Flaherty slays denier Delingpole, takes aim at meRichard Treadgold | January 31, 2011
Wherein Flaherty is thanked and congratulated, it is explained where Flaherty goes wrong in his criticisms of me, and the reader is reminded of what is still outstanding in connection with NIWA’s Review report. Delingpole gains a mention.
Matt Flaherty has been visiting us recently, questioning me about the New Zealand (you can’t believe it’s official!) Temperature Record. Matt wrote recently on James Delingpole and the “denialism” of “climate change.” That tells you where Matt’s understanding lies. Anyone who a) uses the term climate denier, and b) considers that an intelligent person is capable of denying that climate changes, something akin to denying the earth revolves around the sun, demonstrates a voluntary level of ignorance and a lack of incentive to listen.
Having somehow become aware of the CCG, he thought to use us as an example of
how one should deal with a denialist of Delingpole’s ilk
Matt elevates me to dizzying heights, for which I thank him. But I protest I’m unworthy, just an honest toiler for truth, not even in the same league as consummate wordsmiths like James (right about everything) Delingpole.
He cites the Daily Bayonet and Bishop Hill, who mangled the message of my Dec 2010 press release, but he is wrong to blame this messenger for that, and quotes (accurately) from that press release:
NIWA makes the huge admission that New Zealand has experienced hardly any warming during the last half-century. For all their talk about warming, for all their rushed invention of the “Eleven-Station Series” to prove warming, this new series shows that no warming has occurred here since about 1960. Almost all the warming took place from 1940-60, when the IPCC says that the effect of CO2 concentrations was trivial. Indeed, global temperatures were falling during that period…..Almost all of the 34 adjustments made by Dr Jim Salinger to the 7SS have been abandoned, along with his version of the comparative station methodology.
I should point out that “the huge admission” I mentioned referred to NIWA’s new graph, which, on examination, clearly shows very little warming since 1960. It was a non-verbal, graphical admission—but it is crystal clear, nonetheless. A graph falls victim to fewer errors of interpretation than mere words.
a coalition group consisting of the NZCSC and the Climate Conversation Group (CCG) has pressured the NIWA into abandoning a set of temperature record adjustments of which the coalition dispute the validity. This was the culmination of a court proceeding in December 2010, last month.
It’s ironic that Matt claims we pressured NIWA into “abandoning” the adjustments, when NIWA itself calls it a “replacement.” Throwing away the old series would nullify all the defending NIWA gave it over the last twelve months and their PR advisers have obviously advised against doing that.
The CSC object to the methodology used by the NIWA to adjust temperature measurements (one developed as part of a PhD thesis), which they critique in a paper in November 2009 with the title “Are we feeling warmer yet?”
It’s important to correct this mistake; it’s very, very wrong. We did not object to the adjustment methodology, because we didn’t know what it was. We actually asked: “What is the methodology?” Note the big difference between disagreeing with a thing and simply asking what it is.
Our paper takes two simple steps with data from NIWA’s web site (of the time): it graphs the raw temperature readings and it compares that graph with NIWA’s graph from the web site. They are very different. The “raw” graph shows no warming (actually 0.06°C—nothing to speak of), while their graph obviously uses adjusted data, because it shows about 0.91°C warming over the 20th century.
Our paper asks what adjustments were made, and why they were made.
Matt locates our post about the 7SS being taken off NIWA’s web site.
It says “On the eve of Christmas, when nobody was looking, NIWA declared that New Zealand had a new official temperature record (the NZT7) and whipped the 7SS off its website.” However, I’ve already seen that this is not true. Perhaps there was once a 7SS graph and information about the temperature record on the site’s homepage that can no longer be seen. I don’t know.
But it is true. Just ask NIWA, or compare the two graphs of the “NZ Temperature Record”. The old one is in our paper. But then he says he doesn’t know. I don’t know what Matt is really saying here, but it’s one of two contradictory things.
In comments here, Matt said:
Your organization has achieved a positive result and I think you should be proud of that, but you should limit your representations of success to reality.
We thank him for his congratulations and are happy to take his advice.
Matt’s done well in getting up to speed with a complex topic in a short time, and for that I commend him. But he hasn’t done it without mistakes, so he should pay attention to these corrections, and he has certainly overlooked our main objection to NIWA’s actions: their lack of simple honesty and openness and their refusal to apologise for what amount to professional discourtesies.
Without looking too far ahead, I ought to mention that there are questions hanging over the report from the BoM on NIWA’s review. Principally, when will we see the original review document from the BoM, which obviously hasn’t been published yet? It would also be comforting to hear a more generous commendation from the BoM of NIWA’s work and methodology; so far they have been greatly uninspiring, leading to speculation that there’s something seriously amiss with NIWA’s work.
We also want confirmation of which publication NIWA’s Review report will be published in and when, and the names of the report’s authors. Finally, the Coalition anxiously awaits the publication of the estimated margins of error for the temperature series.