1. NIWA has statutory duties to undertake climate research efficiently and effectively for the benefit of NZ, pursuing excellence and observing ethical standards, while maintaining full and accurate records.
2. The official NZ Temperature Record (NZTR), which is the historical base for most Government policy and judicial decisions relating to climate change, wholly relies upon a “Seven-station series” (7SS), adopted in 1999.
3. The twentieth-century warming trend of 1.0°C shown in the 7SS is dependent on the use of “Adjustments” taken by NIWA from a 1981 student thesis by J Salinger, a previous NIWA employee.
4. NIWA’s 1999 decision to rely on the Adjustments was a breach of duty as it did not:
• evaluate the thesis methodology or consider whether it needed updating
• discover that the supporting data and calculations had been lost
• undertake any check or peer review or require consent from the copyright holder
• maintain any record of the decision
5. NIWA’s 1999 decision was based on the mistaken assumptions that the methodology:
• was in accord with current international best practice
• had been peer reviewed and published in a scientific journal
• could be replicated by applying the thesis to publicly available data
• could be supported by production of the Salinger thesis
• reflected an NZTR increase in 1944-60 shown by another Salinger paper
• was required to compensate for changes in the altitude of thermometers
6. NIWA’s 1999 decision failed to take account of the following relevant factors:
• the National Climate Database, compiled by the Met Service, shows no material warming
• meteorologists senior to Salinger did not consider that the data should be adjusted
• the warming trend is wholly reliant on the subjective and untested Salinger thesis
• an implausible 9 out of 10 of the Adjustments favour an upward trend
• NZ was warmer in 1867, and during 1863-1919, than it is now
• the thesis showed inexplicable and unprecedented warming of 1.42°C during 1944-57
• the 7SS warming trend is much greater than the global average
• the data was lost and the Adjustments could be neither documented or replicated
7. NIWA’s 1999 decision was influenced by the expectation that major NZTR warming would encourage funding for additional climate change research.
8. NIWA failed to observe ethical standards in delegating the 1999 NZTR decision to Salinger, who was in no position to assess the matter objectively.
9. Whilst conceding that the 7SS-based NZTR requires review, NIWA has refused in 2010 to suspend it, or stop using it. It relies on an “Eleven-station series” (11SS) of unadjusted data produced in December 2009.
10. The 2010 refusal involved a breach of ethical standards in:
• delegating to Salinger the authority to select the stations and time periods of the 11SS, when it knew that he was likely to be biased in favour of corroborating the 7SS
• allowing the 1931-55 period to masquerade as part of the 11SS, whilst knowing the requisite data was missing, and the series was unreliable
• falsely claiming that Salinger’s “ship’s paper” supported the 7SS
• continuing to promote a NZTR that NIWA knew to be seriously flawed
11. The 2010 decision was unreasonable and illegal, and made without:
• assessing the arguments put forward by critics of the 7SS and the 11SS
• checking or peer reviewing or documenting the statistical methodology of the 11SS
• ensuring that the selection of inputs was free from bias
• weighing the risks and benefits to NZ of continuing to rely upon a flawed NZTR
12. The 2010 decision ignored the following relevant factors:
• the 11SS disclosed no warming from 11 stations, and the claimed warming arose only when data was unavailable from most of its stations
• the known flaws in the 7SS; and the fact that it had not been followed by other compilers of temperature databases
13. The 2010 decision was influenced by the following improper considerations:
• repudiation of the NZTR might prove politically embarrassing or reduce confidence in the integrity and objectivity of NIWA scientists
• a planned project to review the NZTR might possibly confirm the 7SS warming trend
Therefore, the NZ Climate Science Trust seeks declarations and orders to:
A. set aside NIWA’s decisions to rely upon the 7SS and 11SS, and finding the current NZTR to be invalid.
B. prevent NIWA from using the current NZTR (or information originally derived from it) for the purpose of advice to any governmental authority or to the public.
C. require NIWA to produce a full and accurate NZTR.