Friday, January 27, 2006

The Beeb does it again!

Once again, the BBC manages to put out a report that gives the impression that the planet is doomed with increasing sea level rises. This time some of the evidence is quoted and it's worthwhile taking a look at it. Remember the geological context of where we are in time - coming out of a glacial period during the past 10,000 years and more.

"The data was obtained from locations throughout the globe, although the number of tidal gauges increased and their locations changed over the 130-year period.

These records show that the sea level has risen, and suggest that the rate of rise is increasing.

Over the entire period from 1870 the average rate of rise was 1.44mm per year.

Over the 20th Century it averaged 1.7mm per year; while the figure for the period since 1950 is 1.75mm per year."

I would like to know exactly where these locations were (some areas of the globe are known to be vertically unstable). The experiment was modified over the 130 year span so there is no consistency. But the data suggest a very consistent result, nonetheless. Look at the rise in sea level for just the 20th Century: the second half had ever such a slight increase in sea level rise. The typical media statistical representation quoted above makes it difficult to be sure but I would think that the avreage increase from 1900 to 1950 was around 1.65mm/yr while from 1950 to 2000 it was, as reported, 1.75mm/yr. That's not exactly an overwhelming increase, folks! And given that the number of stations increased and were changed during the time period, it is possible that there is no statistical significance in the work at all!

My point here is not to deride the research (I don't have the details to do so) but to deride the level of journalism that the BBC has stooped to. This is neither good reporting nor good opining.

But it doesn't half make good reading if you wear a hairshirt to work and have a mantra that goes "Kee Oh Toe"!


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