Wednesday, March 24, 2010

OMG we're all going to drown!!!111!!11

A shame to see supposedly reputable sites like the BBC credulously swallowing this nonsense:

"Global warming claims a tiny island disputed by India and Bangladesh in the Bay of Bengal, scientists say."

(that line is actually the lead from the front page, it doesn't appear in the story, but the sense of it does)

The "island" in question is a sandbank in a river delta that only appeared in 1970 following a storm: it reached 2m above sea level at its zenith but has now pretty much vanished. Clearly, sea level has not risen anything like 2m in the last 40 years, so the whole story is complete nonsense from start to finish. Anyone who has lived near a shallow sandy coast or river delta will have seen how the topography shifts gradually or even rapidly, due primarily to storms and waves shifting around the sediments. The main scientist quoted appears to be a nobody making up stuff for the sake of some headlines.

Of course we've been here before with this nonsense Lean article from a few years ago. Oh, I see it's the same scientist behind that too. Ho hum.


andrewt said...

Ok but you have to admit sea level changes are a worry when you havemillions of people living precariously among mangroves - at least thats my impression of the situation from Amitav Ghosh's novel The Hungry Tide which is a good read - but not exactly reference material.

C W Magee said...

If they cut down all the trees in the Ganges river system, can they increase sedimentation to the point where it compensates for sea level rise?

On a completely unrelated note, do any of you guys know much about ozone? I found the IPCC report hard to understand.

James Annan said...

Sedimentation rate depends on a lot of things, including most famously the presence or absence of the regular floods that built and maintain the deltas in the first place (think New Orleans). This is precisely why the deltas are such low-lying areas - it's not just a coincidence!

I bet that undisturbed, they would be able to keep pace with moderate sea level rise. But as things stand, AGW is a handy scapegoat for inadequate planning and unsustainable infrastructure.

crf said...

Don't worry.

They'll follow up with a new story:

Headline: Scientists WRONG again.

Predictions made by Scientist of sea level rise as explantion for Islands' disappearance questioned by skeptics.

David B. Benson said...

I predict that the delta of the NIle will retreat considerably to the south.

C W Magee said...

The Ganges system isn't heavily dammed (yet), so that shouldn't be a problem. And if the glaciers continue to melt, they should provide a significant source of fine clastics...

Scruffy Dan said...

Ugh... Nature has fallen or this as well.

I expect better from them.