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:
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.
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.
Global and Planetary Change
Volume 55, Issue 4, February 2007, Pages 358-360
R.S. Nerema, b, , , 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!
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.
This man is not a true scientist, if he ever was. He is a fraud!