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Newsflash: Coastal areas are wet

11 Sep 2019 | Science Notes

With climate alarmism hopping from panic to panic like a polar bear on a melting ice floe, it’s useful periodically to take a quick look back. For instance the New York Times “Climate FWD” reported a year ago that climate change is washing away 5,000 year old human structures in the Orkney Islands. Not the North Sea, mind you, climate change. But with the Times it always pays to skip quickly over the first half of an article to the second, where the reporter grudgingly tells you about all the evidence that rebuts the headline. In this case that this coastal erosion has been going on for millennia, and nearby sea level rise is far below the global average. Basically the Orkneys have harsh weather that erodes things, and always have had.

When you dig down in the Orkney Islands article what emerges is that these ancient sites in coastal areas have been battered by storms for millennia and are showing the effects as they always have. The only real difference is that defensive measures started to be undertaken nearly a century ago and continue today. None of which is news, even if alarmists want to point to any bad thing that happens and declare it never happened before and it’s all due to climate change.

Ah, but what about the relentlessly rising seas? Well, the nearby tide gauge at Wick has data back to 1965. Relative sea level (the depth of the ocean locally, including sediment) averaged just over 6.9 metres that year. It reached 7.0 metres in the early 80s, the early 90s, the middle of the last decade and again in the last few years. The long term average increase is about 1.3 mm per year, less than half the global average. Hardly a poster child for a drowning coastline.

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