Tag Archive: Kiribati


Kirbati is going to drown! Or maybe not.

Kiribati, just like many other small islands, is frequently used to illustrate the “devastation” that sea level rise is causing (or will cause) from climate change. The only problem is that the data doesn’t support the rhetoric.

I’ve  been tracking Kiribati sea level for a while now, but this time when updating my data, I thought I would check  all stations available from Bom and from PSMSL for Kiribati. I down loaded the mean sea level data from 5 separate stations with good overlap stretching back to 1949. Using the most consistent data, I have adjusted each data set for differing locations using 1804 station as my base, and using the average difference on the overlaps to recalculate a long record.

Here are the five original data sets from Kiribati

Kiribati Sea Level 5 stations 1949 to 2013

The trends of each tide gauge is interesting too. Some going up, some going down, and the longest two of the five, are as flat as the Hay Plain.

Kiribati Sea Level 5 stations 1949 to 2013 with trend

Once the other stations are normalised to the 1804 station, we get a better picture of what has happened over the entire record.  Although there are many variables in comparing different locations, this at least gives a decent indication of what is going on over a longer time frame.

Kiribati Sea Level 5 stations 1949 to 2013 normalised to 1804

So here it is. A composite reconstruction from the various tide gauges around the Kiribati Island group with the indicated trend.

Kiribati Sea Level 5 stations 1949 to 2013 final with trend

So we get a positive trend over this period, and yes, the ocean level has risen, but not by very much. Less than 1mm per year (0.8mm). This is a much reduced rate compared to what I calculated a year ago (1.52mm).  So the long term rate has reduced dramatically, and will continue to fall if the current 12 year negative trend continues. It will be interesting to watch as a possible El Nino develops this year.  They tend to produce very low sea levels around the west Pacific Islands.

kiribati sea level 2001 to 2014 10 mm neg trend v2

Of course no one really knows where it will head next, however one thing is for sure, there is absolutely no correlation to atmospheric carbon dioxide, and particularly the human contribution.

JTF62

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?

JTF

Update May 2013:

Time lapse Kiribati Island

Kiribati Google