Only threat to Christchurch is Salinger’s alarmismRichard Treadgold | September 22, 2011
From the Christchurch Press today comes alarming news:
Rising sea levels are a greater threat to Christchurch’s seaside suburbs than previously realised, a climate scientist is warning.
Speaking at Canterbury University this afternoon, Jim Salinger said latest estimates could have major implications for Christchurch’s earthquake rebuild.
Christchurch City Council should be working to a one-metre estimate for sea level rise, he said.
“It’s the opportunity for Christchurch in its rebuild, it should be looking at at least a metre. Some local bodies in Australia are using one metre.”
Salinger plucks the same alarmist harp strings he’s been picking for decades. He specifies one metre: does he include those places which are 500mm higher after the earthquake? They should get a discount.
But the Coalition chairman Barry Brill decisively puts this loose cannon of a climate scientist down, demanding evidence:
“Christchurch residents have enough on their plates without unfounded scare stories about rising sea levels.”
“There is just no basis whatever for Salinger’s speculations,” said Mr Brill. “There is no record of any climate-related sea level rise in Canterbury during the last 50 years, and the tiny long-term rise in New Zealand sea levels is currently decelerating.”
Barry says there is no argument regarding the following facts:
• Worldwide average sea levels rise continually to a tiny extent, but have risen by less than 2cm each decade during the last 100 years.
• An acceleration as a result of increased ice melt has been projected by computer models on the basis of certain scenarios, but no increase has been observed in the real world.
• Since they began, satellite measurements have detected no increase whatever in the average rate of rise. But the rate has decreased in the last five years.
• There has been no increase in ice melt in East Antarctica (80% of global ice storage).
• Sea level rises around New Zealand have never reflected changes in the worldwide average; they have been diminishing for 20 years or more.
“If Jim Salinger wants to question those facts, I am happy to debate them at any time or place,” said Mr Brill. “Until he has some hard science to support his beliefs, he should avoid adding to the anxieties of Cantabrians.”
Hear, hear, we say.
Not to mention people around the world who trust scientists, even scientists in far-off New Zealand.