Lincoln – a comedy of errors

classic tragi-comic masks

It would be easy to overlook this little paper, but don’t be tempted! In the context of “NIWAgate”, our legal move against NIWA and world-wide action to clarify temperature records which seem to bolster claims of unprecedented warming, Barry Brill’s revelations are dynamite! We asked NIWA what changes they made and why. NIWA said we’d find it in certain papers. Now, for the first time, Barry shows decisively that those papers don’t contain either the changes or the reasons they were made. NIWA’s duplicity is indisputable. Is this the behaviour we want from our premier climate research agency?   – Richard Treadgold

— by Barry Brill, Chairman of the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition

The weather station at Lincoln is one of the seven which make up the official NZ Temperature Record over the past 100 years. It shows a strong warming trend as a result of downwards adjustments which NIWA made in respect of the pre-WW2 period. But those adjustments rely upon a curious methodology which is not supported by any of the peer-reviewed literature.

The original temperature data for the Lincoln weather station – recorded by the NZ MetService, and now downloadable from NIWA’s official Climate Database – shows no warming trend over the past 100 years.

More adjustments that cause warming

The Schedule of Adjustments (SoA) prepared by Dr Brett Mullan and posted on the NIWA website on 9 February 2010, shows five downwards adjustments in the period 1881-1943 and two upwards adjustments during 1944-75. All seven alterations to the NZ MetService climate database are trend-favourable, and comprise the sole source of the reported warming trend. Continue Reading →

NZ Herald ratifies outrageous rant

NIWA temp adjustments with scales of justice

Just four days after Brian Rudman’s diatribe against the Coalition, the Herald unleashed an opinion piece by one Sam Fisher. I’ve just discovered it but that’s no reason to let it stand unopposed.

I shall start at its rear end. His devastating conclusion:

In past years, the nutters were the ones with signs that said: “The world is ending.” Now, the nutters have the signs that say: “The world isn’t ending, it’s all fine.”

I agree wholeheartedly with this sentiment, for it is hard to fault. However, he omits mention of the sanity of those trumpeting the end of the world. So I would express it with a different slant, as it is on the masthead above:

For the first time in history, people shouting “the end is nigh” are somehow
the sane ones, while those of us who say it is not are now the lunatics.

Before that, he enlightens us with: Continue Reading →

Auckland warming is deception

— by Barry Brill, Chairman of the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition

UPDATE, below. Stunning new insights from Salinger’s thesis.

NIWA temp adjustments with scales of justice

NIWA has recently provided a web page on how it combined the temperature records from weather stations at Albert Park and Mangere, to produce the ʻAucklandʼ component of the Instituteʼs Seven-station Series (7SS). This page displays a simple but fundamental flaw in NIWAʼs methodology.

The Albert Park weather station was established in 1909, when both the region and the park were young. But, as the population grew and the saplings became large trees, the site became progressively less suitable for measuring the temperatures of greater Auckland. Concerns long expressed by the NZ MetService were finally met in 1976 by a transfer to Mangere, then on the outskirts of the City.

After 70 years, a few problems

The problems of Albert Park are discussed by senior meteorologist JWD Hessell in a peer-reviewed paper published shortly after the move to Mangere:

“Visitors to this central city park today cannot fail to be impressed by the many large exotic trees, many of which were planted about the turn of the century and some of which, more especially those planted later, are still growing. The instrument enclosure is surrounded on all sides by trees and buildings which shelter the site to a great degree. Continue Reading →

Rudman offensive but NZ temp record dubious

the NZ Herald logo

A letter sent to the NZ Herald on 25 August that remains unpublished.

Sir,

In “Exercise degrees of common sense“, on Wednesday August 18, Brian Rudman loses his journalistic poise and jeers gracelessly at the “flat-earth” members of the NZ Climate Science Coalition.

When he asserts that they deny “man-made global warming” he is dead wrong. He is welcome to interview us, which might stop him from consulting his imagination. The Coalition does not dispute that human activity possibly has an influence on the climate but it questions the magnitude of that influence.

The IPCC also questions it, for it claims only a 90% to 95% probability of human influence. Note that is an opinion without evidence, unless one considers flawed climate models to be evidence.

The Coalition knows there are good reasons to adjust temperature records; Rudman ignores the fact that, rather than challenging NIWA for making changes, we just asked them what the changes were. He should wonder why they have still not told us. If they did, we would promptly stop asking for them.

Brian Rudman

He might also wonder why NIWA repeatedly give the example of an altitude change to the Thorndon/Kelburn temperature record, when they didn’t actually make any altitude-based changes to any stations.

Rudman’s reference to “mystery money-bags funding the coalition” is offensive nonsense. Members analyse, consult and write about climate matters in their own time for no payment. The Coalition is made up of volunteers, it is not wealthy and will rely on fund-raising if the suit must go to court.

The only “money-bags” able to buy staff and consultants in the climate debate are the great NGOs like WWF and Greenpeace, with annual budgets of around $600 million each. The giant enviros far out-muscle the marketing budgets of any group of sceptics. The energy companies climbed aboard the warming bandwagon long ago and don’t fund sceptics.

But our suit is not about the global warming debate. It asks for simple clarity and accuracy in public temperature records. We cannot submit a paper “backing our claims”, as some suggest, because we’re not making any claims — we’re wanting to review the national temperature record and we’re asking a couple of questions that NIWA hasn’t answered.

Since being asked by the Coalition to describe how they obtained the temperature record and finding they were unable to do so, NIWA are recreating it from scratch.

The sooner these simple facts are acknowledged by responsible journalists the sooner reason will return to this important matter of public interest. Kiwis deserve to have a national temperature record they can trust but at the moment it is dubious.

A tale of two hemispheres

a brain of two hemispheres

Running this blog, people send me stuff.

My new friend Jim has sent me a wonderful graph that pits NASA against NIWA in a way most apposite for our stoush with them. Here’s the graph, showing basically that the Southern Hemisphere has warmed more slowly than the Northern Hemisphere:

temperatures of two hemispheres

This must be compared with the official NZ graph from NIWA.

official NIWA temperature graph

Jim said:

The Goddard Institute for Space Studies [GISS, a division of NASA] explains that the temperature increase in the Southern Hemisphere is less than the Northern due to it being mainly water and that water has a greater temperature inertia than land.

The NASA chart says that a 0.5°C increase has taken place in the Southern Hemisphere as a whole over the 20th century — well below the global average.

NIWA scientists, on the other hand, claim their data series is correct and that New Zealand is warming considerably faster than global averages. Why is a maritime country like New Zealand so anomalous to the rest of the Southern Hemisphere?

Which means that NIWA’s official national temperature series has some well-credentialled scientific opposition. Surely Wratt et al. will struggle to refute the well-muscled NASA without surrendering some humiliating ground. Continue Reading →

A swelling debate — Chris has questions

NIWA's temperature adjustments at Hokitika

In the last week or so one “Chris” (I can’t give his surname without his permission) has begun asking some well-informed questions and putting some well-aimed objections to our campaign against the national temperature series protected, I mean produced, by NIWA.

He’s putting increasing efforts into his writing, such that his last comment amounts to some 400 words. He demonstrates an impressive commitment.

When I realised my response had reached 1300 words I knew it had to become a separate post, both to honour Chris’s honest efforts and to more prominently feature the arguments he was making. Many of the things he says are widely said so our rebuttals should be given more prominence. Continue Reading →

Maze of mystery maths — NIWA facing fallout

consequences

— by Barry Brill, Chairman of the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition

In tracking the provenance of the official New Zealand temperature record, all roads lead to an “Appendix C”, which was annexed to a doctoral thesis written long before the heyday of “global warming”. This Appendix has never been published or digitised and the sole copy resides in the ‘reserved’ section of the library at Victoria University of Wellington.

The lengthy Appendix discusses some 25 weather stations throughout New Zealand which were shown by MetService records to have undergone site changes at various times. It raises diverse ways of adjusting data, ranging from measuring the rate of glacial melt to alignment with comparable stations. It makes no reference to scientific authority, because there was nothing available in the literature in those early days.

The Appendix then suggests a series of possible adjustments which do not follow any discernible set of rules, but rely heavily on the author’s instincts and preferences. The details are relegated to annexed Worksheets.

There is nothing complicated about the idea of calculating missing data by reference to nearby substitutes. The whole trick is in the execution. Is reliable data available for the period in question? Is it sufficiently comparable? How long a series is required? What objective rules should guide the analyst’s choices? Is any independent confirmation available? What are the error margins? Continue Reading →

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 →

Banned again at Hot Topic

Hot Topic logo

Yes, it was I, twice masquerading under another name, trying to inject some reason into the comments at Hot Topic.

I have always refused the notion of not signing my own opinion, but being censored over there forced my hand; unfortunately, being a neophyte forger unveiled it.

Nonetheless, I said nothing I haven’t said elsewhere or wouldn’t be prepared to say openly. But Renowden’s comments reveal a continued avoidance of every topic I raise, so I’ll go another round.

GR: “What a pity he doesn’t have the courage to post under his own name.”

A cheap shot, this; entirely personal and nothing to do with the matter. It’s also illogical, for every time I post a comment, Renowden refuses to publish it. To have the temerity then to criticise me provides the very definition of framing someone.

GR: “Earlier today he … all but called me a liar.”

Since he made three false statements, one could be justified in doing so. The more interesting comment was that, if Renowden still disagrees the [adjustment] methodology is unavailable, he is a truffle short of a lunch. He doesn’t respond to that, but good on him for ignoring the ad hominem bits, even when they’re amusing. 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 →

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 →

Links to the Niwagate fiasco

Links

About six months ago, on November 25, 2009, the CCG and the NZ Climate Science Coalition (CSC) published a brief study entitled Are we feeling warmer yet? that proved to be fairly controversial.

Since then the ACT Party, through John Boscawen and Rodney Hide, have applied considerable pressure in the Parliament to NIWA and its minister, Wayne Mapp. The questions they have asked have delivered copious information about the official New Zealand temperature record produced by NIWA.

The Climate Conversation blog has teased out the detail of most of the relevant issues over the six months since we first revealed the existence of these problems. However, locating all the relevant threads is far too difficult. This summary article will sketch out what has happened, from publication of our paper to now, loosely chronological but also bunching some related issues together. Its purpose is to provide a series of links to all the articles, in an easy-to-follow form.

It will include links to evidentiary material like the correspondence with Mace and historical records such as the Hessell 1980 paper, etc.

For now, it must be a work in progress, since it’s time-consuming to locate all the material. But this is a start.

I’ve decided to add a tag or two to the relevant posts, which will make it easy to find them. That will take some time. You can search our site for specific topics marked with tags. Scroll down until you find the heading Tags in the right-hand panel. Click a tag to list all the articles relevant to that topic.

Topics containing most of the stories of our fight with NIWA over the official national temperature record include:

NIWA
Climate research
Climate science

Some stories are filed under:

Climate Conversation Group
Global warming (though almost everything is filed there!)

You’ll find some posts dealing with the parliamentary questions filed under:
ACT
Parliament

Over the next few days I’ll add the magic tags “NZ temperature records” and “NIWAgate” to relevant stories so they will be truly easy to find. I’ll update this post as I make substantial changes.

Please accept my apologies for not making it easier for you to find the relevant stories. I’ll fix it as soon as I can.

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.

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).