Fact Check-Images that appear to show that sea levels have not risen were not taken eight decades apart

Images that claim to show that sea levels have not risen over the course of eight decades were not, as claimed, taken 80 years apart.

The false claim has been shared across social media ( here ), ( here ), ( here ), ( here ) and ( here ).

The meme comprises two photographs, both of which show a section of the Great Wall of China called Laolongtou, or ‘Old Dragon’s Head’, that juts out into the sea ( here ).

The first photograph of Laolongtou is in black and white and has been labelled: “80 years ago”. The second, which is in colour, is labelled: “Today.”

In an apparent reference to the sea level remaining the same in both pictures, the meme reads: “Those rising sea levels though.”

However, the first image was taken in 2008 and has been digitally doctored to appear older, and the second photo was taken at least a decade ago.

The photo allegedly from 80 years ago is a black and white version of this photograph ( here ) uploaded to photo-sharing website Flickr. Its caption states that it was taken on September 15, 2008. A comparison can be seen ( here ).

The second photo can be traced to a website promoting travel to the wall, which was copyrighted in 2012 ( here ).

Experts have told Reuters that it is not possible to accurately measure sea level rise just by looking at two images of the same location at different periods of time ( here ).

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says the global mean sea level has risen about 21 to 24 centimetres since 1880 ( here ).


False. The image purportedly from 80 years ago was taken in 2008 and has been digitally doctored to appear older. The photo from “today” can be traced to a travel website copyrighted in 2012.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts here.