases of the satellite Geophysical Data Records (GDRs) often contain errors in the raw measurements, the measurement corrections, and the orbit estimates that are later corrected through an on-going calibration/validation process defined by the T/P and Jason Science Working Team.
The original release of the T/P GDRs (as well as some subsequent re-releases) contained several errors that directly affect GMSL change. Based on our experience with these issues, and the shape of Fig. 2 in Mörner3s paper, we believe that he used the original release of the T/P GDRs with no attempt to correct for two significant errors. One of the errors is caused by a drift in the TOPEX Microwave Radiometer (TMR). It was first observed in sea level via a comparison to tide gauges (Chambers et al., 1998; Mitchum, 1998), and was verified to be caused by the TMR via comparisons to other orbiting microwave radiometers and radiosondes (Keihm et al., 2000). It caused a drift of nearly −1.2 mm/year in measured GMSL until early 1998, and then a bias of −5 mm. A second major error was introduced when the redundant TOPEX altimeter was turned on in early 1999 due to degradation in the original instrument (Chambers et al., 2003). Since the electronics of the redundant altimeter were different, it caused an apparent bias in the GMSL measurement related to the Sea State Bias (SSB). The sense of the bias was such to cause an incorrect sudden drop in GMSL from the end of 1998 to the beginning of 1999 of nearly 10 mm. This drop is apparent in Fig. 2 of Mörner’s paper (and in comparison to tide gauge data (Mitchum, 2000)). This error is removed when an updated SSB model is applied (Chambers et al., 2003). Data with these corrections applied are available from both the U.S. and French processing centers, as well as products to correct the original GDRs.
When care is taken to make these corrections, the rate of sea level change over the entire T/P mission is 3.0± 0.4 mm/year (http://sealevel.colorado.edu), 3.3 mm/year when corrected for the change in ocean volume due to glacial isostatic adjustment (Tamisiea et al., 2005). In light of this, the statement by Mörner that “This means that this data set does not record any general trend (rising or falling) in sea level, just variability around zero plus the temporary ENSO perturbations” is completely false and is based on his erroneous data processing. Mörner’s paper completely misrepresents the results from the T/P mission, and does discredit to the tremendous amount of work that has been expended by the Science Working Team to create a precise, validated, and calibrated sea level data set suitable for studies of climate variations. Finally, Mörner ignores substantial other oceanographic (e.g. Levitus et al., 2001; Antonov et al., 2002; Munk, 2003; Willis et al., 2004) and cryospheric (e.g. Dyurgerov and Meier, 2000; Rignot et al., 2003; Krabill et al., 2004; Thomas et al., 2004) evidence of sea level rise which corroborate the altimeter observations.

Yikes! When someone in science gets smacked down like that, his career is effectively OVER!

And yet that loon just wrote the following open letter to the President of the Maldives attacking him for making efforts to raise public awareness about climate change. The Maldives, being low islands, would be among the first areas of Earth to be affected by rising sea levels caused by global warming. Since Morner lives in Sweden, not the Maldives, his arrogance is amazing!

Mr. President,

You have recently held an undersea Cabinet meeting to raise awareness of the idea that global sea level is rising and hence threatens to drown the Maldives. This proposition is not founded in observational facts and true scientific judgements, Accordingly it is incorrect.

Therefore, I am most surprised at your action and must protest to its intended message.
In 2001, when our research group found overwhelming evidence that sea level was by no means in a rising mode in the Maldives, but had remained quite stable for the last 30 years, I thought it would not be respectful to the fine people of the Maldives if I were to return home and present our results in international fora. Therefore, I announced this happy news during an interview for your local TV station. However, your predecessor as president censored and stopped the broadcast.

(Dale Husband: Actually, this is exactly how con artists faking science operate; they avoid the process of peer review through publishing in science journals and go directly to the public with their claims, which they present as fact to decieve the scientifically illiterate. I’m amazed he would admit to this publicly!)

Let me summarize a few facts (see Fig. 1, and evidence presented in Mörner, 2007):
(1) In the last 2000 years, sea level has oscillated with 5 peaks reaching 0.6 to 1.2 m above the present sea level.
(2) From 1790 to 1970 sea level was about 20 cm higher than today.
(3) In the 1970s, sea level fell by about 20 cm to its present level.
(4) Sea level has remained stable for the last 30 years, implying that there are no traces of any alarming on-going sea level rise.
(5) Therefore, we are able to free the Maldives (and the rest of low-lying coasts and island around the globe) from the condemnation of becoming flooded in the near future.
Of course, if he HAD submitted his findings to peer review, that submission would have had to include details of how he got his measurements, so that others could reproduce them. Until that is done, he has no right to call what he claimed “facts”. I am especially curious as to how he could have measured sea levels at the Maldives over the past 1,200 years without tide gauges or satillite data.
Even more damning, Mörner promotes the pseudoscience known as water dowsing.

Mörner has written a number of works claiming to provide theoretical support for dowsing. [2] He was elected “Deceiver of the year” by Föreningen Vetenskap och Folkbildning in 1995 for “organizing university courses about dowsing…”[2]. In 1997 James Randi asked him to claim The One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge, making a controlled experiment to prove that dowsing works.[12] Mörner declined the offer.[13]

This man is not a true scientist, if he ever was. He is a fraud!
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15 thoughts on “Damning evidence of fraud by Nils Axel-Morner

  1. UPDATE: I learned more about Morner here:
    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2008/11/the_australians_war_on_science_24.php

    {{{Cut and Paste normally gives a proper cite with the date and source of the quote, but they didn’t for Morner. I wonder why not? A little bit of searching, and I found the source. It wasn’t a journal or even a conference paper — it was a poster. And it was presented back in 2003. Is it possible that Morner’s results have been superseded? Note also that Morner used “coring, levelling, sampling and carbon dating”. Conspicuously absent from this list is any direct measure of sea level from tide gauges or satellites. Sea level rise at tropical Pacific and Indian Ocean islands by Church, White and Hunter published in 2006 in the journal Global and Planetary Change looked at data from tide gauges and satellites and found:

    In the Indian Ocean, the tide-gauge records at the Maldives indicate large rates of relative sea-level rise in agreement with Singh et al. (2001) and Woodworth (2005), and in disagreement with Morner et al. (2004). …

    For the Maldives themselves, the estimated rate of sea-level rise over the 52 year period is close to 1 mm/yr and, in contrast to Morner et al. (2004), we find that there is no indication of a fall in sea-level of 20 to 30 cm at any time in the last 30 yrs (which would imply a rate of fall of between 7 and 10 mm/yr over 30 yrs, and double that over the “1970s to early 1980s” specified by Morner et al. (2004)). This drop in sea-level has also been shown to be inconsistent with geological data (Woodroffe, 2005;Kench et al., 2005). }}}

  2. Pingback: Astounding manipulation of data — from the climate denialists « Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub

  3. Pingback: Thank you, Ed Darrel! « Dale Husband's Intellectual Rants

    • Texc, I already addressed the complex interactions between water vapor and carbon dioxide here:

      http://dalehusband.wordpress.com/2009/01/19/those-terrible-twins-of-climate-change-co2-and-h2o/

      Denialists may repeat the mantra that “CO2 can’t change climate” a trillion times, but that will never make it true. The status of CO2 as a greenhouse gas is too well established and has never been debunked, so the denialists’ rhetoric is simply wrong. The increase in cloud cover, precipitation, and storms caused by the increase of CO2 are well documented and they are also examples of climate change that that are explained by the known laws of chemistry and physics.

      Indeed, the term “global warming” is a oversimplification of the matter; man-made climate change is much more than atmospheric temperatures getting warmer. It is an increase in the total thermal budget of the Earth as a whole. Most of the increased heat trapped by increasing CO2 has been going into the oceans. Without the oceans to act as a moderating influence on Earth’s climate by absorbing heat as well as CO2 itself, we might have overheated already like Venus did.

  4. Pingback: Global warming propaganda!Page 18

  5. A commenter named Bernard J helped me find the original online source of the critique of Morner above in orange print:

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/02/heretic_and_the_heretic.php#comment-3383187

    Speaking of Nils-Axel Mörner, I have been trying to locate a pdf of:

    Nerem, R. S., A. Cazenave, D. P. Chambers, L. Fu, E. W. Leuliette, G. T. Mitchum. Comment on “Estimating future sea level change from past records” by Nils-Axel Mörner, Global and Planetary Change, Vol. 55, No. 4. (2007), pp. 358-360. doi:10.1016/j.gloplacha.2006.08.002 Key: citeulike:8836999.

    but my institution doesn’t have it, and the doi link is down.

    Does anyone know where I might find it sooner rather than later?

    And I have updated the blog entry to reflect that finding.

  6. Pingback: Allowing for error and uncertainty in real science. « Dale Husband's Intellectual Rants

  7. Pingback: Robb

  8. I do like the manner in which you have presented this concern plus it does supply me personally some fodder for thought. Nevertheless, because of everything that I have personally seen, I basically hope when the actual reviews pile on that people today continue to be on point and not start on a soap box involving the news of the day. Still, thank you for this exceptional piece and even though I can not really go along with this in totality, I value the standpoint.

  9. From the last little ice age to now sea levels have been rising gently and in recent times have started to level off. the graph above emphasises the gentle rise. 2010-1870 (140 years) and rise of 200mm. So thats 1.43mm per year. Not really a dramatic rise and certainly not anywhere near the rate required to see a 1.1m rise (Aust govt) or 6m (Al Gore). The 1.1m rise in 90 years as touted by the Australian Govt. would require a significant change to 12mm year whereas a 6m rise would require an acceleration to 66mm per year. Neither of these is plausible. Ad hominem attacks on scientists like Dr Morner are typical when the actual empirical data doesn’t fit the alarmist exaggerations. No need to panic and certainly an economy wrecking carbon dioxide tax is not going to change anything other than Australian living standards.

    • Yeah, believe those delusions if you want, but I know you are ignorant. Sea level rise was slow as the ice age was ending because it was natural, being driven by the Sun and shifts in the Earth’s orbit. That is not the case now. And considering that we could be burning coal for up to 1000 more years, a sea level rise of several meters driven by melting ice caps in turn caused by greenhouse gases trapping more heat in the atmosphere IS plausible. Have YOU done the calculations on how much the melting ice caps would rise the oceans when they are almost gone? That’s where those figures came from that you call exaggerated! Refute them directly, or SHUT UP!

      Fears about wrecking the economy are also bullcrap. The economy will be wrecked anyway if we don’t stop using up non-renewable energy sources and switch to renewable sources, especially those that don’t pollute the atmosphere.

  10. With almost everything that appears to be building within this specific area, all your opinions tend to be fairly radical. Nonetheless, I am sorry, because I can not give credence to your whole idea, all be it exciting none the less. It would seem to us that your commentary are not totally rationalized and in reality you are generally yourself not totally convinced of the argument. In any event I did enjoy reading it.

    (Dale Husband: If you don’t have a specific criticism of my blog entry [like what facts did I get wrong], your comment is just pointless. Give me something to chew on, please.)

  11. Huff and puff as much as you like Dale but I’m not buying a tall pair of Wellingtons any time soon.
    Seems to me that sattelite altimetry is about as accurate as a prediction on a bumble bee’s flight path -and can be adjusted by anyone in any direction.

    You should read his actual on ground observational stuff, site reports. Beats half assed satllite guessing and dodgy tide guages by miles.

    (Dale Husband: OK, give me some links to that stuff. And be prepared to explain away all the other stuff I find so incredible, such as why he would think he would know so much more about sea level rises around the Maldives than those who actually have lived in the Maldives all their lives! That’s what I found so insulting to them!)

    (P. S. I disemvowled your screen name because it is a lie.)

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