Monthly Archives: March 2014

Sea Level Questions Continue

Yesterday, I read a piece in our local newspaper discussing the problems rising sea level will cause.   Built into the article were two assumptions, both of which are probably  incorrect.

  • Assumption 1 – Sea level could rise by as much as a meter by the year 2100
  • Assumption 2 – Man can take actions to alter this in some significant way.

When I look at sea level data I see confusion.   Today was no exception.   My inquiry began with a look at Satellite data courtesy of  Colorado University.

Sea level, according to CU, is rising at a rate of about 3.2 millimeters a year (plus or minus 12.5%).  That’s about an 1/8 of an inch per year or about a foot per century.  Plus or minus an inch or two.  Not exactly a meter, but coastal regions will have difficulties.  Sea level has been rising since the Little Ice Age ended some 250 years ago.   If I had land in Key West, I’d be worried.

But sea level in Key West isn’t rising at 3.2mm/yr, it’s rising at 2.24 mm/yr.  And the trend has been steady for the 100 years of the data.

chart: Mean Sea Level Trend, 8724580 - Key West, Florida

Key West may be under water at some date in the future, but the rate of change appears to be much less than predicted by IPCC scientists.  I suppose Key West could be an oddity, but it’s unlikely.   I visited the NOAA web site and checked many places I thought might be interesting.   Places like Bermuda, Honolulu, San Francisco, Venice.   Yep, Venice, well Trieste, it’s just across the bay.

http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sltrends/trends/270-061.png

Trieste’s rate is less than 40% of the Satellite predicted rate.

1.24/3.4 = .397 or 39.7%

The margin for error is half the satellite data rate (.2 mm vs .4mm)

Every place I checked  had a trend rate that was less than the satellite data.   In most cases the predicted margin for error was less than the satellite data too.    A few select data points have a longer history too. I tabulated the results

City                                            rate of change       data history

San Francisco                             2.01 mm/yr       160 years                                              Honolulu                                       1.50 mm/yr       110 years                                                     New York                                     2.77 mm/yr       120 years                                                 Bermuda                                       2.04 mm/yr         70 years                                          Narvik, Norway                       -2.06 mm/yr          60 years                                          Cochin, India                              1.71 mm/yr          70 years                                                Hong Kong                                  2.92 mm/yr          60 years                                        Nagasaki, Japan                        2.20 mm/yr         45 years                                          Sydney, Australia                     0.65 mm/yr         130 years                                     Auckland, New Zealand         1.29 mm/yr         120 years

This data doesn’t tell the full story of the confusion.  Individual sites provide lots of conflicting data.   Honolulu has been trending down since about 2002:

chart: Mean Sea Level Trend, 1612340 - Honolulu, Hawaii

The NOAA presentation of the Bermuda data a bit odd:

chart: Mean Sea Level Trend, 2695540 - Bermuda,

Most of the increase shown in Bermuda happened before 1960.  Had the data set begun in 1955 instead of 1934 the trend line would have shown nearly no net change.  Sea level rose fairly rapidly from 193o until 1955 and has been relatively stable since then.  Go figure.

Virtually every city I checked showed a less ominous looking trend line than the satellite data.  This land based data has it’s limitations.   Many international cities have tiny data sets, particularly in South America and Africa.   Only one data point exists for all of Antarctica

chart: Mean Sea Level Trend, 999-003 - Argentine Islands, Antarctica

I would argue that the Antarctica data doesn’t really suggest a trend but NOAA calculates the trend at  1.43mm/yr.  When I look at the data I see no net changes since 1960.  Sounds kind of like Bermuda’s data to me?

Something is wrong.   Every land site I checked showed less overall change than the satellite data.   How can that be?   The satellite data is an average for the whole world.   Some specific locations should be higher and some places should be lower.

Northern locations like Alaska and Norway are showing reduced sea level due to reduced gravitational pull from the Arctic Ice Sheet (presumably).  Where are the equatorial places that are compensating for that reduction?   I can’t make sense of the data.   Satellite data and measurements at land interfaces don’t tell the same story.

Sea level is extraordinarily difficult to calculate.   Sea level changes in one part of the world can take years and years  to impact the ecosystem.  I understand that storms and changing ice sheets impact the data.  Change that can take decades to correct.

WHY is the satellite data very nearly ALWAYS significantly higher than the land data?

The Satellite data has been higher every year since the data began in 1993.   Every year! Most places I have checked disagree by about 1 mm per year.  After 20 years of data the sources disagree with each other by about 20 mm.  or about .78 inches.  The longer this condition exists, the less I trust the data sets.

It really is difficult to make accurate predictions about sea level if you don’t have the ability to accurately graph the underlying trend line.  Sea level, almost certainly,  has been rising since the end of the Little Ice Age some 250 years ago.  But by how much?   Almost no statistical data exists before the Civil War. I suspect SWAG.

Sea level has been steadily rising for probably 250 years.   How much has been man’s impact? I don’t know and I’ll go a step further…nobody knows!

I am not convinced that we have the tools necessary to accurately predict the future course of events as it relates to sea level.    Sea level appears to be an indicator that follows rather than leads climate change.   How much of today’s changes in sea level were impacted by global temperatures of 20 or 50 or 100 years ago?  I don’t know.  I see guessing here, there and everywhere.

IPCC scientists might have the trends right….but even that is…I fear …. a guess.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

An Alaska Welcome — Snow

Last Thursday I had images of Spring in my head.  My three weeks in Hawaii had come to an end and the snow in Anchorage was disappearing rapidly.   Friday was a glorious wonderful warm sunny March day….and then it snowed.  I was sitting in my breakfast room eating dinner when it started.   Overnight we got 20 inches of snow.  Snow that had not been predicted.  Alaska was welcoming me home.

Alaska is a tough place to predict weather.   Anchorage has mountains to the East, and sea water to the west.   This part of the world has few weather stations so the only data available is courtesy of satellites.   Weather men get fooled all the time.  This was the second snow storm the weather guru’s had missed in a month.

My daughter lives in New York City.   She grew up in Alaska, which gives her a different perspective.  We have had more than a few discussions on the regional differences in the good ole USA.   New Yorkers appear to have forgotten how to deal with Winter.   They have become weather wimps.   A little snow and it’s panic city.  Everything shuts down.

Allow me to use last Saturday as an example.   When I awoke to 20 inches of snow in my driveway, I did make a change in plans.   I ate breakfast at home.  When the sun came up, I fired up my snow blower and plowed my driveway.   At about 11, I drove over to my daughters house (about 2 miles away), shoveled snow off her car and brought her car back to my house where I parked it in the garage.   I thought a warm car would be a nice surprise for her.

At about 2:45 PM we went to the airport and picked up my daughter and her family.   They were returning from a week in Florida.   The 11 mile each way drive was uneventful.  The plane arrived a few minutes early.   Later in the day, my wife and I went out for a nice dinner.   The next morning, my street had been plowed and most of the major roads in the city were clear.  Life returned to normal.

The Airport did close for a few hours  late Friday night due to poor visibility, but only a few flights were cancelled.   A United flight from Chicago was diverted to Kenai and a few flights to Fairbanks got cancelled.   UPS and FedEx both have hubs in Anchorage and they operated with only a slight hick-up.

I can’t begin to imagine NYC functioning at anything approaching normal for several days after 20 inches of unanticipated snow.  Let’s hope that global warming really is here to stay, because I don’t think New Yorkers are ready for a return to the colder weather of just 40 years ago.

Hawaii Travel Tips – part 2 – Food Tips

Hawaii is a marvelous mixture of many food types, courtesy of the many cultures that thrive there.  My favorites include:

  • Portuguese Sausage.   I have had similar sausages made in other places, but the Hawaiian concoction is my favorite.   McDonald’s serves it a a breakfast meat.
  • Portuguese Bean Soup.  Yummy.  Cinnamon’s Restaurant is my favorite place for Portuguese Bean Soup, but Cinnamon’s is in Kailua and is popular with the locals.  Expect to wait a while, particularly on weekends.   Lots of places make an acceptable version.  Give it a try.
  • Teri beef, pork or chicken.  Yeah, I know,  it’s a Japanese dish, but it’s everywhere in Hawaii.  I grew up munching on teri beef sandwiches after a day at the beach.   Lunch wagons, fast food restaurants, and even relatively nice restaurants feature the stuff.
  • Saimin is a noodle dish similar to Ramen served in a broth with lots of other stuff thrown in.  My favorite place to get Saimin is Zippy’s.   Zippy’s offers both sit down and counter service.  Sit down and order my personal favorite, Chicken Katsu Curry Saimin.  I really like the way the curry flavors the broth.  A full meal for less than $8.  Zippy’s has about 5 different types of Saimin and they are all good.  And Cheap.
  • Kalbi.  Korean barbecue ribs.  Yummy.
  • Katsu Chicken, another yummy treat courtesy of Korea.
  • Mahi Mahi.  I like it dipped in egg batter and fried.  It makes a good sandwich or a main course at dinner.
  • Ahi in some form.  Yellow fin tuna (Ahi) is served raw as Sashimi or Poki (both are available at Costco) and cooked as sandwiches and as a main course in restaurants.  I like my Ahi charred rare with a nice spicy dipping sause.

Spice-Rubbed Seared Tuna Steaks with Balsamic Reduction

You have probably noticed a dearth of Hawaiian Food.   I’m not a fan, but if you’re a first time visitor give some a try.  It’s definitely different.  A worthwhile experience.

I tolerate Lau Lau

and enjoy Kalua Pork.

I avoid poi

Lomi Lomi Salmon  and Haupia.  Lomi is just too salty for me, and I have never been a fan of coconut, so Haupia fails to make it for me as a dessert.

Some odd American concoctions are available too.   I’d avoid Spam, it’s everywhere.  And Vienna Sausage too.   And then there’s a uniquely Hawaiian Breakfast sure to give you a heart attack, the Loco Moco.

Loco Moco Plate

Two scoops of rice topped with a hamburger patty, a fried egg and gravy.   It’s everywhere and I must admit I have never even considered eating one.   Rice and gravy for breakfast is just not my thing.

Hawaii Travel Tips

Tomorrow I leave the Islands after a 3 week stay.   I am ever amazed by the number of people that visit Honolulu and never leave Waikiki.   Hawaii is so much more.  Rent a car or book a tour.  Take a city bus.  But go.

And there are so many great places to visit.

The Tripadvisor Oahu top ten is a good place to start.  10 popular destinations.   I’ve been to all of them at one time or another in my years spent in Hawaii.   Each is a good place to visit.  I haven’t been to most of them in years and years.  It’s not what I do when I go to Oahu.   I sight-see, eat in my favorite restaurants, and walk at my favorite places.

  • I like the trail inside Diamond Head.  Lots of cool stuff including old WWII bunkers.  It can  be crowded and hot, so go early in the day.
  • A walk around Ala Moana Park including Magic Island (not really an island) is a short walk from Waikiki and a great place to walk in the evening.  And the Friday night fireworks look good from there.
  • I love walking on Kailua Beach.  My favorite beach in Hawaii.   A trip to the Island that does not include a walk on Kailua Beach is a bit of a disappointment.   Go at low tide for the best walking.
  • The Malaekalana Recreation Area is a wonderful undiscovered Oahu gem.   A beautiful stretch of beach that is never crowded.
  • I try not to miss the short hike up to Makapuu Point Lighthouse.

The scenery is spectacular.

And I go mostly on weekdays.   Oahu literally means The Gathering Place in Hawaiian.  80% of Hawaii’s million plus population live on Oahu. Places that are relatively quiet on weekdays are crowded with locals on weekends.  Popular beaches (like Hanauma Bay) are crowded every day, but just a few miles up the road is Bellows, a beautiful beach that is nearly empty on weekdays.

Hawaii is an Island, and the perimeter roads are circular.   The result, nobody seems to know which way is North.  North moves around.  The mountains (Mauka in Hawaiian) are to the North in Honolulu, but to the South in Kaneohe.

And the city fathers were, shall we say, creative in their use of directional labels on streets.   North King Street is West of downtown is South King Street is East of downtown.  East Manoa Road is East of Manoa Road, but both Manoa and East Manoa run in a northerly direction.

Local directions are given using reference points.  Head Mauka or Makai (towards the ocean) or perhaps toward Diamond Head or perhaps Pearl Harbor.  As one moves around the Island, the references change.   Once you know where the local landmarks are, it’s easy.

Two mountain ranges run diagonally from Southeast to Northwest and there is a large central plain in between.  The Koolau Mountains separate Honolulu from Kailua and the windward side.   The Waianae Mountains run all along the western coast.  Northeasterly trade winds dominate normal weather.   The windward shore including most of of the Koolau Mountains are wet, the West shore is hot and much drier.

The map that follows has one important flaw.  THERE IS NO ROAD around Kaena Point (the western most point on the island).   The road has been impassable since the late 1960’s.  I have no idea why it is shown as  a road.

And the road across the Waianae Mountains (route 780) traverses military lands and is only open one day a year.

https://i0.wp.com/www.aaccessmaps.com/images/maps/us/hi/oahu/oahu.gif

If you rent a car and want to view the dramatic scenery there are 3 basic choices.

  1. Tour the East end of the Island
  2. Visit the West shore
  3. Tour the stuff in the middle.

My favorite relatively short one day trip covers the East end of the island.   Take Kalakaua Ave. toward Diamond Head until the road ends, then follow Diamond Head Road into Kahala.  Work your way up to H1 East.  When the freeway ends you will be on the Kalanianiole Highway, the main road around the East end of the Island.

Possible stops include Hanauma Bay, the Blow Hole, Sandy Beach, the Makapuu Point Lighthouse, Makapuu Beach, Sea Life Park, Waimanalo Beach, Bellows Beach and Kailua town.  The stretch of road from Hanauma Bay to Waimanalo is spectacularly beautiful.   Pull off the road a few times and take in the view.   On a clear day you can see Molokai in the distance, and if the humidity is low you can see Maui too.

I like to stop at Hanauma Bay,

Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve Park, Honolulu, HI

just to look at the spectacular view, then stop again at some point along  the road before Sandy Beach.  If the surf is high, the Blow Hole is a fun choice.

Next is the Makapuu Lighthouse parking lot.  The walk to the lighthouse and back takes about an hour.  After a lunch in Kailua town,

I’m ready for Kailua Beach before heading back to town.