Salinger’s status: secret?

By the end of my post Salinger’s status clarified earlier today we were assured by Professor Paul Kench, the friendly Head of the School of Environment, University of Auckland, that Dr Jim Salinger is, indeed, an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Auckland.

I had queried the fact because the current UofA web site no longer mentions Dr Salinger as an honorary appointment. So far, so good.

Then I looked up the current 2014 calendar. On the first page it says:

The University of Auckland 2014 Calendar

The University of Auckland Calendar is our official publication including academic statutes and regulations governing admission, enrolment, fees and examinations. The Calendar sets out degree, diploma, certificate requirements and courses. It also provides key information about the University and its staff.

That apparently carries legal weight and it certainly sounds official to me. I would expect that anything not mentioned in the calendar does not obligate the university. The 2014 calendar does not mention Jim Salinger. Neither is he mentioned in 2013 or 2012.

As I downloaded back issues of the calendar, I found that it listed “Jim Salinger” as an honorary research fellow in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Since then, not at all.

Now, it’s perhaps remotely possible that a late appointment might not make it into one year’s calendar, but it’s impossible to accept that an appointment to the same position for the following year would not be in the calendar. So, from 2012 to 2014 (three years) we must accept that Jim Salinger was not an honorary research fellow at the University of Auckland.

Note that The Conversation web site says: “In 2014 he will be a Visiting Scholar at Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania.” That explains what he’ll be doing this year. Could he at the same time fulfil a post at the University of Auckland? It surely depends on the commitments of the two posts, except that the official UofA calendar doesn’t mention him.

The Conversation web site also states: “He has since [2009] worked as an Honorary Research Associate in Climate Science in the School of Environment at the University of Auckland.” It is highly unlikely they would say that if he was an honorary research associate there right now.

There are some questions about Dr Salinger’s status at Auckland University. So I have just now sent the following email to Professor Kench:

Hi Paul,

This is very mysterious.

I’ve discovered that the UofA 2014 calendar does not mention Dr Salinger. The last time he was cited as a research fellow at Auckland was for 2011.

The Conversation web site says right now: “In 2014 he will be a Visiting Scholar at Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania.”

So I must ask you to please confirm what you say, that Dr Salinger is an honorary research fellow at Auckland University for 2014. In addition, please explain why he is not mentioned in the 2014 calendar, given that you say he was also a research fellow in 2013.

Once you confirm this, I will then inquire of Tasmania what his status there might be.


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11 Thoughts on “Salinger’s status: secret?

  1. Ian Cooper on 28/01/2014 at 12:39 pm said:

    Is this the same Dr Jim Salinger that was quoted in the Manawatu Standard at the beginning of January as stating that we were in for a long hot summer after the 2nd hottest year on record? Just a couple of things wrong with Dr Jim’s prognosis.

    Firstly, and I admit that he is not the only one to not know this, but thanks to a technical problem induced during some other work by technicians on Dec 17th 2013, the temperature readings at the Agresearch site at Turitea near Massey have been corrupted such that when ammended the final figure for 2013 puts it 2nd equal with 1971, 1974 and 1999, not out on its own, and therefore less significant than Dr Jim would have us believe.

    Secondly this January is shaping up as the coldest since 1993, despite a late recovery. Hardly the long hot summer promised. I for one am not surprised that Dr Jim failed to get the near term prediction right. His track record around here is dismal. Back in 2003 at the height of that year’s drought Dr Jim gave a talk on the climate at the Horizon’s Regional Council where he admitted to that he and his then colleagues at NIWA hadn’t seen the drought coming for our region. Another person in the audience, I suspect a local farmer, and I both commented that we saw the onset of that La Nada drought as soon as it kicked in around Xmas/New Years, just as the very severe La Nada drought of 1977-78 did.

    Ten years on and his old colleagues at NIWA also gave the chances of a severe drought occurring in our area, even as late as early February last year, as being very low. I called it at the end of Nov 2012 having warned the staff at P.N.C.C. where I work that there was a very strong chance of a severe La Nada drought over the coming months. Many thought that I was sticking my neck out making such a public statement, but I was confident that I had read the signs right and so it turned out to be.

    Dr Jim may claim to have status with a university of his choice, but as far as I am concerned he has no status with me!

  2. Alexander K on 28/01/2014 at 4:24 pm said:

    Coops, you’ve been around the Manawatu long enough to know that the boffins of Salinger’s ilk only do long range and essentially useless casting of the runes, not the short-term stuff that would be useful to cockies, contractors and others who have weather-dependant occupations.
    Must be nice to have a job where one can make idiotic forecasts and have the luxury of knowing that one will be dead and gone long before any question of professional and personal accountability arises.
    The years I spent on farms in the same region gave me a little environmental knowledge of the practical kind, so that when I relocated to SE UK, my first impression of the whole of the Midlands was of a very large flood risk if those who carried the responsibility of looking after the rural environment forgot the basics; the current spate of flooding in that region has borne out my first impressions. It seems that those responsible for maintaining rivers and drainage systems in general have done almost nothing for some years and their inactivity is now biting their collective bums.

    • Ian Cooper on 28/01/2014 at 10:15 pm said:

      Yes Alexander you have nailed that one going by accounts I have read elsewhere about the flooding in the south of the UK recently. This reminds me that this Feb 16th marks the 10th anniversary of the “14 River Floods,” (my name for them) that devastated large areas of the Lower North Island on both sides of the divide.

      The river closest to me, the Oroua, is a major tributary of the Manawatu. I became trapped on an island no more than 500mm high in a sea of dirty brown water some 16 or so hours after the stopbanks on the true right side burst in a dozen places in the Kopane region. Horizons Regional Council have completed a lot of work relating to many rivers in the region as a result of what happened near me and the lessons learnt. The biggest lesson, maintenance of stopbanks, and in some cases a re-estimate of those bank’s abilities to handle very large floods. At the time the Oroua was considered to have been through a 1 in 250 year event.

      During all of the tumult that was going on in the area I realized that the authorities would know very little of the detail of what was happening over the whole area such was the scale of the event. I decided to monitor the rising creek next to me, known as “Sluggish Creek” but it was anything but for the 4 days around the floods. I placed a peg next to the water’s edge and proceeded to measure down to water level at every hour from 11 p.m. The rising rate remained at 40mm per hour through to 5 a.m. At 6a.m. it was down to 20mm, and at 7 it was only 10mm, so I finally went to bed as there was still another 500mm to go before it even crossed the ground. After barely 2 hours kip I was awoken by a group of soldiers from Linton. They weren’t convinced that I knew more about what was going on than they did and left with the threat that it would cost me if I had to be helicoptered out. That never happened. I had power but no phone.

      The thing was Horizons had no idea that all of the water that was swirling around in the Kopane Basin was still full of so much energy and must have reached the point when the miniscus overflowed into the surrounding country. It took three days to reach Rangiotu about 13 km away down Main Drain Road, they had assumed around noon on the first day after water had stopped pouring through the breaches that the event was all but over and only the mopping up was still needed! I guess their models didn’t account for that.

      I didn’t have to imagine how much angular momentum was still in that angry water as it constently flowed past my house and in many cases back up the tributaries of Sluggish Creek. It almost made it into Rongotea via this method through the backdoor of the drainage channels on the NW side of the town. This surprised many in the area. Mind you I knew we were in the shit when I saw a 70 year old local with his jaw hanging low as he watched the water charging ‘up-hill’ in the drain near his place!

      The thing that really riles me about our servants at NIWA is surely they know enough about things like the SAM and connections with different phases of ENSO and the PDO that they can be better at their predictions which are so wishy-washy as to be useless. If someone with absolutely no qualifications can pick the correlation between some Manawatu droughts and the La Nada phase of ENSO then surely those who are paid to study these things would have the time to nail this down and get it fine tuned. I am only a true amateur with limited time to apply to this. I think the reliance on computer models leaves these scientists out of touch with the reality we experience.

  3. Richard C (NZ) on 28/01/2014 at 6:05 pm said:

    Alexander >”Must be nice to have a job where one can make idiotic forecasts and have the luxury of knowing that one will be dead and gone long before any question of professional and personal accountability arises”

    I’m not so sure they will be gone Alexander. I think the accountability is required right now and we can monitor their prediction progress. The latest MfE “guidance manual” is the second edition of “Climate Change Effects and Impacts Assessment”, published in 2008. According to the MfE:

    “This Guidance Manual was prepared by David Wratt, Brett Mullan and Jim Salinger (NIWA), Sylvia Allen and Tania Morgan (MWH New Zealand Ltd), and Gavin Kenny (Earthwise Consulting), in consultation with a range of people from local government organisations. It follows a specification prepared by the Climate Change Office of the Ministry for the Environment.”

    The manual is here:

    See, 2 Projections of Future New Zealand Climate Change, Table 2.1: Main features of New Zealand climate change projections for 2040 and 2090

    The projection statement for “Magnitude of change” is “All-scenario average 0.9°C by 2040, 2.1°C by 2090 (**)”. That is in respect to 1990, the annual mean then was 12.99°C and 0,9 is 0.36 rise required 1990 to 2010, or somewhere around 12.99 + 0.36 = 13.35°C

    So how did they go? The average of the 5 years centred on 2010 was 12.71°C so not only were they 0.64°C short of their 2008 forecast, it was 0.28°C cooler than their 1990 base year. Fortunately for them 2013 was 13,4°C so they’re back on track – perhaps. Given 2013 was one-out-of-the-box I don’t think they’re off the hook.

  4. Richard C (NZ) on 28/01/2014 at 7:04 pm said:

    >”So how did they go?”

    The funny thing is, in 2008, NIWA’s projection was already more than 0.4°C too high anyway.

  5. Richard C (NZ) on 29/01/2014 at 8:20 am said:

    Re the 2008 MfE/NIWA projection above, we must not forget the earlier projections too.

    Here’s the superseded May 2004 MfE/NIWA “guidance manual” projection archived at MfE:

    All they did was extrapolate pre-2000 data. But since 1998 with updated data, the trend has been cooling, and since 1999 has been dead flat. Only when 1998/99 is neglected is there a small rise since 2000 and that is only because 2013 was unusually warm but only at the same level as 1998/99..

    Nearly 10 years have elapsed since 2004 so time for an accounting – even the lower bound of their 2004 projection is all but out-of-the-money, let alone their middle expectation.

  6. Alexander K on 30/01/2014 at 9:25 am said:

    Richard, we must be doing something incorrectly – when I read a small selection of newspapers from around the world, which I do on most mornings, I frequently find articles written by obvious warmists who seem not to be rowing with both oars in the water who are telling us members of the great unwashed that the world is spinning on to warming hell. Most of the MSM seem not to be interested in real-world observations, with rare exceptions such as the excellent reporting in yesterday’s UK Daily Mail about the causes of this year’s flooding on the UK’s Somerset Levels.
    It seems that once scary stuff gets a foothold in the minds of the press and the general public it clings on forever, almost as if the greater mass of humankind want to be frightened by some irrational bogey man or other.
    Is there some mental mechanism in the mind of Man that demands an irrational religion?

  7. This issue of adjusting out steps as done by NIWA and all IPCC compliant groups – is getting some exposure again. This time through a paper detailing the effect of adjusting out effects of site moves at Beijing.
    As I say – Global temperature trends would be more accurately assesed by just gridding the raw data. Leave the steps in – in the absence of all the hard work to adjust out UHI warming – this will produce a trend closest to reality.
    How many times does a truth have to be told ? – UHI warming has been cemented into global temperature series by adjusting for steps outward from cities

    • Richard C (NZ) on 31/01/2014 at 2:25 pm said:

      Warwick, re step adjustments, gridding sites, UHI etc. I’ve posted a couple of lengthy comments on that topic starting here:

      There’s 2 separate issues:

      1) Compilation of long running contiguous location series where spacially separated sites are adjusted to be in terms with one “reference” site at one specific Lat/Lon (e.g. 7SS).

      2) Compilation of series where the site data remains unadjusted (but not necessarily – see below) at the grid Lat/Lon where the data was measured as you suggest. BEST is a bit like that except they then make up masses of “data” by interpolation (which in at least one NZ district is completely invalid – see below)

      I’ve no problem with 1) if the adjustment is done properly and as you can see from my first comment at the link, BEST’s breakpoint adjustment actually corroborates the NZCSET Auckland trend even though BEST doesn’t adjust for non-climatic influence (UHI/sheltering) but NZCSET does, but BEST eliminates NIWA’s Auckland trend.

      The problem with 2) is where a site change is at the same site or a very short move i.e. essentially the same Lat/Lon. You cannot leave the data unadjusted in that case but you can if there is sufficient separation (whatever that is). For example, if Albert Park was left in the series after Mangere started there is no need for adjustment because there is sufficient separation and an overlap (i.e.there’s diversification). That doesn’t work for a series as in 1) however.

      As you can see from my second comment at the link, BEST (of type 2) above) output is not verified by checking their interpolated “data” (i.e. made up) with actual readings in the case of Hamilton and Waikato even though their input data is essentially type 1) data.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 31/01/2014 at 4:55 pm said:

      WUWT commentary on the UHI paper Warwick is referring to is here:

      I suspect that the CONUS Class 1&2 and Class 3,4, and 5 stations correspond to Hessell (1980) “B” and “A” stations respectively (yes I’ve got B and A round the right way).

      Throughout New Zealand, Hessel found that B stations (CONUS Class 1&2) invariably exhibited minimal warming (even cooling) but A stations considerable warming.

      Hessell (1980) is here:

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

      Needless to say (but I will), B stations are like gold for NZ temperature series compilation.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 31/01/2014 at 5:29 pm said:

      The update at WUWT by Steve McIntyre refers to “The Menne algorithm…”.

      The Menne and Williams (2009) method used for the continental United States (CONUS) is the basis BOM has adopted for their ACORN-SAT series with appropriate variation for AU.

      From what I can gather (i.e. I could be wrong here), the Menne algorithm doesn’t come close to results obtained by adjustment of Hessell’s “B” stations (Class 3, 4 and 5 CONUS) by use of “A” station standards (Class 1&2 CONUS). Te Aroha is a B station for example, Albert Park is an A station.

      In other wards, in the absence of adjustment to B station and Class 1&2 standard, as Steve M puts it:

      “The Menne algorithm removes the downward steps, but, in terms of estimating “natural” temperature, the unsliced series would be a better index than concatenating the sliced segments.”

      That is Warwick’s point too I think. i prefer the NZCSET/Hessell approach at Albert Park of adjusting to Te Aroha B station standard as per guidance of Hessell (1980). See Statistical Audit, Supplementary Information, Auckland section page 55:

      If an adjustment to B station (Class 1&2) standard can’t be made then the McIntyre/Hughes approach is certainly better than Menne.

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