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That sinking feeling

10 Jul 2024 | OP ED Watch

Thanks to several alert viewer/readers who forwarded the New York Times “surprising find by climate researchers” that those famous low-lying tropical islands that were not sinking beneath the waves the way climate activists predicted are in fact, um, not sinking beneath the waves. And we are going to try very hard not to be snide while mentioning that yes, we told you so a bunch of times, because waves of hysteria are mysterious things that surge upward unpredictably and then, just when they look ready to submerge rationality, suddenly subside again. And maybe, just maybe, outlets like the Times getting a bit sensible on this one are harbingers of change.

It’s a bit hard not to be snide since apparently the persistence of coral atolls amid changing sea levels has something to do with coral growing into new regions if the water goes up a bit. Who knew? Other than anybody who wondered how such islands could still exist after 14,000 years or so of rising seas since the last glaciation ended if they just sat there when water went up (as we explained in June 2020 “Rather than drowning they rise too, keeping pace with the wave height”) or who just knew what coral is. Or who kept up with the literature.

The Times is a bit baffled:

“Of late, though, scientists have begun telling a surprising new story about these islands. By comparing mid-20th century aerial photos with recent satellite images, they’ve been able to see how the islands have evolved over time. What they found is startling: Even though sea levels have risen, many islands haven’t shrunk. Most, in fact, have been stable. Some have even grown.”

Perhaps the reporter, whose byline doth protest too much that “I’m a climate reporter” and who has a BA in Economics and Applied Math, had never thought about the history of such atolls. Or of sea level rise before the big bad CO2 huffed and puffed. Or that you didn’t actually need aerial photos, let alone satellite images, to know these things had been around for a bit.

Also, some researchers in the Maldives, navigating around António Guterres and his ruined-suit photo-op, explained to him what is sand and how currents can actually wash it onto islands as well as off. Incredible.

Naturally doom looms anyway:

“Though the research suggests that atolls aren’t about to wash away entirely, it hardly means they have nothing to worry about. Global warming is putting coral reefs under severe strain. If, say, the ice sheets melted faster than expected, then sea-level rise could accelerate sharply.”

And we need to send money:

“‘If we have access to the technology and finance, I think we can save the Maldives. It is not all doomsday,’ Shauna Aminath, a former environment minister, told me. ‘The problem is, we don’t have access to finance and technology.’”

And the reporter ends on what, for such people, is an encouragingly positive dismal note:

“If we humans can find a way to keep living and flourishing on atolls, it will bode well for our ability to continue doing so all across our warming planet.”

Saved. Including, just maybe, from the extremes of climate alarmist nonsense.

There’s still a ways to go. The Economist, under the neutral heading “Extreme Weather”, insists that “The ‘Venice of Africa’ is sinking into the sea/ Megacities on the continent’s western coast are being swamped by rising oceans”.

We didn’t know Africa had a Venice, nor, we suspect, did anyone else. In case you’re as confused as a climate reporter, the real Venice, whose patron saint is St. Mark the Evangelist:

“was historically the capital of the Republic of Venice for almost a millennium, from 810 to 1797. It was a major financial and maritime power during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and a staging area for the Crusades and the Battle of Lepanto, as well as an important centre of commerce – especially silk, grain, and spice, and of art from the 13th century to the end of the 17th.”

Saint Louis, Senegal, its colonial capital, not so much. Yes, it is a “crowded island city built among waterways”. But no, it’s not “especially exposed to a changing climate” unless that distinction is extended to every place a reporter lives or works, as it often seems to be. Nor is it true that:

“Across the globe, seas are expected to rise by another half-metre or so on average in the next 50 years.”

In case you’re doing the math, half a metre is 50 centimetres so over 50 years it means a centimetre a year, and at the moment it’s maybe 3 millimetres a year instead at the nearest NOAA historical-data locale, Takoradi in Ghana.

Also, not to ridicule governance in Senegal, the story does note that “A botched attempt, in 2003, to reduce flooding by digging a canal only worsened things, putting a whole neighbourhood under water.” So yes, maybe it’s going under and humans are to blame. But not because they sent the oceans surging upward globally by belching “carbon pollution”.

9 comments on “That sinking feeling”

  1. The Great Barrier Reef,which is consistently referred to by Alarmists ,is not failing,some of its species are adapting ,but that’s normal,the reality is that Coral is “inexplicably” burgeoning.
    The most interesting fact is that the GBR is a product of the Holocene,it didn’t exist 11,000 years ago.

  2. The Atlantic is a strange ocean. It is drowning out Miami but ignoring all the locations of over a 1000 miles to New York. ????????

  3. It is an interesting fact that submerged cities lie right off the coast of current cities, so the cities simply moved inland as the glaciers melted, yet these "scientists" did not imagine that the coral reefs would do exactly the same thing! BTW, why hasn't Venice sunk into the sea yet after 1500 years....a conundrum!

  4. BTW, don't hold your breath waiting for The New York Times to pop their heads out of their butts, they like it in there...warm and dark!

  5. In 1990,media everywhere was saying that Maldive Is. would be underwater by now.Didn't happen.The last I heard,some luxury condos there were selling for millions.But some places have no business being there,meaning where they're located.Like building New Orleans below sea level,then building a major dike and allowing it to decay without regular repairs or replacement.As we seen in 2005,that would have been much cheaper in the long run.

  6. People believe in catastrophic anthropogenic climate change for the same reason they believed, in Voltaire's time, that sin caused earthquakes. It is grandiose yet somehow comforting to believe that humans control every aspect of our destiny - so all it takes to avoid catastrophe is a bit of penitence and virtue-signaling.

  7. I dunno Thylacine but I say my prayers and there has, in my lifetime, been an earthquake where I live. Is that not sufficient proof?

  8. The problem is, we don’t have access to finance and technology.’
    Except they do have access to $$, they are using it on airports, hotels, roads etc for tourists.
    Lots of $$

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