Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Doctor, Doctor, What's wrong with the (doctored) figures?

Everyday we get bombarded with facts and statistics. It can be very confusing to the average layman. 

Since the middle of 2010 we were told 2010 was or was going to be the hottest year on record.
2010: Warmest year on record – Science Fair  17/5/2010  (Great “science,” Science Fair.)
2010 is warmest year ever  Deccan Herald 18/5/2010  (Amazing statement made after only 5 months)
2010 0n track to be hottest year – aljazeera  17/7/2010

Probably a reaction to the statements in May saying that after less than half a year they claimed that 2010 was the Warmest Year EVER, by July they had tempered their statements. Meanwhile, In July, Ken Stewart on Joanne Nova’s site reported that Australian Temperatures had been adjusted. …What he found was that the raw records showed only a 0.4 degree rise, less than the rural records which went from a raw 0.6 to an adjusted 0.85 (a rise of 40%). What shocked him about the urban records were the adjustments… making the trend a full 70% warmer. The largest adjustments to the raw records are cooling ones in the middle of last century. So 50 years after the measurements were recorded, officials realized they were artificially too high?

Also in May. we learned that the official archivist of New Zealand’s climate records, the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) had managed to doctor the figures. 

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

IPCC expert  reviewer, Vincent Gray has reached the same conclusion in his NZ CLIMATE TRUTH NEWSLETTER NO 260 issued today: “One can only conclude that average temperatures in New Zealand cities have not changed significantly since records began.
In September, Paul Macrae on False Alarm wrote, discussing NASA-GISS massaged figures: “….the temperature estimates from the other three major climate monitoring agencies—the Hadley Meteorological Centre (HadCrut), University of Huntsville at Alabama (UAH) and Remote Sensing Systems (RSS)—all show temperatures for the last decade considerably lower than the GISS estimate. In fact, they even show some cooling. The latter two agencies, UAH and RSS, rely on satellite data, which many regard as more reliable than ground temperature estimates.”

So, where does that leave us? As A. A. Milne (Via Winnie the Pooh) said:When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.” It doesn’t matter how many others are looking at it. There’s an old saying – You can look but you’d better not touch.

The latest Satellite-Based Global Temperatures from Dr Roy Spencer of UAH.

As I said at the start, the different figures can be very confusing to the layman. I do know that the UAH figures are not massaged, not doctored. Although satellite records only started back in 1979, you can see basically a level trend line from `79-97 and a level trend line from `2001-2010 with a step up. (See Professor Bob Carter’s falsification of the AGW hypothesis.)

Today, Mr Des Moore, Founding Director of the Institute of Private Enterprise, has contributed an article to Quadrant-on-Line:

Climate inquiry needed

by Des Moore
January 9, 2011

Those familiar with the climate debate will naturally be aware that the rise in average official temperatures of 0.74C over the 20th  century was an inherent component of IPCC’s conclusion of a future of dangerously high temperatures unless governments acted to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 
But how to interpret the fall of 0.7C in the average Australian temperature for 2010? Clearly one year’s temperature doth not in itself maketh a new trend and believers in the IPCC’s conclusion are tending to portray it as either a one-off or even an unusual form of continued warming. But it is pertinent to give the development a perspective that differs from that conveyed by the believers. 
Des examines statements made by AGW “scientists” and sponsors and concludes:
“This latest display of highly questionable opinions and supposedly factual statements by “experts” strengthens the case for a proper independent inquiry.” 

 “The third-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the majority. The second-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the minority. The first-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking.”  A. A. Milne quote


Vincent Gray - IPCC Expert reviewer


My Newsletter No 201X of February 2009, revised March 2010 (available on application) showed that published New Zealand records from 1868, 1920 and 1960 show that average temperatures in the main New Zealand cities since records began have not changed significantly from the figures published today

This is confirmed if the so-called "raw figures"  for seven selected New Zealand  weather stations, available from http://cliflo.niwa.co.niwa are plotted as "anomalies" compared with the 1971-2000 average as follows

Yet, it is persistently claimed by The National Institrute of Water and Air Research (NIWA) that New Zealand temperatures are rising. This is the result, they claim. from "corrections" that have been made to early figures after changes of site.

Attempts to find details of these "corrections" made by the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition and by the ACT Party in the New Zealand Parliament have been unsuccessful until  NIWA  commissioned a detailed study of the problem  by the Bureau of Meteorology, Australia,  Their 169 page Report is now available on:-


Although the Report comes up with a chart (above) which finds an identical "trend" (0.91ºC per century) to the previous NIWA chart, several other things were changed

  • All figures before 1909 in the previous chart have been removed as all seven stations did not provide measurements over this period. NIWA have now removed them from their previous chart.
  • The new Report provides a natural explanation for the "trend". One of their "key Points" is as follows
  • " 3. The variations in time of New Zealand temperature are consistent with completely independent measurements of regional sea temperatures. There is also a strong correlation   between   variations   in   New Zealand   temperature and prevailing wind flow, which relates closely to the abrupt warming in the mid 20th  century, and the slower rate of warming since about 1960"
This means that instead of a single stright line the chart should be divided into the indicated three parts, as follows:-

  •  The Report applies "corrections" for site changes based on comparison with "neighbour" stations These are often inbelievable.  Auckland is considered to be a "neighbour" of Dunedin and there are many more examples.
  • The authors of the Report are uncomfortable with this procedure and with the limited data they received. They said:
"The data and methodology provided in the reports from NIWA are taken as an accurate representation of the actual analyses undertaken. We are not in a position to question all of the  underlying analyses and data that have contributed to the final results, such as methods used
to compile raw data taken at stations. We do, however, perform some independent analyses as appropriate to the aims of the review as outlined above.
The review does not constitute a reanalysis of the New Zealand ‘seven station’ temperature record. Such a reanalysis would be required to independently determine the sensitivity of, for example, New Zealand temperature trends to the choice of the underlying network, or the
analysis methodology. Such a task would require full access to the raw and modified temperature data and metadata, and would be a major scientific undertaking. As such, the review will constrain itself to comment on the appropriateness of the methods used to undertake the ‘seven station’ temperature analysis, in accordance with the level of the information supplied".

  •  No  attempt is made to "correct" for other sources of error such as urban heating, or the change to automatic measurement.
  • The most obvious defect5 of all the cahrts is that the points on them are treated as if they were constants, whereas they are all subject to a large number of errors These include "measurement error" in the original daily readings, the use of a Maximum/Minimum average instead of a true average,  the averaging procedure over the week, the month and the year the subtraction from the "baseline figure" the replacement of missing readings, the changes in instruments.  The combined errors would  require "95% error bars" to be atteched above and below each point of each chart.  These could easily be of the order of several degrees Celsius. and means that a "trend" per century of less than one degree has very low statistical significance.

One can only conclude that average temperatures in New Zealand cities have not changed significantly since records began.


Vincent Gray
75 Silverstream Road
Crofton Downs
Wellington 6035
Phone/Fax 064 4 9735939
"To kill an error is as good a service as, and sometimes better than, the establishing of a new truth or fact"    Charles Darwin"