Nicks in the myths of time

Baby stars, as seen by the Hubble telescope

I want to revisit some false arguments fabricated ages ago by our critics: time-worn errors which need re-rebutting, because they are still surfacing. These smooth myths, one might say, are nicked all over with imperfections. And mists cover everything.

The main spurious argument holds that the Climate Science Coalition says there’s no reason to adjust the raw temperature readings. That is false: we think there are good reasons for adjustments. What we actually say is that NIWA has made changes but refuses to reveal what they are.

A related myth is that NIWA has given us everything we asked for — simply by releasing the net arithmetical adjustments to each station. The reality is that, first, a net change isn’t enough because there could be multiple changes at a station. Second, the number by itself is useless; any reviewer needs the reason for each change. This is what NIWA has refused to tell us, yet both bits of data are required for any independent assessment of the accuracy of the temperature record. Continue Reading →

Hunter’s extraordinary peroration

We shall fight on the beaches…

Keith Hunter becomes deeply afraid for the future as we announce our review of NIWA’s behaviour. Why?

He says this, all timorous, intimidated and grateful for the gentle haven that is Hot Topic (as long as you agree with them):

I want to say how gratified I am that on this day of reckoning, the scientific community and the blogosphere have got behind our friends at NIWA and come out with so many statements of support. Make no mistake, this effort by the NZ*C*S*C is an attack on science and and [sic] attack on integrity. I, for one, will not put up with it! I am hugely comforted by the letters and phone calls of support I have received today. Maybe finally the mainstream scientists of this country are waking up to what the NZ*C*S*C is trying to do. Let there be no doubt – this is another attack on integrity [sic] of the science system. We defeated this when the Nazis did it, we defeated it when the Soviets did it, and we will continue to defeat it! And in case you think it [sic], let me remind you – all it takes for scientific untruths to survive is for honest men and women to ignore them.

So it’s a day of reckoning. The Coalition mounts an attack on science and on integrity. He is not putting up, is hugely comforted and confident we will defeat it. As we did with the Nazis and the Soviets and shall continue.

One question: let you remind us in case we think what?

I fail to see how the question “what adjustments did you make and why” can be interpreted to mean all this.

I fail to see how this expostulating answers the assertion that ethical standards were not observed.

I cannot fail to observe how the scientist loses his grip on reality. A day of reckoning? An attack on science?!

NIWAgate now on WUWT

NIWA temp adjustments with scales of justice

The tireless Anthony Watts reports our legal claim against NIWA (h/t to Andy).

May it encourage climate realists around the world to make a similar study of their national temperature history.

Barrage of misinformation: can’t they read?

NIWA temp adjustments with scales of justice

Wow! What an explosion of nonsense.

Hearing some of the comments about our court action against NIWA, you could be forgiven for thinking that the Coalition was made up of stupid people.

But the stupid ones are those mouthing off a torrent of misinformation against us without reading what we’ve actually lodged with the High Court. I have time only for a couple.

Commentator the First

Gareth Renowden, of Hot Topic, was interviewed this morning on Radio NZ by Sean Plunket. He said, among other things, the following:

I’ve been following [the Coalition’s] rather weird obsession with the New Zealand temperature record very closely on the blog.

It’s not a weird obsession, Gareth, it’s a weird and impenetrable temperature record, which you would know by now if you had bothered to take a look at it.

… all that Bryan [Leyland] wants is already there. The raw data you can download from NIWA. The adjustments that are required have been listed by NIWA; the methodology for doing it is available in the peer-reviewed literature; it’s incredibly non-controversial to climate scientists and meteorologists that you need to make adjustments.

Gareth here offers three false statements (I still hesitate to call them lies, though he has made them before) and a diversion. Continue Reading →

Background to our application for judicial review

NIWA temp adjustments with scales of justice

The following sets out the background of the NZCSC’s application and provides some vital context.

The National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) is a Crown Research Institute (CRI), contracted by the Government to be its sole adviser on scientific issues relating to climate change.

NIWA’s National Climate Centre is responsible for maintaining the National Climate database, mainly comprising records compiled by the NZ Met Service during the period 1853-1992. This archive finds its greatest significance in the New Zealand Temperature Record (NZTR), showing mean average surface temperatures throughout the twentieth century.

In 1999, the National Climate Centre adopted a “Seven-station Series” (7SS) as the basis of the NZTR. The stations (Auckland, Masterton, Wellington, Nelson, Hokitika, Lincoln & Dunedin) are geographically spread and considered to represent New Zealand as a whole. The 7SS graph and spreadsheet appear on NIWA’s website www.niwa.co.nz/news-and-publications/news/all/2009/nz-temp-record. Continue Reading →

Our Statement of Claim against NIWA

NIWA temp adjustments with scales of justice

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 Continue Reading →

Dynamite changes to raw readings

What has NIWA done to the original raw temperature readings? What do the adjustments look like? I can do little better than to show them on a single graph.

NIWA temperature adjustments, before and after

This clearly shows two important things:

1. The original readings show a slight, insignificant warming.

2. The adjustments have the effect of cranking the older readings down so the trend is now one of strong warming. Indeed, it is 50% greater warming than the globe itself.

Just as our original paper showed, back in November 2009, New Zealand has indeed been the subject of man-made warming, but only by adjusting the figures. Still, to this very day, NIWA refuse to detail the adjustments they made and why they made them. Continue Reading →

High Court asked to veto NIWA graph

NIWA temp adjustments with scales of justice

In an unprecedented move, the High Court at Auckland has been asked by the NZ Climate Science Coalition to invalidate NIWA’s official national temperatures.

Papers filed last week by the NZ Climate Science Education Trust ask the High Court to invalidate the New Zealand official temperature record (NZTR) developed and promoted by the Crown Research Institute, NIWA. NIWA maintains temperature archives for the past century, and attempts to forecast temperatures for the next century. These records form the basis of NIWA’s scientific advice to central and local government on issues relating to climate change.

All manner of documents published by NIWA claim that NZ’s temperature rose over the last hundred years by 0.9°C, supported by their specially-adjusted readings from their specially-selected weather stations.

Around the world, temperature records have been coming under closer scrutiny as people have discovered quality problems and even outright dishonesty affecting their national temperature history. Continue Reading →

Naïve fanfare silenced by foot-in-mouth NIWA

An ancient foot in the mouth

Quelle surprise! Network PR have taken down the page proclaiming their work with NIWA on “how to position itself in the climate change debate” (h/t to Andy).

It was here, but now the page of case studies doesn’t even mention NIWA. Here is the Google cache version, just to prove we didn’t imagine this.

When a company ceases to trumpet what they perceive as a good piece of work, you know their hand has been forced. In this case, who but NIWA would be doing any forcing?

Network PR has produced a monumental piece of naïvety in disclosing details of its work with NIWA. Network’s principals knew of their client’s adversaries, for the very purpose of the education campaign they fashioned was to deal with criticism from them, but the desire to trumpet their effectiveness was too strong to resist. It was a wonderful divorce from reality, to fail to imagine the adversaries hearing of this news and making use of it against their client.

So much for Network PR. Good luck to them. Now, through the careless eagerness of their supplier to leverage new business from success, NIWA’s senior managers have had their plainly self-absorbed thinking lit by a dazzling public spotlight and naturally it shames them. There are two threads in their error.

First, the leadership decided to use NIWA’s public funds for other than public purposes. That is, the organisation would not benefit from coaching their staff in how to avoid answering questions, only the individual scientists might be spared the irritation, embarrassment or simply the shame of answering questions exposing their unscientific methods, conclusions and agenda. Continue Reading →

NIWA prefers spin to straight answers

Hypnotic spiral

A scandal is erupting over a PR firm – Network PR – employed by NIWA for months specifically to advise it on how to respond to “attacks” from the NZ Climate Science Coalition and blogs like this one.

Read the self-serving announcement from Network here. Network must have been bamboozled into ignoring the scientific questions, because if they heard how simple they are, they surely would have advised NIWA to just answer them.

NIWA’s difficulties spring directly from refusing to answer these questions. Why won’t they answer? Continue Reading →

NIWA temperature series problems — Part 1

NIWA ship

A survey begins

When we published our paper Are we feeling warmer yet? last November, criticising the Seven-station Series (SS), NIWA quickly produced what they call the “Eleven-station Series” (ES) to counter it. They went to the trouble of asking Dr Jim Salinger, recently dismissed and author of the original national temperature series, to help them create it, which makes us realise that nobody at NIWA understands how he produced the original figures.

According to the NZ Herald, Jim specially selected the stations for the ES.

Some people would be impressed by that news, but others find their antennae stiffening at the idea of “specially selecting” data for any reason. It might be justified, but then again, it might not. The situation calls for careful study. So what has happened? We can say a few things about it.

Scientists in the Coalition have had a look at the new series and found problems with it. Continue Reading →

Ice, anyone?

A gigantic glacier

Hot Topic has just released a rant against Barry Brill’s article “Crisis in New Zealand climatology”, just published at Quadrant.

Readers here, waiting for NIWA to release the reasons for the adjustments to the official national temperature record, will be pleased to learn that Renowden has the answer so NIWA needn’t bother with all that scientific mumbo-jumbo.

First he quotes Barry’s article pointing out that the average NZ temperature in the 1860s was 13.1°C, the same as the average temperature in 2005. Renowden scoffs at this but does not refute it. I find that strange. He has no argument with those facts. He lets them stand.

Instead, he waves a book cover at us, showing melting glaciers, falsely insinuating that rising temperatures are the only reason for glaciers to recede. Continue Reading →

Public debate on climate change at last

Key and Rudd debating

I’m snowed under with work, but even if I cannot do this remarkable event justice with a full report, neither can I continue to ignore it. It must be recorded and acknowledged and praised and have thanks given for it. I will expand the account as I find the time.

It was a seminar on “climate change” arranged by the Napier branch of IPENZ, a society for civil engineers. Invited speakers included scientists from NIWA and scientists from the NZ Climate Science Coalition.

I have collected several eye-witness accounts which I want to weave together, but for now, just to give a brief report of the night, here is a quick summary from Alan:

Very well organised and run — took all afternoon and into 8 pm, with a dinner break. [Dr David] Wratt/[Prof. Martin] Manning/[Dr Andrew] Tait (NIWA) did not come across very well, to my mind; second-hand used car salesmen comes to mind (especially the first two).

Tait was hopeless; spoke of the precautionary principle, risk mitigation (buy my computer model tool box). Was a dead (not stunned) mullet when Willem asked him how his rainfall projections for the next 100 yrs compared with historic records. Continue Reading →

Crisis in New Zealand climatology

MfE NZ climate impact map

First published at Quadrant, May 14, 2010
download pdf (73KB)

The warming that wasn’t

The official archivist of New Zealand’s climate records, the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), offers top billing to its 147-year-old national mean temperature series (the “NIWA Seven-station Series” or NSS). This series shows that New Zealand experienced a twentieth-century warming trend of 0.92°C.

The official temperature record is wrong. The instrumental raw data correctly show that New Zealand average temperatures have remained remarkably steady at 12.6°C ±0.5°C for a century and a half. NIWA’s doctoring of that data is indefensible.

The NSS is the outcome of a subjective data series produced by a single Government scientist, whose work has never been peer-reviewed or subjected to proper quality checking. It was smuggled into the official archive without any formal process. It is undocumented and sans metadata, and it could not be defended in any court of law. Yet the full line-up of NIWA climate scientists has gone to extraordinary lengths to support this falsified warming and to fiercely attack its critics.

For nearly 15 years, the 20th-century warming trend of 0.92°C derived from the NSS has been at the centre of NIWA official advice to all tiers of New Zealand Government – Central, Regional and Local. It informs the NIWA climate model. It is used in sworn expert testimony in Environment Court hearings. Its dramatic graph graces the front page of NIWA’s printed brochures and its website. Continue Reading →

NIWA — climate denialists

Dr David Wratt

NIWA have responded to Rodney Hide’s criticism of their temperature record in two articles: a statement they published yesterday on Scoop, quoting Chief Executive John Morgan and Chief Climate Scientist David Wratt, and an article by Kent Atkinson from NZPA, who interviewed David Wratt and NIWA Communications Manager Michelle Hollis.

Here I review NIWA’s own statement at Scoop.

NIWA CEO John Morgan says, admirably, if predictably, that he supports “the integrity and professionalism” of his scientists. He adds that NIWA is internationally respected but then makes the quite remarkable statement that “we do not get involved in political commentary or process.”

That is an outstanding denial of the candidly political stance taken by the climate scientists under David Wratt, who unblushingly push the IPCC line, that human-caused warming will destroy life on Earth, that any temperature increase in the Earth’s climate should be “controlled” or “managed” below 2°C (as if we had the power to do so), that the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide should be “held” at 350 ppmv (as if we had the power to do so) and that the only way to escape ruinous global warming is to stop using petrochemicals and increase the use of all renewable energy sources but not nuclear power. And change our light bulbs and recycle things.

None of that is science; none of that is supported by scientific observations; none of that is anything but policy, politics and advocacy. Continue Reading →

Rodney Hide nettles NIWA

A speech delivered by the Hon Rodney Hide, ACT Leader, to the Waikato Federated Farmers AGM, at Hamilton Airport Conference Centre, Hamilton, on Thursday, May 6, 2010.

Nettle needles

Self-inflicted wounds and sloppy science

Should New Zealand lead the world?

Of course, you say. We’ve done it before.

First country to give women the vote. First country to sign a free trade agreement with China. First up Everest.

Yes, we know what it is to be first. To be the one others want to follow.

But do we know what it is to be out on a limb? To jump the starting gun and be running alone? Well, we are soon about to find out.

New Zealand will be the only country in the world to enact a national, all-sectors, all-gases ETS. Just us.

The US won’t be, nor Japan, India or China. And Australia has just pulled out as well. Continue Reading →

The New Zealand temperature vexation

Well, is the country warming or isn’t it?

Here’s an article written by one of the scientists in the NZ Climate Science Coalition (we like to call him Rupert Postlethwaite). Rupert is as much a wordsmith as a boffin and we hope you enjoy his easy-to-read account of the controversy over our national temperature record. He transforms a potentially boring topic into a lively entertainment. Because it was written last year, it does not represent the latest twists and turns in the saga and the numbers are slightly different, but if you forgive those little lapses, he does give a good account of the basic issues. Especially, he makes the reasons for adjusting the temperature readings easy to understand. Feel free to let us know what you think of it.

Thermometer

So, about that Global Warming…

If someone were to ask you the question “Has New Zealand warmed significantly over the past 100 years?” you’d be excused for looking at them somewhat askance. Askew, even.

“Of course it has,” you’d reply, somewhat taken aback at the audacity of the query. You might at this point make some notes regarding the questioner, just in case. You never know.

“Just look at the data,” you’d respond. “NIWA shows it clearly on their site. You can see a graph showing how we’ve warmed a full degree over the past century. See?”

NZ annual temperature series

“And Greenpeace says we’re all gonna die,” you’d add, helpfully. Continue Reading →

Renwick goes off the air

Dr James Renwick

Earlier this year I struck up a conversation with Dr James Renwick, NIWA Principal Climate Scientist. But we only exchanged a few messages; these were the last. After eight weeks I guess he no longer intends answering so I want to reveal the awkward questions he wasn’t prepared to answer. Here is his last email to me, followed by my response.

1 March 2010

Dear Richard:

In response to your mail of 23 February –

We have tabulated the adjustments (the “SOA”) and put them on our web site. Members of the CSC (Warwick Hughes, Vincent Gray) have had the necessary information for some time, as we have pointed out. Your document “Are we feeling warmer yet” illustrates the adjustments as step changes in the station graphs on pages 5-8. Continue Reading →

Up down all around it ends where it begins

A Mobius strip

Most people take for granted that New Zealand’s surface air temperatures (SAT) have gone up over the last century. But is that true?

NIWA’s official graph of the national temperatures is well known. You can get it from their web site. By the way, if you go there, let me know if you think they’ve recently stretched the image laterally; it is definitely wider than before — even the text is obviously stretched sideways. Could they be trying to make the vertical change less prominent and thus reduce the apparent slope of the trend line? What goes through their minds at NIWA? Anyway, as copied a few months ago, and so a little different, it looks like this:

NIWA's official NZ temperature graph

You should be aware that the Climate Conversation Group and the NZCSC have delivered a rip-snorting criticism of this graph, so we don’t agree with it even for a moment. Now I will raise further objections to NIWA’s graph because it contains features inconsistent even with NIWA’s own conclusions. Continue Reading →

Throw us a bone, mister?

A magnifying glass

Royal Society dwells in rarified realm

In their philosophical banquet hall they dine on pure science. Their table groans under the weight of hypotheses, complex thinking and evidence. Their huge intellects, beyond the ken of we ordinary folk, address issues we cannot imagine and their highly skilled minds devise solutions to problems we didn’t even know existed.

We are grateful when at last the Royal Society academicians let us know what for our good they have decided to do, then we can express our appreciation for the care they take over us.

Yesterday, the Chief Science Advisor, Peter Gluckman, made a speech at NIWA in Auckland. He addressed, as was proper for a scientist in the exalted position of advisor to our Prime Minister, high questions of science and its practise and development. He referred to the Royal Society, in England, celebrating this year the 350th anniversary of its founding. What a wonderful society, wonderfully inspired and courageous in countless periods as it championed the cause of empirical, evidence-based truth and reason.

Too much dogma…

The good Dr Gluckman bemoaned the fact that “too many decisions are still based on dogma rather than knowledge”. How true that is. But see how that barb lands uncomfortably close to our admirable Royal Society. Does he know that the vexed question of anthropogenic global warming, about which he asserted later in his speech quite firmly: “I am not going to enter the debate about whether the world is warming and whether that warming is anthropogenic,” is ruled by the very dogma he appears to deplore? Continue Reading →

Impressively complex. Of course, we ignore it — NIWA

A Stevenson screen in the snow

NIWA keep talking about various reasons to adjust the official New Zealand temperature readings. They say one must account for changes in location, exposure, urbanisation and instrumentation. For some reason they continually harp on about the altitude difference between Thorndon and Kelburn (Wellington).

But it is empty talk, because they have never made changes for those reasons. Are you listening? People of New Zealand: scientists from the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), your country’s publicly-funded, premier environmental research organisation, have lied to you and continue to lie to you. Continue Reading →

Salinger claims warming but can’t feel the heat

A man with his head in the sand

The Waikato Times today carries an interview with Dr Jim Salinger by Jeff Neems.

The heading is Salinger doesn’t feel critics’ heat. Which probably explains why he doesn’t reply to the criticism.

I think there is something to be said to Dr Salinger. He gets away with some elasticisation of the facts. Do you think we’ve attacked Salinger personally and not on facts? I don’t. We’ve directed our criticism squarely at his PhD thesis and some things he has said. We have deliberately not attacked Jimmy himself.

Do you think Salinger is being a mite hypocritical? First he says:

Science is about facts, not beliefs. I like to look at the facts and see what they say – if people want to attack me as a person, that has nothing to do with my science. It doesn’t worry me.

Then he attacks the Coalition on personal grounds through their alleged connection with big oil. I myself have no connection with the oil industry; I suppose that’s why my cheque from them is overdue. Continue Reading →

NIWA disowns Salinger thesis

An old book

Yes, the title is correct: I can now reveal that NIWA have actually disowned the famous Salinger thesis, which describes a method of adjusting a time series of temperature readings when they become no longer homogeneous. Despite their repeated citing of the 30-year-old student paper, they don’t actually regard it as important. This has become clear after several months of diligent research by members of the NZ Climate Science Coalition.

But first, we’ve discovered the true nature of the “public” access that NIWA claims for the thesis. And not is all as it seems.

Thesis available, but only in Wellington

ACT MP John Boscawen asked a question in the Parliament of the Minister of Research, Science and Technology, Dr Wayne Mapp:

Can the minister confirm that Dr Salinger’s PhD thesis is still “publicly available”? If so, where, and how may it be obtained?

A simple question, you might think, and so it is. Listen to the answer from Dr Mapp. Continue Reading →

NIWA have the adjustments — so what are they?

The surface of the sun

UPDATED and expanded on awakening Saturday morning — 13 Mar 2010, 10:45 am

John Key: you must bring NIWA to heel

The Waikato Times yesterday wrote:

Niwa principal climate scientist Dr Brett Mullan said Niwa “had the original data, knew the method of the calculations, and we have the answers”. There was “no scientific issue from our perspective”, and Dr Salinger’s work had stood the test of time.

So what are the adjustments

The NZ Climate Science Coalition began asking NIWA for the adjustments to the national temperature record in late November.

NIWA have told us where we could find the adjustments; we searched for them where they told us to search; the adjustments are not there.

NIWA have said: “We have the methodology, it’s in a student’s thesis [and other sources] from 1981, just read it.” The Coalition never asked for the methodology, we asked for the adjustments, but we looked anyway. Continue Reading →

STOP PRESS: Wellington “altitude fix” was a lie – NIWA

On Friday, 27 November 2009, the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) published a short press release at Scoop.

Under the heading “Combining Temperature Data from Multiple Sites in Wellington”, NIWA described in some detail the process of adjusting temperature readings when the weather station has been moved. By way of example, they cited Wellington, where, they said, the Thorndon weather recording station was moved in 1928 to Kelburn.

The Kelburn site is colder because it is about 120m higher than the Thorndon site. The process of combining data from various Wellington sites is illustrated below.

The day before, David Wratt was quoted in another NIWA press release:

Such site differences are significant and must be accounted for when analysing long-term changes in temperature. The Climate Science Coalition has not done this.

NIWA climate scientists have previously explained to members of the Coalition why such corrections must be made. NIWA’s Chief Climate Scientist, Dr David Wratt, says he’s very disappointed that the Coalition continue to ignore such advice and therefore to present misleading analyses.

But now, in a dramatic turnaround, they confess, in a written answer to a Parliamentary question, that this “example” of adjustments for the reason of altitude change was fiction.

They have not changed any temperatures for that reason at any station in the national “seven-station” series.

They were lying to us. They openly mocked Rodney Hide for not knowing about that sort of thing and scolded the inquiring scientists at the NZ Climate Science Coalition and falsely incited their supporters, such as the rabid warmers at Hot Topic, into making vicious attacks on the credibility of the NZ CSC and the Climate Conversation Group.

That’s all I have time for, but here’s the official Parliamentary answer (my emphasis):

Station adjustments are not made on the basis of elevation differences, either for Wellington or for any of the other six locations. Adjustments are calculated from comparisons of different stations’ records, as described in the NIWA document Creating a Composite Temperature Record for Hokitika.

Wellington is a special case where two sites, Thorndon and Kelburn, are very close to one another horizontally but with a large (approximately 120m) altitude separation. This does not occur for any of the other six locations in the “seven-station” series.

Temperature differences between Wellington sites correlate well with measurements, in many parts of the world, of temperature decrease with altitude. This “lapse-rate” effect has been used to confirm that the adjustment between Thorndon and Kelburn, calculated by inter-station comparison, would be expected from the altitude difference between the sites.

The slippery scientists at NIWA now admit that they didn’t use the altitude “lapse rate” method to calculate adjustments. They say it only “confirmed” adjustments made by another method.

So why did they ridicule us?

If NIWA have any credibility left it would be surprising.

How will Gareth Renowden respond to this? Is he getting the picture yet?

More later.

NZ temperature graph doesn’t meet proper standards

Parliament Buildings through an onion

We’re working through several answers from the Hon Wayne Mapp, Minister of Research, Science and Technology, concerning questions posed by ACT about the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA).


The last of the questions posed by John Boscawen on behalf of ACT on February 19 asked about the official graph of the seven-station temperature series which shows warming over New Zealand during the 20th Century.

The answer, on March 1, said the iconic graph was finally justified by work done over about six weeks, from mid-December to early February. I’m sorry, that’s wrong: the graph was not justified by this work; the graph remains unjustified except for the portion related to Hokitika — that’s right, yes, I’ve got it now.

The work NIWA did justified only the temperature history at Hokitika, although it hasn’t been peer-reviewed yet by independent scientists, only by colleagues at NIWA, so there might still be errors in it.

You wouldn’t get away with it at high school

So the temperature graph made from seven weather stations, which NIWA has used for years to prove that the New Zealand climate has warmed, and thus we must take expensive action against global warming caused by humanity’s emissions of carbon dioxide, has never had proper scientific standing. Continue Reading →

NIWA not trusted

Parliament Buildings through an onion

We’re working through several answers from the Hon Wayne Mapp, Minister of Research, Science and Technology, concerning questions posed by ACT about the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA).


Dr Mapp was asked on 19 Feb, 2010:

If only raw temperature data is supplied by NIWA to NASA, NOAA and the Hadley Centre, what additional information is supplied so that NASA, NOAA and the Hadley Centre are able to make their own judgements about temperature adjustments?

To which he answered:

Along with the raw data NIWA provides latitude, longitude, altitude of the site, period of record, along with information on site exposure and instrument history.

Why don’t the overseas agencies trust NIWA to make accurate adjustments? Have they found reasons to doubt they were made properly?

For that matter, why do NIWA mistrust the adjustments made by NASA, NOAA and the others? Why do they make their own?

NIWA thinks OI Act “doesn’t apply to us”

Parliament Buildings through an onion

We’re working through several answers from the Hon Wayne Mapp, Minister of Research, Science and Technology, concerning questions posed by ACT about the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA). This is a real good one, you just have to know what happened elsewhen to appreciate the depth of its stupidity.


Proposed NIWA-gate screenplay

Weekly NIWA management meeting

“OK, Dave, we’ve received a request from the Coalition for all the info from when Jim put together … no, old Jim … put together the national temp series. It’s pretty dusty, but there’s something in those old boxes, I’ve seen them moving. What should we send them?”

“Damn! Who the hell told them about the Act! Look, don’t SEND them ANYthing. Official information! That Act doesn’t really apply to us. This is war, we’re trying to save the planet, ah, national security’s at stake here, ah, these are operational matters and ah, we don’t have to answer questions. Oh, Tim, don’t look so worried, Wayne’ll back us up; he always has. He doesn’t have a clue what’s going on. Let’s move forward. What’s next? Come on.”


Actually, boys, the game is up.

When the Hon Dr Mapp was asked in the Parliament “what source material was consulted in [the] preparation [of the specific document of adjustments to the Hokitika site]”, why did you advise the minister to answer this week as follows? Continue Reading →

Perrott pouts a porky

Hot Topic logo

I see now that two days ago Ken Perrott made a short but incorrect comment at Hot Topic which should be rebutted:

My comments at Treadgold’s blog are now deleted.

Ken, whose repetitive comments here, with their artificial argumentation, became quite vexing, risks misleading Hot Topic’s readers into believing I deleted all his comments. For that is not true.

Actually, only Ken’s latest comment was deleted, for being derogatory, personal and in bad taste. I deleted a comment only after repeated warnings not to indulge in ad hominem remarks, which he ignored. It’s easy to verify that all his previous comments are still sitting here, ready to illuminate us.

Just stand around shouting insults

No doubt pluralising his “comment” was indeliberate and I look forward to his apology when he hears of my rebuttal.

Looking at some of the other comments, I’m surprised to see that scarcely a sentence mentions the national temperature record, which is what I’m talking about. Or perhaps not surprised, having noticed before that most contributors there (but not all) seem happy just to stand around muttering insults.

I might say that some of the remarks are in the most dreadfully poor taste. It’s a wonder that Mr Renowden lets them stand.

However, I should congratulate him on his writing this time. For a post that basically tells me to naff off from his blog, it is remarkably well-researched. I suppose I should feel flattered he went to such trouble over someone unimportant, without influence, not threatening or notable. Continue Reading →

NIWA ignores our questions

Parliament Buildings through an onion

We’re working through several answers from the Hon Wayne Mapp, Minister of Research, Science and Technology, concerning questions posed by ACT about the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA).


A further question asked the minister why he tabled the Hokitika analysis instead of an analysis for all seven stations, as Rodney Hide had asked and David Wratt had agreed to do during the December meeting of MPs. Nick Smith prevented a record being kept of that famous meeting, so the only account of it came from Rodney Hide in a late-night phone call. You can read it here on the CCG blog.

If you haven’t seen the “NIWA squirms” article before, I’ll ask you to take particular notice of this part:

Rodney said, “That’s the sort of thing [a description of the adjustments at Wellington] I want to see for every site.” Wratt admitted there were other adjustments at Hokitika. Rodney said, “Well, just explain those, then do the same for the other five sites” [Rodney thought that the Wellington adjustments had been described, so only five sites remained. It proved to be untrue — they have still not described Wellington, so there are six to go.]

Rodney’s request to see all seven stations is unambiguous and undeniable. Continue Reading →

NIWA breaks promises, should apologise

Parliament Buildings through an onion

We’re working through several answers from the Hon Wayne Mapp, Minister of Research, Science and Technology, concerning questions posed by ACT about the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA).


One question concerns the production of what we have referred to as the Schedule of Adjustments (SOA). It’s simply a statement of what changes were made to the raw temperature readings, why and when, in order to record the scientific justification for them.

The Climate Conversation Group (CCG) and the NZ Climate Science Coalition (CSC) have been asking NIWA since November to disclose the SOA. Privately, they have told us they are “reconstructing” the SOA, and, indeed, on February 9, they quietly posted a list of all the adjustments to the seven-station series together with a discussion of the reasons for Hokitika. Well done, them.

On January 30, Eloise Gibson wrote in the NZ Herald:

The country’s climate forecaster is bowing to public pressure and putting all of its temperature data and calculations on the internet because of mistrust fuelled by errors overseas.

Principal climate scientist James Renwick said Niwa had decided to bare all because “if we don’t we appear to be hiding something”.

Two people in Niwa’s climate group have prepared a full set of documents including all the data from climate stations and a full explanation of the adjustments made to records, which should be available online in about a week.

Continue Reading →

Odd numbers

Parliament Buildings through an onion

NIWA supply temperature data to the big overseas teams that maintain the global temperature datasets, including NASA, NOAA, the Hadley Centre, the WMO, NCDC and the UK Met Office (Hadley Centre).

It’s a bit odd that not all those organisations get the same sets of data.

For instance, the WMO gets monthly summaries comprising Kaitaia, Rotorua, Gisborne, New Plymouth, Paraparaumu, Kaikoura, Hokitika, Christchurch, Tara Hills, Invercargill, Raoul Island, Chatham Islands and Campbell Island — 13 stations in total.

From time to time, “Other data are provided in response to requests to NIWA.” So in August 2005, NCDC and NOAA reveived data from Kaitaia, Gisborne, New Plymouth, Paraparaumu, Hokitika, Tara Hills, Invercargill, Campbell Island, Chatham Islands and Raoul Island. That’s a bunch of 10 stations.

In August 2003, NIWA apparently sent (isn’t this fascinating?) the WMO data from 17 New Zealand sites: Kaitaia, Rotorua, Gisborne, New Plymouth, Napier, Paraparaumu, Nelson, Kaikoura, Hokitika, Christchurch, Tara Hills, Dunedin, Invercargill, Raoul Island, Chatham Island, Campbell Island and Scott Base, Antarctica. So that’s a New Zealand site?

In 1994, the UK Met Office (Hadley Centre) got temperature data for the seven-station series, plus Havelock North and Mt Cook (my emphasis).

Strange that in every case the overseas teams received data from more sites than we ourselves use for the national record.

Why does NIWA select only seven sites to describe the whole country? They really ought to explain it to us.

Suspicious warming trend proof of bias?

Parliament buildings with onion

We’re working through several answers from the Hon Wayne Mapp, Minister of Research, Science and Technology, concerning questions posed by ACT about the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA). Some of the answers are bombshells. One reveals that NIWA lost vital worksheets used by Dr Salinger in constructing the national temperature record.


The next question I’ll discuss concerns adjustments NIWA made to the national temperature record. ACT asked a simple question about them, which was this:

… how many of the years before 1950 had their temperature adjusted downward in the NIWA “Seven-Station” Temperature Series and how many upward; and how many of the years after 1950 had their temperature adjusted downward and how many upward?

Continue Reading →

NIWA admits deleting vital climate files

a destroyed hard disk drive

NIWA have admitted that vital original material used to prepare the official New Zealand temperature records was deleted. They do not say when it happened, but it means that, in contravention of time-honoured principles of good science, NIWA is no longer able to verify the work done by Dr Jim Salinger.

The news came in an answer to a written parliamentary question from ACT and comes as NIWA is under pressure to justify the so-called “seven-station” time series that forms the centrepiece of their evidence of long-term warming.

The Climate Conversation Group (CCG), in association with the NZ Climate Science Coalition (CSC), published a report last November into apparent irregularities in the New Zealand temperature record. Continue Reading →

Salinger & NIWA all at sea over temperature trends

NZ temp record

What’s going on?

NIWA goes to a lot of trouble to warn us about the coming “climate change” causing warming between 0.7°C and 5.1°C by 2090. But I can reveal evidence that our top climate scientists don’t believe this.

Should New Zealanders expect significant warming for the next 80 years? You might be surprised to learn — especially if you’re following the discussions here — that scientists with NIWA, whose job is to research the climate, tell us we already haven’t had any warming to speak of for about 60 years and we won’t get serious warming in the future.

Now that’s not the message we normally get from government scientists! Continue Reading →

Our paper is misinterpreted — have you read it?

Graphs from our paper

The paper we published last November continues to attract attention. The sceptics like it since it seems to refute any warming in New Zealand and the warmists like it since it seems to present a loutish, unscientific punching bag.

The truth lies more moderately somewhere in between.

The sceptics shouldn’t look to our paper to refute local warming, because it doesn’t. It presents no evidence on the quality of the national temperature graph — it merely questions the data, expresses strong doubts about their accuracy and wonders what adjustments were made to them.

Salinger contradicts Wratt in writing

Those looking for a refutation of New Zealand warming actually need look no further than NIWA’s own graph of the New Zealand annual temperature series, which shows no significant warming since about 1950. Here’s a copy:

NZ annual temperature series

In confirmation of this, Dr Jim Salinger expressly claims that the NZ temperature increase over the last 50 years is only 0.3°C. In an email to Vincent Gray in 2006 he said:

A linear trend fitted to the data over the period 1950 – 2005 is equivalent to an increase of 0.4°C over that period (or 0.3°C fitting a trend to the last 50 years, 1955 – 2005).

That’s a far cry from 0.92°C over the last 100 years, which is what David Wratt last claimed. The first 50 years must have been scorching! Continue Reading →

Suspended at Hot Topic!

Hot Topic logo

It seems I inspire anxiety in warmist minds around the world. Real Climate, home of the infamous Mike (the Hockey Stick) Mann, and Tamino at her blog, Open Mind, have both banned me for asking questions, and now at the little-known New Zealand warmist site, Hot Topic, I have been “suspended”!

I argued with a silly, alarmist story at Hot Topic about a tiny rise in atmospheric methane levels. I knew I risked a high level of personal abuse, and that I had already been declared “unwelcome”, but I was unwilling to let such unfounded, anxiety-peddling nonsense go unchallenged.

Here is the comment with which Gareth Renowden greeted my first remarks this morning (the first comment of mine at that site for a number of weeks):

[Richard: Until you withdraw your shonky “report” on NIWA’s temp record and apologise for smearing the reputations of senior scientists you remain unwelcome here. GR]

And this, dear reader, is what the redoubtable Bryan Walker has done to my response to others’ comments at about 1:10 this afternoon:

Bryan Walker February 25, 2010 at 1:33 pm
Richard, I have put your latest comment on hold until Gareth returns this evening and can decide what to do about it. So far as I am aware you remain unwelcome on this site, but your appearance caught me by surprise and I’ve let your first comment stand since it has attracted other comments. Please make no further comment in the meantime.

Until the great man returns to apply some much-needed reason to the problem of my comments, you can read them here: Continue Reading →

Dendro blatherskite

Dendrochronological drill

Let us talk about the NZ Herald again, Eloise Gibson (environmental reporter) again and Andrew Reisinger again, but more of Dr Reisinger than the others, who cannot be expected to know how he weaves that magic wool over their eyes.

Dr Reisinger, not unknown to readers of this Climate Conversation, who you might remember is close to Rajendra Pachauri (still clinging grimly to the leadership of the IPCC) and rumoured to be in a relationship with Pachauri’s younger daughter, Shonali, is this time treating us to a bunch of mysterious nonsense about tree rings. According to my information, he’s a highly skilled atmospheric physicist (which has nothing to do with tree rings, however).

He claims that trees have changed how they respond to the climate, but only in the last sixty years. Yeah, right! Continue Reading →

Cold-blooded at Hot Topic

lizard

There continues such a stream of cold-blooded invective over at Hot Topic, one marvels they have the will to ignore the point for such long periods.

They discovered ACT’s questions in Parliament yesterday and have shared with the world the following pearls of understanding.

Gareth (after reading John’s first question): What “schedule of adjustments”? That’s just a term made up by Treadgold. Who writes your questions, John?

Picking up on that term is weak and quite ignores the thrust of the question. I didn’t make it up, but it’s jolly useful. James Renwick uses the term, so we’re in good company (or Renwick is).

Rob Taylor contributed: Evidently, ACT and NZ”C”SC are joined at the hip – one couple who truly do deserve each other!

Mindless twaddle.

password1: Speaker was ’sympathetic’ to the ACT’s member’s point of order. Transcript: [link]

Ah, some information!

Gareth: Hide’s supplementaries sound as though Treadgold wrote them for him. ACT are clearly hell-bent on supporting the CSC and CCG smear campaign. More fool them.

What’s wrong with me writing them (though I didn’t)? What smears? Show me a smear.

So, after this pointless arm-waving, what about NIWA not keeping a schedule of adjustments? You’re not enlightening us one bit, lads.

Question time Mapps a revelation

A Mapped-out question

Hide one, NIWA nothing

Question time in the House today was a revelation. You could see it, writ large and terrible, on Wayne Mapp’s face as he finally realised the depth of deception he’s been handed by his own department, the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA).

It has been obvious for a while that NIWA has not taken the good minister into its confidence, and I hope that the Hon Dr Mapp went back to that department today and rapped some naughty NIWA knuckles. It is past time it happened.

Deception is the wrong approach to use on a Minister of the Crown. You might try it, and for a time you might succeed, but it will catch up with you. I would not be in David Wratt’s shoes right now for any price.

Dreadful display of ignorance

Wayne Mapp did not appear to know

  • that the schedule of adjustments was not, in fact, contained in the voluminous references NIWA gave the NZ Climate Science Coalition (CSC)
  • that there are reasons other than location changes to adjust temperature readings
  • that the schedule of adjustments is not on NIWA’s web site
  • that Salinger’s thesis is not publicly available
  • the difference between the methodology of the temperature adjustments and the adjustments themselves
  • that the documents cited by NIWA do not in fact exist on NIWA’s web site but are elsewhere
  • that the famed schedule of adjustments does not actually exist

It was a dreadful display of ignorance by a Minister facing questions in the Parliament. Continue Reading →

Apologise? Why?

A cracked egg

It’s hard to know what Mr Renowden is trying to say in his post attacking me/us. Entitled Egg/face interface for Hide and the climate cranks, it asks for an apology from us/me but fails to mention what for.

I’ll have a closer look soon and comment on it. But it looks like the same tiresome stuff, I fear, as we’ve dealt with already. NIWA have told us that they don’t have all the records to give us a full answer but they will reconstruct them and show us why the adjustments are justified. To demonstrate that, they’ve just released the adjustment schedule for Hokitika.

There’s no reason for us to apologise, but we have thanked them.

We (our scientists) are looking at the Hokitika adjustments. We’re also examining Salinger’s thesis. Finally. Hurrah. It’s catastrophically long so any opinion will be a while in coming.

Gareth’s rant has attracted a great many comments, a lot of them rambling off the topic, but too few of any value and, regrettably common at Hot Topic, too many of none.

Diatribe in EU Parliament AWFWY good

Good grief!

I’ve just come across this video of Godfrey Bloom, Member of the European Parliament for Yorkshire. He was speaking in Strasbourg during the debate on the outcome of the Copenhagen summit on climate change when he gave this furious tirade against the belief in global warming.

The surprise for us was that, near the end, announcing that the New Zealand temperature database was “fraudulent”, he suddenly brandishes a copy of our report, Are we feeling warmer yet? It’s a dramatic moment!

So how about that, then?

Presentation on NZ temperature record

On December 7 last year, I was invited to a political meeting hosted by John Boscawen, ACT list MP and all-round good guy, at the Royal Akarana Yacht Club in Auckland. I described the history of the joint CCG/CSC campaign to get the temperature adjustments from NIWA. Somebody was running a video camera.

This is the first half (9:41):

Here’s the second half (9:41): Continue Reading →

Dog legs it after hot topic

dog chasing a horse

Gareth Renowden, in a recent post at his Hot Topic blog, apart from a flash of genuine humour in the heading (“dogging a fled horse”) offers nothing new and requires us to repeat ourselves in pointing out what our regular visitors already know: our questions are reasonable and NIWA has not yet divulged the answers to them.

Mr Renowden queries our statement that NIWA “merely” refers to the scientific literature, patiently explaining to us that “that’s where scientific knowledge is to be found, not in worksheets or computer records” (as though they are the only options).

But we were asking for the specific adjustments to the specific readings from particular thermometers, and we didn’t find them in the citations NIWA gave us. Is that clear enough? We need the adjustments, not references to documents that don’t contain them. If Renowden insists that those documents contain them, he must point them out to us. Continue Reading →

Rodney Hide remains rightly honourable

The Hon Rodney Hide

UPDATE: Comments added and extended 3:30 p.m. February 11.

The Hon Rodney Hide gave welcome publicity in his Leader’s address in the Parliament yesterday to our attempt to obtain the adjustments made to the national temperature record.

Gareth Renowden, at his Hot Topic blog, has again misunderstood what we’re trying to do and tries his darndest to demolish Rodney’s reputation, solely on the basis that Rodney disagrees that the world is dangerously warming from the actions of humanity. Has he not heard of free speech?

However, far from misleading the Parliament, as Mr Renowden scurrilously alleges, Rodney in fact brings its members up to date with the latest developments in the long-running climate scandal, which most of our mainstream media have shown themselves reluctant to do.

Greatest scandal in history of science

Let’s examine his salient points, ignoring the ad hominem attacks on Rodney, the Coalition and me. Here is Mr Renowden, quoting Rodney (RH) (some of my comments in red):

Hide climbs straight into the so-called “climategate” affair:

RH: Climate-gate is now the greatest scandal in the history of science.

Astonishing hyperbole, but straight out of the denial campaign’s play book. Try Googling “greatest scandal in the history of science” and see where the hits are coming from…

I did. They are overwhelmingly about the climategate affair. No problem. In any case, it’s an expression of opinion, cannot be incorrect and is distinctly unastonishing. Continue Reading →

Hot Topic floundering, no leg to stand on

flounder

One of the criticisms levelled at our joint study with the NZ Climate Science Coalition, Are we feeling warmer yet? by Hot Topic was that we lied in stating there were no reasons for large corrections to the NZ temperature record.

These are Renowden’s comments from last November (extra emphasis added where he quotes from our study):

Did you miss it? The big lie? There are no reasons for any large corrections. That’s it, there. And it’s a lie because the NZ CSC has known for at least three years why adjustments have been made to certain stations.

Renowden obviously took NIWA’s word for it (along with many others, and why not?), that they had earlier advised the Coalition of reasons to correct the temperature readings. Now that it is established that they did not so advise the Coalition, it is proved that we were not lying.

So he should apologise for his incorrect allegation, not to mention the unholy relish with which he delivered it. I won’t besmirch this site by quoting what he says about me and the Coalition; the link is above and readers may choose to verify his language for themselves. Suffice it to say it was colourful.

He was pleased to take NIWA’s side then and enjoy his roasting of us, as he no doubt imagined it to be, but he must now face his error — the evidence has emerged which kicks it into touch, as we always hoped it would. Nor must he take my word for it — he just needs to listen to NIWA’s own legal counsel.

He, Tim Mahood, has told us in writing that NIWA lost their record of the corrections to the temperatures and the reasons for those corrections. NIWA no longer complain that we already “have” those corrections and that we are being a nuisance, although they have not yet apologised for citing numerous sources for the corrections which all proved false when we checked them. Of course, NIWA knew they were false when they supplied them, for they knew the adjustments didn’t exist.

So will we discover what sort of a man is Mr Renowden? If he prefers to disagree with NIWA and to cling to the idea that there are reasons for large (or any) adjustments to the temperature readings, he should declare what those reasons are and what are those adjustments, to which stations. However, NIWA, whose cause he so vigorously defends, will be unable to assist him.

If, on the other hand, he agrees with NIWA, that no reasons for large adjustments are known, he should apologise to us, for we said just that in the paper he so vehemently disagreed with.

If, in response to this glad news, he says nothing, then that will say everything.

Have a nice day, Gareth.

NIWA loses, opts for fresh start

NZ temperature icon

Regular readers will know that we asked NIWA how they adjusted the NZ temperature series. In reply, they distracted, deceived and disparaged us. We checked what they told us and it was false. They lose.

They admit they never had the temperature adjustments we were asking for. Why didn’t they just say so in the beginning? We and the NZ public await an apology for their dissembling.

They’ve done the hard thing and admitted the truth. So the good news is they can now get on with some real science. They say they will “recreate” the adjustments. Whatever they mean by that, it must be an improvement on trying to denigrate us when we ask for information. It is also good that they reexamine the 30-year-old claims of warming that wobble now they lack any scientific support. In fact, there is evidence they are false. More on that later. Continue Reading →

NIWA’s ghastly blunders — now read the official letters

NIWA Wellington office

NIWA blundered in not keeping track of some important records that justify the country’s warming since the 19th Century, even if it inherited the problem from its predecessor in the Met Service, or the early behaviour of Jim Salinger, who did the work. It blundered again when, instead of being honest, it attacked the CCG and the NZCSC when we asked to know the Schedule of Adjustments.

Now NIWA has admitted in writing that it lost the original data. This settles our original question for the moment and sets them free to go about repairing the situation. Their general counsel, Tim Mahood, made the admission a few days ago, and here’s the letter to prove it.

The NZ Climate Science Coalition had asked NIWA under the Official Information Act last December for the details of the adjustments. This is the original request.

Finally, here’s the hard-hitting letter the Coalition sent back to Mr Mahood, setting out the defects in his official OIA response the day before. Have a look at it — it’s dynamite.

Now we’re waiting for them to finish re-creating the adjustments to the NZ temperature record and to post them on their web site. They told us today it should happen this month. We’re on tenterhooks and can’t wait to have a look at it.

A month ago, when Hot Topic was berating us as unscientific and demolishing our case against NIWA, how many people thought our request was unjustified? How many thought NIWA could do no wrong? How many will apologise to us? Yet who has proved truly scientific? Who has helped to actually improve New Zealand’s temperature record?

For that will be the long-term result of our efforts. What a wonderful thing!

Having (no doubt painfully) admitted to losing Salinger’s working documents, NIWA is now free to pick up what old records it has and work on them afresh. Without the confession the old records must have languished untouched, their taudry reputation defended less and less vigorously by an organisation tarnished by its neglect of verity. A new spirit of honesty will invigorate the place, for truth sets everybody free. The result must be a more accurate dataset and more confident predictions for the future.

I wonder what Hot Topic makes of that?

FARCE: NIWA don’t have the changes

UPDATE 1 1st Feb, 11:16 pm: The second paragraph should have stated that Jim Renwick was quoted in the Herald, not Jim Salinger. My apologies; this has been corrected.


unadjusted NZ temperature graph

Heads must roll

Turning into farce

In an astounding admission of ineptitude, after their former arm-waving and expostulations of injustice, NIWA have finally confessed that they cannot provide the adjustments they made to the original temperature readings in the official NZ temperature record. Continue Reading →