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.

official NZ temperature graph from NIWA

Who can trust these people?

Just two days ago, Dr Jim Renwick, NIWA Principal Climate Scientist, was quoted in the Herald as saying:

“There is a real issue of trust here. The assumption is people like myself don’t know what we are doing…”

I said yesterday he should stop whining about being picked on and realise that it’s only happening because NIWA have always refused to provide these data.

Of course, now we know they were forced to refuse — they couldn’t provide them, because they never had them in the first place. But it is sloppy science.

We might have merely assumed you were incompetent before, but now there’s proof, Dr Renwick! You say there is a real “issue” of trust — we say it’s actually a problem of trust but it goes in the other direction. Why didn’t you record the changes you made to the raw temperature readings?

Without the adjustments — each and every one of them, with each of their reasons — NIWA cannot justify them, so they are little better than mere guesses. They carry no scientific weight at all. The adjustments are meaningless.

What are the implications for global warming in New Zealand? Well, we have to go back to the raw temperature readings, and the study we jointly published last year on those readings shows that, since 1850, the temperature rose by about 0.06°C per century — statistically insignificant. The temperature did not rise. There is no warming. If the globe warmed, New Zealand did not.

If we did not warm, we did not contribute to the warming of the globe (if it warmed), for how could we, unless we managed the trick of warming at a distance?

NZCSC says casual changes no better than guesswork

So, we needn’t be concerned to ruin our economy to fix a non-existent problem.

In a press release issued today, the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition (NZCSC) urges the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) to abandon its in-house adjustments to temperature records.

In December, the NZCSC had issued a formal request for the schedule of adjustments under the Official Information Act 1982, specifically seeking copies of “the original worksheets and/or computer records used for the calculations”. On 29 January, NIWA responded that they no longer held any internal records, and merely referred to the scientific literature that describes changes in general.

You can read the rest of the press release at Scoop.

Who’s in charge at NIWA?

On the same day that Dr Renwick was promising in the Herald to put “all of its temperature data and calculations on the internet”, the company’s general counsel, Tim Mahood, was confessing in writing to the NZCSC that “NIWA does not hold copies of the original worksheets”.

How can they put what they don’t possess on the Internet?

What’s going on? Who, exactly, is in charge at NIWA right now? How can they present such diametrically opposed positions at the same moment?

It’s turning into farce

Who, Dr David Wratt (Chief Scientist, Climate), has egg on his face? Who is it, Mr John Morgan (CEO)? Are you embarrassed, Dr Renwick?

This is not about the science, it’s about the management. You’re going to have to clean up your act on more than one level, boys.

This is turning into farce.

Will their apologists at Hot Topic agree that NIWA has let us down?

Views: 551

42 Thoughts on “FARCE: NIWA don’t have the changes

  1. Barry Brill on 02/02/2010 at 1:19 am said:

    “This is not about the science, it’s about the management”. Well, that’s obviously right – but has this fiasco revealed some very bad science also.

    The original concern of NZCSC was that the raw data showed a flat line over the last century, while the very same record turned into a 1.0C warming trend (twice the global average) solely as a result of NIWA manipulation. Adjustments to the raw data are useful in certain cases, but they need to be applied with great care and objectivity, and leaving a clear audit trail, to overcome the scientist’s natural bias in favour of discovering a significant pattern.

    In NIWA’s case, there were several strong warning signs:
    (1) Rather than having random effects, virtually all of the adjustments went in the same direction – to develop an upward trend.
    (2) NIWA declined to disclose the data underlying their work,despite requests over a period of years. When Parliamentary Questions arose, they ducked and dived – but still provided no data.
    (3) The manipulated temperature record showing that NZ had warmed at twice the global average seemed absurd. Hon Nick Smith informed Pariiament that Dr Wratt had advised him on several occasions that NIWA expected less warming effect in NZ “because we are surrounded by oceans”.

    When the response to the Official Information request arrived 3 days ago, it revealed that the emperor had no clothes. NIWA has no evidence (and don’t even know the dates or reasons for the manipulations) – they have been bluffing all along!

    • Too true, Barry, nice summary. It’s shocking. There is also a possibility that they mean to deceive us, which would be difficult to prove and dangerous to allege but, given the strong activist impulses among these scientists, it must be an ever-present temptation.

      Of the diverse areas NIWA scientists work in, is the national temperature record the only one where they practice bad science? If so, why?

  2. Dismissive reaction at Hot Topic:

    If NIWA hasn’t kept “worksheets” from the 1970s & 80s (before NIWA existed in its current form), are we surprised? Not much shock horror there.

    NIWA is going to to post all temp data and adjustments soon. No doubt Treadgold and his pals will find something to complain about, and continue their revolting and ignorant smear campaign.

    Once again, Gareth conveniently overlooks the point. In repeating NIWA’s assertion in the Herald that they are “putting all of its temperature data and calculations on the internet”, he ignores the fact that their counsel, Tim Mahood, on the same day, said in his official response to the NZCSC OIA request: “NIWA does not hold copies of the original worksheets”.

    So how can they post what they don’t have? One of those statements is wrong, so which is it, or is it both? Did they lie in their OIA response or to the Herald? Or were they simply incompetent to one or both? Why didn’t they say, when we first asked them, that they don’t have the adjustments, instead of huffing and puffing and saying we already know what they are? For God’s sake, they even obfuscated on questions to their Minister in the Parliament! What motivates them?!

    The simple truth is that they blame us for not knowing what they themselves are ignorant of. We are not running a smear campaign (they smear themselves more than adequately, even if we’re not aiming for that). Rather, our scientists wish to engage in the time-honoured practice of peer review and for that they need certain data to check what we are told about our national temperatures.

    NIWA were saying we already had the data. Now they admit we cannot have had the data, since they themselves had mislaid it. Though there’s been no apology from them so far.

    The question now is: what will they do about it? As a matter of science, a lot of people want to know about the temperature history of New Zealand. It must be known reliably. It is currently completely up in the air.

  3. Pingback: Treadgold and the NZ CSC: dogging a fled horse — Hot Topic

  4. Steve on 08/02/2010 at 9:07 pm said:

    I’m not surprised they kept the oringal data, the amended data and the results and threw away the scribbling.

    That’s how it goes with government-funded research agencies always under pressure to save money.

    There is more than enough to go on.

    If you don’t like the evidence, slandering the people who provide it seems to be the only option left to you…and you’re exploring it.

    I well recall the “smoking debate” dragging on for over 30 years……for “lack of proof”…and “shonky science”….and the people denying there is a case for prudence where the atmosphere is concerned are looking very much like the cigarette industry in both tactics and tone.

  5. I agree, Steve. Paper records are a real bummer. I remeber trying to retrieve data from files which had been eroded by silverfish and other insects.

    So much better when all the records were transferred to computer. And just look at how available that data has become at last.

    As for these people whining that all the last scraps of paper, filter papers and backs if envelopes were not preserved – come off it. That is just a trouble making tactic.

    And then they invent a term “schedule if adjustments”! What a sham. Scientists are not lawyers, are they?

    They would get off their bums and calculate their own adjustments if they were genuinely interested.

    But then again, they want to deny against all evidence that there are any site effects.

    What a sham!

  6. Barry Brill on 09/02/2010 at 9:32 am said:

    Steve & Ken kid themselves that NIWA has all the adjustments for all the 7 temp stations sitting in its computer, but they just don’t want to press “send”. Why won’t they let anybody see it? Why all these footling arguments about what data they might or might not have hidden up their sleeves?

    “Look at how available that [computer] data has become at last”. But not in New Zealand. All NIWA schedules of adjustments remain state secrets – if they exist, that is.

    The very basis of scientific method is publication of data so others can critique and attempt to replicate. Without this element, the data manipulation might be clever, but it is not science. Surely, we are entitled to expect that Government scientists (whose work is funded by taxpayers) to be in the forefront of data disclosure.

    Then, Government scientists have an additional obligation under the Official Information Act. Sadly, NIWA was unable to meet this obligation.

  7. No Barry. I don’t think NIWA has all the filter paper scraps, etc. Nor do they have Salinger’s original scribblings. But we all have the raw data and the adjusted data. We can do our own calculations, just as can NIWA and no doubt Salinger (in the absence of their scribblings). We can propose our own adjustments, justify them and use them to produce final results.

    What is scandalous and impermissible from a science viewpoint is to make an unsubstantiated claim that there are no significant site effects and then go ahead and throw all the data together without accommodating the really obvious site effects. This is what Richard did in his paper. It was a huge error,. Vincent Gray admits it was a mistake – and ethically he should take some responsibility for allowing it past his vetting. He should now criticise the report and ask for its withdrawal.

    In the end it is an ethical question. Richard is in an untenable position to continue standing by that report, and continuing to promote the discredited graph.

    In the end the truth wins – and the lairs get exposed for what they are.

  8. Barry Brill on 10/02/2010 at 1:37 pm said:

    Ken – what on earth are you on about? Supporters of AGW have been perrotting for years the mantra that “science only recognises peer-reviewed papers published in scientific journals”.

    But NIWA apparently prefers a student thesis for calculations of the New Zealand national temperature series up to 1980.

    Then, in 1981, a peer-reviewed paper by Hessell (duly published in a scientific journal), revealed that there were serious flaws in the New Zealand raw data – which he declared to be too uncertain to support any useful temp series. This finding remains unchallenged to the present day.

    Despite this knowledge, NIWA charged ahead and entered pre-1980 data in its official national temperature record – after adjusting the pre-1960 readings downward, resulting in an upward trend.

    The provenance of the 1980-2009 adjustments is a mystery. In response to an OIA request, NIWA said it held no computer record whatever of the “processing” of raw data from the seven temperature stations. This could be serious, as NIWA has a statutory duty under the Public Records Act to maintain a “full and accurate” record.

    Without explanation, and without keeping any records, NIWA charged right ahead and entered the flawed pre-1980 data in its official temp series, after adjusting the pre-1960 figures downwards. It may or may not have used the thesis as a guide.

    Ken, you say I can do my own calculations. Why would I do that and why would anybody be interested? What IS interesting, indeed vital to the interests of New Zealand, is how NIWA is failing to observe its duty to provide accurate national temperature series, to policymakers and to the public.

  9. Bill, you are ignoring the fact of promotion of the figure at the top of this post. It was constructed by the coalition on a false basis ( assuming no site effects).
    It has been discredited but is still being promoted.
    Util the coalition withdraws that report and apologised for their claim, and the denigration if NZ science implicit in it, how can they be taken seriously?

    This is an ethical question. Persisting with a lie destroys all credibility and any right participation in the proper scientific discussioon of details such as the procedures behind calculation of the necessary adjustments.

    Everything else is an attempt to hide an unethical position.

    • Bob D on 10/02/2010 at 11:23 pm said:

      Ken, I don’t know whether you really don’t get it, or if you’re just being difficult. I’ll explain it once more. Have a cup of tea and think about it for a while, and contemplate the fact that EVERYBODY ELSE GETS IT. Even NIWA. They know exactly what we’re talking about.

      The graph that you refer to as the Coalition’s graph isn’t OUR graph. It’s a graph of the unadjusted data, from NIWA’s database. The same data NIWA sends to NCDC as unadjusted data, in the case of those stations that are part of GHCN (Auckland, Wellington, Dunedin, Christchurch from memory). NCDC do their own adjustments on them, but that’s another story. NIWA are happy to distribute the data as unadjusted, and NCDC are happy to receive them as unadjusted too. NIWA also publish the unadjusted data on the CliFlo interface, as we all know. The graph is clearly marked as representing unadjusted data. Only you seem to object to a graph of the unadjusted data.

      The only way to determine the number and magnitude of the adjustments Salinger made is to plot each station’s unadjusted series against the equivalent Salinger adjusted series. Get it?

      Once that was done, it was obvious when each adjustment was made, and by how much. Have a look at the graphs in our paper, it’s all there. What was shocking to us was the sheer magnitude of the adjustments, and the direction of them – almost always greatly negative in the distant past, and positive only in the recent history. Hence, massively increased trends in 6 out of 7 cases. Not what you’d expect from station adjustments at all, where you’d expect them to cancel out in general.

      So suddenly the spotlight was on the reasons for the adjustments, and specifically the magnitude of each adjustment and the rationale for most being negative in the past. Not only that, but Salinger himself, in the peer-reviewed literature, warns against doing exactly what was done – using urban stations only, and not acknowledging the adjustments or providing standard errors.

      We checked the station histories in the CliFlo database, and found no obvious reasons for the adjustments in most cases, and specifically the magnitudes of the adjustments, nor a reason that they are reduced so much only in the distant past. Have a look yourself and show me, for each adjustment, where it tells you how much to reduce or increase the station values, and why. Hence Richard’s comment. We had approached NIWA before, but all we got were references to Rhoades and Salinger (1993) and unpublished Met Service reports. Not particularly helpful. It almost seemed that NIWA didn’t know themselves. This appears to have been closer to the truth than we imagined.

      Once again, most people understood immediately what we were saying, including NIWA. That’s why they’re busy preparing a schedule of adjustments for publication later this month. And when I say ‘most people’ I’m not talking about hysterical commentators here, I mean most normal, intelligent and impartial people – the type who have engaged positively with us or have done their own analyses to check what we showed, and then came to ask questions or make suggestions etc.

      I sense also that you’re upset at an imagined attack on ‘New Zealand science’. This is not the case, in fact Richard clearly wrote: ‘We believe NIWA have many fine scientists who do New Zealand proud. Some of us have worked in research institutes over many years and we understand the dedication scientists can bring to their work, so we have no wish to quarrel with them. However, some of the political policies being pursued in the name of “settled science” demand the highest levels of openness and transparency from the proponents of those policies and the scientific organisations that support them.’

      I have quoted Dr Hessell’s work previously because I believe it is representative of the excellent type of ‘old school’ science that used to make New Zealand proud. I believe however that the current leaders of climate science in this country may have allowed themselves to become politicized, and possibly have fallen prey to confirmation bias, at least as far as the temperature histories are concerned. They believed in warming, so they accepted data without question if it showed warming. If it showed cooling, they would have checked and re-checked it carefully. But it showed warming, so nobody looked at it for 30 years. Nor did they question that it came from a student’s thesis written 30 years ago. The fact that the thesis directly contradicted a peer-reviewed paper in the NZ Journal of Science written by a highly experienced member of the Met Service was also ignored.

  10. Bob – it is your graph. You chose to take the unadjusted date, combine it incorrectly and make a completely unsupported clai8m that no adjustments were necessary because there were not site effects.

    No, that claim is at least ignorant, but more probably dishonest. You continue to persist with it despite the fact that it has been discredited scientifically.

    Why don’t you acknowledge the mistake, apologise and stop promoting it (see graph at top of post)!

    Honestly, you have no right to talk about other issues while this continues.

    Your ethical position is completely compromised while you continue to do this. No diversion changes that.

  11. Bob D on 11/02/2010 at 11:58 am said:

    OK, Ken, I gave you a long and detailed explanation that you have completely ignored. You have made no attempt to address the issues raised in the paper or in subsequent posts, and you simply repeat your misunderstanding of what we’ve done like a mantra.

    You state that we have combined the unadjusted data incorrectly, but provide no evidence of this. Our graph is simply an combination of the individual unadjusted station histories as published in the paper, exactly the same as the NIWA graph for the adjusted series. I have explained that we said we could find no reason for adjustments in the published records. I have also explained that NIWA never made it public that there WERE adjustments – they simply presented the graph as coming from 7 long-running stations.

    NIWA have acknowledged that the published record claim is true, and that some records exist only on paper copies not accessible by the public. To NIWA’s credit, they are now publishing detailed justifications for the adjustments. This is good, because it gets the issues out in public and gives us all an understanding of the errors or uncertainties involved in the assembly of their graph, something they should have done from the start, according to the peer-reviewed literature. The data belongs to New Zealand, and so do the adjustments, since they were paid for with public money.

    You claim we are ignorant and dishonest. You claim we made a mistake. If we made a mistake, why have NIWA taken us seriously, and started publishing a station-by-station account of the adjustments? The NZ public is now in a position, for the first time, to judge for themselves.

    Really, the game has moved on, and you’re just left mumbling to yourself on the sideline. You’re welcome to do that, but please don’t expect me to take you seriously from now on, when you clearly have no interest in contributing anything worthwhile.

  12. Bob, it was incorrect to combine the data without adjustment (I suspect that there may have been other mistakes made in the combination – I am waiting on Richard to provide me with the spreadsheet or an explanation of the procedure to check it out, as currently i cannot duplicate it).

    But the huge mistake was to combine data without adjustment – and claim there were no site effects! This has been discredited. Have a look at the articles Peer Review for the Climate “Science” Coalition. and New Zealand’s denier-gate. The NIWA site itself explained that it was unscientific not to make adjustments. The fact that they have published station by station adjustments and their procedure descriptions surely stress how wrong you guys have been.

    (Actually,m the fact that you guys are even discussing NIWA’s adjustments really indicates that you no longer stand by the above graph, in practice, – although you keep repeating it!)

    Answer me this Bob. Do you think Richard was correct to claim no significant site effects and therefore no need for adjustment?

    That is the fundamental issue on which the coalition has placed all it scientific and ethical credibility.

    I can understand why you want to “move on.” if it was me I would first acknowledge my mistake and withdraw that report, though. Not try to sweep it under the carpet.

    Surely you can understand why people think you guys are dishonest. Your long and detail answer was avoidance. You refused to answer. Everyone here seems to be avoiding this mistake.

  13. Al on 11/02/2010 at 4:53 pm said:

    I have just come across this site, and trawled thru the discussion.
    Which bit dont you get?
    They took the raw data , station by station and graphed it. Simple. It didn’t look like the flash NIWA graph – so the NIWA graph must have had some tinkering.
    Simple. But that is not stated with the graph (which is possibly a bit short of the standards expected, but not fatal).
    Going by the station histories that were accessible, there was no obvious reason or need for some or most of the adjustments that took place, ie we have all these adjustments here – but can’t match them to the history -ie there is no need for them – according to the history as we know it.
    So, is it not reasonable to ask for the reasons?
    SOA – Ken, to avoid litigating this over and over as well – you make the term, and I’m sure they would all stick with it. If it was your term that was used to describe the history of station temp adjustments, would you feel better about it? Hopefully. You choose. Schedule of adjustments sounds reasonable to me. Perhaps schedule of adjustments would be more reasonable. Maybe their crime was using capital letters?

    • Al, do you bekive the coalition’s claim that here were no significant site effects in the data and therefore no need for site adjustments?

      That is the fundamental issue which the whole disagreement hangs on.

      In other words, is the graph in this poste correct or scientifically stupid?

  14. Al on 11/02/2010 at 9:44 pm said:

    “Going by the station histories that were accessible, there was no obvious reason or need for some or most of the adjustments that took place, ie we have all these adjustments here – but can’t match them to the history -ie there is no need for them – according to the history as we know it.”
    Ken, as others before me, do I need to explain over and over. What I take them to say is that there were temp corrections that have no explanation – ie no recorded, or obvious site effect to justify it – acording to the records, ie “there is no need for them” – or none recorded at least. So, what prompted the changes?
    Of course some adjustments are needed – if you move the station, as most have been, or a transport depot locates next door – whatever. I think we all understand that. But as far as I can read it, they are saying there are changes which have no warranted cause, in the records. Therefore, on the face of it no need for a site adjustment. So, two reasonable questions seem to arise – 1) why the adjustments when the site records indicate none required, and 2) please provide some validation for those you did make. We could understand you made some for the site changes noted in your diaries, but please explain how you came to the magnitudes you did (Bob indicated earlier, on a 100 yr random basis, you would expect them to randomly cancel – some elevations increase/decrease etc).
    SOA – Ken – whatever term you wish – nominate it here, and hopefully, those involved would be happy to use it.,
    I fail to see why you keep litigating what seem to be pedantic issues of terminology when the main messages are very clear – hopefully to most.

  15. A sime yes or no will suffice, Al.

    I get the impression that no one is prepared to stand by the original claim of no site effects
    yet you guys haven’t got the etucak/moral courage to admit the mistake.

    [Comment removed by moderator – please avoid personal abuse.]

    You keep promoting the graph in this post, despite it being discredited. Yet you won’t support it’s fundamental assumption.

    [Comment removed by moderator – please avoid personal abuse.]

    It’s a handy little graph for convincing the gullible that our scientists are all part if a great conspiracy.

    [Comment removed by moderator – please avoid personal abuse.]

    • Ken, please be patient. I’ll get to you. You’re saying some interesting things, although making a few of the same mistakes, too. But I’m working on something important so try not to become too emotional.

      You’re typing rather quickly and making some silly mistakes. Do you want me to edit your posts for typos?


  16. Al on 12/02/2010 at 8:14 am said:

    I give up.
    Nothing seems to explain it to Ken.
    There were station adjustments with no apparent need for adjustment – so what are the reasons.
    This seems extremely simple to me. So, the answer in what appears to be your mis interpretation to the Q would have to be No. Or Yes. The Q is a bit silly.
    Of course there are site effects. Ken – Nobody is saying there are not site effects. But NIWA have managed to make site effects adjustment without any recorded site changes.
    ie ‘no need for site adjustments’.

    [Comment removed by moderator – please avoid personal abuse.]

    Fast foward to 2012.
    The discussion will have moved on by then, and hopefully the NIWA graph (whatever shape) will no longer be a point of discussion – because all the transparency required will finally be available.
    Ken will still be posting here enquiring whether ‘schedule of adjustments’ was an appropriate term to use in requesting the information.

  17. Don’t worry about my typos, Richard. They are caused by me using an ipod at night. Very small screen, large fingers, failing eyes, and inability to check what has been typed, I am afraid. Much better on a keyboard.

    Al, Thanks for confirming you believe that there are site effects. “Of course there are site effects.”

    I don’t see how anyone could think otherwise from a simple look at the data. Yet, that was the clear statement in Richard’s paper. And that is the clear assumption in the graph at the top of this post which is still being heavily promoted by the coalition. So surely you can understand why I am saying that the report should be withdrawn and apologies made.

    You are the first coalition supporter, apart from Vincent Gray who acknowledged a “mistake”, to concede there are clear site effects. Not autism on my part – more like dishonesty on the part of the coalition members.

    OK – having acknowledged that there are site effects and therefore need for adjustments one can then debate what particular adjustments to make and when. This will of course require an intimate knowledge of the stations, including the surrounding stations, and their history. I am confident NIWA does their best in this sort of analysis.

    However, science progresses by disagreement and debate so the logical thing for someone who wishes to dispute NIWA’s clear expertise in this area is to become familiar with the stations, data and histories. Work out what they think the best adjustments are and where they should be made and apply them to the data. It’s all available. And it will have to be done case by case – quite an effort. Then there is something to discuss and the possibility of progress.

    As I have said I am sure there is room for different approaches to the adjustment question. I suggest, though, that these different approaches would have little influence on the final result, given the variability in the data. I don’t think there is necessary one approach which is absolutely “correct” above others.

    But if you are so inclined – go ahead and do it. After all, I am carrying out my own analysis of the Coalition’s approach, and am demanding some transparency in the methods they used. In the end evidence is what influences people – not slander and opinion.

    However, what is not permissible is to produce a graph like the one at the top of the post, claim that site adjustments are unnecessary when the evidence clearly says otherwise, and to imply that our scientists are being dishonest or are part of a conspiracy.

    Unless, of course, you are more interested in discrediting science than in reaching the truth.

    So, I look forward to your case-by-case consideration of the adjustments and an outline of your procedures to work out your own adjustments in each case.

  18. Ken,

    I agree with you. Except… The graph at the top of this post is clearly labelled “unadjusted temperature readings”. There is nothing false or misleading about it.

    There was something else… oh, yes, I remember: I don’t recall saying that “site adjustments” are unnecessary. Where, precisely, do I claim that?

  19. Richard – I sense you too may be willing to commit yourself?? Maybe?

    From your report:

    “the station histories are unremarkable. There are no reasons for any large corrections.”

    Or the claim that scientists “created a warming effect where none existed.” That “the shocking truth is that the oldest readings were cranked way down and later readings artificially lifted to give a false impression of warming.” And “we have discovered that the warming in New Zealand over the past 156 years was indeed man-made, but it had nothing to do with emission of CO2 – it was created by man-made adjustments of the temperature. It’s a disgrace.”

    There is a clear message here, and in a lot of your propaganda that the adjustments were an artificial attempt by a conspiracy to artificially produce a warming trend. And continuous repetition of this graph also promotes that. Some incredible claims have been made in blogs, conservative newspapers and forums overseas on the basis of this report. Our scientists have been unjustly slandered.

    Richard – I think you are being disingenuous to claim that the graph is not false or misleading because it contains the word unadjusted. That is the very point the graph is being used to make. That adjustments are not necessary – without any justification!

    You confirmed to me some time ago, after Vincent admitted making a mistake in allowing these comments to stay in the report, that you still stood by them

    If you have since changed your mind I would welcome a retraction.

    Do you no think there are no site effects, yes or no?

    Do you no think adjustments for site effects are unnecessary, yes or no?

    Note – the question of how appropriate the actual adjustments used by NIWA are is not at issue. That would require an intensive consideration of the data and more expertise than you or I have.

  20. I should add that even Ian Wishart is getting close. He refers to it as an “alleged mistake” and compares it with the Himalayan glaciers cock up in the IPCC report. I have also encouraged him to be more definite that it was a mistake, as the IPCC has. No response from him yet. Perhaps he is thinking about it. Or waiting for you?

  21. Ken,

    Wishart is getting close to what? The remark about “alleged mistake” sounds like no admission I’ve ever heard of, but more like a straight denial. You’re twisting something. But do you have a reference, please?

    I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to reply to your questions here, Ken, but I’ve been busy. I especially regret the implication of my silence, that I was perhaps finding it difficult to rebut your allegations. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    There’s actually no requirement to change my mind about anything I said in our paper or since. I take nothing back and have been completely consistent.

    To take your last two questions first:

    Do I think there are no site effects? No.
    Do I think adjustments for site effects are unnecessary? No.

    Please don’t use Dr Gray’s comment allegedly admitting a mistake. He was being his normal conservative self and I disagree with him. He, being a scientist, found it hard at first to grasp the essentially political objectives of our paper and looked at it from the normal scientific point of view. So he was of the view that we should be describing error limits, doing statistical analyses and quoting learned papers.

    Those techniques were no help to us – they weren’t even necessary. We set out simply to motivate scientists to talk to us for the first time in 30 years. This we did by presenting a few simple facts (undistorted and unequivocal) and, more importantly for our objective, by expressing strong opinions, justified by NIWA’s long, unexplained and unscientific silence.

    They have still to explain why the national temperature time series rests on the unpublished work of a student and why it remains in place despite the existence of published papers from experienced researchers both at the time (Hessell) and as recently as 2009 (Withers), showing little or no warming. Those papers remain unchallenged but are not even addressed by NIWA. That situation must shortly change.

    There’s also the bizarre matter of Salinger’s thesis being restricted by the library at VUW, so it’s not really accessible by the public as most other academic papers are. We’re having the most god-awful time in getting unrestricted access to it.

    We remain disappointed at NIWA’s first responses, which were to divert, deceive and disparage us – responses unworthy of professional scientists. But this year they have turned to face us and they are producing new schedules. It’s almost as though they have gained new leadership. We would especially welcome an apology from David Wratt for their behaviour towards us last year.

    This is most welcome.

    I hope this discussion moves on to more useful things, such as the newly-released SOA for Hokitika.


  22. Ken,

    You say:

    Richard – I think you are being disingenuous to claim that the graph is not false or misleading because it contains the word unadjusted. That is the very point the graph is being used to make. That adjustments are not necessary – without any justification!

    Your mistake is to go a trifle too far. You see, the point the graph is being used to make is not to recommend making no adjustments, but simply to show that adjustments have actually been made. That is why we show it with the official graph.

    And that is all it says. So then we ask for the adjustments themselves and their reasons.


  23. Thanks for the clear reply. I now have 2. (Still waiting on Ian – perhaps I had better pass your agreement with me on to him).The ethical thing for you to do now, is to withdraw that report and apologise for the mischief it created.

    And stop promoting your misleading graph.

    Also, an interesting admission of having political rather than scientific aims. Science always suffers when it becomes the tool of politics.

    Of course there is always room to discuss the actual procedure for obtaining, and the actual value of, adjustments – but that will take expertise and time. A good familiarity with the data, statistical procedures. etc.

    Might I suggest that while your “science team,” continues to demand anonymity your organisation is not capable of this. Surely you don’t think you are going to be able to handle such a detailed scientific investigation alone.

    Mind you – you did say your purpose was political . . .

    Then scientific issues are of no importance – they can be distorted and misinterpreted to fit the real agenda.

    • Ken,

      What are you talking about? You have two what? Pass what agreement on?

      There’s no need to withdraw the report. It’s strongly worded, but it is opinion, so nothing in it is incorrect.

      We are not promoting any graph, but comparing it to the graph which NIWA pormotes, misleadingly, to schoolchildren on their web site. It’s totally without scientific foundation — with the possible sole exception of Hokitika, which awaits an independent review.

      If you’re criticising us in public for the justified desire of our part-time experts to comment anonymously, you will not again be privy to special information in offline conversations.

      The mischief, as you call it, which our study created, has led directly to a substantial improvement in the national temperature record being delivered by NIWA. That is a substantial national good, not a mischief.

      Yes, we had political motives, thank you for noticing. We’ve never hidden that fact. I’ve dropped so many hints to that over the past two months and even said it directly, that it’s surprising nobody noticed.

      I suggest you now address your attention to the considerable real mischief caused by NIWA giving us disreputable citations, which you have so far ignored.


    • “And the convenient fact that you can mtaipulane the data to paint any picture you want.”Which is of course true – but is it honest? Of course not.The fact remains that there will be an objective relationship between temperature and time and we should use the procedure for treating the data which gives the best estimate of this.Now the problem with your post (compared with the normal output of scientists) is that there is no description of how you treated the data. We cannot check you out as we can with a scientists who has published a paper with methodology included.For example – what do you mean by “Using their raw data, I just calculated the anomaly using the the average temperature from 1860 to the present, instead of 1971-2000.”? Taken at face value this seems to be committing the same mistake as that used by the “Climate Science Coalition” in their discredited report. Assuming one can just throw data from different sites together without adjusting for site effects. As the NIWA reference states: “Failing to adjust data to account for major site changes is bad science. “Short of attempting to duplicate what you have done there is no way of checking your analysis.Perhaps you could start by telling us how, or if, you took major site changes into account?

  24. Richard “If you’re criticising us in public for the justified desire of our part-time experts to comment anonymously, you will not again be privy to special information in offline conversations.”

    Is this a threat?

    You have already committed to providing me with the spreadsheet on which your discredited figure is based. I took you at your word. Secrecy on my part was not a condition and not one I would have to agreed to).

    I am not going to compromise my science just because you don’t like the truth. Nor am I going to stop commenting on the strange behavior of your organisations.

    Unfortunately we can’t use FOI to get you to fulfill your promise – jsut have to rely on your personal integrity.

    But how can you go around criticism others for not providing data and then make such threats.

    Hopefully, you will calm down and reconsider.

    • Of course it’s a threat. But don’t worry about any commitments I made, I’ll keep them. I meant that you won’t get any more information concerning our science team.

      Don’t like the truth? I love the truth.

      I believe you have not answered my questions.

  25. Thanks for recommitting, Richard.

    Any idea when?

    Sorry – I am not aware of any questions you have posed to me? In fact, I don’t think anything I have written or worked on is at issue here?

    • Ken, in the comment before my last one, I said:

      1. What are you talking about?
      2. You have two what?
      3. Pass what agreement on?

      The added numbers should make them really easy to answer.

      Also: 4. Do you support NIWA’s action in giving us bogus citations, or will you continue to ignore it?

  26. 1: I am talking about the mistake (I presume intentional) in your report. The claim that there were no reason for adjustments. That there were no site effects. Even you claim not to accept that now.

    2: I had Al and you agreeing that there are are site effects and therefore need for adjustments. It took a while. Similarly, Ian Wishart has now conceded this is correct. (up to 3 now).

    3: Ian made the concession (rather snakily) after I passed on that you now agreed with my points.

    4: I think the best way to answer that is “when are you going to stop beating your wife.”
    We don’t play with words like that in science – we try to relate to facts. This is typical gish galloping.

    But then again you admit that your aims are political, not scientific.

    Perhaps I should ask a question:

    What political trend are you allied with?
    Is it significant that you cooperate with ACT and the Centre for Political Research?
    Do you go along with the 9/11 conspiracy viewpoints expressed at the Centre for Political Research forum where your report is being discussed and supported.

    Finally, can you give me an idea when your will email me the spreadsheet?

  27. Ken,

    1. We made no mistake. We said, correctly, that NIWA gave no reasons for adjustments. We have never accepted there were no “site effects”. We don’t even use the expression.

    4. You quite mis-characterise the question. Listen to me: Do you support NIWA in giving us bogus citations?

    There’s no word play, what are you talking about? Incidentally, a single point would hardly qualify as gish galloping.

    I’m not allied with any political “trend”, whatever that is. ACT are helping with our campaign to get the temperature records sorted out. I have no connection with the NZCPR. If they are discussing our report, well and good. The European Parliament has seen our report brandished during a debate; it doesn’t mean we have a relationship with them.

    You said to me: “I have been able to recreate NIWA’s figure from their description.” That is an interesting statement which made us ask for the details and you kindly sent us your spreadsheet. Now we are curious to know: what work, exactly, have you done on that yourself?

  28. You guys do have some questionable friends don’t you? That idiot from the European parliament really discredits you.

    I can’t see any point in relitigating what has been said. I think all the evidence is there for an objective reader.

    Richard-I have not done any “work” on this. What I did do is reproduce the NIWA graph from their data. This was to check out a claim made by No Minister that they could manipulate the data to show anything by selecting different base periods. My spreadsheet analysis showed them to be wrong. They had made a fundamental mistake.

    This brings home to me the danger of inexperienced people playing with data they don’t understand. I want to make a similar check on the methodology you used. That is why I asked for your spreadsheet.

    Any reply to my question of when that will be sent me?

  29. Ken,

    You have twice failed to address my questions. Why should I worry about yours?

    You claimed to have “recreated” NIWA’s graph, which surprised us, but you’ve only graphed their data. We’re no longer interested in it.

    We no longer wish to show you our spreadsheet.

    I don’t tolerate personal abuse. Impolite remarks will be deleted until I run out of patience.

  30. So, Richard your word is worth nothing! Even a reassurance – and I quote:

    “But don’t worry about any commitments I made, I’ll keep them. “

    And now you want censorship!

    Well, Richard – as I said I can’t use a FOI application to force you compliance. Only ask you to respect your commitments.

    I can conclude, though, that you must have something to hide! And probably that you never had any intention to pass on the spreadsheet.

    Perhaps you saw my request as a nuisance or disingenuous?

    Perhaps you can understand why Prof Jones sent the email he did. Perhaps you are just being human, rather than ethical.

    But it does illustrate how cynical you guys are about requests for information,. doesn’t it?

    Perhaps a press Release is in Order: “Climate Change deniers refuse to reveal information! Suspected hoax”

    Gooses and ganders.

    • Ken,

      You claimed to have “recreated” NIWA’s graph. You’ve done nothing of the sort. You don’t deserve our spreadsheet.

      Remember to answer my questions, especially regarding NIWA’s deception.

  31. Richard – as my request for your data was made semi-officially be email could you please indicate your current decision to my request by email.


  32. bruce on 16/02/2010 at 2:06 pm said:

    Ken, there seems to little point in arguing with these people they will be right in their own minds until the future proves them wrong.

    [bruce, these comments are unacceptable and were removed. I insist that you avoid personal abuse. – Richard Treadgold.]

  33. I tend to agree, Bruce.

    Ken, no personal abuse. Your remarks were deleted. – Richard Treadgold

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