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Satellite altimetry data showing rate of sea level rise  (Source: University of Colorado, Boulder)
World's oceans rise slower since 2005, fail to display predicted accelerating trend.

Satellite altimetry data indicates that the rate at which the world's oceans are rising has slowed significantly since 2005. Before the decrease, sea level had been rising by more than 3mm/year, which corresponds to an increase of about one foot per century. Since 2005, however, the rate has been closer to 2mm/year.

The decrease is significant as global climate models predict sea level rise to accelerate as atmospheric CO2 continues to increase. In the 1990s, when such acceleration appeared to be occurring, some scientists pointed to it as confirmation the models were operating correctly.

Sea level rise was calculated from altimetry data from the TOPEX/Poseidon and Jason-1 satellite missions, published by the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Dr. James Choe, a research associate with the University of Colorado, says the decrease is temporary. "Interannual variations often cause the rate to rise or fall", he says. Choe believes an accelerating trend will reappear within the next few years. Oceanographer Gary Mitchum of the University of South Florida, says making any judgement from the limited data available is "statistically so uncertain as to be meaningless".

Others disagree. Dr. Vincent Gray, a New Zealand based climatologist and expert reviewer for the IPCC, believes that the accelerated trends seen earlier were simply an artifact of poor measurements. "The satellite system has undoubtedly shown a rise since 1992, but it has leveled off", he tells DailyTech. "They had some bad calibration errors at the beginning."

Gray points to a study done by Flanders University using tide gauges which, he says, measured no perceptible increase in sea level over its entire 15 year period.

Sea level has been rising since the end of the last ice age, some 20,000 years ago. During an episode known as "Meltwater Pulse 1A", the world's oceans rose by more than 5 meters per century, a rate about 20 times faster than the current increase.

TOPEX/Poseidon was launched by NASA in 1992, and collected data until 2005. In 2001, NASA and France's Centre National d'Études Spatiales (CNES) launched its follow-up mission, Jason-1.

Jason-2 was launched in June of this year.

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RE: Talk about statistically insignificant...
By AlexWade on 12/15/2008 11:46:06 AM , Rating: 3
I tend to agree. Dr. Jeff Masters at, who is an ardent global warming believer, had a blog about the cold November in North America. The blog had the conclusion that one month was not enough data to disprove global warming. Yet, 20 years is not enough to prove global warming when you consider the earth has been around for many thousands of years. But yet that is exactly what they do: Take a very small slice of and make broad assumptions.

By mjitg on 12/15/2008 12:11:36 PM , Rating: 2
FYI, the earth has been cooling for 10 of the past 20 years.

RE: Talk about statistically insignificant...
By ebakke on 12/15/2008 1:06:40 PM , Rating: 3
...when you consider the earth has been around for many thousands of years.
Or billions.

RE: Talk about statistically insignificant...
By eldakka on 12/15/2008 11:35:46 PM , Rating: 2
Considering that the earth was created in 4004BC (according to Dr. John Lightfoot and Bishop James Ussher) then it is 'thousands' of years ;)

By ebakke on 12/16/2008 10:42:31 AM , Rating: 2
Considering that faith is by definition, not science, I'll go with the scientists on this one. And they're estimating the earth is ~4.5 billion years old.

By AlexWade on 12/16/2008 1:25:43 PM , Rating: 2
I was referring to human history. I should have been more clear.

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