Seriously? 2016 the warmest by 0.01°C

UPDATE 11 Jan 2017: see below

Look at your published data, NIWA

TVNZ trumpets a record year for temperature in New Zealand and around the world. They seem very pleased, as though it’s a creditable step, or as though the ridiculous argument that humans are causing dangerous global warming has been strengthened. Certainly, their newswriter amplifies the magnification:

“It’s official: 2016 was a scorcher. The hottest year ever recorded around the world and here in New Zealand. The nearly one-degree temperature rise fuelling calls for our government to cut greenhouse gas emissions.”

NIWA wheels out a fresh, articulate, American ex-meteorologist and ex-TV show host to put a gloss over this latest global warming message. The sycophantic TVNZ interviewer prompts the NIWA man to parrot the orthodox global warming story but ventures no thinking about it.

A Coalition scientist had a look at NIWA’s Seven-Station Series on the website and discovered a surprising fact: 1998 was hotter than 2016! Only by a teensy-weensy 0.01°C, but it was warmer.

Our premier climatologists have started the year with a rip-snorter of a gaffe.

NIWA released data showing the average national temperature in 2016 was 13.40°C. But we downloaded the latest data file for the seven-station series on NIWA’s web site, which shows clearly that the average temperature in 1998 was 13.41°C.

How can NIWA claim with a straight face that 2016 with the lower temperature is the record year by only 0.01°C?

It’s a strange world where it’s up to bloggers to discover mistakes exaggeration by professionals.

Or are they concealing yet another methodology?

UPDATE 11 Jan 2017

My apologies to the readers, it seems my headline is wrong. As Simon explains in a comment below, I quite misread the facts. I haven’t finished checking, but I thought it sensible to stop misleading people as soon as possible.

A replacement laptop finally arrived after weeks of battle with Acer, so I’ve been setting it up. Normal service will be resumed soon; probably tomorrow. Lovely new laptop. Gigabyte.

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15 Thoughts on “Seriously? 2016 the warmest by 0.01°C

  1. Magoo on 10/01/2017 at 11:04 pm said:

    Have a read of this, NIWA obviously don’t know whether they’re Arthur or Martha:

  2. Simon on 11/01/2017 at 8:08 am said:

    Who is your Coalition scientist?
    The mean is 12.61°C. 12.61 + 0.83°C = 13.44°C which is 13.4°C when rounded to one decimal place.
    The press release clearly states 13.4°C not 13.40°C.

  3. Ian Cooper on 11/01/2017 at 8:27 am said:

    We’ll go with your maths Simon. Having said that isn’t it somewhat disingenuous of NIWA to claim that 2016 is New Zealand’s hottest year evah, when in fact it is equal to 1998. Or aren’t they mentioning that because it goes against the story they are trying to sell to the people who pay their salaries? Those ‘people’ being ‘Us!’

  4. Richard Treadgold on 11/01/2017 at 10:27 am said:


    Thanks for that common sense.

    The mean is 12.61°C.

    Can you supply a reference for that please?

  5. Maggy Wassilieff on 11/01/2017 at 10:28 am said:

    Apart from just appearing on the Whaleoil site, this topic of hottest year in NZ and NIWA’s records has also been discussed over the last couple of days on Pete George’s blog (Your NZ) and David Farrar’s Kiwiblog.

    I have noted that the 2010 review of the 7-station series shows a very large anomaly for 1998 on the revised graph – around +0.9degC;

    I have also noted that in the 2010 summary of NZ Climate 1998 has a temp of 13.5degC; , and this is based on an average temperature (1971-2000) of 12.6, ( identical value to that used for the 2016 running average)

    Somewhere along the line over the last 5-6 years, the 1998 anomaly has dropped by c. 0.1degC;

  6. Gary Kerkin on 11/01/2017 at 2:15 pm said:

    From the cited spreadsheet, downloaded from NIWA’s web site yesterday
    Year Temperature Anomaly
    1998 13.41 0.80
    1999 13.35 0.74
    2000 12.79 0.18
    2001 12.90 0.29
    2002 12.67 0.06
    2003 12.62 0.01
    2004 12.17 -0.44
    2005 13.11 0.50
    2006 12.40 -0.21
    2007 12.67 0.06
    2008 12.86 0.25
    2009 12.29 -0.32
    2010 13.07 0.46
    2011 12.83 0.22
    2012 12.45 -0.15
    2013 13.33 0.72
    2014 12.79 0.18
    2015 12.75 0.14
    The anomaly is referred to 1981-2010.

    The 7SS shows 1998 as having a higher temperature than the claim for 2016. However I will happily acknowledge two points.
    (1) We are discussing temperatures to 1/100ths of a degree, which, frankly is ludicrous and hardly significant.
    (2) I do not know how NIWA arrived at the 2016 average.

    Most discussion about a temperature record for NZ in recent times has focussed on the 7 Station Series which NIWA does not claim as an official record for NZ but which has achieved de facto status as such. NIWA mentions several hundred measuring stations around New Zealand which it monitors but does not appear to say whether these stations all form part of a composite for reaching an average for NZ. It may be recorded in a document or statement somewhere and if so it would be useful to have a reference to it. Correspondingly, if the average is derived from a wider composite other than the 7SS, it would be of considerable interest to have the appropriate values for the other El Niño years. Perhaps those who know more about this than me would be kind enough to post the information, together with a reference to the source(s).

    So, the question is: is the reported 2016 average based on the 7SS, or something else? If the former, then NIWA has got it wrong because to two decimal places, according to the 7SS, 1998 was warmer (by a ridiculous amount). Even to one decimal place, 2016 is not warmer than 1998.

  7. Richard Treadgold on 11/01/2017 at 2:40 pm said:

    Just noticed your comment, Gary, thanks. I’ll come back to this soon.

  8. Gary Kerkin on 11/01/2017 at 3:46 pm said:

    I suppose we have to be grateful for small mercies though. At least NIWA’s statements aren’t quite as emotive as NOOA’s. NIWA referred to 2016 as being the “warmest” year on record. Contrast that with this quote from NOAA.

    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced on Monday that 2016 was the second hottest year in the US.


  9. Gary Kerkin on 11/01/2017 at 10:07 pm said:

    Maggy, I have just reread your comment from above and I apologise for not having picked this point up sooner.

    Somewhere along the line over the last 5-6 years, the 1998 anomaly has dropped by c. 0.1degC;

    The 2010 summary would have used 1971-2000 as the climatological reference period. The 2010 data would not have been available for the climatological period. The most recent information uses 1981-2010 as the reference period, which explains the apparent discrepancy in anomaly.

  10. Maggy Wassilieff on 11/01/2017 at 10:44 pm said:

    @Gary Kerkin
    Yes, I know there are two different reference periods….. and both have 12.6 deg C as the average temperature during the reference periods. (1971-2000) and (1981-2010)

    Is there something I’m not understanding here?

  11. Maggy Wassilieff on 11/01/2017 at 11:12 pm said:

    Here’s what I’m trying to figure out:

    NIWA’s annual climate summary 2016 used the 7- station series to inform us that the ann temperature was 13.4 deg C and that was 0.83 above the 1981-2010 average.
    Therefore the 1981-2010 av ann temp was 12.57 deg C (12.6).

    The 2010 Climate summary was prepared when NIWA was under a lot of scrutiny….and appeared on Jan 11th 2011.
    The report states “The national average temperature for 2010 based on a 7-station series was 13.1 °C, 0.5 °C above the 1971–2000 annual average. 2010 was the 5th warmest year since 1900, based on this 7-station series. The four warmer years were 1971 (+0.6 °C), 1998 (+0.9 °C), 1999 (+0.8 °C), and 2005 (+0.6 °C).”

    So the av ann temp for that 1971-2000 period is also 12.6 (13.1-0.5).

    Why has the 1998 anomaly changed from +0.9 in 2011 to +0.8 in 2016-17?

  12. Gary Kerkin on 11/01/2017 at 11:48 pm said:

    Maggy, according to the latest 7SS spreadsheet the average for 1971-2000 is 12.53ºC. Which raises two questions. (1) If 1971-2000 has the same average as 1981-2010 doesn’t it suggest there was no warming over at least 10 years of the overlapping periods? (2) It comes back to my original question, are the figures NIWA is currently citing based on the 7SS or some other methodology of combining whatever data is used?

  13. Dennis N Horne on 15/01/2017 at 3:40 pm said:

    I guess the descriptor “global” in “global warming and climate change” is irrelevant.

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