Egos of NIWA

John Morgan, the Chief Executive Officer of NIWA, perhaps the country’s premier scientific institute, has misled the press and the people of New Zealand. He made a public claim of international recognition of NIWA’s temperature adjustment methods but refuses to provide evidence of that recognition. How can anyone believe him?

After NIWA published a review of the national temperature record (called “the Review”) in December 2010, the NZ Climate Science Coalition asked them how they adjusted the temperatures. What method did they use? It’s a reasonable question. If you knew that, you could try to replicate NIWA’s results. Replication is what science is all about.

They’ve waffled on for THREE YEARS that their method is “internationally recognised”. They even convinced a High Court judge, Justice Venning, who in his judgement intoned dutifully: “the methodology applied by NIWA was in accordance with internationally recognised and credible scientific methodology” [para 182].

NIWA presented not a single shred of evidence for that assertion — yet Venning believed them anyway.

Now John Morgan has made the same statement in public so he’s fair game, in my view, for a bit of pressure. In a statement to the media last October he specifically claimed that NIWA’s temperature adjustment methodology was “internationally recognised.” I’ve asked him to verify his claim with evidence and he has three times refused to provide it.

If this was a South Auckland finance company such obfuscation could be understandable. But this is a bunch of scientists and it’s just not good enough!

It’s strange that not a single journalist has yet become curious about Morgan’s peculiar mulishness.

This isn’t a complex matter. We don’t have to go into any science, or describe how non-climatic factors like new roads or changing the thermometer or even painting the instrument shelter can affect the recorded temperatures and we don’t need to know any mathematics or technical terms.

All we need to do is observe the absence of a sensible answer. Can you observe an absence of something? Yes, provided you pay attention.

We’re not going away. Why does Morgan claim international recognition when it doesn’t exist?

I mean, why bother?

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Robin Pittwood

His quote from the article is “The methodology applied by Niwa was in accordance with internationally recognised … methodology.” We should also consider the quality of the so-called internationally recognised methodology. I have read of other countries doing a similar treatment to their records. So if international standards are at a similar (poor) level, his statement is true.

Well, fair enough. I always assumed it was true and just thought he should verify it. I hope it’s not true in the way you describe, by their methods being merely as bad as some others. Whatever the truth, it’s important that one way or another this manager of a public institution be required to observe his duty to tell the truth. Science is truth, so without that, what is NIWA?


Even so, you’d think he would have provided a reference to some shonky paper that’s been used as justification elsewhere. What is most irritating about NIWA is that they don’t even pretend to be interested in the right way to do statistics!

Wayne Mapp, when Minister of Science, told Parliament that NIWA would prepare a scientific paper justifying their temperature adjustments, and this paper would be submitted to a respected science journal for independent peer-review. Why didn’t that ever happen?

Mapp also said the NIWA adjustments would be reviewed by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM). Well it was, and BOM didn’t agree with what NIWA had done. So NIWA refused to disclose the BOM review under the OIA, or to the Court. It’s still being kept secret.

Augie Auer was right. NIWA’s climate section should be disbanded and the work given back to the MetService.

Robin Pittwood

Best to get someone from ACT to raise the question to the minister in parliament after the election.

They still have an MP?


I’d say they probably will after the election.

I hope they do.

Richard C (NZ)

Speaking of ego, seen at Hot Topic (only fleeting visits these days – this one was fun thanks to biofarmer): [the biofarmer] – “Here is what the RSS group has recently reported……….” [noelfuller] – “By the way – what is this RSS group you keep citing? Of the many RSS groups identified by Google I can’t find one that represents research and evidence and data handling on climate change to match the hundreds of scientists actually doing the research reported and summarised by the IPCC process. On the other hand I’m years familiar with the memes of FUD which is so obviously what is implied by these words cited above.” Just for Noel (in lieu of advice from Gareth of the gentle aside kind, not in comments anyway): Remote Sensing Systems | Providing the data you depend on “Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) is a world leader in processing and analyzing microwave data collected by satellite microwave sensors. Our mission is to provide research-quality geophysical data to the global scientific community.” Research (Mears and Wentz, RSS) includes the self-indicting “Santer’s 17 years” (i.e. some catch-up for poor Noel) Santer, B. D.,… Read more »

Alexander K

Not to mention good ole knickers-in-a -twist anger at being shown to be wrong again!
The behaviour/rants at HT some time ago put me off visiting there there ever again, even just for a look!

Mike Jowsey

Bryan Leyland’s graph of NIWA adjustments is used in a Monckton article at WUWT wherein the stupid paper by Lovejoy is treated with the contempt it deserves:

Figure 1. Annual New Zealand national mean surface temperature anomalies, 1990-2008, from NIWA, showing a warming rate of 0.3 Cº/century before “adjustment” and 1 Cº/century afterward. This “adjustment” is 23 times the Lovejoy measurement error.

Richard C (NZ)

“This study will be a blow to any remaining climate-change deniers,” Lovejoy says. “Their two most convincing arguments – that the warming is natural in origin, and that the computer models are wrong – are either directly contradicted by this analysis, or simply do not apply to it.”

I’m going with – “or simply do not apply to it”.

Richard C (NZ)

Shaun Lovejoy is in for a wild ride, so much fodder. For what it’s worth from me (this paper already being dismembered like a spit-roast pig), some solar background from Shapiro et al (2011) for context of Lovejoy’s use of Wang et al. 2005 and Krivova et al. 2007. ‘A new approach to long-term reconstruction of the solar irradiance leads to large historical solar forcing’, A. I. Shapiro, W. Schmutz, E. Rozanov, M. Schoell, M. Haberreiter, A. V. Shapiro, and S. Nyeki (2011) 1. Introduction […] Long-term changes in solar irradiance were suspected as early as the mid-nineteenth century (C. P. Smyth 1855). One of the first quantitative estimates of its magnitude as well as past solar irradiance reconstructions was obtained by using the observations of solar-like stars (Lean et al. 1995). It was concluded that TSI during the Maunder minimum was about 3– 4 W/m2 less than at present which translates into a solar ra diative forcing1 FP−M∼ 0.5–0.7 W/m2. However, these results were not confirmed by large surveys of solar-like stars and are no longer considered to be correct Hall & Lockwood (2004). Recent reconstructions based on the magnetic field… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

Lovejoy the statistician neglects ocean oscillation (other than just a “residual”) that climate science (even Mann – a little) is now acknowledging as a significant factor in temperature. The latest positive PDO peak of which occurred in the early 2000s coinciding with the solar Grand Maximum as shown by Shapiro et al Fig 2 top right and AMO follows PDO i.e. temperature boosts superimposed on a temperature boost. Hence, PDO+AMO+sunspot integral explains 96% of climate variability without recourse to CO2. Basically, Lovejoy – like Jones, Lockwood, and Stott – adopts solar cases little more than least-case and ignores the oscillating effect of the planet’s largest heat sink. I do note however that he does actually consider RF-ocean-atmosphere thermal lags from Hansen and Lean & Rind (not that it helps his case) that are new to me. So now I can extend my lag list: 14 yrs – Abdussamatov (thermodynamic mid-range) 12 yrs – Scafetta (statistical mid-range) 6, 10-100 yrs – Trenberth (empirical) 10 yrs – Lean & Rind (empirical) 25-50 yrs – Hansen et al. (model) As Nicola Scafetta and others have pointed out, Lovejoy truncates his observational series from 1880 – 2008… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

>”his [Lovejoy’s] CO2 and temperature will diverge radically after a few more 5 year running average datapoints”

His series ends 2008 so his last 5 yr running average datapoint is 2003. To get up to date 2008 – 2014 he will have to add another 5 x 5 yr running averages. But 5 yr smoothing can only mask the divergence for so long, there’s about another 17 years of pause (a 30 yr phase) to contend with after that (and the solar cooling).

Dropping up to date data and smoothing makes his Fig 3b and 3c graphs look good for a while (not that he’s the first warmist to ever truncate a series) but who is he fooling?

Richard C (NZ)

>Lovejoy – “For reference, current (2012) RFCO2 is estimated as ≈ 1.9 W/m2″ RFCO2 is at TOA, not at the surface. To get RFCO2 at surface TOA forcing must be reduced by more than a third (according to Hansen). The original radiative energy source for TOA RFCO2 is solar energy in a much higher energy-per-photon band of the electromagnetic spectrum that has been transferred via ocean and land. Not all TOA solar forcing energy reaches the surface but what does is an effective surface heating agent (and the actual energy amounts are higher than the IPCC’s dodgy RF methodology that only starts at 1750 and neglects day-time tropical peak insolation by global averaging anyway). Once that solar-sourced energy is re-emitted from ocean (either as radiation, sensible and latent heat, and most from higher latitudes to where it entered and possibly decades later) and land the radiative component is in a degraded state in a lower energy level EM band and incapable of being a heating agent on surface material again by GHG re-emission back to planetary heat sinks. In other words, even a small change in solar energy input to the climate system… Read more »


Radio NZ this morning interviews James Renwick about the liquidation of the NZCSET

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