No, KQED, California’s Storm Surf Not Caused by Climate Change

Guest essay by Kip Hansen Originally posted at WUWT

The National Public Radio station in San Francisco, California, KQED, created a news piece — Huge waves are crashing on the California coast, in part due to climate  change —which ran nationally on “All Things Considered”.  The piece starts with:


“Giant waves are crashing along the California coast for the second time in two weeks thanks to stormy weather and high sea levels due in part to human-caused climate change.”

It simply is not true that California has “high sea levels” (at all – there are no high sea levels in California, anywhere) and what minor changes California has seen to mean sea levels is not caused by Climate Change, but by long-term geophysical processes, including the slight warming as the Earth comes up and out of the Little Ice Age.

None of these tide gauge stations records show any unusual sea level rise up and down the California coast.  They each show a slow stead rise not much different than the long-term global sea level trend (measured by tide gauges) of 1.7 to 2.0 mm/yr. (“… given that the absolute global sea level rise is believed to be 1.7 +/- 0.3 millimeters/year during the 20th century.” — here)

None of these exceed 4 inches of sea level rise over the last 50 years, even without subtracting any negative Vertical Land Movement, which would increase apparent relative sea level rise.

California’s recent high waves are caused by off-shore storms as reported by the Associated Press in this press release:  Powerful Pacific swell brings the threat of more dangerous surf to California on December 30, 2023.

“The Los Angeles-area weather office wrote that powerful cyclones over northern Pacific waters were sending 12- to 17-foot (3.6- to 5-meter) swells, creating “tremendous wave energy across coastal waters.”

At some points along California, breaking waves were predicted to reach 25 feet (7.6 meters). Astronomical high tides were adding to a significant risk of more coastal flooding, forecasters said.

“Overall, this is expected to be an exceptional high-surf and coastal flooding event that has not occurred in many years,” the weather service wrote. “Take caution and heed the direction of local authorities and lifeguards. Never ever turn your back to the water as damaging and life-threatening sneaker waves are likely to occur.”

What is true in the KQED report is that high waves cause beach erosion and can threaten human development along the beaches.  That is nature, and human disregard for reality,  not climate change.  It has always been the case.

# # # # #

Author’s Comment:

NPR is one of the nation’s most prominent Climate Crisis propaganda sources.  Almost nothing they print or broadcast that touches on or includes any reference to weather, storms, temperatures, rainfall, droughts, etc.  is real journalism.

I once surfed California’s occasional Storm Surf, 20 foot waves pounding Huntington Beach. Once. I was terrified.

Thanks for reading.

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  1. This is total garbage science especially if the source is NPR! Anything national is going to be maximized for biggest shock value. Wave action is generated from storms in the Pacific Ocean that when superimposed on high tides causing coastal flooding and beach erosion but nothing related to climate catastrophes. They’re needs to be steady coastal destruction and evidence of hazards created by climate other than coastal storms.


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