This is an old argument, adjusted data versus non adjusted data, and why does the adjusted data show a trend and the unadjusted data does not? We’ve battled this here on WUWT many times with GISS and NCDC, now the battle is spreading down under to New Zealand. And surprise, they cite NCDC’s own adjustment techniques. And it’s the same thing NCDC and GISS does, cool the past and essentially ignore UHI and land use change factors.
Oddly, there seems to be some serious distancing afoot by NIWA, they say essentially “it’s not ours”. I suppose I would too, when you find that you can simply download the raw “unadjusted” data, plot it yourself, and find there there is essentially no trend.
Above graph was noted in this report where they write:
Straight away you can see there’s no slope—either up or down. The temperatures are remarkably constant way back to the 1850s. Of course, the temperature still varies from year to year, but the trend stays level—statistically insignificant at 0.06°C per century since 1850.
Jo Nova sums this up pretty well. So well in fact I think I’ll let her (bold mine):
There’s a litany of excuses. The National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) claims NZ has been warming at 0.92°C per 100 years. But when some independent minded chaps in New Zealand graphed the raw NZ data they found the thermometers show NZ has only warmed by a statistically non-significant 0.06°C. They asked for answer and got nowhere until they managed to get the light of legal pressure onto NIWA to force it to reply honestly. Reading between the lines, it’s obvious NIWA can’t explain nor defend the adjustments.
Richard Treadgold was one of that team and files this report on the Climate Conversation Group Website as shown below. Apparently there’s a legal case ongoing. I’ll have another post on this later. – Anthony
What’s left of the NIWA case?
We hope justice will be done in the case against NIWA. Separate question: what of justice for the NZ temperature record?
The status of the NZ temperature record
For the last ten years, visitors to NIWA’s official website have been greeted by a graph of the “seven-station series” (7SS), under the bold heading “New Zealand Temperature Record”. The graph covers the period from 1853 to the present, and is adorned by a prominent trend-line sloping sharply upwards. Accompanying text informs the world that “New Zealand has experienced a warming trend of approximately 0.9°C over the past 100 years.”
The 7SS has been updated and used in every monthly issue of NIWA’s “Climate Digest” since January 1993. Its 0.9°C (sometimes 1.0°C) of warming has appeared in the Australia/NZ Chapter of the IPCC’s 2001 and 2007 Assessment Reports. It has been offered as sworn evidence in countless tribunals and judicial enquiries, and provides the historical base for all of NIWA’s reports to both Central and Local Governments on climate science issues and future projections.
NIWA has a printed promotional brochure describing its climate activities, which commences with the iconic 7SS graph. No piece of climate lore is more familiar to the public, and it is better known than NIWA’s logo.
But now, para 7(a) of NIWA’s Statement of Defence states that “there is no ‘official’ or formal New Zealand Temperature Record”.
In para 8(b) it says the NZTR is not a public record for the purposes of the Public Records Act, using the exemption of “special collections” defined (in para 4(b)) as non-public records used for “research purposes”.
In para 4, NIWA denies it has any obligation to use the best available data or best scientific techniques, while conceding that it has statutory duties to pursue excellence and to perform its functions efficiently and effectively.
The juxtaposition of these conflicting stances leaves NIWA looking decidedly awkward. Should it go all out to defend its most famous product, or throw the NZTR under a bus?
The 7SS adjustments
The 7SS posed as a genuine historical archive, until the NZCSC disclosed, in its 2009 paper Are We Feeling Warmer Yet, that the warming trend was merely an artefact of NIWA’s in-house ‘corrections’. After a lengthy saga (described in Brill, B.E., 2010a. ‘Crisis in New Zealand climatology’, Quadrant Magazine (May) and Brill, B.E., 2010b. ‘New Zealand climate crisis gets worse’, Quadrant Magazine (June)), it emerged that NIWA had adopted some 34 non-replicable adjustments proposed in 1980 by Salinger, whose calculations had been lost.
The NZCSC filed judicial review proceedings against NIWA, requesting the Court to:
• Declare the 7SS invalid
• Direct NIWA to prepare a valid replacement NZTR
In its Statement of Defence, NIWA announces that it has now completed a full internal examination of the Salinger adjustments in the 7SS, and has forwarded its “review papers” to its Australian counterpart, the Bureaux of Meteorologists (BOM) for peer review.
From ministerial answers to Parliamentary Questions, we know that this “review” has involved five or six scientists working for about six months, and has received a special grant of about $70,000. It comprises a replacement Schedule of Adjustments for the 7SS with de novo documentation and detailed justification for each adjustment.
The Hokitika example at http://www.niwa.co.nz/news-and-publications/news/all/2009/nz-temp-record/seven-station-series-temperature-data (scroll down to Documentation of the adjustment process) has been repeated for all seven weather stations.
The replacement 7SS doesn’t repeat the Salinger adjustments but it is to include any adjustments agreed between NIWA and BOM, both of whom will supposedly apply state-of-the-art homogenisation technology.
So the old 7SS has already been repudiated. A replacement NZTR is being prepared by NIWA – presumably the best effort they are capable of producing. NZCSC is about to receive what it asked for. On the face of it, there’s nothing much left for the Court to adjudicate.
What will happen in the court case?
The proceedings are not yet affected by these developments. If the replacement NZTR is as deeply flawed as its predecessor (which seems inherently unlikely) NZCSC will doubtless press on to trial – although some amendments to the pleadings would probably be required. If the new document seems respectable, the parties may well be able to resolve their remaining differences. Watch this space!