NIWA says it wasn’t about climate change


So shut up, you lot!

NIWA, in its memorandum to Justice Venning about the costs of our court case, says some curious things. I’ve pulled out a few of the ripostes that the NZCSET’s lawyers have just delivered to the judge and which I’m delighted to share with you. (Bear in mind that the APPLICANT is the Coalition. The DEFENDANT is NIWA.) This one’s a pearler:

29. The defendant alleges in paragraph 17 that the proceeding did not concern climate change…

This is breathtaking. It will surprise their long-suffering supporters – having endured NIWA’s hogwash about the 7SS not being “official” or even a “national” temperature record (“oh, it’s only for study”), and that this organisation of top scientists has no obligation WHATSOEVER to strive for excellence, they now have to stand cringing as their favourite publicly-paid climate scientists argue that the court case had nothing to do with climate change.

Really? What rot. I’d like to shake these men up and make them see sense. They have quickly forgotten that the Coalition gave detailed evidence about the important consequences of the 7SS trend to national climate change policy.

But the case had nothing to do with climate change.

Some pretty fundamental central and local government policy decisions are based on the trend in our temperature history, and it is an important component of NIWA’s projections of future temperatures, which will have a profound effect on us all. The most prominent of the policies relying on the course of the climate is the ETS, but every day we pay heavily for academic courses and programmes in a diverse range of sectors at all levels to ward off climate change.

But the case had nothing to do with climate change.

NIWA are now contradicting some mighty powerful allies. Remember what the NZ Herald editorially opined

If the coalition had managed to discredit Niwa’s methods, it would also have discredited the evidence for climate change, and the part played by human activities.

So NIWA now says to their willing and most visible journalistic supporters that they didn’t know what they were talking about. Oops.

You know that NIWA are asking for money from named members of the Coalition, don’t you? Their reasoning is curious, for it implies that, had the Coalition won, NIWA’s scientists should have personally contributed to our costs. Which seems to follow the same idea of liability that convicted those Italian geologists of manslaughter for their failed earthquake prediction.

It’s hard to believe that NIWA thinks that would be fair and just, which means they don’t really think our members should be personally liable for costs either.

Sorry, have to rush, but there’s more to say on this business of costs.

UPDATE1 27 Oct 2012 17:43 NZDT

While I was distracted by work, first, Tallbloke’s Talkshop picked up the story, then WUWT repeated it. This is wonderful. Now we have John Christy looking at the details.

This is much more about Bob D than me, but I’ll try to keep up, with Richard Cumming’s help.

I’m catching up with Tall Bloke and WUWT.

266 Thoughts on “NIWA says it wasn’t about climate change

  1. Richard C (NZ) on November 3, 2012 at 3:30 pm said:

    Links through to Roger Pielke Jr:-

    ‘Mayor Bloomberg’s Deft Climate Politics’

    Whatever the motivations behind Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s decision to cite Sandy and climate change as a reason for his endorsement of President Obama, it has the effect of relocating responsibility for Sandy’s devastation from NYC City Hall to Washington, DC.

    As New Yorkers (and others) affected by Sandy’s wrath pick themselves back up and recover, attention will soon focus on the broader reasons for the disaster. While some will continue to link Sandy with energy policy decisions, important questions will have to be asked about why NYC was not better prepared, and what can be done in the months and years ahead to fix that, before the next storm barrels up the coast.

    To that end, a few excerpts from the New York City Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan (April, 2009, here in PDF) will indicate that absolutely nothing about Sandy and its impacts should have been a surprise to anyone. It would be fair to ask NY politicians why the city was not better prepared for a disaster that it saw coming……….

  2. Richard C (NZ) on November 3, 2012 at 4:29 pm said:

    >”You attempt to conflate the two, by confusing energy flows WITHIN the system with the global TOE net energy imbalance between solar energy in, and thermal radiation out.”

    That is rubbish Brandoch. If you look at Stephens et al Figure 1 there are 2 budgets, TOA and Surface. Both are smitten with uncertainty with Surface the greater (10 – 17 W/m-2 vs 4 W/m-2) and BOTH are “net energy imbalance between solar energy in, and thermal radiation out”.

    The upshot being that the hydrological cycle moves more heat to space than was previously estimated.

  3. Richard C (NZ) on November 3, 2012 at 7:28 pm said:

    Correction: “(10 – 17 W/m-2 vs 4 W/m-2)”

    Should be:-

    (17 W/m-2 vs 4 W/m-2)

    10 – 17 refers to the increase since previous estimates of LWdown at sfc.

  4. Richard C (NZ) on November 3, 2012 at 9:19 pm said:

    Correction: “(which if valid leaves a 0.36 W/m-2 forcing unresolved BTW, 0.6 – 0.24 = 0.36)”

    0.24 is an increase in imbalance that should be observed over the decade, 0.6 is an average of the imbalance fluctuations over the decade so the two are not in the same terms.

    Roy Spencer has CERES Global Radiative Flux Anomalies 2000 – 2010 (2 graphs, 1 ENSO corrected) in his May 19th, 2011 post:-

    ‘Indirect Solar Forcing of Climate by Galactic Cosmic Rays: An Observational Estimate':-

    First, it is difficult (impossible?) to see the average +0.6 W/m-2 positive imbalance from Stephens et al that should be apparent in the black “-Net” curve on the “radiative gain” (bottom) side of 0.0 (I think). Spencer – “Note I have plotted the variations in the negative of Net, which is approximately equal to variations in (LW+SW)”. Since Stephens et al do not graph out the data they used it is impossible to make a comparison (possibly Supplementary Information might shed some light).

    Second, it is equally difficult (impossible?) to see in the ENSO corrected graph, a discernible 0.24 W/m-2 imbalance increase over the decade because the data is simply fluctuating about 0.0.

    I just don’t see the Stephens 0.6 imbalance in either of Spencer’s CERES plots – where is Stephen et al’s imbalance?

  5. Brandoch Daha on November 3, 2012 at 9:28 pm said:

    Dittohead, a Google search on “your” phrase above,

    As I’ve mentioned, the highly respected Spencer Weart dismissed the paper as rubbish, saying it should not have been published.

    returns pages of the exact same phrase from denial sites across the world.

    Here is a genuine quote from Spencer Weart, who you say you respect so highly:

    we’ve never before seen a set of people accuse an entire community of scientists of deliberate deception and other professional malfeasance.

    Even the tobacco companies never tried to slander legitimate cancer researchers. In blogs, talk radio and other new media, we are told that the warnings about future global warming issued by the national science academies, scientific societies, and governments of all the leading nations are not only mistaken, but based on a hoax, indeed a conspiracy that must involve thousands of respected researchers.

    Extraordinary and, frankly, weird.

  6. Richard C (NZ) on November 3, 2012 at 9:39 pm said:

    >”who you say you respect so highly”

    Whom Thomas Fuller says is highly respected.

  7. Observation is everything in science Brandoch, and 40 yrs of observation from multiple sources show the hot spot doesn’t exist. You could argue gravity & black holes, but we can see gravity in action when something falls or moves – we can’t see positive water feedback in action because the temperature & the upper atmospheric relative humidity hasn’t been rising. If it exists it isn’t doing anything, therefore the AGW hypothesis fails again

    You can believe in the tropospheric hot spot, all you need to do is ignore the 30,000,000 radiosondes, 2 satellites, the temperature records, the computer models, and still have no evidence to promote your own claim – that’s all.

  8. Richard C (NZ) on November 4, 2012 at 8:36 am said:

    Answering my own question – where is Stephen et al’s imbalance?

    Stephens et al state:-

    For the decade considered, the average imbalance is 0.6 = 340.2 − 239.7 − 99.9 Wm–2 when these TOA fluxes are constrained to the best estimate ocean heat content (OHC) observations since 2005 (refs 13,14).

    Presumably, the average OHC flux since 2005 is 0.6 below the 0.0 baseline on Spencer’s CERES plots.

    The references are:-

    13. Lyman, J. M. et al. Robust warming of the global upper ocean. Nature 465, 334–337 (2010).

    14. Willis, J. K., Lyman, J. M., Johnson, G. C. & Gilson, J. In situ data biases and recent ocean heat content variability. J. Atmos. Ocean. Technol. 26, 846–852 (2009).

    There seems to be a great deal hanging on the work of Lyman et al and Willis et al.

  9. Brandoch Daha on November 4, 2012 at 10:00 am said:

    So, Richard, you copied Fuller’s phrase and attempted to pass it off as your own?

    Your regular modus operandi of fraudulent disinformation, quote-mining and bogus “research” leads me to believe you are either a denialist dittohead, sock puppet or web-bot.

    Whatever you are, your credibility is nonexistent, and your cause is lost.

  10. Richard C (NZ) on November 4, 2012 at 10:34 am said:

    >”So, Richard, you copied Fuller’s phrase and attempted to pass it off as your own?”

    No I did not. Refer to the comment:-

    What do you understand the meaning of “by Thomas Fuller” to mean Brandoch? You apparently understand “by Thomas Fuller” to mean “by Richard C” therefore your comprehension is severely lacking intellectually.

    Fuller stated that Weart (“highly respected”, one of your own, DeSmog’s and Fuller’s apparently), dismissed ‘Expert Credibility in Climate Change’ as “rubbish” and that it should never have been published. You on the other hand cite it as some sort of AGW conclusiveness.

  11. Richard C (NZ) on November 4, 2012 at 11:40 am said:

    While looking for whatever I could find showing the latest CERES TOA net flux vs OHC flux this paper came up:-

    ‘On the determination of the global cloud feedback from satellite measurements’

    T Masters, 23 August 2012

    “Due to the low correlations between global surface temperature and dCRF, it is clear that the variations in the cloud forcing are resulting from other changes in the climatology, and that clouds are acting as more than simple feedbacks on these timescales.”

  12. Richard C (NZ) on November 4, 2012 at 2:41 pm said:

    Two different TOA imbalances from 2 different methods.

    Stephens et al 2012 (satellite obs, Sfc flux obs) :-

    For the decade considered [2000 – 2010], the average imbalance is 0.6 ±0.4, 0.6 ±17

    Douglass and Knox 2012 (implied from OHC):-

    June 2001–March 2008, Implied flux imbalance = −0.034 ±0.06

    The DK12 imbalance looks much more like an average of Net SW+LW in Spencer’s CERES plots and the certainty is greater than Stephens et al.


    Is the recent value of flux imbalance −0.034 ± 0.06 W/m2 consistent with what is expected from various climate forcings?

    The change in total solar irradiation (TSI) from 2003 to 2010 is −0.49 W/m2 [23]. When averaged over the surface (a factor of 1/4) and assuming an albedo of 0.70, this represents a solar forcing of −0.086 W/m2. The geothermal flux is +0.087 W/m2 [4,24], so that TSI and geothermal contributions just about cancel each other.

    For this same period, CO2 increases from 375.8 to 389.8 ppm [25]. Using dF = 5.35 ∗ ln(C/C0), the predicted no-feedback CO2 forcing is 0.196 W/m2, compared with −0.034 ± 0.06 W/m2, well outside the uncertainty in the observations. Therefore, the CO2 forcing feedback would have to be negative to obtain agreement, whereas the models apparently have positive feedback.


    Since 2002 the implied radiation imbalance is close to zero.

    Stephens et al 2012 Supplementary Information:-

    Looks like there’s still a ways to go before the TOA radiative imbalance (if in fact it is imbalanced) can be reliably defined.

  13. Richard C (NZ) on November 4, 2012 at 8:52 pm said:

    A fascinating series of exceptionally well presented comments by one Berényi Péter taking on the Skeptical Science regulars re TOA radiative imbalance May, 2011, Starts here at #109:-

    Snippet from that comment (my emphasis):-

    “Satellites have measured an energy imbalance at the top of the Earth’s atmosphere”.

    It’s not allowed to challenge this proposition where it occurred, we were redirected here.

    Therefore let’s reiterate the references given there.

    See e.g. Trenberth 2009: “There is a TOA imbalance of 6.4 W m-2 from CERES data and this is outside of the realm of current estimates of global imbalances that are expected from observed increases in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere”.

    Or Trenberh 2010: “The difference between the incoming and outgoing energy — the planetary energy imbalance — at the top of the atmosphere is too small to be measured directly from satellites”.

    From this it is crystal clear that satellites in fact have not measured an energy imbalance at the top of Earth’s atmosphere, which is inconsistent with the claim they have.

    Gets better at #139:-

    Snippet from that comment (my emphasis):-

    Let’s start with something Dr. Hansen has to say about satellite measurements of radiative energy imbalance at TOA (Top of Atmosphere).

    “The precision achieved by the most advanced generation of radiation budget satellites is indicated by the planetary energy imbalance measured by the ongoing CERES (Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System) instrument (Loeb et al., 2009), which finds a measured 5-year-mean imbalance of 6.5 W/m2 (Loeb et al., 2009). Because this result is implausible, instrumentation calibration factors were introduced to reduce the imbalance to the imbalance suggested by climate models, 0.85 W/m2 (Loeb et al., 2009).

    The problems being addressed with this tuning probably involve the high variability and changes of the angular distribution functions for outgoing radiation and the very limited sampling of the radiation field that is possible from an orbiting satellite, as well as, perhaps, detector calibration. There can be no credible expectation that this tuning/calibration procedure can reduce the error by two orders of magnitude as required to measure changes of Earth’s energy balance to an accuracy of 0.1 W/m2.”

    This brings us back to #109 where I have started to analyse the truth-value to be assigned to the proposition “Satellites have measured an energy imbalance at the top of the Earth’s atmosphere”

    State-of-play now Stephens et al 2012, TOA imbalance 2000 – 2010, 0.6 ±0.4 (TOA, CERES), 0.6 ±17 (Sfc, GEBA, BSRN) and Douglass and Knox 2012 (implied from OHC), TOA imbalance 2001 – 2008, −0.034 ±0.06.

    Quite a game.

  14. Richard C (NZ) on November 4, 2012 at 9:03 pm said:

    Correction (again).

    “(17 W/m-2 vs 4 W/m-2)”

    Should be:-

    (17 W/m-2 vs [0.4] W/m-2)

    These 2 figures are uncertainty of the respective Sfc and TOA imbalances, just to be clear.

  15. Richard C (NZ) on November 4, 2012 at 9:45 pm said:

    Correction (again, again).

    The source of my confusion over the TOA uncertainty 0.4 vs 4 (both are correct, sort of) is to be found in the Stephens et al text, page 1:-

    The combined uncertainty on the net TOA flux determined from CERES is ±4 Wm–2 (95% confidence) due largely to instrument calibration errors12,15


    The average annual excess of net TOA radiation constrained by OHC is 0.6 ±0.4 Wm–2 (90% confidence) since 2005 when Argo data14 became available, before which the OHC data are much more uncertain14

    Somehow, the huge uncertainty of the satellite data (±4 W/m2) becomes more certain (±0.4 W/m2) when “constrained” by OHC even though Douglass and Knox find a much different imbalance implied from OHC (−0.034 vs 0.6).

    This just gets better and better.

  16. I understood Richard’s comment as attributed to Tom Fuller. Maybe if he had put the phrase in blockquotes it would have been a bit clearer, but I think it is a bit if a stretch to say that Richard has no credibility as a consequence.

  17. Richard C (NZ) on November 5, 2012 at 10:31 am said:

    Poptech pops up at JN (‘Blockbuster’ post):-

    Author: Poptech
    Poor James posting more long debunked propaganda,

    Rebuttal to “Meet the Denominator”

    In a desperate attempt to diminish the value of the list of peer-reviewed papers supporting skeptic’s arguments, Rob Honeycutt from Skeptical Science not only lies but puts on a surprising display of his Google Scholar Illiteracy. He fails to use quotes when searching for phrases, is unable to count past 1000 and fails to remove erroneous results. It is clear that not only does he not understand how to properly use Google Scholar, he has no idea of the relevance of any of the results he gets.

    Update: Rob was forced to concede I was correct (though never owns up to blatantly lying) and has desperately made a flawed updated “analysis”. His original inaccurate number of 954,000 results went down to 189,553 results (which he fails to mention in his update) of which 160,130 (84%) CANNOT BE VERIFIED due to the 1000 result limit imposed by Google Scholar. The remaining results are irrefutably filled with erroneous nonsense that has to be individually removed before any sort of accurate count can be taken (see the updates for more information). None of which was done leaving his post to be worthless and those who cite it computer illiterate.

    Rebutal to “Poptech’s list of Confusion” #2:

    An alarmist spammer who comments at Jo Nova’s site by the screen name “Blimey” and around the Internet as “itsnotnova” continues doubling down on his insanity. After having his original blog post completely refuted he decided to add new lies, misinformation and strawman arguments to it. He is so incompetent that he did not even read the list correctly (Lie #4) or understands that “Letters” is a term used to describe a type of peer-reviewed scientific document format in certain scholarly journals such as Nature (Lie #13).

  18. Homogeneous record of Atlantic hurricane surge threat since 1923
    We find that warm years in general were more active in all cyclone size ranges than cold years. The largest cyclones are most affected by warmer conditions and we detect a statistically significant trend in the frequency of large surge events (roughly corresponding to tropical storm size) since 1923. In particular, we estimate that Katrina-magnitude events have been twice as frequent in warm years compared with cold years (P < 0.02).

  19. Given a noisy temperature record, many different statements can be true at the same time, but very few of them are informative about future trends:

  20. But the computer models were supposed to be able to predict the future trends and look how they’ve failed. The WV feedback is obviously missing. The last 16 yrs. that has seen little to no warming is more than half of the 25 odd years of warming that is supposed to be attributable to anthropogenic emissions. And those 25 yrs are remarkably similar to the 30 yrs of warming from 1910 to 1940 which can’t be attributed to anthropogenic emission.

    There’s very little evidence of AGW, if any at all. The evidence to the contrary far outweighs it.

  21. Brandoch Daha on November 11, 2012 at 3:54 pm said:

    Andy, Richard has as much credibility as NZCSET will have when their appeal is disposed of.

    I am astounded at the idiocy of the oleaginous Barry Brill insinuating that Judge Venning is corrupt because he may own shares in a forestry company – does Brill own any shares in, say, an oil company, or an airline?

    A small word of advice, gentlemen; when you find yourself in a hole, it is best to stop digging…

  22. BD,

    I am astounded at the idiocy of the oleaginous Barry Brill insinuating that Judge Venning is corrupt because he may own shares in a forestry company – does Brill own any shares in, say, an oil company, or an airline?

    If you are unable to discern the potential conflict of interest of deciding the fate of a case that directly affects the course of one’s investments, you disqualify your remarks from serious consideration.

    Barry Brill is not sitting in judgement upon an opponent of an oil company, as Venning J is judging the underpinnings of the ETS, which enriches foresters. Nor is Barry “insinuating” corruption, but merely asking a question. The answer may or may not lead to suspicions of corruption – but no allegations have been made.

    The difference between allegations and mere questions is distinct enough to those of a cogitative disposition.

  23. Thanks for the link. By some amazing coincidence, someone else posted this link over at Hot Topic at the same time.

  24. Brandoch Daha on November 12, 2012 at 12:13 pm said:

    Thanks for the link, Andy, These HT jokers look like they know which way is up – are they mates of yours?

  25. Maybe they know where the evidence is for positive feedback from water vapour, try asking them.

  26. Richard C (NZ) on April 13, 2013 at 11:37 am said:

    Tallbloke (April 2013):-

    “Errrmm, why I have not heard of this 2006 paper before? 1.6W/m^2 per decade is a not insignificant trend. Did the IPCC ignore this?”

    Do Satellites Detect Trends in Surface Solar Radiation?
    R. T. Pinker,1 B. Zhang,2 E. G. Dutton3

    Bob Tisdale at WUWT:-

    “Over at Tallbloke’sTalkshop, Tallbloke has a post about the Pinker et al 2005 paper “Do Satellites Detect Trends in Surface Solar Radiation?” ”

    The Sun Was in My Eyes – Was It More Likely Over the Past 3-Plus Decades?

    # # #

    These issues were the subject of the above (off topic) sub-thread in November 2012 in which Pinker et al was cited among several others.

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