Egos of NIWA

John Morgan, the Chief Executive Officer of NIWA, perhaps the country’s premier scientific institute, has misled the press and the people of New Zealand. He made a public claim of international recognition of NIWA’s temperature adjustment methods but refuses to provide evidence of that recognition. How can anyone believe him?

After NIWA published a review of the national temperature record (called “the Review”) in December 2010, the NZ Climate Science Coalition asked them how they adjusted the temperatures. What method did they use? It’s a reasonable question. If you knew that, you could try to replicate NIWA’s results. Replication is what science is all about.

They’ve waffled on for THREE YEARS that their method is “internationally recognised”. They even convinced a High Court judge, Justice Venning, who in his judgement intoned dutifully: “the methodology applied by NIWA was in accordance with internationally recognised and credible scientific methodology” [para 182].

NIWA presented not a single shred of evidence for that assertion — yet Venning believed them anyway.

Now John Morgan has made the same statement in public so he’s fair game, in my view, for a bit of pressure. In a statement to the media last October he specifically claimed that NIWA’s temperature adjustment methodology was “internationally recognised.” I’ve asked him to verify his claim with evidence and he has three times refused to provide it.

If this was a South Auckland finance company such obfuscation could be understandable. But this is a bunch of scientists and it’s just not good enough!

It’s strange that not a single journalist has yet become curious about Morgan’s peculiar mulishness.

This isn’t a complex matter. We don’t have to go into any science, or describe how non-climatic factors like new roads or changing the thermometer or even painting the instrument shelter can affect the recorded temperatures and we don’t need to know any mathematics or technical terms.

All we need to do is observe the absence of a sensible answer. Can you observe an absence of something? Yes, provided you pay attention.

We’re not going away. Why does Morgan claim international recognition when it doesn’t exist?

I mean, why bother?

17 Thoughts on “Egos of NIWA

  1. Robin Pittwood on April 8, 2014 at 11:07 pm said:

    His quote from the article is “The methodology applied by Niwa was in accordance with internationally recognised … methodology.” We should also consider the quality of the so-called internationally recognised methodology. I have read of other countries doing a similar treatment to their records. So if international standards are at a similar (poor) level, his statement is true.

  2. Well, fair enough. I always assumed it was true and just thought he should verify it. I hope it’s not true in the way you describe, by their methods being merely as bad as some others. Whatever the truth, it’s important that one way or another this manager of a public institution be required to observe his duty to tell the truth. Science is truth, so without that, what is NIWA?

  3. Magoo on April 9, 2014 at 11:09 am said:

    Best to get someone from ACT to raise the question to the minister in parliament after the election.

  4. They still have an MP?

  5. Magoo on April 9, 2014 at 12:08 pm said:

    I’d say they probably will after the election.

  6. I hope they do.

  7. Richard C (NZ) on April 11, 2014 at 2:14 am said:

    Speaking of ego, seen at Hot Topic (only fleeting visits these days – this one was fun thanks to biofarmer):

    [the biofarmer] – “Here is what the RSS group has recently reported……….”

    http://hot-topic.co.nz/climate-crisis-what-crisis-nz-right-ignore-ipcc-call-for-action/#comment-41878

    [noelfuller] – “By the way – what is this RSS group you keep citing? Of the many RSS groups identified by Google I can’t find one that represents research and evidence and data handling on climate change to match the hundreds of scientists actually doing the research reported and summarised by the IPCC process. On the other hand I’m years familiar with the memes of FUD which is so obviously what is implied by these words cited above.”

    http://hot-topic.co.nz/climate-crisis-what-crisis-nz-right-ignore-ipcc-call-for-action/#comment-41926

    Just for Noel (in lieu of advice from Gareth of the gentle aside kind, not in comments anyway):

    Remote Sensing Systems | Providing the data you depend on http://www.remss.com/

    “Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) is a world leader in processing and analyzing microwave data collected by satellite microwave sensors. Our mission is to provide research-quality geophysical data to the global scientific community.”

    Research (Mears and Wentz, RSS) includes the self-indicting “Santer’s 17 years” (i.e. some catch-up for poor Noel)

    Santer, B. D., C. A. Mears, C. Doutriaux, P. M. Caldwell, P. J. Gleckler, T. M. L. Wigley, S. Solomon, N. Gillett, D. P. Ivanova, T. R. Karl, J. R. Lanzante, G. A. Meehl, P. A. Stott, K. E. Taylor, P. W. Thorne, M. F. Wehner and F. J. Wentz, (2011) Separating Signal and Noise in Atmospheric Temperature Changes: The Importance of Timescale, J. Geophys. Res., 116, D22105, doi:10.1029/2011JD016263.

    “Our results show that temperature records of at least 17 years in length are required for identifying human effects on global-mean tropospheric temperature”

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2011JD016263/abstract;jsessionid=15B7881E2EB4366415B2CCD3A4527F7B.f03t03

    Of course RSS, once the warmist’s darling (as opposed to UAH – roles now reversed, see below)), is now “old and unreliable” and the non-warming RSS data is simply “spurious results”.

    [Ian Forrester] – “…..the reason that RSS shows no warming is that they are using old and unreliable satellites for their data. It has been shown that there are orbital decay problems with the satellite they are getting their data from which is leading to spurious results. Here is a comparison of UAH and RSS data: http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/uah/from:1997/plot/uah/from:1997/trend/plot/rss/from:1997/plot/rss/from:1997/trend

    Trends (from 1997):
    UAH – +0.08 K per decade [compare to IPCC models mean: +0.33 K per decade]
    RSS – -0.01 K per decade”

    http://hot-topic.co.nz/climate-crisis-what-crisis-nz-right-ignore-ipcc-call-for-action/#comment-41927

    Never mind that the UAH confidence interval includes the negative RSS trend and vice versa.

    RSS is actually now -0.007 ±0.198 °C/decade since Nov 1996 – 17 years 4 months – no human effects according to the Santer et al’s 17 year criteria and the IPCC’s 0.23(opinion)/0.33(models) C per decade projection. And the “orbital decay problems” were during the 1979 – 83 and 1989 – 92 periods, and corrected long ago. See:

    ‘Effects of orbital decay on satellite-derived lower-tropospheric temperature trends’
    Frank J. Wentz & Matthias Schabel (1998)

    http://images.remss.com/papers/MSU_Nature_Article.pdf

    Ego and ignorance appear to go hand-in-hand at Hot Topic.

  8. Alexander K on April 11, 2014 at 3:29 pm said:

    Not to mention good ole knickers-in-a -twist anger at being shown to be wrong again!
    The behaviour/rants at HT some time ago put me off visiting there there ever again, even just for a look!

  9. Mike Jowsey on April 12, 2014 at 4:47 pm said:

    Bryan Leyland’s graph of NIWA adjustments is used in a Monckton article at WUWT wherein the stupid paper by Lovejoy is treated with the contempt it deserves:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/04/11/lovejoys-99-confidence-vs-measurement-uncertainty/#more-107364

    Figure 1. Annual New Zealand national mean surface temperature anomalies, 1990-2008, from NIWA, showing a warming rate of 0.3 Cº/century before “adjustment” and 1 Cº/century afterward. This “adjustment” is 23 times the Lovejoy measurement error.

  10. Richard C (NZ) on April 12, 2014 at 7:58 pm said:

    “This study will be a blow to any remaining climate-change deniers,” Lovejoy says. “Their two most convincing arguments – that the warming is natural in origin, and that the computer models are wrong – are either directly contradicted by this analysis, or simply do not apply to it.”

    I’m going with – “or simply do not apply to it”.

  11. Richard C (NZ) on April 12, 2014 at 11:31 pm said:

    Shaun Lovejoy is in for a wild ride, so much fodder. For what it’s worth from me (this paper already being dismembered like a spit-roast pig), some solar background from Shapiro et al (2011) for context of Lovejoy’s use of Wang et al. 2005 and Krivova et al. 2007.

    ‘A new approach to long-term reconstruction of the solar irradiance leads to large historical solar forcing’, A. I. Shapiro, W. Schmutz, E. Rozanov, M. Schoell, M. Haberreiter, A. V. Shapiro, and S. Nyeki (2011) http://arxiv.org/pdf/1102.4763.pdf

    1. Introduction
    […]
    Long-term changes in solar irradiance were suspected as
    early as the mid-nineteenth century (C. P. Smyth 1855). One
    of the first quantitative estimates of its magnitude as well as
    past solar irradiance reconstructions was obtained by using the
    observations of solar-like stars (Lean et al. 1995). It was concluded
    that TSI during the Maunder minimum was about 3–
    4 W/m2 less than at present which translates into a solar ra
    diative forcing1 FP−M∼ 0.5–0.7 W/m2. However, these results
    were not confirmed by large surveys of solar-like stars and are
    no longer considered to be correct Hall & Lockwood (2004).
    Recent reconstructions based on the magnetic field surface distribution
    (Wang et al. 2005; Krivova et al. 2007) and on extrapolation
    of the assumed correlation between TSI and the open
    magnetic flux (Lockwood et al. 1999) during the last three minima
    (Steinhilber et al. 2009; Frohlich 2009) resulted in a low solar
    forcing value within the range FP−M ≈ 0.1–0.2W/m2.

    2. Effects of solar radiative forcing on climate
    […]
    Analysis of historical data suggests a strong correlation between
    solar activity and natural climate variations on centennial timescales,
    such as the colder climate during the Maunder (about
    1650–1700 AD) and Dalton (about 1800–1820 AD) minima as
    well as climate warming during the steady increase in solar activity
    in the first half of the twentieth-century (Siscoe 1978;
    Hoyt & Schatten 1997; Solomon et al. 2007; Gray et al. 2010).
    Numerous attempts to confirm these correlations based on different
    climate models have shown that it is only possible if either
    the applied perturbations of direct solar radiative forcing
    are large (consistent with a direct solar radiative forcing from
    the present to Maunder minimum FP−M∼ 0.6–0.8 W/m2) or
    the amplification of a weak direct solar forcing is substantial.
    Because the majority of recent FP−M estimates (see Sect. 1)
    are only in the range 0.1–0.2W/m2, and amplification processes
    have not been identified, the role of solar forcing in natural climate
    change remains highly uncertain (Solomon et al. 2007). In
    this paper we show that the solar forcing may be significantly
    larger than reported in the recent publications.

    4. Results and Discussion
    In the upper panels of Fig. 1 and Fig. 2 we present the TSI reconstructions,
    which are obtained after the integration of the
    Eqs. (1) and (2) over the wavelengths and normalization of the
    quiet Sun value for the reference year 1996 to 1365.5W/m2 . As
    the sunspot number is only available since 1610 AD the recon
    struction of the full solar cycle variability with an annual resolution
    extends back only 400 years. Both reconstructions in the
    right-hand panels of Fig. 2 are based on the 10Be data sets mentioned
    above. The difference in the reconstructions allows the
    error originating from the uncertainties in the proxy data to be
    estimated (20-50 % in the solar forcing value, depending on
    the year). This is large but still significantly less than the change
    in irradiance between the present and the Maunder minimum.
    Both reconstructions suggest a significant increase in TSI during
    the first half of the twentieth-century as well as low solar irradiance
    during the Maunder and Dalton minima. The difference
    between the current and reconstructed TSI during the Maunder
    minimum is about 6 ± 3 W/m2 (equivalent to a solar forcing of
    FP−M∼ 1.0±0.5W/m2) which is substantially larger than recent
    estimates (see Sect. 1). Note that as our technique uses 22-year
    means of the solar modulation potential our approach cannot be
    tested with the last, unusual solar minimum in 2008. In order
    to reproduce the current minimum as shown in Fig. 1 we have
    adopted a value of 584 MeV for the future 22-year average in
    2020 (which is 92% of the 22-year average for 1988–2009).

    # # #

    Lovejoy – “For reference, current (2012) RFCO2 is estimated as ≈ 1.9 W/m2”

    http://www.physics.mcgill.ca/~gang/eprints/eprintLovejoy/neweprint/Anthro.climate.dynamics.13.3.14.pdf

    Wang et al. (2005), Krivova et al. (2007) SolarRF ≈ 0.1–0.2W/m2
    (just right – adopted by Lovejoy)

    Shapiro et al (2011) SolarRF ≈ 1.0±0.5W/m2
    (far too large – ignored by Lovejoy)

  12. Richard C (NZ) on April 13, 2014 at 1:16 am said:

    Lovejoy the statistician neglects ocean oscillation (other than just a “residual”) that climate science (even Mann – a little) is now acknowledging as a significant factor in temperature. The latest positive PDO peak of which occurred in the early 2000s coinciding with the solar Grand Maximum as shown by Shapiro et al Fig 2 top right and AMO follows PDO i.e. temperature boosts superimposed on a temperature boost. Hence, PDO+AMO+sunspot integral explains 96% of climate variability without recourse to CO2.

    Basically, Lovejoy – like Jones, Lockwood, and Stott – adopts solar cases little more than least-case and ignores the oscillating effect of the planet’s largest heat sink. I do note however that he does actually consider RF-ocean-atmosphere thermal lags from Hansen and Lean & Rind (not that it helps his case) that are new to me. So now I can extend my lag list:

    14 yrs – Abdussamatov (thermodynamic mid-range)
    12 yrs – Scafetta (statistical mid-range)
    6, 10-100 yrs – Trenberth (empirical)
    10 yrs – Lean & Rind (empirical)
    25-50 yrs – Hansen et al. (model)

    As Nicola Scafetta and others have pointed out, Lovejoy truncates his observational series from 1880 – 2008 (Fig 3c), disguising the data prior to 1880 that produces a CO2-Temp divergence. And as with Foster and Rahmstorf after 2010, his “simple stochastic hypothesis” will be found out similarly by post-2008 data and millennial scale solar and 60-70 yr ocean cyclicity.

    In Lovejoys Fig 3b he tags the 1910 oscillation trough of the 60 yr cycle as “Residual [below CO2] = Natural Variabilty”. He could also have tagged the 1940 peak similarly except it is a “Residual [above CO2]”. But his problems arrive with the 1970 trough and 2000 peak which should be residuals below and above CO2 respectively but no “residuals” appear in his (apparent) late 1970s – early 2000s temp/CO2 correlation (the classic CO2 miss-attribution) i.e. his CO2 and temperature will diverge radically after a few more 5 year running average datapoints.

    Lovejoy – “Note that the same methodology can be used to analyze the postwar cooling and the recent “pause” in the warming; this is the subject of current work in progress.”

    Certainly is a work in progress – but by natural cycles, not by Lovejoy. The current 30 yr phase of the 60 year cycle will prolong the pause effect out to around 2030. And by applying the thermal lags above to the end of the solar Grand Maximum at 2009, there will be statistically significant cooling anytime from about 2015 onwards (barring the much-hoped-for monster El Nino purportedly on the way, but which is as yet non-existent).

    I don’t think Lovejoy will be very enthusiastic about follow-up updates to either this paper or his “work in progress” post 2015. Foster and Rahmstorf similarly

  13. Richard C (NZ) on April 13, 2014 at 2:32 am said:

    >”his [Lovejoy’s] CO2 and temperature will diverge radically after a few more 5 year running average datapoints”

    His series ends 2008 so his last 5 yr running average datapoint is 2003. To get up to date 2008 – 2014 he will have to add another 5 x 5 yr running averages. But 5 yr smoothing can only mask the divergence for so long, there’s about another 17 years of pause (a 30 yr phase) to contend with after that (and the solar cooling).

    Dropping up to date data and smoothing makes his Fig 3b and 3c graphs look good for a while (not that he’s the first warmist to ever truncate a series) but who is he fooling?

  14. Richard C (NZ) on April 13, 2014 at 6:12 pm said:

    >Lovejoy – “For reference, current (2012) RFCO2 is estimated as ≈ 1.9 W/m2″

    RFCO2 is at TOA, not at the surface. To get RFCO2 at surface TOA forcing must be reduced by more than a third (according to Hansen). The original radiative energy source for TOA RFCO2 is solar energy in a much higher energy-per-photon band of the electromagnetic spectrum that has been transferred via ocean and land. Not all TOA solar forcing energy reaches the surface but what does is an effective surface heating agent (and the actual energy amounts are higher than the IPCC’s dodgy RF methodology that only starts at 1750 and neglects day-time tropical peak insolation by global averaging anyway).

    Once that solar-sourced energy is re-emitted from ocean (either as radiation, sensible and latent heat, and most from higher latitudes to where it entered and possibly decades later) and land the radiative component is in a degraded state in a lower energy level EM band and incapable of being a heating agent on surface material again by GHG re-emission back to planetary heat sinks.

    In other words, even a small change in solar energy input to the climate system (not talking 11 yr cycle here) will cause an energy accumulation or de-accumulation depending on the rate of energy release (output) from the surface in respect to the magnitude of input change after thermal lag. TOA RFCO2 on the other hand, wont, despite all the speculation in climate science, IPCC reports, and the RC and SkS blogs.

    None of this of course is a consideration in Lovejoy’s statistical model, or as Matt Briggs puts it:

    “Since it cannot be that the observed changes are due to “natural variation” or “chance,” that means something real and physical, possible many different real and physical things, have caused temperature to take the values it did. If we seek to understand this physics, it’s not likely that statistics will play much of role. Thus, climate modelers have the right instinct by thinking thermodynamically. But this goes both directions. If we have a working physical model (by “working” I mean “that which makes skillful predictions”) there is no reason in the world to point to “statistical significance” to claim temperatures in this period are greater than temperatures in that period.”

    http://wmbriggs.com/blog/?p=8061

  15. Clarence on April 14, 2014 at 10:17 pm said:

    Even so, you’d think he would have provided a reference to some shonky paper that’s been used as justification elsewhere. What is most irritating about NIWA is that they don’t even pretend to be interested in the right way to do statistics!

    Wayne Mapp, when Minister of Science, told Parliament that NIWA would prepare a scientific paper justifying their temperature adjustments, and this paper would be submitted to a respected science journal for independent peer-review. Why didn’t that ever happen?

    Mapp also said the NIWA adjustments would be reviewed by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM). Well it was, and BOM didn’t agree with what NIWA had done. So NIWA refused to disclose the BOM review under the OIA, or to the Court. It’s still being kept secret.

    Augie Auer was right. NIWA’s climate section should be disbanded and the work given back to the MetService.

  16. Radio NZ this morning interviews James Renwick about the liquidation of the NZCSET
    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/247514/climate-sceptic-action-to-cost-taxpayer

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