"Just an Asshole with an Opinion"

Yesterday I was out collecting elevation data to see how spits change over time. While I was out in the field, I couldn’t get a headline I read last week out of my head...GOP lawmaker says rocks falling into ocean to blame for rising sea levels.


I thought, well actually that could make sense. Especially if you considered all the sediment that our rivers dump into the ocean every year. I thought, maybe this material is actually causing our sea levels to rise. Maybe, he’s actually on to something.

So, I spent last night doing research.

According to NOAA, our oceans are rising about 1/8th of an inch every year. The surface of the Earth is around 200 million square miles. 71% of the Earth is water, so a global sea level rise of an 1/8th of an inch is equivalent to a cube with 6 miles on each side. To raise the oceans an 1/8th of an inch, the top four inches of soil from the entire U.S. would have to slide into the ocean every year. Now, that’s a lot of dirt! So, rocks, soil, earth materials entering our oceans can not be the primary driver of rising sea levels.

Sometimes I wonder if we live in a post fact society, where nothings actually, “true.” So, when I’m validating some form of “truth,” I’ll almost always go with one of my favorite sayings by Pat Byorth out of Montana: Without data, you’re just another asshole with an opinion.