NBC Sounds Sea Level Alarm at Navy Base – With No Sea Level Acceleration

NBC News local affiliate WAVY channel 10 in Virginia’s Portsmouth-Norfolk-Hampton viewing market published an article this past week blaming global warming for local sea-level rise that allegedly threatens naval facilities. In reality, objective tidal gauge records in the Norfolk region show no acceleration of sea level rise.

The WAVY article is titled, “Preparing for Battle: Naval Station Norfolk engages with the forces of climate change to keep troops ready, jobs intact.” The article claims, “The most recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change shows that impacts from climate change are happening at a pace far more rapid than originally estimated.” The article then documents ways in which the Navy is adapting to sea-level rise.

In reality, the only thing happening “at a pace far more rapid than originally estimated” is alarmist misinformation in the news media.

While WAVY is quick to link sea-level rise to global warming, the WAVY article leaves out a very important fact – there has been no acceleration in sea-level rise in the region. How can climate change be causing accelerating sea-level rise if there is no acceleration in sea-level rise?

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has maintained a tidal gauge at Sewell’s Point in Norfolk since the 1920’s. The tidal records, as shown in the NOAA graph below, show the pace of sea-level rise remains the same now as it was 100 years ago – when there was minimal human-emitted carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

NOAA has maintained three other tidal gauges in the Norfolk region, dating back to the 1930s, 1950s, and 1970s, respectively. None of the other three show any acceleration, either.

Despite the claims of WAVY and climate alarmists that the U.S. Navy and everybody else is having to cope with rapidly accelerating sea-level rise due to global warming, the objective facts show no acceleration at all. And if there has been no acceleration despite more than a century of global warming, by what theoretical mechanism will rapid acceleration suddenly kick in now – after an unexplained century-long delay?

The fact is global warming is not causing, and will not cause, a rapid acceleration in sea-level rise. For more than a century, humans have handily managed modestly rising seas. Managing that same pace of sea-level rise will be even easier with modern and future technologies.

[Photo of U.S.S. George Washington at Norfolk Naval Station courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.]

James Taylor
James Taylor
James Taylor is the President of the Heartland Institute. Taylor is also director of Heartland's Arthur B. Robinson Center for Climate and Environmental Policy. Taylor is the former managing editor (2001-2014) of Environment & Climate News, a national monthly publication devoted to sound science and free-market environmentalism.

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  1. Keep up the great work. Misinformation claims are continuously aimed at the realists; when all the misinformation is originating from the alarmist community. You should drag the IPCC and the UN trough the hot coals for ignoring all such claims when they know for a fact ( from their own reports ) the true nature. By saying nothing they show they are in agreement with the lies!

  2. Meanwhile inland aquifers have been drained for over a century along with many lakes globally. Now where did that water go? Maybe carbon has nothing to do with any rise at all, rather pumping and coastal cities draining lakes. We need to in any case try to move flood water inland to try to restore aquifers and desalinate for city use and restore centuries of damage.


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