Sunday, December 24, 2006

Anthro-centric global scare-mongering, XXI


The Independent has taken a bold stance. The Independent's "Environment Editor Geoffrey Lean" reports:
Rising seas, caused by global warming, have for the first time washed an inhabited island off the face of the Earth. The obliteration of Lohachara island, in India's part of the Sundarbans where the Ganges and the Brahmaputra rivers empty into the Bay of Bengal, marks the moment when one of the most apocalyptic predictions of environmentalists and climate scientists has started coming true.

The article doesn't mention things that one might want to know about this startling event; such as, how much has the sea risen over the past several years that might account for such a thing? Or how long has Lohachara Island been in existence?

I asked myself that last question because the island, as indicated in the article, is located in the delta of the Ganges and Brahmaputra Rivers, the largest river delta in the world (check for yourself here and here – that's the source for the picture at top). It seemed to me that there could possibly be another explanation than "rising seas" to explain the disappearance of Lohachara Island.

I first tried to find out more about this event by looking for Lohachara Island on the GoreNet. I went to Yahoo! to use Yahoo! Maps and I was distracted by this and it kinda turned my stomach for a while, but I soldiered on (don't say I didn't warn you!).

Anyway, I searched for Lochachara Island and found this:
By 2020, 12 more Sunderban islands will be under water –

Courtesy: www.indianjungles.com

The Indian Express : Sagar Island (Sunderbans), October 29

An annual 3.14 mm rise in sea level at Sunderbans due to climate change is eating away 12 islands on the delta, says a study by a group of scientists from Jadavpur University.

The review says around 70,000 residents of Sunderban delta may turn into "environmental refugees" in the next 14 years unless the government initiates counter measures right away.

The findings, carried out by a team of scientists from Jadavpur University's School of Oceanographic Studies, are part of a vulnerability assessment project.

The effect is expected to be catastrophic for the residents of the ecologically sensitive islands - a major exodus, as the rising water level would submerge large chunks of land by 2020.

In fact, the intruding salty water has already had its effects on the region's flora and fauna: Lohachara and Bedford islands, with an area of more than six square kilometres between them, "vanished from the map" two decades ago.

Result: it left thousands of residents as "environmental refugees".

Prof Sugata Hazra, director, School of Oceanographic Studies, said: "A preliminary survey reveals that around 7,000 people have been displaced from their original habitat in Sunderbans over the last 30 years. They have turned into environmental refugees due to the sea-level rise, coastal erosion, cyclone and coastal flooding."

The migrants, now living in various refugee colonies, are just an indication of what is in store for the world-renowned mangrove islands, the scientists warned. The islands are also a habitat for the endangered Royal Bengal Tiger.

That last point is quite significant. Nothing like concern for animals to get people to push urgent political agendae.

But wait a minute. Is it sea level rise or is it something else or is somebody confused? The article I just quoted at length says that Lohachara Island "vanished from the map" two decades ago. If that's the case, then the article in The Independent is really old news. I mean, that was long before certain environmental groups got their g-strings in a gordian over sea level rise, much less global warming.

Also, the phrase "coastal erosion" gives a better indication of what went on either two decades ago or who-knows-when. These islands are part of a delta. A delta "creates" land by depositing silt from up-river at its mouth. Very rich, fertile land. Isn't it just possible that the disappearance of Lohachara Island was due to erosion from the currents within the delta?

Another similar article said that Lohachara Island disappeared within the last "three decades". Both of them point out that measurements of sea level rise have shown a rise of over three millimeters a year. Doing the math, that means that in, say, 30 years, the sea level "rise" will amount to 94.2 to 105 mm. That's 3.71 to 4.13 inches. One has to wonder how the scientists made such a measurement of 3.14 mm, too. Measuring sea levels to a hundredth of an inch?

Finally, what clinches the bogusness of this whole thing is that a rise of that tiny magnitude would submerge a whole island. One has to wonder how high above sea level Lohachara Island was. I mean, what about tides? If an entire island disappears because of a 3-inch rise in sea level, what happened when the tide came in?

Nope, I don't believe it.

12 comments:

carlp said...

These links might help you understand how scientists measure sea level to the millimeter. It's a long process taking a few years and they take an average. They use tool called a tide gauge. Because tides are included in this average your question on why the high tide doesn't submerge the island has no bearing, of course it would as the sea level rises.
http://science.howstuffworks.com/question356.htm
and
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_level

It might also be interesting for you to know that Lohachara has not disappeared over night, here the article is misleading and a bit sensational. It has been a slow process over 30 years and everyone has since left the island long before. The news is that the island is now officially submerged, which is a historical milestone - it's not everyday this happens. Additionally scientists have found that a dozen other islands will await the same fate due to the rising sea levels. This doesn't really have much bearing on you, but residents of those islands have to deal with this sobering fact.

You should really contact Dr Sugata Hazra at Jadavpur University
(sugata_hazra@yahoo.com) with your findings and questions. I'm sure you're insight that it's all caused by erosion and not a rise in sea level would be very helpful and may present a new direction to his research. Also, the 2 million inhabitants of the Sandabaran islands would also be very grateful.

Of course, you should be careful that Dr Hazra might just be another one of the many crazy liberal Indian scientists who are pretending Islands are sinking for their own political and monetary gain and will ignore your expert oceanographic advice.

Please, get a clue. You're not doing anyone a favor by showing your ignorance. This is a widely reported incident, a simple yahoo search shows articles from newspapers all over the world. Frankly, it doesn't matter if you don't believe the seas are rising, it's not a question of belief but one of reality as those refugees who have left the islands can attest.

This is not an isolated event. Many of the pacific islands are facing the same dangers and are scrambling to figure out what to do.

Regards,

Carl

Steve Erbach said...

Dear Carl,

I am very happy that you took the time to comment on my post. I'm actually flattered that you took the time. Thank you.

I read the links you sent on the determination of sea level. Thank you again. Nothing in those articles, however, persuades me that my questions were nonsensical.

For example, the Wikipedia article and your comment both talked about measuring seal level "to the millimeter". My post scoffed at the measurement to the hundredth of a millimeter. If it is difficult to make measurements in the millimeter range, then how can an average in the hundredth of a millimeter range make any sense scientifically?

That's the small stuff. Lets assume that the sea level changed three inches over the period of, say, twenty years. My surprise that the island disappeared entirely is based on a speculation: how far above sea level was the high point on this island in the first place? Seems to me that it couldn't have been much more than three inches if it is now completely submerged. If we go back historically and examine the island's area versus its height above sea level, would we not find that the size of the island varied widely over the years? The people living on it would have found their homes swept away on a regular basis if they were built on an island only a few inches above sea level.

As to your assertion that it is a widely reported incident, I've seen a number of the newspaper articles from "all over the world" that you mentioned. Most of those articles repeat the same information. Exactly none of them raise any questions at all about the assertion that the sea level rise is, essentially, man-made. That is, that it's a function of anthropogenic global warming. The articles simply repeat the mantra of the tragic evacuations that have taken place over the last couple of decades.

I am puzzled as to why you would say that my questions are based in ignorance. I would say that any intelligent person would ask themselves if a three inch sea level rise (I have to assume that since anthropogenic global warming has only been a factor in the past few decades that we should only talk about a sea level rise in that period of time) on an island formed by the effluent of the Ganges and Brahmaputra Rivers might not have been more affected by the forces of erosion in the delta than by sea level rise. Ockham's Razor.

I'm not questioning the "reality" you describe that the island has disappeared. I question the assertion that it's because of global warming. Dr. Sugata Hazra may have done a bang-up job of measuring sea level rise over a period of decades, but how does that support the conclusion?

Steve Erbach
The Town Crank

GuS said...

believe it or not it's happening, and if ppl continue thinking like you do, i mean, if ppl do not realize global warming is dangerous and may cause some weird shit around the globe it will get even worse, maybe to do an irreversible point.
here in my area we been experiencing some crazy weather over the past years, you see, 40 years ago we used to have a cold weather for today's standards, during winter time we used to get down to 0°C or 32ºF, nowadays, we hardly get below 12ºC or 50ºF + on summer time we now get twice as much rain as we used to and the floods are becomingo worse every year.
this current month we had in 2 days, the rain we would normally have in the whole month of december.
in july, our winter, we had temperatures over 40ºC or over 90ºF , when the normal should be around 5ºC!
when i graduated from the university 4 years ago, i did my research project in the southernmost city of the world, ushuaia, in argentina, there i was able to see how the weather is actually changing, because differently from where i live the region is almost unhabitated and its right under the ozon layer hole. it was pretty sad seeing pictures of an area where the glaciers once existed everywhere down to only one left (glaciar luiz martial) which was reduced to less than a 10th than what it was some 80 years ago...
so believe it or not, it's happening!
it's time for ppl like you to wake up, things are changing and it's just the beggining.. who knows when or where the next change will take place...
it could be your area, or island, or country. it doesn't really take too much to vannish with a whole state or city, deppending on where you live, it's just a matter of months without rain, snow, or with plenty of them.

good luck to you guys,

GuS - São Paulo - Brazil

Steve Erbach said...

GuS,

I am doubly flattered that someone from São Paulo would leave a comment on my humble (yet deadly accurate) blog. Thank you!

When you refer to "it's happening" what is it you're talking about? You mention the ozone hole, glaciers melting, floods, weather changes...

Lets take melting glaciers, for example. Some are melting and some are increasing in size. What are we to make of that? For every scientific paper that chronicles the retreat of glaciers in one place, there's another that chronicles the increase of glaciers in another place. This is not in dispute.

What is in dispute is the level of damage being visited upon the environment from anthropogenic causes as well as actually determining which causes are anthropogenic and which are not.

» it's time for ppl like you to wake up «

Since you raised the issue, I feel no qualms about saying that that sort of approach proves that those that claim the moral high ground in the environmental / global warming debates are mainly interested in shutting up "ppl" like me and satisfying their own desire for power.

I will defer to Lord Monckton, Viscount of Brenchley, who reminds us in America of what scientific dissent actually means: "Sceptics and those who have the courage to support them are actually helpful in getting the science right. They do not ... 'obfuscate' the issue: they assist in clarifying it by challenging weaknesses in the 'consensus' argument, and they compel necessary corrections."

No matter what anyone says, concensus about anthropogenic global warming is not science.

Anonymous said...

Strange how climate-change alarmists always look at the glass as half empty instead of half full, assuming their theory of man-induced climate change is correct. I mean is it really a good idea to live mere inches above sea level? Particularly when you live in an area subject to hurricanes or typhoons? Do rising temperatures necessarily mean doom and gloom? Wooly Mammoths were wiped out 10,000 years ago by rising temperatures which made North America the inhabitable region it is today. Was that a bad thing?

Check out the following link for a great set of videos made by scientists who don’t buy the current theory touted as fact.

http://www.friendsofscience.org/index.php?ide=3

Dorian

Anonymous said...

That should read "which made North America the habitable region it is today." instead of inhabitable.

Sorry

Dorian

Steve Erbach said...

Dorian,

I appreciate the links very much. Thank you.

Also, I'll let you get away with substituting inhabitable for habitable. Not much difference in the dictionary definitions...

Habitable: capable of being lived in; suitable for habitation

Inhabitable, adjective form of the verb, inhabit: to occupy as a place of settled residence or habitat; live in

Thanks for your comments.

Steve Erbach
The Town Crank

RobC said...

Neither did I when I read it! Found your article while digging up the dirt on Geoffry Dimwitt.
http://fexii.blogspot.com/2006/12/island-missing-presumed-lost-by-faux.html
I really hate it when journalists do not get the facts right just to get a sensational headline, thank goodness we now have the WWW to howl our disgust at junk journalim and junk science.
And Carl, where is Steve being ignorant? The journalist that wrote the original article was innorant and lazy to boot for not doing a ounce of fact checking. Steve did way more digging than he ever did.

carlp said...

robc, I agree the article was poorly written and did not give enough details. Not sure what sort of fact checking you think Steve did, but it's still a fact that the island sank due the sea levels rising from those who've actually studied and been to the area. Until one of you submit some other proof - besides theories without any actual observations - that directly dispute the research done by Dr. Hazra I'll stick with the sea level rising explanation and real scientists.

Thanks,

Carl

Steve Erbach said...

Carl,

I have no problem with "real scientists". What I have a problem with is when those "real scientists" conclude that anthropogenic global warming is the root cause for the phenomena under observation.

Steve Erbach
The Town Crank

noiv said...

I agree, what the Independent published at Christmas targets symbolic effects, only. But who really expects science stuff in newspapers December 24th?

Whether, anthropogenic global warming is the root cause for the phenomena under observationWell, that's a contradiction. What you have to see and will convince you of Global Warming. Red rain? Ice free north pole?

But asking for the root, do you still think C02 does not heat up atmosphere?

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