You’re not wrong, Warwick

[These comments on the availability of NZ temperature records from the ever-watchful Warwick Hughes in Australia may draw useful information from someone.]

Source: Confused reporting of cold in New Zealand | Errors in IPCC climate science

The headline in The NZ Herald says New Zealand hit by record cold temperatures overnight, yet a reading of the article gives no examples of actual records, only some bone-chilling -20°C overnight lows in the South Island. Hopefully some Kiwis might have better information.

The Met Office over there and NIWA have very poor online data sources to check weather history. The Australian BoM is light-years ahead with their website.

Kiwis who are interested in weather history would be better served by the NZ weather authorities abandoning their pitiful website efforts and contracting that weather history stuff out to the BoM.

I would like to have more to contribute on this, but I don’t. Anyone else? – RT

Views: 90

9 Thoughts on “You’re not wrong, Warwick

  1. Thanks Richard – here is a url to what I refer to at the BoM www site –
    If you want to check past periods for actual rainfall or temperature – make a choice – select your region, timescale – a day, a week, a month, 3 months etc etc etc – move your day back in time – choose whatever parameter – actual readings or anomalies or percentages. A useful site for quickly getting a handle on how the country has been traveling weather wise.
    If there is something similar for NZ – please somebody let me know.
    If you just want the days weather observations or forecasts click on your State at the BoM front page and select from drop-down menu.

  2. Richard Treadgold on 23/06/2015 at 8:43 pm said:

    Amazing. Thanks, Warwick.

  3. Richard C (NZ) on 23/06/2015 at 10:46 pm said:

    I think by “record” the Herald means “near record”. TV has been quoting the actual record (see below) but the Herald are just spinning it.

    NIWA has a climate extremes page:

    New Zealand climate extremes, updated up until 31 December 2012

    #Climate data were sourced from the National Climate Database, CliFlo, with all data from mainland New Zealand stations included. All temperature data from stations below 500 m AMSL were included.

    Lowest air temperature:
    North Island –13.6 Chateau Tongariro 7 July 1937
    South Island –25.6 Ranfurly, Eweburn 17 July 1903*

    If Ranfurly, Eweburn was a site in say the Lincoln or Dunedin locations, the temperature record 17 July 1903 would change after homogenization adjustments depending on the cumulative adjustment.

    Using Dunedin, NIWA’s cum 7SS adj is +0.25 making the record -25.35.
    Using Lincoln, NIWA’s cum 7SS adj is -0.97 making the record -26.57.

    This of course applies to EVERY adjusted site reading on EVERY day if homogenized. NIWA’s VCSN is non-homogenized (that I can see) i.e. all the site readings retain data integrity (don’t change). If the 1903 record had occurred post 1972 when VCSN commenced, the record would still be –25.6 in VCSN – no adjustment.

    CliFlo raw data was accessed to determine the record. VCSN is just CliFlo raw data. A homogenized location series, like 7SS Dunedin or Lincoln, could not be used to determine the record even if the record occurred within either series.

    So in terms of extreme records, homogenized data is useless. And I’m now inclined to think useless in every other respect too because of this.

    In Australia it is very obvious from the old (unused by BOM) records that the late 1800s were as warm as today and that the homogenized ACORN, HQ, GISS, BEST series have distorted history grotesquely. Posts on this at JoNova and Warwick may be able to add to this too. I suspect similar for New Zealand from the late 1800s CliFlo data I’ve looked at, particularly for Dunedin sites.

  4. Richard C (NZ) on 23/06/2015 at 11:18 pm said:

    Warwick, you can get all the NZ data from NIWAs’ VCS:

    “Virtual climate station (VCS) data are estimates of daily rainfall, potential evapotranspiration, air and vapour pressure, maximum and minimum air temperature, soil temperature, relative humidity, solar radiation, wind speed and soil moisture on a regular (~5km) grid covering the whole of New Zealand. The estimates are produced every day, based on the spatial interpolation of actual data observations made at climate stations located around the country.”

    But you will have to pay for it now:

    Climate-Smart Farmers

    “Well from 13th October 2014 we have a problem. We no longer have access to the Virtual Climate Station network that drives the weekly climate updates. NIWA, the Crown-owned agency that holds this data has decided to terminate access and deny this information to landusers, unless you pay a fee to use their NIWA FarmMet subscription service. We think we had developed, in collaboration with NIWA, a pretty useful service that helped land users make better decisions using information that was local. And we had plans for working with NIWA to further develop and expand the applications and value of this data for business management. The irony is that a whole lot of the real climate stations that provide the data that NIWA uses for these models is collected across the rural community by farmers.”

    Budget problems at BOM may mean similar things happening in Australia eventually:

    ‘Summer of discontent at BOM’

    “the bureau, which finished 2013-2014 nearly $74 million in the red”

    “BOM staffers, through their union, Professionals Australia, say that years of cuts have left bureau bosses reliant on a Dad’s Army of retired meteorologists to plug the growing gaps in the ranks of its weather specialists.”

  5. Thanks Richard – the day I pay NIWA for anything??? must watch my blood pressure.
    site did not work for me. The farmers should agitate through MP’s to breakdown the NIWA paywall. I wonder if anybody knows what NIWA earns for these pay services. FOI ? I bet NZ would be better off with all citizens having free access to basic online weather data.
    Another BoM site that is useful for rain over last 48 hrs.
    rain stations report as colour coded dots – you can zoom in to a State or district – see rain for current 24 hr period(ends 9am each day) – previous 24 hr period or last hour.
    and there are the radars –
    The Australian Weather News site is another v useful resource Not official BoM –
    click on any district and you get all daily rain and temperatures for current month for most stations reporting. Can also go back into ancient archives. Simple – quick. AWN obviously has a BoM data feed – no idea what the deal is if any.

    If your taste is for monthly or daily historical rain or temp data in spreadsheets the BoM has this site Climate Data Online – tables can be pasted into Excel. Monthly data for all significant stations going back to year dot. Daily data less extensive – much yet to enter.
    This sites lets you play with time series – but these are ACORN adjusted data tweaked with warmer trend.
    If you want climate change fairy story adjusted data there is ACORN –
    ~120 odd stations – most days adjusted by computer –

  6. Richard C (NZ) on 24/06/2015 at 9:58 am said:

    site did not work for me.”

    Does not open or their workaround process doesn’t work for you?

    The workaround works for me up to a point (ARC GIS map browser works) but getting the default plots from the NIWA links doesn’t. I think NIWA are forcing use of FarmMet.

    But VCS data is also accessible free from CliFlo. See the bottom of the Smart-Farmers page:

    STEPS FOR EXTRACTING Virtual Climate Station DATA

    1. Go to
    2. If you do not have a registered cliflo username and password, click on ‘subscribe on-line’ (there is no cost)
    3. Login
    4. On the database query form, click on ‘select datatype’ then ‘special datasets’ then ‘VCSN’
    5. On the database query form, type in the agent number of this VCS point
    6. On the database query form, choose a date range (VCS rainfall data begin on 1/1/1960; VCS wind data begin on 1/1/1997; other VCS data variables begin on 1/1/1972. The data are updated every day at approximately 1pm local time for the 24-hour period up to 9am local time on the same day)
    7. On the database query form, choose an output data format (e.g. ExCel file)
    8. On the database query form, click ‘send query’.

    At 5. you can get the “agent number” from the ARC GIS map browser hotlinked uppage. At this resolution you are just about getting down to individual farm level (2.5 km vicinity) but to get an individual farm’s data (interpolated) you have to go to FarmMet.

    This is the equivalent to BOM’s Climate Data Online when free via CliFlo but interpolated between stations so that you get a “terrain” presentation when subscribed to VCS or FarmMet (see NIWA’s VCS page for examples). I don’t think BOM does that to that degree, their data is station-only. VCS is similar to BEST methodology but predates it (and without the homogenization).

    It’s the “terrain” presentation and extra plotting capability that you pay for. See NIWA’s VCS page for plot examples like:

    Example VCS Daily Water Balance plot for a site near Waipawa, Hawkes Bay.

    Example VCS Daily Rainfall Accumulation plot for a site near Dannevirke, Tararua District.

    Can you get the equivalent of this in Australia and is it free or fee?

  7. Richard C (NZ) on 24/06/2015 at 10:09 am said:

    >”I think by “record” the Herald means “near record”. TV has been quoting the actual record (see below) but the Herald are just spinning it.”

    The Herald is saying the same as TV on this page:

    • -20 degrees recorded at Pukaki, close to the country’s coldest ever recorded of -25.6 in Ranfurly in 1903

    “New Zealand has nearly shuddered itself to the MetService’s record books after Mackenzie Country plummeted to -20 degrees overnight.”

    # # #

    Yes, “nearly” shuddered itself, but 5.6 short.

  8. Andy on 24/06/2015 at 10:15 am said:

    Apparently it got a bit colder (-22?) and the rest of the Mackenzie was around the -15–20 mark

    I’m glad we’ve opted for hot water underfloor heating in our new house being built down there!

  9. Richard C (NZ) on 24/06/2015 at 11:11 am said:

    I wonder how the temperature was measured i.e. were these off-the-shelf weather stations or standard Stevenson’s Screens? There’s weather stations at many farms and backyards now but not standard.

    NIWA’a VCS gathers data from well over 11,000 weather stations around NZ, many (most?) of which are not standard. This is a massive data gathering exercise, I doubt there’s anything like it in Australia on this scale.

    But cold is cold irrespective of where the thermometer is. Good call with underfloor heating Andy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post Navigation