Rotted minds at Hot TopicRichard Treadgold | January 1, 2011
An answer for RW, of Hot Topic — see end.
There, I did it again — ventured over to Hot Topic. When will I learn?
Briefly optimistic someone wanted answers and really was listening, I was called liar and worse, then quickly censored. “Open and frank discussion forum”, indeed!
I’m posting the deleted response to Gareth’s demand for an apology and a reply to an HT reader. diessoli — see the end of this post for my response to your comments.
What follows is just “I said, he said” argy-bargy. It’s not important and is posted simply to document my last encounter with the proprietor at Hot Topic, Gareth Renowden. I think the exchange typifies his lack of charity and his stubborn refusal to admit that NIWA has made or even could make a mistake, but others will have a different opinion.
It started with a visit to read about an ‘award’ HT published (actually recycled from the Pacific Institute) — the 2010 Climate B.S. of the Year Award. NOTE: BS means Bad Science, apparently. Anyway, you can verify my conversation there if you’ve a mind to hurt yourself.
I left a short note pointing out the hilarity of awarding a prize to four unrelated statements and making a couple of comments. Gareth asked me, as he often does, to apologise for my “smear campaign against NZ climate scientists.”
I sent this response:
You really don’t understand, do you? This is nothing to do with me or any particular scientists. And please don’t pretend that you’re actually offended by my comments about NIWA and its scientists, even they weren’t offended; Renwick and I had several good conversations. They were, I’m sure, annoyed, but I goaded them to get some damned response; they’d been literally ignoring our scientists for years — now tell me you’re comfortable with that discourtesy among scientists!
I’ve been trying to discover the truth about the NZ temperature record. You know the story — or you should, by now.
Of course, you’re standing solidly on the ground prepared for you by NIWA, who themselves continue, at least publicly, to ignore what we’ve actually said. They (and you) rigorously refute the argument that the temperatures have risen, when our argument is about how the temperatures were determined.
We said: “What changes did you make?”
They said (oddly): “You should not claim that adjustments are not required, when everybody knows they are required. For instance, altitude adjustments are required in Wellington.” I challenge anyone to search the latest review and discover altitude adjustments made in Wellington; they were not made in the old series and they are not there in the new. So why did they describe altitude adjustments? Only to criticise the Coalition for apparently not understanding.
We said: “Why did you make the adjustments?”
They said: “The methodology is published, look here and here and here. Replicate the adjustments yourselves.”
We said (after weeks of searching): “The methodology is not contained in those documents. What is described depends so much on operator decisions it’s impossible to replicate Salinger’s adjustments.”
They said: “We told your scientists all this years ago in an email. You know this by now, you’re troublemakers.”
We said: “We’ve found the email. It doesn’t contain what you claim it does. Publish it so everyone can see what it says.” They never did.
They said: “Everything is based on Salinger’s thesis.” But the thesis was locked up in the VUW library so tightly we couldn’t get to it. Eventually, after several months, the library provided a CD we could use for a few weeks. Anyway, the thesis didn’t contain a replicable method. It’s not surprising the ‘method’ was never used anywhere and never published.
In short, NIWA’s defence of the old series was relentless, so their decision to replace it with anything at all was a defeat. They finally realised that it was so full of holes that they could not, in science or logic, continue to support it.
That, for a part-time, unpaid group of sceptics, is a victory.
If you disagree, then tell me what happened to the old series? Remember, we were asking them for the so-called “Schedule Of Adjustments” and they had produced one for Hokitika when they announced: “We’re going to produce an entire new series. It will cost $70,000.” Why did they decide that? Why didn’t they just explain the old adjustments? Because they didn’t know what they were! That was a victory for us, because they had maintained through thick and thin not only that they did know, but also that we should know. They haven’t apologised for that.
Whether the graph shows warming or cooling is not relevant; we don’t care what it shows, we just want it to be trustworthy. We’ll examine the science behind it in good time — although it’s not yet complete, as they still must furnish the confidence intervals. And the “peer review” it’s had so far is not worth much when you actually read it. Basically the BoM agree that adjustments are required and NIWA’s evidence “in general” supports them. The BoM say nothing at all about the methods, logic, consistency, etc, mentioned by NIWA’s CEO.
As to the vexed question of ‘smearing’ NZ scientists: that’s the very question being debated, isn’t it? You cannot claim the debate is settled, since NIWA themselves have just capitulated and thrown away the original series, which leaves our original claims, questions and ‘smears’ (as you call them) unanswered — unrefuted. Not only that, they’ve ignored Salinger’s ‘methods’ in producing the new series, abandoning their support of him. They’ve also ignored the ridiculous 11-station series they rustled up, cherry-picking stations that show warming as if to prove that warming occurred (falsely claiming those stations had not moved and required no adjustments). Although the graph was on their web site for many years, they disclaimed it recently as not being an ‘official’ series; nobody believes that, least of all the students who have copied the graph for their projects, or the courts who have had the graph presented to them in evidence.
Of course, we know of a series of seven (famous) unadjusted stations that show no warming, so which set wins? Can you say? No doubt there are a dozen or so stations that need no adjustments that show no warming; I haven’t gone there, since I don’t care about warming or cooling. So, our questions about the original series will remain forever unanswered and our allegations unrefuted; our questions, if any, about the current series are not yet formulated. Nobody knows who is right and who is wrong. Are you competent to pronounce the validity of the new series or the old one? Even the BoM have not gone so far; they claim a complete ‘reanalysis’ would be required.
No apology is possible until these matters are settled. With the production of a new series, our examination begins all over again, but until the error margins are published as NIWA promised, we have to wait, because, as you know, without their estimates of error the series is incomplete — for what can we judge? The science has not been done yet.
Happy New Year.
This is the other comment which was censored at the same time:
Kelburn: all the adjustments are like that, where the target site is adjusted to a reference site. But no adjustments are made by a calculation based on the change in altitude.
Yes, R & H is cited, but not Salinger’s thesis. Not that I’ve seen!
Look, everyone thinks we ought to do our own series, but that’s not what we’re on about. Sure, one of the scientists might have a go one day, but the whole point has been to examine — to peer review — what NIWA has done! But nobody can do a peer review unless the science is all in place. That’s what we’ve been waiting for; now, we start to wait again, because they still haven’t done it all.
[At this point I noticed my longer comment, posted first, had been cut.]
Sorry, that’s all. Gareth’s eviscerated my explanation of why I’m not apologising. You’ll have to read it at www.climateconversation.wordshine.co.nz and you’ll be welcome there.
Despite your assurances, Gareth does not run any “open and frank” discussion; he’s just censored my whole comment, calling it “disinformation and lies”, the slithy tove.
I’ll put it up on the CCG site where the air truly is free.
Happy New Year,
UPDATE 1 5:10 p.m. NZT
RW: Please explain which part of my statements to you is rubbish. Please notice my questions, especially the last three. They’re pertinent to our criticism of NIWA and I am curious as to how you answer them.