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Dead woman tells a tale

04 Dec 2019 | Science Notes

An intriguing new paper in the Journal of Marine Biology and Aquascape challenges conventional wisdom based on photographic and archaeological indicators of tropical sea levels. Instead of rising gently for hundreds of years until a 20th-century man-made acceleration, they were similar to the present 850 years ago, then rose instead of falling during the Little Ice Age, up to 50 centimeters in many places by the 1600s, then retreated to their current, relatively stable levels. For instance, the recently discovered bones of a woman killed in the Maldives during the Muslim invasion of 1150 suggest that the current beach is about where it was during the Medieval Warm Period. Even odder, other local evidence says the skeleton was covered by 60 cm of sea water by the 13th century, then sea levels oscillated for hundreds of years before a modern decline that, by 1970, brought the bones back to the surface. One wonders just how many other bodies are buried in climate science.

Study author Nils Axel-Morner marshals an impressive amount of evidence. And he doesn't see the need to play the usual academic word games when it comes to global warming research. His opening paragraph is:

On the 26 of September last year, it was exactly 30 year since we could read in the Australian magazine Canberra Times that all the 1196 atoll islands of the Maldives would be submerged in 30 years. With time, the truth was revealed: not a single island has been submerged and sea is not in a rapidly rising mode as claimed by the IPCC (e.g. 2013) and its proponents.

Morner can afford to talk this way because he’s a retired Swedish professor of paleogeophysics who had a distinguished career in the study of continental dynamics and sea level changes. Plus he had already acquired a reputation for bluntness 20 years ago, and in his current research he does away with any and all academic niceties.

He’s easily dismissed by the establishment as a crank. But he is the sort of crank who insists on getting up from his computer, going to the places he wants to research and seeing what is going on for himself. He then presents photographic evidence to back up his argument that throughout the tropics, sea levels declined over the 20th century and have been stable for the past 40 years or so. Here, for instance, is one of his photos from the Maldives:

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand computer simulations.

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