Surprising wording in NIWA affidavit re BoM’s work – filed in New Zealand court case

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.

[1] Letter from NZ Ombudsman to NZCSC knocking them back June 2010.
[2] 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.
[3] Legal letter from BoM to NIWA asking them for the “right stuff” to help BoM keep all the docs secret in Australia.
[4] Legal letter NIWA to BoM complying chapter and verse.
[5] Affidavit from NIWA 1 July 2011
[6] Affidavit from NIWA 5 July 2011 – with the fascinating clause 7.

6 thoughts on “Surprising wording in NIWA affidavit re BoM’s work – filed in New Zealand court case”

  1. Warwick Affidavit no 5 on your list is unsigned; presumably it was signed and filed – don’t know

    as to the curious issue of whether there was or was not a peer review report or process or something Richard here has an extract from Dr Wratt’s Affidavit

    TJD120 regarding the BoM review of NIWA’s report: I confirm that NIWA and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) carried out a peer review process. NIWA does not seek to rely on it for the purposes of this proceeding. The reason for that is not that the BOM peer review did not support NIWA’s approach to adjustments and homogenisation of the raw data in temperature records (it did)

    As I commented on Richard’s post ‘I also find it strange that Dr Wratt in the extract from his affidavit above purports to speak for BOM and also without any documentary evidence to that effect (well none from reading the extract) says The reason for that is not that the BOM peer review did not support NIWA’s approach to adjustments and homogenisation of the raw data in temperature records (it did)’

    Why all this secrecy around ‘peer review’ Is it normal in scientific circles. To a layman like me with a liking for John Le Carre it smacks of secret service intrigue but I’m just a layman. To a scientist is it different. Steve McIntyre has a post about another secret letter

  2. You no doubt know Ross McKitrick, who was a peer review referee for the BEST papers with the Journal of Geophysical Research got fed up with Muller’s media blitzing and tells his story wattsupwiththat.com/2012/07/29/why-the-best-papers-failed-to-pass-peer-review/#more-68366

    In October 2011, despite the papers not being accepted, Richard Muller launched a major international publicity blitz announcing the results of the “BEST” project. I wrote to him and his coauthor Judy Curry objecting to the promotional initiative since the critical comments of people like me were locked up under confidentiality rules, and the papers had not been accepted for publication. Richard stated that he felt there was no alternative since the studies would be picked up by the press anyway. Later, when the journal turned the paper down and asked for major revisions, I sought permission from Richard to release my review. He requested that I post it without indicating I was a reviewer for JGR. Since that was not feasible I simply kept it confidential.
    On July 29 2012 Richard Muller launched another publicity blitz (e.g. here and here) claiming, among other things, that “In our papers we demonstrate that none of these potentially troublesome effects [including those related to urbanization and land surface changes] unduly biased our conclusions.” Their failure to provide a proper demonstration of this point had led me to recommend against publishing their paper. This places me in an awkward position since I made an undertaking to JGR to respect the confidentiality of the peer review process, but I have reason to believe Muller et al.’s analysis does not support the conclusions he is now asserting in the press.

    I take the journal peer review process seriously and I dislike being placed in the position of having to break a commitment I made to JGR, but the “BEST” team’s decision to launch another publicity blitz effectively nullifies any right they might have had to confidentiality in this matter. So I am herewith releasing my referee reports.

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