By Maxim Lott
June 17, 2011
Is climate change raising sea levels, as Al Gore has argued — or are climate scientists doctoring the data?
The University of Colorado’s Sea Level Research Group decided in May to add 0.3 millimeters — or about the thickness of a fingernail — every year to its actual measurements of sea levels, sparking criticism from experts who called it an attempt to exaggerate the effects of global warming.
“Gatekeepers of our sea level data are manufacturing a fictitious sea level rise that is not occurring,” said James M. Taylor, a lawyer who focuses on environmental issues for the Heartland Institute.
Steve Nerem, the director of the widely relied-upon research center, told FoxNews.com that his group added the 0.3 millimeters per year to the actual sea level measurements because land masses, still rebounding from the ice age, are rising and increasing the amount of water that oceans can hold.
“We have to account for the fact that the ocean basins are actually getting slightly bigger… water volume is expanding,” he said, a phenomenon they call glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA).
Taylor calls it tomfoolery.
“There really is no reason to do this other than to advance a political agenda,” he said.