In his claim that there has been no sea level rise around Fiji, Leo Leitch ('Time and tide,' letters March 3) relies on the pseudo-scientific work in that area by Nils-Axel Morner and Pamela Matlack-Klein, who he describes as experts in their fields.

They are nothing of the sort with regard to climate science.

Both are associated with the CO2 Coalition, a climate science denial group with links to US President Trump's denialist administration. This outfit has been funding work to sow doubt that low-lying islands in the Pacific are at risk from rising sea levels.

These so-called expert researchers, of which Morner is a well-known climate science denier, have targeted little known "open access" journals with dubious quality controls to get their work published.


It was the CO2 Coalition (an organisation which wrongly denies the influence of rising CO2 on global heating) which funded the Morner/Matlack-Klein 2017 work in Fiji. Kurt Lambeck, Professor of Geophysics at the Australian National University, said all their papers had appeared in journals "of little academic standing," and that "none would have passed the reviewing process for more reputable journals."

He said two papers which appeared in journals published by a company called Scientific Research Publishing were "trivial," and added "no insight into either the evidence for sea level change nor on coastal erosion processes" beyond what was already well known.

Lambeck also says that significantly, in order for Morner to make his arguments about changing sea levels, he had ignored other well-known research in respected journals.

For sound current climate science go to the US National Academy of Sciences' and the Royal Society's just published Climate Change: Evidence and Causes: Update 2020. (See for free download).

They report that long-term measurements of tide gauges and recent satellite data show that sea level is rising at an annual average global rate over the last decade of 3.6mm per year. The rate of rise has increased since measurements using space technology were started in 1992, with the dominant factor since 1970 being human-caused warming.

This sea level rise has been driven by expansion of water volume as the oceans warm, melting of mountain glaciers in all regions of the world, and mass losses from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, all of these resulting from a warming climate.

They state that if carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases continue to increase on their current trajectories, it is projected that sea level may rise, at minimum, by a further 0.4 to 0.8m by 2100, although future ice sheet melt could make these values considerably higher.

Also a new study, published in 'Nature Climate Change,' has reported that sea level rise is a looming crisis threatening coastal societies, livelihoods and coastal ecosystems, and that the world will lose almost half of its valuable sandy beaches by 2100 as the ocean moves landward with rising sea. That will be within the expected lifetime of someone born today.


Leo Leitch grossly misinforms Northland Age readers with what he dredges from his climate science denialist sources.

Ross Forbes