One of the great fears generated by global warming is that the ocean is about to rise and swallow our coasts. These concerns have been heightened by the substantial uptick in Atlantic hurricane activity that began in 1995. The frequency of really strong storms striking the U.S now resembles what it was in the 1940s and 50s, which few people (aging climatologists excepted) remember...Critics have long argued that these changes require a substantial net melting of some combination of the world's two largest masses of land-based ice, Antarctica and Greenland. In addition, they note that observed global warming is right near the low end of the U.N.'s projections, which means that realized sea level rise should be similarly modest...t is simply impossible for the scientific community to ignore what is going on, even as prone to exaggeration of threats as it has grown to be. The planet is warming at the low end of projections. Antarctica is undoubtedly gaining, not losing ice. Greenland appears to either lose a little ice, or, in the recent study of Johannessen, gain dramatically. It's going to take some time for it to contribute much to rising oceans...Meanwhile, Antarctica grows. Computer models, while still shaky, are now encountering reality.
The global warming stuff, as Crichton himself has put it, and not originally, more resembles a substitute religious faith, which makes it very hard for real scientists to fight back with real reports. Ever try arguing with a Fundamentalist about Biblical literalism? It would be easier to engage a pit bull in a debate about global warming. Faith doesn't avail itself of rational argument or of factual reports. That's fine when faith is in God, but it bodes real doom for the rest of us when it shutters scientific reports of genuine value. If you'd like historical testimony on that, read Arthur Koestler.