Tag Archive: Pacific Islands sinking

Kiribati – Sinking Yet?

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, the seas around Kiribati are rising at 3.1mm per year and they expect this will continue until the end of the century. Making the total rise from 2003, to be over half a metre. Really?  The info they used is from the IPCC 2007 report which used data from 1993 to 2003 to get this projection (and it is a global projection btw). Cherry picking anyone?  Tide gauge data for Kiribati is available all the way back to 1949, and clearly contradicts the information on display from the UoCS.

Kiribati sea level 2016The combined tide gauges sea level rate around Kiribati (raw data is publically available) is 1mm per year (my calculation 1949 to 2016).

Here is what the UoCS are suggesting is going to happen, compared to the reality of the data.

Kiribati SL Actual vs Projected 2016

And they call themselves scientists.

For reference, here is the updated graph with all the individual tide gauges for Kiribati. Normalised to the Bom 1804 station.

Kiribati Spliced Sea Level 1949 to 2016



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.


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



Is Tuvalu sinking yet?

Breaking news!

Tuvalu is not sinking!

Since all the drama in years gone by about Tuvalu disappearing beneath the waves and displacing all of those “climate refugees”, what has happened to the poor sinking Island?  Nothing apparently.  Sea levels have not been increasing around the Island in spite of the best efforts to change sea level gauge locations and tacking on satellite data onto the record.  In recent years the level has actually been falling. Fancy that!

But, according to the last report from the Australian Government, the sea is rising rapidly.

This taken from: Tuvalu chapter, Climate Change in the Pacific: Volume 2: Country Reports. Australia Government: Pacific Climate Change Science Program. 2011.

15.6.6 Sea Level

Monthly averages of the historical
tide gauge, satellite (since 1993) and
gridded sea-level (since 1950) data
agree well after 1993 and indicate
inter-annual variability in sea levels of
about 26 cm (estimated 5–95% range)
after removal of the seasonal cycle
(Figure 15.10). The sea-level rise near
Tuvalu measured by satellite altimeters
(Figure 15.6) since 1993 is about
5 mm per year, larger than the global
average of 3.2 ± 0.4 mmper year. This
rise is partly linked to a pattern related
to climate variability from year to year
and decade to decade (Figure 15.10)”

5mm per year?  Where on this planet do they get that figure from?  Below is the tide gauge data at Tuvalu from late 1993 to 2012.  You see for yourself how the level has changed (or not).  Looks pretty flat to me.

Tuvalu Sea level data

Statistically, there has been a bit of a rise, due to the start point of this data and because of the effect of the massive 1998 El Niño which is on the left side of the graph.

Since mid 1999 though, there has been absolutely no increase in sea level. Dead flat!

Sea level around Tuvalu has actually been falling since 2001. Ten years plus of sea level fall while C02 has been increasing year on year.

Here is the data from earlier years.  Very difficult to see any trend in either direction really.

sea levels at Tuvalu prior to 2000

Further reading

History of sea level recording at Tuvalu.

Is Tuvalu sinking because of Sea Level Rise