A few years ago, the New York Times reported that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration had detected a new type of “sea-level rise” that would be more than a foot higher than previous ones.
“Sea level rise has been increasing in the Northeast,” said the article.
“The ocean surface has been rising faster and more dramatically than it has at any time in the past two thousand years.”
Now, with this new sea level rise, “the region is going to be underwater,” wrote the Times’ Paul Krugman.
In a world of climate-change denial, that’s not exactly a headline.
What’s less well known is that the Times and others have used this story to suggest that the Atlantic Ocean is in fact warming faster than previously thought, and that this sea-level-rise increase is due to human-caused greenhouse gases.
Here’s a map showing the sea-levels in the New England area over the past 150 years.
In fact, the Times has used this same map to make the case that the Northeast is in danger of becoming a floodplain.
(This map is based on data collected by the U.S. Geological Survey.)
In the past few years, a handful of climate denialists have attempted to use this map to deny that the ocean is rising at all.
One of the most prominent deniers is Bill Nye, who has spent more than three decades peddling a view that the oceans are just “water.”
His latest book, The Day We Flooded: How to Prevent the End of Climate Change, is a best-seller.
Nye’s claim that the rise in sea levels in the Atlantic is caused by humans is a particularly dangerous argument.
The Atlantic Ocean has never been a natural hotspot for global warming, and the oceans that have risen in the last few decades have been a major source of heat-trapping CO2.
The recent sea-floor rise is not a natural event; it is caused largely by human-induced CO2 emissions, which are largely the result of human activities.
As ocean levels rise, sea levels have also risen at the poles, which in turn has increased the sea level at the North Pole, where it’s now almost 20 feet above pre-industrial levels.
In the Northeast, sea-top temperatures are now higher than at any point since pre-Industrial Revolution times.
And since the Atlantic Basin has experienced the fastest sea-water rise in the continental U.T., its waters are likely to continue to rise at rates unprecedented in the world’s oceans.
This is not the first time that deniers have used sea- level maps to push their climate denial line.
Back in the early 2000s, climate deniers in the U,S., and elsewhere created a map of the U.,S., to suggest how much of the world was getting hit by rising seas.
It showed that the world would soon be submerged by rising sea levels, and this map was used as a tool to warn that we should expect a “climate emergency.”
The map was a useful way of promoting the belief that we were headed for an “ecological disaster,” and the fear that we would be “wasted” by the consequences of our “failure” to prepare.
It was a strategy that was, as it turns out, a disaster.
Over the past three decades, a number of studies have documented the negative impacts of climate change on coastal regions.
The most well-known study is by Kevin Trenberth, who recently wrote about the negative effects of climate on coastal cities.
In 2006, the U S. Geological Service (USGS) published a report called “Sea Level Rise and the Uintas: A Critical Assessment.”
In it, the authors state that there is no scientific consensus as to the rate at which sea levels are rising and that they have yet to determine whether there will be a global “catastrophic” event if sea levels continue to increase at this rate.
“Our data do not support the idea that the rate of sea-rise will be rapid or rapid in the coming decades,” the report states.
“Rather, it appears that sea-changes will occur in a relatively gradual manner, with a slow rate of rise in areas of higher sea-surface temperature.”
“In the absence of any clear and convincing scientific evidence, it is unlikely that a global emergency will develop,” the authors conclude.
The study also states that it is important to consider “other causes of increased sea-surface temperature.”
The authors state, “Sea-surface temperatures may be increasing more slowly in the North Atlantic and Southern Pacific, and we are not aware of any convincing evidence of an overall increase in sea-height in the Great Lakes region, the Gulf of Mexico, or the South Atlantic.”
In other words, the USGS report doesn’t think there’s much evidence that sea levels will continue to go up very