Salinger’s status clarified

Auckland Uni takes more than a year to update their website

Last Thursday, Dr Jim Salinger published an article at The Conversation entitled An insider’s story of the global attack on climate science. In it Salinger dishonestly characterises the Coalition’s court action against NIWA as an attack on science.

Salinger is conspicuously described at the top of that article as working for the University of Auckland — but as the university’s web site doesn’t list him as working for them, it seemed to be a fabrication.

You don’t have to believe me: you can check it out for yourself.

As a first response to the misrepresentations in the article, I thought I’d highlight the misrepresentation of Salinger’s status. So I sent the following letter to both the University of Auckland and the web site’s Executive Director, Andrew Jaspan, advising them of Salinger’s doubtful claim to be working for the university.

Dear Professor Kench,

I write to draw your attention to a possible breach by Dr Jim Salinger of the University’s rules.

Dr Salinger wrote an article published at The Conversation (Australian edition) on 23rd January. That web page describes Dr Salinger as “Honorary Research Associate in Climate Science, School of Environment at University of Auckland” but your University’s web page at does not include him in the list of honorary staff. This deceptive description could reflect badly on the School of Environment and the University.

His status with the University of Auckland appears to have been misrepresented and his opinions thus lent more gravitas than they perhaps deserve. My readers are keen to be assured that this misrepresentation is either not what it seems, or will be brought to an end.

I look forward to a reply at your earliest convenience.

Kind regards,

Richard Treadgold
Climate Conversation Group
Member of NZ Climate Science Coalition

Just now, before I could publish this brief account, Professor Kench replied (surprisingly, since it’s a long holiday weekend here in Auckland) advising:

Dear Richard,

Thank you for your message. Dr Salinger is indeed an Honorary Research Fellow in our School. This was arranged late in 2012. Jim will be added to the website in the near future.

Kind regards

Professor Paul Kench
Head, School of Environment
The University of Auckland

So, no deceit was involved, but it’s disappointing that updates to a world-leading university’s web site can languish undone for over a year. Action seems to wait on a public complaint.

I’ve had to rejig this post to make a different point, but I think it’s still quite interesting — and it’s only the beginning. We still have to refute his activist rubbish.

What do you think?

Views: 131

6 Thoughts on “Salinger’s status clarified

  1. Robin Pittwood on 26/01/2014 at 3:17 pm said:

    Irony upon irony. With the recognition that ‘The Pause’ could be part of a natural cycle, associated with the PDO, El Niño, La Niña, and their relative importance compared to CO2. This relationship was included as a sentence or two by Dr De Freitas several years ago. This very paper was one of the papers at the centre of Climategate. And that paper, suggesting the importance of El Niño in warming, was one that none other than Salinger himself tried to undermine De Freitas’s standing at the university. So who is the attacker here?

    There’s much more to this story than Salinger will tell us. And of course now they are ducking for cover, sending us off in tangents.

    So where is the missing heat? Trenberth suggested it’s hiding in the oceans. Well if it was you couldn’t know it for sure. The specific heat of water and it’s quantity would mean the temperature difference would be immeasurable.

    So what has happened to the net greenhouse effect over the past decade or so (that is supposedly trapping the heat by reducing the OLWIR. Has more heat been trapped by it? I downloaded the OLWIR from NOAA late 2013, and computed the global average, to see if there was any global falling trend. Up and downs, a visible annual cycle, but if anything it has very slightly been rising indicating a slightly more transparent atmosphere ( to OLWIR). So where is the missing heat? It has gone back out to space like it always has. But then, what would I know? I’m just an middle aged, white, electrical engineer, obviously biased, male. Appreciate what yo do Richard. Keep up the good work.

  2. Robin Pittwood on 26/01/2014 at 3:38 pm said:

    Thought this link might be of interest to some. Commentary over at The Hockey Schtick, on Kevin’s new paper on ocean temperatures.

  3. Robin Pittwood on 26/01/2014 at 4:22 pm said:

    If anyone wants to read the history via the Climategate emails as summarised by Anthony Watts over at WUWT, here is a useful link.

  4. Richard C (NZ) on 27/01/2014 at 8:16 pm said:

    Jim Salinger was on board at UofA I thought. I’m more interested in his itemized list of “lots of errors” that NZCSET made auditing the 7SS according to him.

    SimonP pointed us at BEST a couple of days ago as corroboration for NIWA. Turned out worthwhile. Ironically, BEST’s Albert Park station breakpoint adjusted trend corroborates the Trust’s to-the-letter application of RS93 (of which Jim Salinger was co-author) for the Auckland location but falls very far below NIWA’s trend.

    BEST’s breakpoint adjustment method (probably cited in BEST’s Methods paper somewhere) appears to be similar to BOM’s ACORN-SAT because there’s lots of “empirical break” adjustments, far more than actual site change adjustments in some places. But that is not to say the adjustments are not valid. They seem reasonable but I’ve only really skimmed over some. The BEST long running station series resulting from breakpoint adjustment have trends below NIWA’s corresponding locations and not much above the Trust’s for BEST’s Albert Park, Kelburn, and Mussselburgh stations for example, which correspond to 7SS locations Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin respectively.

    The warming begins at BEST when they then run the adjusted stations through their infilling algorithm (they make up data) to produce location and national composite output but more on that below and in the following comment(s).

    First the corroboration repeated from a previous thread. BEST’s Albert Park adjustment process here:

    After breakpoint alignment they get 0.64 °C / Century for Albert Park (AP) but that doesn’t account for AP’s UHI and sheltering contamination (no UHI Quality Control).

    Starting AP at 1910 wouldn’t change the BEST trend much either way from 0.64 going by the data but adjusting for UHI and sheltering makes all the difference. In the Trust’s Audit SI on page 57 – 59 they arrive at an AP non-climatic (UHI/sheltering) trend from 1916 – 1974 of 0.91°C/century, or 0.0091°C/year. Correction for that amounts to 0 at 1916 increasing to -0.53°C at 1974 and -0.53°C thereafter that must be subtracted from the data BEFORE finding the trend. See Audit SI here:

    Supplementary Information: Statistical Audit of the NIWA 7-Station Review

    I haven’t actually calculated the UHI/sheltering correction and trend so it’s a matter of doing it by eye. The AP comparison before BEST UHI adjustment is:

    NIWA method Auckland 1910-2009
    1.53 °C/century
    BEST method Albert Park 1853-2013 (no UHI adjustment)
    0.65 °C/century
    Rhoades & Salinger method Auckland 1910-2009 (UHI adjusted)
    0.48 °C/century

    Even at this stage BEST corroborates NZCSET’s Rhoades & Salinger method but not NIWA’s variation of it. But once the UHI/sheltering correction is applied to BEST there is easily the possibility that on equal terms (same time period) BEST’s UHI adjusted AP trend would coincide with the R&S trend,or even lower than it, giving a situation something like this:

    BEST method Albert Park 1910-2009 (UHI adjusted)
    0.3 to 0.5 °C/century
    Rhoades & Salinger method Auckland 1910-2009 (UHI adjusted)
    0.48 °C/century

    Thus BEST corroborates the NZCSET’s RS93 0.48 °C/century Auckland trend and eliminates NIWA – congratulations Jim!

    But now BEST’s Auckland location series:

    Somehow, they contrive to turn the long term 0.65 °C/century Albert Park trend that is little changed if starting from 1910 rather than 1853 into a 0.99 °C/century Auckland trend from 1910 by pulling in other stations in addition to AP. Searching for “Auckland” returns different Lat’Lon references so I’ve listed two Lat/Lon locations from “Auckland” searches starting with the nearest

    This list “near” Auckland 36.17 S, 175.03 E corresponding to the graph above includes WELLINGTON, KELBURN:

    Station Name Months Distance (km) Earliest Most Recent
    MOKOHINAU AWS 220 30.93 Sep 1994 Oct 2013
    AUCKLAND WHENUAPAI AP 480 72.09 Jan 1951 Dec 1990
    AUCKLAND, ALBERT PARK 1904 90.59 Jun 1853 Oct 2013
    AUCKLAND AERO AWS 229 95.12 Aug 1994 Oct 2013
    CAPE BRETT 8 128.16 Mar 1954 Nov 1954

    This list “near” Auckland 37.78 S, 174.92 E (graph not linked) includes DUNEDIN MUSSELBURGH:

    Station Name Months Distance (km) Earliest Most Recent
    AUCKLAND AERO AWS 229 86.10 Aug 1994 Oct 2013
    AUCKLAND, ALBERT PARK 1904 93.68 Jun 1853 Oct 2013
    TAURANGA AERO AWS 274 113.51 Aug 1990 Oct 2013
    TAURANGA AERODROME 180 113.67 Jan 1973 Jan 1989
    AUCKLAND WHENUAPAI AP 480 120.80 Jan 1951 Dec 1990
    TAUPO AWS 206 146.21 Sep 1996 Oct 2013

    No Te Aroha or Ruakura note.

    # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # #

    Next comment, a case study of BEST Hamilton. Or, how to create a 0.98 °C/century trend when your nearest data is AUCKLAND AERO AWS 86kms away.

    Hamilton graph here:

    The Hamilton location station list can be accessed from “More stations…” on the sidebar.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 30/01/2014 at 12:15 am said:

      BEST Hamilton & Waikato temperature case study.

      If there is one case that proves BEST’s methodology is highly suspect, at least for New Zealand orography, this is it. They neglect local station data. They neglect UHI/sheltering adjustment. They impute Auckland micro climate to the entire Waikato district south of Auckland without recourse to any Waikato data whatsoever. Their Auckland output profile doesn’t correspond to the trend of the local long running Albert Park they use as input for Auckland either (but which does correspond to NZCSET’s Auckland because pre-1976 is Albert Park but not NIWA’s trend as shown elsewhere), but I digress

      Auckland is bounded by two harbours and ocean on either side. Not surprisingly then, It is very humid in the warmer months at times. The Waikato is landlocked except to the north and is bounded on the east and west by mountain ranges. it is frosty in the cooler months and fog fills the basin regularly. Tauranga is on the other side of the eastern mountain range beside the ocean in the Bay of Plenty but BEST imputes that climate to the Waikato too as we will see.

      Hamilton (Elev. 40m) is to the west of the Waikato basin and Te Aroha is on the eastern side under the Kaimai mountain range. There are measurement series for both Hamilton (Ruakura) and Te Aroha but BEST does not use either. Te Aroha is a high quality “B” station as classified by Jim Hessell (1980). An A station being contaminated by UHI, sheltering, missing data and such like and a B station being problem free. Throughout New Zealand, Hessel found that B stations invariably exhibited minimal warming (even cooling) but A stations considerable warming. Ruakura did not make either A or B classification. Hessell (1980) is here:

      ‘Apparent trends of mean temperature in New Zealand since 1930’

      The Te Aroha 40 year 1930 – 1970 trend is 0.05°C or 0.0125°C/decade. The Te Aroha profile is shown on Hessell Figure 4 and is similar to the BEST Hamilton profile (linked below) over the same period but with 1930 at the same level as 1970 whereas BEST has 1930 considerably lower than 1970 presumably due to non adjustment for UHI/sheltering at Albert Park.

      Most importantly, note Te Aroha is at about 14.4 °C in 1930 and about 14.6 °C in 1970.

      NIWA compiled a 79 year Ruakura series 1931 – 2009 for their Eleven Station Series (11SS), data for that here:

      NIWA’s Ruakura series is a very simple profile. Basically, a 0.7°C rise over the first 40 years 1931 – 1970 and negligible warming (flat) for the second 40 years 1970 – 2009 (0.04°C). But many trees were planted at Ruakura when the research station was established that grew to near maturity by the 1970s and the urban fringe extended out to the station over that time. Accordingly, adjustment for UHI and sheltering would have to be made to Ruakura similar to that made to Albert Park by the NZCSET Statistical Audit (see Supplementary Information). The Albert Park adjustment is substantial (-0.53°C from the data by 1973 from 0 at 1916) but NIWA did not make that adjustment, neither was a similar adjustment made for Ruakura as far as I know.

      In other words, NIWA’s 1931 – 1970 Ruakura trend is highly suspect, the series is very low quality, but the profile can be directly compared to BEST Hamilton anyway for our purposes. The high quality series that defines eastern Waikato climate 1930 – 1970 is Te Aroha. The thing to remember is that neither BEST Hamilton (actually Albert Park) nor NIWA Hamilton (Ruakura) are adjusted for UHI/sheltering. BEST Albert Park here:

      Enough of the background, now to look at BEST Hamilton here:

      Compare to BEST Auckland here:

      As we will see below, BEST Hamilton absolute level is far too high over the 20th century, or, if compared to Te Aroha, their 2000 level is spot on Te Aroha in 1970 and just a little above Te Aroha in 1930. But their 1930 and 1970 levels are ridiculously low compared to Te Aroha.

      But there is something else that is glaringly apparent – the Hamilton and Auckland profiles are identical. So except for the Auck-Ham difference of absolute level, the entire Hamilton profile is duplicated from somewhere else. The BEST Hamilton stations are actually these (and the others on the linked list too) accessed from “More stations…” on the sidebar:

      List of Stations Near 37.78 S, 174.92 E – Hamilton:

      AUCKLAND AERO AWS 229 86.10 Aug 1994 Oct 2013
      AUCKLAND, ALBERT PARK 1904 93.68 Jun 1853 Oct 2013
      TAURANGA AERO AWS 274 113.51 Aug 1990 Oct 2013
      TAURANGA AERODROME 180 113.67 Jan 1973 Jan 1989
      AUCKLAND WHENUAPAI AP 480 120.80 Jan 1951 Dec 1990
      TAUPO AWS 206 146.21 Sep 1996 Oct 2013

      Only Taupo is in the Waikato district but very much South Waikato and completely different environs to Hamilton but they could only start using that in 1996 anyway. If Te Aroha had been used, the 14.4°C in 1930 and 14.6°C in 1970 would have produced higher levels in BEST Hamilton for that period similar to their 14.5 2000 level instead of 13.7 and 14. But NIWA reports that the 2013 Hamilton mean was 14,2°C, 0.6 above average. So the climatological average for Hamilton is 13.6°C (14.2 – 0.6), well below BEST’s 20th century levels anyway. Obviously, Ruakura is cooler than Te Aroha.

      NIWA’s 1930 absolute without adjustment works out to be 12,47, a bit low compared to Te Aroha 14.4. NIWA 1970 is more realistic at 13.2 and 2000 at 13.64. This indicates Ruakura was perhaps 1.4°C cooler than Te Aroha’s 14.6°C at 1970 giving around 13 in Hamilton instead of 12,47 at 1930 if a 1.4 difference is applied but that’s conjecture, a proper adjustment should be made to Ruakura.

      Now the profile trend comparisons that can be (roughly) made:

      0.0125°C/decade Hessell Te Aroha 1930 – 1970
      0.098 °C/decade BEST Hamilton 1930 – 1970 using 1910 – 2010 trend
      7.84 times more slope

      0.01 °C/decade NIWA Ruakure 1970 – 2009
      0.107 °C/decade BEST Hamilton 1970 – 2009 using 1960 – 2010 trend
      10.7 times more slope.

      Clearly, BEST methodology is invalid in the case of Hamilton because when actual measured temperatures are used to check the kriged (interpolated i.e. made up) BEST output from their mathematical model, neither the absolute values, nor or the profile, nor the trends, are verified.

      And if BEST is invalid for Hamilton and the Waikato, then it is probably invalid for large swathes of the rest of the world too.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 30/01/2014 at 8:29 am said:

      BEST’s Auckland, Tauranga and Hamilton series are all but exactly the same. The only difference is the series moves up and down the y axis.

      BEST Auckland

      BEST Tauranga

      BEST Hamilton

      NIWA’s regional summaries for 2013 (average is 1971-2000 mean ??):

      • Auckland: mean temperature 15.9C (0.5C above average [15.4 vs 15.7 BEST approx])

      • Tauranga: mean temperature 15.8C (0.9C above average [14.9 vs 14.1 BEST approx])

      • Hamilton: mean temperature 14.2C (0.6C above average [13.6 vs 14.3 BEST approx])

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