More about the NZ temperature record

Errors in the new 7SS

The shocking breakthrough in our audit is that NIWA didn’t use the adjustment method they said they would use. Barry Brill, chairman of the Coalition, released an overview entitled New Zealand Unaffected by Global Warming (pdf, 1.3 MB). The discovery that the country hasn’t experienced global warming is another startling finding. In Chapter 8, on page 24, he identifies nine criticisms of NIWA’s newest 7SS. These multiple defects destroy the credibility of the 7SS as a source of the NZTR.

  1. It contradicts every other record of NZ temperatures.
  2. Its warming trend comes almost entirely from the Auckland and Wellington stations, which are contaminated with false warming from UHI. The 7SS makes no adjustments for UHI.
  3. It uses adjustments derived from comparisons between “isolated stations” in direct defiance of the scientific authorities.
  4. It finds warming only by disregarding the statistical techniques it said it would use – Rhoades & Salinger. The reality is that New Zealand has had no strong warming for a hundred years.
  5. It gives no margins of error for its adjustments and always applies changes, even when the method says they are unjustified.
  6. The strong warming is created by implausible accumulating adjustments, which are not random, as we would expect, but slanted in the direction of warming.
  7. To verify the 7SS, NIWA wheeled in the 11SS, which they themselves invented, has data missing everywhere and is laughably unscientific.
  8. The refusal to release the BoM review documents under the Official Information Act (by both NIWA and the BoM) raises the question of what they’re hiding.
  9. Most of the warming in the 7SS occurs during the first half of the century, which contradicts NIWA’s official advice that our warming was driven by global CO2 emissions – which are concentrated in the last 40 years.
NIWA shows 168% more warming

1. It contradicts every other record of NZ temperatures.

The temperature readings themselves, both ancient and modern, provide clear evidence that there’s been little warming. Modern temperatures in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch are about 0.5°C below the 1860s, and the New Zealand mean now is 0.2°C below the 1860s mean, so there’s been no warming. NIWA’s story of strong warming is believable only if they fault the accuracy of the old readings. But they don’t.

If they did, and they “adjusted” the oldest temperatures downward, their already strong warming would give off the distinct smell of fish.

2. Its warming trend comes almost entirely from the Auckland and Wellington stations, which are contaminated with false warming from UHI.

The peer-­reviewed literature says clearly that records from these two cities are contaminated with an urban heat island (UHI) effect and show false warming. If you don’t correct for UHI, the series you finish up with is skewed in favour of warming. Why haven’t NIWA’s team made some correction for UHI? UHI also affects the other four urban stations, but no corrections were made there either.

3. It uses adjustments derived from comparisons between “isolated stations” in direct defiance of the scientific authorities.

Here’s what our audit says:

The technique NIWA has used for all their adjustments (excepting overlaps) is the “neighbouring stations” method. It is important to note that in reality NIWA seldom uses truly neighbouring stations. In most cases the stations chosen are from some distance away, especially for the earlier records. For example, Dunedin is compared against Albert Park in Auckland. For the purposes of this document, we shall however refer to all station comparisons as “neighbouring”, even though many are not.

So NIWA have used the “Clayton’s” neighbouring stations method – the neighbouring stations method you use when you’re not using a neighbouring stations method. If the methodology requires the use of neighbouring stations for comparisons, why have NIWA disregarded that requirement?

This is a nonsense. It is a waste of taxpayers’ money. It’s a caricature of the scientific method. And it will become the laughing stock of the climate world.

4. It disregards the statistical techniques it said it would follow – Rhoades & Salinger.

After we published Are we feeling warmer yet? (AWFWY) we asked NIWA what adjustments they had made to the temperature record. Their constant theme was that they had followed the scientific literature and we ought to know what it said.

For the methodology, they referred us to Salinger’s thesis (which proved useless) and R&S (which didn’t). Later, when they announced their reconstruction of the 7SS, they said they would use R&S for the adjustments.

But they didn’t use R&S. Why didn’t they keep their word?

5. It gives no margins of error for its adjustments and always applies changes, even when the method says they are unjustified.

6. The strong warming is created by implausible accumulating adjustments, which are not random, as we would expect, but slanted in the direction of warming.

The chances of replicating the first series without knowing the original method used are astronomical. In fact, it’s incredible that it happened. The further chance that all the adjustments should almost universally conspire to alter the trend to warming is too incredible and probably constitutes evidence of intent.

7. To verify the 7SS, NIWA wheeled in the 11SS, which they themselves invented within a few days of our AWFWY paper, has data missing everywhere and is laughably unscientific.

Only about a week after we published AWFWY, NIWA put out a media release saying:

Dr Jim Salinger has identified from the NIWA climate archive a set of 11 stations with long records where there have been no significant site changes. When the annual temperatures from all of these sites are averaged to form a temperature series for New Zealand, the best-fit linear trend is a warming of 1°C from 1931 to 2008.

And with that, cherry-picking data to prove a scientific case became an officially-sanctioned strategy. Comment on that, you bright boys at Hot Topic!

8. The refusal to release the BoM review documents under the Official Information Act (by both NIWA and the BoM) raises the question of what they’re hiding.

We still await a response from the Ombudsman from our request made in May last year, although it follows our complaint about NIWA’s original refusal in 2010. Their tardiness in this case is outrageous. It constitutes a severe condemnation of the conduct of that formerly useful office. If a small number of those new functionaries in the Ministry for the Environment calculating carbon footprints and assembling long inventories of obscure greenhouse gases being emitted by innocent New Zealand manufacturers might be diverted to the Ombudsman’s office, we might see some useful work accomplished.

9. Most of the warming in the 7SS occurs during the first half of the century, which contradicts NIWA’s official advice that our warming was driven by global CO2 emissions – which are concentrated in the last 40 years.

These contradictions and mysteries mark NIWA’s latest attempt to hoodwink the public over the national temperature record.

It seems incredible that this agency has a monopoly on government advice on climate science.

4 Thoughts on “More about the NZ temperature record

  1. Doug Proctor on January 30, 2012 at 9:14 am said:

    Are there no ex-NIWA personnel identifiable (through prior reports) who are willing to discuss the New Zealand temperature history?

    The cooling of the first half of the 20th century to create the overall warming: interesting observation. It is not that we think it is warmer these days, but that we now think it was colder before. Yet is this just a statistical artefact of reference point? Are we now using the 1980 – 2010, 30-year reference period for “normal”?

    The big deals, as I see it, are the disconnect between the original data profiles and the revisions and the UHIE adjustment/non-adjustment. The non-disclosure of the BOM review and the silence from the Ombudsman: do your MPs also refuse to respond to you about this?

    The biggest potential bombshell for either side is in the opinions of recent retirees. If government policy is dictating scientific conclusions and techniques, the scientific elite forced to publish what they disbelieve will be seriously disgruntled and personally offended. I’d be looking at the list of contributors for the ex-workers.

    Of course, it could be that the workers support what was done. That would be okay: at issue here is whether there is a conspiracy to delude, not whether the science/engineering is competent.

  2. Richard C (NZ) on January 31, 2012 at 11:00 am said:

    Email 1409, Sept 2009: Tim Osborn asks Phil Jones why New Zealand pre-1930 temperatures are “now very different, being much cooler (by > 0.5 degC for a 25-year low-pass mean)”

    Email 1409 [linked]

    For my update I’ve used CRUTEM3v, expecting them to be rather similar but with a few more years on the end.

    But the pre-1930 temperatures are now very different, being much cooler (by > 0.5 degC for a 25-year low-pass mean) in CRUTEM3v than CRUTEM2v. Previously they had been, on average, near or even above the 1961-1990 mean, now they’re at -0.5 degC.

    Is this a result of some homogenization work on New Zealand summer temp data? Or just some random artefact of minor changes somewhere?

    http://tomnelson.blogspot.com/2012/01/email-1409-sept-2009-tim-osborn-asks.html

  3. Australis on February 1, 2012 at 2:56 pm said:

    Warwick Hughes believes CRU switched their NZ grids from their own “reconstruction” in CRUTEM2v to Salinger’s 7SS adjustments for CRUTEM3v.

    In the years before WW2, CRU smears the NZ temps right across the Pacific (because no other records are available that far back). So our Jim is personally responsible for a goodly chunk of that 0.7°C/century global warming trend claimed by CRUTEM3v.

  4. Pingback: How NIWA added lots of warming in New Zealand – and got away with it – so far « Tallbloke's Talkshop

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