The 11SS — a Dog that didn’t bark

a stunned dog

Too stunned to bark.

One of the best-known episodes in The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes is “Silver Blaze”, concerning “the curious incident of the dog in the night-time”. Curiously, the dog did nothing. Sherlock rightly deduced that because the dog didn’t bark, there could have been no intruder.

A similar deduction may be made in regard to the silence which now surrounds NIWA’s heavily promoted “Eleven-Station Series” (11SS).

Interested observers naturally expected that the 11SS would again feature strongly in the NIWA Review Report as support for the new NZTR. But, to their utter surprise, they discovered that it’s been left out!

The Review Report flails around seeking supporting evidence from sea temperatures, wind flows, etc., but there is nary a word about the once-talismanic 11SS. One may scour the whole 169 pages, and delve among the footnotes, to no avail.

The 11SS is highly conspicuous in its absence. As it does not bark in the Review Report, we can surmise that it will never bark again. Although it did not join the 7SS in being whipped off the website within hours, it appears to be an equally deceased canine.

When will it be smuggled off the website? Perhaps we should run a sweepstake!

There is no doubt the 11SS is a dog. It was always the high water mark of NIWA chicanery – Barry Brill’s article at Quadrant Online tore its integrity to shreds.

It purported to find a temperature trend of 1.0°C/century from unadjusted data at 11 locations. But in fact, all of the warming occurred in only a 20-year period commencing 1 January 1931, and average temperatures for the rest of the time were flat.

an intelligent dog

Too intelligent to bark.

To their shame, NIWA breached the scientific guidelines they themselves now cite in their own Review Report! Out of the 275 station-years required in the 11SS for the crucial period 1930-55, no fewer than 80 station-years are missing. Most stations have at least six consecutive missing years, with some much worse – Invercargill has 18 consecutive missing years.

NIWA’s Review Report cites as a leading authority the Guide to Climatological Practices, Third Edition, published by the World Meteorological Organisation. This publication states categorically (at Chapter 4.8.4) that:

“Period averages should be calculated only when values are available for at least 80% of the years of record, with no more than three consecutive missing years.”

But it seems impossible to embarrass NIWA scientists. Their open awareness that the 11SS was illegitimate was made plain early last year by the answer they provided for Minister Mapp in respect of Parliamentary Question 1317 (2010):

“Raw data may only be used to calculate a wholly temporal trend for a particular site location over the period for which data is continuously available for that location.”

Yet, when the Hon Rodney Hide MP issued a devastating critique of the 11SS, Network PR issued a statement on 7 May 2010, placing the reputation of NIWA’s senior management on the line. NIWA’s chief executive, John Morgan, declared: “I stand by the integrity and professionalism of our scientists.”

So what has changed? Enter the Australian Bureau of Meteorologists (BoM) as the party asked by NIWA to review the official NZ temperature record — a letter from the BoM was to appear in the December Review Report.

But despite their reputation for aggressive warmism, BoM scientists have refused to allow the name of their organisation to be associated with the flea-bitten and mangy 11SS.

Why should anyone else believe it?

When will NIWA’s managers account for their climate scientists’ integrity?

Views: 115

15 Thoughts on “The 11SS — a Dog that didn’t bark

  1. Richard C (NZ) on 05/01/2011 at 1:12 pm said:

    “all of the warming occurred in only a 20-year period commencing 1 January 1931”

    This is inconsistent with the 7SS that shows cooling prior to 1952 with abrupt warming occurring over the subsequent decade.

    Also, the NIWA press release re the BOM audit promotes the audit as a “re-analysis”contrary to the BOM cover letter that explicitly states that it wasn’t.

    Refer in questions and answers “What does the re-analysis show?”

    • Also, the NIWA press release re the BOM audit promotes the audit as a “re-analysis”contrary to the BOM cover letter that explicitly states that it wasn’t.

      This is incorrect. The BoM letter explicitly says their own review of NIWA’s Review Report was not a re-analysis, since “such a task would require full access to the raw and modified temperature data and metadata, and would be a major scientific undertaking.”

      One hopes that NIWA themselves engaged in such a “major scientific undertaking” but there are several oddities with the Review Report. That’s why I’ve asked NIWA for documentation about their dealings with the BoM. We’ll see what turns up.

  2. Clarence on 06/01/2011 at 10:54 am said:

    In Note (2) at the top of NIWA’s spreadsheet for the new NZT7, strongly emphasises that averages of years of missing data cannot be included in a series:

    “E.g., for 1909 when there are 4 sites, the 7-Station Composite Temp is NOT the average of the Wellington, Nelson, Lincoln and Dunedin values”.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 06/01/2011 at 11:05 am said:

      1909 can be dropped I think because 1909-2009 = 101 years.

      Using 1910-2009 makes a nice tidy 100 years for calculating per century trends. This goes for analysis of the raw data too (wherever that is).

  3. Doug Proctor on 07/01/2011 at 8:13 am said:

    Richard(C)NZ’s reference is very specific in what is reported. Wherein lies the error? Yours or his/the reference?

    • Doug,

      I cannot reconcile those statements. The 11SS does indeed show most warming before about 1951, but the 7SS does not show cooling before 1952, see the original 7SS graph.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 07/01/2011 at 10:42 am said:

      Doug is referring to “What does the re-analysis show?” in the NIWA press release.

      The 7SS definitely shows cooling prior to 1953 usind a 15 year moving average, however the use of a moving average is an inappropriate statistical technique to use on a temperature series for data smoothing. Empirical Mode Decomposition (EMD) is appropriate and shows slight warming 1910-1940, steep warming 1940-1980 and slight warming from there on.

      What is clear from using EMD is that a 100 year time frame is too short to extract the intrinsic natural trend.

      That still leaves 7SS – 11SS inconsistency.

  4. Clarence on 07/01/2011 at 11:16 am said:

    The 11SS was designed to mirror the 7SS, and achieves this quite well. And that’s no surprise after about 1955, as there are very few post-war adjustments in the 7SS – and all 18 anomalies were more-or-less in synch.

    But the 11SS curve during its first 20 years is wholly an artifact of moving stations in and out, rather than following the average temperatures of 11 sites.

    The ‘Normals’ or benchmarks of the 7SS (1970-2000) and 11SS (1960-90) are different, so their respective anomalies cannot be properly compared.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 07/01/2011 at 12:08 pm said:

      OK, I’m getting the picture.

      Are the 7SS and 11SS consistent over 1909 – 1955?

      Using composite actuals eliminates any anomaly disparity. The concept of a “normal” 30 year flat average climate that moves either by convention or arbitrarily should be removed from this exercise to avoid unnecessary complication I think.

    • Clarence on 07/01/2011 at 9:31 pm said:

      The 11SS doesn’t begin until 1954. There’s a 10SS before 1949, and a 4SS before 1939 and even a 2SS in 1931.

      See the reference to the “Quadrant Online” article in Richard’s post above.

    • Clarence,

      That’s a great way of describing it! It puts the slender grasp it has of the truth into clear relief!

      It’s obvious the 7SS and 11SS cannot be compared because they are very different fruits.

      A NIWA climate scientist should turn red with shame at any mention of the 11SS, which is a blatant exercise in cherry-picking. They said they went looking for stations that showed warming and guess what — they found some! Whoop-de-bloody-doo. They also said the stations hadn’t moved — but whoopsy-doodle, they lied.

      Remember, too, that the exercise was sparked by our paper which showed how the raw data exhibited no real warming, then asked why the adjustments had been made.

      Their scientific answer? “There has so been warming!” Nuts.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 08/01/2011 at 8:19 am said:

      For some reason I was thinking that the 11 SS started earlier than 1931. The 11SS trends from linear regression of inconsistent data are meaningless and especially so in that time frame.

      It’s such a mish-mash of rubbish that it should be shredded or used as a case study of bad science. Calling it a dog gives mangy mutts a bad name I think.

  5. Doug Proctor on 11/01/2011 at 12:32 pm said:

    Thank you for the followup to my question. So, the 11SS is out, as being bad data poorly treated. The 7SS is at least partly out, as it is not an officially sanctioned record at this time. These were supposed to be superior stations, right? So what is left? Does the Australian BOM have any real data to work with? Is the BOM simply going to limit themselves to the PROCEDURES through which the NZ temperatures were adjusted, and stand ouside any opinion/position on the veracity of the records?

    • Bob D on 11/01/2011 at 12:44 pm said:

      It appears to me that all they have done is read the report, and rubber-stamp it with qualifying statements to avoid responsibility if it all goes pear-shaped. By not examining the data in any detail their “peer-review” is pretty weak.

  6. Pingback: Climate Conversation Group » NIWA versus NOAA

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