I can remember stories from my youth of Chicken Little (or Chicken Licken) “The Sky is Falling” and “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.” These stories or fables did have associated morals of: “Don’t believe everything one is told” and “Making repeated false claims will result in disbelief of future true claims.”
In simpler terms, I have occasionally observed that, “If you keep a sufficiently open mind, someone will throw a lot of garbage in it.”
Recently, I attended a board of trustees meeting at Napa Valley College when a comment by one of the attendees in effect noted that some new facilities were being planned on property that would soon be underwater due to global warming and associated sea level rise.
I also recalled a front-page story in the Napa Valley Register of several years ago that featured a map depicting how the rising sea levels would inundate major portions of Napa County.
I admit my education and experiences as an engineer have caused me to be somewhat interested in documented facts. After a brief search for documentation, I did find some documented facts on sea level rise as indicated below:
There is a widely held misconception that all the oceans of the world are at the same level. In reality, sea level measurements around the world vary considerably, typically by several inches. Prevailing winds and continental instability are among the variables that make measurements difficult, but the varying results of rising sea levels are extremely accurate.
A technical article was published by the United States National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that contains actual measurements of sea level rise around the globe from 1854 to 2006. These measurements show no evidence of accelerating sea level rise. The measurements include tide gauge data at coastal locations along the West Coast, East Coast, Gulf Coast, Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, and the Gulf of Mexico, as well as seven Pacific Island groups and six Atlantic Island groups, comprising more than 200 measurement stations.
The longest-running NOAA tide gauge record of coastal sea level in the U.S. is in New York City at Battery Park. The more than 160 years of record data shows a steady sea level rise of 11 inches per century.
On our coast, California has accumulated actual measurements of the rising sea levels on the West Coast since 1933. While this document recognizes that uncertainties exist due to tectonic plate shifts, it does conclude that an average rise equivalent to 1.55 feet per 100 years has occurred near and south of Humboldt Bay while 60 miles north at Crescent City a drop in local sea level equivalent to 0.21 feet per 100 years has occurred.
Using this information and data provided by the “National Research Council” a report titled “State of California Sea Level Guidance Document” was published in March of 2013.
OK, based on these documented facts, I will forget about using rising sea levels to convince my wife that we need to purchase another boat.
Jack Gray, Director
Napa County Taxpayers Association