Opinions on the New Zealand AGW Judgement

Apropos the New Zealand AGW case, comments below by Goon and Ross:

# Goon (8) Says:
September 8th, 2012 at 3:45 pm

Justifying the unjustifiable. Don’t believe me…. then here is where the raw data lives.


Register and have a look for yourself. Nothing even remotely approaching a 1 degree/century trend in the raw data from longer term climate sites. The only way NIWA can come up with this is by applying an extremely dodgy ‘adjustment’ to make all pre-1950′s temperatures colder and everything after warmer and hey presto, woe is me, there’s a trend. The arguement being tested in the court wasn’t anything to do with AGW, rather it was just that the methodology applied by NIWA to calculate the ‘sky is falling faster than the rest of the world’ trend is a complete crock. A trend which is then used by the same scientists to justify ever more research and lapped up by politicians keen to get their hands into your wallet.

In terms of climate change, I’m agnostic about the whole thing…..climate changes naturallly all the time and human activities no doubt contribute as well but what pisses me off is the dodgyness put up by NIWA as science. It wouldn’t stand up in any other discipline but spin disguised as science seems to be de riguer for climate science.

# Ross12 (186) Says:
September 8th, 2012 at 4:16 pm

You are correct in my view. This case was nothing to with AGW as such. It was to do with how the temperature data was collected and how it was analysed. The judge was very wrong not to allow Bob Dedekind’s evidence ( because he was supposed not an expert) — the statistical analysis for the data would be using methods similar to a number of different fields. So Dedekinds stats expertise should have been allowed.

Here is a summary of his position :

“… In fact, NIWA had to do some pretty nifty footwork to avoid some difficult questions.

For instance, where was the evidence that RS93 had ever been used on the 7SS from 1853-2009? Absent. We were asked to believe Dr Wratt’s assertion that it had (in 1992), but ALL evidence had apparently disappeared. Not only that, but the adjustments coincidentally all matched the thesis adjustments, which all ended in 1975. And no new adjustments were made between 1975 and 1992. Hmm.

Another question: Why, when NIWA performed their Review at taxpayers’ expense in 2010, did they NOT use RS93? They kept referring to it whenever the 7SS adjustment method was discussed, and it was a prime opportunity to re-do their missing work, yet instead they used an unpublished, untested method from a student’s thesis written in 1981.

Please understand this: the method used in the NIWA Review in 2010 has no international peer-reviewed scientific standing. None. It is mentioned nowhere, outside of Salinger’s thesis. NIWA have never yet provided a journal or text-book reference to their technique.

Yet a few people were able to do (at zero cost to the taxpayer) what NIWA should have done in the first place – produce a sensible 7SS using the same peer-reviewed technique NIWA kept referencing repeatedly, viz: RS93. In fact, one of NIWA’s complaints during the court case was that we applied the RS93 method “too rigorously”! In other words, when we did the job properly using an internationally-accepted method, we got a different result to NIWA’s, and they didn’t like it. In fact, the actual trend over the last 100 years is only a third of NIWA’s trend.

Their only response to date has been a desperate effort to try to show that the RS93 method as published is “unstable”. Why then did they trumpet it all this time? And why did they never challenge it in the literature between 1993 and 2010?

NIWA got away with it in the end, but only because the judge decided that he shouldn’t intervene in a scientific dispute, and our credentials (not the work we did) were not impressive enough. ”

For the AGW supporters to suggest ( as Prof Renwick from Victoria said) this a vindication of the science is utter nonsense. The judge says he is not going to make decisions about the science.
Some how I don’t think we have heard the end of this.

  • anthony

    This particular point, the efficacy of the Mullan review, is being discussed at Jennifer’s here:


    I took the liberty of linking to this post and the excellent comments quoted above.

  • Richard C (NZ)

    >”Some how I don’t think we have heard the end of this”

    David, there is a move afoot to validate NZCSET’s application of Rhoades and Salinger 1996 in their ‘Statistical Audit’ and the review of it by 3 consultant statisticians, at Tallblokes Talkshop here:-


    Roger Weatherall (Tallbloke) is enlisting assistance from climatology+statistics and has got John Christy interested (see comments). Bob Dedekind (Audit author) has turned up and email contacts have been exchanged.

    An appeal of the J Venning decision has been lodged and it is imperative that the judge recognize the peer-reviews and any other validation that can be arranged. I have cited Tom Quirk’s breakpoint paper in comments at Tallblokes and his acknowledgment of yourself and William Kininmonth, the thought being that all three of you could perhaps be of assistance.

    If you (and William and Tom?) are interested, please say so in comments at Tallblokes and possibly at CCG here:-


    • davids99us

      OK, will do.

      • Richard C (NZ)

        Thanks for considering even if you decide not to get involved.

        R&S 1996 was incorrect  – apologies.

        I see BOM’s methodology for ACORN-SAT is quite different to R&S93. They don’t make adjustments for less than 0.3 C but NIWA adjust for a 1/10th of that..

        Seems to me that the “weather dependent” breakpoint adjustments that BOM makes, modify station records unnecessarily. There’s an example of that in the CAWCR Technical Report No 049 where Alice Springs is detailed. In the current open station record , a “weather dependent” breakpoint adjustment (creates warming of course) is by far the greater compared to the last site-move adjustment.

        Apart from that , BOM does do a better job of step adjustment than NIWA does from what I can gather.

        • Davids99us

          The pairs method from Matthew J. Menne and Claude N. Williams (Homogenization of

          Temperature Series via Pairwise Comparisons. Journal of Climate, 22(7):1700{1717, April 2009) they show to be very superior to the type of method in R&S93 on simulation studies at least.  

          When you look at the anomaly surfaces the ACORN does not look much better than the HQ, particularly as Alice Springs and Tibooburra have large ‘bullseyes’ around them.  Those two stations alone could contribute a lot of warming.  See Report 3b – On the sensitivity of Australian temperature variability and trends to analysis methods and observation networks

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