Bias justified claims NIWA

So is it?

Let’s start to crack this open. Since the judge hasn’t delivered his decision we’ll be careful, but I’m advised we can discuss it freely as long as we don’t insult the judge (or NIWA’s scientists, for that matter). [ADDENDUM: Or attempt to influence the judge’s decision.]

There are several incongruous aspects of NIWA’s 7SS adjustments that have always mystified Coalition* members:

  1. The whole warming trend of about 1.0°C/century is brought about by pre-1945 downward adjustments, which are curiously linear (see graphs).
  2. Although the site changes causing them are random, over 90% of the adjustments move in the same direction; they do not balance out as the literature suggests they should.
  3. The 7SS adjusted warming trend is inconsistent with the official temperature series published in 1867 and 1920; these showed that the nationally-averaged temperatures recorded back then were just as high as they are now.
  4. The largest New Zealand warming occurred during the half-century 1909-59, with the second highest being 1859-1909. The period 1959-2009 – which coincides with IPCC-reported global warming – shows the smallest trend (only 0.4°C/century).

effect of adjustments

shape of adjustments

NIWA’s statement of defence finally revealed why none of these anomalies worried its scientists. The early site changes were NOT random, it claimed, but reflected a systematic migration from warmer to cooler sites. In later evidence, Dr David Wratt elaborated his theory that economic pressures might have led the Met Service to move out of the warm centres of town to cheaper land on the outskirts.

A theory that nobody’s heard of…

This hypothesis came with bells and whistles. People built their settlements at the warmest spots and set up their weather stations close to their homes. But, as towns expanded, they were taken over by a money-strapped government agency, which saw the opportunity to cash up high-value land. The stations were moved to less hospitable and colder environments, where land was cheaper – particularly in the earlier part of the 20th century.

These systematic warm-to-cold relocations of the seven stations were done so smoothly, avoiding unnatural jumps or discontinuities, that the temperature readings revealed only a mild warming of about 0.3°C per century. The perfectly-coordinated system of nation-wide station moves (apparently) completely disguised the fact that the country’s temperatures were actually rising very strongly under the influence of global warming.

Imagine that.

NIWA never mentioned this fake skew until the Coalition detected it during their audit last year. But the hidden built-in bias had been unmasked already by Salinger’s 1981 thesis, which adjusted the historical records to offset it.

“I accept [Professor] Carter’s statement that the adjustments made in the NIWA 7SS Review do not balance out,” says Dr Wratt’s affidavit. “But this causes me no difficulty as a professional climate scientist, for the reasons I have outlined in paragraphs 218, 221, 222, and 223.”

Those paragraphs, and many more, expanded upon NIWA’s socio-economic insights regarding the systematic migration of early-20th-century weather stations.

The plaintiff (the Coalition) complained that there was no evidence to support this theory. It said that economic history was not listed amongst NIWA’s numerous claimed competencies, and the hypothesis did not show up in the literature or the metadata or anywhere else.

…and is contradicted by NIWA’s own work…

Then the plaintiff’s counsel turned to NIWA’s Review, which shows detailed maps of the various sites making up the 7SS. In Auckland, the Domain site moved to Princes St and then to Albert Park, cementing itself in the inner city rather than moving away. In Dunedin, the sites moved from the Leith Valley towards the centre of town. And so forth…

Terry Sissons noted that the Salinger thesis had arrived at the opposite conclusion, believing that stations in the middle of town had grown warmer over the years as a result of the urban heat island (UHI) effect. The stations should have been moved, but this seldom happened.

When the defence replied, the dogmatism of the affidavit was notably absent. It seemed Dr Wratt was merely trying to understand why 9 out of 10 adjustments might have moved in the same direction.

The key point, defence counsel said, was that the plaintiff hadn’t proved that NIWA was labouring under this mistake back in 1999 when the 7SS was first published.

…but now it’s solved – UHI was hiding our global warming

Well… if the systematic migration hypothesis is a new invention, why does NIWA plead that it justified the decisions taken back in 1999?

And if Salinger & co didn’t come up with this speculation at the time, what did they believe? Did they really think that random site changes should be fixed by non-random adjustments? Did they assume that all previous attempts at nationally-averaged records were flawed?

Or was this just confirmation bias of the type psychologists say is inevitable in the absence of checks and balances?

* NZ Climate Science Coalition


What do I mean by UHI “hiding our global warming”? The idea is somewhat illogical, for how can UHI warming hide global warming? Well, the fact is that UHI has made it difficult to identify the magnitude of both UHI and global warming at weather stations sited in urban areas. With repeated outward moves, a rising trend from any cause is wholly or partly diminished by the cooler temperatures in the new location. If temperatures were rising in response to both UHI and global warming, calculating the adjustments to correct the readings becomes problematic.

With NIWA’s adjustments to the 7SS (which they claim were made by Salinger) now shown to be highly biased towards warming, and which are apparently corroborated by their recent reconstruction, they must explain why they have still made no adjustments for UHI, yet they claim the UHI effect is the cause of the bias. Certainly, while making adjustments because of the UHI effect, they “discovered” a strong global warming effect.

Do we believe them?

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Rodney Hide

Thanks for the great updates and insights. It gets sillier and sillier. Let’s hope the Judge demands better of NIWA than they demand of themselves.


Rodney Hide has an article in the NBR that should be of interest to readers.

Richard C (NZ)

“That leaves the IPCC Assessments up there with political and religious blather”

So much for the “gold standard”

Credit due to DonnaLlaframboise’s Citizens Audit and her army of Crowdsourcing project volunteers (including Mike and Andy).

Richard C (NZ)

Meanwhile, NIWA still has the “seven-station” series going back to 1853ish:-

‘Seven-station’ series temperature data (archive)

Series plot (complete with bogus linear trend):-

Seven stations in the 1800s? – baloney.


There is much speculation about Anthony Watts’ upcoming “big announcement” tomorrow 7am NZT and whether it relates to BEST and temperatures records back that far.

I can wait…

Richard C (NZ)


“…the “flattening” of the recent temperature rise that some people claim is not, in our view, statistically significant. What has caused the gradual but systematic rise of two and a half degrees? We tried fitting the shape to simple math functions (exponentials, polynomials), to solar activity and even to rising functions like world population. By far the best match was to the record of atmospheric carbon dioxide, measured from atmospheric samples and air trapped in polar ice”

So the “best match” for the flattening is a monotonic rise according to Muller and a 400 year gap is “close” to zero according to Pedro et al

Climate science sure has plenty of latitude in their degrees of freedom (to use the term loosely).


Michael Mann is already crowing about this piece on his Facebook page.
It must be a dead cert now that Anthony Watt’s “big news” will be related to this.

Richard C (NZ)


“We tried fitting the shape to simple math functions (exponentials, polynomials), to solar activity”

Duh! Barking up the wrong tree. They could have saved themselves time and effort by reading ‘Empirical evidence for a celestial origin of the climate oscillations’

New Scafetta paper – his celestial model outperforms GISS

Scafetta prediction widget update

Richard C (NZ)

I wonder if Muller factored in cloudiness levels? New paper finds cloudiness in Spain has significantly decreased since 1960 A paper published today in Climate of the Past finds that Total Cloud Cover (TCC) has significantly decreased over Spain by about 4% since 1960, the same period during which the IPCC claims there is no explanation other than man-made greenhouse gases to account for global warming. Estimated Total Cloud Cover (TCC) over Spain declined from 1961-2010 Increasing cloud cover in the 20th century: review and new findings in Spain A. Sanchez-Lorenzo1, J. Calbó2, and M. Wild1 1Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland 2Group of Environmental Physics, University of Girona, Girona, Spain Abstract. Visual observations of clouds have been performed since the establishment of meteorological observatories during the early instrumental period, and have become more systematic and reliable after the mid-19th century due to the establishment of the first national weather services. During the last decades a large number of studies have documented the trends of the total cloud cover (TCC) and cloudy types; most of these studies focus on the trends since the second half of the… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

I wonder if Muller factored in water vapour levels? New paper on Global Water Vapor puts climate modelers in a bind Where’s that positive feedback that is supposed to manifest itself in water vapor, the most potent natural greenhouse gas? Dr. Roger Pielke Sr. writes: New Paper “Weather And Climate Analyses Using Improved Global Water Vapor Observations” By Vonder Haar Et Al 2012 Global Monthly Average TPW series (image Figure 4 from Vonder Haar et al 2012) Dr. Pielke adds: The current paper is not the final word on this subject. The end of the paper reads The results of Figs. 1 and 4 have not been subjected to detailed global or regional trend analyses, which will be a topic for a forthcoming paper. Such analyses must account for the changes in satellite sampling discussed in the supplement. Therefore, at this time, we can neither prove nor disprove a robust trend in the global water vapor data. A tad embarrassing for the climate modeling fraternity e.g. Climate Models Confirm More Moisture in Atmosphere Attributed to Humans August 10, 2009 LIVERMORE, Calif. – When it comes to using climate models to… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

Even William Connelly (Stoat) is dissing Muller’s attribution:-

Muller is still rubbish

“Their work is (as far as I can tell) purely a matter of pulling together a temperature record. They’ve done none of the attribution work you’d expect, in order to talk about attribution. And what they say (How definite is the attribution to humans? The carbon dioxide curve gives a better match than anything else we’ve tried. Its magnitude is consistent with the calculated greenhouse effect – extra warming from trapped heat radiation) appears absurdly naive. [Update: it appears there is an as-yet-unrevealed paper that covers this. Based on the thin info currently available, I’m dubious. DA puts it nicely.]

So I think my original contention – that Muller is rubbish – holds up remarkably well”


Stoat also writes this

Another item: WUWT has been off-air for a day or two, promising something weally exciting. Could that be a leak of BEST results? I hope so, because if that’s it, he’s going to look like the twat he is

Not quite.

Richard C (NZ)

Mann on Muller via Nelson:-

“At this rate, Muller should be caught up to the current state of climate science within a matter of a few years!”


“It seems, in the end–quite sadly–that this is all really about Richard Muller’s self-aggrandizement :(”

Richard C (NZ)

Monckton on Muller via Nova:-

Müller lite: Why Every Scientist Needs a Classical Training

“Yes, the world has warmed since 1750. However, even if one accepts Dr. Müller’s estimate of 1.5 C° warming since then, that rate is indeed well within the natural variability of the climate. Indeed, in the 40 years from 1695 to 1735, Central England (not a bad proxy for global temperature change) warmed naturally at 0.4 C° per decade, seven times faster than the 0.057 C° per decade he finds in the 262 years during which we are supposed to have influenced the weather.

Natural variability, therefore, is sufficient to explain all of the warming since 1750. No other explanation is necessary. Accordingly, it is not legitimate to claim, as the Berkeley team claim, that in the absence of any other explanation the warming must be attributed to CO2. That claim is an instance of the argumentum ad ignorantiam, the fundamental logical fallacy of argument from ignorance. It is not sound science”

Can I remind readers of these GISS diagrams that so neatly illustrate a truth about adjusting T data for moves outwards from an urban area.
“Simple GISS diagram illustrating warming effect of conventional “adjustments” of “step” in T data due to site moves outward from urban centre.”


Wow! Thanks Warwick, that provides a complete explanation of the graph showing near-perfect linearity in the pre-1975 adjustments.

So, we have several urban stations (Auckland, Wellington, Dunedin, Nelson, Masterton) where populations were rapidly increasing during the first half of the 20th century. At the same time, several sites are beset by growing trees (eg Albert Park) or whole shelter belts (Lincoln).

Despite all these non-climate effects, the raw data showed an overall warming of only a modest 0.2-0.3°C/century. Then, along came Jim Salinger and added a mass of adjustments to this lethal cocktail. He made no attempt to either measure or correct any UHI/shelter effects in any of the stations.

Even Jim Hansen thinks this is beyond the pale. The GISS graphs show the result of using UHI-affected data in an adjustment based on neighbour station comparisons. The outcome is to subtract all the UHI effects right back to the starting-point of the site – in a smooth linear regression.

Right – now have another look at those graphs up above!

A peer-reviewed journal paper (Hessell1980) says plainly that all the warming shown by New Zealand weather stations during 1930-80 was caused by UHI/shelter.

Bob D

Exactly right, Warwick.


There’s a piece in the Herald on the court case

Richard C (NZ)

“So it was, says 71-year-old Brill, that he decided to invest tens of thousands of dollars of his own money in suing Niwa at the High Court”

Upsets Gareth Renowden’s “reasonable” assumption:-

“So who has been funding this action? It’s reasonable to assume that Brill, as the prime mover in the case, has been providing his services to the NZ CSET free of charge”


So hats off to Barry for putting his money where his mouth is.
Good man


I just left a message on Mann’s Facebook page stating that Muller’s claim that 0.8 degrees of warming that he projects over the next 50 years, or 20 years if the Chinese increase emissions, doesn’t sounds so scary as some of the more alarmist claims

My comment was immediately deleted and I am no longer able to post on his page.

I guess I can take my place on the podium of one of Mann’s “beetle larvae”

Mann is seriously unhinged if he can’t take that kind of comment. It wasn’t even directed at him

I have just read the article in The NZ Herald – thanks Andy –
Insight: Climate of fear
By Matthew Theunissen
1:36 PM Sunday Jul 29, 2012

and I note this text quoting what the journalist Matthew Theunissen writes about Dr Jim Salingers work decades ago –
[But his preliminary analysis indicated quite the opposite – that the New Zealand temperature was rising. The only problem with tracking this rise was that our cities did not have thermometers that had consistently measured temperature in the same space, with the same technology, over an entire century.

The differences meant it was difficult to track changes-so he set about revising the early data downwards to allow for shelter, urban warmth and other factors.]

This not-so-subtle claim that UHI has been “allowed for” – repeats the false claim spread so assiduously by pro-IPCC interests over the decades.

There are many other points that could be made re the Herald article.


For the 7SS, the NIWA Schedule of Adjustments (February 2010) shows what adkustments/corrections were made from the date of publication in 1999 to replacement in December 2010. There is not a single correction made for shelter, despite Salinger’s opinion (noted in the Review) that Albert Park trees grew up fast during 1909-30. Nor is there a correction anywhere for urban warmth. Salinger mentions the problem in virtually all his writings but never does anything about it. Likewise, the Review finds that about 0.38°C of the Auckland trend is caused by UHI/shelter in 1928-60, but then decides to ignore that. The result is that no NIWA employee has ever adjusted any temperature for UHI effects at any site at any time. Folland & Salinger (1995) pretends to offer some justification: “Of the seven sites, four (Masterton, Hokitika, Nelson (Appleby) and Lincoln) are at rural locations. The Wellington site is in the Botanical Gardens at the top of a hill in a very windy location, and the Auckland site is in the sewerage treatment plant on the edge of a harbour which is still not affected by Auckland urbanization. The present Dunedin site at Musselburgh… Read more »


Anthony Watts announcement that US stations temp trends are double what they should be could not be more timely for this case

Richard C (NZ)

And another way around. If a group in US is considering or even in the process of putting together a case or claim against NOAA, they have a model (NZCSET v NIWA irrespective of judgment) and now evidence (Watts, Jones, McIntyre and Christy 2012).

Even better if the claim is upheld in this (NIWA) case and the judgment is coincident with Watts et al 2012 surviving peer-review and released for publication.

Mike Jowsey

Link to Anthony’s press release:

This is big. Jo Nova’s take on it is here:

And I agree Richard C – the NIWA case must reverberate whatever the outcome.

Richard C (NZ)
Alexander K

I am more than ever convinced that Anthony Watts knew intuitively that he was onto something when he made the discovery (as a student) that using a non-standard type of white paint on the exterior of Stevenson screens can have an effect on the performance of the enclosure’s thermometer/s.
Instrumentation and siting standards are a bigger factor than many want to recognise, and the wrong methodology for re-writing historical temperature profiles are beginning to be seen for what they are: another method used by those with a warmist agenda to keep a thumb on the scales.

Richard C (NZ)

Dellingpole:- There is, of course, one very, very sad aspect to this story – and truly it pains me to mention it but journalistic duty compels me to do so – and that’s the dampening effect it may have on the grandstanding of a hapless fellow by the name of Professor Richard Muller. Poor Professor Muller has been telling anyone who’ll listen – his amen corner in greeny-lefty MSM, mainly – that as a former “skeptic” he has now been forced by weight of evidence to conclude that global warming is definitely man-made and there has been lots of it (a whole 1.5 degrees C – Wow! that’s like almost as much as you’d get if you drove from London to Manchester!!!) since 1750. Tragically – as Watts has very reluctantly and by-no-means-experiencing-any-kind-of-Schadenfreude had to point out is that the data used by Muller to draw these conclusions was unreliable to the point of utter uselessness. So, in the spirit of magnanimity in total crushing victory I would urge readers of this blog not to crow too much about the devastating blow Watts’s findings will have on the Guardian’s battalion of environment correspondents,… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

Watts in response to Thorne from NCDC:- Andrew Revkin asked me to provide comments on this article of his where the National Climatic Data Center was asked to respond to Watts et al 2012: A Closer Look at Climate Studies Promoted Before Publication Here is what I sent to him: My comments on Thorne’s response are pretty simple. They still refuse to get out of the office, to examine firsthand the condition of the network and try to come up with hands on approaches for dealing with station inhomogeneity, but instead focus of trying to spot patterns in data and massage it. In my view this is the wrong approach and the reason that we are in this polarization today. We are conducting a grand experiment, and like any scientific experiment, you have to carefully watch how the data is being measured in the experiment environment, or problems will invalidate the measurement. If Climate Science operated under the same rules as Forensic Science, the compromised data would be tossed out on its ear. Instead, we are told to accept it as fully factual in the court of public opinion. Continues>>>>>>>>> Revkin:- Given… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

Can’t help noting the sheer vindictive asininity of Rob Taylor’s view (and Thomas) versus a rather more rational Joanne Nova. Nova:- This is a paper that will be quoted and requoted. It’s five years worth of work, unpaid, done late at night, entirely redone in the last year. We all owe Anthony Watts and Evan Jones, plus Steve McIntyre and John Christie, plus many others (like all the volunteers who did site-surveys) more than a huge thank you. Watts has taken on giant institutes like NOAA, GISS, Hadley, East Anglia, they with billions at their disposal – and he’s won. Sure, this won’t be the last word on it, but where are the real climate scientists who say enough is enough and they want junk thermometer records deleted from “high quality” compilations and they want adjustments for artificial warming to cool the result, not exacerbate the error? Versus Taylor in response to a question to Thomas from Andy:- andyS August 1, 2012 at 9:07 am Why did you put quotes around Watt’s “paper” and not Muller’s? Rob Taylor August 1, 2012 at 9:29 am Perhaps, Andy, because Muller is a genuine scientist… Read more »


My responses are queued up in moderation, probably never to see the light of day.


No they are out now. I don’t really know how to respond to Bill’s comment that “followers” of Anthony Watt’s are now like creationists.

Finding errors in temperature data makes you a “creationist” .

I’m lost for words

Richard C (NZ)

Bill resorts to his usual non-related pseudo-intellectualism to evade the inconvenient details. “Epistemic Closure World” in this case, but curiously directed at Watts “followers”.

“epistemic closure” — an intellectual world in which the only trustworthy sources of information are those within your movement.

In reality, an apt self-description of Bill. He can’t entertain the notion that Anthony may actually have isolated a valid deficiency in the land-based measurement network because the source of the critique did not originate from an approved warmist enclave dedicated to “the cause”.

Richard C (NZ)

The re-direction being a peculiarly Leftist tactic from what I can gather but I don’t profess any real insight gained from that avenue of debate, just an observation on my part.

Epistemic closure seems to be an attempt to characterize US conservative right and Tea Party by lefty spinners:-

The Great Epistemic Closure Debate

Bill somehow manages to apply the characterization to scientific discourse by some vague logic and association beknownst only to him.

Andy, I admire your attempts to keep the discussion on the science and the process, yet what you’re getting back is stupendously ugly from an intellectual point of view.

They don’t have the audience we do, so there’s no cause for anxiety on that score, at least. I notice we’re up over 108,000 comments, but the count at HT is just over 33,000.

By that measure, we’ve garnered three times more public awareness than HT. Well done, everyone!

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