NIWA oddly denies everything

NIWA temp adjustments with scales of justice

Just a quick response to Hot Topic’s insipid rebuttal to my update on Wednesday to our stoush with NIWA. I’ll write in more detail later.

In NIWA V CRANKS 4: SHOOT OUT AT THE FANTASY FACTORY this morning, Renowden, in typically slippery style, omits in every material instance the fact that NIWA’s statements in their Statement of Defence are precisely what I say they were.

In other words, he doesn’t refute what I say. Anyone can verify this by getting the two Statements and comparing them; it’s a bit tedious, but immensely rewarding, and will be especially so, I guess, for those with legal training. Some mysteries remain for the rest of us, but that’s why we ask questions.

Still, I have told the truth. For instance, Renowden notes that I say:

NIWA has formally stated that, in their opinion, they are not required to use the best available information nor to apply the best scientific practices and techniques available at any given time. They don’t think that forms any part of their statutory obligation to pursue “excellence”.

Then he accuses me:

In fact, NIWA’s statement specifically points out that it is required to “pursue excellence in all its activities” (paragraph 4, quoting from the CRI Act 1992). Treadgold is, it appears, hoping no-one will actually read the details and see where he’s attempting to mislead.

But he’s the one omitting crucial details. His glaring omission is that NIWA does actually deny having to use the best information and techniques.

Admission and denial create a mystery

For in NIWA’s defence statement (their Paragraph 5) they admit Paragraph 4(a)(1)(b) “That a Crown Research Institute should pursue excellence in all its activities.”

But then they deny our Paragraph 5. What does that say? Simply, in full: “In discharging its duties NIWA is required to use the best available information, and to apply the best scientific practices and techniques available at any relevant time.”

To say the one while denying the other makes a mystery of both the admission and the denial, because to any ordinary reading of the words they have the same subject. I’m scratching my head to understand what point they’re making; it’s hard to argue against the ordinary meaning of those words!

Glaciers retreat — except those that advance

So, if anyone can see how you could pursue excellence while NOT using the best available information or applying the best scientific practices and techniques, let us know!

Renowden says:

But when the dust has settled, all the temperature records will still show that NZ has warmed, and the glaciers will still have retreated.

Glaciers have retreated? Oh, yes, except those that have advanced, of course. How does he know the new record still shows similar warming to the 7SS? Does he realise that the raw readings from those stations show no warming and never will?

Then Renowden grizzles again, admitting that he really hasn’t been listening very well:

I think it’s rather more likely they’ll send you the bill for the money and time wasted by a pointless, politically-inspired campaign to smear NZ scientists and cast doubt on the reality of warming in New Zealand.

He claims we were “politically-inspired”. What a nonsense! Our assertions and complaints were grounded in science, or NIWA would never have listened to us or agreed, in the end, to cooperate. The “smearing” of scientists is often implied by criticism, but NIWA never complained about that.

NIWA vindicates our campaign

As for wanting to cast doubt on warming: who cares about warming? We just want to know one way or the other and we found that the 7SS was not reliable; it had been changed but nobody, not even NIWA, could say why – and NIWA agreed. Once warming is established, if it is, then we can discuss the causes of that warming.

As for our campaign being pointless: au contraire, mon ami — it has been fully vindicated! NIWA agreed with us that there are problems with justifying the 7SS in a proper scientific manner and they should therefore recalculate the temperature record! New Zealand will be better off as a result. They would never have engaged in the recalculation without our paper, the questions in the Parliament from Rodney Hide and John Boscawen from the ACT Party or our careful scientific descriptions of faults in the temperature record.

Why does Renowden think our campaign was pointless?

I find it curious that Renowden, filled with his righteous indignation throughout this affair, has not acknowledged the validity of any of our complaints; he’s railed emotionally but has not addressed our concerns. He’s backed NIWA like a lover who’s blind to their faults. What does he see in them?

To recap: NIWA specifically denies it’s required to use the best information and techniques. I didn’t say that – NIWA said it.

Spin on as you wish, Renowden – you cannot deny what NIWA said. We’re all wondering what they mean. Perhaps you can explain it?

27 Thoughts on “NIWA oddly denies everything

  1. Richard C on October 9, 2010 at 2:00 pm said:

    Edit reqd 2nd para.

    “NIWA’s statements in their Statement of Claim are precisely what I say they were.”

    Should be “Statement of Defence”

    Spotted it because I made the same mistake at Bishop Hill.

  2. Brendan H on October 9, 2010 at 2:05 pm said:

    “To say the one while denying the other makes a mystery of both the admission and the denial, because to any ordinary reading of the words they have the same subject.”

    I think you’re being a bit obtuse here, Richard. I’m not a legal person, but I assume that NIWA is stating its statutory obligations in the words of the legislation, and not those of the statement of claim.

    The likely reason for this is that NIWA — or its counsel — is spelling out the requirememts of the Act, which of course is the basis for the statement of claim, para 4, and by implication, para 5.

    “I’m scratching my head to understand what point they’re making; it’s hard to argue against the ordinary meaning of those words!”

    Scratch away, but in law the “ordinary” meanings of words are not always so ordinary. That’s why we pay lawyers exhorbitant sums of money to interpret those so-called ordinary meanings.

    What’s more, in any legal dispute it would be foolish and irresponsible to accept at face value your opponent’s characterisation of an issue. Legal disputes are all about establishing one’s own interpretation of an issue.

    • Richard C on October 9, 2010 at 2:35 pm said:

      “I assume that NIWA is stating its statutory obligations in the words of the legislation, and not those of the statement of claim.”

      Not all of the Statement of Defence is in the words of the Act.

      e.g.

      (b) The NZTR is not a record and is not a public record for the purposes of the PRA;

      This is purely an assertion.

    • Brendan H on October 9, 2010 at 5:33 pm said:

      Richard: “Not all of the Statement of Defence is in the words of the Act.”

      I didn’t say it was. But when you are in a legal dispute you make your case as clear as possible, and you stay as close as possible to legal precedent.

      That NIWA’s claim about the status of the NZTR is an assertion doesn’t gainsay this. Obviously, this point is in contention. Whether or not the court will — or can — make a judgement remains to be seen.

    • Richard C on October 10, 2010 at 10:34 am said:

      Yes, the status is paramount.

    • Richard C on October 9, 2010 at 4:26 pm said:

      I should add that: yes, NZCSET will have to prove that the NZTR is a record and a public record,

      and/or

      Prove that the NZTR is a heritage asset belonging to NIWA.

      The latter is significant because the NZTR spreadsheet could be shown to be part of “A national electronic database of high quality climate information, including temperatures”

      If the NZTR is not “high quality” then why is there a “passing off” of it on NIWA’s website?

      The “passing off, could be construed as an economic tort. The NZ ETS is based on it (among other things).

      A good place to rake this over is here:

      http://joannenova.com.au/2010/10/away-til-monday/comment-page-1/#comment-101962

      There’s full formatting and the comment ID’s don’t reset. The Name @ 100 convention can be used to good effect.

    • You can insert html codes here for emphasis, etc. I haven’t heard of “Name @ 100 convention”. What is it?

    • Richard C on October 9, 2010 at 5:47 pm said:

      “You can insert html codes here for emphasis, etc”

      Good idea, I’ll try it next (short) opportunity (first time could be messy).

      ” I haven’t heard of “Name @ 100 convention”. What is it?”

      Just click on the link to the JoNova site above and go to one of the longer post discussions – you’ll see what I mean.

    • Richard C on October 9, 2010 at 5:41 pm said:

      Snippets from:

      The NIWA “Seven-Station” Temperature Series (includes adjustment schedule)
      http://www.niwa.co.nz/__data/assets/pdf_file/0017/101834/7-Station_Temperature-Series.pdf

      “1 Please note that all adjustments can only ever be estimates, made in good faith and using
      scientifically accepted methodologies.”

      [But not “high quality” estimates?]

      “The conclusion that New Zealand has warmed since 1900 is not based only on the 7-
      station data set, or indeed on the additional 11 pristine sites mentioned above.
      Information from ship measurements of sea-surface temperatures and marine nighttime
      air temperatures over the oceans surrounding New Zealand indicate a warming
      trend through the twentieth century that is in close agreement with land-based
      temperature measurements (Folland and Salinger, 1995).”

      [But the 7SS is used for this purpose. Folland and Salinger, 1995 might be an interesting read]

    • Richard C on October 10, 2010 at 2:41 am said:

      “The conclusion that New Zealand has warmed since 1900 is not based only on the 7- station data set, or indeed on the additional 11 pristine sites mentioned above. Information from ship measurements of sea-surface temperatures and marine nighttime air temperatures over the oceans surrounding New Zealand indicate a warming trend through the twentieth century that is in close agreement with land-based temperature measurements (Folland and Salinger, 1995).”

      Surface temperature trends and variations in New Zealand and the surrounding ocean, 1871–1993

      1. Chris K. Folland1,
      2. M. Jim Salinger2

      Article first published online: 18 JAN 2007
      DOI: 10.1002/joc.3370151103

      Copyright © 1995 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd

      Keywords
      * New Zealand;
      * sea-surface temperature;
      * night marine air temperature;
      * correction techniques;
      * El Niño;
      * Southern Oscillation;
      * surface temperature trends and variations;
      * SST data sets;
      * New Zealand temperature series [NZTR? Must be 7SS. 11SS doesn’t start until 1930, ]

      Abstract

      We compare homogenized series of maximum, minimum, and mean air temperature averaged over New Zealand, measured between 1871 [Why not 1855?] and 1993, with rigorously quality controlled marine temperature data measured over the surrounding ocean surface. The marine data are those of sea-surface temperature (SST) and air temperature measured at night (NMAT) on board ship, both corrected for time-varying instrumental biases. There is mostly very good agreement between the variations in the three data sets on time-scales down to a season [Selective NZT start date helps]. Some disagreements are related to short periods of sparsely observed marine data, particularly during the World Wars. Differences also exist between trends in the maximum and minimum New Zealand temperatures (NZT) particularly in winter. In addition, interannual variations in winter NZT tend not to track those of nearby marine temperatures quite as well as happens in other seasons.

      Although it is not the main purpose of the paper to discuss the causes of NZT change, New Zealand temperature is known to be influenced by the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomena. Tropical East Pacific SST variations are strongly related to ENSO and so are well correlated with NZT on time-scales of a few years to near a decade.[Now cool in 2010] We discuss these relationships, and also associations with Southern Hemisphere SST.

      We conclude that annual NZT and NMAT over the nearby ocean surface have both warmed by about 0.7°C since the beginning of the century, with a slightly smaller increase in SST [Natch, you cranked down the NZT start temp]. This confirms previous work on the magnitude of the warming of New Zealand climate this century. Warming in NMAT and NZT in each season varies in a similar way, with consistently slightly smaller increases in SST [Natch, you started NZT at 1871, not 1855, thereby cranking down the NZT start temp]]. We also conclude that the UK Meteorological Office seasonal historical marine temperature data set appears to be generally of very good quality in the New Zealand region.

      The NZTR is not a “record” according to NIWA’s Defence. So if NZTS and NZTR are one and the same in this paper, the NZ ETS is based on correlations between trends of non-records, at least one of which (NZT) has a selective start date.

      Note also that the 1909 start date for NIWA’s “The best-fit linear trend over the past 100 years (1909 to 2008) shows NZ’s average annual temperature has increased by 0.9°C ” is also a VERY selective start date.- the turn of the century just happens to be the bottom of a cool phase.

      http://www.niwa.co.nz/news-and-publications/news/all/2009/nz-temp-record/seven-station-series-temperature-data (one left click on the image for a blowup)

      If 1990 was the bottom of a cool phase, what if 2000 is the top of a warm phase?

      It’s starting to look like it.

    • Richard C on October 10, 2010 at 2:50 am said:

      “If 1990 was the bottom of a cool phase” – should read 1900, not 1990

    • Richard C on October 9, 2010 at 4:50 pm said:

      Could not find:-

      “passing” “off” “economic” or “tort” in the Statement of Claim.

      NZCSET may wish to consider this possibility in order to get a second bite (put the knife in – whatever).

    • Richard C on October 10, 2010 at 1:44 pm said:

      Got this answer at JoNova

      RichardC @ 5 & 7; the possible tort actions you describe have been largely superseded in most Western nations by the legislative equivalents of Fair Trading and Trade Practice Acts ; basically they codify misrepresentation.

      Think I’ve got those Acts somewhere………

  3. val majkus on October 9, 2010 at 2:27 pm said:

    I know this is off track but Prof Hal Lewis resignation letter from the APS is up at WUWT http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/10/08/hal-lewis-my-resignation-from-the-american-physical-society/#more-26117
    QUOTING AN EXTRACT
    How different it is now. The giants no longer walk the earth, and the money flood has become the raison d’être of much physics research, the vital sustenance of much more, and it provides the support for untold numbers of professional jobs. For reasons that will soon become clear my former pride at being an APS Fellow all these years has been turned into shame, and I am forced, with no pleasure at all, to offer you my resignation from the Society.

    It is of course, the global warming scam, with the (literally) trillions of dollars driving it, that has corrupted so many scientists, and has carried APS before it like a rogue wave. It is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist.

    I mention it here as the article requests readers to spread the word (quoting)
    What I would really like to see though, is this public resignation letter given the same editorial space as Michael Mann in today’s Washington Post.

    Readers, we can do this. Here’s the place at WaPo to ask for it. Spread the word on other blogs. Let’s see if they have enough integrity to provide a counterpoint. – Anthony

  4. I’m a little snowed under right now. Would anyone familiar with it have time to search the Way Back Machine (http://web.archive.org) to find a NIWA page that’s been removed?

    We’re looking for the page
    http://www.niwa.co.nz/our-science/climate/news/all/newzealands-climate-is-warming
    since it’s referenced in a pdf file retrieved from their site: the file is named NIWA_2010_7SS_Temp_Series.pdf and contains a document headed “The NIWA “Seven-Station” Temperature Series” dated 9 February 2010.

    The document does not now appear on NIWA’s web site but is evidence of their statements.

    Your help would be appreciated, thanks.

  5. Mike Jowsey on October 10, 2010 at 8:31 am said:

    Jo Nova has a new post about your post: http://joannenova.com.au/2010/10/new-zealand-niwa/

  6. Richard C on October 10, 2010 at 11:34 am said:

    Have to share this.

    My Google News this morning (Al Gore’s is/was an adviser):-

    global cooling »

    We’re sorry, we were unable to find any content for this section.

  7. Richard C on October 10, 2010 at 3:05 pm said:

    Re: Renowden’s accusation

    This astute analysis at JoNova:

    Ric Werme:
    October 10th, 2010 at 10:28 am

    NIWA has formally stated that, in their opinion, they are not required to use the best available information nor to apply the best scientific practices and techniques available at any given time. They don’t think that forms any part of their statutory obligation to pursue “excellence”.

    And from the top of http://www.niwa.co.nz/ :

    NIWA is a Crown owned research and consultancy company, with a global reputation as experts in water and atmospheric research. Our mission is to conduct leading environmental science to enable the sustainable management of natural resources for New Zealand and the planet.

    So, in New Zealand you can do “leading environmental science” without applying the best scientific practices and techniques? Hmm, just like this side of the planet, e.g. NASA GISS.

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