CSP – getting it wrong….again

Yet again, Geoffrey Brown, the official blogger for the Climate Sceptics Party has done a blind cut and paste job without checking to see how accurate what he has pasted is. In this case it was a paper published by Murray Ford in the Journal of Coastal Research. It discusses the implications of anthropogenic alterations to shorelines in the wake of anticipated sealevel rise in Majuro Atoll in the Marshall Islands. Here is his post

Sea Level Rise ~ a spurious notion?

From CO2 Science, a new paper published in the Journal of Coastal Research
Ford, M. 2012. Shoreline changes on an urban atoll in the central Pacific Ocean: Majuro Atoll, Marshall Islands. Journal of Coastal Research 28: 11-22.

What was learned
The University of Hawaii researcher reports that the rural lagoon shore of Majuro Atoll has been predominantly eroding, but that the ocean-facing shore has been largely accreting, and at a much faster rate. In addition, he finds that “shoreline change within the urban area of Majuro has been largely driven by widespread reclamation for a mix of residential, commercial and industrial activities.” Thus, “despite a rising sea level,” he finds that “the landmass of Majuro has persisted and, largely because of reclamation, increased in size.”

What it means
Ford concludes by noting that as an atoll population increases, “further demands are placed on the limited land available,” and he says that in the case of Majuro Atoll, “it is likely that land reclamation will continue to satisfy this demand,” noting that “the notion that sea level rise is a singular driver of shoreline change along atolls is spurious,” while stating that “adopting such a notion is an impediment to the sustainable management of coastal resources within urban atolls.”
Inhabitants of Tuvalu (and other island states) … take note!

The idea of this cut and paste job is to paint a couple of pictures. First, he is trying to show that through anthropogenic processes, sealevel rise can be beaten.  After all, the landmass has “increased in size”,”despite rising sea levels”.  Aren’t we humans clever?
The second thing is the cherrypicked and misplaced quote that “the notion that sealevel rise……….is spurious and adopting such a notion…………..within urban atolls.” Far from being Ford’s conclusion, this little gem appeared in the discussion and in the context of future projections of island stability based on past shorelines and rightly so. There is nothing controversial in this statement. Of course all things must be taken into consideration and that is what Ford is doing. Nowhere does he give examples of published papers that have adopted that “spurious” approach. The way it has been taken out of context and dropped into the conclusion is a serious misrepresentation and right up Geoffrey’s alley for that very reason.  So, what exactly does Ford conclude? Before reading the conclusion in its entirety below, just go back and read what Geoffrey has reposted as Ford’s conclusion again.



The landmass of Majuro atoll is dynamic, shaped by the continual morphodynamic adjustment of shorelines in response to changes in physical and biological processes. Within recent history, anthropogenic activities have been the dominant processes driving coastal change, with results showing that the majority of villages, both urban and rural, have increased in size (93%). The dominant mode of shoreline change has been through the reclamation along both ocean and lagoon coasts within the urban area. Up to 22 ha of additional land had been added to some villages through construction of an airport, causeways, and landfills and reclamation for residential, commercial, and industrial activities.

Despite a rising sea level, the landmass of Majuro has persisted and, largely because of reclamation, increased in size. The question as to whether the drivers of this trend persist is a necessary focal point for future work, both in Majuro and on reef and atoll islands in general. As a population increases, further demands are placed on the limited land available. It is likely that land reclamation will continue to satisfy this demand. However, the continued expansion of urban atolls through reclamation is in need of critical examination—from the perspective not only of sustainability but also of vulnerability. High-density residential and commercial activities on often poorly designed and constructed reclamation ultimately increase vulnerability of atoll islands to coastal hazards, with such hazards likely to be further amplified by future sea level rise.

I would say that what the author has said is somewhat different to what Geoffrey and his ilk would have people believe. I just don’t understand why they are so deceitful? I think Bill Maher summed it up beautifully in one of his monologues when he suggested Al Gore should bring out a sequel and call it “An Inconvenient Truth 2: what the fuck is wrong with you?”

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