You Wouldn’t Think Sea Level Is So Complex

This letter to the editors of the New York Times appeared on June 1, 2018.

Since precise measurements began, mean atmospheric CO2 level has risen for 58 consecutive years, with no detectable acceleration of sea-level rise.

Prof. Fred Singer (“The Sea Is Rising, but Not Because of Climate Change,” op-ed, May 16) is right: CO 2 emissions have no detectable effect on sea-level rise. Profs. Andrea L. Dutton and Michael E. Mann (May 22 letter) claim, without measurable evidence, that human-caused climate change raises sea levels.

Sea-level is rising in some places and falling in others. Globally, sea levels are very slowly rising, but “human-caused climate change” cannot be the cause, because the rate of rise is no greater now than when the first Model A rolled off Ford’s assembly line.

Since precise measurements began, mean atmospheric CO 2 level has risen for 58 consecutive years, with no detectable acceleration of sea-level rise. Clearly, human-caused warming doesn’t significantly increase the rate of sea-level rise.

Profs. Dutton and Mann also suppose the Antarctic ice sheet simply must lose ice in a warming climate because of “basic physics.” That’s also nonsense. Most of Antarctica averages far below freezing, so a few degrees of warming won’t melt it. Melting decreases ice-sheet mass balance, while snowfall adds to it, offsetting sea-level rise. Multiple studies confirm accumulating snow on ice sheets increases as the climate warms, the result of downwind “ocean effect snowfall.”

Compelling evidence shows global warming from fossil-fuel use is modest and benign, and higher CO 2 levels measurably benefit agriculture and natural ecosystems, outweighing hypothetical harms.

David Burton

Cary, N.C.

Thomas Wysmuller

NASA meteorologist (Ret.)

Ogunquit, Maine

This letter appeared on the New York Times website at https://www.wsj.com/articles/you-wouldnt-think-sea-level-is-so-complex-1527873471