2013-05-02 / Letters to the Editor

Numbers for sea-level rise are way off base

I am a research geologist with the University of California-Santa Barbara who just moved permanently to Jamestown. I have taken vacations here all my life. Half of my work is related to past climates in one way or another.

The article on climate change reported by Ken Shane, based in large part on presentations at the North Kingstown Free Library, seemed reasonable until the second to last paragraph, where it seems to go off the deep end, literally (“Experts say climate change isn’t looming, it’s already occurring,” April 25).

The first two sentences of this paragraph do not make sense. The third sentence, “Current projections estimate there will be 5.1 feet of sea-level rise at the Newport buoy by 2030, and 12.2 feet by 2050.” That is extremely unlikely. In my opinion, it’s virtually impossible.

The Newport tide-gauge rate of apparent sea-level rise since 1930, as shown in a 2012 figure from Jamestown resident Jon Boothroyd, would give an apparent rise of 4 inches, not 12 feet, projected in 2050.

Various scientific publications suggest that the global rate of sealevel rise has doubled in the last decade, due to increased melting of the Greenland ice cap. But half of the apparent rise at the Newport tide gauge is related to the fact that Rhode Island is sinking. The Newport tide gauge shows no increase in the rate of apparent sea-level rise except possibly after 2007.

Christopher Sorlien
Clinton Avenue

Editor’s note: The numbers in the paragraph referenced above were published incorrectly due to an editing mistake. It should have been in inches, not feet. A correction appears on Page 2.

Return to top