Desperation in AGW denial ranks?


One might hope it is a sign of desperation, and not just one more ratcheting up on the dishonesty scale.

Anthony Watts has a post that looks at Boston Harbor, a post borrowed from a sleepy blog called Climate Sanity, by Tom Moriarty.  Watts, a leader among denialists, notes the warnings about sea level rising, and then offers maps of Boston as evidence everyone is safe.

The maps show the shoreline expanding around the peninsula where the main part of Boston sits.

Consequently, the authors claim, rising sea levels won’t do damage anyone should worry about.

Changes in Boston Harbor, from the denialist blog Climate Sanity

Changes in Boston Harbor, animation from the denialist blog Climate Sanity

It’s an odd sort of claim.  Anyone with any knowledge of the growth of harbor cities will look at the maps and notice the extension of lands from fill. Watts and Moriarty do not specifically claim that ocean levels have no effect, though some reading the headlines alone may get that idea.  They argue that humans will respond to negate the bad effects of climate change. 

That’s not what the maps show at all. The maps show that, in the absence of wetlands protection, people will use fill to expand commercial opportunities at a busy harbor.  That is true whether the fill requires the destruction of local landmarks, or whether the fill arrives accidentally from other major natural events.

The climate change denialists’ claims make an argument based in deception.  Harbor areas are always better fortified against sea and weather changes than other areas.  Boston Harbor is a comparatively small area, when contrasted with the Atlantic coastline of North America.

Do they know they’re just pulling our leg?  Or is this one more sign of the desperation denialists get over the realization the facts are against them?

At root the argument fails, and fails offensively: Watts and company argue that climate change and rising sea levels are not a problem, if we have enough concrete and fill to expand land close to the water and harden seawalls.  We also would need a lot of commercial development to make it cost effective to fill in the threatened lands.  That sort of development will involve only a very small area of any nation’s coastline.

Of course, that sort of hardening of sites is exactly what the wetlands protection under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act aimed to slow or stop, and it is part of the cause of trouble in the Mississippi Delta and other places unhardened, where the effects of hardening ports are pushed.

Watts also fails to account for the more serious immediate issues:  It’s not permanent inundation that we need to worry about with ports, but rather, the effects of stronger storms with higher sea levels.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been on that issue for years.  Boston Harbor is an example of a place that we need to protect from effects of climate change, at great expense, in order to preserve the filling done in the past and the development on that filled-in land that once was sea.

For examples, consult the white paper from EPA in July 2008, “Planning for Climate Change Impacts at U.S. Ports.  From the very first lines, you can begin to see why the denialists’s claims don’t wash:

Over the coming decades, climate change is likely to cause sea levels to rise, lake levels to drop, more frequent and severe storms, and increases in extreme high temperatures. These effects can have mild to severe impacts on port infrastructure and operations, depending on their geographical setting and design. Ports are critical to the trade and transportation networks of the United States. Specifically, ports handle 78% of all U.S. foreign trade by weight and 44% by value.1 The United States’ ports also represent billions of dollars in capital improvements and new investments. While the risk that climate change poses to ports is unclear, what is clear is that ports need to better understand climate change, how it may impact them, and what they can do to ensure reliable services for their customers.

Stakes are too high for analysis so shallow as simple map overlays.  In reality many factors mean that ports and harbors are threatened from many different problems arising from climate change.  The EPA white paper lists specifics.

Changes in water level:

The most immediate concern related to rising sea levels is the need to raise the level of infrastructure to prevent flooding. Ports will need to consider anticipated sea levels when building new infrastructure. In cases where current infrastructure may not be high enough for its useful lifespan, ports will need to increase infrastructure heights.

Higher sea levels may threaten ports’ environmental mitigation projects. Also, many ports have contaminated or potentially contaminated industrial land on their premises.17 Higher water levels may require new containment methods to prevent leeching of contaminants.

Many climate models predict that climate change will cause water levels to drop in the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River Basin, which would make shipping there more difficult. When lake levels decreased from 1997-2001, ships in the Great Lakes were forced to carry less cargo. Future decreases in water level would again require cargo restrictions or perhaps the redesign of vessels. Either one would increase the cost of shipping on interior waterways. Decreased depths could be mitigated by increased dredging, but at a financial and environmental cost.

Storm events and precipitation:

Globally, extreme precipitation events are expected to become more frequent, and severe storms are expected to become more intense. Stronger wave action and higher storm surges, especially when coupled with higher sea levels, are the primary threat to ports. These impacts can damage bridges, wharfs, and piers, terminal buildings, ships, and cargo. Harbor infrastructure may need to be raised or reinforced to withstand these impacts.

In addition to contributing to storm surge, wind can also have its own damaging impacts. High winds particularly threaten unreinforced terminal structures. For example, Hurricane Katrina tore roofs and doors off warehouses at the Port of New Orleans. One possible response to these threats is to change design standards for terminals, cranes, lighting systems, and other infrastructure to incorporate the risk of stronger storms.

Higher temperatures:

Higher incidences of extreme high temperatures could also affect some auxiliary port infrastructure. For example, paved surfaces may deteriorate more quickly in hotter conditions. Cranes and warehouses made of metal may require design changes to withstand higher temperatures. Higher temperatures may also require more energy for cooling of goods stored at ports.

Higher temperatures could impact the human and natural environments associated with ports as well. Many employees at ports work primarily outdoors. Operational changes may be required to protect workers from extreme heat. Warmer temperatures may also increase the risk of transferring invasive species from region to region on cargo vessels.

For ports in northern states, including Alaska, higher temperatures could provide some benefits. Operating conditions may improve as ice accumulation on port infrastructure decreases. Shipping seasons would lengthen as more ports and waterways become ice free for more of the year. These effects could increase volume and reduce costs for northern shipping.

Indirect impacts, including insurance:

Ports are also likely to face changes in insurance coverage and possible higher insurance premiums because of climate change. The insurance industry is one of the leading commercial sectors expressing concern about and exploring adaptive responses to climate change. Several large companies that provide business insurance services are incorporating risk from climate change into insurance offerings. Strategies include shifting a greater share of risk onto customers and providing technical support and pricing incentives for customers to reduce their exposure to climate-related risks.

Denialist arguments frequently come with unintended irony.  Part of Boston Harbor was filled in by a the New England hurricane of 1938.  Castle Island, one of the areas the animation highlights as being filled out, ostensibly by humans, is connected to the mainland now as a testament, a warning of the potential for nature to change the place quickly, contrary to the plans of humans.  One day in 1938 a hurricane converted the place from an island to a peninsula.  Is this really the best the denialists have to persuade us that we shouldn’t be concerned about the power of nature now?

Climate warming is real.  The effects of warming are real and quite problematic already.  Filling in wetlands around busy harbors, even just to raise elevation, is not a viable solution to the problems, regardless their cause.

Resources:

25 Responses to Desperation in AGW denial ranks?

  1. Ed Darrell says:

    Apologies. Something in your post irritated the spam filters, and your post was headed for the trash when I rescued it today.

    Of course, your rant doesn’t improve even with just a few weeks’ age. But I don’t censor here, unlike WUWT.

    Like

  2. Ed Darrell says:

    P.S.: Only had to edit one profanity that sent your post to the spam can.

    Do you have a newspaper? Do you know how many months we’ve had cooler than the 20th century average since 2009? Zero.

    14 consecutive months of world record heating. I thought dissenters were desperate in 2009. Wow. How could I have known?

    Like

  3. Ed Darrell says:

    2009, Marty, not that any of the climate dissenters really care about calendars or timeliness.

    To be a dissenter in 2016 is at least 7 years more silly and destructive than it was in 2009. We hope people learn from mistakes, learn from advances in science, or grow out of ignorance.

    Ignorance is a disease, easy to cure, but the cure is dependent on the willingness of the victim.

    Katharine Hayhoe says we should call them dissenters, not deniers. Does it help?

    Like

  4. Marty says:

    My post wont appear, but to read so called educated adults use the word denier in 2016? Baaahahahah moronic.

    Your scam is collapsing at an epic rate. Enjoy the meltdown

    You think you are winning but as soon as the media turns and they are slowly, you are f**ked.

    Like

  5. Marty says:

    This blog is just a bitter rant. Barely anyone knows this site, someone tweeted about this ludicrous article.

    You claim current trends should not be extrapolated to 2100 yet climate models do just that, and Michael E Mann tried to do that with his paleo study 2015.

    In short, you are all bitter women on a sinking ship, 30 years of this nonsense, and people are literally sick of your lies

    WUWT award winning site, compared to this unknown bitter rantfest? LMAO

    You cite EPA white paper, EPA is known for junk science, so many of their studies have been discredited, Gina McCarthy doesn’t even know where the largest body of ice on earth is!

    Enjoy your bitter inaccurate lying scam chaps, Paris summit flopped. Australia UK looking like turning, and US (if trump wins) will be the end of it altogether, Indonesia refuses to ratify unless we pay up extortion money.. it’s dead. Even Jim Hansen called it a fraud.

    Meanwhile, El Nino has passed and balloons and satellites show again flat trend since 1990s almost 20 years now and no global warming. :D

    NOAA tide gauge average is 1.8mm, your claims of dangerous sea level rises are nothing but junk science.

    Like

  6. […] some back and forth about the magnitude, consequences and proper response to sea level rise here, here, here, here and here. The alarmists would like to dismiss the evidence of man’s ability to […]

    Like

  7. hunter says:

    Desperation? No, just laughing at the irony of AGW true believers clinging to their apocalypse.
    AGW is to Climate science what eugenics was to Evolutionary science.

    Like

  8. tommoriarty says:

    John Mashey

    I enjoyed your above finger shaking lecture. Please see my reply here.

    Best regards,
    Tom

    Like

  9. […] Reply to John Mashey May 27, 2009 I recently had and exchange of comments with some folks at Millard Filmore’s Bathtub concerning one of my previous posts about sea level rise near Boston.  The discussion seemed to […]

    Like

  10. John Mashey says:

    Mr Moriarity’s views on SLR at this time are simply not worth reading, for reasons I will explain.

    NOAA collects the data, but the past is not the future. For very good scientific reasons, NOBODY serious about climate science does a simple linear projection of last century’s trendline into the next one, unlike Mr. Moriarty’s suggestion.

    That would be about as silly as claiming solar PV [invented where I used to work] scientists should already be getting 100% efficiency.

    Within ~30 minutes’ of Tom’s NREL are places thick with expert climate scientists, which makes him one of the lucky people who can easily go talk to experts:

    NCAR
    UC Boulder
    USGS-Denver

    I’m a AAAS member: I did a quick search of Science (An adequately prestigious journal) for “sea level rise”, and from the first hit page picked out a few recent SLR articles by Colorado authors, all of which I’d already read, along with the relevant IPCC TAR and AR4 chapters, etc, etc. (*I’m* no SLR expert, but I often talk to people who are. )

    Mr. Moriarty has strong views on SLR, and surely is a AAAS member and has read these papers, all of whom think SLR will be a serious (acclerating) problem. He *could* write an article for Science showing them wrong, which would make him (properly) famous, given the mass of physics that would have to be overturned to preserve a simple linear trend.

    See How Much More Global Warming and Sea Level Rise?, 2005, 8 authors from NCAR.

    See Paleoclimatic Evidence for Future Ice-Sheet Instability and Rapid Sea-Level Rise”, 2006, of whose 6 authors, 2 are at NCAR,1 at UC-Boulder, and 1 at USGS-Denver.

    See Glaciers Dominate Eustatic Sea-Level Rise in the 21st Century”>,2007, of whose 8 authors, 5 are at UC Boulder.

    See Kinematic Constraints on Glacier Contributions to 21st-Century Sea-Level Rise, 2008, of whose 3 authors one is at UC-Boulder.

    “On the basis of calculations presented here, we suggest that an improved estimate of the range of SLR to 2100 including increased ice dynamics lies between 0.8 and 2.0 m.”

    (That’s probably as good a single estimate as you get right now. People are trying to model melt dynamics for places that have been frozen through recorded human history, complexified by various nonlinear effects, tipping points, etc. Ice-sheet issues are *hard*.)

    NCAR says Community Ice Sheet Model Will Aid Understanding of Sea Level Rise.

    “Scientists think that this mechanism might trigger the rapid retreat of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet – which could raise sea level by a meter or more within a century or less.”

    See Dan Cayan (SCRIPPS) talk @ SFBCDC conference a year ago. This was not news,but right in line with mainstream science.

    Specifically, see p 18-19, noting that some of the models are from NCAR. I used to sell supercomputers to NCAR and talk to their scientists. They are quite competent.

    NCAR and USGS (and some of UC Boulder) are Federally-funded to do good science for us all. If Mr. Moriarty denigrates *their* work, he might want to think about the fact that most of *his* career has been supported by *Federal* tax money.

    That’s money from me and the companies I’ve worked for. My home state (CA) since 1983 is far and away the biggest *net* contributor to the Federal budget, and none of NCAR, NREL, Fermilab, or Argonne are here, but we helped pay for them. [And this is OK with me, since I like to think America is a *country*, not just a collection of independent states; all those labs have made good contributions.]

    LOOKING AHEAD
    NCAR has regular lectures. So does UC-BOulder’s NSIDC.

    If Mr. Moriarty actually wants to learn about the science, he has *real* experts nearby to visit, often. I’m done.

    Like

  11. tommoriarty says:

    Hi Ed,

    Your first point, “none of the actions in Boston Harbor were taken to mitigate rising sea level…” Please look again at the graph of sea level for Boston further down in my original post. It clearly shows that the sea level has been rising at Boston for at least the last 100 years. My eye tells me that, in fact, it was rising faster in the early part of the 20th century than is now. Nevertheless, holding back a rising sea and pushing back against a static sea are much the same game. Why do you say the efforts to push back the sea in Boston were not appropriate? The worked, they were perfectly appropriate.

    Second. You said, “Watts’ chief claim over the last couple of years has been that we can’t say climate is warming because weather stations are not positioned perfectly.” If fact Anthony Watts is right on the money when it comes to the poor placement and maintenance of the weather stations. His evidence is plainly compelling. Google How Not to Measure Temperature” and you can find a long list of Watts’ posts showing atrocious weather station situations. Remember, the debate is over 1/10ths of a degree. Even an error of 1/10th of a degree changes the picture. I think he, and all the others who have participated in the survey, perform a nearly thankless public service.

    Third, you say “as the EPA study indicates, it’s still going to be expensive dealing with the other costs of warming along coasts — storm damage hardening, wildlife changes, etc.” These issues are, and always have been, dealt with by populated areas along coastlines. Consider the human damage that is likely to result by trying to deal with these problems via a new planned economy. History shows very plainly that such an approach does not work well.

    You said, “Are you saying we can deal with warming, and we can do it more cheaply than stopping the warming?” No, that is not what I am saying. My observation is that AGW Alarmists (I assume I can use the word “alarmist” if you can use the word “denier”) tend to look at small problems and exaggerate them out of all proportion. This starts with the physics of CO2 in the atmosphere and extends to the potential effects, such as hurricanes, sea level rise, floods, drought, etc.

    You say, “It’s not necessary to Sovietize our economy to fight environment degradation, I don’t think.” Well, that is a relief.

    Then you continue “Surely we shouldn’t have NO plan to deal with an easily-mitigated problem. Is there any chance we can convince AGW deniers that there is a middle ground where the rational people will cluster?” This problem does not need some central plan upon which we can all agree. Let the folks in Boston deal with the sea as they see fit. Same with the folks in California. People are smart and resourceful and have been dealing with much bigger problems than these for a very long time. They don’t need your blessing or mine to decide how to deal with water on their coast.

    thank you for this opportunity to express my views

    Best Regards.
    Tom
    ClimateSanity

    Like

  12. Ed Darrell says:

    I propose we pay attention to problems that show up in weather, climate, geology, geography, agriculture, wildlife, and other resources, and that we fix problems when identified, if we can.

    Your observations on Boston Harbor, filtered through Anthony Watts’ blog, don’t quite get there — though it’s nice to hear an almost rational voice from the AGW denial side.

    First, none of the actions in Boston Harbor were taken to mitigate rising sea level. Just looking at changes over time might be a good way to gauge what sorts of actions can be taken over a period of time, but it’s not an argument that humans have dealt wisely with the issue in the past — the issue wasn’t so lively in the past. Boston Harbor was changed to make money, to move wetlands away from the city, and in response to hurricane damage. Were they appropriate responses? Generally, no. But they did the job. Are you urging inappropriate responses now? No, of course not.

    Second, Watts’ chief claim over the last couple of years has been that we can’t say climate is warming because weather stations are not positioned perfectly. That’s a silly claim, and he’s not made much noise about it over the past few weeks. Maybe even he’s come to the realization that such a claim is probably not productive. If you are arguing that sea level is rising, you’re already contradicting that point.

    Third, much of the (anthropologically-caused global warming) AGW stuff lately is along the lines of “warming isn’t human caused, so we can’t stop it.” Sure, we have time for gently rising oceans to be dealt with, in most places. That’s not what has happened at Boston Harbor yet, however, and most AGW deniers haven’t come around to your view yet. Further, as the EPA study indicates, it’s still going to be expensive dealing with the other costs of warming along coasts — storm damage hardening, wildlife changes, etc.

    Are you saying we can deal with warming, and we can do it more cheaply than stopping the warming? Make the case. The difficulty comes in that doing nothing to stop causes, if we can, means that the projections for major damage are low, and the estimates for sea rises in the next century will be too low, probably, and completely unrealistic in the century after.

    Of course, that’s sort of a self-limiting deal. We won’t need to worry about navigation in the Mississippi if it’s too warm to grow crops in the midwest — barge traffic will plunge, and the problem will go away, sort of.

    It’s not necessary to Sovietize our economy to fight environment degradation, I don’t think. Surely we shouldn’t have NO plan to deal with an easily-mitigated problem. Is there any chance we can convince AGW deniers that there is a middle ground where the rational people will cluster?

    Like

  13. tommoriarty says:

    Same as previous comment – except with working links.

    Here is something serious about the sea level rise in the SF Bay Area. Please observe the links to the professional assessments. If you are not subject to hysterical panic, then you will agree that ClimateSanity’s assessment is correct.

    California’s general coastline is 840 miles long. Along much of the coast, the Coast Ranges rise from the shore in steep cliffs and terraces…”

    There are some places in California where this is not the case. Look at this map of the “Impacts of Sea Level Rise on the California Coast.” Now zoom in; zoom in some more; keep going. Soon you will see very small areas of the California coast that are at risk due to sea level rise. Now, take a look at the report that accompanies the map any you will notice in the very first sentence:

    “In an analysis prepared for three California state agencies, the Pacific Institute estimates that 480,000 people; a wide range of critical infrastructure; vast areas of wetlands and other natural ecosystems; and nearly $100 billion in property along the California coast are at increased risk from flooding from a 1.4-meter sea-level rise – if no adaptation actions are taken.

    First, note that this is based on a 1.4 meter sea level rise in 100 years. The sea level rise rate over the last 100 year in San Francisco, for example, has been 2 mm per year. Look closely at that sea level rise link for San Francisco and you will see that the rate of sea level rise rate is simply not increasing. At the current rate, the sea level rise in San Francisco will be 200 mm (0.2 meters, or about 8 inches) in the next hundred years. That is 1/7 of the sea level rise upon which the assesment made.

    So, 1% of the California population is at risk. The adaptation actions are quite simple, especially when distributed over 100 years and a population of 37 million people (3.7 BILLION man years!!!). Simple adaptation actions in the SF area would solve most of the problem.

    What do you propose? Should we have a re-written, planned economy for California, the United States, and world in order in order to protect 1% of the population of California from an easily mitigated problem that is likely to not happen?

    best regards,
    Tom
    ClimateSanity

    Like

  14. tommoriarty says:

    Here is something serious about the sea level rise in the SF Bay Area. Please observe the links to these professional assessments. If you are not subject to hysterical panic, then you will agree that ClimateSanity’s assessment is correct.

    California’s general coastline is 840 miles long. Along much of the coast, the Coast Ranges rise from the shore in steep cliffs and terraces…”

    There are some places in California where this is not the case. Look at this map of the “Impacts of Sea Level Rise on the California Coast.” Now zoom in; zoom in some more; keep going. Soon you will see very small areas of the California coast that are at risk due to 1.4 meter sea level rise. Now, take a look at the report that accompanies the map and you will notice in the very first sentence:

    “In an analysis prepared for three California state agencies, the Pacific Institute estimates that 480,000 people; a wide range of critical infrastructure; vast areas of wetlands and other natural ecosystems; and nearly $100 billion in property along the California coast are at increased risk from flooding from a 1.4-meter sea-level rise – if no adaptation actions are taken.

    First, note that this is based on a 1.4 meter sea level rise in 100 years. The sea level rise rate over the last 100 year in San Francisco, for example, has been 2 mm per year. Look closely at that sea level rise link for San Francisco and you will see that the rate of sea level rise rate is simply not increasing. At the current rate, the sea level rise in San Francisco will be 200 mm (0.2 meters, or about 8 inches) in the next hundred years. That is 1/7th of the sea level rise upon which the assesment made.

    So, 1% of the California population is at risk. The adaptation actions are quite simple, especially when distributed over 100 years and a population of 37 million people (3.7 BILLION man years!!!). Simple adaptation actions in the SF area would solve most of the problem.

    What do you propose? Should we have a re-written, planned economy for California, the United States, and world in order in order to protect 1% of the population of California from an easily mitigated problem that is likely to not happen?

    best regards,
    Tom
    ClimateSanity

    Like

  15. John Mashey says:

    For something serious about sea level rise, by professionals who actually know something and have to deal with it, I suggest the proceedings of a conference I attend a year ago: SFBCDC Preparing for Sea Level Rise in the SF Bay Area.

    Like

  16. Nick Kelsier says:

    Have a question for you, Moriarty.

    What if you’re wrong?

    Like

  17. tommoriarty says:

    Thank you for the comments concerning my “Boston Underwater” post. I am flattered that it created such a stir.

    Here is a little follow up for you.

    While you are at it, you may be interested in an earlier paper that tweaked my curiosity about sea level rise, and ultimately led to the creation of my “sleepy” blog.

    Best Regards,
    Tom
    ClimateSanity

    Like

  18. John Mashey says:

    Anthony:

    Nowhere did I say that someone in CO was necessarily incompetent to study climate or SLR … I’ve given talks at NCAR in Boulder and met with climate scientists, so I know better. They have competent people, and NCAR is about 30 minutes’ drive from NREL.

    Studying PV @ NREL (about 30 minutes’ drive from NCAR) does not make one a climate expert or an expert on Boston, and Moriarty’s lack of direct experience was obvious, especially to someone like me who’s often stayed in the Back bay area and been in MA at least 30 times over decades.

    By the way, while MA is a small state, it has 200 miles of coastline, and numerous rivers Building 3m sea walls around MA would simply destroy the nature of the place (especially Cape Cod, well Cape Cod is probably toast). That state has widespread infrastructure at sea level, built over centuries, and it will be very expensive for MA…

    I wonder why Moriarty doesn’t spend some time on Colorado bark beetles or water issues instead of writing silliness about Boston?

    Like

  19. Ed Darrell says:

    No particular connection between Mt. Timpanogos and Millard Fillmore, other than I was in the foothills of Timp when I first learned of the bathtub hoax — coincidence, purely.

    Like

  20. wattsupwiththat says:

    Oh, I forgot to add, since you still didn’t link to it in your reply, and some people reading this thread might want to see it, here is the sea level chart for Boston from NOAA:

    Like

  21. wattsupwiththat says:

    I agree, it is a good thing that Boston Harbor is cleaner now.

    I find it interesting that you mention this:

    “The chart does show sea level rising, though. It was good of you to acknowledge that.”

    Yes it does, and note the trend extrapolated by NOAA prior to 1900 (as well as after the present). Sea level has been rising well before climate change became an issue, as would be expected during an interglacial period. The point of the article is that our predecessors have in fact been dealing with sea level rise for quite some time. Of course one can always find exceptions, such as Venice and New Orleans, which have to deal with subsidence as well.

    But now SLR seems to have paused, according to the Mashey school of “can’t be trusted because it’s in Colorado with no threat of SLR” source:

    http://sealevel.colorado.edu/

    I know we won’t ever see eye to eye on the issue, so I’m not going to spend any more time debating. You have your views, WUWT readers have a different one.

    Nature of course will be the final arbiter.

    But, I have a question though, straight up, asked only from curiosity.

    Your URL is timpanogos.wordpress.com yet the name of the blog is “Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub”. What is the connection, if any?

    Like

  22. Ed Darrell says:

    Anthony, the chart of sea level rising is completely irrelevant to my point: Boston didn’t expand land around the harbor to combat rising sea levels, and the expansion of land around the harbor offers no protection from most of the effects of rising sea levels.

    The chart would be relevant if you could establish that Back Bay Boston was filled in when the Brahmins of Boston sought to protect Boston Neck from rising waters — but that is simply not the case, history tells us.

    The whole article was so divorced from historical reality it never occurred to me to print the diversionary chart. The chart does show sea level rising, though. It was good of you to acknowledge that. None of the actions extending land into Boston Harbor were in response to that sea level rise, so far as I can tell, especially the buildup around the former Castle Island.

    Now how about acknowledging that a significant portion of the “new land” created around the former Castle Island was deposited by one hurricane?

    Boston was able to expand land despite the coincidentally rising sea, but at great cost. They lost the estuarine wetlands that had helped keep the harbor clean, and they created what amounted to an open sewer until Michael Dukakis and EPA got the cleanup going (I understand people can swim in the harbor most days now). It was a form of cost shifting, from Bostonians in the 19th and 20th centuries to all Americans today. The price doesn’t go down much with inflation.

    The maps show an interesting history of human development around Boston Harbor since the American Revolution; they don’t shed any light on climate change or how Boston might deal with effects of climate change in the future.

    We would do well to look at a lot of harbors similarly, and consider the consequences of human actions. Stephen Decatur famously urged his command to “Damn the torpedoes” in Mobile Bay. Where he said that, today, you couldn’t get a canoe to pass freely, if it isn’t dry land. That’s less than 150 years ago, and the river there has pushed the land several miles into the bay. China’s Huang He similarly has spread remrakably into the Yellow Sea. Or consider Iraq: The Tigris and Euphrates once emptied into the Persian Gulf separately, though today they form a confluence and one larger river to empty into a gulf more than 15 miles farther south. The Soil Conservation Service observed in 1939 that if we are not more careful with our actions, we might well go the way of Babylon.

    Sure, we can dump soil where water used to be. It’s rarely if ever held back the weather, nor has it offered a lasting, inexpensive or efficient way to manage our relationship with nature. Human actions have indeed changed the world’s environment, almost never for the better, during the past 7,000 years. Now we take actions that ripple change around the entire globe at once, and not just in one little harbor or estuary.

    Drop by more often.

    Like

  23. wattsupwiththat says:

    Ed, I am appreciative that you’ve chosen to spread the word.

    But why did you choose not to publish the graph of sea level rise (back to 1900) that went with this article?

    It is also relevant to the discussion.

    BTW John,

    “Moriarty is at NREL (!) in Denver, CO, an area not likely to be threatened by SLR any time soon.”

    Being in the path of SLR is not a qualification for writing about it or studying it. Note for example:

    http://sealevel.colorado.edu/

    The university of Colorado satellite sea level data graph is cited worldwide, yet you are the first person I know of to equate a location of an author (Boulder) to credibility on the sea level subject.

    Keep up the great work, both of you.

    Cheers, Anthony Watts

    Like

  24. climatesight says:

    Good for you. It seems unethical for someone to use all their energy to disprove the claims of the vast majority of the world’s scientists, when ignoring those claims could easily mean “game over” for human civilization. Scary stuff.

    Have you seen my blog? It has to do with how climate change relates to ideas such as credibility, responsible journalism, and risk management.

    You can probably just click on my name and it’ll take you there.

    Thanks!

    Like

  25. John Mashey says:

    Some people in areas not subject to Sea Level Rise know it isn’t a problem for those on the coasts…

    Moriarty is at NREL (!) in Denver, CO, an area not likely to be threatened by SLR any time soon.

    Watts is at Chico, CA, about 100 miles from the coast, whose elevation is ~250 feet. That seems pretty safe from SLR, although Chico can get rather hot already.

    And that brings me back to Monckton speaking in Texas, mentioned in an earlier thread here & Deltoid. I expanded that over at RealClimate on Monckton. Please let me know if I got any of the Texas notes wrong.

    Like

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