NIWA bows at last to pressure, but feels ‘insulted’

Tam-o-Shanter sea urchin

In the NZ Herald yesterday morning came news that NIWA is “putting all of its temperature data and calculations on the internet”.

It’s been five weeks since the NZCSC request to NIWA’s CEO, John Morgan, under the Official Information Act; it’s only two months since we published our study critical of the handling of the NZ temperature record; and it is decades since Dr Vincent Gray, Dr Warwick Hughes, Dr Jim Hessell and others started asking Dr Jim Salinger for his data and calculations.

This is tremendous news and it is to NIWA’s credit that they are releasing the data. But one comment from Renwick strikes a sour and revealing note:

Yesterday Dr Renwick said that while he had no problem releasing the Niwa data he found it insulting to be singled out when, for example, medical and Treasury researchers were not expected to disclose all of their workings. “There is a real issue of trust here. The assumption is people like myself don’t know what we are doing or we’ve got some kind of agenda just to get research funding.”

He feels insulted? He should stop whining. Any discomfort Jim Renwick feels in being compelled to hand over to the public this public data is of his and his colleagues’ own making. NIWA is being singled out only because of its sustained intransigence over many years. Continue Reading →

NZ’s Reisinger — God’s right-hand man

Dr Andy Reisinger

Dr Andrew Reisinger, Senior Research Fellow, New Zealand Climate Change Research Institute (CCRI), sits at the right hand of God. The god, that is, of the IPCC — Dr Rajendra Pachauri. Andy is head of the Technical Support Unit for the Synthesis Report group of the IPCC, and from that exalted position controls what the world’s national leaders get to know about climate change.

For he was responsible to his “core group” co-author Rajendra Pachauri for co-ordinating the drafting of the Synthesis Report for the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4). The SR is “the concluding summary of the IPCC’s most recent assessment of our current knowledge on climate change,” as Andy’s cv puts it.

That sounds like proper influence to me — real, transformative power. For what comes out of the IPCC’s Assessment Report (or more particularly the summary of it) goes straight into the ears of national leaders around the globe and they will act upon it. They don’t read the actual reports, so they won’t spot the differences between them and the summary. Neither will they fault the summary for themselves, because they are not scientists.

So they are necessarily at the mercy of the authors (or manipulators) of the Summary Report. Much has been said elsewhere about the politically-motivated alterations that were made to many of the IPCC reports. The reports are meant to represent the best of current scientific knowledge, but in practice they are watered down, uncertainties are grossly understated, certainty is claimed where it doesn’t exist and what the scientists said has even been reversed — without their approval.

The mother of all conflicts — of interest

Continue Reading →

NIWA guilty of propaganda posing as science

NIWA web site banner

NIWA (National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research) has been accused of “propaganda posing as science” in its claim that the 2000s have been the warmest decade on record. The New Zealand Climate Science Coalition says the claim that the “noughties” decade is the warmest is based on a statistic for which the margin of error is far greater than the claimed warming.

The Coalition says it fully agrees with the criticism by Blue Skies weather forecaster Tony Trewinnard that NIWA’s own numbers show there is no long-term warming trend.

The warm decade claim is one of five by NIWA which amount to advocacy rather than science, and as such represents propaganda which should not be expected from a Crown research institute, especially one claiming to be based on science. The examples of advocacy are:

1) The warmest decade: NIWA principal climate scientist Dr James Renwick told newspapers that temperatures at seven key stations over the past 10 years were one-tenth of a degree above the 1971-2000 norm, adding “the next warmest were the 1980s, about 0.07°C above that normal, so it’s only a few hundredths of a degree difference”. Dr Renwick should know that a few hundredths of a degree is well inside the margin of error for temperature readings and is, therefore, meaningless. The Coalition says if Dr Renwick doesn’t know about margin for error he shouldn’t be in the job; and if he does know it, he has misled the public.

2) NIWA constantly claims that spot temperatures are just ‘noise’ and only long-term trends are important in climate science. NIWA’s statement notably fails to mention that the upward trend in the nineties has unexpectedly disappeared in the ‘noughties’.

3) Most of the warming in New Zealand occurred prior to about 1955, well before the build-up of atmospheric CO2. There has been little or no statistically significant warming in New Zealand over the past 55 years. NIWA fails to put its information in its proper context.

4) Climate is always warming or cooling. There no evidence whatsoever that ‘climate change’ in New Zealand over the past 150 years is outside the expected range of normal climate system variability.

5) The NIWA press statement wrongly contended that 2009 was a year of warm weather extremes, when it is usually at pains to distinguish weather from climate. It dwelt on cyclones in the Pacific without mentioning the vanishing hurricanes in the Atlantic. It studiously avoided mention of the blizzards which disrupted the Copenhagen conference and are currently setting coldness records throughout the Northern Hemisphere. The entire piece is a classic example of the use of selective and misleading data.

The Coalition statement concludes: “Until NIWA responds to our request to come clean on the full extent of its adjustments to raw temperature data, exactly what adjustments were made, and why, any statement that institute makes about climate variation must be taken with a grain of salt.”

NIWA’s obfuscation unequivocal — it’s worse than we thought

NIWA have published misleading material on their web site and seem to have advised the Minister for Climate Change Issues to give evasive answers to questions in the Parliament.

For those unfamiliar with the story: NIWA keeps raw data for the national NZ temperature record and makes it available on their web site. The Climate Conversation Group and the NZ Climate Science Coalition conducted a joint study of the temperature record, researched by a science team and published on 25 November under the title Are we feeling warmer yet?.

But we’re only asking about the weather

That study demonstrated that the official graph does not represent the raw temperature data. NIWA told us that adjustments have been applied so we’ve asked for the details. So far they obfuscate. We don’t know why they refuse to disclose what the weather has been.

We conclude that NIWA’s response to our enquiries has been defensive, obstructive and oddly disparaging.

The Hon Rodney Hide became concerned about deteriorating standards in public science and asked in the Parliament whether the Hon Dr Nick Smith would require NIWA to release the full data for the official NZ temperature record. On the last possible day for answering, Nick finally replied: “You must ask Wayne Mapp; he’s the responsible minister (for Research, Science and Technology, the portfolio that covers NIWA).” We won’t get any Parliamentary questions answered now until well into the New Year, so Nick Smith has caused a considerable delay in getting this information to the public.

Gratuitously, he added: “I would note however that the NZCSC have had this information since 2003.” He hoped that little factoid would hurt the Coalition’s reputation, but it won’t, although it might hurt his own — because the Coalition didn’t exist until 2006.

See the email, they said, but they deceive us

NIWA say that the Coalition have had all the information needed to reproduce the official graph since 19 July, 2006, when, they say, “NIWA advised NZ Climate Science Coalition member Dr Vincent Gray” of the need for adjustments and gave him a couple of examples. Dr Gray has located an email of that date and we can now reveal that it was from Dr Jim Salinger, not NIWA, it was not addressed to the Coalition and did not mention the Coalition.

It was sent just a few weeks after the Coalition was created, before they ever discussed the national temperature record. Dr Gray tells us that and other emails before and since were not official communications on either side — they were letters between two scientists who had known each other for years.

But most significantly the email does not give details of the adjustments made to the temperatures, nor does it give the information required to derive the adjustments. Dr Salinger just discusses the changes in a general way and gives a few examples and that’s all. NIWA’s assertion that that email contains the requested information is not supported by reading the email. Continue Reading →

No assistance from NIWA

A mound of email arrived in my inbox over the last few days. Much of it relates to our attempt to get from NIWA the actual adjustments they have made to the national temperature record.

My first priority is to make an informal response to NIWA’s posts on their web site and to the parliamentary answers we’ve received. It’s important that the people who have trusted NIWA know just how they are pulling the wool over our eyes (or trying to) and refusing to cooperate. In fact, they are being far more obstructive than any publicly-owned utility has a right to be, and you deserve to hear the details of it.

A scientific study is under way right now to make a more formal response to NIWA’s obfuscation, but that won’t be finished until some time in the New Year.

My thanks to everyone who has contributed information or suggestions, but their sheer number means it’s taking longer to review them. Which means I’m also unable to follow up for now the new connections we’ve just made with the network of Climate Realists, run by the excellent Neil and Esther Henderson, of Gisborne. But we’ll get there!

The new interest in us, but more importantly in the evidence-based doubts about the truth of dangerous man-made global warming, is wonderful.

So that’s the reason I haven’t posted anything about NIWA’s completely inadequate answers to us. But it will come soon.

Firing squads at dawn

Steve O’connor is a senior geologist who has studied paleoclimate for 40 years. He lives in the circulation area of the Taranaki Daily News, which today published some astonishing comments from one Trotter. I am, unfortunately, unable yet to confirm the Taranaki Daily News item or give a link to it, but I am re-publishing Steve’s letter anyway, because it is the best summary I have read of the central anxieties arising from the global warming scam.

UPDATE 14 Dec 8:30 am: To give you just an outline of Trotter’s complete abandonment of evidence-based science, his denial of the right to free speech and his denial of evidence-based doubts of man-made global warming, here are the concluding comments from his Dominion article, titled “In the war for nature, the deniers are traitors”:
“There will, of course, be people who whisper that the enemy isn’t really our enemy … In 1940, England was full of such whisperers. The British ruling class, in particular, was riddled with defeatists, Nazi sympathisers and traitors. Back then people called them “Quislings” and “Fifth Columnists”. If, therefore, the battle against climate change has to become the moral equivalent of war, with all the sacrifice that war entails, then climate change denial must become the moral equivalent of treason. Over the top? No. The stakes really are that high.”

It is sobering to reflect that, a mere 65 years after World War II, which killed so many of our finest young men as they defended the freedom we still live in against the oppression from without of the advancing fascist barbarians, we are about to subjugate ourselves from within. For the remaining vestiges of that freedom are about to be crumpled in the unelected fists of the most devoted, socialist, totalitarian, “environmentalist” bureaucrats the world has ever produced, justified solely on the grounds of non-existent evidence of man-made climate control.

A menacing interpretation

When I first encountered, a couple of years ago, this menacing interpretation of the approaching “carbon crisis” I scoffed. It was alarmist nonsense; outlandish that anybody would do such a thing; an imaginary conspiracy from the paranoid—surely the movement is based on the science of the enhanced greenhouse effect? Continue Reading →

NIWA squirms, but agrees to release adjustments

A momentous meeting took place last night (Wednesday, 9 December) at Parliament House in Wellington. This exclusive account comes courtesy of the Hon Rodney Hide, who was present.

The meeting was called two weeks back by Nick Smith so that MPs could be briefed by Dr David Wratt, Chief Climate Scientist, on the official NZ temperature graph published by NIWA on their web site, which Rodney Hide had posed questions about in the Parliament.

Knowing NIWA climate scientists would be there, Rodney invited Dr Vincent Gray, leading climate scientist, to accompany him as an advisor.

Gross discourtesy

But before the meeting could begin, the Hon Dr Nick Smith had a surprise for them. He ordered Rodney not to bring Vincent into the meeting. Nick said roughly: “It’s a private meeting of MPs and we do not wish to have outsiders.” But, showing a distinct favouritism, he allowed the outsiders from NIWA to remain. So why did he exclude Rodney’s adviser? Was it because Vincent has known the details of the New Zealand temperature records for more than fifty years? Was NIWA afraid of what he knows? If not, why did Nick Smith refuse to admit Dr Vincent Gray?

It was, of course, a gross discourtesy for Nick Smith to brusquely issue orders to a coalition partner in front of other MPs. But that’s just my opinion.

So Vincent Gray took his leave and subsequently Dr Wratt began his address. They sat through about 25 minutes of a description of the IPCC process, its committees, scientific writers and review procedures. David talked about the climate modelling that underpins the alarming climate predictions and it was quite unnecessary and very boring.

Sudden disorder

Finally there was a moment for a question. Rodney said: “I’d just like to take you back to the graph on your web site, the one with seven stations. Can I ask about that?”

There were sudden signs of disorder as David Wratt, with the other scientist (Rodney didn’t catch his name) interrupting from time to time, seemed immediately to become angry with the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition. He ranted on about their press release and they didn’t want to know this or that. Continue Reading →

Wise man: same within and without

An ancient description of a wise man is that he is the same on the inside and the outside. That means that as he thinks, so he speaks and acts. There are other things that might be said of the wise, but this simple description comes to us now as the essence of the modern term “transparency”.

It means that there should be no disjunction, no blemish in concept or communication and nothing obscured when it comes to public decisions and action.

The leaked emails from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia involve just a small coterie of scientists. However, they have been at the centre of climate science for a long time and their views, aspirations and activities have had effects far beyond their immediate working environments. Continue Reading →

Salinger’s adjusted data now online

By courtesy of Mr Warwick Hughes, who kindly sent it to us, we are pleased to post this spreadsheet containing the historical New Zealand temperature series. The data are from the seven weather stations chosen by Dr Salinger and adjusted by him to represent the country’s temperatures, although it does not include the actual adjustments made or the reasons for them.

When plotted, it produces a graph similar to the one on NIWA’s web site that shows strong warming during the 20th century.

Go to Files, above

See more information and download the spreadsheet.

Just download the spreadsheet.

Wratt’s prediction falsified already — by his own graph

A funny thing happened last week involving Parliament but almost nobody noticed. Without my observant scientist friend, I wouldn’t know about it. We’re all pretty lucky that he put two and two together, but that’s what scientists are good at. He tells me they practise putting them together three or four times a week and some of them are so good at it they have trouble getting them apart.

So what happened? First, our study appeared, with a copy of the official NZ graph showing strong warming over the last hundred years. Second, Nick Smith said NIWA tells him New Zealand’s global warming will be much milder than elsewhere. Can both statements be true? Only if our steep temperature rise suddenly slows right down! It’s another mystery. Continue Reading →

Supplementary Information – Hokitika

Are we feeling warmer yet?

NZ Climate Science Coalition & Climate Conversation Group
30 Nov 2009

A number of people have now asked us for the raw data we used to create the unadjusted versus adjusted temperature graphs in our study Are we feeling warmer yet? We will shortly post a list of station names from the NIWA CliFlo database. While we could post the data directly, it would be fairly pointless, as you would need to know in detail the weather stations and the methods we used to combine them. Each station required some experimentation and detective work, assumptions had to be made and we may well have made errors. We make no claim to be infallible, so we publish these notes to let the reader judge whether our study has merit.

We will shortly be making the Salinger adjusted dataset available. We would like to thank Warwick Hughes for providing us with that data.

In this document we want to work through an example weather station—Hokitika—to illustrate our approach and methods. We also want to address NIWA’s response, currently on their website, that the Wellington adjustments are justified by altitude differences between stations where no time series overlap is available (Thorndon, Kelburn and Airport). The assumption is made by NIWA that stations can be adjusted together in such cases (even though they have no common overlap period and are also separated both spatially and temporally) as long as they share a common height above sea level.

By giving examples of stations with both altitude separation and an overlap period, we show that the lapse rate can differ and even the sign of the temperature difference can be reversed. Some higher stations record warmer temperatures than nearby lower stations. Therefore, it is invalid to move two station records together simply because they share a station height.

Go to Supplementary Information — Hokitika

Download Supplementary Information — Hokitika

Notes on replication — station data

Are we feeling warmer yet?

NZ Climate Science Coalition & Climate Conversation Group
29 Nov 2009

We’ve heard from a number of people wanting to replicate the graphs. However, we never expected such a high level of interest in our study so we were somewhat unprepared. We are now putting together a posting that will specify stations and describe our methods which we hope to post in the next few hours. In the meantime, this note outlines the difficulties. It doesn’t answer your needs, and for that we apologise, but we’re working on something more substantial right now. Continue Reading →

Are we feeling warmer yet?

The New Zealand
Climate Science Coalition
25 November 2009

(A paper collated by Richard Treadgold, of the Climate Conversation Group, from a combined research project undertaken by members of the Climate Conversation Group and the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition)

There have been strident claims that New Zealand is warming. The Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), among other organisations and scientists, allege that, along with the rest of the world, we have been heating up for over 100 years.

But now, a simple check of publicly-available information proves these claims wrong. In fact, New Zealand’s temperature has been remarkably stable for a century and a half. So what’s going on?

New Zealand’s National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research (NIWA) is responsible for New Zealand’s National Climate Database. This database, available online, holds all New Zealand’s climate data, including temperature readings, since the 1850s. Anybody can go and get the data for free. That’s what we did, and we made our own graph.

Go to paper
Download paper (pdf, 213KB).

Shock! Horror! CO2 feeds us!

Written for TOOL Magazine, August 2008

Once upon a time, street-corner zealots shouting “the end is nigh” and warning us to abandon our sins did it for religious reasons. These days, zealots shout the same message with the same warning about sinning, but they do it for climatic reasons. Continue Reading →