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Crisis in New Zealand climatology

The warming that wasn’t

By Barry Brill | Quadrant Online | May 15, 2010

The official archivist of New Zealand’s climate records, the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), offers top billing to its 147-year-old national mean temperature series (the “NIWA Seven-station Series” or NSS). This series shows that New Zealand experienced a twentieth-century warming trend of 0.92°C.

The official temperature record is wrong. The instrumental raw data correctly show that New Zealand average temperatures have remained remarkably steady at 12.6°C +/- 0.5°C for a century and a half. NIWA’s doctoring of that data is indefensible.

The NSS is the outcome of a subjective data series produced by a single Government scientist, whose work has never been peer-reviewed or subjected to proper quality checking. It was smuggled into the official archive without any formal process. It is undocumented and sans metadata, and it could not be defended in any court of law. Yet the full line-up of NIWA climate scientists has gone to extraordinary lengths to support this falsified warming and to fiercely attack its critics.

For nearly 15 years, the 20th-century warming trend of 0.92°C derived from the NSS has been at the centre of NIWA official advice to all tiers of New Zealand Government – Central, Regional and Local. It informs the NIWA climate model. It is used in sworn expert testimony in Environment Court hearings. Its dramatic graph graces the front page of NIWA’s printed brochures and its website.

Internationally, the NSS 0.92°C trend is a foundation stone for the Australia-New Zealand Chapter in the IPCC’s Third and Fourth Assessment Reports. In 1994, it was submitted to HadleyCRUT, so as to influence the vast expanses of the South Pacific in the calculation of globally-averaged temperatures.

The Minister of Research Science and Technology, the Hon Dr Wayne Mapp, has finally become alarmed at the murky provenance of the NSS. The Government has directed and funded a 6-month project to produce a new national temperature record, with published data and transparent processes. The replacement record is to be the subject of a scientific paper, which is to be peer-reviewed by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

Hon Rodney Hide, a climate sceptic who is a Minister in the current Government and leader of the junior coalition partner, the ACT Party, has called upon his ministerial colleagues to formally repudiate the NSS and to withdraw all publications and formal papers which are based on the spurious warming trend of 0.92°C. The Government has not yet responded to this challenge.

New Zealand is a small country, with a strong tradition of open Government, and is not an easy place to keep secrets. The acceptance of the NSS for so long offers evidence of the dictum: “you can fool all of the people some of the time..” But if that can happen in New Zealand, how much greater is the probability that similar shenanigans could be happening in larger, more complex, jurisdictions?

BACKGROUND

The New Zealand Meteorological Service, with its forebears, has been measuring and recording our weather since 1861. In 1992, it published a booklet containing a detailed history of all its weather stations, along with 140 years of climate data. In that year, NIWA came into being and has now published most of the Met Service data online.

In 2007, the then Prime Minister announced her party’s intention that New Zealand should lead the world in fighting climate change, and aim to be the world’s first carbon-neutral country by 2025.

Earlier in 2007, NIWA produced a web page, followed by a printed brochure, with a graph showing that New Zealand had already warmed by an amount far in excess of global averages. The web page claimed a temperature increase of 1.1C during the 144 years of Met Service records, and a 0.92°C trend during the 20th century.

These are remarkable claims. They came out of the blue and do not accord with any written histories, or the personal impressions of our older generations. They don’t square with “hottest day” records held in provinces and city archives. They were not accompanied by big changes in rainfall or winds or sea levels. In these claims, NIWA is a very lonely orphan.

Read the entire substantial essay here at Quadrant Online

May 15, 2010 - Posted by | Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science

2 Comments

  1. Jct: The good news is that these kinds of misrepresentations get exposed almost right away, maybe not to the booboisie watching the mainstream media, but certainly to anyone interested in it. A hundred years ago, these kinds of make-believe arguments never challenged.

    Comment by KingofthePaupers | May 16, 2010

  2. […] Crisis in New Zealand climatology « Aletho News. May 16th, 2010 | Category: Uncategorized | Comments are closed | […]

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