NIWA’s sham: but wait — there’s more

holy grail

Independently peer-reviewed scientific papers published in learned journals are the Holy Grail of climate science alarmists, and the IPCC in particular. So they want to get friendly papers in and keep contrary papers out.

The Climategate emails show continuous collusion between members of the “Hockey Team” to prevent journal publication of any paper which challenged the IPCC dogma. Because, once published, a paper becomes part of “the scientific literature” and authors are obliged thereafter to take it seriously.

Of course, the IPCC manipulates the system outrageously. After Chairman Pachauri assured the media that it disregarded non-peer-reviewed opinions, revelations came that more than one-third of the material used by some Working Groups came from the “grey” literature (usually written by Big Green activists).

NIWA closely follows the party line. That’s why it has insisted endlessly that the New Zealand temperature record (NZTR) included adjustments “described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature” which were “in accord with internationally accepted techniques.”

Rhoades & Salinger (1993) hit the spot perfectly. Co-authored by a respected New Zealand statistician and by NIWA’s own principal scientist, it dealt directly with the appropriate statistical techniques for adjusting temperature data under New Zealand’s particular conditions (check). It was funded by the Government (check), independently peer-reviewed (check), and published in an appropriate journal (check). Since publication, it has not been rebutted or heavily criticised (check).

Brazenly false claim

There was only one problem — applying the adjustment techniques from R&S didn’t produce any warming trend. What to do? Claim the techniques were out-dated? Write up some different techniques which produce warming, and somehow have them published? All too hard. Solution: “reverse engineer” the outcomes they wanted, adopt methods which produce them, and blatantly (though falsely) claim it was produced by R&S.

But there is a further problem with the scientific literature. Another distinguished paper dealing with New Zealand’s particular conditions (check) found serious contamination of Auckland and Wellington data by non-weather influences. This paper was also funded by the Government (check), independently peer-reviewed (check), published in an appropriate journal (check), and has not been rebutted or even criticised (check).

Hessell1 (1980), “Apparent trends of mean temperature in New Zealand since 1930,” says plainly that there was no significant change in New Zealand’s annual mean temperatures from 1940 to 1975 — the very period for which NIWA claims our greatest warming ever! The paper’s abstract reads:

The evidence of apparent continuous warming over New Zealand since 1940 is examined from both physical and statistical standpoints. It is found that the exposures of most of the thermometers have been affected by changes in shelter, screenage and/or urbanisation, all of which tend to increase the observed mean temperature. A systematic analysis of all New Zealand climatological stations with sufficient length of record reveals that no important change in annual mean temperatures since 1930 has been found at stations where the above factors are negligible. Neighbour station comparisons support these findings.

An inconvenient truth

The paper classified New Zealand weather stations in two categories — “Reliable” and “Unreliable”. Four of the Unreliable stations were used in the 7SS — Auckland, Wellington, Dunedin and Hokitika. NIWA has studiously ignored that inconvenient truth.

Applying a number of statistical tests over a 40-year period, Hessell recorded that the stations whose data he identified as Unreliable had warmed at about five times the rate of the Reliable stations. This result tested as ‘highly significant’ . He also found that New Zealand urban stations were significantly warmer than their nearest rural counterparts.

Hessell calculated that many stations (including Auckland and Wellington, in particular) were affected by both Urbanisation and Shelter effects during the period 1930–80.

The Hessell paper on its own puts paid to NIWA’s warming theory. Because, while NIWA says most warming occurred during 1940–60 and in Auckland, the “scientific literature” says exactly the opposite.

Who do we believe? NIWA itself wants us to believe the Holy Grail — the peer-reviewed literature, so we will. But because there are no published papers supporting its position, we won’t believe NIWA, and they know it.

If NIWA wanted to challenge the established literature, the correct scientific method is crystal clear. They should submit a research paper setting out the flaws in the Hessell findings and survive independent peer reviews arranged by the journal’s editor. They chose not to do this. Instead, they relied upon sleight-of-hand.

The Hessell paper is listed in the bibliography of the NIWA Review’s Auckland chapter, giving the clear impression that NIWA accepts it and has relied upon it. But you won’t see anywhere that NIWA actually rejects virtually all of the paper’s findings.


Hessell is mentioned in the text only at page 33 (regarding a 1950 screen change), where NIWA explains that the paper is consistent with its own view. Footnote 28 on page 38 demonstrates that NIWA is acutely aware of the paper’s arguments against using the Auckland data, but it cleverly slide-slips any actual discussion of those arguments:

Hessell (1980, Figure 3) showed a graph of Albert Park wind data from 1918, although the NIWA climate database does not currently have digitised monthly wind-run data prior to 1946.

If the “digitised data” are not in their database, how is that significant? They could find and use the paper analogue records instead. This is deception. It is not the sort of impartial advice we are entitled to expect from a taxpayer-funded public agency. It displays none of the even-handed and objective analysis that was once associated with scientists. It is unprofessional and unacceptable.

NIWA scientists know it is important to get this right. NIWA’s NZTR is the historic basis of its climate science advice to all tiers of Government and to the judiciary — which involves decisions costing billions of tax dollars.

But their overriding loyalty lies with the credo of dangerous anthropogenic global warming, and that trumps all other considerations.

1 Hessell, J.W.D. 1980. “Apparent trends of mean temperature in New Zealand since 1930.” New Zealand Journal of Science, 23, 1-9.

Views: 77

9 Thoughts on “NIWA’s sham: but wait — there’s more

  1. Mike Jowsey on 26/08/2011 at 10:33 am said:

    Marvelous! An actual scientist did some actual empirical work and, what-do-you-know, nothing to see folks – move along – nothing to see here…. No warming, except for UHI, situation normal (all fouled up).

    And the wise NIWA monkeys can’t see, hear or speak of it.

  2. Australis on 26/08/2011 at 11:33 am said:

    A peer-reviewed paper, published in a learned journal, says “no warming trend in New Zealand”.

    NIWA’s web-published 7SS Review, using Unreliable station data, claims it has detected a warming trend.

    NIWA says it intends to publish its case in a journal some day, but it obviously hasn’t got past the peer reviewers so far.

    Looks like “no contest” to me!

  3. Richard C (NZ) on 26/08/2011 at 11:14 pm said:

    Keep this material coming Richard T. Some of us (well me anyway) are way behind in our familiarization with the principles and practice in R&S and Hessel so a drip feed of “the appropriate statistical techniques for adjusting temperature data under New Zealand’s particular conditions” will get us (that’s me) up to speed eventually (hopefully).

    It’s clear that adoption of the principles and practice laid out by these papers makes a profound difference to New Zealand’s temperature record. NZCSC can follow them – why can’t NIWA?

    It’s an indictment on NIWA that their own tenets of professionalism are to be found in the NZCSC work but not in their own in this case.

    And yes, they’ve sold out their professional ideals to support their credo. Either that or they are just incompetent .But if their departure from established practice was premeditated, they must have been incredibly naive to think they would get away with it given the NZCSC’s previous scrutiny.

  4. Pingback: New Zealand Media – A Scandalous Silence | New Zealand Climate Change

  5. Gary on 29/08/2011 at 8:22 pm said:

    Have you with the known information, or lack of it tried the Ombudsmans Office??
    Have a look at this.

    • Barry on 29/08/2011 at 8:47 pm said:

      For general complaints about administrative actions, the Ombudsmen are limited to the agencies in the First Schedule of the Act – which doesn’t include NIWA.

      For complaints under the Official Information Act, the Second Schedule applies and does include NIWA. See elsewhere on this blog for the complaint Richard Treadgold filed in January 2011. I think he is still awaiting an outcome.

    • Yes, I asked NIWA for material on their report, and they refused. So I complained to the Ombudsmen, and they started enquiries with NIWA but claim they’re too busy to proceed just now. One tries to remain polite, but complaints that take months don’t help the honest citizen; you’d think somone would put on more staff to get things done. I guess all the extra staff are working on the ETS instead. Aren’t we lucky?

  6. Alexander K on 02/09/2011 at 2:38 am said:

    Here in the Northern Hemisphere, Svensmark’s theories appear to be increasingly and publicly validated by the roll-out of CERN experimental results and the usually dopey Mainstream Media appears to be responding by downgrading scare stories about CO2 as the reporters ready themselves to jump aboard the Solar express. At the same time, alarmists are growing more shrill as their gravy train appears to be heading for it’s final terminus.
    There must be some furrowed brows at NIWA as their deceptions are cruelly unpicked and the glare of publicity begins to illuminate their trickery.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post Navigation