2018-05-17 21:42:07 UTC
A member of Congress has suggested that the White Cliffs of Dover tumbling into
the English Channel was causing rising sea levels.
Republican Mo Brooks of Alabama pushed back at the notion that rising sea levels
were the result of global warming in a hearing of the House Science, Space and
Technology on Wednesday.
Instead, Brooks pointed to silt deposition as well as erosion as a cause of
rising sea levels. Questioning scientist Phil Duffy of the Woods Hole Research
Center, Brooks postulated that silt and mud washed by rivers into the ocean
caused water levels to rise as it settled on the sea floor. Now you have got
less space in those oceans because the bottom is moving up, he said.
He went on: What about the White Cliffs of Dover [and] California, where you
have the waves crashing against the shorelines, and time and time again you have
the cliffs crashing into the sea? All of that displaces water which forces it to
rise, does it not?
Duffy answered: Im pretty sure on human timescales, those are minuscule
The questioning went on as Brooks argued the Antarctic ice sheet was actually
growing. A recent study reported that the ice sheet had shrunk by 1,463km from
2010 to 2016.
Duffy disagreed, noting that we have satellite records clearly documenting a
shrinkage of the Antarctic ice sheet and an acceleration of that shrinkage and
citing the National Snow and Ice Data Center and the National Aeronautics and
Space Administration for his data.
However, Brooks insisted: Well, Ive got a Nasa base in my district, and
apparently, theyre telling you one thing and me a different thing.
Brooks said: There are plenty of studies that have come that show with respect
to Antarctica that the total ice sheet, particularly that above land, is
increasing, not decreasing. Now, you could make a different argument if you want
to talk about Greenland or the Arctic.
Brooks, a graduate of Duke University and University of Alabama School of Law,
was first elected to Congress in 2010 from his North Alabama district. In 2017,
he mounted an unsuccessful bid for the US Senate vacated by attorney general
Jeff Sessions. Brooks finished third in the Republican primary behind the
eventual nominee Roy Moore as well as appointed incumbent Luther Strange.