Quo vadis?

It was a great disappointment that Justice Venning was not prepared to declare NIWA’s data adjustments to be a breach of the Crown Research Institutes Act 1992.

On the law, the Judge found that any review should be “tolerant” and “cautious” because NIWA was “a specialist body acting within its own sphere of expertise.” He declined to rule on the disputed science – while tending to favour the 92-page opinion evidence provided by NIWA’s Dr Wratt (which was not subject to cross-examination).

Where does this now leave the NZCSC’s long-term effort to show that the NIWA temperature adjustments are wrong?

Following is a list of the “key facts” which underpinned the plaintiff’s case:

  1. The temperature data collected from weather stations throughout New Zealand show no or a minimal warming trend over the last century.
  2. The Seven Station Temperature Series (7SS) published by NIWA on its website as part of the New Zealand temperature record shows a warming trend of approximately 0.9°C per century during the period 1909-2008.
  3. The warming trend is the result of NIWA adjustments made to the pre-1945 raw temperature data to eliminate the effects of site changes. The adjustments involve the use of comparative data from neighbouring stations.
  4. The internationally-recognised statistical method for making neighbour-station-comparison adjustments was set out in a peer-reviewed paper authored by Drs Rhoades and Salinger published in the International Journal of Climatology in 1993 (RS93).
  5. Although the 7SS graph has appeared on NIWA’s website since 1999, all pre-2009 records of its composition and calculation have disappeared. Prompted by the NZCSC, NIWA reconstructed a Schedule of Adjustments in February 2010 and published a revised version in December 2010.
  6. The 7SS adjustments are not taken from RS93. The statistical comparison techniques are those set out in a PhD thesis completed by Dr Jim Salinger in 1981 (the Thesis). The calculations for the Thesis were lost in a 1983 computer mishap.
  7. No peer-reviewed literature supports the statistical comparison techniques used for the revised 7SS, and none is mentioned in the 170-page Review document. No reason was offered in the Review document, or the Wratt evidence or elsewhere for the departures from the world-practice RS93 method.
  8. If the data from the stations making up the 7SS were adjusted in accordance with RS93 the resulting warming trend would be materially different from that generated by the outdated Thesis method. According to the NZCSC ‘Audit’ paper a strict application of RS93 would produce a trend of only 0.34°C/century.
  9. NIWA is unperturbed that the 7SS adjustments show an unusual linear bias in a warming direction, or that their trends contradict earlier nationally-averaged studies. This is based on a theory that early weather stations migrated systematically from the centre of towns to the outskirts. (The maps in the 2010 ‘Review’ show otherwise).
  10. NIWA asserts that it is not required to justify its methods. It claims the exclusive and untrammelled right to select any statistical technique it thinks appropriate. However, it publicly undertook to have its methods tested by both a BoM review and the independent peer-review of a scientific journal. It has now elected to neither disclose nor rely upon BoM’s work and it has not submitted to a journal review.
  11. None of these statements were refuted in the Wratt evidence or even seriously questioned by defence counsel. None of them were found to be incorrect by the Court.

    There were also two other factual allegations worth mentioning which NIWA did dispute:

  12. Contrary to the authority of RS93 and Hessell (1980) both the original and revised versions of the 7SS use data which is, or might be, contaminated by shelter. This affects Auckland, Wellington, Lincoln and Nelson. NIWA accepts that contamination has probably occurred at Auckland and Lincoln, but has declined to exclude those stations from the 7SS.
  13. NIWA bases its decisions regarding the temperature record on both the 7SS and an Eleven-Station Series (11SS) constructed by Dr Salinger in 2009. The 11SS covers the period 1955-1984 but has been artificially extended back to 1931, in an apparent effort to maximise its warming trend. If this extension were omitted the series would show a trend of only 0.28°C/century (DW215). Despite significant site changes, the 11SS is unadjusted. The 11SS also ignores WMO tolerances for missing data, both monthly and annual.

The Court made no definitive decision on these two important allegations, considering them to be based on issues which were the subject of scientific dispute. I’ll deal with them in a separate article.

The inarguable position described in 1-8 above is wholly unsatisfactory. I still believe it is so extreme as to be illegal, and will be conferring with counsel regarding the prospects of an appeal against Justice Venning’s decision.

Even if the above key facts are not a breach of the law, they are certainly a breach of both scientific conventions and common sense. No policymaker should be asked to rely upon data which has been manipulated by unprecedented DIY techniques – especially when those methods have failed to pass peer review.

Both NIWA and BoM (at NIWA’s request) declined freedom-of-information requests for copies of the BoM report. Early last year, appeals were lodged to the respective authorities in New Zealand and Australia. NIWA advised the Ombudsman that the BoM report was relied upon for the litigation – and then advised the Court that it did not rely upon any aspect of the BoM review. We will pursue this.

Minister Wayne Mapp advised Parliament that a journal paper describing NIWA’s adjustment techniques would be submitted by June 2011. The Court was told that the paper was delayed because of the litigation. No new target date has been announced.

The Minister further undertook that statistical confidence levels for the adjustments used in the 7SS would be published. The review document confirms this work was under way in 2010, but the Wratt affidavit says the figures will not be released until the journal paper appears.

Guided by Network PR and a bevy of barristers, NIWA has so far proved remarkably adept at dodging the bullets their adjustments deserve. But well-honed skills in ducking and weaving do nothing to erase the widespread impression that these publicly-funded scientists are accountable to nobody!

Visits: 572

70 Thoughts on “Quo vadis?

  1. val majkus on 10/09/2012 at 5:47 pm said:

    I made this comment on Richard’s previous post regarding the result
    carrying on regarding the judgment
    (quoting from the judgment)
    [183] Finally, the plaintiff alleges that in deciding to publish the review without
    following recognised scientific opinion and without an independent peer review
    NIWA acted unreasonably. The plaintiff cannot make out this allegation. The
    review was in accordance with recognised scientific opinion. The review was peer

    Is it correct that the review was ‘peer reviewed’; I think there is mention of an internal review and a BOM letter of support but ‘peer review’ …. ?

    back to current post:

    So from what Barry is saying the Judge is wrong when he says ‘The review was peer

    There’s a footnote in the judgment (no 50 I think) that NIWA does not seek to rely upon BOM’s input but notwithstanding that the BOM letter (whatever it means and I think it’s been mischaracterised in the judgment) is in

    A party can’t both rely upon BOM’s letter and disregard it’s input (which seems to be what’s happened)

    • Barry B on 11/09/2012 at 12:02 am said:

      No, in my opinion NIWA can’t have their cake and eat it.

      The plaintiff gave notice that it needed to see the BoM peer review (which comprised about 30 pages sent to NIWA on 8 December 2010). NIWA refused to produce a copy and the Wratt affidavit stated unequivocally that NIWA would not rely upon it.

      That was the end of that. The entire hearing proceeded on the basis that the peer review did not exist.

      No other scientific opinion was offered regarding the statistical techniques of the 2010 Review.

    • val majkus on 11/09/2012 at 10:36 pm said:

      well then the Court was wrong in determining ‘that the review was peer reviewed’

      when a party refuses to produce relevant evidence then an adverse inference follows that the evidence would not have assisted the refusing party. I don’t see why that should not apply here in respect to the BOM review

  2. val majkus on 10/09/2012 at 6:28 pm said:

    another comment I’ve made on Richard’s previous post

    I’ve spent a portion of the afternoon trying to understand what His Honour was talking about when he said ‘In New Zealand Public Service Association Inc v Hamilton City Council Hammond J accepted that a less intensive review can be appropriate for a number of reasons.’
    In the NZCSC & NIWA case the Judge accepted that ‘A less intensive review is particularly apposite where the Court is not in a position to definitively adjudicate on scientific opinions.’

    There’s been in NZ a differing of legal and judicial opinion in relation to the Court’s supervisory jurisdiction through judicial review. Anxious scrutiny or ‘the hard look’ approach is the opposite to the standard of scrutiny His Honour applied in this case. The ‘less intensive review’ option was the option His Honour adopted in this case. There has been at least one NZ case I’ve found which does not accept this is the appropriate standard in all cases.

    for legal enthusiasts a bit of reading:
    http://www.vuw.ac.nz/staff/dean_knight/Knight_Standards2.pdf A Murky Methodology: Standards of Review in Administrative Law
    Dean R Knight*
    and Hard Look Review by Charlotte Mizcek Univ of Auckland 2006 http://www.freilaw.de/journal/de/ausgabe%202/2_Miczek%20-%20Hard%20Look%20Review.pdf

    The law is in a state of flux in NZ and seems to be discretionary on a case to case basis but there has been a 2010 refugee case in which the Court was prepared to look at a higher or closer to ‘hard look’ basis

    Carrying on from that comment the reason for the ‘hard look’ basis in the refugee case depended ‘on the number of people affected’

    So whether or not the Judge in this case applied the right test …. that’s a question

    • Barry B on 11/09/2012 at 12:14 am said:

      The Courts used to declare whether a decision was reviewable or not. Since the Privy Council decision in Mercury Energy v Electricity Corporation (1993), it has become commonplace to regard almost all decisions having “important public consequences” to be reviewable to some extent. The focus has shifted to the “intensity” of the review.

      This ranges from “a hard look” (usually when individual rights are in issue) at one end of the scale to a requirement for a “heightened Wednesbury test” at the other end. The latter applies only in the case of fraud, absurdity, or perversity which is manifest. NIWA submitted that this highest of tests should apply.

  3. Rob Taylor on 10/09/2012 at 8:13 pm said:

    Barry, which part of “prolix” and “dismissed” do you not understand?

    Essentially, the court denied you and your fellow amateurs credibility and standing, because you patently fail to understand the difference between mere fitting of so-called “facts” to your ideology, and the actual performance of scientific research

    For example, your point 1 above is a classic example of begging the question, and you follow it with a series of non-sequiturs, red herrings and straw men.

    Man up, take your humiliation on the chin and move on. Please stop wasting everyone’s time.

    Terminus est?

    • Andy on 10/09/2012 at 8:38 pm said:

      Rob, the name of this blog is “Climate Conversation”

      Not “Climate Shouting in Someone’s Face”

    • bill on 10/09/2012 at 10:56 pm said:

      [Sustained personal abuse with no merit removed. – RT]

    • Andy on 10/09/2012 at 11:12 pm said:

      It must be getting boring over at Hot Topic, the trolls public intellectuals have to come here now.
      I guess philosophical discussions about light bulbs aren’t that interesting really.
      [Andy, if they address the topic, I welcome anyone with a warm welcome, even a beer. It’s my (all-but-impossible) mission. Please don’t be tempted to bring those foreign epithets over here. – RT]

    • bill on 11/09/2012 at 10:46 am said:

      Considerably more merit than some legal cases it would appear, Dick. 😉

      Never mind; keep going, you’re actually winning!

    • Logan on 20/09/2012 at 11:29 pm said:

      You climate denialists need to get a life and move on. You also need to go to school and learn how to undertake a scientific assessment before you start slagging off real scientists (i.e. NIWA’s). Let them get on with their jobs.

      By the way, who funds you guys these days? Is it still the oil industry…

    • Ross on 10/09/2012 at 8:51 pm said:

      Rob ,
      I note that Barry Brill says that Dr Wratt did not refute points 1-10 in his evidence. Are you saying Dr Wratt is wrong and you are more qualified and informed so you can say he is wrong ??

    • Huub Bakker on 10/09/2012 at 9:56 pm said:

      The court placed much emphasis on the idea of being “qualified.” This is a red herring and is only used by those who cannot understand the issues being dealt with. Certainly in any scientific publication this term would be laughable; the issue is argued on facts and logic. You can argue that someone is wrong but not that they are unqualified.

      Far from being straw men, red herrings and non sequiturs, points 1 to 8 show a lack of scientific rigor and transparency; both are cornerstones of scientific endeavor. That the judge decided that the plaintiffs were unqualified is irrelevant to the scientific debate. Indeed that is, in effect, what the judge said, I’m not judging on the science. (Where have I heard that before?)

    • Bob D on 10/09/2012 at 10:24 pm said:

      Dr Wratt did in fact refute point 6. He claimed that the original 7SS was based on RS93, apparently because of a single comment in an internal Met Service report in 1992. It states that the Rhoades and Salinger 1992 (sic) method was used in the analysis of stations from 1920. Included in the stations examined were the 7SS stations. This was of course in the year prior to the publishing of RS93.

      However, no evidence was presented before the court to support this, beyond Wratt’s own opinion. In answer to several Parliamentary questions previously, only the 1981 Thesis was mentioned.

      Also, it should be noted that the original 7SS extended much further back than 1920 (to 1853), and he doesn’t explain where the pre-1920 adjustments (of which there are many) came from, if not from the Thesis.

    • Barry B on 10/09/2012 at 11:51 pm said:

      ” It states that the Rhoades and Salinger 1992 (sic) method was used in the analysis of stations from 1920″.

      You may recall, Bob, that the 1992 MetService report indicates that the analysis of 24 stations from 1920 relied upon techniques from BOTH RS92 (presumably a draft of RS93) AND the Salinger thesis.

      There is no way of knowing which of those methods prevailed, because the analysis itself was not produced and nobody knows what happened to it. In fact, there’s no evidence that analysis was ever compiled into a single document.

      Also, there is clear evidence that RS93 was amended in important respects on its journey through peer review. So any adjustment using the 1992 draft could not have been “based on RS93”.

    • Bob D on 11/09/2012 at 9:15 am said:

      Quite right, Barry. To summarise: we only have Dr Wratt’s word for it that a method similar in some way to RS93 was used, along with other methods, to determine station adjustments over a subset of the period of the 7SS. All evidence of these methods, the data used and the results have been lost.

  4. Australis on 11/09/2012 at 12:35 am said:

    I’ve just been to NIWA’s website http://www.niwa.co.nz/our-science/climate/information-and-resources/nz-temp-record/seven-station-series-temperature-data. It says:
    “Scientific references about the temperature series adjustment process, and the internationally accepted best practice approaches to adjusting raw climate data to accurately calculate temperature trends, can be found here.”

    Following the link leads to a page which says “The methodology for adjusting for site changes in the NZ temperature record was … Rhoades & Salinger 1993”.

    Surely this means NIWA strongly believes RS93 is the only way to go? Yet Barry says in [6] that the 7SS adjustments came from somewhere else.

    Something doesn’t add up.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 11/09/2012 at 3:24 am said:

      “Something doesn’t add up.”

      NIWA’s complaint was that NZCSET’s application of R&S93 was “too rigourous”.

      As I’ve said elsewhere, this is an implicit admission that the NZCSET 7SS is more rigourous than the NIWA 7SS. So it’s a matter of R&S93 interpretation; NIWA prefers a loose interpretation to accommodate their resulting 0.91 C/century linear trend because they cannot live with a rigourous one that produces 0.34 C/century. The latter is just not an option to support their political position.

      It all adds up Australis.

      And as I’ve said elsewhere also, now the NZ public has a choice – rigourous, or less rigourous.


    • Richard C (NZ) on 11/09/2012 at 3:35 am said:

      Should be – “NIWA prefers a loose interpretation [to the extent of not actually conforming to R&S93, hence Barry’s “elsewhere”]

  5. Doug Proctor on 11/09/2012 at 3:09 am said:

    The lack of insider comment from NIWA and BOM intrigue me. Does no one there have a serious disagreement with how the NIWA studies were structurally created, politically presented and technically – not legally – defensible?

    Quo vadis is good, but qui bene? might be more revealing. Silence is often more useful than public support, but silence can also be due to the fear of repercussions. So when we look at who benefits from the current NIWA position, we have to consider who benefits from keeping his tongue about his personal position on the subjects. This is especially true of the BOM involvement.

    In this day and age I thought a report such as BOM’s would be impossible to keep quiet. It must have been completed at a high level with a minimum of authors, and provided by hand-delivery from Australia to New Zealand. Electronic versions must be behind firewalls of Langely invenstion.

    So, qui bene? by silence, if not by action.

  6. Richard C (NZ) on 11/09/2012 at 11:20 am said:

    7. No peer-reviewed literature supports the statistical comparison techniques used for the revised 7SS, and none is mentioned in the 170-page Review document.

    At this juncture, that leaves the NZCSET 7SS to be the valid series scientifically (where NIWA supporters say the contest should be).

    In [143] J Venning did’nt even acknowledge the existence and work of the 3 professional statistical reviewers of the Statistical Audit.

    Worse, he accepted the expertise (by virtue of the decision) of ONE CLIMATE SCIENTIST (Dr Mullen) for a statistical opinion in [144] when he should have relied on the expertise of THREE PROFESSIONAL STATISTICIANS.

    IMO there’s been a miscarriage of justice (a failure of a court or judicial system to attain the ends of justice) in this case so far on a number of counts and this is a major one.

    • Rob Taylor on 11/09/2012 at 12:07 pm said:

      OK, Richard, so you’ll be donating to the Climate Cranks Appeal Fund, then?

      Go on, put your money where your mouth is.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 11/09/2012 at 12:24 pm said:

      I notice Rob, that you don’t actually address the issues raised.

      Too hard?

    • Rob Taylor on 11/09/2012 at 9:06 pm said:

      No, too easy: a bunch of cranks tried to smear NIWA and failed, destroying their own credibility in the process.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 12/09/2012 at 9:59 am said:

      “too easy” and yet you STILL EVADE THE ISSUES Rob.

      Isn’t it really that you’ve just got no answers?

      That’s how it is so far isn’t it.

  7. Simon on 11/09/2012 at 1:56 pm said:

    If suitable station adjustments can’t be agreed on, there is always the BEST temperature series for NZ (+1.09°C/century ± 0.39°C) which stratified, kriged, and then weighted the unadjusted station data using no a priori knowledge.

    • Bob D on 11/09/2012 at 2:42 pm said:


      If suitable station adjustments can’t be agreed on, there is always the BEST temperature series for NZ (+1.09°C/century ± 0.39°C)

      This is an excellent example of cherry-picking data to suit a person’s position. The BEST trend you quote is the 1960-2011 result.

      The trend for 1910-2011 (which is the correct one to look at when comparing with the 7SS, which runs from 1909-2009) is 0.68±0.17°C/century.

      This is halfway between the NZCSC and the NIWA trends, and implies (if you believe BEST, which I don’t) that the NIWA result is too high.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 11/09/2012 at 3:01 pm said:

      That’s a Gotcha! if ever there was one.

    • Simon on 11/09/2012 at 3:45 pm said:

      The BEST position would be a good compromise then, except…..
      The increasing trend in temperature appears to be accelerating (if you believe BEST which you don’t).

    • Bob D on 11/09/2012 at 3:46 pm said:

      Which is one of the reasons I don’t believe it. HadCRUT3 decelerated markedly, to the point that the last 15 years shows no positive trend at all.

    • Andy on 11/09/2012 at 3:55 pm said:

      I thought the 3.21 degrees per Century since 1990 looked a bit odd.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 11/09/2012 at 4:05 pm said:

      Simon you’re forgetting (or never knew) that there’s been natural variability (a climate shift) attributed to the period you consider that appears in IPCC AR4. If you trace the references back from there (Australia and New Zealand section) you end up at the Salinger and Mullen paper that concludes it (can’t remember the year offhand but I could dig it out).

    • Richard C (NZ) on 11/09/2012 at 4:09 pm said:

      “HadCRUT3 decelerated markedly”

      Because HadSST2 decelerated markedly i.e. it’s SST that matters over a surface dominated by ocean.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 11/09/2012 at 3:58 pm said:

      BEST has the 1840 mean at 10.5 C from ONE station.

      So the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi must have been about 1 C cooler than the equivalent time today at Waitangi. Unless of course, that one station was in the South Island a long way from Waitangi.

      Can we extract from BEST where that one station was?

    • Andy on 11/09/2012 at 4:06 pm said:

      I think this is the problem with BEST. It is a black box algorithm that spits out a number at the end.

      What you’d need to do is get the data and the algorithm and select and de-select various data points to see if parts of it are skewing the data.

    • Andy on 11/09/2012 at 4:15 pm said:

      BEST also claims 32 stations were used in the analysis.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 11/09/2012 at 4:20 pm said:

      But only one station in 1840, see this ‘Stations Used in Average’


      We might be able to search 1840 in CliFlo to turn up the station. I have to go work now so can’t do it until tomorrow unfortunately.

    • Andy on 11/09/2012 at 4:22 pm said:

      It’s the post 1990 figure that puzzles me. How the hell did they get 3 degrees per century?

    • Andy on 11/09/2012 at 4:59 pm said:

      Actually, looking at the graph, I can see why we get 3 degrees per Century post 1990.
      This date has a big dip in the cycle and therefore there is the cyclical variability that gives the spurious result

    • Richard C (NZ) on 12/09/2012 at 11:26 am said:

      CliFlo search 1840 – 1845 only turns up one station:-

      Reefton Ews 3925 F21182 -42.117 171.860 198 G NIWA / WEST COAST RURAL FIRE DIS


      Not sure that I’m doing the search correctly, I find CliFlo a bit tricky to be honest. Someone (Bob?) please check this.

      Now if BEST really does use Reefton as the sole representative station for New Zealand 1840 -1845 (at least), what does that say about this plot of NZ long-term temperature?:-


      Taken from BEST page ‘Regional Climate Change: New Zealand’


      Apparently, typical temperatures around the time of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi were those of Reefton (if that’s actually what BEST uses) in the top half of the South Island on the West Coast a little inland.

      Why isn’t Reefton used for the entire NZ series?

      What is the long-term trend at Reefton? (back to CliFlo – sigh).

    • Richard C (NZ) on 12/09/2012 at 12:28 pm said:

      “Why isn’t Reefton used for the entire NZ series?”

      This is hilarious, I’ve plotted Reefton Ews 3925 1840 -1974 (the end of the data) and it’s a sinusoidal cycle with nearly 3 phases with little discernible trend by eye.

      “What is the long-term trend at Reefton?”

      Unfortunately I’ve lost my Data Analysis Pak and can’t apply a trend at the moment but if someone can plot the data out and slap a trend on, the data and chart so far is here (for some reason I can’t copy the direct link):-



    • Richard C (NZ) on 12/09/2012 at 12:37 pm said:

      Here’s the direct link to the Reefton Excel file:-


      Managed to copy it using Ctrl C.

      And the original CliFlo download Excel file:-


    • Richard C (NZ) on 12/09/2012 at 12:47 pm said:

      Message to those taking the Google Reader feed – I’ve added this to the previous comment but it doesn’t come up in Reader (wrt Reefton EWS 3925 1840 -1974):-

      And the original CliFlo download Excel file:-


    • Bob D on 12/09/2012 at 1:14 pm said:

      Richard C: I think you have the wrong station, Reefton EWS only runs from 1960.

    • Bob D on 12/09/2012 at 1:25 pm said:

      The oldest station I can find in CliFlo that has temperature data is Albert Park (1853).

    • Richard C (NZ) on 12/09/2012 at 2:03 pm said:

      “Richard C: I think you have the wrong station”

      Yes Bob, I’ve stuffed it up completely. I do have a great deal of trouble with CliFlo when I just go in once in a while. That Reefton line at the top of the Query result must just be an example of station information (Duh!), The Reefton data only starts 1972 (explains the cycles). I can’t bring up Albert Park using 1850 – 1855 so I’ll defer to your CliFlo skills (mine have deserted me).

      So if Albert Park (1853) is the oldest station in CliFlo, what did BEST use prior to that back to 1840?

    • Richard C (NZ) on 12/09/2012 at 3:13 pm said:

      Bob what am I doing wrong in the CliFlo Query? I just cannot get a station list using a Lat/Lon search.

      The parameters I’m using:-

      Datatype: Hly AirT, 3Hly AirT, 9am AirT (OR)

      Location: Lat 41.28, Lon 174.77 (Wellington) Radius 1000 km, (Station status: All)

      Date/time: 1840 01 01 01, 1855 01 01 01


      Clicking ‘choose station(s)’ takes me to ‘Find Stations’ but when I click on ‘Get Station List’ using the OR datatype option and the above parameters I get nothing except this message:-

      “No climate stations were found matching your search criteria i.e. the datatype combination and and the station naming/region combination”

      But you get Albert Park. How?

    • Bob D on 12/09/2012 at 3:56 pm said:

      I think it’s designed to choose a datatype, then stations, then years, rather than to search through the stations for a year. I just chose the All stations option using the wildcard (%) and chose the Excel option rather than HTML. Once in Excel I ordered by Start Date.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 12/09/2012 at 5:45 pm said:

      “I just chose the All stations option using the wildcard (%)”

      Where are you actually entering the % wildcard Bob?

      In ‘Find station using’ Station Status the options are “All”, “Open stations” and “Closed stations”. There’s no opportunity to enter “%”. Or are you saying select the “All” option and this will act as a % wildcard i.e. you haven’t actually entered “%” anywhere. I have selected the “All” option and got nothing so far.

      I just cannot get anything out using the Lat/Lon search let alone order it using the Excel file output format option.

      We still don’t know what station BEST used for 1840 – 1845 or even up to 1853ish when the series jumps to 2 sites (Wow!) “Within region”.

    • Bob D on 12/09/2012 at 6:08 pm said:

      Richard C:

      Where are you actually entering the % wildcard Bob?
      In ‘Find station using’ Station Status the options are “All”, “Open stations” and “Closed stations”. There’s no opportunity to enter “%”.

      You have to select the “Station Name” radio button first, then enter the % in the text box. Ignore everything else except the very bottom combobox (“File download option:”), where you choose “Excel File”.

      Then when you click the “Get Station List” button you’ll end up with a new spreadsheet containing all the stations across NZ for all years.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 12/09/2012 at 7:30 pm said:

      Progress Bob. I’ve got a table out but the earliest record sorted by start date is 1921. The first 3 records out of 1163 are:-

      6062 J78000 31-Jul-21 30-Jan-01 70 Tonga, Vava’U
      6086 J82200 13-Jan-27 20-Jun-00 90 Niue, Alofi
      3385 E14272 2-Dec-27 10-Jan-06 50 Wellington,Kelburn

      Moving down the query,

      1. Datatype: I’ve checked the 3 Air T options for ‘Screen Obs Datatype’.

      2. Location: clicking ‘choose station(s)’ I’ve selected OR for datatype then for ‘Find stations using’ I’ve selected ‘Station Name’ and entered “%”.

      Then I’ve ignored the Lat/Lon criteria and selected ‘File download option:’ “Excel File”.

      I’ve then clicked ‘Get Station List’ and received the file. This search overrides and ignores anything entered in 3.Date/time on the Database Query Form because I had Start Date “1840” entered there but there’s nothing from the 1800s in my file.

      Albert Park in my search only starts 31-Dec-70.

      Any more clues Bob? Thanks for your tutoring BTW.

    • Bob D on 12/09/2012 at 8:02 pm said:

      Richard C:
      Try datatype 02 (Mean Air Temperature). For example, choose “Combined Statistics Calculated from Observations”, then “Monthly & Annual Statistics”, then “Mean Temperature” and select “Mean air temperature (°C)” which should be (02).

    • Richard C (NZ) on 12/09/2012 at 8:39 pm said:

      Bob you’re a star, I’d forgotten that 02 was the appropriate datatype and didn’t bother to check out those alternatives. Thank you.

      I got a file that I can’t sort ascending with any success so I tried descending and got the 1800 era stations here:-

      5446 I58061 01-Sep-1871 31-Jul-12 60 Queenstown
      5378 I50855 01-Oct-1862 30-Apr-1886 100 Dunedin,Roslyn
      3390 E14277 01-Nov-1869 31-May-06 100 Wellington, Bolton St Cemetery
      3389 E14276 01-Nov-1868 31-Oct-1869 100 Wellington, Bowen St
      22645 I50850 01-Nov-1852 31-Jul-1864 100 Dunedin, Princes Street
      1565 B75571 01-May-1888 31-Oct-99 80 Te Aroha
      5380 I50857 01-May-1886 31-Jan-13 100 Dunedin, Leith Valley
      5092 H41421 01-May-1885 30-Nov-85 80 Timaru Gardens
      5276 I50101 01-Mar-1897 31-Dec-22 100 Ranfurly,Eweburn
      3907 F20791 01-Mar-1866 31-Jan-46 80 Hokitika Town
      3383 E14270 01-Mar-1862 31-Oct-1868 90 Wellington, Knowles Observatory
      4638 H31061 01-Jun-1867 30-Jun-1880 90 Bealey
      1427 A64871 01-Jun-1853 31-Dec-89 100 Auckland, Albert Park
      3277 E05622 01-Jul-1895 31-Jan-91 70 Levin M.A.F.
      4244 G13231 01-Jul-1862 31-Dec-51 70 Nelson
      6593 V88141 01-Jan-1884 30-Nov-86 100 Suva/Govt. House
      4881 H32641 01-Jan-1881 31-Dec-87 100 Lincoln
      6175 K98400 01-Jan-1878 31-Dec-58 70 Chatham I Po Radio
      2997 D96591 01-Jan-1870 31-Jul-12 80 Napier Nelson Pk
      2276 C94001 01-Jan-1864 31-Dec-73 80 New Plymouth
      4858 H32561 01-Dec-1863 31-Jul-12 80 Christchurch Gardens

      The earliest station is:-

      22645 I50850 01-Nov-1852 31-Jul-1864 100 Dunedin, Princes Street

      That was my recollection and why I wondered about what BEST used for 1840. My contention is that if BEST used a lower SI station such as Dunedin as the sole data for 1840 – 1853 it would skew the early NZ linear trend way down but this CliFlo query result doesn’t clear anything up for me unfortunately, just get’s me suspicious.

    • Andy on 12/09/2012 at 8:51 pm said:

      Why don’t we contact Richard Muller and ask him who processed the NZ data? This might cut to the chase a bit quicker

      I might get around to this later this week, if no one else volunteers first

    • Richard C (NZ) on 12/09/2012 at 9:17 pm said:

      On the right hand side of the BEST NZ page I see this:-

      Temperature Stations in Region
      Active Stations: 32
      Former Stations: 16
      Monthly Mean Observations: 22,956
      Earliest Observation: June 1853

      Within 500 km of Region
      Active Stations: 50
      Former Stations: 44
      Monthly Mean Observations: 40,860
      Earliest Observation: June 1853

      “June 1853” is Albert Park but CliFlo has Nov 1852 Dunedin, Princes Street as being earliest but that’s not the issue. The above indicates to me that the single station used prior to June 1853 was at least 500 km away from the “Region”. Not sure what defines the region but they give land area stats on the same page.


      So is the “Region” a minor land mass criteria including say Chatham Is, Auckland Is etc or is it confined to the 3 major land masses? If the latter, Chatham Is would be the only candidate wouldn’t it (how far from SI to Chatham Is?)?

      Andy, I’ll volunteer you to contact Richard Muller (good idea) seeing you suggested it. Also I get the impression you’ve got some handy knowledge of the BEST methodology that I certainly don’t have. Simon seems to have a handle too but I doubt whether he’d be willing (are you Simon?).

    • Richard C (NZ) on 12/09/2012 at 10:01 pm said:

      Here we go. New Zealand is apparently part of the Oceania “Region”.

      Regional Climate Change: Oceania page:-


      Huge area, includes Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea, Pacific Islands etc.

      Temperature Stations in Region
      Active Stations: 749
      Former Stations: 944
      Monthly Mean Observations: 632,338
      Earliest Observation: January 1841

      Within 500 km of Region
      Active Stations: 900
      Former Stations: 1,166
      Monthly Mean Observations: 755,011
      Earliest Observation: January 1841

      That explains the 1841 “New Zealand” station but curious that it comes from OUTSIDE the Region (unless that duplication is purely coincidence and I bet it isn’t). So that sole 1841 “New Zealand” station is sited somewhere in the 500 km periphery of the Oceania Region.

      If I’ve got this right, the early part of the BEST New Zealand series (and trend) is bogus IMO, at least not compatible with later stations on the New Zealand mainland anyway. I’ve spread the joy to BEST fans in comments under the NZ Herald de Freitas article, let them pull my reasoning apart – if they can.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 12/09/2012 at 10:29 pm said:

      I’ve got the logic wrong, the station is sited within the Oceania Region because extending the Region 500 km still turns up the same station, it’s just that it’s NOT in New Zealand.

      Prior night shifts and not enough sleep make for woolly thinking I’m afraid.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 13/09/2012 at 8:25 am said:

      The average temperature of Dunedin Leith Valley 1887 -1908 from NIWA’s CliFlo database is 12.5 C but NZ BEST temperatures for that era are in the order of 10.5 -11 C:-


      BEST is a huge 1.5 – 2 C cooler and raises important questions about the validity of the early period of the BEST NZ series.

      This thread should really end here and be continued under “Court no substitute for science”

  8. Pingback: New Courtroom Strategy for Climate Data Kiwigate Skeptics | johnosullivan

    • Richard C (NZ) on 12/09/2012 at 12:56 pm said:

      From John OSullivan’s ‘New Courtroom Strategy for Kiwigate Climate Data Skeptics’ article:-

      But until such time as the Evidence Act (2006) is beefed up, for the time being skeptics will be well advised to seek to apply the ‘Trompert Principle’ which has been re-affirmed by the Court of Appeal since the enactment of NZBORA. Applying Trompert the Court of Appeal endorsed Adams J statement of the law in Purdie v Maxwell which extended to an accused’s failure to give by his own evidence “or otherwise” an explanation that might be expected of an innocent person.” [2.] While in R v Butler it was noted that the law “certainly allows an inference adverse to an accused to be drawn if he remains silent at a trial in the face of evidence pointing to his guilt.” [3.]


  9. Australis on 12/09/2012 at 2:04 pm said:

    I’ve now looked up the NIWA station reports and overview for its 7SS of 2010:

    Under the Auckland station, it says (page 17) that all the NIWA adjustments were based on Salinger’s Thesis (that would be up to 1975) then extended using RS93 methods. ie NIWA has ALWAYS used RS93 since it first became available.

    It says “this document revisits and describes in greater detail the process .. for Auckland.” There is certainly no suggestion here that any new methodology is to be used. At the end of the chapter, readers are referred to RS93 for “further technical detail on different approaches to homogeneity adjustments.”

    All the other stations have exactly the same wording. Nowhere does this 175-page document say that NIWA has decided to stop using RS93.

    As I mentioned above, NIWA’s current website offers only one authority for NZ adjustments – RS93.

    I think the judge got it wrong in saying that NIWA didn’t use RS93 for the Review.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 12/09/2012 at 3:59 pm said:

      Is that in reference to the pre-Review 7SS or Review 7SS Australis? It’s probably pre-Review because the judgment states as follows saying in [147] that NIWA used R&S in the pre-Review series but not in the Review series:-

      [143] The Coalition produced a critique of the review accompanied by its own audit. The audit purported to apply the statistical techniques used in RS93 while leaving the remainder of NIWA’s methodology unchanged.

      [144] In response to the critique Dr Mullan recalculated most of the sites changed temperature adjustments applying the RS93 methodology. He concluded that the Coalition had incorrectly calculated the adjustments and if the RS93 methodology was applied correctly it resulted in adjustments close to those calculated in the review using the alternative method that NIWA had employed.

      Leaving aside the obvious questions (and grounds for appeal) over the Mullen recalculation, the post-Review “alternative method” (Barry’s “elsewhere”) is as per [147] where NIWA says it did NOT apply RS93 according to the Judge:-

      [147] NIWA accepts it did not apply the RS93 methodology to the review. It deliberately did not do so, as it had applied that methodology to the initial 7SS. As discussed, NIWA considers that RS93 is not the only authority for internationally accepted temperature data series homogenisation. For periods when there is not an overlap between observations at the initial site and the new site most methodologies depend on comparisons with other stations. While the RS93 methodology is one of the means to provide those comparisons, the methodology used in NIWA’s review is another.

      What then, is “the methodology used in NIWA’s review is another” that the Judge says NIWA used (Barry’s “elsewhere”)? The Judge does not offer that information (why not?). It is NOT R&S93 according to the Judge. Without that citation the NIWA post-Review 7SS has no scientific basis from literature and neither does the Judge have a basis from scientific literature for his statement “the methodology used in NIWA’s review is another”. At this point, without that citation the methodology is merely an undefined, internal, subjective, NIWA method loosely based on a clutch of undisclosed methods,

      The Judge is correct in that NIWA’s method is “another” method but that is a wholly insufficient search for truth (the Judges task) if the actual basis of that methodology is not presented by him in his Judgment.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 12/09/2012 at 4:14 pm said:

      “…the post-Review “alternative method” (Barry’s “elsewhere”)” should just read:-

      “…the Review “alternative method” (Barry’s “elsewhere”)”

      Dang, upset my carefully crafted critique by using the pre-Review tag initially.

  10. Roger Dewhurst on 12/09/2012 at 4:31 pm said:

    Why was Wratt let off cross examination?

    • Rob Taylor on 12/09/2012 at 9:03 pm said:

      Because, Roger, the plaintiff’s were not able to show there was any case to answer.

  11. val majkus on 12/09/2012 at 5:19 pm said:

    Is it possible now to see NIWA’s Affidavits and list of exhibits
    I’ve checked at NIWA’s and NZCSC’s sites but although NZCSC has its affidavits and list of exhibits up I can’t find NIWA’s

    • Val, they don’t exist as electronic files. Someone has to scan them. I have purchased access but haven’t taken advantage yet. One must attend at the Registrar’s office where they put you in a corner with a pile of paper and a photocopier. So far I’ve always had slightly better things to be doing…

    • Val,
      Great point – this has made it difficult for me to perform my own critical analysis because without sight of what NIWA asserts in their submissions, comparing that with Venning’s analysis, we are at a disadvantage.
      I would be most grateful if someone posted this online for public examination.

  12. val majkus on 12/09/2012 at 5:33 pm said:

    while looking around the NZCSC site I followed this link http://www.forbes.com/sites/larrybell/2012/09/09/a-cool-headed-climate-conversation-with-aerospace-legend-burt-rutan/
    Mr Rutan has no climate credentials but became interested in the global warming debate but has considerable expertise in processing and presenting data. Data can be processed to present differing views. Mr Rutan says “So when I decided to look closely at the anthropogenic [man-made] global warming crisis claims, I avoided focusing on media reports, and instead, went directly to available raw climate data. The intent was to see if that data might just as reasonably be interpreted differently.

    Then, what really drew me into the subject, was when I found that I couldn’t obtain the raw data that I was looking for. I was shocked to find that there were actually climate scientists who wouldn’t share the raw data, but would only share their conclusions in summary graphs that were used to prove their various theories about planet warming.’
    Sound familiar?
    He has a website which is linked to the article but I couldn’t find there any of the data and charts to which the article refers, others more scientific than I am might find them

  13. Pingback: NZ Herald’s turn to offer propaganda as opinion – De Freitas’ links to cranks hidden from readers

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