Sunday, September 22, 2013

Denier weirdness: Anthony Watts walks on water in NYC after the seas have risen

Sou | 2:01 AM Go to the first of 8 comments. Add a comment

More denier weirdness.  Anthony Watts, denier blogger at WUWT, found two photos of New York City that he seems to think proves that rising sea levels are nothing to worry about (archived here). The top one he thinks was probably taken around 1930 and the lower one was taken in 2010 (click to enlarge).

Credit: Fairchild Aerial Surveys Inc.
Source: NOAA

Credit: Gryffindor
Source: Wikipedia

Anthony is on a sea level denial kick with two articles in as many days.  He writes:
While there have been a lot of changes, most notably the mature trees now in Battery Park, one thing is clear – the city has not been inundated by sea level rise even though the NOAA Battery Park tide gauge indicates a rise of about 0.22 meter ( 8 3/4 inches)...
... As always, I remind our readers: Freaking out about NYC sea level rise is easy to do when you don’t pay attention to history
That's good to know.  New York City is 22 cm closer to flooding than it was 80 years ago.  Is Anthony trying to argue that because Battery Park isn't permanently under water yet, that means that New York City will be okay forever?  When seas rise by another meter later this century or early in the next, or when when seas rise by several meters over the next few centuries - well, I guess Anthony and his readers won't be around at the end of this century so that might explain his lack of concern.

I reckon his article comes under the category of denier weirdness.  Is this what "okay" looks like?

FDR Drive, flooded by Hurricane Sandy, October 29, 2012

When seas rise half a metre, the edges of lower Manhattan will flood 20 times a year

As the ice melts, seas could be a metre higher within 80 or 90 years - or up to twice that.  From The Wall Street Journal (the New York financial district is one of the areas most at risk) - the future is now and it will get worse as sea levels rise:
While most of New York is above sea level, its subways, telecommunications cables, fiber-optics networks, plumbing and power mains aren't. "There is so much underground," says urban water management consultant Piet Dircke at Arcadis, one of four engineering firms that recently developed concepts for a storm surge barrier here. "The economic impact of flooding could be huge."...
...Under certain conditions, a hurricane now could generate a 30-foot-high storm surge and flood 100 square miles of New York. If ice melts and sea level rises, that risk increases. "If you have 20 inches (0.5 m) of sea level rise, the edges of lower Manhattan would flood 20 times a year," says Douglas Hill, a consulting engineer at the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University. "It would look like Venice."
Read the full article here.

Click here for a map of how rising seas will affect New York City.  You can choose different levels.

From the WUWT comments

Different people react differently - but not many WUWT-ers are denying outright that New York could be in trouble.  Click here for the archived article and comments.

Greg Goodman says:
September 21, 2013 at 8:05 am
Ya gotta admit the water does kinda look higher ;)

johnmarshall says:
September 21, 2013 at 8:16 am
Comparing those two photographs above it looks like a small sea level fall. There has been some reclamation round Battery Park in the mean time which might confuse the issue but nothing alarming with sea levels.

Darren Potter says:
September 21, 2013 at 8:35 am
Sea level isn’t rising, instead tide gauge is sinking do to anthropological expansion / construction. Which resulted in land subsiding under weight of the numerous and massive buildings crammed full of people.  Setting aside the sinking… The air sure looks a whole lot cleaner now than it did back in 1930s. Appears that increasing CO2 ppm, results in less Smog.

Jimbo says:
September 21, 2013 at 8:35 am
As one commenter mentioned on the other Battery Park thread much of Manhattan is reclaimed land. They asked what effect does millions of tonnes of steel, concrete and other human structures have on subsidence? (I paraphrase.)


  1. this is worth reading Sou if you haven't already

    False sense of security


    1. Thanks, John. Tamino's latest is worth reading too.

  2. And NYC was so grey looking back then.

    Rising CO2 has certainly improved colour.

    - WUWT Regular.

    1. Ha - it was the clean air regs that colourised NYC.

  3. I don't know what you expect from Willard Anthony, Sou. The guy can't event read Wikipedia.

    "The top one he thinks was probably taken around 1930".

    The Dornier X arrived in New York on 27 August 1931, stayed there for nine months while being overhauled and flying a lot of sightseers, and left on 21 May 1932. I see one of his commenters pointed to the same article, but why does WAW even bother writing the article without checking the provenance of the pic - it took five seconds to find using the serial number.


    1. You criticize Anthony's reading skills by stating " The guy can't event read Wikipedia". Go you. :)

  4. Just to remind, David Suzuki is appearing as the sole interviewee on tonight's episode of Q and A:


    Should be very interesting...

    Bernard J.

    1. Thanks for that, Bernard. QandA is available on iview for people who miss the live broadcast - though I think it's probably geo-specific for Australia.


      The #qanda twitter stream is usually very active, but with just one panelist I'm not sure what will happen.


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