NIWA’s web site a revelation

NIWA's logo


NIWA has an interesting web site which they change frequently. One must visit often to keep up with the changes, because NIWA never sends one a memo.

There’s a section under Climate called “NZ temperature record” where you can see the latest version of the seven-station temperature series.

I think the judge supervising our application for judicial review would be keen to know that what NIWA solemnly pledged to the Court was not the “official or formal New Zealand temperature record” is in fact named on its web site in effectively that very manner.

For taking the words “NZ temperature record” in their most natural meanings, without strain, one understands that NIWA is presenting to the public the very thing it promised the judge it does not have.

NIWA’s Statement of Defence says these actual words in paragraph 7 (a):

There is no “official‟ or formal New Zealand Temperature Record.

Then, in a wonderfully pedantic, hair-splitting dispute over the meaning of “official”, NIWA adds that it has a web page called the New Zealand temperature record (“NZTR”). Indeed, we can right now see there the words “NZ temperature record.”

NIWA is saying, without smiling: “There is no such thing; we have one on our web site.”

Who could believe this duplicitous presentation? Will NIWA get away with it? Only the judge knows and we’ll have to wait and see.

NIWA makes the excuse that the page is apparently an “informal” collection of different climate information, including sea surface temps and the ill-advised 11-station series. This complaint against NIWA is driven by the drivel in its Statement of Defence.

Another interesting page concerns NIWA’s review and includes a note on the Coalition’s court case. At the bottom of the Review page you can read this:

The court action is ongoing, and NIWA is confidently defending its science.

Well done, NIWA. It’s intriguing, don’t you think, to imagine the Court is being asked to decide matters of science. I mean, what is the world coming to? Next thing you know, we’ll be petitioning the Parliament for a building consent or consulting a plumber on matters of dentistry.

But NIWA overstates the case. The Coalition is not asking for the science (whatever that is) to be reviewed. You can see the latest (amended) Statement of Claim (pdf, 169 KB) for yourself.

Everyone’s rather more curious about something very simple: whether NIWA really used the adjustment method it claimed to have used.

The question is: in reconstructing the NZ temperature series published in December 2010, did it, or did it not, apply the method set out carefully in Rhoades and Salinger (1993), and which, in NIWA’s “Review Report”, on numerous pages, it claimed to have used, saying: “the adjustments to the multiple sites comprising the ‘seven-station’ series were calculated by Salinger et al. (1992), using the methodology of Rhoades and Salinger (1993)”?

No science, just a simple question, and the answer is either yes or no.

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One Thought on “NIWA’s web site a revelation

  1. Doug Proctor on 20/09/2011 at 4:50 am said:

    The most awkward questions asked, and the most difficult to get answers for, require simply a “yes” or “no”.

    Can’t say “yes”, won’t say “no”, impossible to answer “no comment” without revealing the “no” answer, silence or – eventually – anger is the only response left.

    In a court of law a “yes” or “no” can be forced. But only so far even there. The odd thing is, if “yes” is forced out, when “no” is the truth, the onus then comes on the plaintiff to prove that a lie was committed! And, worse, that the lie was given with the knowledge that it was a lie.

    And so it goes, as Vonnegut said.

    Confession may be good for the soul, but it is not good for either the paycheck or career.

    Eventually NIWA will be able to resort to, “We’ve been answering that question for a long time, but you are not satisfied. We will not respond to this question any more.”

    In all of life, the technical parts are easy. It is the people-parts that are difficult.

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