September 26, 2012

Another View: M.D. Harmon's column did not reflect reality of rising sea level

Port cities were built with an expectation that the sea level would stay more or less the same.

M.D. Harmon's Sept. 21 column on global warming contained a number of errors ("When is a gaffe not a gaffe? When a candidate is right"). I'll address only one.


Bruce Cole is a resident of Rockport.

Mr. Harmon states that sea levels are rising "at the same rate they have been since the last ice age."

But the U.S. Geological Survey and all other scientific organizations measuring and modeling sea levels have documented that the rate of sea level rise has about doubled in the past decade compared to the rate seen over the last century.

This is not theory; this is data coming from measurements. Most scientific organizations are predicting a sea level rise of 3 to 6 feet by the end of this century with ongoing increases of 6 to 10 inches per decade.

Port cities worldwide were built on the assumption of a stable sea level, which has been the case for about 7,000 years. Now ports like Portland face a daunting task over time of coping with increasing sea level caused by global warming.

The fundamental problem with Mr. Harmon's columns on the subject of global warming is that he gives equal (or more) weight to the information he reads and believes from right-wing, conservative political blogs and websites, compared to that from the scientific community. In fact, he seems to regard the scientific community as a political party out to manipulate information for the primary purpose of scaring people and taking in research grants. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Should anyone wish to accept Mr. Harmon's point of view, I would invite them to go back in time and "correct the record" when it comes to the scientific community. The Portland Press Herald did not exercise good editorial judgment in publishing Mr. Harmon's column.


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