Epic fail, NIWA! Your methods are a global secret

John Morgan in less-than-dapper mode

CEO can’t produce a single scientific reference

NIWA methodology unrecognised, never published

Regular readers appreciate that one of this blog’s principal concerns is NIWA’s failure to disclose the methods it has used to adjust the raw readings behind the national temperature record—the so-called 7SS or “seven-station” series.

NIWA has persistently claimed that its adjustment methods are recognised internationally, but failed at the High Court hearing in July last year to supply evidence of international approval; the court heard only assertions from NIWA itself, which, though empty, seemed oddly to convince Mr Justice Venning of their legitimacy. Now those mendacious claims are catching up with NIWA’s CEO, John Morgan—but I get ahead of myself.

First, for the serially dishonest critics of our persistence on this topic, let me explain (yet again) that we have never disagreed with the occasional need for adjustments, we merely wish to know how NIWA makes them. After all these years, after questions in the Parliament, a court case and an aborted appeal, newspaper and blog articles, radio reports and private emails, NIWA scientists have still not told us how they make the adjustments.

Why are we concerned? Two reasons: 1) scientific convention everywhere expects full publication of one’s experiments, methods and data to allow replication by anyone interested, so finding out what was done is usually a mundane request, easily answered because there’s no reason for secrecy. 2) NIWA’s secret methodology grossly overstates the country’s warming as 0.91°C per century—using data from seven long-term weather stations, it increased every one of them—an incredible failure of chance alone.

Whopping temperature rise

According to the Coalition’s 2011 audit of NIWA’s 2010 review of the national temperature record, raw readings taken directly from the thermometers over 100 years show an insignificant rising trend of 0.23°C per century. Adjustments according to Rhoades and Salinger (1993) (RS93) produce a trend of 0.34°C per century. However, NIWA’s adjustments overstate that trend by 168%, declaring that average NZ temperatures have risen a whopping 0.91°C per century.

NIWA claims its methodology is internationally approved but has never described it or released any details. We find this behaviour inappropriate for a scientific organisation, even if it weren’t funded by public money, as NIWA, of course, is.

NIWA has bluntly refused requests from the Coalition’s scientists for data and methods since the 1990s without offering reasons. They had the gall to claim they had given us what we asked for (why were we asking again?), so we asked for the emails they referred to; they refused; we found them ourselves and debunked their lies.

Then they gave us false citations. For example, NIWA claimed their method was fully described in Salinger’s 1981 student thesis. Follow that, you idle ones, they cried, you’ll have all you need to work out the adjustments for yourself. We discovered the thesis was unpublished, though a single hand-bound copy was locked in the “Closed Reserve Collection” of the VUW library in Wellington, available for six hours per week day and not to be borrowed. When, after many weeks, through contacts unavailable to ordinary citizens, we gained academic access to it and studied it over yet more weeks we found it described no method, it is internally inconsistent and chops and changes on a whim.

Mendacious diversion

It’s impossible to know what the thesis means. The whole exercise was a mendacious diversion of no substance. Unpublished, the thesis is not even scientific literature — yet NIWA claims it’s internationally accepted! That is incredible.

Until we know their calculations our scientists cannot judge the results — good or bad, right or wrong — nobody can, can they? Given NIWA’s history of secrecy and obfuscation in their relationship with the Coalition, why should we accept their results without examination?

NIWA’s CEO, John Morgan, is a dapper, charming fellow whom I met during the hearing last year. He was kind enough to let me read his notes when I found his counsel’s voice hard to hear. I recently asked him to justify his October statement in the NZ Herald by sending me a copy of the scientific literature which allegedly approves of NIWA’s measurement technique. His answer has angered me.

“Internationally accepted” but not one citation? Hah!

John Morgan was quoted in the Herald as saying:

Niwa chief executive John Morgan said he was pleased but not surprised by the outcome. “We never doubted the excellence and integrity of our science and our scientists,” he said. “The methodology applied by Niwa was in accordance with internationally recognised … methodology.”

What does “in accordance” mean? Almost, but not quite? Nearly there? Means well? Honest intentions? Anything but accurate?

Give us a citation! Tell us precisely, please, who “recognises” the scientists’ methodology and where they are.

So what was his reply to me? Here it is in full:

In making my statement I was referencing the judgment of Justice Venning in his 2012 High Court decision where he said in relation to the Review:

“the methodology applied by NIWA was in accordance with internationally recognised and credible scientific methodology [para 182].”

The judgment is available here: http://www.nzlii.org/nz/cases/NZHC/2012/2297.html

As you are aware, Justice Venning considered evidence from a number of experts in climate science in reaching his decision that the Review was in accordance with recognised scientific opinion.

As these matters have now all been thoroughly canvassed before the Court and are matters of expert scientific opinion, they are not the correct subject matter for further requests under the Official Information Act. Your request for further scientific literature or documents may be better directed to those international scientific sources or authorities which you believe may support your views.

In checking Venning J’s judgment I found he did say the words John cites and it was in paragraph 182.

On the evidence? What evidence?

Now, gentle reader, please note the whole sentence:

On the evidence I am satisfied that the methodology applied by NIWA was in accordance with internationally recognised and credible scientific methodology”

emphasis added.

So what was the evidence that so satisfied this judge? It turns out to be mere assertions by our publicly-owned science organisation. No evidence was offered for the use or approval of either Salinger’s thesis or RS93, no evidence described NIWA’s methods; nor, perhaps most surprisingly (considering the implications for Morgan’s “reference”), did the judge evaluate any scientific statements or assertions. Why ever not? He explains it clearly several times (still, John missed them all). For example, in the following statements [referenced by paragraph number], he first acknowledges NIWA’s refusal to abide by scientific methods:

[44] “NIWA does not accept there is any such obligation [to follow] recognised scientific opinion [as in] established scientific opinions and methods described in internationally recognised research journals.”

Odd, really, for scientists to so emphatically disavow aspirations to good quality work, but it surely shows where their heart lies. Then the judge denies his own evaluation of scientific statements, specifying instead that he accepts statements given in evidence and does not adjudicate on mutually opposed assertions:

[44] “…the Court is not in a position to definitively adjudicate on scientific opinions.”

Note the importance of this and similar declarative comments in the context of Mr Morgan’s claim that the judge corroborates NIWA’s scientific methodology. It’s a ridiculous claim, renounced by the judge in the very document Morgan cites. Try again, John, we’re waiting.

The judge sets out the conservative case for staying with the status quo (and it’s a sensible argument):

[45] “I consider this Court should be cautious about interfering with decisions made and conclusions drawn by a specialist body, such as NIWA, acting within its own sphere of expertise. In such circumstances a less intensive or, to put it another way, a more tolerant review is appropriate.”

[48] “I consider that unless the Trust can point to some defect in NIWA’s decision-making process or show that the decision was clearly wrong in principle or in law, this Court will not intervene. This Court should not seek to determine or resolve scientific questions demanding the evaluation of contentious expert opinion.”

That’s clear enough; do you understand, Mr Morgan, that even if you thought he might have confirmed it, the judge tells us plainly that he could not, did not and never would confirm the international recognition of your scientists’ methodology. He simply reiterated what you yourself told him. The reference is defective by reason of being circular and you cannot use it. Kindly provide a proper reference. Your scientists claim international recognition for their methods; make them tell you where it’s recognised, because they are refusing to tell us and covering their refusal with obfuscation—or are you conniving with them on that?

[57] “Dr Salinger published sections of his thesis results in a number of international journals.”

Not the whole paper, if you can see the difference. So the thesis remains unpublished, unrecognised and unscientific. NIWA must ensure their scientists do not cite it again.

[78] “…the Trust contends that, rather than apply the best recognised scientific opinion to produce the 7SS, NIWA applied the thesis. NIWA’s position however, is that the methodology relied on to produce the 7SS was in fact derived from the same methodology found in RS93. There is a stark conflict between the parties on this point. It is essentially a factual dispute which does not require the Court to decide which of two tenable scientific opinions should be preferred.”

This clear statement negates Mr Morgan’s assertion that the judge validated Morgan’s empty claim of international recognition. He should acknowledge this error and provide a proper reference to the international acknowledgement he claims, if one exists.

This scandal probably stems from the scientists rather than Morgan or his administration (for what would they understand of the science?). In the High Court hearing, Dr Wratt was unable to point to any authority or precedent anywhere for NIWA’s (1981 thesis) method of calculating the adjustments; in the recent appeal they alleged that the only precedent was RS93. Now, Mr Morgan says publicly (and outside a courtroom, making it fair game for challenge) that the 1981 thesis method is internationally recognised. Unfortunately for him, he fails utterly when I ask for a reference.

He cannot dredge up a single example of anybody, anywhere, using NIWA’s long-superseded 1981 technique. He took two working days longer than permitted on an OIA request to come up empty-handed.

Mr Morgan has failed; he needs to apologise and make amends.

The CCG letter to NIWA

22 Oct 2013

Dear John,

You may remember that we met during the High Court hearing. I certainly remember how cordial you were to this “opponent” and appreciate your kindness in letting me follow your notes when your counsel’s voice was indistinct. As you probably know, I blog on matters of interest to those who follow climate science in New Zealand.

In a report in the NZ Herald dated 16 October 2013, you are quoted as saying that “The methodology applied by NIWA was in accordance with internationally recognised … methodology.” My readers understand that the broad ‘neighbour comparison’ method described in NIWA’s ‘Review’ of the Seven-station Series (7SS) is commonplace, but many contend that the statistical measurement techniques used in the Review document are unique to NIWA staff. It is clear that your staff do not follow Rhoades & Salinger, but nobody seems to know what they do follow.

Could you please let me have a copy of the scientific literature or any other international document which approves of the measurement technique used by NIWA in the Review? Any document you relied upon for your statement to the Herald would be relevant. If the technique is described on the internet, a reference to a specific URL would be acceptable.

This request is made under the Official Information Act. As this matter is of current interest, I should be pleased if you could regard this request as being urgent.


Richard Treadgold
Climate Conversation Group
Member of NZ Climate Science Coalition

Morgan’s reply to the CCG

21 Nov 2013

Dear Mr Treadgold

I write in response to your email dated 22 October 2013 where you requested under the Official Information Act:

In a report in the NZ Herald dated 16 October 2013, you are quoted as saying that “The methodology applied by NIWA was in accordance with internationally recognised … methodology.” …

In making my statement I was referencing the judgment of Justice Venning in his 2012 High Court decision where he said in relation to the Review:

“the methodology applied by NIWA was in accordance with internationally recognised and credible scientific methodology [para 182].”

The judgment is available here: http://www.nzlii.org/nz/cases/NZHC/2012/2297.html

As you are aware, Justice Venning considered evidence from a number of experts in climate science in reaching his decision that the Review was in accordance with recognised scientific opinion.

As these matters have now all been thoroughly canvassed before the Court and are matters of expert scientific opinion, they are not the correct subject matter for further requests under the Official Information Act. Your request for further scientific literature or documents may be better directed to those international scientific sources or authorities which you believe may support your views.


John Morgan

I acknowledged

Thank you for your response to my request for verification of your statement on NIWA’s methodology.

Comparing Morgan’s response with this restatement of my original request reveals the total inadequacy of his answer.

Desperate last gasp

As these matters have now all been thoroughly canvassed before the Court and are matters of expert scientific opinion, they are not the correct subject matter for further requests under the Official Information Act.

A transparent attempt to shut me up which fails because he didn’t answer the question.

Snide last word

Your request for further scientific literature or documents may be better directed to those international scientific sources or authorities which you believe may support your views.

A contemptuous comment that ignores both the logic of our request for a reference and his blatant refusal to provide one.

NIWA is for the most part an admirable and honourable organisation, but in this meaningless, prolonged spat over the national temperature adjustments the climate division lets the team down. The dereliction of duty now extends, I’m sad to say, as high as its Chief Executive Officer.

It’s more than time that he brought these friendly, personable, yet oh-so-unruly scientists to account.

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The “coalition’s” best course is probably to set up a private climate authority which competes with NIWA and issues its own set of published weather data which can then be held out as a counterpoint to NIWA’s data. David vs Goliath, and an unfunded David too — not the easiest option. Alternatively, we all can wait for Goliath’s feet of clay to crumble, I suppose.

NIWA is perfectly good at collecting data and there’s no need to compete with them. They would perform the necessary adjustments quite adequately, too, but their work should be open for independent supervision. Simple enough. I laugh when I hear NIWA scientists implying that I or the Coalition have a preferred result in mind. We want the data to show no warming, or something. It’s hilarious. They imagine we’ve got some kind of prejudice against warming, but it’s not like that at all.

When they hide what they’ve been up to they invite suspicion, and when we challenged them they panicked. Pointed us in the wrong direction, misled Parliament and their Minister, the whole nine yards. Meanwhile, we’ve published our results for anyone to see: https://www.climateconversation.org.nz/docs/Statistical%20Audit%20of%20the%20NIWA%207-Station%20Review%20Aug%202011.pdf.

In truth, the only result we’re want is a proper one, with data collection and adjustment under control and according to well-accepted methods. But how can we judge those things in NIWA’s work unless they tell us what they’ve done?


. I laugh when I hear NIWA scientists implying that I or the Coalition have a preferred result in mind
This is somewhat ironic since the entire “science” of AGW has a preferred result in mind., as predetermined by the IPCC when it was formed, according to its charter.

Alexander K

Brilliant detective work, Richard. Where does this leave Justice Venning’s pronouncements re NIWA’s methodology – can this be revisited and re-examined ?

Thanks, Alexander. I don’t know how to answer your question. The appeal was intended to revisit some of Venning’s decisions but it struck a serious procedural hitch. We couldn’t continue because certain witnesses were not cross-examined during the hearing. We didn’t cross-examine them because we were unaware that we were allowed to. I’m not a lawyer and I haven’t followed the arguments. But I know our legal team were gutted when they realised they had to withdraw.

You can see from this post there are some flaws in Venning’s judgment, and there are others too; whether they are repairable I have no idea.

Richard C (NZ)

[Venning] “I consider that unless the Trust can point to some defect in NIWA’s decision-making process or show that the decision was clearly wrong in principle…..”

[What Venning could have added] “You do of course point to your Statistical Audit showing exactly that but I’ve dismissed it out-of-hand.”

[Morgan] “Your request for further scientific literature or documents may be better directed to those international scientific sources or authorities which you believe may support your views.”

Well yes Mr Morgan, but that would be Rhoades and Salinger (1993) wouldn’t it?


John Robertson

Classic bureaucratic weaselling,the truth is emerging as you keep prodding.
What does come across, very clearly, is the CEO is either dishonest or has been deceived.
So it’s the classic catch 22.
The first rule of our elected and appointed royalty, otherwise known as the Kleptocracy, is protect your own.
This mans wilful? failure to understand your request for information, clearly shows CYA kicking in to high gear.
The NIWA’s problem is the classic, Oh what a tangled web we weave…
How do they escape, stonewall till retirement being the usual option.


NIWA published on its website a lengthy “Review” document explaining how they did the adjustments. The broad methodology of neighbour comparisons is pretty standard, but the actual statistical measurement of the before-and-after temperature differences between neighbouring stations has a mysterious quality.

The mystery is that the technique looks as if it is exactly the same as Salinger used in his 1981 thesis. But everybody knows that technique is obsolete. So how could it be described as “internationally accepted methodology”?

Why can’t NIWA’s CEO say “we used the technique described in X paper published in Y journal … or discussed at Z conference”?

Presumably, because the NIWA technique has never been described in any scientific publication, at any time or anywhere.

Richard C (NZ)

I’ve asked this of myself before several times and a couple of times out loud here at CCG but no answer either way because haven’t followed it up myself and no-one else has answered (not that I remember anyway): what NZ data goes to CRU? I’ll add now (assuming, like BEST, the NZ data in CRUTEMP can be accessed separately by anyone other than CRU – or even that they can): 1) What is the difference (if any) between the NZ data (raw or whatever) CRU receives and the NZ data in CRUTEMP? 2) How does the NZ data differ from the 7SS in terms of values and trends It wont be NIWA’s homogenized 7SS data (CRU gets NZ data prior to 1909 and more than 7 stations surely), neither does AU’s homogenized BOM HQ or ACORN-SAT go to CRU, hence HARRY_READ_ME-32 (using divisions from http://di2.nu/foia/HARRY_READ_ME-0.html): I am very sorry to report that the rest of the databases seem to be in nearly as poor a state as Australia was. There are hundreds if not thousands of pairs of dummy stations, one with no WMO and one with, usually overlapping and with the… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

Answering (i think) some of what I’m asking, and gaining some understanding of the process (I’m wrong re ACORN but right about pre-1909): ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Release Notes for version CRUTEM. state that : “Additions to the CRUTEM4 archive in version CRUTEM. The changes listed below refer mainly to additions of mostly national collections of digitized and/or homogenized monthly station series. Several national meteorological agencies now produce/maintain significant subsets of climate series that are homogenized for the purposes of climate studies. In addition, data-rescue types of activities continue and this frequently involves the digitization of paper records which then become publicly available. The principal subsets of station series processed and merged with CRUTEM (chronological order) are: Norwegian – homogenized series Australian (ACORN) – homogenized subset Brazilian – non-homogenized Australian remote islands – homogenized Antarctic (greater) – some QC and infilling St. Helena – some homogenization adjustment Bolivian subset – non-homogenized Southeast Asian Climate Assessment (SACA) – infilling /some new additions German/Polish – a number of German and a few Polish series – non-homogenized Ugandan – non-homogenized USA (USHCNv2.5) – homogenized Canada – homogenized Via WUWT http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/05/12/met-office-hadley-centre-and-climatic-research-unit-hadcrut4-and-crutem4-temperature-data-sets-adjustedcorrectedupdated-can-you-guess-the-impact/ ++++++++++++++++++++++++++ No mention of New Zealand non-homogenized or homogenized… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

>”Looks like the details of compilation (relevant to NZ) could be in the CRUTEM3 reference……..” Nope, CRUTEM2/3/4 and references for 3/4 are all about “additions” to CRUTEM1, hence no reference to NZ in the CRUTEM4 release notes. From Wiki: “HadCRUT1 at first combined two sea surface temperature datasets (MOHSST for 1881–1981 and GISST for 1981–1993) with an earlier land surface air temperature dataset from the Climatic Research Unit. The land surface air temperature dataset was replaced in 1995 with the newly published CRUTEM1 dataset” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HadCRUT#HadCRUT1 Nothing about CRUTEM1 in the HadCRUT1 reference so off to Climate Audit: ‘Jones et al 1985-1991 and CRUTEM1 (1994)’ Jones’ original compilation of station data, funded by the US Department of Energy, was described in three technical reports: Bradley et al 1985 (out of print and not online other than an excerpt here), TR022 (Northern Hemisphere) online here and TR027 Southern Hemisphere (online here), http://climateaudit.org/2012/01/03/dr-phil-confidential-agent-re-visited/ “TR027” is: Jones, P. D., S. C. B. Raper, C. M. Goodess, B. S. G. Cherry, and T. M. L. Wigley. 1986c. A grid point surface air temperature data set for the Southern Hemisphere. DOE Technical Report No. TR027. U.S. Department of Energy,… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

Others have gone before: ‘CRUTEM: Replication -v- Reproduction’ Ron Broberg After my initial work on CRUTEM, I left it behind as I turned to work on GHCN metadata and then GSOD data set. Others, better qualified, turned to working the station anomalization and gridding methodologies. So it was with some surprise I bumped into comment whose author was bemoaning the lack of “replication” of CRUTEM. This thread is an open invitation to those concerned with the validity of CRUTEM’s methodology to describe what it is they would like to see along the lines of “reproduction.” I am not interested in obtaining Dr Jone’s code. I am interested in what is thought to be required for an independent verification. References [several] 1985: A grid point surface air temperature data set for the Northern Hemisphere [Hotlink TR027 – Abstract only] http://rhinohide.wordpress.com/2010/07/05/crutem-replication-v-reproduction/ ‘Grid point surface air temperature data set for the Southern Hemisphere’ Abstract A compilation of 610 station records of monthly surface air temperature has been assembled for the Southern Hemisphere, north of 62.5/sup 0/S. In order to use these data to construct the first grid point temperature data set for the Southern Hemisphere, the… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

Just realized I’ve already looked at the Brohan paper up-thread – sigh!

Desperately need TR027 for this table of results described in the Abstract:

“……the homogeneity of each of the station records has been assessed. Each station has been classed into one of three groups: immediately usable, corrected, or uncorrectable. The results are presented in tabular form. Of the 610 station records, 293 were used to produce a gridded data set…….”

293 stations seems very few to cover the Earth’s landmass even in this first incarnation of CRUTEM (e.g. the new ACORN-SAT is 112 locations). Any NZ stations used (if any) and their status will occur in that table – got to have that table.

Maybe Steve M can help.

Richard C (NZ)

Did find this re HadCRUT4: ‘The CRUTEM4 land-surface air temperature dataset: construction, previous versions and dissemination via Google Earth’ T. J. Osborn and P. D. Jones 2.2 Homogeneity adjustments Changes in the location or local environment of a weather station, in the way in which the thermometer is exposed, or in recording practices (such as time of observation, or the way in which daily and monthly averages are calculated) can introduce inhomogeneities into the station timeseries of monthly temperatures. An estimated time series of temperatures that might have been recorded in the absence of such changes can be made by adjusting the mean values of the series prior to each change. For a change in station altitude, the adjustment factor might be estimated using a lapse rate, but for other cases it is estimated by differences from multiple neighbouring series (note that in data sparse regions, neighbours might be separated by several hundred 20 kilometres). This approach was the basis for the extensive homogenisation exercise undertaken by CRU in the 1980s, documented in US DoE TR022 (1985) and US DoE TR027 (1986). Electronic copies of these reports are available on the CRU website… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

Excerpts from TR027 STATION HOMOGENEITY ASSESSMENT [page 4 pdf] It has long been known that the basic source of temperature data, World Weather Records, contains many records that are not homogenous. Furthermore, we assumed that a significant fraction of the new station data could be non-homogenous, although Salinger (1981) has inspected and corrected most of the New Zealand data. Station data may contain the effects of changes that result from non-climatic factors (see Jones et al., 1985, 1986a, and Bradley and Jones, 1985, for a list of these factors and examples of their effects). The composite Southern Hemisphere data set was therefore analysed for homogeneity in a manner similar to that for the Northern Hemisphere (Jones et al., 1985). For each of the 610 stations in this data set, data homogeneity was assessed, where possible, by comparing each station record with neighbouring station data. The technique is outlined in Jones et al. (1986a). When identified, inhomogeneities were corrected by comparison with neighbouring station data in a manner described by Jones et al. (1985). Four examples of the homogeneity assessment are shown in Figures 1 to 4, each discussed in the appropriate figure caption.… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

TR027 APPENDIX A and B is not copyable (scan) but contains:

APPENDIX A [page 13 pdf]

‘Station History Information and Homogeneity Assessment Details’

The NZ stations start on page 49 pdf. There are 22 including islands (e.g. Chathams).

APPENDIX B [page 61 pdf]

‘Stations used in the gridding algorithm’

The NZ stations start on page 66 pdf. There are 16 including islands:

Kaitaia Airport
Gisborne Aerodrome
New Plymouth
Hokitika Aerodrome
Invercargill Aero
Campbell Island
Chatham Island 2
Raoul Is/Kermadec Is
Lincoln College

Thus, in this CRUTEM incarnation (1851-1984), NZ makes up 5.46% (16/293) of the total number of global stations. Assuming the same number remain in subsequent versions (unlikely but just out of interest), NZ would make up 0.4% of CRUTEM3 (16/4000+) and 0.3% of CRUTEM4 (16/5500+).

“Most” of the above, “inspected and corrected” prior to CRU delivery by Salinger’s 1981 Thesis, apparently.

Good sleuthing RC. What amazes me is that there seems to be no process of audit or review of these data and their ‘homogenisations’ by any independent authority. And the alarmists wonder why we are skeptical of the historical temperature record.

Richard C (NZ)

Only really slated half my curiosity Mike. The question now is: what stations and what corrections to them contribute to subsequent CRUTEM versions up to CRUTEM4 at present i.e. where is the equivalent to APPENDIX A/B for that?

I doubt there’s similar documentation in the release notes and references (haven’t seen anything so far) for CRUTEM3/4 to isolate the NZ stations let alone the corrections and methodology used on them (but I’ll have a look when I get the urge).

I’m curious as to whether the NZT7 has been fed in just as ACORN was for AU superseding the previous data, and if so are there still the other stations in addition to those 7?

Thing is, if the NZT7 has been merged with CRUTEM, then there’s entirely different homogenization methodologies for NZT7 and ACORN in CRUTEM4.

Richard C (NZ)

Make that slaked, not “slated”


In the post linking to here,

Gareth December 4, 2013 at 10:51 pm
Read the post, read the background posts here – they stretch back four years, so that might take you some time – then read NIWA’s report. The methods NIWA used in putting together the long term NZ record are not remotely controversial – except amongst a tiny band of fools and contrarians who think the world is conspiring against them.

You are now on moderation. Your comments will only be published if I think they contribute to the discussion (see above).



These guys ^^ seem to accept the BoM endorsement as a kind of audit, yet in the NIWA report it says

The review does not constitute a reanalysis of the New Zealand ‘seven station’ temperature record. Such a reanalysis would be required to independently determine the sensitivity of, for example, New Zealand temperature trends to the choice of the underlying network, or the analysis methodology. Such a task would require full access to the raw and modified temperature data and metadata, and would be a major scientific undertaking

We have been through this before, of course.

What did the review consist of then? We don’t know because information is blocked despite OIM requests

Richard C (NZ)

[Gareth] “The methods NIWA used in putting together the long term NZ record are not remotely controversial”. The methods aren’t controversial. Not employed internationally but not necessarily controversial because of that (although NIWA is rather coy on what they used specifically – see following comment) but the application of them by NIWA is because application of them in the NZCSET’s ‘Statistical Audit’ does not replicate NIWA’s series. This is the essence of science – replication. That is the controversy Gareth, not your strawman. I note (just to be picky) from my investigation of CRUTEM that NIWA’s series is much shorter than the NZ data in CRUTEM4 i.e. NIWA’s NZT7 is not “long-term” relative to CRUTEM4’s NZ data which looks to be contributing to CRUTEM4 from 1855ish (possibly) to 1909 prior to the NZT7: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/crutem4/data/update_diagnostics/ausnz.gif Just a matter of checking the NZ station dates referenced as used by HadCRU to ascertain the start date of contribution. Down-thread from Gareth’s comment I see this (my emphasis): nigelj December 5, 2013 at 9:25 am Murray the peer review letter states we have reviewd the NIWA submission including “whether the methods had scientific error” (read the link).… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

>”NIWA is rather coy on what they used specifically” What do they say? This begins what RT describes in ‘NIWA’s obfuscation unequivocal’ (next post) as: “There are several papers citing each other in a complex chain of references…”. Refer: Mullan, A.B; Stuart, S.J; Hadfield, M.G; Smith, M.J (2010). Report on the Review of NIWA’s ‘Seven-Station’ Temperature Series NIWA Information Series No. 78. 175 p. http://www.niwa.co.nz/sites/default/files/import/attachments/Report-on-the-Review-of-NIWAas-Seven-Station-Temperature-Series_v3.pdf Page 6 pdf (my emphasis): During the early 1990s, the seven-station series was revised and updated as a research activity within climate research programmes undertaken by the NZ Meteorological Service and NIWA under contract to the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology. Station histories and site changes in the series were documented by Fouhy et al., 1992. The homogenisation procedures were described along with the resulting time series data for each station by Salinger et al., 1992. This latter document did not, however, provide any tables of adjustments Salinger et al., 1992, is: Salinger, M.J.; McGann, R.P.; Coutts, L.; Collen, B.; Fouhy, E. (1992). South Pacific Historical Climate Network. Temperature Trends in New Zealand and Outlying Islands, 1920–1990. NZ Meteorological Service, Wellington, ISBN 0-477-01598-0, 46 p. http://docs.niwa.co.nz/library/public/0477015980.pdf Salinger… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

>“neighbouring stations” ………..”This is what NZCSET used in their ‘Statistical Audit’ but NIWA used remote stations in their ‘Report on the Review’.” Not entirely correct. From ‘Statistical Audit of the NIWA 7-Station Review’: Neighbouring Station Comparisons The technique NIWA has used for all their adjustments (excepting overlaps) is the “neighbouring stations” method. It is important to note that in reality NIWA seldom uses truly neighbouring stations. In most cases the stations chosen are from some distance away, especially for the earlier records. For example, Dunedin is compared against Albert Park in Auckland. For the purposes of this document, we shall however refer to all station comparisons as “neighbouring”, even though many are not. https://www.climateconversation.org.nz/docs/Statistical%20Audit%20of%20the%20NIWA%207-Station%20Review%20Aug%202011.pdf NZCSET use the same comparison stations as NIWA going by their audit but the point is that NZCSET highlight R&S stipulating “neighbouring stations” but NIWA don’t adhere to that. On page 4 pdf through to page 8 of Dr Mullen’s paper linked in previous comment (Mullen, 2012), Masterton is used as an example “to introduce the application of the R&S methodology”: 3. Results 3.1 …..Masterton site change in May 1920 3.2 ….1942 Masterton site adjustment Comparison with the NZCSET… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

My addition “[BOM]” to ‘Statistical Audit of the NIWA 7-Station [BOM] Review’ is incorrect.

The BOM Review was a review of the NIWA Review – gahhh!

The Jones et al Northern Hemisphere TR022 book with station documentation details, including corrections is now available as four pdf files. The much shorter TR027 Southern Hemisphere book has been online in html form for several weeks.
Links are here –

Richard C (NZ)

Handy wazsah, cheers. I see Warwick states:

Can I just make the point that this is the only time Jones et al published station documentation details. It was not done for later iterations and is still not being done by the UKMO.

Does make for a wild goose chase. I managed to find some documentation of NZ stations “for later iterations” via the 2010 UKMO notification ‘Corrections to CRUTEM3′. Details here:


On a subject close to the topic of your post – in case some of your readers have not seen these –
Simple GISS diagrams illustrating warming effect of conventional “adjustments” of “steps” in T data due to site moves outward from urban centre.
[it is crystal clear that NIWA do exactly this – repeatedly adjusting out step changes – all through their seven station series – in this way NIWA cement UHI warming in their NZ 7 station century long adjusted trend.]

Richard C (NZ)

>”On a subject close to the topic of your [Richard Treadgold’s (RT) – not my (RC)] post”

Warwick’s post also touches on the topic of RT’s next post too wazsah. Warwick says in that Jan 2011 post you link to (my emphasis):

I have been reading the 169 page NIWA pdf – “Report on the Review of NIWA’s “Seven-Station” Temperature Series December 2010″ – downloaded here
I have not yet found the BoM review – only the one page letter from the BoM – see pdf page 13 in the above.

RT in the ‘NIWA’s obfuscation unequivocal’ thread (my emphasis):

We can only hope the NZCSC request to NIWA under the Official Information Act brings a result


I could be wrong (expect a correction from RT if so) but I think NZCSC’s OIA request asks (among other things) for the actual BOM Review that Warwick (and others looking) could not find (except for the one page cover letter) in NIWA’s “Report on the Review’.

It could be of course, that the cover letter is all there ever was.


Rural and urban stations show the same warming trend. Urban stations tend to be in ‘cool islands’ like parks and urban heating would only occur if someone built a building or tarsealed right up to the station. It is these sorts of changes that the adjustments are meant to correct. The myth of UHI being the cause of global warming has been well and truly debunked.The BEST team did a good paper on it. Note that Watts never got around to publishing his paper on UHI, either because the study was flawed or he didn’t like the answer.

Richard C (NZ)

>”Rural and urban stations show the same warming trend”

Yes of course they do, and this post at WUWT is complete rot:

‘Arctic isolated versus “urban” stations show differing trends’


Interesting study, thanks, RC.

Richard C (NZ)

Jan Curtis says: September 22, 2010 at 10:47 am I co-authored a paper on just this subject several years back: http://climate.gi.alaska.edu/ResearchProjects/pages/AKpaper2.html The Urban Heat Island Effect at Fairbanks, Alaska N. Magee1, J. Curtis2, and G. Wendler2 (1) The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802 (2) Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks AK 99775 Abstract Using surface observation comparisons between Fairbanks and rurally situated Eielson Air Force Base in Interior Alaska, the growth of the Fairbanks heat island was studied for the time period 1949-1997. The climate records were examined to distinguish between a general warming trend and the changes due to an increasing heat island effect. Over the 49-year period, the population of Fairbanks grew by more than 500%, while the population of Eielson remained relatively constant. The mean annual heat island observed at the Fairbanks International Airport grew by 0.4°C, with the winter months experiencing a more significant value of 1.0°C. Primary focus was directed toward long-term heat island characterization based on season, wind speed, cloud cover, and time of day. In all cases, minimum temperatures were affected more than maxima and periods of calm or low wind speeds, winter… Read more »

Rural and urban stations show the same warming trend.

Do you have a reference, Simon? And one to the BEST paper, please.


Charlotte Wickham, Robert Rohde, Richard A. Muller, et al. (2013) Influence of Urban Heating on the Global Temperature Land Average using Rural Sites Identified from MODIS Classifications. Geoinfor Geostat: An Overview 1:2. doi:10.4172/gigs.1000104 http://www.scitechnol.com/2327-4581/2327-4581-1-104.php‎

Jones et. al. Urbanization effects in large-scale temperature records, with an emphasis on China http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2008JD009916/abstract


Is there a bit of controversy over the Jones et al paper? i.e is this the one that promted Doug Keenan to accuse Phil Jones of fraud?

Not sure if this is the one,but sounds familiar


Maybe not this exact paper, but Jones, Keenan and China definitely have a story


Richard C (NZ)
Richard C (NZ)

Steve M documents Doug Keenan’s exploits re Jones et al (1990) in Parts 2 and 3; his own, The Team, and the Climategate revelations of it all in 1, 2 and 3. An amazing affair well worth reading in entirety.

Hard to isolate a particular aspect but this nugget in Part 1 caught my eye (my italics bolded):

Jones et al 1990


While most subsequent attention had focused on station histories, the claim that the coauthors of Jones et al 1990 had assembled the network was untrue: in fact, they had appropriated Zeng’s data (Zeng neither a coauthor nor acknowledged).

My sincere thanks to Simon for reminding us all of this rather shabby saga (heroes and anti-heroes in this case)..


Richard C (NZ)

[Fred Pearce] “The story has a startling postscript. In 2008, Jones prepared a paper for the Journal of Geophysical Research re-examining temperatures in eastern China. It found that, far from being negligible, the urban heat phenomenon was responsible for 40% of the warming seen in eastern China between 1951 and 2004.”

Richard C (NZ)

‘A Remote-Sensing Method of Selecting Reference Stations for Evaluating Urbanization Effect on Surface Air Temperature Trends’

Laboratory for Climate Studies, National Climate Center, Chinese Meteorological Administration, Beijing, China

TABLE 2. Comparison of the urban warming for the national RCS/BWS network estimated using the reference stations selected with the RS and CM methods.

Urban warming for the RCS/BWS network (ºC 10 yr-1)
RS reference stations 0.064
CM reference stations 0.076

Urban warming contribution to the overall warming (%)
RS reference stations 23
CM reference stations 27

[Link includes Chinese characters but can be accessed through Scholar]

Richard C (NZ)

Referee Report: Influence of Urban Heating on the Global Temperature Land Average Using Rural Sites Identified from MODIS Classifications by Wickham et al. Signed review: Ross McKitrick. Overall Comment This paper tries to do 2 things in a single, short paper; namely introduce a new global temperature data product with a much larger number of stations than are available in GHCN and related products, and provide a quantification of non-climatic biases in surface temperature records. While the authors have developed an impressive new data base, the paper fails unfortunately to do a satisfactory job of either task. First, it omits many of the technical details readers need to assess the new data base construction methodology. Second, the analysis of the urban-rural split is simplistic in light of where the current literature stands, and is not able to support the conclusions drawn. Specifically, the authors’ empirical results are consistent either with the stated conclusion or its opposite, and therefore they are in no position to say anything decisive. I will recommend that the paper be rejected in its current form. I have no doubt that presentation of an important new surface data base is… Read more »

Urban stations tend to be in ‘cool islands’ like parks and urban heating would only occur if someone built a building or tarsealed right up to the station.

This is inaccurate. The inner-city Albert Park temperature series clearly shows the growing influence of trees planted in the park scores of metres from the weather station. As they got taller, the wind speed decreased and recorded temperatures rose over several decades. Tall buildings even further away started to have the same effect.


That’s why adjustments were made.
Growing trees are not a cause of urban heating, trees are common in rural areas too.


A large tree or group of trees would probably have some effect on a temperature station. What effect, I don’t know.

I thought the Stevenson Screen was supposed to eliminate wind effects, but who knows?

Bob D

Sheltering is a source of artificial warming. See McAneney & Salinger (1990). They found a 1°C rise in maximum air temperature caused by 10-m high shelter, that grew over a 6-year period.
No Albert Park adjustment was made that countered sheltering. The station was closed in 1987 due to contamination by sheltering and vandalism.

Bob D

Worse than that, NIWA took a station with known sheltering problems, compared it to Mangere, found Albert Park was 0.66°C warmer (even though it was higher in altitude), and promptly adjusted the entire Albert Park record back to 1855 downwards by 0.66°C!!!
Talk about incompetent.

Are you listening, Gareth? This is why we persist.

Richard C (NZ)

If only the major effect of “entire” (and why it shouldn’t be entire in this case – hence your emphasis Bob) on the resulting series as a whole could be more widely appreciated, the more people would realize just how out-of-order NIWA’s NZT7 is.

I made the comparison elsewhere of Masterton 1920. I’ll make it again this time adding the distinction of Brett Mullen’s “quite flexible” (his words) interpretation of R&S93 and NZCSET’s “rigid” interpretation of R&S9. Also adding the ‘Statistical Audit’ example of Hokitika Aero 1970 and the BOM TR049 overriding criteria for ACORN that discards adjustments of less than 0.3°C:

Masterton 1920
0.21 adj – NIWA “quite flexible” R&S93
No adj – NZCSET “rigid” R&S93
No adj – BOM TR049

Hokitika Aero 1970
0,25 adj – NIWA “quite flexible” R&S93
No adj – NZCSET “rigid” R&S93
No adj – BOM TR049

NIWA’s gung-ho decisions to make the respective 0,66 (Albert Park), 0,21, and 0,25 adjustments just in these 3 examples alone, unnecessarily corrupts the ENTIRE series prior to each adjustment for 3 locations out of the 7.

Necessary adjustments in accordance with sensible convention, yes. Unnecessary adjustments made willy nilly, no.

Brandoch Daha

So, Bob, put your credibility where your mouth is – write this and your other “discoveries” up and submit them to a peer-reviewed journal.

[contemptuous question deleted]

Richard C (NZ)

>….this and your other “discoveries”

What exactly are you referring to here Brando?

Is it, for example, something you read in Appendix B of ‘Statistical Audit of the NIWA 7-Station Review’?


“NIWA do not weight the individual neighbour station shifts at all.”


Error Analysis
“The most significant error in the NIWA method is the failure to base each adjustment on the clearly-defined confidence levels as specified on page 904 of R&S…”

And/or possibly:

“It is clear from reading the NIWA review papers that at no point has any adjustment been made for urban heat island (UHI) effects, even though the peer-reviewed literature explicitly states that New Zealand urban temperature records suffer from significant UHI and sheltering problems (Hessell, 1980; Fouhy, 1992).”

Any of those Brando?

BTW, there’s no need to write up NZ UHI in peer-reviewed literature if that’s already been done is there?

Bob D


Growing trees are not a cause of urban heating

Not urban heating, sheltering. From McAneney (1990):

“Daily maximum air temperatures at screen height increased linearly with shelter height throughout the duration of the experiment”


“An average elevation of about 1 ° C with 10-m-high shelter is in accord with that found by Guyot and Seguin (1975) in Brittany and many other studies summarized by van Eimern et al. (1964).”


“The increase in daytime air temperatures is attributable to decreased turbulent mixing between the orchard and the overhead airstream since the effect of shelter on net radiation is small (Guyot and Seguin, 1975).”

Bob D

At Albert Park, the sheltering is two-fold: trees immediately around the weather station, and buildings around the park.
Have a look at photos of Albert Park from the early 1900s, and go and stand there now. See if you can tell the difference.

Bob D

Contrast that with, say, Appleby.

Richard C (NZ)

Was there ever a UHI adjustment for Albert Park RT?

Wasn’t UHI contamination the reason Auckland changed from Albert Park to Mangere?

Richard C (NZ)

Ah yes (answering my own questions), Albert Park is one of the contentious sites, described from page 52 pdf onwards in: ‘Supplementary Information: Statistical Audit of the NIWA 7-Station Review’ https://www.climateconversation.org.nz/docs/Statistical%20Audit%20of%20the%20NIWA%207-Station%20Review%20Aug%202011%20SI.pdf Quoting: In their document on Auckland, NIWA acknowledges this shortcoming [non-climatic urban effect (sheltering)] (appendix 5): [NIWA] But in their Auckland analysis they effectively ignored this problem, stating: [NIWA As stated above, the correct R&S approach is to discard this site entirely. However, since NIWA have included it in their composite series, we will attempt to cater for the problems ignored by NIWA. What we will do is try to ascertain the magnitude of the non-climatic sheltering effect by following NIWA’s lead and comparing Albert Park with a neighbour station, Te Aroha, which is suitably rural. NIWA claims the effect is limited to 1928-1960, but it’s clear from Hessell’s wind speed plot that the sheltering problem continued well beyond 1960. In fact we know for certain that Albert Park experienced a known wind speed reduction from 1916 to 1974. We shall then attempt to adjust for this artificial warming trend before joining the Albert Park and Auckland Aero sites together. # #… Read more »

Not by NIWA, RC. You’re right that it’s the very reason NIWA changed Auckland’s temp station to Mangere.

But NIWA make no adjustments anywhere for UHI. In that, it’s as though the effect doesn’t exist. I hope their supporters might contradict this.

I am a trifle sus of this – [comparing Albert Park with a neighbour station, Te Aroha, which is suitably rural.]
So there was no data nearer AKL than Te Aroha ? – (where of course there are no people)
It could be “data shopping” – just looking for something that fits what you want to do.
It would be interesting to see all data closer to AKL that “John West Rejected”


Te Aroha does seem a strange choice, being a long way from sea and tucked under a mountain.

You would have to think that a similar effect to the UHI could well have impacted Te Aroha. With the intensification of farming through Waikato the land has been drained which would surely have amplified the continental effect.

For my money a station like Baring Head should give a fair average of the temperature of air arriving at New Zealand and is unlikley to be distorted over time. Strangely long term temperature data for Baring Head seems to be the only bit of data not shown on the NIWA site.

Meantime I am building some walls to improve my already very pleasant microclimate.

First, I’ve become accustomed to thinking of NZ sites hundreds of kilometres from each other as “neighbouring”, because Jim Salinger, foremost climate scientist, has used it for a long time. Surely he couldn’t be wrong, right? But questioning the rights and wrongs and ramifications of a practice is never wrong, right?

But second, what a marvellous thought — that we ought to check the Baring Head temperature record for variation or trend or lack thereof. The location was selected when Noah was a lad for atmospheric CO2 readings, so there shouldn’t be a lot wrong with the purity of the air there. It could be most instructive to see how its temperature has varied.

Now, to make a nice dinner, edit an academic article, relax, go to bed… and tomorrow’s another day!

Richard C (NZ)

>”…..we ought to check the Baring Head temperature record for variation or trend or lack thereof……..It could be most instructive to see how its temperature has varied”

No chance. 18234 in CliFlo:

Year Stats_Code Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
2001 2 – – – – – – – – – 13 13.6 – –
2007 2 – – – 13.3 13.6 9.6 9.6 9.7 10.7 11.3 13 15.6 –
2008 2 17.7 17.2 16.4 14 10.4 10.4 9.6 8.9 11.2 12 – 15.9 –
2009 2 17.3 16.5 15 13.5 9.7 8.5 8.5 11.1 10.8 10.1 13 14.8 12.4
2010 2 15.7 16.9 16 – 12.1 10.2 8.7 10 11.4 11.2 14.7 16.5 –
2011 2 16.6 17.5 15.6 13.2 13.8 10.7 – – 10.2 12.1 13 15 –
2012 2 15.7 15.4 14.2 13.7 10.9 9.1 9.6 10.4 11 12.1 12.5 – –
2013 2 – 16.8 16.3 15 12 – 10.5 11.3 11.2 12.7 14.3 – –

Rob Taylor

Have a happy recursive Xmas, guys… I hope some of you can get down to the Tasman Glacier, to see it before the “rebound from the LIA” melts it completely!


Richard C (NZ)

>“rebound from the LIA” – your words Rob.

Are you suggesting that was also the cause of all the other SI glaciated valleys sans ice?

Richard C (NZ)

Eileen McSaveney. ‘Glaciers and glaciation – Retreating ice and the glacier legacy’, Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 13-Jul-12
URL: http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/glaciers-and-glaciation/page-4

From about 14,000 years ago, as the climate warmed, ice age glaciers shrank rapidly. But 12,000–11,000 years ago they advanced again, building prominent rocky moraines such the Waiho Loop. This semi-circular ridge marks how far the Franz Josef Glacier advanced into the flats of the Waiho River.

Since then, the glaciers of the Southern Alps have continued an irregular retreat. They reached their minimum size about 6,000 years ago, when the climate was warmer than now. There have been minor advances during cooler periods such as the ‘Little Ice Age’ from the 15th to the mid-19th century.

Rob Taylor

Actually, “rebound from the LIA” is a denialist trope, Richard, but do tell us about the Skydragons again – or have you switched your alleigance back to the imaginary undersea volcanoes?



Rob Taylor:

You seem to be very knowledgable about climate science as evidenced in your highly informative posts, so I was wondering if maybe you can educate me a bit as there is something that puzzles me regarding AGW. If there is no tropospheric hot spot, what empirical evidence is there for positive feedback from water vapour? If there is no evidence of positive feedback from water vapour, how can it warm more than a maximum of 1.2C per doubling of total (not just man’s) atmospheric CO2? If it can’t warm more than 1.2C per doubling of total atmospheric CO2, how is AGW a problem?

Empirical evidence from both 40 yrs of radiosonde data and 2 satellites confirm the hot spot is missing, so maybe you can explain how it works for a humble layman such as myself so that I’m more fully informed. Many thanks in advance.

Rob Taylor

Magoo, this beloved straw man of Jo Nova’s has been endlessly debunked, including on this site, but, for the benefit of any slow learners amongst us, here it is again: “The biggest misunderstanding about the tropospheric hot spot is the mistaken notion that it’s caused by the greenhouse effect. Jo Nova leads with the headline “The greenhouse effect is missing” and refers to the “telltale warming pattern that greenhouse gases would leave”. However, the hot spot is not caused by the greenhouse effect. In fact, we expect to see an amplified warming trend in the troposphere no matter what’s causing the warming. The hotspot is actually due to a basic law of physics called the moist adiabatic lapse rate. As air rises to higher altitudes, it cools. When the water vapor in the air cools enough to condense, latent heat is released – this partly offsets the cooling. In the tropics where the air is more moist, more heat is released. The result is we expect to see magnified warming trends in the troposphere compared to the surface, both over short intervals (say months to a year) and long intervals (over decades). Indeed… Read more »


Rob Taylor: I’m a little confused about your answer and scepticalscience’s article, perhaps you can clarify for me. If the hotspot doesn’t exist, regardless of whether it was anthropogenically caused or not, the empirical evidence for positive feedback from water vapour is still missing – am I right? Also, it’s true that a very weak hot spot has appeared for very short durations sporadically, but it is nowhere near as strong as the IPCC predicted, i.e. 0.6-0.8C (IPCC AR4). As a result am I correct to say that it is not evidence of positive feedback from water vapour? As the cause of the hotspot doesn’t have to be caused anthropogenically, (as mentioned in your previous scepticalscience article) perhaps it’s just natural variation – no? As we all agree (you, me, scepticalscience, and everyone else) that the long term tropospheric hot spot doesn’t exist, what evidence is there for positive feedback from water vapour? If there is no evidence for positve feedback from water vapour, what evidence is there for AGW? This also raises the question – if the hotspot is empirical evidence of positive feedback from water vapour, and observations from multiple sources… Read more »


If there is no evidence for positive feedback from water vapour, what evidence is there for AGW?

Good analysis — for how else would we manage it?


I find a certain irony that a New Scientist article entitled “climate myths” has a prominent display of the Hockey Stick, with the instrumental data spliced onto the paleo data

Speaking of the Little Ice Age, there is a sign at Franz Josef glacier that shows the extent of the glacier during the LIA, or at least that is what the Department of Conservation claim.

This is a regional effect that coincidentally happened around a similar time to the regional LIA in Europe that caused the Thames to freeze.

Richard C (NZ)

>”Actually, “rebound from the LIA” is a denialist trope, Richard,” Sure it’s not just your mind playing tricks on you again Rob, and a bit of projection? I refer you to my previous response here: https://www.climateconversation.org.nz/2013/11/epic-fail-niwa-your-methods-are-a-global-secret/#comment-365117 And to assist you, given your inability evidently, I’ll highlight what every fossil-fuel-driven climate change sceptic would understand very clearly and very quickly: From about 14,000 years ago, as the climate warmed, ice age glaciers shrank rapidly. And But 12,000–11,000 years ago they advanced again, And (my emphasis for your assistance) Since then [12,000–11,000 years ago], the glaciers of the Southern Alps have continued an irregular retreat. And (my emphasis for your assistance) They reached their minimum size about 6,000 years ago, when the climate was warmer than now. And (my emphasis for your assistance) There have been minor advances during cooler periods such as the ‘Little Ice Age’ from the 15th to the mid-19th century. So the Southern Alps glaciers have been in retreat since 12,000–11,000 years ago i.e. the current retreat is nothing unusual. And it was warmer 6000 years ago i.e. the current warmth is nothing unusual. But according to what you’re implying Rob,… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

Correction (got everything back-to-front like Rob)

[according to Rob] “Neither should they have [retreated] since 6000 years ago when it was warmer than now.”

“Why, according to your understanding [Rob}, wouldn’t glaciers [retreat] in warmer periods and [advance] in cooler just as they have always done historically?”

Richard C (NZ)

>”…but do tell us about the Skydragons again”

Sure, but the IPCC’s been doing that for 25 years Rob. CO2 is the Skydragon that’ll scorch us all with its fiery breath – apparently.

Turns out to be just another myth though.

BTW, sceptics of the Skydragon myth actually being real are known as “Slayers”.

Richard C (NZ)

>”…..have you switched your alleigance (sic) back to the imaginary undersea volcanoes?”

No “alleigance” (as you put it Rob). Just another fact-of-earth that the IPCC discounts completely (and you think is “imaginary” Rob). Meanwhile in the real world:

‘Submarine Volcanoes Erupting’

“Did you know that 80 percent of the volcanic eruptions on Earth take place underwater? These underwater eruptions occur regularly, forming new landmasses and providing a living environment for deep-sea creatures. In 2009, scientists discovered the deepest ocean eruption ever found—the West Mata Volcano. Explore other videos that capture the beauty and mystery of the ocean realm at NOAA Ocean Today.”


Gee, super hot magma on the ocean floor – who wooda thunk?

Richard C (NZ)

Also on the (off) topic of volcanoes:

‘Fire And Ice; Volcanoes, Not CO2, Melt West Antarctic’

“The discovery finally confirms long-held suspicions of volcanic activity beneath the vast West Antarctic ice sheet.”

“….this is the first time anyone has caught magma in action far from the coast. Erebus had been thought to be the continent’s only active volcano.”

“Eruptions at this site are unlikely to penetrate the 1.2-2-kilometer-thick overlying ice, but would generate large volumes of melt water that could significantly affect ice stream flow,” said the study.


# # #

Just a wild thought, but I’m guessing atmospheric CO2 re-radiation is “unlikely to penetrate the 1.2-2-kilometer-thick overlying ice” too.

Richard C (NZ)

No doubt Taylor will now become obsessed with my “imaginary underice volcanoes” in addition to my “imaginary undersea volcanoes”.

Richard C (NZ)

Just about had enough of Rob Taylor in off-topic, wind-up, complete BS mode.

Why aren’t his comments in the equivalent of RC “Borehole” or HT “Twilight Zone” ?

He’s not funny anymore.

He’s on permanent moderation and not all his comments get through. Feel free to ignore him.

Rob Taylor

Sure, why not? You ignore most things, including 150 years of climate science observations and experiments, all of which are in agreement with AGW..

But, who cares what you close-minded fools think, anyway?

Richard C (NZ)

>”150 years of climate science observations and experiments, all of which are in agreement with AGW”

Except this (for starters):

Tropical Mid-Troposphere 20S-20N Observations vs 73 CMIP5 RCP8.5 Models



‘IPCC spin translated – the leaked Synopsis admits 97% of models fail’


According to you Rob, anyone who “ignore”s the Observations vs Models above is a “closed-minded fool”. But YOU wouldn’t do that, would you Rob?

Alexander K

Sorry to be a bit single-minded, fellers, but I am still extremely pissed that m’learned friend (who shall be nameless) could get the self-evident facts of the case against NIWA so wrong and that the law provides no recourse or simple mechanism for correcting his error.
I discovered for myself more than a half-century ago that the law is not only an ass but also that the law’s functionaries can create real injustice out of their own ignorance and bias.

Rob Taylor

So why have judges at all, Alexander, when the “facts” are so “self-evident”. Heck, why not scrap Magna Carta and go back to the Divine Right of Kings / Popes to proclaim what is real, and what is not? On the subject of reality, here is some actual science that may be of interest: “An apparent hiatus in global warming? Kevin E. Trenberth, John T. Fasullo Global warming first became evident beyond the bounds of natural variability in the 1970s, but increases in global mean surface temperatures have stalled in the 2000s. Increases in atmospheric greenhouse gases, notably carbon dioxide, create an energy imbalance at the top-of-atmosphere (TOA) even as the planet warms to adjust to this imbalance, which is estimated to be 0.5–1 W m−2 over the 2000s. Annual global fluctuations in TOA energy of up to 0.2 W m−2 occur from natural variations in clouds, aerosols, and changes in the Sun. At times of major volcanic eruptions the effects can be much larger. Yet global mean surface temperatures fluctuate much more than these can account for. An energy imbalance is manifested not just as surface atmospheric or ground warming but also as melting sea and… Read more »

This paper clutches at assumptive straws and is being pulled apart in the blogosphere. (e.g. http://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2013/12/09/trenberth-and-fasullo-try-to-keep-the-fantasy-alive/ and http://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2013/12/11/more-on-trenberth-and-fasullo-2013-an-apparent-hiatus-in-global-warming/)

It is a travesty that Trenberth can’t account for the missing heat. Global warming has stopped and it’s a travesty that Gaia didn’t get the memo from the Team.

He mentions melting sea ice, but wait – oh I guess he didn’t get the sea-ice extent memo. He mentions heating of the oceans, but Argo, as sparse as it is, has only been in effect since 2003. Hardly a robust data set. This paper is pure conjecture and speaks volumes about the difficulty the CAGW hypothesis is facing.

Richard C (NZ)


Yes, Trenberth and Fasuillo’s. They’ve caught up with what every man-made climate change sceptic knows already, viz:

“Surface warming was much more in evidence during the 1976–1998 positive phase of the PDO”

In fact, those are the only 2 decades in the IPCC’s 6 decade attribution period (1951-2010) that exhibited any warming at all.

Then (gasp):

“…suggesting that natural decadal variability modulates the rate of change of global surface temperatures…”

Geniuses, both of them, but about 25 years late.

We never see childbirth without a baby; precipitation without rain, hail or snow, dawn without the sun or atmospheric warming without warm air.

Global warming has not stopped; it is merely manifested in different ways.

It is remarkable, even for these slippery scientists, that they claim that global warming can occur without global warming. Believing this requires the suspension of reason.

Richard C (NZ)

>”Global warming has not stopped; it is merely manifested in different ways”

Why just this week, it’s been manifesting as over 2000 cold and snow records set in the USA, the first snowfall for 112 years in the Egyptian capital of Cairo, and the heaviest Israel snow in December since 1953 — 60-years ago.

The IPCC predicted this would happen…….oh wait…….no……they predicted exactly the opposite:

‘In 2001, the IPCC predicted milder winters and less snow. Experts are hoping no one remembers’

[TAR] “Milder winter temperatures will decrease heavy snowstorms”



NZ Herald’s New Zealanders of the Year


Dr David Wratt

Alongside his heavy duties as Niwa’s chief climate scientist – a role that has forced him to deal with challenges by sceptics – Dr Wratt has been heavily involved in the panel and its previous reports, assuming the job of co-ordinating lead author for Australia and New Zealand on the third assessment report.

This year’s report, known as the AR5, was his last.

Dr Wratt plans to retire within the next few years, ending a distinguished professional career that might have begun by accident when the Motueka farmer’s son went to university. “I suppose I thought I was going to become a school teacher when I first started, because that’s what people who went to university seemed to do back then.”


Alexander K

Dearie me, Rob Taylor, I would have expected that you could have found someone a little more credible than Kevin Trenberth, who is STILL looking for his missing heat, which he thought was hiding in the atmosphere but now he thinks just may be hiding in the deep oceans.
Your comment is a travesty, sir!
Real science, indeed.
Our culture obviously has a major problem when the ability to read is mistaken for the ability to reason.
Russian climate scientists are making us aware that, in their view, the current record-breaking cold and snow in the Northern Hemisphere actually signals the beginning of a new Little Ice Age
Maybe, maybe not, but the Russians have a way better track record than dodgy Kevin.

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