UPDATE 15:49 NZDT - NIWA's news release in response to this story appears to have been delayed, and according to a radio news report a few minutes ago Rodney Hide, leader of the minority Act Party and a minister in the National Government, is now calling on his Cabinet colleague, Climate Change Minister Nick Smith, to "please explain" [normal transmission now resumes]
The New Zealand Government's chief climate advisory unit NIWA is under fire for allegedly massaging raw climate data to show a global warming trend that wasn't there.
The scandal breaks as fears grow worldwide that corruption of climate science is not confined to just Britain's CRU climate research centre.
In New Zealand's case, the figures published on NIWA's [the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric research] website suggest a strong warming trend in New Zealand over the past century:
The caption to the photo on the NiWA site reads:
From NIWA's web site — Figure 7: Mean annual temperature over New Zealand, from 1853 to 2008 inclusive, based on
between 2 (from 1853) and 7 (from 1908) long-term station records. The blue and red bars show annual differences from the
1971 – 2000 average, the solid black line is a smoothed time series, and the dotted [straight] line is the linear trend over 1909
to 2008 (0.92°C/100 years).
But analysis of the raw climate data from the same temperature stations has just turned up a very different result:
Gone is the relentless rising temperature trend, and instead there appears to have been a much smaller growth in warming, consistent with the warming up of the planet after the end of the Little Ice Age in 1850.
The revelations are published today in a news alert from The Climate Science Coalition of NZ:
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.
Putting these two graphs side by side, you can see huge differences. What is going on?
Why does NIWA's graph show strong warming, but graphing their own raw data looks completely different? Their graph shows warming, but the actual temperature readings show none whatsoever!
Have the readings in the official NIWA graph been adjusted?
It is relatively easy to find out. We compared raw data for each station (from NIWA's web site) with the adjusted official data, which we obtained from one of Dr Salinger's colleagues.
Requests for this information from Dr Salinger himself over the years, by different scientists, have long gone unanswered, but now we might discover the truth.
Proof of man-made warming
What did we find? First, the station histories are unremarkable. There are no reasons for any large corrections. But we were astonished to find that strong adjustments have indeed been made.
About half the adjustments actually created a warming trend where none existed; the other half greatly exaggerated existing warming. All the adjustments increased or even created a warming trend, with only one (Dunedin) going the other way and slightly reducing the original trend.
The shocking truth is that the oldest readings have been cranked way down and later readings artificially lifted to give a false impression of warming, as documented below. There is nothing in the station histories to warrant these adjustments and to date Dr Salinger and NIWA have not revealed why they did this.
One station, Hokitika, had its early temperatures reduced by a huge 1.3°C, creating strong warming from a mild cooling, yet there's no apparent reason for it.
We have discovered that the warming in New Zealand over the past 156 years was indeed man-made, but it had nothing to do with emissions of CO2—it was created by man-made adjustments of the temperature. It's a disgrace.
NIWA claim their official graph reveals a rising trend of 0.92ºC per century, which means (they claim) we warmed more than the rest of the globe, for according to the IPCC, global warming over the 20th century was only about 0.6°C.
NIWA's David Wratt has told Investigate magazine this afternoon his organization denies faking temperature data and he claims NIWA has a good explanation for adjusting the temperature data upward. Wratt says NIWA is drafting a media response for release later this afternoon which will explain why they altered the raw data.
"Do you agree it might look bad in the wake of the CRU scandal?"
"No, no," replied Wratt before hitting out at the Climate Science Coalition and accusing them of "misleading" people about the temperature adjustments.
Manipulation of raw data is at the heart of recent claims of corrupt scientific practice in climate science, with CRU's Phil Jones recently claiming old temperature records collected by his organization were "destroyed" or "lost", meaning researchers can now only access manipulated data.
UPDATE: NIWA has finally responded:
NIWA Media Release 26 November 2009
Warming over New Zealand through the past century is unequivocal.
NIWA's analysis of measured temperatures uses internationally accepted techniques, including making adjustments for changes such as movement of measurement sites. For example, in Wellington, early temperature measurements were made near sea level, but in 1928 the measurement site was moved from Thorndon (3 metres above sea level) to Kelburn (125 m above sea level). The Kelburn site is on average 0.8°C cooler than Thorndon, because of the extra height above sea level.
Such site differences are significant and must be accounted for when analysing long-term changes in temperature. The Climate Science Coalition has not done this.
NIWA climate scientists have previously explained to members of the Coalition why such corrections must be made. NIWA's Chief Climate Scientist, Dr David Wratt, says he's very disappointed that the Coalition continue to ignore such advice and therefore to present misleading analyses.
NIWA scientists are committed to providing robust information to help all New Zealanders make good decisions.
For more information, contact:
Dr David Wratt
Chief Scientist (Climate)
NIWA, Private Bag 14-901
Wellington, New Zealand
Phone: +64 4 386 xxxx
Cellphone + 64 021 xxxxxx
Science Leader - Principal Scientist Climate NIWA, Private Bag 14-901
Wellington, New Zealand
Phone: + 64 4-xxxxxxx
NIWA chief scientist David Wratt says he has no plans to release data backing up claims of different temperature adjustments between historial weather station sites.
Wratt told Investigate tonight that some studies existed which contained "overlapping" periods which allowed NIWA to compare the temperatures at both locations.
He said NIWA intendeds to release data regarding the Kelburn weather station tonight, but will not release other data.
"There are various other sites that will be affected by a change in location"
"Have you done a 12 or 24 month study comparing both locations simultaneously?"
"There’s been a whole lot of work behind this in terms of things like having overlaps between particular stations when they’ve moved. There’s a whole methodology, internationally accepted, where you actually work out how to correct for these sorts of site changes and so on.”
“But you’ll be providing all that shortly?”
“Well, we’re not going to run around in circles just because somebody has put out a press release. We will continue to put out what is reasonable to provide.”
“Wouldn’t it be important –“
“…for people to see the comparison studies between both sites?”
“Look, we’re talking about scientific studies here. I’ve told you we’ll put out information about Wellington. Basically it’s not up to us to justify ourselves to a whole lot of people that come out with truly unfounded allegations. We work through the scientific process, we publish stuff through the literature, that’s the way that we deal with this stuff and I can’t have my staff running around in circles over something which is not a justified allegation. The fact that the Climate Science Coalition are making allegations about my staff who have the utmost integrity really really pisses me off.
“That’s all I’ve got to say to you now – [click]”MY COMMENT AS BLOGGER: Without the baseline comparisons between the weather sensors at one site and then the other, the public and researchers remain in the dark as to whether the adjustments fairly reflect the changed locations. We don't even know when the adjustments were finally applied. There is nothing wrong with making adjustments, but without transparency it is largely meaningless and unable to be peer reviewed
FINAL UPDATE: New post on NIWA's Wellington data here