JUNE 15TH 2006
Everybody knows about Tuvulu, It is becoming inundated by the rising sea level because of global warming. The New Zealand Government has recognised the plight of the embattled  inhabitants by offering special deals for immigration. So have the Australians. It forms a regular topic at meetings of the Pacific Forum and beyond, and there cannot possibly be any disagreement on the matter.
A couple of years' ago I was interviewed by the Dunedin-based Natural History Unit as part of documentary for the National Geographic Channel. I had over an hour to give my views on greenhouse warming, which I expected would appear in an internationally distributed documentary. They sent me a copy of the final doco "to enjoy". I found that it was all about how Tuvulu is faced with imminent disaster, with a "moaning Minnie" lady persistently bemoaning the loss of her homeland from a comfortable flat in Brisbane. My contribution had been almost eliminated.
But Tuvulu reminds me of a comic song I used to sing of Gracie Fields called "He's dead but he won't lie down". Tuvulu persistently refuses to subside.
A tide gauge to measure sea level has been in existence at Tuvulu since 1977, run by the University of Hawaii It showed a negligible increase of only 0.07 mm per year over two decades It fell three millimeters between 1995 and 1999. The complete record can still be seen on John Daly's website
Obviously this could not be tolerated, so the gauge was closed in 1999 and  a new, more modern tide gauge was set up by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology's National Tidal Center by Flinders University at Adelaide. But Tuvulu refuses to submit to political pressure.The sea level has actually fallen .since then
Tuvulu cannot be allowed to get away with it. So Greenpeace employed Dr John Hunter. a climatologist of the University of Tasmania, who obligingly "adjusted" the Tuvulu readings upwards to comply with changes in ENSO and  those found for the island of Hawaii and, miraculously, he found  a sea level rise of  "around" 1.2 mm a year.which, also miraculously, agrees with the IPCC global figure.
Since all this seems biased, or politically influenced,  Dr John Church of the CSIRO at Hobart, Tasmania,  a Lead Author of the IPCC Chapter on "Sea Level", plus his colleague Dr Neil White,  have sought to reverse actual measured trends  by "combining records from tide gauges from all over the world with satellite altimeter data to assess regional variation". Unsurprisingly, and equally miraculously, they reach the same conclusion as Greenpeace and the IPCC. All this has to be imposed on  poor little Tuvulu to "prove" global warming.and speed emigration.
The IPCC Chapter on Sea Level is one of the more dishonest. It practices two important deceptions. First, it completely fails to mention the fact that many tide gauges are situated close to cities where the land is subsiding because of erection of heavy buildings, or removal of ground water, oil and minerals. . It so happens that the island of Hawaii is one of the more heavily populated  Pacific islands where the sea level is "rising" because the land is "falling" Another reason for upwards bias is Port Adelaide, Australia, where they decided to increase the water level in the harbour to allow for larger ships, They dredged and built a bar on the harbour. Unsurprisingly, the level  rose on the tide-gauge. Corrections for these upwards biases in tide-gauge measurements have never been permitted to be discussed by the IPCC.
The other deception of the IPCC Sea Level Chapter is in statistics. The sea level averages are so inaccurate that they have to  supply only one standard deviation as a measure of inaccuracy, instead of the otherwise universal use of two standard deviations. One standard deviation gives only a one in three chance that the measurement lies outside the limits. Two standard deviations puts it up to one in twenty. If you use the proper figures you find that the accuracy sometimes permits a less than one in  twenty chance of a sea level fall. That must never be allowed
This whole melancholy story is told in an article in "Science"  2006 Volume 312, pages 734 to 736, It seems that the Greenpeace organisation is now occupying the role of  the late Trofim Lysenko in their ability to reverse the findings of scientific research.
Vincent Gray
75 Silverstream Road
Crofton Downs
Wellington 6004
New Zealand
Phone/Fax 064 4 9735939
"It's not the things you don't know that fool you.
It's the things you do know that aint so"
Josh Billings