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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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By Ringold on 12/16/2008 1:31:37 AM , Rating: 4
Data points like that are cute little fillers for newspapers and blog posts. In reality, economic policies have different effects on the macroeconomy, each of which can have different lag periods. Monetary policy, for example, is often said to have six month time lag. This time, we might not see the inflation cost of our current monetary policy for 12-24 months. Another example might be the reforms Reagan pushed through; few would argue that many of the firms who laid the ground work for the productivity gains of the 90s got their start in the Reagan and Bush years. Instead, Reagan's economic data reflects his political support of Volcker, who had to create a deep recession in order to atone for the monetary (and other) sins of Carter.

A more recent example would be the last recession. It got started under Clinton, but came to full fruition under Bush. Nothing Bush could've done; a business cycle is a business cycle and the electoral calendar meant it was going to happen under his watch. And after all the chances Clinton had to kill and/or capture Bin Laden, it definitely wasn't Bush's fault that 9/11 accelerated the downturn.

Going back prior to Vietnam, it also loses relevance to compare economic performance under different parties. I can link to Youtube video's of Kennedy calling for tax cuts in what sounds like a very modern Republican way. The culture wars changed both parties sufficiently that comparisons prior to Vietnam I find are pretty useless.

Then there are things just entirely out of party control, in theory anyway, such as the aforementioned Fed policy. Inflation going on? The Fed should not care who it is in office; who ever it is may soon get a recession tossed at them as interest rates spike.

If you want to look at how Democrat party control does uninterrupted, why don't you look at Michigan? :P I think my neighbors dog is worth more money that some residential property in Detroit. But hey, they raised taxes on business last year, they'll be thriving in no time, right?

Go ahead and nod your head to an example of useless statistics though. Whatever makes you feel good.


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