The Dean of Climate Change!

Don’t expect accurate investigative journalistic comment from Rowan Dean. After all, he is  just an entertainer, with a quick and acerbic wit, always at the expense of others, never himself.  Does one laugh at his absurdities or kill his diatribes by switching channels?

Last night (12/12/2018) I happened on his Sky News “Outsider” Program and was so mesmerised by his merciless put-down of those poor builders of wood boats, South Sea Islanders who were fearful of the effects of climate change on their low-lying coral atolls, that I could not bring myself to switch him off. 

Rowan, however, was most reassuring of their plight. He had an authority with first-hand experience of their situation who could put their minds at rest.  Yes it was none other than the former Minister of International Development and the Pacific, Concetta Fieravanti-Wells. On her return from Fiji she had reported to him that if there was any change, it was miniscule.

It was not stated whether her opinion was based on tide gauge data, satellite observation of sea-levels, or simply on the basis of eye-balling of coastal areas. Nor was there any comment made on where the observations were made. 

A graph, posted on NASA’s Global Change website, using tide gauge data, credited to the CSIRO, shows there was an increase in sea level of about 230mm or 9.13 inches between 1870 and 2000.

data graph

Another graph derived from satellite sea level Data between 1993 and August 2018,  supplied by NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre shows an increase of just over 40 mm; the average rate of change being 3.2 mm per year.

This is a website produced by the Earth Science Communications Team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the California Institute of Technology.

The ICESat-2 satellite

For those of us who would wish to be as accurately informed as possible about the impact of climate change on sea-levels, it is exciting to note that NASA now has a new tool of investigation. 

Three months ago NASA launched a satellite, ICESat-2, specifically to study changes in earth’s changing ice.

By Kate Ramsayer,
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

Less than three months into its mission, NASA’s Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2, or ICESat-2, is already exceeding scientists’ expectations. The satellite is measuring the height of sea ice to within an inch, tracing the terrain of previously unmapped Antarctic valleys, surveying remote ice sheets, and peering through forest canopies and shallow coastal waters.
With each pass of the ICESat-2 satellite, the mission is adding to data sets tracking Earth’s rapidly changing ice. Researchers are ready to use the information to study sea level rise resulting from melting ice sheets and glaciers, and to improve sea ice and climate forecasts.
“ICESat-2 is going to be a fantastic tool for research and discovery, both for cryospheric sciences and other disciplines,” said Tom Neumann, ICESat-2 project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
Neumann and others with ICESat-2’s science team shared the first look at the satellite’s findings at the American Geophysical Union’s annual meeting on Tuesday in Washington, D.C.

 Local sea-level readings are highly variable, and influenced by many factors, including the effect of ocean currents, variations in land height, upstream flood control and erosion following deforestation.

What is incontrovertible however is an inexorable trend of globally rising sea-level with the melting if ice. We may not be able to accurately forecast future changes, but at least we are now able to monitor them with increasing accuracy, thanks to the science of space travel.  

Unfortunately for the Coalition Party, it is now controlled both in rhetoric and in policy by vocal climate change deniers. Surely it is wiser for our leaders to be acting to reduce risk, than to court disaster by ignoring the science. 

About Kenneth Robson

I studied at Adelaide Boys' High School, and the University of Adelaide, Medical School. graduating in 1961. My field of specialisation was Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Prior to establishing my practice in Adelaide, I spent 5 years working in India, and Papua-New Guinea, in the field of reconstructive surgery for leprosy. In retirement I joined the Australian Technical Analyst Association and passed the two examinations for a Diploma inTechnical Analysis, and the designation Certified Financial Technician (CFTe) by the International Federation of Technical Analysts.
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