Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Truth About Nuclear Power - Part 12

Subtitle: Nuclear plants cannot provide cheap power on small islands
This article explores the idea of using nuclear power plants to reduce the power prices on
Island in the South Pacific
numerous islands.
  The evidence shows that nuclear power would increase the power prices, not decrease them. 
Previously, the articles on The Truth About Nuclear Power showed that (one) modern nuclear power plants are uneconomic to operate compared to natural gas and wind energy, (two) they produce preposterous pricing if they are the sole power source for a grid, (three) they cost far too much to construct, (four) use far more water for cooling, 4 times as much, than better alternatives, (five) nuclear fuel makes them difficult to shut down and requires very costly safeguards, (six) they are built to huge scale of 1,000 to 1,600 MWe or greater to attempt to reduce costs via economy of scale, (seven) an all-nuclear grid will lose customers to self-generation, (eight) smaller and modular nuclear plants have no benefits, (nine) large-scale plants have very long construction schedules even without lawsuits that delay construction, (ten) nuclear plants do not reach 50 or 60 years life because they require costly upgrades after 20 to 30 years that do not always perform as designed, and (eleven) France has 85 percent of its electricity produced via nuclear power but it is subsidized, is still almost twice as expensive as prices in the US, and is only viable due to exporting power at night rather than throttling back the plants during low demand.   

As written almost 5 years ago on SLB, Nuclear Plants on Islands – A Nutty Idea, see link, there are no nuclear power plants located on islands that have approximately 1 million population.  Such islands could easily support power from a 1,000 MW reactor.  The construction costs are far too high, one plant is far too inflexible in operations, and it is cheaper for islanders to import fuel oil or LNG and generate power that way.  Using fossil fuel is far safer, too.  So, how about smaller modular plants, perhaps 4 of them at 300 MW each, which allows for one to be down for maintenance.   The reason this is not done is economy of scale pushes the power price far above 60 cents per kWh.  It’s cheaper for the islands to burn fuel oil to generate power and pay 25 cents per kWh.   
Here are the 15 islands with populations from 0.8 million to 1.25 million people, and no nuclear power plants.

Island ……………….population, millions
Hong Kong……………….1.18
Xiamen Island…………...1.08
Sao Luis Island……….…1.08
Trinidad…………………...1.03 (this island has abundant natural gas, so of course is not a candidate)
South Island (NZ)……..…1.008
Grand Canary………..…..0.815
Reunion (France)…….….0.793

The same is true for the five islands with 4 to 5 million population: Singapore, Sicily, Bali, and two in the Philippines.  There, the grid could use one 1,000 MWe nuclear plant and provide roughly one-fourth or one-fifth of the total power.  Or, the utility could build multiple smaller reactors to provide 5 GW of power, 5 at 1GW, 10 at 500 MW, 15 at 333 MW, 20 at 250 MW, etc.  But, they have not.   Power prices would still be far too expensive due to economy of scale.   Larger plants provide lower-cost power, while smaller plants produce more expensive power.  
For the smaller islands listed above, multiple small reactors could also be installed but would increase prices far too much due to economy of scale.
It is notable that two contenders in the small, modular reactor market recently failed to attract any customers or any investors.  See link.  Modular reactors and their various problems were discussed at some length in part 8 of the series.  See link

Despite having to burn imported oil or LNG, the many small islands in the world have not adopted nuclear power as a means of reducing their power prices.  The island of Oahu, for example, charges approximately 25 cents per kWh for power based on oil and a small amount of imported natural gas.  Even if small modular reactors were built to provide operating flexibility, nuclear plants cannot provide cheap power on small islands.  The claim by nuclear advocates that nuclear power is cheap is simply not supported by the evidence of all the islands in the world that presently provide expensive power.  If nuclear were indeed cheaper, the islanders would likely adopt that.  

 Previous articles in the Truth About Nuclear Power series are found at the following links.  Additional articles will be linked as they are published. 

Part Twelve - this article

Roger E. Sowell, Esq.

Marina del Rey, California

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Modular Nuclear Reactor Vendors Cut Funding

Modular reactor developer scales back 

B& W cuts development, funding by 90 percent due to lack of customers and lack of investors.  (Imagine that...)  "Babcock & Wilcox will slash its spending on the mPower
Westinghouse SMR
(small modular reactor) Concept
source: NRC
small modular reactor project, having failed to find customers or investors."  

"With the DoE arrangement now one year old, B&W hoped to have secured a number of utility customers for the small reactor as well as investors keen to take a majority share in its development. Spokesperson Aimee Mills told World Nuclear News that B&W had been unsuccessful in these aims, "There was interest from customers and interest from investors, but none have signed on the dotted line." "

Also, from the same article:   "In February this year (2014) Westinghouse announced it would scale back its development of its 225 MWe small modular reactor design, having lost out in the DoE competition."  see link from World Nuclear News, 4/14/14 

As posted earlier on SLB, small, modular nuclear reactors have little chance (zero, actually) of competing in the market due to the adverse effects of economy of scale (it's more expensive to make smaller plants) that outweigh any benefits from modularized construction.  see link to earlier SLB article. 

Roger E. Sowell, Esq.
Marina del Rey, California

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Truth About Nuclear Power - Part Eleven

Subtitle: Following France in Nuclear is Not the Way to Go

Update 4/15/14:  included comparison of France electricity prices to US prices; included another reference for the EU Commission investigation of low power prices in France. -- Roger

To summarize the first ten articles, it has been shown (one) that modern nuclear power plants are uneconomic to operate compared to natural gas and wind energy, (two) they produce preposterous pricing if they are the sole power source for a grid, (three) cost far too much to construct, (four) use far more water for cooling than better alternatives, (five) nuclear fuel makes them difficult to shut down and requires very costly safeguards, (six) are built to huge scale of
Nuclear Plants in France
source: Wikicommons
1,000 to 1,600 MWe or greater to attempt to reduce costs via economy of scale, (seven) an all-nuclear grid will lose customers to self-generation, (eight) smaller and modular nuclear plants have no benefits, (nine) large-scale plants have very long construction schedules even without lawsuits that delay construction, and (ten) nuclear plants require costly upgrades after 20 to 30 years that do not always perform as designed.

This article, number eleven in the series, discusses a favorite topic of the nuclear proponents, France and their nuclear power plants.  France, they say, has cheap electricity and obtains 80 percent of their electricity from nuclear power plants.  France, they say, actually exports power to other countries.   They say these as if those are good things.  The reality is quite different. 

Nationalized Electric Industry

Just after World War II, France nationalized the electric utility industry.  Until very recently, EDF, the French utility, was government-owned.  It is now a combination of private and government ownership.  see link to EDF website for the company history.   When a country nationalizes an industry, the government has no obligation to pay for the assets, or if it does pay, to pay fair market value.  The country also can, and often does, subsidize the construction of new assets such as nuclear power plants.  This leads to the second point.

Subsidized Power Pricing

France could, and did, set power prices at the point it chose, without any requirement to pay for assets, loans, bonds, or any other fixed costs.  French power pricing reflects the ongoing cost of operation such as fuel, labor, and maintenance.  In effect, the nationalized industry allowed France to subsidize the electric prices, which subsidizing did happen.  see link

There is also the matter of tarTAM,  a subsidized rate for large and medium-sized customers.  This is to be eliminated in 2015, but has been in effect for years.   

French subsidized prices were Investigated for anti-trust by the EU.  (see previous link) 

When one is not required to pay for the capital cost of assets, or can bury the costs within the labyrinth of government coffers, it is easy to charge below-market electricity prices. 

Update 4/15/14:  The EU Commission's report of 2007 of their investigation into power pricing in France concluded: "The Commission has assessed the aid element in the two regulated tariff systems as applied to non-household consumers. It found that these regulated tariffs were financed at least in part through state resources. It also concluded that, as far as the ‘yellow’ and ‘green’ options were concerned, the tariffs conferred a selective benefit on certain non-household consumers and that they affected trade between Member States."  (emphasis added)   source: see link.

In addition, The 2013 prices for electricity in France and the US were, per the IEA 2013 Key World Energy Statistics, slide 43  (see link) :  France industrial power price, 11.6 cents per kWh compared to US at 6.7 cents, and residential price at 17.5 cents per kWh compared to US at 11.9 cents per kWh.   This shows that France, with almost a full nuclear-powered grid, charges approximately double for industrial power (11.6 vs 6.7), and approximately 50 percent more for residential prices (17.5 vs 11.9).   French prices would surely be much higher, if France did not export power but had to throttle back each night, and if subsidies were fully forbidden.   -- End update --  Roger

Export Electricity 

France does indeed export electricity, but it is necessary to investigate to see why this is.  EDF exports power, mainly at night to neighboring countries, to increase production rate and avoid load reductions in the nuclear plants.  This is the problem as described in Part Two of the Series, that being nuclear plants are very difficult to operate and load changing is difficult and dangerous.  

Night exporting to neighboring countries acts the same as wind energy in the US, it forces load-following plants in the neighbor countries to reduce load or go off-line.   Thus, France is benefiting while neighbors take the burden of part-load, unloaded plants, and increased maintenance from severe load swings.   It is little wonder that the EU investigated. 

Subsidized Exported Plant Technology

France is desperate to sell nuclear power plants, and subsidizes the plant costs to be built in other countries (e.g. India).    France wanted 16 cents per kWh for the power sales price, but India negotiated it down to 10 cents.  Per a recent article (see link), "The two sides (India and Areva) have agreed on Rs 6 per unit, down from Rs 9.18 per unit quoted by the French company Areva initially, which was not acceptable to India."

In addition, France agreed to a very low loan interest rate to sweeten the deal: "France has also decided to provide India a loan for the project at 4.8 per cent interest rate for 25 years"  (same source from just above).  

No Other Countries Follow France
World Electricity Production in 2011
source: IEA Outlook 2013, slide 24

If the French model on nuclear was any good, why has no other country in the world adopted 80 percent power from nuclear?   No country follows France, with Ukraine next at only 46 percent, and South Korea at 29 percent of domestic electricity produced by nuclear power. (slide 17 from IEA see link).   In fact, world-wide, nuclear power produces just 11.7 percent of all electricity (2011 IEA above, slide 24).   If nuclear power was truly a better technology, one would expect that the past 50 years would have observed country after country abandoning coal and natural gas and building nothing but nuclear power plants.  Clearly, with only 11 percent or a bit more in world electricity share after 50 years, nuclear power is not the best choice.  


After the worldwide increases in crude oil price in the 1970s, France chose nuclear power rather than high-priced imported oil or relying on other countries for natural gas.  France has, in the intervening years, subsidized its power prices, reluctantly privatized a portion of the electric industry, developed nuclear technology that it desperately subsidizes to sell to other countries, exports low-balled subsidized power to neighboring countries in an attempt to maintain high nuclear plant operating rates, and recently was the object of an investigation for anti-trust by the EU related to power prices.  Clearly, following France in nuclear is not the way to go.

Previous articles in the Truth About Nuclear Power series are found at the following links.  Additional articles will be linked as they are published. 

Part Eleven - this article

Roger E. Sowell, Esq.
Marina del Rey, California

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Sea Level Rise and Annual Rainfall

Sea Level Trend - source:
Global Annual Rainfall
Subtitle: Is Sea Level Rise Due to Rainfall

The two images at right show the trend in sea level (top image) and the areas of the oceans with the greatest rainfall (bottom image).  Curiously, the area where the seas are rising the most (red and pink areas) is the same area where the most rain falls.  This area is in the Pacific Ocean just to the east of the Philippines and New Guinea.

In contrast, the area in blue (sea level image) just to the west of North America and South America shows a declining trend in sea level.  That area also has a small amount of annual rainfall.  

There may be some valid, scientific explanation for this.  I have searched, briefly, for such but to no avail.  This is another example of climate scientists lumping together data from many points on the globe, taking an average, then producing an alarming pronouncement that doom is imminent.  Climate scientists have averaged the sea level trends, and concluded that the seas are rising at 3.2 mm/year.  This works out to about 1 foot per century. 

It is unclear to me how excessive rain over the ocean could lead to sea level rise over time, and a lack of rain leads to sea level decline.  The amount of rain in the red areas is 8 to 9 mm/day, which is 10 to 11 feet per year.  Questions that arise, to me, are Do the clouds that produce the rain interfere with the satellite sea level measurements?   For the sea level increases shown of 10 mm/y (3 feet per century), have the local islands actually experienced 6 feet of increased mean sea level over the past 200 years?   It seems that, if the seas actually rose so dramatically in that area, there would be plenty of evidence and newspaper documentation.  Yet, I can find none.

Is the sea actually rising?  Or, are scientists being deceptive?    

Roger E. Sowell, Esq. 
Marina del Rey, California

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Truth About Nuclear Power - Part Ten

Subtitle: Nuclear plants require costly upgrades after 20 to 30 years
Steam generators inside containment structure
Purple-cutaway view.
source: NRC
One of the favorite arguments of the nuclear proponents is that, even though a nuclear plant costs more to build, it lasts for 60 years.  The second part of the statement is not true, although the first part is definitely true.  Equipment wears out, and must be replaced at significant cost.  As an example, the pressurized water reactors, PWR, have an expensive heat exchanger – the steam generator – that suffers tube degradation over time. see image.  NRC requirements cause these steam generators to be replaced when tube degradation reaches a certain level.  For some plants, the replacement works.  At California’s San Onofre plant – SONGS – however, four replacement steam generators failed recently very soon after startup.  The plant owner, Southern California Edison, SCE, elected to shut down the plant permanently rather than complete the steps required by the NRC to ensure the steam generators could be repaired and operate safely. 
Details of the SONGS steam generator troubles can be found at the NRC website: see link.  
The NRC described the tube degradation as “unexpected.”  Apparently, the type of tube wear and degradation is one that has never been witnessed before.   The tube wear was due to adjacent tubes rubbing against each other, and tubes rubbing against retainer bars.    The safety concern, unique to nuclear power plants using the PWR design, is a sudden loss of main steam header pressure.   In the words of the NRC, this is a main steam line break.   The reason this is a safety concern is that radioactive hot water under high pressure flows on the inside of the tubes in the steam generator.  At a somewhat lower pressure, water flows on the outside of the tubes.  The water on the outside of the tubes is heated, boils, and turns to steam (hence the name, steam generator).  The tube walls must retain their strength to prevent leaks of the radioactive water through the tubes and into the steam system.  The steam system's pipes run outside the containment building, into the steam turbine, and from there steam flows into the condenser.   With both systems operating normally, pressurized radioactive water on the inside of the tubes, and lower pressure water/steam on the outside, the tubes have an easier task in keeping the two water systems separate.  But, if a main steam line breaks, the pressure difference across the tube walls increases suddenly and dramatically.  Weak tubes would, of course, fail and send radioactive water and steam into the atmosphere.  This is unacceptable, but is a natural consequence of choosing to generate power using nuclear fission as the heat source.
Indeed, this is exactly what happened at SONGS when the new steam generators sprung a leak, radioactive water entered the steam system, and a small amount of radioactive steam was released into the atmosphere.  See link  As required, SCE shut down the plant to investigate. 
The sticking point in the order from NRC to SCE was this: “SCE will determine the causes of tube-to-tube interaction and implement actions to prevent recurrence of loss of integrity in the Unit 3 steam generator tubes while operating.”   That is a most reasonable requirement, find out what happened, and implement steps to make sure it does not happen again.  SCE, however, either could not, or would not take the time and expense to determine the causes.  Instead, SCE shut down both reactors in the plant.
It should be noted that minor tube wear is normal and expected.  Indeed, with the more than 9,000 individual tubes in one steam generator, a tube that is near failure due to excessive wear can be plugged to remove it from service.  The difference in this case was the rapid tube wear so very soon after the new steam generators were placed in service.   The original steam generators lasted not quite 30 years, as the SONGS reactors came online in 1983 and 1984, and the steam generators were replaced around 2010.  The radioactive steam leak occurred in January, 2012. 
There is much more to the story of the leaking tubes at SONGS.  As time permits, that story will be told.  It involves SCE trying to obtain an extension to the operating permit by claiming the replacement steam generators were sufficiently similar to the original equipment to qualify for "like-for-like" status, when the new steam generators were not "like-for-like."   A United States Senator became involved.  A re-licensing procedure would have been lengthy and the plant would be shut down for the duration of that procedure.   
In addition, the 2000 MW of electricity was lost to the grid, and had to be replaced somehow.  A part of that story is related at this link.  The good news is that at least 75 MW of the power must be from energy storage systems.  That will provide a significant boost to the grid-scale energy storage firms.  
Other nuclear plants also have been in the news due to tube wear and degradation, including the St. Lucie plant in Florida.  See link   Also, the Watts Bar plant has suffered tube wear and has ordered replacement steam generators.   Finally, the Davis-Besse nuclear plant in Ohio is replacing its steam generators, also.
It’s an exciting time.  How many more nuclear plants will go the way of SONGS, due to faulty replacement steam generators that have tubes wear on each other? 
It can be seen, then, that the nuclear power plant in California lasted a bit less than 30 years, not the 50 or 60 years as nuclear proponents claim.   Nuclear plants require costly upgrades after 20 to 30 years, but the anticipated added life does not always appear.  

Previous articles in the Truth About Nuclear Power series are found at the following links.  Additional articles will be linked as they are published. 

Part Ten - this article

Roger E. Sowell, Esq.
Marina del Rey, California

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Truth About Nuclear Power - Part Nine

Subtitle: Nuclear power plants require long construction schedules
Up until now, the Truth About Nuclear Power series has discussed the costs of operating and constructing the plants, and the impact on scarce water resources.  It has been shown that nuclear power plants cost far too much to construct, use far too much water, cannot compete in today’s electricity market, and if they were the sole source of electricity on a grid, power prices would escalate to unacceptably high levels.   
This article discusses one of the reasons nuclear plants cost so much, and debunks one of the favorite talking points of the nuclear advocates.  The advocates are fond of saying that nuclear plants would not cost so much if only the lawyers would step aside and let the plants be built without lawsuits.   In fact, frivolous lawsuits are now barred for new nuclear power construction in the US.  However, costly delays are occurring, and will occur in the future for the usual set of construction delay issues.  Delays cost money, and the longer the delay, the more money is spent by one of the parties to the construction. 
Examples of construction delays include, but are not limited to, tearing out and re-working faulty construction, equipment suppliers providing late or defective items, serious adverse weather, unforeseen site conditions, and redesign for new NRC requirements.  Also, delays can be caused by worker slowdowns, lawsuits for allowable causes, owner-contractor disputes, faulty design that requires corrections, acts of God or the enemy (force majeur), improper scheduling by the contractor, inadequate workforce staffing or untrained workforce (learning on the job), poor supervision, and others.
As one example, nuclear power plants have many critical welds.  The critical welds must be performed by qualified welders, who are paid a premium.  Also, the critical welds are required to be x-rayed to ensure the welds meet quality control specifications and will be sufficiently strong.  It takes time, and costs money to x-ray and inspect all those critical welds.  It is well-known that the South Texas Nuclear Plant had many faulty critical welds that failed x-ray inspection and had to be welded again until they were right. 
Another example, again from the South Texas Nuclear Plant, of faulty design that required correction is the mis-match on the drawings for two halves of the plant.  The piping and other items that were to connect across the match-line were off by a noticeable amount.  The work was delayed while the engineering firm re-engineered and re-issued the proper drawings.  Delays caused by faulty rebar for concrete have been an issue at the Vogtle plant under construction in Georgia, USA.   Other delays at Vogtle include design changes, and delivery of equipment.  Vogtle is now reported to be 21 months behind schedule.  That number will surely increase as more time passes.    See link for list of delays and cost over-runs at Vogtle.  
Delays occur in other countries, also.  As an example, the Finland plant being installed by Areva had delays with the concrete.  Apparently, the concrete was not to the required specification.  That project is also years behind schedule. 
Even without delays, nuclear plants require longer to construct due to the inherent danger of nuclear power (discussed in Part Five) and the three levels of containment required by the NRC.  In short, there are many more items of equipment required to contain the deadly radioactivity if and when an accident occurs.   More items of equipment require longer construction times.  Also, more testing is required before startup, more inspection as the construction progresses, all of which take time. 
Nuclear power plants require long construction schedules, made longer by delays that have nothing to do with lawsuits to impede progress.
Previous articles in the Truth About Nuclear Power series are found at the following links.  Additional articles will be linked as they are published. 

Roger E. Sowell, Esq.
Marina del Rey, California

Sunday, April 6, 2014

If I Were King of Climate Science

This is a post that I have been composing for quite some time.  It originated years ago, when I first became interested and then concerned about global warming.  The more I looked into what was done, and the way it was done, the more concerned I became.  

First, what am I not so concerned about.  I'm not that concerned that the United Nations' sub-body, the International Panel on Climate Change, was charged with chasing down how much the planet would warm due to man's emissions of carbon dioxide (and a few other gases) mainly from burning fossil fuels.  Surely there was a better direction for the UN to give its panel, perhaps to determine first, if there is any warming due to man's activities, then if that answer turned out to be Yes, then move on to how big is the problem.   I am also not that concerned that UN IPCC summary reports for policy makers are written from a political perspective and gloss over much of the science.  I am also not that concerned that the funding from various governments is controlled so that it is fairly difficult to obtain funding if one is researching into issues that might refute the IPCC findings.   Those are a concern, but those are not what this post is about. 

This post is about the very beginning, in how various measurements are or were taken and the use of those measurements. 

To explain, three measurements are discussed.  First is carbon dioxide, CO2, concentration in the atmosphere.   Second is global average temperature, and last is average sealevel.  

It is generally agreed that CO2 concentration is measured at one location, Mauna Loa in Hawaii, USA.  The results of that measurement are reported frequently, I believe weekly and certainly monthly.  A chart is produced and widely distributed.    I find it very interesting that one data point, from the entire planet, is accepted as the official concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere.   It seems the climate scientists are very comfortable with the fact that CO2 is measured at one location, supposedly because it is high in the atmosphere and far from industrial activities.  The idea is that the air is well-mixed by the time the winds bring the air to Hawaii.  As long as the volcano nearby does not spew forth, things should be pretty representative.   Also, there is not much change going on around the Mauna Loa site, so that what we measured in 1960 can be compared to measurements in 2014.   So, to summarize, scientists have accepted a measurement from one site, believed to be essentially unchanged, and providing a decent result to use for the entire world. 

Contrast that to the global average temperature, which is computed from literally thousands of measuring sites from around the world.   see link  Much has been written about how the global average is computed, how data from the past is adjusted for various things, how the adjusted data is subtracted from a baseline to produce temperature anomalies, and how missing data from the past is created or handled in another way.  I have written a bit about this myself here on SLB. ( see link to Warmists are Wrong, Cooling is Coming.)

What is curious, though, is the disparity between the CO2 measurement and the global average temperature measurement.   Why do scientists use thousands of temperature sites, many with very serious issues that call into question the validity of the data?  Why did they not find and use a "Mauna Loa Equivalent" station, known to be pristine and untouched by human activities, probably in a remote location, with a long record of temperature measurements?   I advocated for just that, probably in a remote location in a National Park here in the US, or one of the thousands of state parks.    

If one wanted to determine how much warming, if any, the world has experienced, it must be a better method to not have to make any adjustments to the data.   If I were King, only a very few old records from pristine locations would be used.    Presumably, scientists looked into this and determined that no warming occurred, or very little warming occurred using the pristine locations.  That would, of course, put them out of business so that could not be the answer. 

Instead, a huge amount of temperature data was taken, gravely examined and even more gravely adjusted.  The claim then is that the temperature record represents almost the entire planet.  This, supposedly, gives the data more validity.  To use a polite term, that is Bad Science (BS).  

Update: If I were King, this would be my choice for temperature measurement for the global trend: Abilene, Texas; a small town at the southern end of the Great Plains, far from big cities, with a temperature record starting in about 1884 and continuous until today.   Abilene shows no warming over for almost 120 years.  The linear trend is essentially zero, but very slightly negative, at minus 0.0019 degrees C per year.   This data required no adjustments, to the best of my belief and information.   (end update 4/7/2014)
Monthly Average Temperature Trend, Degrees C
for Abilene, Texas from HadCRUT3 series
graph created by R.E. Sowell, Esq.

Finally, turning to sealevel, once again the scientists use a global average for mean sealevel, not a single point from a known pristine location over a long period.   Even worse, they draw a trend line through the average and make all sorts of dire pronouncements about pending coastal inundations and population migrations away from the coast.   The trend is 3.2 mm per year, or roughly 12 inches per century.  The sealevel measurements are adjusted for various issues, including but not limited to glacial rebound, land subsidence due to groundwater removal, land subsidence for other reasons, land uplifting due to tectonic plate movements, and apparently, bay siltation from rivers.   If one were to examine sealevel trends from various locations, some are increasing, some are decreasing, and some are fairly constant over long periods.  What to use, then?  If I were King, I would require that a very few locations would be used that are known to have none of the adjustment issue just listed.   
Sealevel trend, from
Blue is decreasing, greens/yellow/red increasing

What prompted me to discuss the sealevel issue is the world map published by, which shows most of the oceans have zero or perhaps a slight increase of 1 mm per year.  There are a very few locations that show a substantial increase, such as a Galveston, Texas on the pier.  Galveston has sealevel rise of a bit more than 6 mm per year.  In a century, that equates to 24 inches higher sealevel.  However, the Texas Gulf Coast is known to be subsiding both from mineral extraction and naturally.  see link  That would make Galveston off the list, if I were King.  It would not be included in any average.  Similarly, but opposite in direction, some Scandinavian seacoasts show a decreasing sealevel.  That is due to the land slowly rebounding upward after the last round of ice caps melted around 12,000 years ago.   Those locations would also be excluded from the average. 

Finally, a very few locations show an alarming rise of 12 mm per year or a bit more, near the Philippines.  It is not entirely clear to me why that water is rising so much more than the rest of the world, but it is suspect in my book.  For example, that rate should have increased the sealevel by 36 inches (3 feet or just under one meter) in the 70 years since General MacArthur landed and waded ashore on the beach.   It appears to me that the beach is still there, though.  

It would seem that the oldest ports in the world, in geologically stable regions, would be the ideal candidates for true sealevel rise without adjustments.   Perhaps the port at Durban, South Africa, or even Cape Town are good candidates.  Perhaps one of the ports in Hawaii, too.  Another in Australia might be good.  Perhaps one of the US east coast harbors would be a good fit.   And, the bay at Buenos Aires in Argentina.   


Scientists in the climate field have a dual nature in choosing measurements for determining the state of the world's climate and making dire predictions for the future.  On the one hand, it is apparently acceptable to use one location for CO2.  Yet, scientists use hundreds and thousands of locations for sealeve and air temperature.  The multiple locations for sealevel and temperature require many adjustments, which make the results highly questionable.  It would be far better to use a very few pristine sites that require no adjustments for measuring and reporting sealevel, and temperature. 

Roger E. Sowell, Esq.
Marina del Rey, California