L. A. Times hypes coastal cliff erosion 9+ centuries into the future at existing sea level rise rates

Guest essay by Larry Hamlin

The L. A. Times takes despicable propaganda advantage of the recent and tragic Encinitas bluff collapse to hype future bluff erosion impacts from 2 meter sea level rise increases that would in fact take over 9+ centuries to occur at existing NOAA tide gauge coastal sea level rise measurement rates.


The Times article notes:

“The sea is rising higher and faster in California — a reality more officials are now confronting. Just last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill that amended the state’s Coastal Act to say that sea level rise is no longer a question but a fact.

“With sea level rise, there’s no doubt that we’ll see more cliff failures along the coast,” said Patrick Barnard, research director of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Climate Impacts and Coastal Processes Team.”

The “bill” referred to in the Times article simply adds the words “sea level rise” to the list of issues to be considered for coastal planning contained in Section 300006.5 of the Public Resources Code. 

The Times article grossly mischaracterizes and misrepresents the issue of coastal sea level rise by claiming that this change means “that sea level rise is no longer a question but a fact.”

Either this Times reporter is incredibly incompetent or she is being incredibly devious and disingenuous in trying to frame the issue as being whether sea level rise is occurring on California coastal regions or not.

As the diagram below clearly shows sea level rise has been occurring since the end of the last ice age some 20,000 years ago with the last 8,000 years showing low rates of increase.


The controversial sea level rise issue related to climate science has always been whether coastal sea level rise is accelerating not whether it is occurring.

Nowhere does the Times reporter ever mention or address the critical climate science issue of sea level rise acceleration.

There are two long time period NOAA tide gauge measurement stations located near the region of the bluff collapse. These stations are located at San Diego and La Jolla.

These NOAA tide gauge measurement stations have data recorded periods of 112 years from 1906 through 2018. Neither of these stations shows any acceleration of coastal sea level rise during these measurement periods.

The rates of coastal sea level rise at these locations are a consistent 8.5 to 8.6 inches per century as shown below.

The 2 meter sea level rise that the reporter speculatively postulates in this Times article would take 9+ centuries to occur.



This Times reporter has written a number of prior L. A. Times climate alarmist propaganda articles about future sea level rise and has not addressed the issue by using actually measured NOAA coastal tide gauge sea level rise data. She has always addressed future sea level rise based solely upon speculation and conjecture derived from computer models in trying to justify her future sea level rise assertions and this article is no different.

The diagram below shows her attempt to justify the 2 meter future sea level rise speculation resulting in up to 130 feet of future bluff erosion outcome by 2100 using results from a study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research in 2018.


This study contains the following characterization of its significant limitations:

“A calibrated, but unvalidated, ensemble was applied to the 475-km-long coastline of Southern California (USA), with four SLR scenarios of 0.5, 0.93, 1.5, and 2 m by 2100. Results suggest that future retreat rates could increase relative to mean historical rates by more than twofold for the higher SLR scenarios, causing an average total land loss of 19–41 m by 2100. However, model uncertainty ranges from ±5 to 15 m, reflecting the inherent difficulties of projecting cliff retreat over multiple decades. To enhance ensemble performance, future work could include weighting each model by its skill in matching observations in different morphological settings.”

Therefore we have yet another L. A. Times article pushing sea level rise climate alarmist propaganda that ignores and conceals 112 year long time period NOAA tide gauge data measurements while hyping computer models that are “unvalidated” and subject to the pure speculation and conjecture of “retreat rates could increase” from the studies authors.

Furthermore the Times article deliberately misrepresents and mischaracterizes the issue of sea level rise by concealing that acceleration is what is driving this issues controversy not whether sea level rise is or is not occurring.

The prior articles this Times reporter have written about sea level rise do not address sea level rise acceleration or NOAA tide gauge sea level rise measurement data.

Climate alarmist claims of accelerating sea level rise are unsupported by globally measured tide gauge data as addressed in a recent study in the Journal of Geophysical Research which concluded that based on actual measurements there was “no statistically significant acceleration in sea level rise over the past 100+ years.”


The exploitation of the tragic bluff accident in Encinitas by the Times to push its climate alarmist sea level rise propaganda is despicable. 

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