KiribatiBob Carr was in the news last week announcing that the Australian government is going to support Kiribati with A$15 million to help fight the effects of “climate change”

Now, I have nothing against helping our Pacific neighbours, but to blame it on climate change and sea level rise is a bit of a stretch.   If they are having problems with erosion or fresh water issues, as they may be, would it not be better to actually identify the reason behind it first, before sinking (literally) millions of Aussie dollars into the Island?  A simple look at the sea level record which is collated by the BOM, should show what is going on with the ocean around Kiribati.

The complete sea level record for Kiribati, shows a positive trend of 3.17mm per year.  1992 to Jan 2013.

Kiribati sea level 2012 with trend

But a closer look at this graph though, shows a big dip in sea level in 1998. This is the result of the massive El Niño which reduced the sea level for a limited period in the western pacific.  This is what has actually created the positive trend over this period.  Prior to, and since the El Niño, the trend is essentially flat as the following shows.

Kiribati sea level 92 to 97

Kiribati sea level 2000 to 2012

Puzzling, isn’t it. The global sea levels are rising year on year for the last 100 years or more (according to the official data) yet sea levels around Kiribati and Tuvalu are pretty well static.  Some one is not telling the whole truth here.

Do Australian politicians actually know what they are talking about?


Update May 2013:

Time lapse Kiribati Island

Kiribati Google