The BBC is reporting – New Zealand North Island hit by worst drought in 30 years. Curious to see some rainfall graphs I turned to KNMI Climate Explorer but it was not easy getting updated data. The GHCN V2 data assembled by NCDC in the USA has many data gaps post 2004 and ends anyway in March 2011 – see picture below. The CRU data ends at 2009. I wonder why – it still rains here and there – did somebody stop paying their salaries ?
So I turned to a shorter term partly satellite based data set from GPCP to bring the graph up to date at Dec 2012. The GPCP might reflect rain over both land and ocean – but that is what we have.
Note the grid area chosen misses out Southland and much of Otago west of 170°East. New Zealand should have rain data from say the 1860′s – if anybody has up to date station data please let me know – or please pass on URL’s to any published New Zealand rain history graphs.
This is a common feature when researching climate data – to find that recent data are worse than old data.
Perfect from 1900 to 2004 – then gaps abound.
The NZ Herald quotes long time climate expert Dr Jim Salinger in their article today – Heatwave: Scientist tips a scorcher – Another bio for Dr Jim Salinger.
Further down the article NZ MetService and WeatherWatch people say that 40 degrees looks unlikely. I hope some Kiwis can send in temperatures from – “…east of the South Island and southern North Island…”. Here is a site where you can type in a NZ locality and get weather data.
Is this a case of Fairfax media believing some of the over-hyped rubbish about heatwaves in Australia and thinking that it had to be the turn of NZ sometime.
The NIWA vs NZCET court result will be picked apart on more notable blogs than this – however I am curious about a few things in the 49 page “Judgement of Venning J”. My interest is mainly on the Clauses on the subject of the station data. To start though I want to look at Clause 176 – I will be interested to hear what readers think.
My press release from 2006 is still online here.
Here is Clause 176 from the Judgement -
I can not see that Judge Vennings paraphrasing of what Dr Wratt said about contrasting winds before and after 1945 – can have any bearing on the point in my press release which was that two IPCC compliant expert groups (Jones/CRU and NIWA) – both with access to the same database of station data – disagreed greatly about the long term New Zealand temperature trend – over whatever exact period chosen. I was pointing out how the science is not settled.
Wind affects equally the station data used by CRU & NIWA and is not a cause of the CRU – NIWA long-term trend divergence – as Venning J seems to conclude Dr Wratt has shown.
Originally posted Feb 2012 – taken down late March due legal reasons.
For newcomers – about a year ago I lodged a FOI request with the BoM to see documents relating to a “peer review” they had conducted for NIWA and I reported last May when the BoM decided that all the documents were secret.
Then last October I posted a progress report when the BoM found a few more documents from earlier in October 2010 than previous.
I currently have an appeal in with the OAIC.
The New Zealand Climate Science Coalition NZCSC has a long running court action underway against NIWA trying to obtain documents relating to the “official” NZ temperature history. The Climate Conversation site has much information on the court case.
I was sent me several NIWA affidavits from 2011 – the affidavit for 5 July 2011 is noteworthy as it contains some clauses showing that NIWA is trying to be specific about what the BoM has done. I quote from Clause 7 – “….the Bureau did not itself produce any peer review report…”
NIWA is saying that all that took place was a to & fro process of emailed comments and replies about material provided by NIWA – “iterative” as they say at the start of clause 7.
I note in the TM5 undated (April 2011) legal letter from the BoM to NIWA – in 2-2 it says “The review covering letter and final report…”
We have the covering letter public (14 Dec 2010 letter linked above) – but is NIWA now saying about the “final report” – that there is no such thing ?
List of six pdf court documents
Note the odd fact that whoever drafted the NIWA affidavits wrongly labels themselves in clause 1 by stating – “I am the plaintiff’s general counsel” The cover pages show NIWA is the defendant in these proceedings. Anyway – on with the list.
 Letter from NZ Ombudsman to NZCSC knocking them back June 2010.
 My 18 Feb 11 FOI letter to BoM – sent by BoM to NIWA in April – also attached is the 14 Dec 10 BoM public covering letter to NIWA.
 Legal letter from BoM to NIWA asking them for the “right stuff” to help BoM keep all the docs secret in Australia.
 Legal letter NIWA to BoM complying chapter and verse.
 Affidavit from NIWA 1 July 2011
 Affidavit from NIWA 5 July 2011 – with the fascinating clause 7.
Fancy the Kiwis announcing this exactly as Australia takes a huge step in the opposite direction. Our Prime Minister Julia Gillard will be sending her Kiwi counterpart a thank you John message – I am sure.
[The Government has indefinitely postponed key stages of the emissions trading scheme, saying the economic environment means consumers and businesses simply can't afford it.
The announcement comes as Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard's political future hangs in the balance due to the introduction of a carbon tax there this week.
But Prime Minister John Key said his Government's decision had not been influenced by the political fallout in Australia. Rather, it was acting on concerns the economy would suffer if New Zealand did more than other countries to reduce carbon emissions.
"We're not prepared to sacrifice jobs in a weak international environment when other countries are moving very slowly," he said.]
It must be remembered that the period of our instrumental weather data is short when compared to say the ~15,000 years since the last ice age.
We must also remember that cold records are set in the face of the ever expanding urban heat island (UHI). So cold records are more remarkable than warm records that are assisted higher by the ever increasing UHI.
In this case the record could even more remarkable because the previous record in 1918 was set nearer the CBD in the Botanic Gardens, surrounded by suburbs – whereas since 1954 the instruments have been at the airport ~10kms away on the NW city fringe. UHI will be steadily creeping into the airport data too as suburbs grow and infill.
Thanks to Kiwis for tip off re NASA image.
Amazing stuff – IPCC compliant organization admits fault.
Niwa concedes summer outlook off the mark
By Matthew Backhouse – NZ Herald
My earlier post;
Are the New Zealand NIWA Outlooks as useless as those of the Australian BoM ?
Readers have pointed out to me the huge rain totals for various parts of Aotearoa for December 2011. So I checked the NIWA 3 month Outlook for December-February issued on 1st Dec 2011.
Not the slightest hint of the heavy rains – so if they could miss that huge event coming down the pipeline hardly two weeks away – are they really worth their salaries ? Also press articles faithfully trumpeting the stock-standard NIWA line – “Niwa predicts long, hot summer” – how the MSM GreenLeft media love to print this stuff.
I found this map of December rain percentages at NIWA Climate Update.
Reverse serendipity in the NIWA article “New Zealand’s rain falls mainly in the mountains” published 20 December – just after most of the rainfalls shown on above map. Note how the peak December rains were mostly NOT in the mountains. Maybe there is a Weather God.
Last May I reported on my February FOI request to the BoM to release to me all documents and data connected with their peer review of the seven station series for NIWA. See my article – “Australian FOI law keeps secret the construction of New Zealand seven station temperature series”. Note that the BoM Schedule of Documents supplied to me commences on 30 August 2010.
The Kiwis brought to my attention the following question and answer in the New Zealand Parliament 18 March 2010.
This indicates that NIWA had contacted – was corresponding with the BoM six-months PRIOR to the 30 August 2010 commencing date for documents they found pursuant to my February 2011 FOI request.
On 31 May I emailed the BoM and drew their attention to this six-month discrepancy. Twenty weeks later and the BoM has just sent me an addendum to their original Schedule of Documents – see link above.
This Addendum lists 14 more NIWA/BoM documents (all exempt) – but dated from 16 August 1 September 2010. So it looks to me that the BoM are saying – “…we have no record of NIWA contacting us prior to 16 August 2010.”
In 2010 the New Zealand National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Ltd (NIWA) with the assistance of four months help from the Australian BoM revised their seven station NZ temperature series to arrive at a national temperature trend from 1910. This is a much shorter period than the previous seven station series which was from before 1860.
The New Zealand Climate Science Coalition (NZCSC) started with an Official Information Act request on 21 December 2009 – attempting to obtain from NIWA details of the adjustments and construction of the seven station series from the many component data. These efforts did not succeed and I think in August 2010 they started court action against NIWA – which I understand is not over.
At the end of August 2010 NIWA sought the assistance of the Australian BoM to check their seven station series and in late December 2010 the revised NIWA seven station trend was published.
The NZ blog Climate Conversation Group has an article on 28th April “NIWA — show us the peer review!” – where they discuss the unsatisfactory state of affairs due to NIWA secretly adjusting raw station data to make their high warming seven station trend a trend that is unverifiable until NIWA releases details.
In February 2011 I lodged an FOI request with the BoM to release to me all documents and data connected with their work on the seven station series for NIWA. After a couple of extensions of time – on 6th May they emailed me the following pdf files which in a nutshell – tell me that all relevant documents and data are “fully exempt” from the FOI Act – and are thus still secret.
First the BoM reasons for refusal.
This schedule shows the “peer review” process started at the end of August 2010 and the list ends on Christmas Eve – pretty much four months.
I am hoping that people smarter than I might see ways to carry on the battle to get these papers and files released.
What can be so secret about the things publicly funded scientists and bureaucrats do to adjust common garden old weather records into a form that suits them? We are not talking about nuclear weapons secrets here.
There were two other pdf files
Added 7.30pm 7 May: Please note the anti-spam function is catching many good comments now and holding them for approval. So please be patient if your comment does not appear quickly.