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By Harold Pease, Ph. D

Have you ever wondered why respected scientists of both major political parties see climate change so differently, one party viewing the future with great fear and trepidation the other calmly viewing it as normal and natural? The one claiming their position to be “established science,” the other “we have seen this before.” One, we have got to legislate away green house gasses; the other increased CO2 gasses actually benefit the earth. It all comes down to what assessment tools are used by the scientists, computer models or actual climate history.

Nowhere is the discrepancy wider than with respect to sea level assessments. Is it rising or subsiding or neither? A recent article, perhaps the best in assessing the problem in laymen’s terms, was printed in “The New American,” September 2017 (Sea Level Lies, by Ed Hiserodt and Rebecca Terrell, pp. 10-16). Only two factors can affect a rise or a decline, adding or subtracting water.

Increasing water volume can only happen in three ways: water added by volcanic eruptions, temperature rising expands water, and frozen water melting. Added water by volcano eruptions is minimal. NOAA reports “the global mean temperature of land and ocean has increased … 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit over the past 135 years,” no “real” volume change. Glacial melt does not increase sea levels when it is floating ice any more than does ice floating in a glass of water, when thawed, overflow the glass. “When ice melts it contracts causing no change in water level.” The poles are mostly floating ice.

Land ice, as opposed to sea or floating ice, is displaced from the sea and does affect sea levels when it melts because it adds back the water initially taken to make the land ice. Between the coolest ice age (when sea levels were 410 feet lower than today) and warmest age (when sea levels were 19.7 feet higher than today) there was a sea level change of 380 feet, but there has been very little change in actual sea level change in many decades. The extremes account for why there once existed a land bridge between North American and Asia some 600 miles wide and why Southern Greenland, once a forest, is not today. Certainly we have a long way to go before either extreme is met again.

Since most of the ice on the poles is floating ice, and not land ice, the affect of sea level change is minimal. Scientist estimate that a melted land ice sheet the size of New Hampshire, 1,000 inches thick, would raise sea levels only a fourth of an inch. There has been little sea level rise from melting glaciers the past 20 years.

If the sea level of the planet is best illustrated as a bowl partially filled with water, the level of that water thereafter can change only, as we have said, by two factors adding or subtracting water. If the three possibilities of adding water, volcanic eruptions, water temperature rising, and water melting do not change the levels significantly, perhaps the answer is in subtracting water, instead.

This can happen in four ways: subduction, subsidence, displacement and isostasy.   All four amount to changing the dimensions of the bowl not the amount of water in the bowl. Subduction alters local tidal readings when one tectonic plate overlaps another and moves. Subsidence, somewhat similar to subduction, is a gradual sinking of land such as in sinkholes in Florida, but on the ocean floor instead. Its twin, called displacement, would be volcanoes pushing land upward where water once was, such as those creating Hawaii. The water is now simply displaced elsewhere causing sea level risings in other places. Isostasy is the melting of land ice returning water to the bowl, which, using New Hampshire as our example is important, but minimally changes the water surface of the globe.

All of these things can affect local readings up or down by varying the dimensions of the bowl but not the volume of water in the bowl. Further complicating readings is the moon and its alignment with the sun resulting in gravitational pull but this too does not add or subtract water.

What the geological and historical data show for the last 20 centuries is little fluctuation in sea levels, perhaps 7-8 inches a century. So why do “alarmists” and “normalist” scientists vary so on this subject; the first taking over the Democratic Party, the second maintaining their hold on the Republican Party?   Because Republican scientist continue to focus on documented past trends for their predictions and Democrat scientists accept past trends to 1993 but thereafter abandon these favoring “computer simulations of global temperature rise, which suffer from faulty models.”

The advent of what is known as satellite radar altimetry, although not time tested and yielding only a very limited database, has allowed faulty data to be seriously considered as fact. Why would any scientist value such data without it having had a long-term verifiable past? The answer is because its projections fit with those believing in man-made climate change theories? It is because catastrophic science is more easily funded than non-catastrophic science and because global warming education infiltrated the cartoons of preschool learners and inundated government schools thereafter. And it is because science has become politicized and most of the established media cover only the alarmist view.


Dr. Harold Pease is a syndicated columnist and an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He has taught history and political science from this perspective for over 30 years at Taft College. Newspapers have permission to publish this column. To read more of his weekly articles, please visit