NIWA shuts door but says ‘we’re open’

Pliant Ombudsman even supplies lock—will we ever get in?

Four-year battle continues

The Dominion Post recently chastised the Chief Ombudsman, Dame Beverley Wakem, for her poor performance.

It is truly extraordinary to hear her scolding journalists as “rottweilers on heat” and warning them not to annoy “innately conservative” officials who might then become “gun-shy”. These statements are what you would expect from a bad-tempered bureaucrat, not an ombudsman.

Continue Reading →

You’re not wrong, Warwick

[These comments on the availability of NZ temperature records from the ever-watchful Warwick Hughes in Australia may draw useful information from someone.]

Source: Confused reporting of cold in New Zealand | Errors in IPCC climate science

The headline in The NZ Herald says New Zealand hit by record cold temperatures overnight, yet a reading of the article gives no examples of actual records, only some bone-chilling -20°C overnight lows in the South Island. Hopefully some Kiwis might have better information. Continue Reading →

Tampering at Australian BOM exploded

Devastating criticism from William Kininmonth

This is dynamite. Heartland’s November Environment & Climate News reports scientist Jennifer Marohasy and environment editor Graham Lloyd, among others, have learned the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has been “fudging” historical temperature records to fit a warming narrative. Continue Reading →

Some questions for the BoM’s FOI executive

Warwick Hughes’ request under the Australian Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), has been declined by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) on the grounds that it might divulge information supplied “under an obligation of confidentiality” by a foreign Government to the Australian Federal Government.

The Court ruling which established this exemption to the FOIA dealt with a case involving intelligence-sharing with the Australian Security Intelligence Office (ASIO). In contrast, Mr Hughes’ case dealt with old weather records.

Several questions arise

1. Did NIWA impose an obligation of confidentiality on the Bureau?

It seems clear that neither party even thought about confidentiality until the request was made. Continue Reading →

What are the Aussies hiding?

Australian storm

In Australia, Warwick Hughes has followed with interest our attempts to obtain from NIWA details of their adjustments to the NZ temperature record. When the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) supplied a letter apparently certifying the Bureau’s “peer review” of NIWA’s review of the temperature record, he noted our complaint that “there must be more than this.”

Hearing of my request to NIWA for records relating to that review by the Bureau, he was minded to help. So, back in February, he filed a Freedom Of Information (FOI) request with the Australian Information Commissioner.

In response to that FOI request, the Bureau submitted to the Information Commissioner a Schedule of Documents dated 6 May 2011.

Somebody at the Bureau has put in hours of work tracking these documents down, describing them, analysing their relevance to Warwick’s request and assessing whether they met the provisions for exemption. Well done, them.

The schedule describes 159 relevant documents, amounting to several thousand pages, and what do you know? The BoM claims full exemption from the FOI Act in respect of every single page! Who could have predicted that? Continue Reading →

NIWA correspondence safe in hands of the BoM

What a secret!

See UPDATE, below.

Here’s a development that threatens to place publicly-funded weather data on the same footing as the next budget, or troop movements.

In February, Warwick Hughes lodged a Freedom Of Information request to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology to release all documents connected with their peer review for NIWA of NIWA’s review of their seven station series (7SS).

Today, Warwick posted a story about it, Australian FOI law keeps secret the construction of New Zealand seven station temperature series.

What’s so secret about temperature records?

In frustration, Warwick laments: “I am hoping that people smarter than I might see ways to carry on the battle to get these papers and files released. What can be so secret about the things publicly-funded scientists and bureaucrats do to adjust common or garden weather records into a form that suits them? We are not talking about nuclear weapons secrets here.”

I agree. Let’s hope someone with legal expertise and a desire to uncover the truth can pick up Warwick’s endeavour and move it forward.

The NZ situation

We’re waiting for the outcome of an investigation by the Ombudsman into NIWA’s refusal to release to me similar documents related to the peer review.

UPDATE

The BoM, in a document setting out their Reasons for Refusal, reveals that no fee was paid to them by NIWA for the peer review.

NIWA — show us the peer review!

What are you hiding?

a nice lake

NIWA’s temperatures unscientific, had to be ‘reconstructed’

The NZ Climate Science Coalition, with the assistance of the Climate Conversation Group (CCG), published the report Are we feeling warmer yet? in November, 2009.

It revealed that the official NZ temperature record compiled by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Ltd (NIWA) owes all of its warming trend to adjustments made to the actual thermometer readings. So, naturally, we asked NIWA what those adjustments were and why they were made.

We were surprised to encounter a ferocious denial of wrongdoing and a trenchant resistance to answering our questions. To be fair, we had insinuated that NIWA scientists might have manipulated the figures.

Warmists even mislead Parliament — does anyone care?

Anyway, NIWA persisted in ill-advised attempts to persuade the Coalition that our questions had already been answered in the scientific literature. But after considerable pressure in the media and after the ACT Party raised numerous questions in the Parliament, NIWA undertook early in 2010 to “reconstruct” the New Zealand temperature record.

That was a tacit agreement by NIWA that our reservations about the scientific validity of the official New Zealand temperature record were well founded. In other words, NIWA effectively admitted that they could not validate the record as it then stood. Because if they could have validated it, they would not have spent good (taxpayers’) money on reconstructing it.

This was a victory for an unwavering scientific scepticism in the face of determined bullying from members of a warmist establishment, prepared to resort even to misleading the Parliament. Continue Reading →

NZT7 uses defective raw data

Albert Park 1902 looking south

The official New Zealand Temperature Record is made up of historical temperature readings (raw data) and NIWA’s adjustments. Both of those components are unreliable.

The 169-page Report on the Review of NIWA’s “Seven-Station” Temperature Series, or the Review Report (RR), published by NIWA in December 2010 devotes very little space to that bane of climatologists — the urban heat island (UHI) effect. It has been long recognised that air temperature readings taken in towns and cities are affected by the heat absorption of concrete and tarseal surfaces; by exhausts of vehicles, aeroplanes and air-conditioners; and by structures which deflect wind and confine humidity.

Because a “heat island” is not representative of the wider region or country, most climatologists try to give them a wide berth. Wikipedia says that “the temperature difference between urban areas and the surrounding suburban or rural areas can be as much as 10°F”.

A similar enemy of the climate archivist is “shelter” — trees or structures which interfere with the thermometer’s normal exposure to wind or sun, and thereby cause distortions.

The mean temperature impacts of both UHI and shelter are typically gradual, but non-linear. They are hard to detect and almost impossible to correct. Most climate archivists simply omit any sites suspected of being contaminated by UHI/shelter. Continue Reading →

NIWA’s review taking a hiding

NIWA's logo

 

Questions raised over review of NZ temps

On 16 December, 2010, just before Christmas, just after the Parliament had risen for the year, just as the citizenry were rushing around doing Christmassy things and just as, necessarily, their oh-so-short memories of the year just gone were fading, NIWA released their long-promised review of the official New Zealand temperature record (NZTR).

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology gave it some luke-warm approval. In a letter dated 14 December, following their ‘peer review’ of NIWA’s ‘Review Report,’ Neil Plummer, Acting Assistant Director (Climate Information Services), at first gives this description of what the review would involve:

In this context ‘scientific review’ means a critical inspection/examination of the station reports taking into account the range of supporting evidence provided. The ideas, methods and conclusions of the papers are assessed for scientific error, internal consistency, clarity and scientific logic.

The data and methodology provided in the reports from NIWA are taken as an accurate representation of the actual analyses undertaken. We are not in a position to question all of the underlying analyses and data that have contributed to the final results, such as methods used to compile raw data taken at stations. We do, however, perform some independent analyses as appropriate to the aims of the review as outlined above.

Mr Plummer states clearly that they accept the data and the methodology presented by NIWA without questioning it. He also helpfully points out what the peer review will not do. Then he goes on in that vein at such length that he gives us the impression he doesn’t really want to review NIWA’s report at all. It would be too hard. Continue Reading →

NIWA’s review: what are they hiding?

NIWA's logo

 

NIWA refuses our OIA request—but why?

… continued from my initial post describing the weak endorsement from the Bureau of Meteorology of NIWA’s review of the official NZ temperature record (NZTR) and my subsequent demand under the OIA for copies of correspondence with the Bureau.

What has NIWA got to hide? They bought the Australian Bureau’s advice with taxpayer’s money — why is it being kept secret? Why can’t we see everything the Australians told their colleagues at NIWA? It’s only the temperature record, for goodness’ sake!

That’s not yet a state secret. It’s not like giving away the number of windmills we’re planning to build, or anything. Continue Reading →

NIWA’s maverick methodology

maverick

A sober analysis from an indefatigable leader of our Campaign for True Temperatures. Barry’s careful, professional reticence stands in stark contrast to the concerns emerging over the work of our premier climate institution. — Richard Treadgold


“NIWA uses internationally accepted techniques” — Hon Dr Wayne Mapp, Minister of Research, Science and Technology.

The principal methodology used by NIWA in calculating adjustments to historical data for both the Seven-station Series (7SS) and its provisional replacement, the New Zealand Temperature Seven (NZT7), is by comparison with other temperature stations. This is well explained in the Review Report published December 2010 (page 11) as follows:

  • Micro-climates exist: Within a general region, taking Wellington as an example, there are many micro-climates, and thus temperatures vary from place to place. This is because of Wellington’s varied topography, meaning that the sites have different exposures and aspects and are at different altitudes. All these factors can influence the measured temperature. There is no such thing, therefore, as “the” Wellington temperature; there are many Wellington temperatures, and they are all different.
  • Neighbouring sites vary together: Comparison of temperatures from neighbouring sites shows again and again that trends and interannual variations at nearby sites are very similar. So although the base level temperatures may be different at two sites (due to micro-climate effects), the variations are almost in ‘lock-step’, with occasional exceptions. (See examples in the seven-station documents and on the NIWA website).

Continue Reading →

BoM the Terminator

They’ll be back?

the Terminator

The Terminator

But would NIWA want them back?

The original plan was that the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) would provide an external peer review of NIWA’s new official temperature record.

It couldn’t really be an independent review because there are many close ties between the organisations, but at least it would be better than no review at all — like the last time, when young Jim Salinger made up the first temperature graph. Not reviewed? Hell, that one wasn’t even published!

However, the review by the BoM didn’t go to plan, because they managed to get out of giving any positive endorsement of the new NZT7 [see “Tepid Support from BoM”]. You’d think NIWA’s friends might at least pretend to like the review! But all the BoM said was:

In general, the evidence provided by NIWA supports the homogeneity corrections that have been applied to the temperature record to create the ‘seven station’ series.

Wow! Talk about underwhelming support! How would they sound if they didn’t like it? “In general” supports the corrections? So some of the evidence doesn’t support them? Notice the glaring lack of mention of the methodology.

What a huge disappointment that must have been for NIWA — but there was more to come. Continue Reading →

7SS – R.I.P.

dead parrot

Stone dead

NIWA’s long-defended ‘Seven-station Series’ (7SS) is as dead as the parrot in Monty Python’s famous sketch… it rests in peace, bereft of life, demised; it has shuffled off its mortal coil, its metabolic processes now history.

On the eve of Christmas, when nobody was looking, NIWA declared that New Zealand had a new official temperature record (the NZT7) and whipped the 7SS off its website.

NIWA’s spin-doctor, Network PR, likes to pretend that the NZT7 is really only a ‘revised’ version of Jim Salinger’s original 7SS. So when does a revision become a replacement? Continue Reading →

Nothing random about NIWA

no dice? loaded dice?

Loaded dice for temperature record?

In producing a new temperature record for New Zealand (NZT7), NIWA has again adjusted the raw measurements. Whilst no systemic error was found, one-off issues were raised by random site changes, especially during the early decades of the 20th century.

Curiously, NIWA’s adjustments are not random. Instead, their changes display a near-perfect symmetry, where amplitude is directly proportionate to age. Small adjustments apply to the 1950s, grow larger back in the 1940s, and larger still in the 1930s – before reaching their apogee in 1910-20.

Could this have happened by chance?

Continue Reading →

Tepid support from BoM

Sydney Opera House at dusk

Constrained support

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM), like the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) in New Zealand, is an advisory group of Government scientists responsible for the compilation and maintenance of official temperature records.

After NIWA scientists rewrote the official NZ temperature record — the Seven-Station Series — during 2010, their ‘Review Report’ included a letter of support from the BoM. This was seen as necessary, as NIWA’s credibility had been somewhat strained by its lengthy (and ultimately futile) defence of the old record.

Some are critical of the selection of the Bureau to review work by NIWA, as both groups have been widely criticised (especially in the blogosphere) for applying the same biases and questionable adjustment methods. See, for example, Australian Temperatures in cities adjusted up by 70%!? at Jo Nova’s blog.

As climate archivists, both agencies are extensively engaged in the work of the IPCC; and both are firmly of the school of thought led by Professor Phil Jones, head of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia (UEA).

The NZ Climate Science Coalition wrote to Science Minister Wayne Mapp, suggesting the appointment of two genuinely independent reviewers, and putting forward names of highly regarded scientists and statisticians. Continue Reading →

The 11SS — a Dog that didn’t bark

a stunned dog

Too stunned to bark.

One of the best-known episodes in The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes is “Silver Blaze”, concerning “the curious incident of the dog in the night-time”. Curiously, the dog did nothing. Sherlock rightly deduced that because the dog didn’t bark, there could have been no intruder.

A similar deduction may be made in regard to the silence which now surrounds NIWA’s heavily promoted “Eleven-Station Series” (11SS).

Interested observers naturally expected that the 11SS would again feature strongly in the NIWA Review Report as support for the new NZTR. But, to their utter surprise, they discovered that it’s been left out!

The Review Report flails around seeking supporting evidence from sea temperatures, wind flows, etc., but there is nary a word about the once-talismanic 11SS. One may scour the whole 169 pages, and delve among the footnotes, to no avail.

The 11SS is highly conspicuous in its absence. As it does not bark in the Review Report, we can surmise that it will never bark again. Although it did not join the 7SS in being whipped off the website within hours, it appears to be an equally deceased canine. Continue Reading →