Nils-Axel Mörner

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Niklas "Nils"-Axel Mörner (1938-2020)[1] was the former head of the paleogeophysics and geodynamics department at Stockholm University. He retired in 2005.[2] He was president of the International Union for Quaternary Research (INQUA) Commission on Neotectonics (1981–1989). He headed the INTAS (International Association for the promotion of cooperation with scientists from the New Independent States of the former Soviet Union) Project on geomagnetism and climate (1997–2003). He was a critic of the IPCC and the notion that the global sea level is rising.


Mörner published books and papers on the interaction among isostasy and eustasy, the oscillating regional eustatic curve of NW Europe, the changing geoid concept, the redefinition of the concept of eustasy, the dynamic-rotational redistribution of oceanic water masses, and the interchange of angular momentum between the hydrosphere and solid Earth.


In 1995, Mörner gave several courses in dowsing at Stockholm University in the summer program, and also outside of the university.[3][4] He claimed that dowsing could be used not only to find water, but also to discover Curry and Hartmann lines. When reported in the press, he received sharp criticism from the Swedish scientific community and the Swedish skepticism movement.[5] Mörner persisted[6] and the conflict escalated,[7] leading to a formal ban from the president of the university to teach dowsing, citing the Law on Higher Education, until he could present scientific evidence for dowsing. In the summer of 1996 Mörner held a symposium at the university where he presented what he considered to be supporting evidence for his teachings. A committee appointed by the university dismissed Mörner's claims in December 1996.[8] He was named "Confuser of the Year" for 1995 by Vetenskap och Folkbildning,[9] a Swedish organisation in support of the broadening the understanding of the scientific method. The renowned American skepticist James Randi offered him a reward of US$971,000 if Mörner could show that dowsing worked in a scientifically controlled experiment. Mörner later rejected the offer.[10] In late 2002 Mörner reaffirmed his stance in a documentary on Swedish television.[11]

Views on sea level change[edit]

Mörner disagreed with the view of future rise in sea level caused by global warming.[12] Mörner's self-published 2007 20-page booklet The Greatest Lie Ever Told,[13] refers to his belief that observational records of sea levels for the past 300 years that show variations - ups and downs, but no significant trend.[14] This contrasts with the IPCC view that sea level rise has been occurring at 2–3 mm (0.079–0.118 in) per year, over the last century.[15] Mörner asserts that satellite altimetry data indicate a mean rise in the order of 1.0 mm/yr from 1986 to 1996,[16] whereas most studies find a value around 3 mm/yr.

Mörner believed that sea level rise will not exceed 200 mm (7.9 in), within a range of either +100±100 mm or +50 ± 150 mm (2.0 ± 5.9 in), based on satellite data over the last 40 years and observational records over the last 300 years.[17] In 2004 the president of INQUA wrote that INQUA did not subscribe to Mörner's views on climate change.[18]

In 2000 he launched an international sea level research project in the Maldives which claims to demonstrate an absence of signs of any on-going sea level rise. Despite President Gayoom having spoken in the past about the impending dangers to his country,[19] the Maldives, Mörner concluded that the people of the Maldives have in the past survived a higher sea level about 50–60 cm (1.6–2.0 ft), and there is evidence of a significant sea level fall in the last 30 years in that Indian Ocean area.[20][21] However, these conclusions were disputed due to lack of known mechanism for a fall in sea level and lack of supporting evidence.[22]

In an interview in June, 2007, Mörner described research he had done in the Maldives that had been reported in the documentary Doomsday Called Off.[23] Specifically, he mentioned a tree he had discovered growing close to the shoreline as evidence to support his claim that sea level had actually fallen rather than risen. He also alleged that the tree had been deliberately destroyed by a group of Australian researchers who were promoting the IPCC view that sea level was rising.[24]

Mörner's claim that sea levels are not rising has been criticised for ignoring correctly calibrated satellite altimeter records, all of which show that sea levels are rising.[25]

Involvement with Copernicus Publications[edit]

In March 2013, open-access scientific publisher Copernicus Publications began publishing Pattern Recognition in Physics, of which Mörner was the co-editor-in-chief, along with Sid-Ali Ouadfeul. The journal was originally supposed to publish general physics-related research, but a study was nevertheless published in the journal in which the authors stated they “doubt the continued, even accelerated, warming as claimed by the IPCC project." Due to both this study and what he called the "nepotistic" appointment of other scientists to the editorial board by Morner and Ouadfeul, Copernicus' managing director Martin Rasmussen terminated the journal in January 2014.[26] In March 2014 Ouadfeul reopened the journal under a different publisher.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Boretti, A. 2021. IN MEMORIAM: Prof. Dr. Niklas M¨orner (1938–2020). Journal of Coastal Research. 37(1): 226.
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  4. ^ Stuckrad, Kocku von; Hammer, Olav. Polemical Encounters Esoteric Discourse and Its Others. Brill. p. 233.
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  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-01-14. Retrieved 2012-01-17.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ Cliff, Ollier (September 2007). "Review of 'The Greatest Lie Ever Told'". New Concepts in Globa Techtonics Newsletter. morner at 44: 55–7. Retrieved 2012-05-17. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  14. ^ "New Zealanders being misled by unfounded claims about sea level rises". Sci-tech Monday. Scoop Independent News. 6 August 2007.
  15. ^ "Sea Level Changes in the Past, Present and in the Near-Future Global Aspects Observations versus Models" (PDF). IGCP Project No. 437 Puglia 2003 - Final Conference. February 10, 2005. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 16, 2007. Retrieved August 10, 2007.
  16. ^ Mörner (February 9, 2005). "The expected sea level changes in the next century". Sea Level Changes and Coastal Evolution, Research Topics (RT). Archived from the original on January 29, 2003. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  17. ^ Mörner, Nils-Axel (2004). "Estimating future sea level changes from past records". Global and Planetary Change. 40 (1–2): 49–54. doi:10.1016/S0921-8181(03)00097-3.
  18. ^ "Clague, John J. (Letter written to Yuri Osipov, President of the Russian Academy of Sciences)]" (PDF). July 21, 2004. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 19, 2012. Retrieved December 14, 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  19. ^ Gayoom, Maumoon Abdul (2006-01-06). "Address by his Excellency Mr. Maumoon Abdul Gahoom, President of the Republic of Maldives, at the nineteenth special session of the United Nations General Assembly for the purpose of an overall review and appraisal of the implementation of agenda 21–24 June 1997". Archived from the original on 13 June 2006. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  20. ^ Mörner, Nils-Axel; Tooley, Michael; Possnert, Göran (2004). "New perspectives for the future of the Maldives". Global and Planetary Change. 40 (1–2): 177–82. CiteSeerX doi:10.1016/S0921-8181(03)00108-5.
  21. ^ Mörner, N.-A.; Laborel J.; Tooley M.; Dawson S.; Allison W.; Islam M.S.; Laborel F.; Collina J.; Rufin C. (February 10, 2005). "Sea Level Changes: The Maldives Project Freed From Condemnation to become Flooded" (PDF). IGCP Project No. 437 Puglia 2003 - Final Conference. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 16, 2007. Retrieved August 10, 2007.
  22. ^ Woodworth, P.L. (2005). "Have there been large recent sea level changes in the Maldive Islands?". Global and Planetary Change. 49 (1–2): 1–18. doi:10.1016/j.gloplacha.2005.04.001.
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  25. ^ Nerem; et al. (2007). "Comment on "Estimating future sea level change from past records" by Nils-Axel Mörner". Global and Planetary Change. 55 (4): 358–60. doi:10.1016/j.gloplacha.2006.08.002.
  26. ^ Stokstad, Erik (17 January 2014). "Alleging 'Malpractice' With Climate Skeptic Papers, Publisher Kills Journal". Science Insider. Retrieved 11 February 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

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